Mental note, buy magic candles.
We actually got some Snow Queen backstory this week, and it wasn’t horrible! I know, I’m as shocked as you are. The flashbacks this week return us to the frosty land of Arendale, and we learn of the history of the Snow Queen, aka Ingrid, and her two sisters, Gerda (Elsa and Anna’s mom) and Helga. We first see them as little girls, chasing a kite through the woods when it crashes to the ground. The three argue over the ribbon attached to it when the owner of the kite shows up, looking like a total creeper. Turns out, he is! He plans to nab the trio of royal sisters and sell them, or ransom them, or turn them into money…it was kinda vague, he just said he would get a lot of money from them. While dragging away Helga and Gerda, Ingrid’s cyromancy appears and she freezes a branch, causing it fall and kill the kidnapper. Ingrid is pretty freaked out about her new found powers, but her sisters are quick to jump in and soothe her, using the kites ribbon as symbol of their bond and promise to help each other. Jumping to the future, the three little girls are now all grown up, and Ingrid is pulling an Elsa, spending all her time alone and apart from others, save her two sisters. When she slips into her father’s birthday party, she feels alienated and alone, not allowing herself to join in on the fun, and snow begins to fall around her. She freaks out and runs, but is stopped by her sisters. The three decide to pay a visit to good ol Rumpelstiltskin, thinking he can help. He offers to train Ingrid in her magic, given that ice magic is a rare gift, but she wants nothing more than to be rid of it. He trades her a pair of gloves that will suppress her power, as well as the urn that she and Elsa were trapped in, for their kite ribbons. Things take a turn for the worst when a familiar face, the Duke of Weselton (sadly not played by Alan Tudyk) who was previously trying to woo Helga, makes a move on Ingrid and discovers her magic. He threatens to tell the whole kingdom of her power in order to turn the people against her and get her locked up. Ingrid attempts to ice blast him but Helga tries to stop her, inadvertently taking the blast right in the heart. She freezes and crumbles, (apparently back in those days it took seconds to freeze instead of hours) Gerda appears on the scene and is horrified over what happened, growing enraged at Ingrid and refusing to listen her big sister. She grabs the urn and traps Ingrid inside. We close out with her paying a visit to Grand Pabbie and asking him to erase the memory of her two sisters from everyone within the boundaries of Arendale so as to protect the kingdom. Pabbie agrees, but not before warning her that magic comes with a price, one that has yet to be payed.
Honestly, there wasn’t all that much new here. From the bits that Ingrid has revealed about her past in previous episodes, we know that she had a falling out with one or both of her sisters, there was a connection between her and Rumpel, and the concept of a loving family was one of the most, if not THE most, important thing to her. The flashback this week merely filled in the blanks.
Was this bad?
Hell no! While not great, it was nice seeing these blanks get filled in, especially learning about her relationship with Rumpel. And I would be lying if I said that Elizabeth Mitchell did not turn in a fantastic performance here. That is really all there is to say about this, nothing amazing was done with the story, it didn’t really run parallel with the modern day story. It was simply there to fill in some holes in the story and give us a better understanding of what is motivating the Snow Queen, and it did that beautifully.
Speaking of the modern day, we open on Emma and Elsa working on some new mojo to capture the Snow Queen. Emma can use a magic candle to trap the Queen and bind her powers. Elsa makes an offhand comment about how Emma should feel thankful that her family isn’t afraid of her magic before training is cut short as Emma rushes off to meet Snow and pick up her baby brother for some quality sibling bonding time. We cut to a Mommy and Me class, where there is a welcome appearance of some familiar
faces, Aurora and Ashley. (Cinderella for those who don’t remember her from season 1) There are comments made about it being hard for first time moms with baby related things. Emma seems upset at hearing this, being reminded of being given up as a baby, but tries to brush it off, saying that she is okay with it. She is anything but, and this evident by the bottle she is holding glowing and bubbling as her control on her magic slips. Emma is unphased by it, but Snow is scared, backing away from her daughter when Emma reaches to take baby Neal. Emma is hurt by this but before anything can happen she gets a call from David, they have found the Snow Queen. Emma rushes to the scene, magic candle in hand, and is able to trap the frosty monarch. Back at the sheriff station Emma questions the Snow Queen, but doesn’t get much out of her. Instead, the Snow Queen starts with the mind games, and boy is she great at them. At it turns out, the Snow Queen was not without her powers and frosts over the stations doors, locking everyone out. The Snow Queen is quickly able to get past Emma’s defenses just enough to make her doubt her family’s love for her. This causes her magic to go out of control and she blows a hole in the wall. The Snow Queen makes her escape and Emma stumbles out, terrified over what is happening. Hook, her parents, Belle, and Rumpel appear on the scene and Emma warns them to stay back, not wanting to hurt them. David, being the awesome dad that he is, goes to help her, but her magic flares again, blowing out the lights in the area and causing a street light to fall, hurting David’s arm. Emma tries to help her dad, but stops short as Snow yells at her, showing nothing but fear of her daughter. Emma freaks and runs, getting in her car and disappearing. That night, Snow is home putting Neal to bed when Hook and David come in, telling her that couldn’t find Emma anywhere. Snow is distraught, upset at herself for being afraid of her daughter and wanting nothing more than to find her and make things right. We close out with the Snow Queen visiting Rumpel in his shop, ready to make a deal. She wants her ribbons back and in return she gives Rumpel what he wants, the information he needs to finish his plan of breaking free from his dagger and being able to move beyond Storybrooke, apparently our kindly old imp wants to rule the world, or something equally sinister.
We learned a very important thing this week, the Snow Queen is a damn fine villain!! Seriously, with a just a few words she all but shatters Emma’s faith that her family loves her, causing her magic to flair out of control and drive her away from her family. We know what the Snow Queen’s ultimate plan, she wants Emma and Elsa to be her new family, and so far, she is pulling it off. Her time with Emma in the past is still very much unexplained, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the reveal of that is part of her plan. Like Rumpel, she is playing the long game, moving the pieces into place through subtle manipulations and out thinking her opponents. This episode focused on the characters and nothing else. Instead of plot progression we got character interaction, and it was fantastic. Emma was pushed to her limits, everything she believed about her family was attacked, and all but stripped away.
I have said this before, but I have never meant it more than I do right now. The Snow Queen is a fantastic cleanser after the crap storm that was the Wicked Witch last season. Ol’ mean and green just came off as a whiny, spoiled, child with a victim complex, believing that everything she deserved was denied her. The Snow Queen on the other hand, she is seeking the one thing that everyone wants, the thing she lost that was more important to her than anything else, a loving family. And how is she going about doing it? Through subtly, manipulating the people around her and driving a wedge between them, leaving her the only option that they would have for a family. Kudo’s to her, she is awesome. Also, Elizabeth Mitchell just plays a villain so much better than Rebecca Mader, she just has this elegant presence that Mader just couldn’t pull off.
Of course, lets not forget to talk about the subplot, once again focusing on Regina and her search for a happy ending. Nothing to much was done with this, but there was some solid moments here. Henry is still hard at work in Rumpel’s shop, trying to find some answers about the book, and Robin, after being told by Regina that he has to forget her and focus on his wife, is in a mess. Surprisingly enough, its none other than Will Scarlett who helps snap him out of it. He shares some of his own story with Robin, motivating him to pursue Regina, closing on the two of them kissing in Regina’s vault.
Again, this is brief and lightly touched upon, but not bad. The Regina/Robin pairing has a massive fan base, so while it was no shocker that they would eventually end up together, it is nice to see happen as their paring was all sorts of fun to watch. Sadly, we did not get much of Henry and his snooping around the shop for info, as I was really hoping to see more of that. There was brief moment of it, and I think this was mostly to remind us that its still happening and help set things up for the future. Would not be surprised if Henry is the one to discover Rumpel’s plan.
Overall, this was a pretty basic character based episode. While not great, it had one amazing part, and that was the Snow Queen being able to get to Emma so easily. The two of them squaring off in the interrogation room was amazing, Mitchell and Morrison nailed that scene, playing off each other perfectly.
Next week, we are in for a two hour episode which should lead to some major plot developments, but until then.