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Regina: They got pulled under to... wherever is worse than this place?
Cruella: Yes. But no one who's anyone goes there anymore.

Regina Mills and Cruella De Vil src

The "Worse Place" is a world[1] featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the twelfth episode of the fifth season.

The "Worse Place" is based on Tartarus from Greek mythology and the concept of Hell.


After Third Curse

The Worse Place is a world located underneath the Underworld, where souls that have not finished their business can be sent any time by being thrown into the fire beneath the Fiery Cave or into the River of Lost Souls. Cruella remarks that "no one who's anyone goes there anymore." Cora first introduces this place to the heroes by bringing Regina Mills and Blacktooth to the Fiery Cave and flinging Blacktooth into the fire, explaining that if Regina does not return to Storybrooke, she will do the same thing to her father Henry. However, her attempts to do so fail when Henry finishes his business and ends up going to Mount Olympus instead. ("Souls of the Departed")

Hades later tells Killian Jones that the Acheron, a river located underneath his lair is also connected to the Worse Place. Hades plans to drop the pirate into this river, but Emma Swan, who sails the river in a boat with Mr. Gold and Milah to reach Killian, saves him. However, after making a deal with Hades, Mr. Gold flings Milah into the river. ("Devil's Due")

After learning how they were killed, Captain Silver and his crew plan to throw Liam Jones into the Worse Place as punishment. However, he is saved by Hades, who blows Captain Silver into the Worse Place and attempts to do the same to Killian. However, Liam takes his brother's place and drops himself into the fire beneath the Fiery Cave, but inadvertently finishes his business and ends up going to Mount Olympus alongside the remaining members of Captain Silver's crew. ("The Brothers Jones")

Hades makes another attempt to send the heroes into the Worse Place, this time by enchanting arrows wielded by Gaston with water from the Acheron and having the man attack Mr. Gold. As Belle searches for a way a way to save Gaston and keep him and Mr. Gold from hurting each other, Hades attempts to make a deal with her and offers to tear a contract that states he will receive her baby in half if she allows Mr. Gold or Gaston to throw one or the other into the river, though Belle refuses. Learning about this deal, Mr. Gold attempts to throw Gaston into the river, but is stopped by Belle. However, when Gaston makes one final attempt on Mr. Gold's life, Belle is forced to make a split-second decision and shoves her ex-lover into the river herself. ("Her Handsome Hero")

After learning that the heroes plan to bottle a kiss from Auntie Em to use to awaken Dorothy Gale from a sleeping curse, Hades puts some water from the Acheron in her soup, which she drinks. This causes her to turn into water and be banished to the Worse Place. Hades threatens to do the same to any other resident of the Underworld who helps the heroes, and later dumps the liquefied remains of the old woman into the river. ("Ruby Slippers")

As revenge against Emma for killing Cruella, James and Cruella attempt to knock Emma and Robin Hood into the Acheron, but David and Killian intervene in time to save them. In a fight between the two brothers, James is knocked into the Acheron by David and sent to the Worse Place. David is immediately remorseful about what he did, because despite everything, James was still his brother. Emma assures him that he did the right thing since some people can never move on. ("Sisters")

Following a failed attempt to resurrect himself by kidnapping Zelena and using her heart, Peter Pan makes a deal with his son, Mr. Gold, promising Pandora's Box in exchange for a different heart. However, while Mr. Gold steals Robin's heart, he later returns it without Pan's knowledge. The heart he gives him is instead a wineskin he had filled with water from the Acheron and glamoured as a heart. Pan immediately recognizes the difference after Mr. Gold puts it in his chest, but before he can do anything about it, he dissolves. ("Firebird")



Fiery Cave

Ways to Access the "Worse Place"

Different entrances of the "Worse Place" are located in the Underworld:


On-Screen Notes

  • The "Worse Place" is the world located below the Underworld.[1]
  • Cruella states that the people of the Underworld can either leave for a better or worse place, suggesting that the people who go to the Worse Place leave the Underworld. However, the hands on the broken clock tower never move when a soul go to the Worse Place or into the River of Lost Souls, even though the clock is supposed to tick every time that a soul has left Hades' domain. ("Souls of the Departed" et al., "Labor of Love")

Filming Locations

  • The scenes inside the fiery cave were filmed on a movie set with a fake cliff surrounded by green-screen material.[2]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Mitovich, Matt Webb (February 29, 2016). Once Upon a Time Underworld Preview: 'Dangerous' and 'Warm' Reunions, Emma Under Pressure and More. TVLine. “KITSIS | The Underworld is kind of a weigh station between two other worlds. Hades has a brother that's up in Mount Olympus, and then there's a place "downstairs" that's even worse.”
  2. InstagramIcon.png vfxsup (Craig Clarke). March 26, 2016. (archive copy)

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