Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
2 user 3 critic


Hades turns to the heroes to ask for help with getting Zelena back from Rumplestiltskin and Peter Pan. In flashbacks, Emma searches for answers about her family and makes an unexpected friendship.


Ron Underwood


Edward Kitsis (created by), Adam Horowitz (created by) | 5 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Mary Margaret Blanchard (credit only)
Jennifer Morrison ... Emma Swan
Lana Parrilla ... Regina Mills
Josh Dallas ... David Nolan
Emilie de Ravin ... Belle Gold
Colin O'Donoghue ... Captain Killian 'Hook' Jones
Jared Gilmore ... Henry Mills (as Jared S. Gilmore)
Rebecca Mader ... Zelena
Sean Maguire ... Robin Hood
Robert Carlyle ... Mr. Gold
Emma Caulfield Ford ... Blind Witch (as Emma Caulfield)
Greg Germann ... Hades
Geoff Gustafson ... Stealthy
Robbie Kay ... Peter Pan (as Robbie A. Kay)
Rya Kihlstedt ... Cleo Fox


Hades turns to the heroes to ask for help with getting Zelena back from Rumplestiltskin and Peter Pan. In return, he offers to take all their names off their tombstones. However, when Hook is still unable to leave, he and Emma must journey into the depths of the Underworld. Meanwhile, Cruella De Vil is determined to keep the heroes trapped in the Underworld. In flashbacks, Emma searches for answers about her family and makes an unexpected friendship.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 May 2016 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


The object/animal/person in this episode is Emma's car driving through the forest. The card features the forest background, but the color is red instead of blue to reflect the Underworld. See more »


Emma Swan: He ripped up the contract like you wanted, so leave.
Peter Pan: Since when does the Savior answer to the king of Death?
Emma Swan: Since he's the one getting my family home.
Mr. Gold: You picked the wrong team to back, Ms. Swan. You won't get what you want from him.
Emma Swan: Really? Because you just did, which is making me wonder why you're still here.
Mr. Gold: Yeah, I suppose you have a point.
[Poofs away]
See more »

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User Reviews

Into the fiery depths
7 September 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When 'Once Upon a Time' first started it was highly addictive and made the most of a truly great and creative premise. Really loved the idea of turning familiar fairy tales on their heads and putting own interpretations on them and the show early on clearly had clearly had a ball. Watched it without fail every time it came on and it was often a highlight of the week. Which was why it was sad when it ran out of ideas and lost its magic in the later seasons.

The first four seasons had a few ups and downs, like blips in some of the writing, effects and characters that are not as interesting or as well used as they could be, but were on the most part very solid. Many episodes being good to fantastic, with interesting spins on characters, great character interactions and performances and compelling and emotionally involving back-stories for most of the characters. So was expecting a good deal from Season 5 and "The Dark Swan" didn't disappoint at all. All the episodes between that episode and "Devil's Due" ranged to me from decent to brilliant, before reaching disappointment with "Our Decay" and especially "The Brothers Jones" and then picking up.

"Firebird" from personal opinion was a very good episode. Not one of the show's best but one of the better episodes of the second half of Season 5. Not perfect and could have been even better than it was but the emotional impact, character development and character interaction make it an improvement over four episodes between "Devil's Due" and "Sisters".

Did find Cruella's role in the episode one that didn't add an awful lot to the overall story and it was not that interesting either.

However, there is lots of evidence of forward momentum and character development advancing, the characters true to personality and not distorted or going round in circles. One learns a lot and things are made clearer.

What really makes "Firebird" is the character development for particularly Emma, her development is illuminating and not reiterating anything we already know and provides answers too. Similarly the character interaction, especially between Gold and Pan and Emma and Hades. Lots of fun is to be had with the writing for Hades (still a great character, and one of the best assets of the Underworld arc dominating the second half of the season) and Zelena is similarly beautifully developed, one feels for her here. Gold is appropriately antagonistic without being standard and the more villainous spin on the character of Peter Pan continues to be interesting.

Much of the acting is strong, with excellent turns from Greg Germann (sinister and fun), Rebecca Mader (casting a spell very effectively), an emotive Jennifer Morrison giving easily her best performance since "The Dark Swan", Robbie Kay (providing an as ever interesting interpretation of Peter Pan) and especially Robert Carlyle demonstrating why he has always been one of the best and most consistent actors on the show.

Furthermore, "Firebird" is a very handsomely mounted episode visually, the settings and costumes are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie cutter. It is photographed beautifully too. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable theme tune.

Writing has the right balance of humour, pathos, mystery and intrigue mostly, with less soap and camp that has been seen in some of the Underworld arc. This aspect has come on a long way since when 'Once Upon a Time' first started, much more complexity and nuance, or at least at this point on the most part.

Overall, a great episode. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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