Warning: Spoiler Alert
Small victories. Big trouble. The Charmings and their Storybrooke family don’t give up easily, though. And it’s a good thing, because those dudes had a busy night on TV.
See, Elsa finds her sister’s necklace in Gold’s Pawnshop, and vows to find her dear Anna. As we’re beginning to see, Elsa has a lot of power and a lot of feelings but not a lot of control over either. She manages to entrap all of Storybrooke with a giant wall of ice around the town’s borders. The Snow Monster she unleashed terrified (and nearly killed someone) last week, so an ice wall should get people’s attention as well, right?
Across town, the Charmings are adjusting to life with their latest addition, and everyone seems as sleep-deprived and dazed as you’d expect with an infant in the house. As impossible as it may seem, they’re all about to have a lot more to worry about than a strong-willed baby who has only been alive long enough to figure out how to cry. Henry’s determined to reach out to Regina to comfort her in light of her recent trials. However, Regina sends a message (via a crow, carrying a note, because text messages just aren’t The Queen’s style) telling Henry she doesn’t want to see him.
Well, that’s how he interprets it anyway, and he storms off to Granny’s to sulk like only a teenager can. Emma reads the message and goes after him to clarify Regina’s intentions. Emma may know a thing or two about wanting to stay away from her kid to make sure her pain and vulnerability won’t damage him, and she tries to tell Henry that that’s what Regina is trying to do. True to his Heart Of The Truest Believer heart, Henry can’t understand why she wouldn’t like being surrounded by and supported by the people who she loves and who love her. Emma may or may not have had an answer for that, but a conveniently timed, cross-town power failure interrupts the conversation. She tries to distract Henry by enticing him to investigate the blackout, but he’s much more interested in being a broody adolescent. It would be annoying, but he’s obviously consumed with worry for his mother, and that’s kind of adorable.
Emma and David, doing their sheriff-ley duties, embark to uncover the power outage’s cause. Luckily, a giant wall of ice is pretty easy to find. It doesn’t take long for Hook to join them, and maybe that’s because Hook knows that, if a catastrophe is happening, Emma will be along to address it shortly. Hook tries to convince her that their shared adventures should count as dates, but Emma is less than convinced. Hook, don’t you know by now that trying to win Emma over while she’s saving everyone isn’t going to happen? Don’t bug a girl at work!
Emma spots Elsa and approaches her, trying to come across as reassuring and careful as she can. Unfortunately, David and Hook (unintentionally, but stupidly) scare the bejesus out of Elsa, causing another outburst of magic that traps Emma and Elsa within the ice wall. Elsa seizes her opportunity to hold Emma hostage until Anna’s brought to her.
Following Elsa’s explanation of her sister’s necklace, Hook and David arrive at Gold’s Pawnshop to find Mr. Gold (Rumpelstiltskin) Has anyone on the internet decided when to use which name for these characters? Has anyone *anywhere* figured that out? Argh!) and Belle investigating their recent break-in. David sees a picture of the necklace, and recognizes it instantly because (cut to next scene…)
A long time ago, in a far off place, a young woman named Anna traveled from her home Arendelle, seeking answers about her parents’ death, and looking for a way to help her emotional, powerful sister. She arrived in a land called the Enchanted Forest and sought out the man her fiancé told her of, a friend of his and hopefully an ally in her quest, a shepherd. Yeah, a pre-Prince-Charming shepherd named David. I’m not even going to discuss how ridiculous he looks with long hair.
So, David knows Kristoff somehow (who cares, really), and is happy to accommodate Anna as she prepares for her Very Secret Mission, which she babbles about constantly the way only Anna can. Those plans end up on hold, as we are quickly introduced to a menacing, Mafioso, bad-guy Bo Peep, who comes riding up to the farm to shake David and his mother down for “protection money.” Bo Peep as a warlord, complete with her own posse of body guards, a magic scepter for a shepherd’s crook, and a wardrobe like only Once Upon A Time can give an evil sorceress? Um. Yes. I will have all of that and more.
David and his mother face losing their farm and becoming Bo Peep’s slaves unless they can come up with the money to pay her off. David accepts this fate, since he has no chance of raising the money. Anna’s outraged, of course. She demands David fight Bo Peep for his farm and for his freedom, but David wants nothing to do with standing up to someone so strong when he is so woefully unprepared. Silly David, don’t you know that you’ve just met a warrior princess who already fought her own battles to save her sister? She’ll even teach you how to sword fight!
Sword fighting doesn’t come easily to a shepherd, though. David’s discouraged and is about to tell Anna that he won’t fight, but Bo Peep kidnaps Anna, marks her with her scepter so she’ll always be able to find her, and forces his hand. Despite getting bested by Anna during his training, he manages to dispatch both of Bo’s bodyguards and then Bo herself. He demands that she release Anna, and forces her to use her crook to show him where Anna is hidden. David and Anna are soon reunited and return to his farm so that she may prepare for her journey.
As Anna is leaving, she asks Ruth if there might be someone in the Enchanted Forest who could help her with a certain magical problem she’s having. Ruth admits that there is a sorcerer who can help her, but refuses to say his name out loud. She hands Anna a slip of paper with the name written. In a plot move that everyone and their magical sister saw coming, Ruth directs Anna to Rumpelstiltskin.
Okay, are you still with me? Please say yes because there is still so much that is happening in this episode. There’s rarely a dull moment in Storybrooke. Or the Enchanted Forest.
David used Bo Peep’s crook to find Anna once before. Is Bo Peep hanging around in Storybrooke? Did she happen to bring her crook over in the most recent curse? Would it even *be* Once Upon A Time if she didn’t? Bo is now Storybrooke’s butcher, and a surly one at that. She wasn’t too keen on lending out her staff to find Anna, but a quick ambush by Hook changed her mind.
The two race back to the ice wall, and not a minute too soon because Emma is not holding up very well. While the cold doesn’t bother Elsa, it turns out that Emma is susceptible to snow-magic-hypothermia. The two women find themselves in very similar situations, and have the girls-with-powers-they-can’t-quite-control bonding that the internet has clamored for since the Frozen storyline was revealed. David informs Elsa that they have found a way to find Anna, but that she’ll have to quit playing Freeze-Everyone-Around-You-All-The-Time for that to happen. It helps that he mentions he knows Anna and she’s the entire reason that he’s a brave prince now instead of a barely surviving shepherd.
So, Emma’s freed before she freezes to death, hooray! She’s taken home to recuperate, and David brings Elsa along so they can continue their search for Anna. Emma is slowly defrosting back at the Charming residence, and Elsa is feeling incredibly guilty about accidentally nearly killing her. David explains the purpose of the crook, Elsa peers into its curve to seek her sister, and sees, um, nothing. The internet’s heart shatters for a split second as we believe that Anna did not survive her quest to find Rumpelstiltskin and obtain his help. The writers are just fooling with us, though. We hear a heartbeat! We have no idea where Anna might be but we know she’s alive!
While her husband was out screwing everything up (and eventually fixing it), Mary Margaret got an unpleasant visit from Grumpy, Happy, and Granny, who were quite dissatisfied with the power outage. At first Mary Margaret is unwilling to understand why she should help them, but, as Grumpy points out, she wanted to wrest control of the kingdom away from Regina, and she was ultimately successful in that. As far as the townsfolk’s concerned, she’s in charge now. That’s what every new mother with a fussy baby wants to hear, right? That an entire town considers her responsible for leading them through their crises? Yeah, not so much. As much as she is reluctant to accept that responsibility, though, she realizes that the townsfolk are probably right. She was born a princess and raised to wear the crown, and Queens gotta go to work, even if they’re breastfeeding. Does she fix the power outage like a boss? Do you even need an answer to that question? She’s coming into her role as the town’s leader, baby and all, and she’s so awesome at it she barely even seems confused when she comes home to find her daughter half-frozen and a blonde woman in a turquoise gown in her living room. Just another day in the life.
Of course, Once Upon A Time is unofficially required to make me cry at least once an episode, and I was so consumed by everything else that happened in this episode that I nearly thought it wasn’t going to happen. Fooled again! Upon seeing that Emma isn’t going to become a Momsicle, Henry shifts his focus back to Regina. The Charmings don’t give up on their family, and Henry is their grandson, and Regina is his family, too. Sometimes, when your mom has locked herself away from the world because her boyfriend’s wife turned out to not be dead, all you can do is pound on the door and demand that she let you help her through her pain. Henry might pout like a typical American teenager, but his heart is as true as ever. Not even Regina can resist love that strong. Cue my heart-shaking weeping.
Is that it? NO. Inspired by the hope that her sister is alive, Elsa (and Emma) return to the ice wall in attempt to dismantle it. She’s unsuccessful, though, and is supremely frustrated. She can’t understand why she can’t remove the wall—it was her unique magical ability that made it, right?
Well, yeah. Except maybe her powers aren’t so unique. The ice cream parlor in town didn’t lose any of its stock during the power outage. It’s like the shop’s owner has her own magical ability to keep things frozen. Elizabeth Mitchell debuts as The Snow Queen, and it seems like she’s about to make Elsa’s Snow Monster look like a dopey, whimsical snowman. Storybrooke has some interesting days ahead, and I’ll be obsessively watching every minute of it.
The Story Continue Next Sunday at 8:00pm on ABC.