I press the Emma button and she answers, usually: Goon Reviews OUaT “Rocky Road”

Once-Upon-A-Time-Rocky-Road-Recap-Review

Marian learned the hard way just how unpleasant a brain freeze is.  Sucks to be her I guess.

When last we left Anna, she was searching all over The Enchanted Forest to find help for her sister, and to do so, she was on her way to meet Rumpelstiltskin, but what about the sister she left behind?  This week we return to Arendale and see what Elsa and Kristoff are up too.  Surprise surprise, Elsa is worried sick over Anna.  The scouts that Elsa dispatched to find Anna have failed to do so, turning Elsa into a worried wreck.  She decides to go after Anna, but Kristoff talks her out of it, saying that she needs to stay behind because she is queen and can’t abandon Arendale. (basically the exact reason she used when Anna said they should go)  While not finding any sign of Anna, one of the scouts finds something even more important.  An army is camped out in the mountains, led by none other than Hans and his brothers.  Kristoff offers to go and gather intel, his knowledge of the mountains and experience in the wilderness allowing him to easily sneak close, but Elsa says no, saying that she doesn’t want any harm to befall him because it would upset Anna.  Kristoff, in true hero fashion, ignores this and sneaks away.  He returns with news that Hans is looking for a magic urn that can trap magic users like Elsa.  Knowing all the hidden routes and back trails through the mountains, Kristoff offers to go to the cave holding the urn and destroy it before Hans can get it, Elsa agrees, but states she shall accompany him.  They find the urn and Kristoff is all set to trash the thing, but writing appears on it that Elsa believes could help her find others with magic like hers.  Hans and a few of his bros show up and are able to get the drop on our heroic pair.  Elsa offers the urn to Hans in exchange for Kristoff’s life, the two having bonded on their little adventure through the mountains.  However, when Hans opens up the urn, instead of trapping Elsa, it frees the as of yet unnamed Snow Queen who freezes Hans on the spot.  In an interesting twist, we close out our flashback with the reveal that the Snow Queen is in fact Elsa’s aunt, gasp!

Our time in fairy tale land this week was actually quite enjoyable, primarily because we got some development in the relationship between Elsa and Kristoff.  In the season premier, it was strongly implied that Elsa, while not disliking Kristoff in any way, wasn’t all that close with him.  It seemed that if is was not for the fact that her sister was marrying him, she would have little, if anything, to do with him.  For Kristoff, he cared about Elsa, but honestly seemed to be intimated by her.  Seeing her as a queen rather then a friend or sister.  All that has changed now.  The two bonded, Elsa obviously seeing that Kristoff does in fact care about her, and considers her to  be important to him.  For Kristoff, he started to see Elsa as a person and not just a queen.  The two connected and a true friendship was formed between them, Elsa even defending Kristoff, willing to sacrifice her freedom for his safety, and not just because he’s her sister’s fiance.  I loved this, it was great.  It was a steady and natural progression, even if we didn’t see much of it.  It starts off with Elsa treating Kristoff much the same as she did in the premier, but after actually spending some time together one on one, they were able to connect in a real way.  I look forward to seeing where their friendship goes, and how they will overcome the obvious pitfalls along the way.  Best of all, was that nothing was dragged out, the story and characters are progressing at a decent pace and nothing felt like filler.  The one bad thing I can say about this was the whole Hans thing.  At the end of Frozen, Hans is sent back to his homeland in chains, the strong implication from the dialogue being that his brother’s wouldn’t be pleased with this actions, so I can’t help but wonder why they are now fully on board with the whole conquering Arendale thing, but this  is a question that probably won’t be answered as Hans is now a cave bound princesicle, don’t think there is gonna be any true love to melt him down.

Back in Storybrooke we open with the Hoods having a family day as Robin shows Marian around town.  They stop off for ice cream, and as we learned last week the shop is run by the Snow Queen, the frosty monarch places a curse on Marian’s cone.  The curse kicks in at a town meeting held by Snow, who is embracing her role as mayor of Storybrooke.  The meeting quickly spins out of control as everyone quickly plays the blame game and is just a few steps away from forming a lynch mob to hunt down Elsa,

I don't care if your spin off tanked, you can't just barge into our show!

I don’t care if your spin off tanked, you can’t just barge into our show!

blaming her for the ice wall around town , it doesn’t help that the curse on Marian kicks in at this point as well.  Emma tells Hook to take Elsa to the sheriff station to keep her safe while she and David set out to find the culprit and clear Elsa’s name.  The two go to Robin Hood’s camp, where they find a familiar face lurking around the tents.  Tis none other than Will Scarlet, last seen carousing around Wonderland with Alice.  It is not revealed how he got to Storybrooke, or where exactly in his time line this is taking place, but he does actually help.  He reveals that during the black out in the previous episode he broke into the ice cream shop and saw that none of the ice cream melted from the power outage.  The three go to the shop, Emma quickly noticing that there is nothing there that is actually keeping the ice cream from melting.  Will takes the opportunity to slip away, Emma and David putting a pin in the hunting him down to track down the frosty villain.  While this is happening, Hook and Elsa have decided to ignore Emma’s orders to stay out of sight and do their best to find whoever is keeping the ice wall up.  Elsa has taken a piece of Marian’s hair and the two go to see Gold, Hook getting him to help by threatening to tell Belle that he gave her a fake dagger.  Gold breaks down the magic in the hair and the two follow it back to Snow Queen, who is holding up in the forest next to what appears to be a statue of an ice palace.  The two confront the Snow Queen, important to note that Elsa has no memory of the Snow Queen or how she was trapped in the urn.  The Snow Queen tries to bring Elsa over to her side, telling her that its only a matter of time before everyone begins to see her as a monster, and claiming that it was Anna who trapped her in the urn.  Elsa doesn’t believe her (way to go Elsa!) so the Snow Queen takes more drastic measures, freezing Hook in place and conjuring up some ice spikes above him to impale him.  David and Emma show up, the Snow Queen being shocked that Emma was there and showing that she knows Emma in someway.  After Emma lays the magical smack down on the Snow Queen, driving her off, we get a couple of brief heart to hearts between Emma and Elsa and Emma and David.  We close out with Gold confronting the Snow Queen, their being some history between the two.  Gold points out the mysterious relationship between her and Emma and offers to help, she refuses, saying that she won’t make a deal with him, and walks off into the night.

This episode was not as good as the previous two, but was in no way a bad one.  We had some great scenes with Emma showing some self doubt, the events of the past two episodes weighing on her mind, but David is fast to swoop in and play the supporting father, telling her that there is no reason to doubt herself, that everyone goes through some rough patches and that she can’t let her it get her down.  I gotta be honest, any scene were we can see David and Snow dispensing some parental advice to Emma is always great to see, and really helps to show just how far Emma has come in her relationship with them, that she actually sees them as her parents and is willing to accept their help and guidance.

The Hook and Elsa scenes were a bit lackluster, it was nice to them actually doing something and not just sitting on the sidelines twiddling their thumbs, but there wasn’t anything overly great about these moments.  Hook confronting Gold and his fiddling with the cellphone were equal parts badass and amusing, but apart from that there scenes didn’t really do anything more than show Elsa being determined to find the cause of the ice wall and Hook being determined to help Emma.  Nothing  that stood out as great, but it was far from bad.

We had some brief subplots, and apart from Regina’s, they were pretty average.  Snow is adjusting to her role is mayor, trying to balance that out with being a mom, but unwilling to be apart from baby Neal for even a moment, citing that she doesn’t want to miss anything.  As Archie is quick to point out, this makes sense, she missed all of Emma’s life and doesn’t want to risk the same thing with this.  Archie dispenses some nice advice about the importance of space, but it is left unclear as to whether or not this sinks in with Snow.  There was nothing overly special with this, but that is because it was so brief.  If more time had been spent on it than just two short scenes it could have, time actually being given to better show Snow’s refusal to be apart from her son it would been better, but as it stands, it just fell flat.

In a shocking twist, Regina is actually honest with Henry about her plan to find the writer of the book and convince him to write her a happy ending.  I was honestly expecting Regina to keep this from everyone until it blew up in her face, always nice when I can be surprised.  In a turn that is no surprise, Henry immediately jumps on board with the plan, knowing that his mom isn’t the villain she used to be and is deserving of happiness.  Before to much more can happen, Robin shows up, asking Regina for help with Marian.  Regina does her best, but is unable to stop the curse, instead she removes Marian’s heart, leaving her alive but frozen solid.   Unlike the Snow story, this one was amazing, and really shows how far Regina has come.  She is quick to help Marian, not showing the slightest hint of reluctance or any possible joy over her condition.  Her only focus is on helping her, maybe because Robin asked for her help, of maybe because its just the right thing to do, either way it was amazing.  The biggest moment of this coming from reveal that Robin couldn’t use True Love’s kiss to save Marian because he is also in love with Regina.  Again I saw, amazing on so many levels. I was honestly concerned that they would use the return of Marian as an excuse to make Regina go bad again, or at least make her an antagonist.  Instead, she is becoming even more likable, and apart from being a bit snippy with Emma, she is showing to have no problem being around Snow and the others, even providing a joke about Snow’s taste in decorations for the Mayor’s Office.

Overall this was a good episode, but not great.  The main story was interesting to watch play out, and admittedly it was nice to see Will Scarlet again, he being the best part of the failed Wonderland spin off, but the main story was pretty average.  If they had taken more time to find the Snow Queen, stretched that a bit and give us more of Emma and David standing up for Elsa to the town, or the towns people actually trying something against Elsa instead of just blowing hot air it could have been a great and well done dramatic episode.  Instead we got a fairly average story with a some great character bits and jokes.  Still though, the story continues and my interest in it grows with it.  I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Goon out.

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