I still must admit I am of two minds about this season of Once Upon a Time. At times, it feels like fan fiction, especially when it comes to the characters from Frozen. On the other hand, with the way they ended the episode, I need to know what happens next and I need to know now. That’s how I’ve always felt when this show was really firing on all cylinders in the past.
I think that means I’m getting hooked. (Not Hook, but hooked.)
Even the flashback got better before it was all done, although that first scene had some bad CGI. The actors looked like they were animated, but it was just the background and how poorly the CGI interfaced with the actors. Anyway, our flashback this week focused on Elsa and Kristoff in the wake of Anna’s leaving for her quest. They are debating whether Elsa should go after her or not when word reaches the castle that Hans is back. This time he’s leading an army of his brothers to take over the kingdom by force. Against Elsa’s orders, Kristoff sneaks off to investigate and learns that Hans is planning to find an urn that will trap anyone with Elsa’s powers.
Kristoff also learns the location of the urn, and he and Elsa head off to retrieve it. They find it, but Elsa can’t quite bring herself to destroy it, especially when some kind of ancient word appears on it when she touches it. She’s hoping it will lead her to more people with her power and maybe some answers to why she has the power she does. That hesitation is enough, however, for Hans and some of his brothers to show up. They over power Elsa and Kristoff, and Hans takes the urn. He opens it, intending to trap Elsa in it.
However, someone else already was trapped in it. Out comes the Snow Queen. I’m going to call her that for lack of a better name since somehow we have yet to learn her name in either the past or the present. This is the character played by Elizabeth Mitchell, aka Juliette aka Mrs. Clause that we met in the ice cream shop at the end of last week’s episode. Anyway, she freezes Hans, his brothers run, and the trio head back to the castle.
The big surprise at this point is the identity of the Snow Queen. She is Elsa’s aunt, Elsa’s mother’s sister. Elsa had never known she even had an aunt, and the Snow Queen says she isn’t surprised, hinting there was bad blood between the two sisters in the previous generation.
So let’s take a look at Storybrooke present, shall we?
We start with Robin, Marian, and their son deciding to get some ice cream from Any Given Sundae. The Snow Queen is happy to serve them, but she puts a special curse on the cone she gives Marian.
Meanwhile, Hook, Emma, and Elsa head to Mr. Gold’s in an attempt to learn why he had trapped Elsa in the urn. He claims to not remember having met Elsa at all. Emma threatens to use her super power on him, but he has Belle pull out the dagger. When Gold once again repeats he doesn’t know anything about Elsa, the trio leave the shop. (Since it is hinted later that Gold was lying, what is up with Emma’s supposed super power anyway?)
Mary Margaret has decided to have regular meetings in her new office as mayor in order to change the stigma of the room. However, at the first of those, Marian keels over from the spell that the Snow Queen put on her. Elsa recognizes it for what it is, saying that when the ice reaches Marian’s heart, she will die. An act of true love will save her, but Robin’s kiss isn’t it. Regina is called in to try to save her, and her idea sends Henry to her vault. Meanwhile, Robin confesses that the reason he couldn’t revive Marian is because he loves Regina. But he still intends to stay with his wife. (So far, I’m liking Robin in all of this.)
In an attempt to find out what happened to Marian, Emma and David head out to Robin Hood’s encampment. And who should they find there? Will Scarlett, aka the Knave of Hearts from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland! Finally! Once David finally catches him, Will gives them a clue – during the blackout, he was out robbing, and he found the ice cream at the ice cream shop still cold. Sure enough, when they show up, they find that the freezers aren’t humming yet the ice cream is cold. Obviously, they are on the right track.
Meanwhile, Hook and Elsa are doing their own investigation. They head back to Gold’s where Hook confronts him about the fake dagger that Belle has. Actually, that confrontation is more like blackmail as Hook uses that to get answers from Gold. We learn that each bit of magic is unique, like a fingerprint or a snowflake. While he doesn’t know who cast the curse that is freezing Marian, he does use some of Marian’s hair and enchants it to lead the duo back to the source.
They find the Snow Queen out in the woods, and Hook calls Emma. Before she gets the voicemail and arrives, however, the Snow Queen sees them and confronts them. She traps Hook. The Snow Queen recognizes Elsa, but Elsa doesn’t know who she is. Snow Queen also reveals that is was Anna who trapped Elsa in the urn, something Elsa denies could ever happen. When Emma shows up, the Snow Queen recognizes her, but Emma doesn’t know who the Snow Queen is. Snow Queen passes it off as Emma being well known because she’s the sheriff, but Emma’s not sure she buys it. At this point, there is a fight to kill or free Hook, and Emma’s magic proves strong enough. However, in the confusion over freeing Hook, the Snow Queen vanishes.
Meanwhile, Regina’s plan to save Marian involves taking her heart. Henry returns from the vault with a box, and Regina reaches in and takes the heart from a frozen looking Marian. The ice hasn’t touched her heart yet, however, so she’s still alive. And Regina vows to keep looking for a cure for Marian. This despite Robin’s confession of his love for Regina.
Which brings us back to a scene that I skipped earlier – Operation Mongoose. This is the secret plan that Henry and Regina are going to do to track down the author of the book and get him to rewrite things so that Regina gets a happy ending. My only problem with this plan is that Regina is acting like she was never a villain. Sorry, but her behavior in the past as certainly made her a villain. Do I think she can change? Yes. Do I think she is changing? Slowly but surely (and I love watching it). But she really does need to admit she has been the Evil Queen in the past before she can move on.
We also get a scene with Emma confessing to David she feels like she is failing to protect anyone right now, but he points out that freeing Hook is a good step back in the other direction. She also confesses to Hook that she doesn’t want to get close since everyone she gets close to is dead. And she does have a good point there. But Hook says he’s a survivor and kisses her anyway.
And for the final scene of the episode? We rejoin the Snow Queen who is walking through the forest. She stops, however, when she walks by Gold. He asks how the plan is going. And he asks if Emma remembers meeting the Snow Queen before. She seems happy to report that Emma doesn’t remember a prior meeting. So when was it? What happened? And what exactly is the Snow Queen up to?
And that’s why, while I still feel like this is two fans of Frozen playing with an unofficial sequel for the movie (you know, fan fiction), I am definitely getting intrigued by this story line. As they keep working these characters into the lives of the main characters, I will like it more and more.
So the question remains, can Regina earn redemption and a happy ending? Where did Emma meet the Snow Queen? What is her purpose in Storybrooke? And did Anna really trap Elsa in the urn? My guess is, if that is how it happened, she was manipulated into it by the Snow Queen. And is the Snow Queen really Elsa and Anna’s sister? She could be lying about that, after all.
Questions? Theories? Hit me up in the comments and let’s see what we can figure out.