This week’s episode of Once Upon a Time opens with two girls running along, flying a kite. At first you think it might be Elsa and Anna, until a third girl runs behind. Then you realize it is Ingrid, Helga, and Gerda, aka, The Snow Queen, Anna and Elsa’s mother, and their other sister. The kite crashes into a tree, but they pull the ribbon off and argue over who should have the ribbon. A man appears and tries to kidnap them because three princesses would make a nice ransom. Ingrid tries to protect her younger sisters and is kicked back by the man. As she flies through the air, for the first time, she realizes her magic. Ice shoots out of her hands and freezes part of the tree. The man exclaims she is a monster just before a huge branch breaks off and falls on him, killing him. Ingrid is upset and scared, but her sisters try to encourage her that she is not a monster and that she did what she had to do to save them. They make a pact not to tell what happened and to never see her as a monster. Then they take apart the kite ribbon and each sister wears one as a symbol of their sisterly promise.
In Storybrooke, the Snow Queen goes to the clock tower and makes her mirror appear. The clock tower is always symbolic or dramatic. Time started again in Storybrooke, Regina had her faceoff with Zelena here, and I believe there was a dramatic confrontation with Cora here too. So, obviously the Snow Queen is setting up a dramatic performance.
Regina is in her vault, looking through books when Robin Hood comes in. He’s conflicted about how he feels and where he should be and what he should do, but hearing all this is torture to Regina and she tells him to forget her and she walks out. Can’t say I blame her…she’s not his therapist.
Belle apparently found a scroll in the library with an elvish spell, which she can conveniently translate. Supposedly it will allow Emma to take the Snow Queen’s magic and then be able to capture her. How convenient that they found this scroll in the library…. I’m suspicious. Elsa makes a comment about knowing what it feels like to have your family look at you differently because you have magical powers, but Emma denies that her family sees her differently at all. I personally think, if anything, they would be proud of her powers. She has done so much good and saved them, the town, etc. Emma fails at her attempt to perform the spell and apparently only had 30 seconds of free time to practice because she says they will try again later–she has to go babysit her baby brother.
Snow is at a Mommy and Me class with Aurora and Cinderella! So nice to see them since we haven’t seen them in a while. I didn’t know if Aurora came back with this curse or not. As Snow is handing Emma all the baby’s things, Emma remarks that he has a lot and Snow replies that she wanted to give him everything. Awkward comment for a mom to say to the daughter she didn’t raise. Cinderella makes a comment about the class being helpful for first time moms. Snow tries to scramble to justify that comment, but Emma agrees that it is like being a first time mom because she just shoved Emma into a tree trunk immediately after giving birth–she knew nothing about parenting beyond that. Emma’s words say it’s ok, but her attitude says it’s not. I don’t know what right she has to get upset about that–she’s trying to raise the son she gave up for adoption. She didn’t want him. At least Snow wanted Emma, she just wanted to save her from the curse as well as give the rest of them a way out of the curse. Emma knows nothing about mothering either, but apparently she is still upset because the bottle in her hand starts to boil. She says she was working on a spell and puts the bottle down and reaches for the baby, but Snow hesitates, jerking him back slightly. There’s just enough time for a stricken look before Charming calls Emma and tells her there is an ice trail up to the clock tower.
Charming, Emma, and Elsa arrive at the clock tower and Emma casts the spell and it shackles the Snow Queen who says, “You got me.” She has such a smug look on her face that you just know she was only “gotten” because she wanted to be.
In Arendelle, Gerda and Helga are getting ready for a ball to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday (he looks extremely good for a 70-year old man). Ingrid has been hiding out, fearful of her power, but her sisters want her to join them. She looks so pleasant with a sisterly smile on her face as opposed to the dastardly sneer she usually wears. She declines coming to the ball but puts a necklace on Helga who has a Duke suitor coming. As she introduces the ridiculous Duke to her father, we realize that this is the Duke of Weselton from the Frozen movie, at a younger age. When he starts dancing, it’s as amusing as last week’s “yoo-hoo” from a live action Oaken. Ingrid watches from a distance but obviously gets upset as snowflakes start to accumulate around her head.
Elsa and Emma interrogate the Snow Queen at the sherriff’s office. She starts to get to Elsa by calling into question Anna’s loyalty so Emma sends her to try to figure out the mirror while Emma questions her. Emma makes a comment about how she knows that the Snow Queen wants her to “turn to the dark side.” Ingrid insists that she is genuine and tells Emma to use her super power, which surprises Emma. She tells Emma that by the time this is done, she will realize that everything she says is true and then she will let her go.
Regina is sitting at home, thumbing through the story book, getting angry when Henry comes in and asks her to help him tie his tie so he can go to work at Gold’s Shop. He asks her why she has her “scary face on”. She said she is moving on and decided to let it go. Let it go! Let it go! It was subtle, but my daughter broke into song as soon as she heard it! They are back to Operation Mongoose.
Emma tells the Snow Queen that she knows her plan is to turn everyone against each other and then the three of them can live happily ever after as sisters or whatever, but she wants to know why. Ingrid says she wants to protect Emma and Emma asks how, by erasing her memories–if they had such a great life together when she was a teenager, why did she have to erase the memories? Ingrid says that every family has its ups and downs. Which makes me curious what downs caused her to erase Emma’s memory and to not stay in her care any more. I would surely not even consider trusting anyone that was hiding something so big that they had to erase my memory of it. I wonder if Ingrid used her power and something bad happened. Emma says that they are not family, but Ingrid insists that family is not always blood. She keeps casting doubt on Emma’s family not loving her for who she is, a person with magical powers.
Ingrid is packing to leave when Helga and Gerda return from the ball. She wants them to have a normal life and says that Helga should be the queen that Arendelle needs. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone so she feels she must leave. They renew their promise to help each other and Gerda suggests going to see Rumpelstiltskin.
Elsa, Hook, and Charming examine the mirror in the clock tower. When Belle comes up the stairs she freaks out and tells them not to look at it, but then realizes that it isn’t the same mirror. Then it dawns on all of them that the reason the queen set up a decoy mirror was to trap Emma. And sure enough, Ingrid waves her fingers and the door to the sherriff’s office freezes. The little party that arrives can’t get in. Okay, maybe it’s because it’s magic, but I’m looking at ice and glass and wondering why they aren’t taking a sledgehammer to the situation.
At Granny’s, Robin Hood is playing darts and drinking. Will Scarlet walks in, sees him, turns around to leave again, but a dart whizzes past his head, lodging in the doorjam. They sit down to drink together and Will apologizes for his betrayal. If you didn’t watch Once Upon a Time in Wonderland or don’t remember, Will Scarlet was also the Knave in that spinoff show. He tricked Robin Hood and his Merry Men into helping him break into Maleficent’s castle. They think he believes in their cause, but he wants to steal an item that gets them into hot water with Maleficent. Robin Hood banished him. Will/Knave did it all for his love, who ended up betraying him and becoming the Queen of Hearts. Robin Hood is drunkenly telling Will the story of how he met Marian. Will obviously knows this story well (though it didn’t seem like they spent long together for him to have been this well-versed, just one episode of Wonderland spanned their relationship) and fills in gaps and finishes the story himself. Robin says he needs to remember that Marian made him the man he is today. Will tells him that Marian once told him that the reason she put up with being a thief’s wife was that there was good in him and when you see the good in someone, you don’t give up on them. We may be talking about Marian here, but this is obviously applying to Regina, further confusing the issue. Robin asks Will if it’s worth it, even though things ended up so bad for him. Will says that if you find someone you love, it’s all worth it.
Henry has swept the shop twice and asks Rumpel if he might learn a little magic. Rumpel tells him he has just the thing: a potion to make old things new again…furniture polish. And he sends him to the back room to start polishing. Charming, Belle, Hook and Elsa come in and Belle begs Rumpel to help Emma and he can’t turn Belle down. Charming, Belle, and Elsa rush back out, but Hook hangs back to speculate that Rumpel has some history with the Snow Queen. If Hook was such good boyfriend material for Emma, now that Emma’s life is in danger, shouldn’t he put aside everything to tell her what he knows about Rumpel and this Snow Queen if it has the power to save her or give her information that is critical?
Ingrid, Helga, and Gerda are at Rumpelstiltskin’s house and ask him to take her magic. Rumpel can’t understand throwing away such a gift and offers to train her. He gives her the gloves that we saw Elsa wear in Frozen, but says they only work if she has faith. If all else fails, there’s the urn. If she gets out of control and it’s the only way to keep her from hurting people, she can be put in the urn. But, since all magic comes with a price…tag, he wants the girls’ ribbons that they have worn since they were girls (which look surprisingly clean and fresh!). He says their sisterly bond is worth it’s weight in magic and that these seemingly worthless items can possess magic. The two sisters don’t want to give up their symbols of commitment and love for each other, but Ingrid insists and hands over the ribbons.
The Snow Queen continues pushing Emma’s buttons. I’m surprised she can get this worked up after having been a foster kid, a bail bondswoman, the savior, mother of a teenager, and having defeated more evil than you can shake a stick at. But, Ingrid reminds her of her anger at being abandoned and when Emma says she understands why now, Ingrid says they are using her. She asks her if she feels more like the savior and less like their daughter and that one mistake would push them over and make them afraid of her. She sympathizes that she has been there and says that Emma’s parents must have been so relieved when her baby brother was born normal. The water glass in front of Ingrid is boiling. Ingrid lays the last straw by saying you can’t love someone you don’t understand. Emma loses her temper and the whole wall blows out. The Snow Queen grins excitedly and looks breathless and downright giddy. Emma asks what she did to her and Ingrid says she just showed her who she really is and then her shackles vanish and she soon follows.
Emma’s family and friends arrive to rescue her but Emma wants them to stay back because she is afraid she will hurt them. Hook tries to grab her, but when she yanks away, sparks fly out of all the lights and a pole falls over. Charming pushes Hook out of the way (since when does dad want to save the pirate that’s dating his daughter?) and gets hit in the shoulder. Snow starts to scold her with a sharp, “Emma!” but then stops, realizing what she is doing. But, it’s too late, Emma runs off with them calling after her. The Snow Queen was watching from around the corner and smiles sadistically.
Ingrid is sitting in an outdoor gazebo with the urn and the gloves in her hand. Why in the world doesn’t she have them ON? The ridiculous weasel Duke comes and startles her and she drops the gloves. She tries to grab them, but he steps in her way. He tries to make a pass at her. She pushes him off with the force of her magic and he says she’s a monster. Helga comes and the Duke tries to tell her that Ingrid made a pass at him and that she used her evil powers on him. Helga thanked him for showing her his true nature and that she would be a fool to marry him. And furthermore, their kingdom would do no business with WEASELton, which flusters him as he corrects, “It’s Weselton!” He’s angry and is going to reveal to Arendelle the truth about their future queen and what a monster she is. He keeps flinging insults and threats, until Ingrid throws out her hands apparently to freeze him, but Helga steps in the way and she freezes her own sister. The Duke runs away and Ingrid is crying over her frozen sister who then cumbles into ice chunks.
Regina is studying the storybook again when Robin Hood comes back. Sheesh–how many times do we have to do this? How many times does she have to tell him to go? Even Regina remarks that this is déjà vu. Robin tells her that he has lived by a code every day of his life. But, today is not that day. And he takes her in his arms and kisses her. NOW what?
As Charming, Hook, and Elsa return to Snow, they reveal that they can’t find Emma anywhere because she doesn’t want to be found. Elsa says that she saw on their faces what Elsa has seen from her family before…fear. Snow feels awful and tells Charming that they failed her miserably. The Snow Queen didn’t need a mirror to turn everyone against each other–they did that all on their own.
Emma is sitting in her car overlooking Storybrooke (she looks cross-eyed in this scene) and the Snow Queen is contentedly looking in her mirror and stroking its frame.
Gerda comes to the gazebo and finds Ingrid crying over the pile of ice and asks what she did. She’s scared when she realizes that Ingrid accidentally killed their sister. Ingrid begs her to help her and says she’s so sorry, she didn’t mean to and that Gerda is all she has. She reminds her of the promise they made to always stick together and protect each other. But, Gerda says she is a monster and grabs the urn and opens it and Ingrid gets sucked inside. So, a mystery is cleared up. Ingrid was wearing the dress that she has been wearing every episode as the Snow Queen when she was put in the urn. And Elsa came out of the urn wearing her blue dress and hasn’t changed since. So, apparently whatever you go into the urn wearing, you must be doomed to wear it forever! Ha, ha. I just wonder why Ingrid even took the urn from Rumpel if she didn’t intend to use it in case of an emergency. I’d say accidentally killing your sister would qualify, so I can’t believe she is surprised or didn’t ASK Gerda to put her in there. With Gerda turning on her sister, I wonder if those ribbons did hold some magic. Now, that leaves me with two more questions. One, we know how Ingrid got out of the urn–how did Elsa get in? Ingrid claims it was Anna, but I suspect it was Ingrid or maybe Anna was tricked. Two, we know that at the beginning of the season, Elsa and Anna’s mother was writing them a message in a bottle before their ship went down, something that they would need to know to save them. What did she write? I wonder if it could be an apology meant for Ingrid and Elsa for thinking them monsters and being afraid of them. Maybe that would be enough to cause Ingrid to stop looking for what she lost.
Gerda picks up the gloves and goes to see Grandpobbie. She’s upset at the loss of her two sisters, but for the good of Arendelle, she asks him to make a potion that will erase Ingrid and Helga from everyone’s memories. He says that the truth always has a way of coming out. And he also quips that magic always comes with a price. I want to know who started that phrase because EVERYONE says it! Guess it’s the hip slang for their age or something.
The Snow Queen goes to see Rumpel at his shop and says she is ready to make a deal. She wants her ribbons back and in exchange, she will tell him what the missing piece is that he needs to finish his hat. She says she has figured out that his plan is that Storybrooke is too small for the Dark One to be content, so he wants to free himself from the dagger and yet keep his magic and Belle. He wants what every villain wants…everything. What he wants is out there, what she wants is in Storybrooke–he can do what he wants with the rest of the world. To our irritation, she whispers what he needs in his ear. He smiles in a sinister way and says, “Not only can I do that, but I shall do it with great pleasure.” Ack! What is he going to do? The five members of my family have reached a concensus that it is killing Hook. But, I still think Rumpel is playing a grander game. He’s always puppeteering things. He masterminded the savior to break the curse he created so he could get to this world to find his son. I think this is a small game for him. And He cannot have returned to being this evil. I want to like him. And I can’t believe he could turn back to the dark side that easily. Here’s two videos to consider what I am talking about: Rumpel and Neal Montage & Rumpel at Neal’s Grave
Next week will be a two hour episode to make up for the fact that we will not have an episode the following week (Thanksgiving programming). It appears that Henry tries to help Emma and she accidentally uses her magic on him. And she goes to Rumpel to ask for him to take her magic away.
On a side note: I read this week a spoiler for what may be on the horizon for the second half of the season. An actress, who probably wasn’t supposed to reveal this and ended up removing her tweet later, posted on her Twitter account that she was happy to join the Once Upon a Time cast as Cruella de Vil. At some point, the writers were quoted as saying there were clues all through this first half that would be clear once we get to that last episode before the break. Though, I don’t recall seeing anything that would indicate Cruella. Though, we do have Pongo so this isn’t a huge stretch. I wonder how this will play out since Cruella didn’t have magic powers. What, she comes to kill puppies, Regina and Emma stop her with their powers and threat neutralized? I don’t know–has to be more to it.
My daughters and I have had long discussions about what could be next on the horizon for characters and story ideas. I’ve heard rumors that Rapunzel may be back in a bigger role. I’m thinking Shrek and Fiona and Jasmine and Aladdin (we saw Jafar and the genie in Wonderland). In one episode, there is a room with doors to different realms. That sounds so much like Narnia, which is one of my favorites. I keep thinking that Henry looks like Edmund. I would LOVE to see the Goose Girl enter the story because that’s another of my favorites. Pirates of the Caribbean? Merida! Treasure Island/Treasure Planet? We’ve had Lancelot, so we could do Guinevere and King Arthur. So, who do YOU think could be on the horizon for OUAT?