Monday, September 29, 2014

TV Recap: Once Upon a Time 4-1: A Tale of Two Sisters

My goal for the new TV year – do my recaps but make them shorter.  Yeah, I know, we can all start laughing at me now.  Let’s see how I do.

I’ve got to admit, I’ve been looking forward to last night all week.  Yes, I had other TV premiers, but I was so looking forward to Once Upon a Time (and Castle tonight).  I wasn’t sure how I felt about them doing a Frozen arc.  And after last night, I’m still not sure.

Let’s get to it, with the flashback.

The episode started on a stormy sea.  Elsa and Anna’s parents are on a ship.  Just before it goes down, their mother is able to throw a message in a bottle into the ocean.

We then flash forward 5 years to the kingdom of Arendelle.  The events of the movie have taken place, and it is the day before Anna is to marry Kristoff.  While Anna is trying on their mother’s wedding dress, Elsa discovers their mother’s diary. It reveals that their parents did not go on a diplomatic mission.  They were going to attempt to find out something about Elsa’s powers.

Anna immediately wants to go off and find out what it was, but Elsa is reluctant.  She does bring up a good point that it will leave their kingdom vulnerable if the new queen goes.  But Anna sneaks off and gets Kristoff to delay and distract until it is too late for Elsa to stop Anna.

And where is it that Anna is going?  The Enchanted Forest.

So let’s head over to Storybrooke and check in with the gang there, shall we?  We start out at Granny’s where Regina and Marian are still sparring.  Robin tries to introduce Marian to the former evil queen, but Marian flips out when she realizes that Regina and Robin had a relationship.  Emma and Henry both try to talk to Regina, but she storms off and won’t answer phone calls.  Robin does go to talk to her, but he tells her that he made a commitment to Marian “Until death do us part” and he must stick with his word.

However, they get distracted when Sleepy and Grumpy bring word of a new power that froze their car near the edge of town.  They are able to track the frozen trail Elsa is leaving behind and Hook and Emma almost corner her on the docks.  However, she creates the snow monster from the movie and it starts to chase them.  In fact, it creates mass havoc in town before heading out of town where it wanders toward the camp of Robin, Marian, and the rest of his merry men.

Meanwhile, Regina has freed Sydney Glass, aka the Magic Mirror, from his two years on Revolution, I mean his spot in the psych ward of the hospital.  Instead of being angry, Sydney is glad to be of service again.  However, he is less than thrilled when Regina turns him into his mirror self and sets about using him to find out when she had a chance to kill Marian in the past.  Her thought being, maybe she can travel back in time and kill Marian before Emma rescues her.

However, Regina is drawn to the fight with the snow monster out of town.  Emma has tried to use her magic on the monster, but it doesn’t work and the monster knocks all of them out but Marian.  Regina shows up, and when she sees she can let the monster kill her rival, she vanishes again.  The monster takes a couple more steps toward Marian, and then explodes.  It seems that Regina couldn’t quite bring herself to let Marian die, so she destroys the monster.  Marian is finally convinced that maybe the others are right when they say that Regina has changed.  The others wake up, but Regina vanishes again before anyone can really talk to her.

That night, Emma goes to Regina’s office and tries to talk to the mayor.  Since Regina won’t open the door, Emma talks to her through it, saying that Emma’s job isn’t finished yet.  Henry brought Emma to town in season 1 to bring back the happy endings, and she won’t rest until she has done that for Regina, too.  But that gives Regina an idea.  She blames the story book for not being able to get happy endings, and she is going to use Mirror to research the author of the book and see if she can change the no happy endings for villains rule.

Speaking of which, at least one villain is getting a happy ending – Mr. Gold.  He and Belle are taking their honeymoon at an unclaimed mansion that showed up after the second curse.  As soon as they arrive, Gold freezes Belle and slips the real dagger into her things in place of the fake he gave her last season.  But later that night he sneaks it out again to use to open a mysterious object that he finds in the house.  It turns into some weird shape that almost looked like Mickey’s hat from Fantasia.  What was that?

Meanwhile, Emma has told Hook that she needs to figure a few things out, especially her guilt over how much Regina is hurting, before they can be together.  But with a kiss, she tells him to wait.

And Elsa?  While she is hiding after creating the snow monster, she spies a piece of newspaper with a wedding picture of Gold and Belle.  Recognizing him, she sneaks down to Gold’s shop and breaks in, only to find the snowflake necklace she had given Anna to wear on her wedding day in the shop.  With a promise that Else is coming for Anna, the episode ends.

Some of the best scenes?  They worked in the trolls in the flashback, although Sven’s nodding, shaking, and grunting behind Kristoff’s back as Kristoff was lying to Elsa completely stole the show.  That was my favorite scene of the night.

A close second would have to be Belle and Gold dancing in a recreation of the ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast.  It was complete with costumes and an instrumental version of the song.  I was at a premier party for the show last night, and some people thought it was corny, but the DisNerd in me loved it.

So, what was that object that Gold created there at the end?  And considering he has Elsa in a storage locker of items too dangerous even for him, what is his relationship to Elsa?  Did Anna learn the secret of Elsa’s powers?  What is it?

In so many ways, this half of the season is looking to be a straight up sequel to the movie, which is interesting since they’ve always put their spin on the characters in the past.  Maybe we’ll see that at some point, but it really didn’t look like it so far.  I hope they do or at least make it very relevant to the characters at some point.  Otherwise, it will just be a ratings grab/produced fan fiction.  It might still be entertaining, but it isn’t what I expect from the show.

I’m very excited, however, to see they are planning to explore more about that book.  I had pretty much decided it was just magic and we’d hear no more about it.  Right now, that is the storyline I’m most looking forward to exploring in the season ahead.

The one new character everyone seems to be forgetting about (including me) is Will Scarlett/Knave of Hearts from Once in Wonderland.  He wasn’t in last night’s episode, but I am very curious to see how he is going to fit into the show.  Hopefully, he will be introduced next week.

So much for being shorter, right?  But I do think that’s all I’ve got this week.  Comments?  Thoughts?  Theories?  Questions?  Hit the comments and let me know what you thought.


  1. Woo Hoo - back up and running. Long Summer of not that great TV (at least for me).

    Well, my thoughts. I was disappointed in the long run with the Frozen story line but then I'm getting sick to death of the whole thing anyway! I agree one of the best things about the Frozen part was the reindeer - that was good work. Reminded me to the reindeer in the Santa Clause movies. Here is what I find problematic about this whole Frozen thing. In the past one of the things I liked best about OUAT was the nods to the Disney movies - the little things that made us smile or go "oh, look what they did there" type moments. With this, it seems to be straight out of the movie. No sneaking around and surprising us with little things. Just outright, the movie. The snow monster, the trolls, Sven, the reindeer - all just right in our faces. I know the guys who do this show have said over and over it's something they wanted to do, not Disney telling them to do this. That's its not to cash in on the Frozen fad but I can't help but wonder about that, especially after this opening episode.

    What did I like best? Anything and everything to do with Regina! She stole the show as far as I'm concerned. Loved that here she was redeeming herself last Season and everyone was thinking how much she has changed and all along she has had Sydney locked up in that padded cell! (like how you worded that, by the way). Loved the scene where she put him back in the mirror! Glad he's back on this show now.

    Belle and Gold. I did like the ball room scene but again it was so like the movie, not a nod to the movie, but outright the movie. Well done though. If this had happened in a previous Season or even last Season, I would have been more into it, nerd wise, but because Frozen was so in our faces I felt this was kind of in our face too. Regarding the hat Gold conjured up - yes, I do believe that is the sorcerer's hat. I read something about that here:

    Overall I have not given up on this show just because of Frozen. Hopefully it will play out its arc and we can move on to other things.

    1. From the sounds of things, they are doing a split season/two arc format like they did last year.

      The attempt to cash in on Frozen certainly worked. They had their best numbers since early in season two, so it's hard to argue with that. I just hope they put their own spin on it in the weeks to come.

      And welcome back!