Okay. Well. Spoiler Alert.
I was pretty excited about OUAT starting up again (of course!!!) but... well I have to say this is one of the weaker openers. The beginning and end were GREAT scenes, but everything in between felt kind of 'meh.' Sure it was really lovely to see Regina find resolution with her Dad, but the rest of the episode was basically all the Cora/Regina/Snow stuff we'd seen before - multiple times. I get that they wanted to explore Regina's relationship with her parents and with them both dead it was kind of necessary as part of the Underworld arc... but really, the flashbacks were super boring. We have literally seen it all before again and again.
Hopefully, having gotten that out of the way, we can explore some new territory in the upcoming episodes.
Now, on to the good parts of the episode!
I seriously thought first shot was Snow. When it pulled away and I realized it was Emma, I was totally shocked. They really did a good job of casting that family, because WOW Emma and Snow's eyes are the same!!!
Oh my heart NEAL!!! That was such a lovely scene and I'm SO GLAD we got it! We already knew that Neal wouldn't be a big part of the Underworld plot because he had moved on, but it was a really nice emotional note to get that cleared up right away. Man, I love Neal so much. I expect this will be the last time we ever see him (although it's OUAT so who knows) and I feel like I can let him go now. Thanks, OUAT!
Seeing James again was HILARIOUS. Poor Snow. The birthday aspect of the flashbacks was weird, but it was fun seeing David and Snow celebrating with the dwarves. (But, Jiminy, WHY were you hiding in Snow's bosom? EW). Henry Sr.'s 'ascent' was predictable, but very heartwarming nonetheless. From a theological perspective, they've so far done a nice job at creating an afterlife that resonates with various religious traditions, so that feels comforting to watch, rather than jarring.
Although, of course, it's all Greek to me. Hello Hades! Not at all a traditional portrayal there, but of course it is based on the Disney canon from Hercules, and given the audience of the show and the airing time, it's fitting that we get humor - although he is, of course, very dark underneath the amused face. Looks like he'll be an interesting villain to watch.
I have to say, it's rather odd going from the highly Christian tradition of Camelot to the Greek pantheon of gods. Especially considering that the Camelot story has not been fully resolved. OUAT likes to bounce around - but they do usually get back to most things at some point. I'm still betting on a time shift when they return from the Underworld, with all the babies several years older.