Skip to Content

Once Upon a Time, Season 4 Episode 5 (“Breaking Glass”) Recap and Review

Thank you for sharing!


This week’s episode begins with the snow queen in some icy cave or palace and she waves her hand over some ice and you see the outline of a face. I wonder if this is Anna.

Emma and Elsa are reading through files at the sherriff’s office, discussing the Snow Queen taking their memories since she knows both of them but they can’t remember her. Will Scarlet, from his cell, wants dinner and is given water and a pop tart with a bite out of it. Hook arrives and says he is taking Henry sailing and Will says it’s a ploy to get to the mother. Elsa finds a packet of pictures that Sydney Glass took when he was following Emma for Regina. In it there is a picture of Emma and the Snow Queen, aka Sarah Fisher, seemingly in a heated discussion. So, this would indicate that Emma knew her during the first curse, so why was the Snow queen surprised to see her in a previous episode? And what has she been doing there since the first curse?

Regina is frustrated in her vault and asks Sydney if he has located the Snow Queen because she wants to force her to unfreeze Marian. She obviously hasn’t learned that you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar because she threatens him if he doesn’t produce results.

Belle is going to babysit for baby Neal so Snow and Charming can go out, but Snow doesn’t want to leave the baby and it takes a lot of convincing for Charming to get her out the door.

Emma and Elsa go to Regina’s to see if she can shed some light on the photo of Emma with Dairy Queen. Emma is upset that Regina is mad at her and Elsa is trying to pep talk her into giving it another chance, but Emma says that once you screw someone over, you can’t go back and that she knows this from experience.

Cue flashback of Emma as a teenager. She is trying to shoplift a box of pop tarts and almost gets caught when another girl named Lily covers for her and suggests she should steal credit cards instead. Funny how she is a “bandit” just like her mom was. Lily has a credit card and asks Emma to go shopping with her. As they are leaving with their bags, Lily tells Emma to run as a man in an SUV tries to stop them, but they escape.

Regina is not happy to see Emma. She says she doesn’t know anything about the picture and that maybe she and the Snow Queen are frenemies. I think that’s the word I continually use to describe the relationship between Emma and Regina. Emma wants to find Sydney since he took the pictures and asks if Regina knows where he is and of course Regina says she doesn’t know. Emma offers to help and delivers a moving speech about how Regina has had her back and she has Regina’s. Regina practically snarls that Emma has never had her back and never will.

Meanwhile, in the 90 seconds it took for Emma and Regina to have this discussion, it’s gotten dark outside and Elsa hears a voice and sees a figure in the fog and follows, thinking it’s Anna. Emma comes out to find no trace of Elsa. The windows aren’t tinted in the VW bug and she immediately notices that Elsa isn’t there, but she still goes and looks inside the car. What, did Elsa crawl in the glove compartment? Ah, get it? That’s a pun…GLOVES? Nevermind.

Sydney tells Regina that he knows where the Snow Queen is and will tell her if she sets him free. Regina says that instead of the mirror, he could go back to his cell at the hospital, so he decides to tell her after all.

Snow and Charming are at the sherriff’s office because Snow wants walkie-talkies so on their hike, they can still be reachable even if there is no cell service. Charming says they can now be reached anywhere, even Asgard! Is Thor our next visitor? They notice that Will Scarlet is not in his cell, so they go looking for him.

Regina takes a portable Sydney in a compact mirror and follows his directions. Emma, who is looking for Elsa, stumbles across Regina, but Regina says that her magic located the Snow queen, leaving out that Sydney is helping her. Emma wants to team up and Regina says that resistance is futile because Emma will just come anyway.

Teen Emma and Lily are having a picnic and sharing stories. Emma ran away from the orphanage because she knew she would never be adopted because she was too old. Lily says she knows what it is like to feel invisible, but is vague about answering questions about herself. She wants to hide out in a summer house on the lake now that it’s fall and the occupants have gone home and invites Emma to come too.

Elsa is tromping through the woods, chasing after Anna. Am I the only one that wonders where she got the cloak she is now wearing? She obviously didn’t come to Storybrooke with it. It looks all sparkly and snowflake-y and just Elsa’s style, so I’m wondering what shop in Storybrooke would cater to such a specific clientele. And, why does she need a cloak? The cold never bothered her anyway. Elsa arrives at a cliff and makes an ice bridge across when she sees Anna on the other side. But, Anna disappears.

After searching for Will for a while, Snow wants to go home to the baby and Charming tells her to go and he will keep looking. But, Snow sees someone digging on the beach and goes to investigate.

In the woods, Emma is asking questions about magic and compliments Regina on how she is helping Marian. Regina turns on her and unleashes a tirade about how they are not going to be sleepover buddies. She thinks Emma is trying to be nice to her to get rid of her guilt for ruining Regina’s life. She says that whether she meant to or not, Emma did hurt her. “Do as I do, learn to live with it. Welcome to my world.”

Teena Emma and Lily break into one of the summer homes and play video games. Lily has a star on her wrist, but doesn’t know how she got it but it makes her feel unique and special. There’s a reference to Harry Potter, which wouldn’t have been around when Emma was that age. Lily draws a star on Emma’s wrist too so they can both be special. They find a camcorder and start taking videos of themselves. Lily proposes that they promise to stay friends forever, no matter what and Emma agrees.

Elsa thinks she’s found Anna and hugs her, but the Snow Queen appears and freezes Anna and makes her disappear and shackles Elsa with icy cuffs and chains. Anna was all an illusion to trap Elsa. The Snow Queen says that Elsa had so much potential and had had a chance to learn to control her magic but she squandered it. The more afraid Elsa gets the tighter the chains will hold her. Elsa asks what she is going to do and she replies, “I’m going to build a snowman.”

Snow confronts Will on the beach. Apparently he made a map to where he was burying his backpack, but while he was drunk, buried the map with the backpack and couldn’t remember where it was. Snow says she is the sherriff’s wife. Will says, “the blond?” Snow says that’s her daughter, the other one is her husband. Snow begins to think that Charming let him out of jail on purpose so that she would have an adventure and feel useful and have the excitement of chasing down a bad guy again. She offers Will a pardon if he cops to it. He muses what good that would do, since she’s just the sherriff’s wife. When she says she’s also the mayor, he immediately blurts out, “he did it.”

Emma and Regina are crossing the ice bridge when a fierce wind pops up and Regina realizes that Sydney has led them into a trap.

Lily and teen Emma are asleep when someone breaks into the house they are squatting in. It’s the man chasing Lily and he says he’s Lily’s dad. Emma is upset that she lied because she thought they were alike and understood each other.

Sydney is working for the Snow Queen and Emma is angry that Regina lied to her about knowing where Sydney was. The ice bridge starts breaking and they rush to the other side. Meanwhile, Elsa convinces herself that she is not afraid and breaks her icy chains. As Emma and Regina step off the bridge, there is an ice warrior waiting for them.

Lily asks Emma to come and find her later so they can run away together, but Emma is mad. Lily explains that she WAS an orphan, but she was adopted and hates her home. She reminds Emma that they made a pact to be friends forever no matter what. But, Emma turns away and wipes off the star on her wrist. Lily cries and calls after her as Emma walks away.

Regina tries fireballs on the ice monster and Emma tries light magic, but they do minimal damage. They decide to work together and melt the beast. The Snow Queen immediately appears and takes Regina’s compact. She’s invisibly choking Emma and Regina, just like Zelena used to do back in the day (last season). Elsa arrives and uses her magic to knock the Snow Queen to the ground, which actually pleases her. But she has what she wants and disappears. Elsa tries to get Emma and Regina to settle their differences for the good of the town, if nothing else, but Regina refuses and disappears.

The Snow Queen releases Sydney and delivers a soliloquy about what a mirror is. This one, apparently, has been imbued by dark magic by Regina. She says she is going to get what has been denied her for too long and sends Sydney on his way. She breaks the mirror in the compact and brings up a large broken mirror. She puts in the last piece from the compact and the mirror is whole. She said what she wants most is a family that loves her.

Emma and Elsa have a BFF heart-to-heart and Emma goes to Regina’s vault to have it out. She doesn’t want to make the same mistake she made all those years ago and wants to be friends because Regina understands her. She says she won’t give up, even if Regina still wants to kill her. She turns to go and Regina says, “I don’t WANT to kill you.”

Snow is back at home with baby and Charming comes in. She tells him that she pardoned Will and that he confessed to being set free by Charming as a set up for Snow. Charming is happy that Snow enjoyed it, but he didn’t set it up–Will had actually escaped. He just said that because he knew he’d be pardoned.

Emma is sitting in the sherriff’s office, teary-eyed, looking through a box of childhood things. Hook arrives and they look together. There is a picture of Emma and Neal (Neal!). Emma finds the camcorder and they watch the footage. There’s Lily and Emma, but the next part Emma doesn’t remember. It’s some boys playing with the camcorder that the “new girl” brought. Emma says it must have been her next foster home. The foster mom berates them and comes toward the camera. It’s the Snow Queen.

In the preview for next week, the announcer says that an ancient secret will turn sister against sister (showing Anna and Elsa) and husband against wife (showing Rumpel and Belle). Belle is hanging on to Anna over the side of a cliff, but she can’t hold on any longer and is stricken when she drops her. So, tune in next week when this cliff makes its third appearance this season.

Thank you for sharing!