Cunning vilains and blazing romance took over this week's Once Upon a Time, as "Into the Deep" dropped us into the netherworld where true love was exactly where we hoped it would be... but not what we expected.
We'll start with the villains.
Cora and Hook. Loyalty was a fluid thing with these two. Perhaps loyalty's too strong a term. Maybe it's that they're both working towards a common goal and willing to use one another to get it and trample over everyone else in the process.
That Cora kicked Hook to the curb certainly wasn't a surprise. She'll only keep him around as long as he's useful. But now that she has Aurora's heart, is there really a use for Hook? Either way, it certainly looked as though he'd bought himself some time.
And what's up with all of those hearts? They seemed to be everywhere. Talk about creepy.
Poor Aurora. Just when I was beginning to like her, she had to go and get her heart ripped out…literally. Finally she was brave and plucky, not whiny, and now she's under Cora's control. Sigh.
This week Mulan took over as the most annoying character. She must have had it bad for Philip to take that vow to protect Aurora so seriously. And if she learned anything, it was not to go up against Snow when Charming with their family are on the line. Mulan would have been wearing that arrow if Aurora hadn't shown up when she did.
Back in Storybrook, watching Rumple and Belle share burgers at Granny's was a wonderfully normal moment, complete with Rumple's explanation of the importance of condiments.
You should try it with ketchup. Condiments are this world's most powerful magic. | permalink
Then the woman who held Belle captive for 28 years walked in and the moment was over.
It was great to see Regina, Rumple and David forced to work together. Regina was right. She and Charming don't agree on much but protecting Henry is the exception.
Henry and Regina's conversation about her only using magic to help people was very sweet. Henry seemed to believe her but I'm not nearly as easy to convince.
And David may have saved Henry from the fires of the sleeping curse, yet in going under one himself, he's left his grandson in the hands of Regina and Rumplestilskin. Out of the frying pan, as they say.
Charming and Snow. Oh, it was wonderful to see Charming and Snow sharing a scene together. It's been far too long. But Charming was so certain that Snow would be able to break his sleeping curse with true love's kiss that I knew something was going to go wrong.
Yet I was still disappointed when they weren't able to kiss or even hold one another. Damn you netherworld! Still, the angsty romance almost brought me to tears. And how can anyone not love Charming's Once Upon a Time quote to Snow...
You will always find me and I will always find you. | permalink
Now Emma and Snow are more frantic than ever to get back to Storybrooke. Will they find the ink or will they have commandeer a mermaid to get more? Will Cora and Hook get there first? And how long will Charming be stuck in the fires of the mysterious netherworld?
Watch the promo for next week's Once Upon a Time winter finale and meet me back here on Sunday night to discuss all that goes down!
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.