So, apparently calmly telling someone that you won’t tell them they won’t be hurt, just so that they will be afraid and be unable to escape from magic ice chains is a legitimate plan to help them overcome their fear and escape the magical chains. I don’t even know where to begin on that.
Shockingly enough, we are not treated to magic land flashbacks this week, instead we are given another glimpse into Emma’s past, which is usually a treat. We find young Emma in the ever so wonderful, full of amazement, and generally most awesome place to to live, Minnesota. She is in a grocery store, attempting to swipe some food, but is spotted by an employee, before she can get into trouble though a girl shows up to bail her out of trouble. Lily is her name, and stolen credit cards are her game. The two quickly become friends after Emma helps Lily escape from the man that Lily swiped the card from. The two talk, Emma tells Lily of her past in the system and how she runs away, Lily sharing a similar story. Lily has the plan of the two of them staying in an empty summer home for awhile, Emma quickly agrees. We are treated to some scenes of friendly bonding, Lily drawing a small star on Emma’s wrist because she has a birthmark in the same shape, the two promising to be friends forever. That night Emma wakes up when she hears someone in the house, the man that chased them earlier. As it turns out the man is Lily dad’s, he’s come to take her home. Lily tries to explain things to Emma, saying that she was a foster kid that was adopted but felt invisible and unloved at home, but Emma refuses to listen, her feelings of anger and betrayal overcoming with her. She rubs off the star drawing and walks away, presumably to never see her friend again.
I understood the purpose of the flashbacks this week, tying into what Emma is going through with Regina, but honestly it felt unneeded. At this point, we are all well aware that Emma’s had a rough life and has been betrayed before, the whole Neal leaving her to get arrested thing or being adopted and then sent back when she was three, so there wasn’t much of a point to all of this. While I do always appreciate seeing more of Emma’s history, I would prefer it actually be something interesting to watch, not just the same stuff with a fresh coat of paint.
In the modern day, Regina is hard at work trying to track down the Snow Queen, thinking its the best way to save Marian since she can’t undone the spell herself. She orders Sydney, still trapped in the mirror, to find the Snow Queen. Shortly after, Emma pays Regina a visit, still trying to patch things up between the two of them over the whole Marian fiasco, but Regina is hell bent on hating our golden haired savior. Elsa, while waiting in the car, sees a glimpse of Anna calling for help. She rushes out to save her sister, and is led deeper into the woods. Seeing her frosty friend has fled, Emma sets out to find her, running into Regina who is on the trail of the Snow Queen. Elsa catches
up to Anna, after creating a familiar set of ice stairs, only to discover that is all a trick of the Snow Queens. Elsa is bound in ice chains that grow stronger as her fear does, and the Snow Queen leaves her there. While on the trail of Elsa and the evil ice cream maker, Emma tries again to mend fences with Regina to no avail. The two find the ice stairs and while climbing then are attacked by a strong breeze, the most deadly force of nature, and Regina realizes that Sydney led them into a trap. The two make it off the stairs just before they crumble and are confronted with a reject from the set of Thor. They have little luck in vanquishing the ice viking until the two combine their magic and banish the thing to whatever level of hell ice monsters come from. The Snow Queen makes her appearance and swipes Regina’s mirror before locking the two in a jedi force choke. Elsa is able to overcome her fear and break free from her chains, showing up in the nick of time to save Emma and Regina and forcing the Snow Queen to retreat. Regina storms off in a puff of purple smoke, and Emma is ready to give up on fixing things, but Elsa is quick to weigh in and convince Emma to keep trying. With the words of her friend in mind, Emma once again approaches Regina, giving her a sparknotes version of her time with Lily and telling her that she won’t stop trying to fix things between them. Regina, shocked that Emma considered them friends, warms up to her a bit and the two have started on the path to friendship. We close out with Emma taking a walk down memory lane with Hook. She pulls out the video she made with Lily, surprised to find more footage on it of her at a group home. The shocker? None other than the Snow Queen is seen on the video, shedding some light on her history with Emma
The heavy focus on Regina and Emma was nice to watch, as there was only so long they could drag out the Regina being angry at Emma subplot before it got even more stale. Let’s be honest, we’re all sick of that, we have seen it before, that was the entirety of season one and good chunks of season two, so actually seeing them start to patch things up and work through their differences, becoming real friends, will be a lot of fun to watch play out, and is long overdue. The bits with Elsa chasing down the fake Anna were slightly less than good. Anyone could tell from the get go that it wasn’t going to the real Anna, and while I can understand Elsa falling for it, her desperation to find her sister overruling her common sense is understandable but was just eye rolling bad. Her brief confrontation with the Snow Queen was also just bad. SQ basically says “Hi, I am totally manipulating you, and am even going to explain in no uncertain terms how I am going to do it,” not exactly a smart move on the villains part, but it did appear to work, so props to her I guess. The biggest thing we got out of this was a bit of the Snow Queen’s plot, that she is trying to create or find or steal or do something to get a family that loves her. Okay, not exactly the most dastardly of evil plans, but family has always been a major theme of the series so it does work with the show, and is still proving to be more interesting than the Wicked Witch, so points for that as well.
We are also treated to a brief side story of David trying to get Snow out of the house, help her get more in touch with who she was before birthing a second podling. Belle is left to babysit while David and Snow go for walk, taking a brief side trip to the sheriff’s station, they discover that Will Scarlet has escaped and they need to track him down. Snow is able to find him on the beach, digging holes. He is looking for a bag he buried, he had a map but in a drunken moment thought it would be smart to hide the map in the buried bag. The two have an amusing exchange, Snow thinking that this was all a plan of David’s to help her get in touch with her old self, and pardon’s Will.
This was actually a lot of fun, we got to see more of Snow’s concerns over being apart from her son, and see her get past them. Her brief bit with Will was a lot of fun to watch, the two played off each other well. We still don’t know much about Will being in Storybrooke, or if this falls into his pre or post Wonderland timeline, but he was my favorite part of the less than great spinoff so its nice to see that something is being done with him.
Overall, this episode focused much more on the characters than on the building plot, and that worked for it. Everyone made steps forward, in their progression. Emma and Regina are on the road to becoming BFF’s, Snow is back to her ass kicking self, and Elsa is getting over her fears and becoming a pretty badass cryomancer. More of Emma’s past was shown, even if it was less than great, and we know the Snow Queen’s endgame. There was a lot of fun, and all the characters were great to watch, even if the Snow Queen has some questionable methods in her evil plotting.
Until next time