Season 4 Premiere Air Date: September 28th 2014
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Once Upon A Time (A Tale Of 2 Sisters)
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parilla, Josh Dallas, Colon O’Donoghue, Jared S. Gilmore, Giancarlo Esposito, Lee Arenberg, Emilie De Ravin, Michael Socha, Robert Carlyle, Raphael Sbarge, Sean Maguire, Christie Laing, Elizabeth Lail, Georgina Haig, Scott Michael Foster
Everyone has most likely seen the recent Walt Disney feature film Frozen. If you haven’t, then people will look at you like you have three heads or one eye. Whether you love the film or hate it, this is a craze that won’t go away anytime soon, and is the most successful, and highest grossing Disney film ever. The story focuses on the concept of love, that it can rectify any problem, and that all we need to do is just let it go.
Frozen, starring Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel as the protagonists Anna and Elsa; has gone global rather exponentially, being the highest grossing animated film ever, with many more story ideas in the works for a franchise. The story is about a princess named Anna, who treks on a journey with Kristoff the mountain climber, his pet reindeer Sven, and Olaf the walking, talking snowman, saving her sister Elsa from herself, from her magical powers that has turned the town into a continual snowing winter state. The family friendly film has warmed the hearts of many as we are met with universal themes of love, forgiveness, hope, reconciliation, and optimism, and the theme that no matter what you’ve done you can be forgiven for your past transgressions.
Because of the universal traits and the relatability of the film to everyday life, I guess it isn’t really a surprise that the show runners of Once Upon A Time decided to capitalise on the craze of the film, and incorporate the loveable characters into the show. While some people may have thought that having Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and co. interact with Emma, Snow, Regina, David, Rumple, Henry, Belle, Hook, etc would have been a bit much; I personally embrace the expansion of the character base, as it shows us new characters to love and admire, all the while giving us parallels to the main characters. So let’s break down the plot, shall we? Remember, there are major spoilers, to both Once Upon A Time and Frozen, so be wary!
As always in every episode, we have the Storybrooke part and the flashback enchanted forest part. in this episode, instead of having a flashback in the EF, we spend half the episode in Arrendelle. Set after the events of Frozen, but before Elsa was trapped in the bottle in the EF during the time when Snow and Charming met (hence this flashback is set sometime before the curse was enacted, just to spell it out for people who aren’t sure about where it fits); we see Anna (Elizabeth Lail) and Elsa (Georgina Haig) visit their parents grave (probably on the anniversary), and then Elsa gives Anna her mother’s dress for her upcoming wedding to Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster). When Anna and Elsa are back in the castle, they come across a diary of their parents, explaining that they weren’t going to a diplomatic meeting like what was outlined in the movie, but they instead were going because of Elsa’s powers.
With Elsa misunderstanding and thinking their parents left because of her, that they didn’t love her, Anna gives her sibling a heart to heart and impressive pep talk, and together they visit Pabbie (voiced by John Rhys Davies), the adoptive grandfather of Kristoff, to ask him for advice. The rock troll is tight lipped, but in the end divulges that Anna and Elsa’s parents were travelling to Misthaven aka, the Enchanted Forest. Anna, being very eager and headstrong, travels to Misthaven to find them…without Elsa’s permission. As Elsa is unsure, and doesn’t want to lose Anna, she makes up excuses about why she wants to stay in Arrendelle. It’s clear that Elsa wants to go with Anna to find their parents, but considering how her relationship was with her parents when she last saw them, can you blame Elsa for being reserved? Kudos to Georgina for playing the conflicted part very well. The final parts of the EF section has Kristoff expertly covering for Anna and stalling Elsa as she bombard him with questions, while Anna sets sail, on a boat that reminds me of thee Jolly Roger…with her necklace given to her from Elsa as a present.
Back in Storybrooke, there are many main plots happening concurrently. Maybe 5. Firstly, Elsa arrives, from the barn, with Georgina’s expression of being confused very convincing. Looking like a fish out of water, Elsa freezes everything in her way because he is scared of the cars and the odd things in the town. Creating a snow monster (perfect CGI by the way!) to protect her, Elsa runs into an alleyway (undetected by the townspeople), and stumbles upon a newspaper with the headline that Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) were just married. Recognising Rumple as the one who locked her away in the urn, Elsa later on visits Gold’s shop at night-time when all the commotion is over. She finds Anna’s necklace, and then vows with conviction, emotion and vulnerability, to find Anna no matter the cost. Is Anna dead? There is speculation, but I think she is alive and just wrapped up in the curse. Storybrooke is a big town after all…
The second main plot concerns Regina (Lana Parilla). After realising that Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) brought back Marian (Christie Laing) from the past, and reunited her with Robin (Sean Maguire), she lashes out at Robin’s attempts to break up with her ‘because of a code and a vow’, and resorts to breaking out Sidney Glass aka the Magic Mirror (Giancarlo Esposito), out of the underground asylum. It’s possible that the writers forgot about Sidney in Seasons 2 and 3, because we last saw him in Season 1. This means he’s been locked away for 2 years, but in reality the actor was on the short lived show Revolution. While Sidney makes a joke, that Regina may have forgotten about him all this time, the sheepish and guilty look that Lana shows us is priceless, and makes me forgive the writer’s mistake of keeping Sidney away for so long. His presence really enhances the story. Back to the plot, Regina is desperate to gain a happy ending, that to travel back in time to kill Marian, wanting Sidney to show her what Marian looks like- that part is pretty funny that she doesn’t remember who she’s killed…
Once Sidney shows Regina, she has a change of heart, after saving Marian and Robin from the snowman Elsa created in her frightened state. While Regina and Marian’s relationship is frosty at best now, we know now that her reformation is well on it’s way- she is trying, and the old Regina would have smited Marian and the whole Charming family many times over by now. So it’s great character development to see Regina refrain from killing anyone, and kudos to Adam and Eddy for creating a very complex character, and Lana for brilliantly executing a very complicated role. As Emma reminds Regina that her job isn’t done until she brings back all the happy endings, including Regina’s, Regina has a new mission for Sydney, to find the writer of the book (Henry’s book from way back in the pilot) so that she can change the stories in it. It’s a pretty out-there turn of events, and one that I am gladly eager to see play out. After 3 seasons of teasing us as to who wrote the book, I am happy that the show may finally reveal who it is.
Speaking about who wrote the book, as Rumple stumbled across the greatest good or the greatest evil in all of the realms? After Rumple switches back the fake dagger and the real dagger without Belle’s knowledge (now Belle has Rumple’s real dagger, as Rumple has an epiphany when visiting Baelfire’s grave), he wakes up in the middle of the night in the house they two of them are in on their honeymoon, and uses the real dagger to reveal the invisible object that caught his eye, which is obviously from the owner who is coincidently not there (yep, Belle and Rumple are offically squatters, which cracked me up!). Guess what the dagger is? It’s the Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s hat! Interesting isn’t it? Then the episode ends! Sorry for the spoilers, but we’ve all seen the premiere episode, right?
With plenty of storylines sure to be built upon during these next 10 episodes, we are left with a stellar performance, from botth Elizabeth and Georgina in their roles of Anna and Elsa respectively. While Lana, Robert and Giancarlo excel at their roles also, the rest just play supporting characters in this episode. We know that Ginnifer, Jennifer, Josh, Colin, Emilie etc, are superb actors, and I am positive that in future episodes they will have more to work with. Scenery wise, Arrendelle is a picturesque place, much like the movie, so I have to give them praise and compliments for staying true to the Disney film. I also loved the effects of the snow on Elsa’s head when she is stressed, and the Disney music present when Belle and Rumple danced. However, one aspect of the show that irked me was that the big and scary snowman and Pabbie were great as CGI, so why couldn’t they create Olaf? I’m not sure, maybe it’ll be explained in future episodes…
Did the 1st episode of season 4 of Once Upon A Time leave a lasting impression on you? Did any themes in the episode speak to you, and which was it? What elements of the show are you enjoying and looking forward to? Who do you think is the writer of the book? Does the hat belong to Merlin or the Sorcerer from “The Scorcerer’s Apprentice”, and does Rumple know him personally? Will Belle stumble upon Rumple’s secret, and how do you think Will Scarlett, the Knave of Hearts, will feature in the series, as he’s slated to appear in episode 3?
Will you be tuning in next week when Season 4 continues? Let us know in the comments.
RIYL: Grimm, Arrow, Supernatural, Revenge, Merlin
Rating: 4/5 (based on 1 episode)
Once Upon A Time Season 4 airs every Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.