Labor of Love
By Joanne Denney - @Dragonlady755
In "Labor of Love", Snow gets her groove back. We learn about her meeting a childhood friend, Hercules, and how he helped her gain confidence by training her to use a bow.
In an underground prison, a bloody and beaten Hook awakes and tries to stand up. He is warned by another prisoner, a young woman, not to move. “It’s just a trick. He wants you to think that you can escape, but you can't,” she tells Hook with despair. But Hook is convinced that Emma is coming for him and he must do everything he can to help her find him. He convinces the other prisoner to escape. As they run through the dark tunnels, they hear growling and then see a set of red glowing eyes, and then another set and another. It is Cerberus, the three-headed Hell hound. Hook distracts the beast, and sends the young woman out with a message for Emma about his location.
Meanwhile, Mary Margaret walks through the Underworld’s cemetery with Charming, They come upon a gravestone that Mary Margaret recognizes. The name carved in the stone is Hercules. She tells Charming that he was a childhood friend. She realizes that Hercules must be in the Underworld and that if they save him, he can help them save Hook.
In a flashback to The Enchanted Forest, a teenage Princess Snow sits on a throne next to her stepmother, Regina. The peasants have approached her for help with some bandits who have been harassing the villagers. They beg her for assistance and guidance. Regina is very supportive that Snow could take care of the problem. Unsure of what to do or say, Snow becomes overwhelmed, running out of the throne room. Regina smiles as she runs away.
Princess Snow, running through the forest, falls into a hunter’s pit. Someone lowers a sword down for her. She grabs the hilt and is lifted up out of the pit with one arm. She thanks her rescuer and introduces herself to him with adoration. The handsome young stranger introduces himself as Hercules.
Emma, Henry, Regina and Robin are on a trail in the Underworld forest, looking for Hook. Regina remembers that she has maps of all of Storybrooke in her office in the real world, and possibly there are maps of the Underworld in the Underbrooke’s mayor’s office. "Do you think there are maps here?" Emma asks. "Everything else in Bizarro Storybrooke has an analog so far,” Regina replies. Robin volunteers to check it out and Regina suggests that he take Henry because Henry knows her office so well.
After Robin and Henry leave, they come across to the young prisoner Killian helped to escape. She starts to deliver Killian’s message to Emma, but are interrupted by growling. Emma whisks them away to safety with magic. They reappear in Mary Margaret's loft apartment. Emma finds a picture of her parents. “So this apartment is just waiting for your parents die and return?” asks Regina. “Creepy but that seems to be the case. I think we’re safe here,” states Emma. “It's officially a cold day in hell when I move in with the Charmings,” Regina sasses back. Emma comforts the prisoner. She tells Emma that Hook is in an underground prison and that she escaped through underground tunnels and came out in a cave in the woods. Emma inquires if she could find the cave again. “Yes,” the young woman responds, “but is being guarded by [a creature with] three heads . . . its teeth can crush bones with a single bite, and those eyes, they burn right through your soul rather than finish you off.” “That's not true.” Mary Margaret interrupts, appearing with Charming. “I know exactly what this beast is and how we can defeat it.” she says confidently.
At Hercules’ camp in the Enchanted Forest, Princess Snow sits with Hercules by the campfire. Herc tells Snow that he cannot rejoin his father Zeus on Mount Olympus until he completes his twelve labors. Snow complains that she can't face anyone. Hercules comes up the idea of teaching Snow how to fight. She is not sure at first but Herc tells her “You can't let the fear of failing stop you from trying.” As he starts to train her in archery, he says that it will also give him an excuse to spend more time with her before he finishes his final labor. “What exactly is your last labor?” Snow inquires smiling. “It is the most difficult one of all. It is defeating the three-headed Hellhound, Cerberus,” he replies.
Emma, Mary Margaret and Regina enter Underbrooke Granny’s, approaching the Blind Witch for information about Hercules. After bickering with Regina about having Hansel and Gretel burning her in the oven, the Blind Witch tells them where to locate Herc.
Mary Margaret finds Hercules working on the dock doing some heavy lifting. She marvels that he is still so young. He tells her that he died soon after leaving her. He never finished his labors and can’t move on. Mary Margaret informs him that Cerberus is in the Underworld and that he is the only one strong enough to defeat Cerberus. It's his destiny. Herc shakes his head. “That hero died.” He states flatly as he continues with his work. “Only if you let him,” Mary Margaret exclaims. “Don't forget what you taught me. You can't let fear of failure keep you from trying.”
Hook is dragged into Hades lair. He's in bad shape, but still manages to work up enough energy to threaten Hades. Hades just chuckles, “you can't kill me, I'm Hades.” Gesturing around him: “This is death,” Hades smirks. “I'm gonna find whatever is worse and do it to you," threatens Hook. Hades examines Hook’s wounds and says “I see you've met my pet. You're about to realize that his master is not nearly as friendly.”
At the mayor’s office, Henry and Robin find that Cora has left a protection spell on the door. Robin, master thief, finds an alternate entrance through ventilation duct. Robin is about to enter the vent when Henry reminds him that somebody needs to stand guard outside and Henry knows the office better than anyone else. So Henry crawls through the ventilation shaft duct only to be greeted by Cruella De Ville. “Tell me how is your mother? Oh yes, I need to be more specific. How is the woman who killed me?” she asks sarcastically.
Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret and Hercules enter the tunnel that the young female prisoner escaped from. Regina asks Herc if he is sure he can defeat Cerberus. Mary Margaret shows him support by saying “I know you can do this, Hercules.” Herc, who had been lagging behind the women, now steps forward to take the lead. He asks the others to wait for him as he enters the dark caverns.
Back in The Enchanted Forest, the villagers are handing over their valuables to the bandits. They hear Princess Snow behind them. “Leave my people alone!” “Where is your daddy's army?” questions the one-eye bandit leader. Snow smiles, “I don't need an army. Return what you've taken from these people and leave my kingdom or the next arrow will go in your one good eye.” Smirking, the bandit leader says, ”I want to see you try.” Princess Snow fumbles for the arrows in the quiver, they all drop to the ground, and she stoops to pick them up quickly as the bandit leader chuckles. He steps on the arrows she tries to pick them up. Hercules gets angry. He punches the ground, causing a small earthquake, demanding the bandits leave Princess Snow alone or they will have to face him. The bandits, visibly shaken by his feat of strength decide that caution is the better part of valor and retreat. As he leaves, the bandit leader tells Princess Snow “Your boyfriend won't be around to protect you forever.”
In the palace, the bandit leader meets with Regina. She has been behind the bandits’ reign of terror the whole time. She gives him money. “Are you sure you don't want me to kill her?” the bandit leader asks. “I will not turn her into a martyr for these people to worship. No, I had to turn them against her. Then these miserable people will realize that I am meant to be their queen,” she replies darkly.
Back in the dark cavern tunnels, Hercules hears a low growl. Losing his courage, he drops his sword, backs away from the Hell beast and hides behind the women. Mary Margaret draws her bow and they hear a whistle and Cerberus is called off by his master. Hades appears. “Who are you?” Regina asks. “My uncle,” replies Herc. Hades comments to Regina “Don't look so surprised. Who do you think was in charge of this place? Your mommy?” They demand to know why the Underworld looks like Storybrooke. Hades is dismissive, “I have my reasons and I don't have to share them with you.”
Hercules steps forward, demanding that Hades leaves them alone. Hades bullies Hercules, “Is that the famous courage that people love to talk about? Hercules, did you do you think you could face Cerberus again?” Realization dawns on Mary Margaret. Cerberus killed Hercules. Herc explains that he couldn’t let her down. Hades continues his taunting. “It's nothing to be ashamed of, after all losing your life to my little pet is what brought us together as a family.” Mary Margaret answers him defiantly, “We are not afraid of you.” Hades turns to her. “Snow White or is it Mary Margaret? My nephew said you were a spitfire, but you should trust me. You should be quite afraid of me because the next time you interfere with my family I will come after yours.” “Bring it.” said Emma, “We're not gonna rest until we find Hook.” Hade then turns on Emma. "Oh, that must make you Emma. Since your pirate likes to send you messages, then I told him I would deliver this one personally." He lifts up Killian's bloody hook, dangling it in Emma's face.
Back in the mayor’s office, Cruella confronts Henry. “So, darling, this is actually quite fortuitous.” Henry demands to know what Cruella wants. Cruella explains that she needs Henry’s help to escape the Underworld since she won’t be able to go to paradise. Instead, she wants to get back to the real world. “Oh how I miss it the gin, the music, the glamour, the gin.” Henry reminds her that she is dead and no one can change that. She counters that the Author has the power and Henry is the Author. Henry tells Cruella that he destroyed the Author’s quill. Cruella taunts him “I’m guessing you don't know much about the quill do you?” Cruella informs Henry that the quill is a living entity, and when he broke it, he sent it to the Underworld with its purpose unfulfilled. She now wants Henry to find it and use it to bring her back to life. “Why would I ever help you?” Henry said with disgust. “Because, Henry, if I come back to life, guess what happens the woman who killed me? Your mother is no longer a murderer. You see by helping me, Henry, you can restore Mommy dearest to the pure soul she once was. You can save her.”
Regina finds Mary Margaret moping on the bed in the abandoned apartment. She asks why she is not looking for Hook. Dejected Mary Margaret says she couldn’t help and that it was all her fault. She thought she was doing the right thing by enlisting Hercules’ aid. She thought Herc was destined to kill Cerberus, but now she just doesn't know what to do. Regina gives her a pep talk. “Now is not the time to give up! I dedicated years to taking you down, but nothing can stop you.” Mary Margaret responds, “You took my kingdom, cast your curse. I lost my daughter for 28 years!” Regina replied tenderly, “Then you found her. You defeated me in a way that no one thought was possible. You made me your friend by never giving up on me. So what's the difference this time?” Mary Margaret still bewildered asks, “How am I supposed to help anyone stand up against Hades? All I have are speeches about hope!” Regina smiles, “You're right, Mary Margaret can't help. In fact, we don't need her anymore. We need Snow White.”
In The Enchanted Forest, Hercules comes upon a miserable Princess Snow. She doesn’t think that she can do anything to help the villagers against the bandits. “I don't want to be Snow White anymore,” she pouts. Hercules tells her how he really defeated the Nimean Lion by accidentally dropping a torch and singeing off the lions impenetrable fur. “Don't you see?” Herc tells Snow, “If I hadn't failed, I would've never figured out how to succeed.” “OK, so how do I stop these bandits?” Snow inquires.
On the docks of Underbrooke, Herc is working when Mary Margaret approaches. She tosses in his sword at his feet and demands that he pick it up. He shakes his head. Mary Margaret asks Herc how Cerberus killed him. Exasperated Hercules tells here that Cerberus has three heads. Every time he faced one head, the other two heads attacked him. He was out numbered. “I never should have fought that beast alone.” Hercules laments. “Well that's it!” Mary Margaret exclaims, “That's why you're going to win this time. You're not going to fight him alone.” Surprised, Herc asks “You want to fight Cerberus with me? “Herc, I became that hero you always believed I could be,” Mary Margaret says with confidence. “We're going to fight that three headed beast and we're going to win!” Hercules nods in agreement.
Waiting for Mary Margaret back at the abandoned apartment, Charming Regina Emma and the girl prisoner are discovered by Cerberus. As he attacks, they run for their lives.
In The Enchanted Forest, the bandits are stealing from the peasants once again. Princess Snow arrives and demands that they give back the items they have stolen. She stands defiant with her bow and shoots an arrow past the bandits and disarms their leader. She demands that they lower their weapons. Following her lead, the peasants come forward with their pitchforks and axes, finally joining Snow and defending themselves. The bandits drop the stolen items and leave. The peasants cheer for their hero. Princess Snow and Hercules hug with delight. Hercules tells Snow that she doesn’t need him anymore and he needs to leave to finish his labors. He invites her to come with him. “I'd love to,” she said “but, Herc, I think my people need me more.” Hercules replies with admiration, “You're going to make an amazing queen.” She responds, “And Olympus will be lucky to have a hero like you.” They kiss tenderly before parting. It’s Snow White’s first kiss.
As David, Emma and Regina sprint down the street of UnderBrooke, fleeing Cerberus, they come upon Mary Margaret with Hercules. The young female prisoner has run ahead of them, and now they have to split up to find her. Mary Margaret and Hercules find her next to the fallen clock tower. She is terrified. Mary Margaret leads them into the nearby library. They bolt the doors against Cerberus. Mary Margaret tells them that they should attack all three heads at once. She turns to the girl prisoner, and hands her Herc’s sword. At first the girl refuses, never having fought before. Reluctantly she takes the weapon. Hercules arms himself by ripping a pipe off the wall. Cerberus bursts through the library doors and they begin their attack against him, each taking one head. They manage to defeat the beast, and he disappears in a puff of smoke. They are joyful. The girl, overwhelmed by the battle and excitement, almost passes out. Hercules catches her as she starts to faint. He introduces himself. She tells her that her name is Megara in a flirtatious manner. Their eyes connect and they smile at each other.
Back at Granny's diner, Hercules wraps a blanket around Meg’s shoulders to keep her warm. They sit across from each other at the table realizing that they have met somewhere before in the past. Megara was fleeing from Cerberus when Hercules was looking to defeat the monster. He was killed, and she died soon after him. He apologizes for not saving her before, and she tells him that even though he didn’t save her back then, he has saved her now. They hold hands across the table. The Charming family and Regina watch the scene from the counter. Mary Margaret ponders that maybe defeating Cerberus wasn't Hercules only piece of unfinished business, maybe he needed to save Meg too. Mary Margaret tells Emma “You didn't know me in The Enchanted Forest, but I was someone who took risks even when she was afraid. I was the one I guess who inspired people.” She glances at Regina and smiles “An old enemy reminded me of that. I just don't want to ever run the risk of forgetting who I was again.” “What are you saying?” asks David. She replies, “I'm saying I don't want to be Mary Margaret anymore. I want to be Snow White again.” “Well it's about time!” declares Regina. “I think we can make that happen, Snow.” David said smilingly.
Back at the mayor’s office, a worried Robin calls for Henry through the vent. Henry emerges telling Robin that he is ok. “Did you find anything?” Robin inquires. “No, I didn't.” lies Henry.
At the fiery pit, the heroes say farewell to Hercules and Megara. She has made a map for them to find their way to Hook’s location. Emma thanks her. Herc asks Snow if she is sure that she doesn’t want them to stay and help. Snow replies that they have been in the Underworld long enough and they need to leave before Hades finds out. “I was right,” Herc tells her. “You became an amazing hero.” Snow and Herc hug one last time. Taking Megara’s hand, they both cross the stone bridge into a bright shining Olympus. Hercules finally completed all of his labors.
The clock tower clicks forward as does the grandfather clock in Hades’ lair. A beaten and bloody Hook leans up against it. Hades informs Hook the prisoner that he helped escape has moved onto a different realm. Hook is pleased. Hades, on the other hand is angry that more souls have left his realm. He presents Hook with a chisel and three headstones. Hades tells him that for every soul his friends set free, one of them will have to remain behind, and Hook will be the one who decides who has to stay.
What will Hook do? Will he choose people to stay behind or will he refuse to do Hades’ bidding? What about Henry’s dilemma? Will he help Cruella escape the Underworld to save his mother’s soul?