Episode Air Date: November 2nd, 9th, 16th, 16th 2014
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Once Upon A Time (Family Business, The Snow Queen, Smash The Mirror Part I, Smash The Mirror Part II)
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parilla, Josh Dallas, Colon O’Donoghue, Jared S. Gilmore, Lee Arenberg, Emilie De Ravin, Michael Socha, Robert Carlyle, Sean Maguire, Christie Laing, Elizabeth Lail, Georgina Haig, Scott Michael Foster, Elizabeth Mitchell, Timothy Weber
You know how I said that episodes 2-5 of Once Upon A Time this season was probably one of the most intense batch of episodes I’ve seen of the show? Well guess what? Yep, episodes 6-8 topped the intensity and my enjoyment! And I know that part of the reason why I loved these past few episodes, apart from the twists and turns and learning more and more of the Snow Queen’s plan, is the double episode that aired on TV this week; however there is character development in abundance here, and we also see a glimpse into the Snow Queen’s endgame, and see how Rumple fares into the Frozen plot, as well as seeing the Apprentice being more involved in the storyline as well.
As with my previous review, because there is a lot of things happening (in the present and in the flashbacks as well) with respect to a lot of the characters, with quite a few of them having their own episode centric’s; let me give you a quick rundown of the episodes with respect to the characters and how they were developed. With so many parallel stories, these past few episodes have further reminded me that season 4 is the most complex season yet, however is also the season that shows us many of the characters growing as people as well. What I love about this show is that it seems like everything comes together quite nicely in the end, and there is surprise after surprise, and twist after twist.
First things first, let’s talk about Ingrid aka The Snow Queen aka Sarah Fisher (Elizabeth Mitchell), and how she tries to pit Anna and Elsa against each other. What a complex villain, certainly with more layers than Pan and Zelena put together! Hats off to Elizabeth, who has played her to perfection! Initially not knowing her nefarious plan, we find out in the most recent episodes that all Ingrid wants is love and acceptance, which she initially received from her sisters but later on was betrayed by everyone she loved. The sister of Helga (Sally Pressman) and Gerda (Pascale Hutton), the mother of Anna (Elizabeth Lail) and Elsa (Georgina Haig), Ingrid was born with powers, and in as time progresses, she decides to curb her powers and be rid of them once and for all (shown in a flashback), so that she can have the normal life with her sisters that she desires so much. Take a guess who she asks for help? Yep, that’s right, it’s the person with his hands in everyone’s stories- Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), who helps her in exchange for the ribbons that the sisters tied on their wrists when they were young, symbolising their love for each other. Believing them to be only symbols, she makes a deal with Rumple so that she can acquire the gloves and the urn to keep her safe. But as it is with OUAT, no deal with Rumple ever works out in the way the recipient wants them to, so it’s probably expected when Ingrid accidently kills her sister Helga, and Gerda traps Ingrid in the urn.
Once Ingrid is let out by Elsa, Anna, who arrives back from Misthaven with news from Rumple that her parents were going to try to use the hat the strip Elsa from her powers, is immediately suspicious and distrustful of Ingrid, much to Elsa’s confusion, as she finally finds out where her powers come from. As Anna makes tracks to ask Grand Pabbie (John Rhys Davies) about who Ingrid is, as Pabbie is actually the one who wiped all of Arendelle’s memories of Helga and Ingrid on the insistence of Gerda, she finds out the truth, but is kidnapped by Ingrid during a freak storm and is put in the dungeon in the castle.
Turns out that Ingrid is a bit cuckoo, wanting Elsa to be one of her ‘sisters’, and thinking Anna would be their third ‘sister’, to replace her previous two sisters who died. But now that Anna has proven to be untrustworthy, Ingrid tries to sway Elsa to her side, and tries to make Elsa want to be in her perfect family. Elsa and Anna however attempt to doublecross Ingrid, by stealing the urn and trapping her inside, but Ingrid is now one step ahead of them, using the spell of Shattered Sight (more on that later) to magically pit Anna against Elsa. An argument later, and we find Anna who is trapping Elsa in the urn unintentionally. Angry as her ‘sister’ is now lost (why she doesn’t open up the urn again immediately, I’m not really sure…), she freezes Anna, who has seen the error of her ways, and Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster), and also reluctantly gives up her urn to Rumple. The reason is because the magical hat is payment to the sorcerer’s apprentice so that he can give her safe passageway to a new world where the third ‘sister’ awaits. As Ingrid accepts the deal, she finds herself in our world in 1982, with a prophecy scroll, a year before Emma (Jennifer Morrison) was born, and this is why Ingrid has been tracking Emma all her life.
Wanting Emma and Elsa as sisters, in the present, Ingrid bides her time, and lets the main characters discover her plan. Belle (Emilie De Ravin), who was a companion to Anna as she travelled to Arendelle wanting to know how her mother died (this was before she met Rumple), played a part in her capture by Ingrid, so it’s natural that she would feel partly responsible for Anna’s disappearance. In the present Belle tries to make amends, and wants to find Ingrid to ask her where Anna is. Stumbling upon Ingrid’s mirror in her secret hideout, she surmises and relays to the group that the spell of Shattered Sight is going to be enacted, making all residents of Storybrooke turn on each other.
At the same time Elsa and Emma have deciphered the scroll that was given to Ingrid by the sorcerer’s apprentice; that was found in Ingrid’s ice cream truck and it is revealed that Ingrid wants Emma to be her ‘sister’. After the gang confront Ingrid, and ‘capture’ her (yep that was too easy, shown by Ingrid’s calm demeanour), Ingrid freezes the sheriff’s station with only Emma inside and meticulously tries to break Emma’s confidence in her parent’s love, claiming that everyone fears her and that Elsa and her are the only family Emma will ever need. As Emma’s powers then take a turn for the worse, as her anger to Ingrid causes her to blow a hole in the station wall, and almost kill Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and David (Josh Dallas), also indirectly allowing Ingrid to escape, Emma flees, after hurting Henry (Jared S. Gilmore), to Rumplestilkin’s shop, asking for a favour from the devious imp.
Rumple, unbeknownst to Emma and co., has an overarching plan that is directly at odds to Ingrid, in terms of his goals with magic, and now that his son Bae is dead, Rumple’s moral compass is gone. But hang on, doesn’t he have Belle, his wife, to keep him honest? Well now that he has lied to her about the fake v real dagger, it seems that Rumple is becoming more and more obsessed with power. He was in fact thinking of becoming a better man in the premiere episode, however the hat drew him into the never ending vortex of greed for power and control. Rumple’s an addict for magic, which is why when Emma comes to him for help, he intentionally deceives her, thinking there’s a cure for Emma to rid herself of her magic, but in reality, he draws her to an abandoned house in Storybrooke (yep, the town is that big, and yes it is the abandoned house that Rumple and Belle honeymooned in!) and tries to suck her into the magical hat. Though Rumple needs the hat and every other magical creature to rid himself from the power of the dagger, the way he goes about his quest, isn’t noble at all. Not caring for his grandson Henry’s feelings of what he may do to Emma, this is clearly a villain we’re supposed to hate this season. I guess by the season’s end Rumple will do something heroic to earn the respect of everyone in the town, but until then, him being a villain and having a hand in everyone else’s stories is fun and interesting to watch, kudos to Robert’s brilliant acting in this complex role.
And therein lies Emma’s predicament. Who should she trust? Ingrid, who wants her to keep her powers, but wants to kill the rest of the town while keeping her ‘family’ intact, or Rumple, who wants to strip her of her powers for his own gain, and also probably wants to kill the rest of the town as well? Well fortunately, Elsa comes to the rescue, and stops Emma just in time, with a brilliant heartfelt and emotional speech about loving oneself and accepting who you are. An act of true love (friendship) between Emma and Elsa (a simple touch of the hand) stops Emma’s magic from spiralling, and she can now relax and be as normal as can be around Hook, Henry, David, Mary Margaret and the rest of her loved ones. Little does she know that Hook had his heart taken out earlier in the double episode, and is now being controlled by Rumple. With ‘Hook’ having the hat, the next three episodes are going to be a high octane intense ride that I do not want to miss!
While Will Scarlett, played by Michael Socha, did not have much to do in the past few episodes (frankly I reckon the reason why he is in Storybrooke will be revealed in Season 4B), one thing he did help was to nudge Robin (Sean Maguire) and Regina (Lana Parilla) together. With Marian (Christie Liang) still frozen, Robin and Regina continue their affair, with Will telling Robin to follow his heart, however Will was instrumental in the previous episode in forwarding the plot of ‘who wrote the book’ in a huge way! Encouraging Robin to check the library for clues as to the book’s author (Robin wants to help to ensure Regina has her happy ending!), Robin stumbles upon an alternate page of the book (where Robin and Regina met when Tinkerbell told Regina to meet Robin in the pub), and this plot point, which will drive the rest of the season, and speaking upon the theme of choosing our own path, is sure to be very interesting to many people. This is definitely another plot point I am looking forward to, as well as Regina’s redemption, the fallout from Rumple’s many silly decisions, as well as Will’s continued presence in the show, adding depth and a freshness to his character.
Acting wise, again everyone stepped up to the plate, with Elizabeth, Georgina, Elizabeth and Scott all showing us why they deserve to stay in the show (although their continued presence beyond this half may mean a divergence in plot between this and Frozen 2, hence these brilliant actors probably leaving after S4A…). The Frozen elements, either in the film, or extrapolated from the original Snow Queen tale, are meshed in with the Storybrooke elements quite well. Also in these 3 (4) episodes, Robert Carlyle is exceptional, playing a character whom you never really know how much you can trust them. While the seasoned veterans of Lana, Ginnifer, Jennifer, Josh, Colin, Jared and Emilie all act quite gracefully and with exemplary skill and joy; Michael Socha continues to knock it out of the park, bringing a sense of new life injected into the show with his quick wit and their expert portrayal of their mysterious characters. Scenery wise, Arendelle is a still picturesque place, and I also loved how the sorcerer’s apprentice was interwoven into the main plot. Who thinks the sorcerer is the author?
Did episodes 6-8 of season 4 of Once Upon A Time leave a lasting impression on you? Did any themes in the episodes 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- the sorcerer, the apprentice or someone else? What do you think will happen to Hook as his heart is now being controlled by Rumple? Will Belle stumble upon Rumple’s secret, and how do you think Will Scarlett, the Knave of Hearts, will feature in the series? What do you think will occur when The Spell of Shattered Sight is enacted, and who thinks that Ingrid will be redeemed? Is Anna and Kristoff alive?
Will you be tuning in, in a couple of weeks when Season 4 continues with the tenth episode? Let us know in the comments.
RIYL: Grimm, Arrow, Supernatural, Revenge, Merlin
Rating: 4/5 (based on 9 episodes)
Once Upon A Time Season 4 airs every Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.