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. Be sure to check back every week and share your thoughts with Jen, too!
Okay, this was a really, really “talky” episode, not much in the way of action. Bear with me, I’m going to change my format up a little this time and recap each storyline at a time, I think it will be easier to follow.
We take a break from Arendelle in this episode to focus on Emma. Well, first there was a weird opening sequence showing the Snow Queen in her ice fortress seemingly creating someone out of ice, but then we join Emma and Elsa (do I even have to say it?? SPARKLY BLUE GOWN!!!! ARRRRRGGGGHHH!!) at the Sheriff’s Department, where they are once again searching through records and file boxes, looking for clues about Anna or the Snow Queen. After a waaaaay too brief visit from Hook, Elsa comes across a stack of photos from way back when Emma first hit town, that Regina had Sydney Glass take when he was stalking her. Lo and behold, Emma finds a photo of herself talking to Sarah Fisher (the Snow Queen’s Storybrooke name, remember?) but can’t remember having the conversation. She decides to ask Regina if Sydney said anything to her about it at the time the photos were taken.
Emma and Elsa go to Regina’s vault, where Regina is telling Sydney to find the Snow Queen for her so that Regina can force her to save Marian. While Elsa waits in the car, Emma tries to talk to Regina, but Regina rebuffs her, and lies to her face about Sydney’s whereabouts (so much for Emma’s awesome “I know when people are lying to me” superpower, eh?) Emma offers to join magical forces with Regina to save Marian, and Regina tells her to bug off.
Emma leaves the vault, only to discover the Elsa has disappeared (she went off into the woods, following a vision of Anna), and sets out to look for her. Regina is left alone to pine over a photo of her and Robin (in a pretty intimate clinch, begging the question – who on earth was there to take that particular photo????). She’s interrupted by Sydney, who announces that he’s found the Snow Queen. He won’t tell Regina where, but he’ll show her, and Regina sets out into the woods to look for her bearing a kind of Magic Mirror compact GPS. Of course she runs into Emma again, and despite her best efforts to insult her, Emma tags along behind Regina, assuming that where the Snow Queen is, so will Elsa be.
Elsa is still chasing the Anna-vision, and then this happens:
She finally catches up to Anna on the other side of the bridge, and realizes what we’ve known all along: it’s not really Anna, it was the Snow Queen, luring her deep into the woods. The Snow Queen slaps some really nifty ice handcuffs on Elsa and tells her she’s bound by her fear. That was actually kinda cool. But then the Snow Queen starts to walk away, and when Elsa asked where she was going, she turned back and said “I’m going to build a snowman” and I had to throw my remote control through my television screen.
Regina is still giving Emma a verbal beatdown as they traipse through the woods, despite some somewhat pathetic kissing-up on Emma’s part. They discover Elsa’s ice bridge, but halfway across they get bombarded by an icy blast (now I’m stuck in Frozen overload!) and Regina discovers that Sydney has betrayed her, and is working for the Snow Queen. The bridge starts to collapse, but of course our heroines make it safely to the other side. The Snow Queen’s “snowman” turns out to be a big icy soldier-type thingy, but E & R quickly figure out they can defeat him by combining their powers.
No sooner have they melted him, though, when the Snow Queen appears and puts in icy chokehold on them. Elsa (who, disappointingly, managed to escape the icy fear-chains simply by saying “I’m not afraid”) rescues them, but SQ is all, I don’t care, I’m only here to steal Regina’s mirror, and disappears. Then Regina smacks Emma down some more before disappearing in her own puff of magic smoke, leaving Emma and Elsa to make their way back to the car (and giving them yet another opportunity for one of those we’re-the-same-woe-is-us-no-one-understands-us talks). Emma, ever the glutton for punishment, refuses to “let it go” (OMG help me!!) and barges into Regina’s vault once again. Happily, the ladies finally reach a tenuous detente.
Emma’s journey to make peace with Regina in this episode is paralleled by a series of flashbacks. We see Emma at 15 (Abby Ross), on the run from her foster home and about to be caught shoplifting in a supermarket when a girl named Lily (Nicole Munoz) steps in and covers for her. The two girls go on a grocery-shopping-spree with a stolen credit card, and bond after being chased through town by, presumably, the irate cardholder. They decide to stick together, and when Emma misunderstands Lily’s situation and thinks that she, too, is a runaway orphan, Lily doesn’t correct her. They decide to take up residence in an empty home, and entertain themselves with video games and junk food. Just when it seems like Lily might be a disposable, one-episode character, she reveals a strange, star-shaped birthmark on her wrist (the kind of detail that makes me think there’s more to Lily than meets the eye, what say you?) After promising to be BFFS, they grab a handy camcorder (SO 1990’s!) and make a goofy video of themselves.
Later that night, someone else breaks into the house, but we soon find out it’s Lily’s dad. Emma is crushed that her new friend lied to her, and as she head’s back into foster care, she refuses to forgive Lily for the betrayal. So, pretty similar to Regina refusing to forgive Emma in present day…..
Anyway, back in the Snow Queen’s Fortress of Solitude, she releases Sydney Glass from captivity, revealing that it wasn’t his service (remember, in addition to being the Magic Mirror, he’s also the Genie) she was after, it was Regina’s compact, because Regina has imbued it with dark magic (just by using it). She sends Glass on his way (with the warning that he find a coat, because it’s about to get a lot cooler around Storybrooke) and breaks the compact so that she can use a shard of it to fill in the missing piece of a larger, broken mirror. This shard is apparently the last piece she needs, because the larger mirror now becomes whole, and the Snow Queen is satisfied that now she will get what she truly deserves, “a family that loves [her].”
And in the ongoing, super-lame-and-boring Snow White storyline, David insists that Mary Margaret go for a hike with him, leaving Prince Neal with a babysitter (Belle) for the first time. Mary Margaret is (more new-mom cliches ahead) unwilling to leave her precious snowflake for even a moment, and insists that they carry a police walkie-talkie in addition to their cell phones. They stop by the Sheriff’s Department to pick one up, and discover that Will Scarlet has escaped from his cell. David enthusiastically suggests that they go off searching for him, “just like old times!” Wow, Dave, what a terrific date you are!! But in the very next scene, Mary Margaret is over it and ready to go home, so David goes off on the search alone. As soon as he steps out of the frame, Mary Margaret looks off in what appears to be the exact same direction that David just walked off in, and spies Will, not fifty yards away, digging holes on the beach. Prince Charming, Ace Detective, ladies and gentlemen. Mary Margaret confronts Will, who says he’s looking for his traveling bag, which he buried. Apparently, he also buried the map to find the bag. Will Scarlet, Master Criminal, yeah? I’m now waiting for them to reveal that Will and David are actually Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.
Mary Margaret thinks she’s got the whole thing figured out, and tells Will she’s onto him and David and their little plan to make her feel useful and smart. Will clearly has no idea what she’s talking about, but in a rare moment of intelligence, goes along with her and is granted a pardon for his crimes (yes, the terrible crime of drunkenly breaking into a library) by Mary Margaret, Esteemed Mayor of Storybrooke. Back at home, Mary Margaret thanks David for renewing her interest in life (or something like that, because we all know that new mothers can’t possibly be fulfilled just by, you know, caring for their infant). David then takes her down a peg by telling her that she was totally wrong, and he had no plan with Will. Sad trombone.
In the final scene of the episode, Emma is back at the Sheriff’s Department. Hook comes to find her, and she shares with him a file box full of mementos from her childhood (such as they are). She grabs the camcorder out of the box (so she stole it from that house! How shocking!) and plays the tape on the cutting edge VCR that the Storybrooke PD has conveniently hooked up right by her desk. We see the video she made with Lily, but the tape keeps playing after that to show Emma and a boy at what must have been her next foster home…..and the foster mother is, you guessed it, Sarah Fisher, the Snow Queen.
So. What happened all those years ago in the foster home? Why doesn’t Emma remember, and why is the Snow Queen looking for her, now? And how does Gold know about their history? Is there more to the Lily story, or will we be left wondering about that birthmark? Will they ever come up with another decent storyline for Snow White? Has David always been so dopey? And do they understand that there was simply not enough Hook in this episode????????
Let me know what you think!