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'Once Upon a Time': A little sympathy for the Wicked Witch

In "Once Upon a Time" this week, two evils come together, and bonds over familial issues and children provide the story lines in the "Our Decay" episode.

We start with a flashback to Oz. Zelena, understandably upset over having been sent to Oz as a toddler, wants a time travel spell and needs the Scarecrow to provide a brain. Her flying monkey brings him, but before she can extract what she needs, Dorothy Gale returns. She's grown up a lot, and still has those slippers. She heard that the Wicked Witch was looking to nab her friend and, with the help of Toto, rescues the Scarecrow and runs away.

Back in the Underworld, Hades reveals that even though he's all-powerful in the Underworld, he can't bring anyone to his domain unless they're dead. Hades wants a portal opened to Storybrooke and is forcing Rumplestiltskin to create it using his own Dark One blood. In Storybrooke, Zelena has found a way back, and the Blue Fairy and Belle may have to fight to keep Zelena away from her own baby. Rumple opens a portal from the Underworld, and, unbeknown to him and Hades, transports Belle, the baby and Zelena into the portal. Zelena jumps in the portal after Belle and the baby fall/escape through it.

(Snow and David aren't with the group because they went to the Underworld diner, where they discovered they could talk to their son basically through a haunting, and a weird phone booth-style contraption, where you leave a supernatural voice mail.) 

Once through, Belle and the baby leave an injured Zelena. The desperate Zelena finds the heroes — Robin, Regina, Emma, Henry — as they go over pages that Henry is somehow subconsciously drawing for the new "Once Upon a Time" book.

Flashback. Hades goes to Oz to offer his services to Zelena in order to make a time travel spell so she can go back and enact revenge on Regina, even though she had nothing to do with their mother leaving her. Zelena at first rebuffs him, but she's not getting any information by threatening the munchkins, and a persistent Hades appeals to her by highlighting their similarities. So she relents, swayed by a shared family abandonment and desire for revenge.

Back in the present, Belle is hiding in the library, her onetime sanctuary, and she happens to run into Rumple coming from the Underworld underground. Rumple tells her about the deal that gave Hades the power over him and their unborn child. Yep, he just lets her know that she's pregnant. "You didn't fall in love with the man behind the beast, you fell in love with the man and the beast," he says. No lies, no trickery, he just let her know exactly what the situation is. It was ... refreshing. Glad Belle didn't just run out of the room.

Regina tells Zelena that she was just like her — vengeful — as they and Robin look for the baby. Regina says her enemies ended up becoming her family. So true. Luckily, the trio somehow runs into Belle walking on the outskirts of the forest, and they're all reunited. Not sure what happened to Rumple; wasn't he supposed to be protecting her? Anyway, Zelena gets to hold and feed the baby, but just as people are trying to trust her, she tricks them. She zaps them with a little power from her ring and leaves with the baby.

Back in past Oz, Hades brings Dorothy's bicycle to Zelena. With it, they easily find Scarecrow and Dorothy. Zelena ruthlessly grabs Scarecrow's brain out of his head, and he crumples to the ground in a heap. This is a magical world, but it would seem that she effectively killed him on the spot. Dorothy could only watch as Zelena got the ingredient that she needed for the time travel spell. Zelena froze Dorothy, but she's not going to kill her. She wants everyone in Oz to know that Dorothy can't protect them. When she returns to the bike, Hades is gone.

Back in Underworld, Zelena comes out of hiding, tearfully handing over her baby to Robin and Regina. She realizes that she can't protect the baby from Hades by herself in the Underworld. It's more important that her baby be safe and alive. It's pretty sad watching the Wicked Witch in full-blown teary mode.

In Oz past, Hades says he loves Zelena. For a second, she likes his sweet words. But she quickly thinks he just wants to use her (probably true), though he never lets on that he's anything but genuine. When she rejects him, he leaves.

That was years ago. When they meet again, it's in the streets of Underworld Storybrooke. Hades tells her he still cares about her. He says that he made Underworld look like Storybrooke for her. If Zelena wants what Regina had, she could take the entire town. Storybrooke is a bit twisted in Underworld, but that's just the way things are. Though things decay in Underworld "it would be our decay," says Hades. Zelena still can't believe that he's genuine, but he aims to prove it to her by helping her get her baby.

Out of the goodness and love of his own heart.

Sure.

Follow me on Twitter: @Storiz

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In a twist, we add insight to the recap by publishing occasional questions, concerns and comments submitted by Layla Andre, 8, a fervent "Once Upon a Time" fan and the daughter of a Los Angeles Times staff member. They come about while Layla watches the latest episode, and they're probably some of the same that many viewers have.

— Where are the Tin Man and the Lion?

— I liked Dorothy's new blue dress better than the old blue dress that she wore in "Wizard of Oz."

— Finally we got to see who has been taking care of Baby Neal! The Fairy Godmother! And finally Snow White and Prince Charming say something about missing their baby in Storybrooke.

— We STILL don't know the name of Zelena's baby! But at least Robin Hood finally explains why. He wants to get to know her first. I still want them to name her Zara.

— Usually it's the mom who tells the dad that they're pregnant... not the other way around... Belle sure seemed surprised. Why didn't she take a pregnancy test?

— That was a long line for using the haunting phone booth.

— It makes sense that Hades and Zelena like each other because they both hate their siblings and everyone hates both of them.

— Everyone's kidnapping Zelena's baby! It's Zelena's right to keep her.

— Zelena must really love her baby to give her to Regina and Robin Hood.

— NO babies are safe in the Underworld!

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