Previously on Once Upon a Time… Emma came face to face with Elsa, the Queen of Arrendelle, and came to realize the importance of Elsa being there, which was to find her sister, Anna. At the conclusion of the episode, we realized that in fact the blocks of ice enclosing the city weren’t perpetrated by Elsa, but in fact were put up by the Snow Queen. As a new villain, the Snow Queen had to make her mark on Storybrooke, and she did that and then some this episode, by casting a sinister spell on the most innocent of fairytale characters. Read on to find out what happened to Emma and Elsa on this weeks episode of Once Upon a Time.
I’m going to evaluate this weeks episode through four perspectives. One, what were the strengths of the show that really stood out and advanced the episode or the series as a whole. Two, where did the conflict arise out of for our legion of heroes. Three, the potential long term benefits of seeds that were planted in this episode. Fourth, and lastly, some of the long term arcs that were brought to the foray this week.
The biggest strength of the episode came at the climax when Emma had to rescue Captain Hook from the grips of the Snow Queen. At this point in the episode Elsa and Hook had come upon the Snow Queen out in the middle of the forest, and the Snow Queen had been indoctrinating Elsa to believe so many things that had no place in reality. Namely that it was her sister Anna who took her memory from her and cast her away inside the yearn in order to isolate her and her power with it. Just as the ice is about to break on Hook as he is cemented into the ground through the ice, Emma calls the Snow Queen the “dairy queen”, and in typical Emma fashion blasts the Snow Queen away, and in the process saves her beloved Hook. This moment will play a pivotal role in the story arc between and we will explore that dynamic later in the post. Now lets move on and take a look at what the inciting incident was in compelling Emma to action.
At the beginning of the episode the Snow Queen, who creates a facade as the owner of a ice cream parlor, casts as spell on Maid Marion’s ice cream, and a while after she ate it, Marion fell into a deep slumber, which motivated everyone to be out for Elsa’s head. As Marion’s health deteriorated, Regina was called to action and by the end of the episode revealed her true colors by snatching Marion’s heart and putting it in her vault. The reason she did this is because as long as the icy spell hadn’t hardened her heart, they could break the spell, and Marion could be whole again, with her heart being reunited with her body. The main conflict was based on finding who perpetrated the deed, and how they would bring them to justice, and through many of the developments in this episode, you’ll see the impact of the actions that each individual in the city took respectively in finding justice for Marion.
In this episode, the critical seeds that were planted included: Elsa’s backstory in ruling her kingdom and the protection thereof, and the fact that Snow White and David have to assume their roles of leadership in Storybrooke. The backstory for Elsa showed that after Hans falling out in Arrendelle with Anna and Elsa, that Hans and his brothers became hellbent on taking Arrendelle for their own, but in order to do so they had to remove Arrendelle’s fiercest asset, Elsa. They planed on finding a magical yearn that could trap Elsa in and all of her powers with it, but when Kristoff, Anna’s fiance, caught wind of it, he ran to Elsa pleaded with her for them to find it; however, they were not able to capture it outright. Through the process of battling Hans and his brothers in the cave, Hans attempted to use the yearn to capture Elsa, but as he did the Snow Queen emerged and froze Hans allowing his brothers to escape, with Elsa and Kristoff saved. This encounters significant will be explained later as we look at the Once Upon a Time universe as a whole.
In the meanwhile, this episode Snow and Charming have taken far more pronounced roles as the leadership of Storybrooke, and with their roles being elevated, David has grown closer to Emma in protecting the city, and for Snow has made her connectedness with Neal, their newborn the epicenter of Snow’s universe. Snow’s psyche was questioned by Archie Hopper as he pointedly stated that Snow may be over compensating with Neal to make up for Snow’s decision to part ways with Emma as a baby in order to save her. These two critical elements, along with my previous commentary, will shape the Once Upon a Time universe, which I’ll delve into in the closing of this review.
One of the significant nuggets that got left behind was that the Snow Queen knew who Emma was, and Emma had the sense that she had met the Snow Queen before herself. In addition the Snow Queen told Elsa that she was her mother’s sister, but that like Elsa she had to be written out of the story for her family’s sake because of the power she possessed. In this episode the Snow Queen aims to mentor Elsa by showing her that it will always be the powerful versus the weak, and that those with gifts will always be marginalized by the masses.
The final takeaway from this episode, is that the reason that Emma had been keeping her distance from Hook in recent memory is because she believes that she is cursed and that like everyone else she loves, that Hook will suffer a death because of Emma. In her reality, Emma aims to protect Hook by disassociating herself with him, and in doing so, protect her own heart in the process. The final big arc that was started this week was Operation Mongoose where Regina and Henry pledge to find out who the author of the Once Upon a Time book is. With that Henry believes that his mother’s archetype may be rewritten, but with this operation underway Regina’s real motives will eventually see the light of day. See this mystery to unfold over the course of the whole season.
Tune in next week on ABC at 8 PM, and find out how Emma’s date with Hook goes, and the lengths that Anna will go to find her sister Elsa, by the hands of the sinister Rumplestiltskin. Looking forward to seeing your comments below.