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This article focuses on the Season Five episode.
For the Season Seven episode, see "Sisterhood".
For the Storybrooke group of characters, see Sisters of Saint Meissa.

No matter what she does, we're sisters! And nothing can change that! I will find you! I promise!

Regina to Zelena

"Sisters" is the nineteenth episode of Season Five of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman and Brigitte Hales, and directed by Romeo Tirone. It is the one hundred and seventh episode of the series overall, and premiered on April 24, 2016.


Now that Hades and Zelena are reunited, Hades tells Zelena that he wants a future with her outside of the Underworld. All she needs to do is heal his heart with True Love’s Kiss so they can leave the Underworld and trap the heroes there for eternity. When Regina overhears of this plan, she enlists Cora's help to find a way to separate Zelena from Hades. However, Cora reveals a family secret that could change Regina and Zelena's lives forever. Meanwhile, David finally meets James, only to realize that his twin is determined to seek revenge on him for stealing the life he could have had.[2]


Deleted Scenes

"Writing Wrongs" (Scene 8)

This scene is included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season.

Emma checks on Henry, who feels bad because he should have stopped Cruella because he is the Author. But Emma encourages him, saying that he did the right thing in the end. But all Henry tried to do is to undo what Emma did to Cruella, so that she'll be no longer a murderer. Emma says that that thought still eats her soul sometimes, but what's done is done. She then advises Henry to never compromise his soul, not even for her, because she couldn't live with that.



Guest Starring





Production Notes

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Regina names her doll Isabella, which is the same first name as Isabella Blake-Thomas, young Zelena's actress. This is especially appropriate since Regina tells the doll that she can be her sister. In addition, Ava Acres, who plays young Regina, has an older sister named Isabella.
  • Isabella Blake-Thomas' hair was dyed red to match her older self.[6]
  • For the segment where young Zelena telekinetically moves the logs, the same movement was filmed multiple times, with the logs in a different place each time, so it would look natural when the visual effects were added in afterward.[7]
  • Ava Acres[8] and Isabelle Blake Thomas[9] both put on their own make-up for the dress-up scene.
  • According to Ava Acres, Barbara Hershey hugged her after every take of having to yell at her.[10]
  • As Cora is saying her goodbyes, she tells Zelena that "we never even got to say hello." This line was pitched to the writing team by Adam Horowitz.[11]

Event Chronology

Episode Connections

  • The history between Zelena and Hades is first explored in "Our Decay".
  • Zelena once again shows her ability to conjure green fire, she used this first in "Our Decay".
  • Mary Margaret and David swapped names on the headstones in "Ruby Slippers".
  • Cora was made to work in the mill in "Souls of the Departed".
  • Cora uses Hook's hook to remove the cuff from her wrist. His hook was also used to remove Zelena's cuff in "Broken Heart".
  • Cora first questioned how Hades found out about Zelena in "Souls of the Departed".
  • Belle went under a sleeping curse in "Ruby Slippers".
  • David first learnt of James' resentment towards him in "The Brothers Jones".
  • The framed photograph that Emma is looking at,[12] which she says was taken during her parents' wedding anniversary, is the same photograph that she showed Regina in "Labor of Love".[13]
  • Cruella was killed by Emma in "Sympathy for the De Vil".
  • Hook points out that Cruella cannot use a gun, referring to how Isaac used his quill to take away her ability to kill in "Sympathy for the De Vil".
  • Cora mentions to Zelena what she did to Regina's father in "Souls of the Departed".
  • Peter Pan first proposed his deal to Mr. Gold in "Souls of the Departed".
  • Mr. Gold made a deal with Zelena to stop trying to harm her in "Heart of Gold".

Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

  • ♫ MUSIC: The song "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" by The Ink Spots plays in Hades' car radio during his date with Zelena. Hades plays the song again on the Underbrooke diner's jukebox, as he prepares for another date.

Props Notes

  • MYSTERIOUS SYMBOLS: When Cora opens the book of spells, one of the illustrations is a slightly modified, upside-down version of the seal of Marbas,[15] an illustration from the Lesser Key of Solomon, a spell book on demonology published in the 17th century. Marbas is a demon who is described as the Great President of Hell, governing thirty-six legions of demons.
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: At the Underbrooke docks, when James gets up after David pushes him to the ground, in the background, you can see the enchanted cuff lying on the ground next to Emma and Hook,[19] indicating that Hook used his hook to remove it from Emma's wrist off-screen, just like Cora used it to remove her own cuff earlier in the episode.

Costume Notes

Filming Locations

  • The cottage was also reused for Malcolm and Fiona's cottage in the Season Six episode "The Black Fairy".[41] This can be seen from the identical pattern of the brick stones (the ones on the right hand side of the lower half of the door are easiest to compare). The Apprentice's roof tiles were replaced with a thatched roof for the episode.


International Titles



  1. Porter, Rick (April 26, 2016). Sunday final ratings: ‘Once Upon a Time,’ ‘Simpsons’ and all others hold. TV by the Numbers. “Once Upon a Time (ABC) (...) 3.85”
  2. LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, April 24, 2016. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Title: (#519) "Sisters".”
  3. File:519Title.png
  4. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (February 5, 2016). "Here's another #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler -- hope to see ya March 6th for our return!" (screenshot)
  5. Barnes, Mike (April 19, 2016). Scott Nimerfro, Writer and Producer on ABC's 'Once Upon a Time,' Dies at 54. The Hollywood Reporter. “Scott Nimerfro, a writer and producer on such shows as Pushing Daisies, Hannibal and the current ABC drama Once Upon a Time, died April 17 in Minneapolis, a representative from WME confirmed. He was 54.”
  6. ONCE UPON A TIME…. Isabella Blake-Thomas (May 3, 2016). “Being Young Zelena was the best thing I could have wished for. I used my British accent and we dyed my hair red to match my ‘older self’.”
  7. ISABELLA BLAKE-THOMAS. Welcome to Storybrooke (2020). “Q: @michybb_1118 wondered how you shot the scenes where you had to use magic? A: It was different for each "trick". The scenes that I didn’t actually move anything, they used visual effects. The scene where I had to move the logs, they filmed the same movement multiple times, each one with the logs in a different place so that when they added the effects of them flying, it was natural.”
  8. TwitterLogo.svg @AvaAcres (Ava Acres) on Twitter (April 24, 2016). "They let me put on my own makeup during the dress-up scene!! 😂👍" (screenshot)
  9. TwitterLogo.svg @Isabella_B_T (Isabella Blake-Thomas) on Twitter (April 24, 2016). "loved doing my own makeup #sisters Thankyou 4 everyone's support tonight." (screenshot)
  10. TwitterLogo.svg @AvaAcres (Ava Acres) on Twitter (April 24, 2016). "Barbara always gave me a hug after every take of having to yell at me! ❤️" (screenshot)
  11. Thread:412231#28
  12. File:519Photograph.png
  13. File:513SoThisPlace.png
  14. Chaos. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on November 21, 2020. “Chaos, (Greek: "Abyss") in early Greek cosmology, either the primeval emptiness of the universe before things came into being or the abyss of Tartarus, the underworld.”
  15. File:519NotNearlyAs.png
  16. File:202Book2.png
  17. File:311MuchLonger.png
  18. File:317ImNeverGonna.png
  19. File:519ThatWasQuite.png
  20. File:519LostYourFlock.png
  21. H RACER. Belstaff. Retrieved on January 31, 2019.
  22. File:519JamesChargesAtDavid.png
  23. File:520ThisFate.png
  24. File:521SeeHimLikeThis.png
  25. File:522SearchingForIt.png
  26. File:523WhichMeansHes.png
  27. File:601DavidAndDirigible.png
  28. File:417Stooop!.png
  29. File:519IShouldGo.png
  30. File:612LetMeSeeYourHand.png
  31. File:613ClearMyHead.png
  32. File:614ExcitingTurn.png
  33. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 2 Lance Hunter's Leather Jacket. shopyourtv. Retrieved on January 31, 2019.
  34. File:519HidingCora.png
  35. External screenshot from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: "Heart of the Matter"
  36. Gittins, Susan (February 12, 2016). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME Night Shoot With Rebecca Mader & Greg Germann in Steveston’s Garry Point Park. Hollywood North Buzz.
  37. File:519DroppingLogs.png
  38. File:404RunsToCottage.png
  39. File:504VillageOfCamelot2.png
  40. File:511HookLeavesCottage.png
  41. File:619DreamCabin.png
  42. TwitterLogo.svg @WhatsFilming (What's Filming) on Twitter (February 11, 2016). "#OnceUponATime is at Central Park in Burnaby today. Saw Jennifer Morrison, Josh Dallas and Victoria Smurfit on set." (screenshot)