Is 'OUAT' Headed To The Underworld?

As we move further and further into Once Upon A Time Season 5, one thing is for certain: things are getting more intense — and more dangerous — than ever. While Emma's in the grips of her Dark One identity (which, let's be real, we know won't be permanent), she's far from the Savior she once was and capable of some terrible acts. In fact, it may just be one of these acts that leads to the second half of the season becoming the "hell" that the showrunners have promised it will be. While there's no telling what's to come, executive producer Adam Horowitz has continued to tease us with little details, and his latest clue — the title of Once 's mid-season finale — all but confirms speculation that's been running rampant for several weeks now: we're headed to the Underworld.

The final episodes before Once's winter hiatus will be called "Souls of the Departed", and that's right in line with the set-up we've had already for a visit to the Underworld. As you'll probably remember, Emma basically tried to get Regina to sacrifice herself, and she nearly did just that in an attempt to pay "the price" for Emma saving Robin back in Camelot when he was supposed to die. Somehow, with the help of Snow, Charming, and one of the dwarves, they were able to thwart the Fury who came for Regina's life, but not before we caught a glimpse of what seemed to be Charon, the mythological figure responsible for transporting souls to the Underworld, and more particular, to the feet of Hades.

Add to that the fact that producers recently began casting for a role known only as "D.G." or "Dapper Gentleman", largely believed to be the Devil himself (or in the case of the Underworld/Greek mythology, Hades himself). Of course, this is all mere speculation at this point, but all the pieces are coming together, and allowing once to explore the world of Greek mythology opens up a plethora of possibilities for the second half of the season and beyond. It hasn't been done before, and frankly, it makes perfect sense with the present storylines. Dealing with matters of light and dark couldn't be a more perfect fit.

Of course, given that we already know that someone will lose their life this season, at least temporarily, there's still the question of exactly who that will be. My money is on Regina, given that we know Barbara Hershey will be reprising her role as Cora on Once's 100th episode (i.e. the premiere of Season 5B), but we'll have to wait and see. Either way, I have the feeling it's going to be one of Once's best seasons yet.

Image: Jack Rowand/ABC