Warning: This post does have SPOILERS.
NDM Jen is a HUGE fan of “Once Upon A Time” & will be here every Monday to recap the episode and share her thoughts. We apologize for the recap not posting yesterday, as we were having technical difficulties. Be sure to check back every week and share your thoughts with Jen, too! Are you interested in a Facebook group?
Episode Two begins with Elsa, right where we left her in Mr. Gold’s shop, recovering Anna’s snowflake pendant. She steps out onto the street and swears that no one will leave Storybrooke until she finds her sister. We immediately flash back to the Enchanted Forest, “many years ago,” to see Anna approaching a humble cottage. Who should answer the door but a pre-Prince Charming David, complete with lustrous fairy-tale hero locks:
Apparently, David and Kristoff are BFFs, and Kristoff told Anna that David might be able to help her. Anna is still really goofy, and really awkwardly introduces herself as “Joan” (because, “Hang in there, Joan,” – remember?? Got to shoehorn those Frozen references in!), a girl from Arendelle on a super secret mission. David knows she’s lying, and immediately lets her know: “Sure, Joan, anything for Kristoff’s fiancé.” Just then, a carriage and riders approach, and David tells Anna to hide, because she doesn’t want to tangle with the dreaded…..Bo Peep.
BO PEEP. So, yeah. That was a bit hard to swallow. But before we can have any explanation about this super scary shepherdess, we are back in Storybrooke, where Prince Neal is being put to bed (under a sheep mobile) by an exhausted Snow White, while her family banters wittily around her. Henry is eager to visit Regina and help her get over her recent heartbreak, but a raven (crow?) comes tap tap tapping at the window to deliver the message that Regina doesn’t want to see him. Henry decamps to Granny’s, to drown his sorrow in a cup of cocoa. Emma follows him, and tries to cheer him up. She really seems to be encouraging Henry and Regina’s relationship. All of a sudden, there is a town-wide black-out (thanks to Elsa).
David picks Emma up to go investigate the black-out, and shares some Dad-wisdom with her, reminding her that Henry has two mothers who have built emotional walls around themselves, and to be patient with Henry. Then they arrive at the literal walls that Elsa has thrown up around the town, and we see Elsa hiding somewhere within the ice, in a sort of Fortress of Solitude or something. So we have two blondes with magical powers they don’t understand, who throw up walls around themselves. Symbolism: Check.
Back in town, Snow gets a visit from Grumpy, Granny and Happy, who tell her it’s her job to get the power back on. She says no, it’s Regina’s job, she’s the mayor, and the apparently self-appointed town-council-of-three informs her that Regina’s out, and Snow’s in, because it’s her curse. “This is your kingdom now, so rule it.”
Back at the ice wall, Hook shows up to say the ice wall goes completely around the town. (David: “Hook. I didn’t know you were joining us.” Hook: “I get a distress call from a fair maiden and I’m on the spot.” SWOOOON.) He tries to get his flirt on with Emma, who sees something in the ice and goes to investigate. David stomps over and tells Hook he needs to know what his intentions are towards his daughter. Best Hook line of the night: “That’s a bit old-fashioned even for someone of my standards, and I still pay with doubloons.” Meanwhile, in the ice cave, Emma meets Elsa, who is somewhat ridiculously skittish and irrational.
We finally make it back to the Enchanted Forest, and learn that Bo Peep is the most powerful warlord in the region, and she’s at David’ farm to collect extortion money. So much for nursery rhyme shepherdesses! She has a magic crook that can brand people, which she uses on David and his mother before saying she’ll return the next day to collect. Anna shames David for bowing to Bo Peep, and says she can teach him to sword fight.
In Storybrooke, David and Hook have found there way into the ice cave, and Elsa overreacts even more, causing an avalanche that traps her and Emma inside. David tells a distraught Hook that they will need magic to rescue Emma.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, the ever-spunky Anna is giving David a lesson in sword fighting, but he gives up. She shames him with a long speech about running away from scary things, just like her sister, and calls him a coward. He responds with a story of his own, about his father, who couldn’t control his drinking and died in a drinking-and-cart-driving accident when David was six. David says he has to kowtow to Bo Peep to survive; Anna says that surviving isn’t living. She says she’ll stay and train him again tomorrow, if he wants, otherwise she’ll be on her way.
Elsa tells Emma (and David and Hook, via Emma’s radio) that she’ll freeze the whole town if they don’t bring her Anna.
Snow White and the trio of grumps have gone to the power plant. Snow completely loses her cool in a fit of new-mother stress, and tells the three of them to “go buy a flashlight.”
Emma is freezing, and asks Elsa if she’s cold, too. Elsa says (all together now!) “It never bothered me.” Grooooooaaaaan. Or maybe you liked it, I don’t know. Anyway, Emma and Elsa bond over their inability to control or understand their magic, over their parents who aren’t much help, over their emotional walls of ice. Elsa says she’s the only person she’s ever heard of who has her powers.
David and Hook go to Mr. Gold for help. Gold is not particularly warm and welcoming to them, but when David mentions the necklace, Belle hands him a photo of the snowflake pendant, and David realizes that Anna is “Joan,” and he knows how to find her.
Flashback to the Enchanted Forest, where Bo Peep arrives at David’s farm and tells David that she has taken Anna prisoner, and branded her for good measure.
David and Hook arrive at the Storybrooke butcher shop (the “Chop Shop” – haHA) where guess what, Bo Peep is the butcher. She has no interest in helping David, and threatens him with a cleaver, but David subdues her and tells Hook to find the crook. Elsa tells Hook over the radio that Emma has passed out.
In the Enchanted Forest, David doesn’t have the money for Bo Peep. Instead, after his day of training with a teenage girl, he displays mad sword skills and bests her and her men. He ties up Bo Peep, takes Anna’s necklace back from her, and uses the crook to discover that Anna is inside the barn. He gives Anna the necklace back, and tells her he stood up to Bo Peep thanks to her pep talk.
David and Hook arrive back at the ice cave, and David repeats Anna’s pep talk to Elsa, helping her to focus her magic on melting a tunnel through the ice. He promises to help her find Anna.
Snow manages to get the power back on. Go Mama.
In the last flashback to the Enchanted Forest, Anna is getting ready to continue her mission, and asks David’s mother about magic. She tells her to go find Rumplestiltskin (although she refuses to speak his name, and writes it on a slip of paper instead). David gives Anna his horse, and she rides off, much to the delight of Rumple, who we see cackling over his crystal ball.
Back in Storybrooke, David tries to use the crook to find Anna, and it doesn’t work (although is does somehow let them hear her heartbeat, so they know she’s alive??) Henry goes to Regina’s house (again with the knock-knock-knock, “I know you’re in there” !!!), and breaks down some ice walls himself as Regina finally relents and lets him in. Elsa and Emma return to the remains of the ice wall for some more I’m-so-confused-by-my-powers bonding, only to discover that Elsa’s magic is not working to take down the ice wall.
We’re left in an ice cream shop with Grumpy, who asks the beautiful blonde proprietress (Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell) if she lost a lot of inventory during the black-out. She says no, she didn’t lose any…..and as Grumpy leaves, we see that she has some mad freezing skills of her own.
Okay, so maybe you are loving the Frozen storyline. I’m mostly loving it, I guess, but this episode felt really heavy-handed, even clumsy. Anna and Elsa look fairly ridiculous running around in their straight-from-the-animated-feature costumes, like they’re the only ones celebrating Halloween in the Enchanted Forest/Storybrooke. They really beat us over the head with the themes this week – don’t build walls around yourself, fight the hard battles, surviving isn’t the same as living – which got pretty cheesy, in my opinion. Regina, Rumple and Snow were really under-utilized in this episode….hopefully they were planting seeds for some future story arcs for all three characters, but we also know that they have been promoting Elizabeth Mitchell’s character (who is clearly the Snow Queen, right?) as the big baddie this fall, so who knows when we’re going to get back around to the regular characters?
So we haven’t learned anything about the Sorcerer’s Hat, yet, and now we have a whole slew of new questions. Who is Elizabeth Mitchell playing, exactly? Where is Anna? What she still in the Enchanted Forest when the curse sent them all to Storybrooke the first time? The second time? So has she been in Storybrooke this whole time, and we just haven’t met her yet? Does Rumple know what happened to Anna? Is that why he didn’t seem too interested in helping David and Hook? What is the relationship between Elsa and Elizabeth Mitchell? It’s surely not an accident that they look so much alike. And just when did David decide to cut off his wavy locks?
I’m definitely curious enough to tune in again next week, but I am really hoping that they cool it with the endless winks to Frozen (see what I did there??) and start using these characters in a more innovative way, like they have with all the other stories and characters that have been incorporated. And for goodness sake, can Emma please lend Elsa an outfit or something?
Did you watch? What did you think? Tell me! I’m looking forward to chatting about all things OUAT with you, all season long!