Warning: Spoiler Alert
It’s hard to write about a double episode that has only left you doubly emotionally scarred.
Ingrid has Anna trapped in the dungeons, but she needs to make a quick trip before Elsa notices that her family is gone. She’s got to see a man about a hat.
When she arrives at the Apprentice’s cottage, he immediately sees her for what she is. The sorcerer, he states, has no interest in dealing with someone like her. Ingrid reveals that she has the hat, and the game changes significantly. With the Apprentice’s sword to her throat, she outlines her desires: she wants a family like she once had. But, instead of ordinary sisters like hers, who grew to resent her powers, she wants magic sisters. Presumably, she wants magic sisters because in case one accidentally magically murders another, the remaining sister is bound to be more understanding than Helga was to Ingrid. She already has Elsa, and she’s looking for a third. She’ll wait as long as it takes, but Sorcerer is not getting the Amazing Magic Stealing Dream Hat back before she gets what she wants.
In Arendelle, Elsa ‘s preparing a treat for Anna when Ingrid enters and begins lying her face of, like she does. She tells Elsa a bunch of nonsense about the magic-stealing hat and Anna plotting to trap Elsa and Ingrid inside. Because she is a good liar, she also tells a bit of the truth: that Anna found out in Misthaven that she and Elsa’s parents really did go looking for a way to take Elsa’s magic. Elsa’s crushed. She rushes to the dungeons and demands answers from Anna.
Well, she does until the guards leave, at least. Elsa knows that Anna would never do such a thing, and she’s convinced that Ingrid is lying to her. She wants to break Anna out of jail so that they can steal the urn and recapture Ingrid. Elsa isn’t sure where the urn could be hidden, but Anna has a good guess.
They go to the wing of the castle that used to be the three sisters’ chambers. Very easily (suspiciously easily), they find the urn in a wardrobe, side by side with a frozen Prince Hans. They sneak Anna back into her cell past a sleeping guard (their guards are really not very good). Elsa will go tell Ingrid that Anna is to be banished and Ingrid is to handle it. When Auntie Crazy Face goes to Anna’s cell, Anna will open the urn and trap her.
But that doesn’t quite work. Ingrid has been following the girls the whole time. As soon as Elsa leaves, Ingrid chains Anna to the floor, causing her to drop the urn. Ingrid curses Anna with the Spell of Shattered Sight and sets her loose on Elsa. Ingrid allows the conversation between the sisters to become acrimonious before stepping in. Elsa demands an explanation, and Ingrid admits that she put a spell on Anna. Instead of telling her that it’s a spell that makes people think the worst possible things about each other, though, she tells Elsa that it was a spell that revealed a person’s true feelings. Anna continues to spew bile at Elsa, but Elsa refuses to believe that Anna is telling the truth. Ingrid, realizing that she’s not convincing Elsa that her sister holds such hatred for her, turns on Anna to further incite her against Elsa. Anna eventually opens the urn. Elsa doesn’t fight the trap. She knows that they love each other, she insists as she fades into the trap. They’ll be together again some day.
Anna’s spell’s broken. She comes to, reeling from what she’s just been compelled to do. Kristoff enters with a bow drawn, but they’re no match for Ingrid. In a flash, she freezes the castle (in an eerie “Let It Go” kind of way) and Anna and Kristoff along with everything else. Nothing for her to do now except wait for the Sorcerer to come tell her that she’s got a third sister.
Rumpelstiltskin, though, has other plans. He pays The Snow Queen a visit as she’s performing a memory charm on Elsa within the urn. He knows that Anna’s been frozen. He knows that Ingrid stole the hat from Anna. Ingrid refuses, but Rumpelstiltskin steals Elsa’s urn from Ingrid’s arms and holds it ransom. She won’t get Elsa back until he gets the hat. He promptly peaces out.
Ingrid goes to retrieve the hat, which she’s hidden under ice magic in a cave (where everyone hides their hats) and is about to summon Rumpelstiltskin when the Apprentice appears. He’s not a fan of someone double-dealing with what’s supposed to be the Sorcerer’s. Ingrid explains that Rumpelstiltskin has taken Elsa, but the Apprentice relays another deal. The Sorcerer has found that her perfect sister will exist, but she won’t be born for some time. The child of Snow White and Prince Charming will satisfy Ingrid’s demands. If she hands over the hat, the Apprentice explains, he’ll transport her to a realm where she’ll meet this sister and an opportunity to become her family. Ingrid accepts, because she’s not the kind to give a damn about loyalty, and she’s transported through a door and into the middle of New York City in 1982. Okay, then.
Ingrid has, assumedly, been spending all of her time in our world learning how to better mess with people’s minds. The head games Ingrid played with Emma last week (your family will never understand you! Everyone thinks you’re a monster!) have shaken Emma and her magic to her core. It’s exactly what The Snow Queen wants, of course, but Emma is too consumed with fear that she may hurt her loved ones that she can’t see Ingrid’s plan. And, presumably, everyone Emma loves is too consumed with worry about Emma to see that’s what The Snow Queen is doing, either. She’s hiding out in the woods when Henry finds her. She warns him away but he continues to approach her. Her magic explodes, knocking Henry backwards and causing him to cut his head on a rock. Emma becomes more irrational and agitated when she sees Henry’s blood, and Henry is overcome with fear as well. He runs back the way he came.
Conveniently, Ingrid appears to spread some more poison and lies about how Emma’s family won’t ever understand her and will always fear her. Emma might miss the obvious manipulation, but she’s at least angry enough to want nothing to do with Ingrid. She scrambles into her Bug and drives off.
Henry comes home to find Elsa, Killian, David, and Mary Margaret recently returned from their all-night search. He explains what happened in the woods. Everyone’s devastated, but no one looks more upset than Mary Margaret. She took some internet-heat last week for her appalled reaction to Emma’s uncontrolled power blast at the sheriff station, but she’s certainly showing a lot of regret and guilt over her behavior. Elsa offers to tend to Henry while the rest of the group continues to refuel for their search. And try to get into contact with Regina. They’ve been looking for her all night, but they haven’t been able to get ahold of her.
Probably because she’s been getting the best night of, erm, “sleep” ever with Robin Hood in her vault. It’s a bruisingly hot morning-after scene, complete with disheveled stockings and man-in-undershirt. So much afterglow. They have the why-can’t-it-always-be-this-way talk. Regina explains that her fate as a villain seems to be sealed. Robin pushes back (after all, he was once a thief who became a hero), and Regina shows him Henry’s book. She explains her theory of why she can’t have a happy ending. Robin’s determined to find the author of the book, so that they can change Regina’s destiny. Well, he’s not so determined that he won’t stop to smother Regina in a couple dozen more kisses before they leave.
Okay, timeout for just a minute. I need to put this out there: Holy. Crap. Is there anything that Lana Parrilla can’t do? She has been badass and flawless in every single part of Regina’s story, from The Evil Queen in devastating corsets and hairdos, to the stone cold Mayor in business-chic and perfect lipstick, to a fresh-faced teenager in love with a stable boy, to a no-nonsense single mom who would do anything to save her son, to a vulnerable woman looking for a fresh start with the wrong man. She’s perfect in every single way. If you don’t love every last bit of Lana Parrilla, you’re just wrong.
And we’re back. So anyway. Regina arrives at Casa Charming upon receiving all the messages they’ve been sending her, asking for her help with the search for Emma and telling her about Henry’s incident. At first, everyone demands to know where she’s been, but Mary Margaret notices that Regina’s blouse is still open. She gives Regina the high-sign to button up and distracts everyone else before they can grill her further. The group takes another opportunity to sigh about just how sad it is that Emma is afraid of them because they all love her and her magic so very much. Elsa’s particularly concerned, since she’s been through such a similar situation.
For her part, Emma is hiding out in Gold’s Pawnshop. She asks for his help in getting her power under control. He gestures to a piece of parchment. He can take away her magic, he cautions, but it’s permanent, as well as fairly destructive. As long as it means that she won’t be able to hurt anyone, Emma says, she’s on board. Gold directs her to the abandoned manor, and tells her to meet him there at sundown. (THE HOUSE YOU HONEYMOONED IN, RUMPEL?! THE HOUSE WHERE YOU AND BELLE HAD THAT ADORABLE DANCE? THAT IS WHERE YOU’RE GOING TO GET UP TO NO GOOD? YOU ARE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE.)
Emma calls Mary Margaret, hoping that Henry made it home alright. Mary Margaret tries to reassure Emma that he’ll be fine, but Emma is too far panicked about her magic to be consoled. She tells Mary Margaret of her plan to divest herself of her power, and hangs up before she can hear any resistance. Stunned, Mary Margaret tells the group of Emma’s intentions.
Elsa’s horrified, and Killian goes into a panic. He wants to reach Emma, but has left his “talking phone” (oh, swarthy buccaneers never quite get used to modern lingo, do they?) in David’s truck. He begs off to retrieve it. Once he’s in the hallway, though, he procures his phone from his pocket and leaves a frantic voicemail for Emma. He knows she’s dealing with Gold, and he’s desperate to stop her.
Gold has gone to taunt The Snow Queen in her lair. He’s going to trap Emma in the hat, effectively screwing any plans Ingrid may have for her. Villains don’t get happy endings, and they can’t help but divulge all their nefarious plans to those they want to victimize the most. With a touch of the best sort
of Once Upon A Time Plot Intricacies, he uses some shards of the urn Elsa got trapped in to keep her trapped in her lair while he goes to ruin Ingrid’s plan. And also Emma’s life.
Back at Casa Charming, Mary Margaret and David are trying to understand Emma’s decision to give up her powers. Mary Margaret has her reservations, but David thinks that it’s Emma’s choice and that they should support her. Maybe, he suggests, giving up her powers will be her best chance. It’s not a bad point, but it’s not a very good thing for Elsa to overhear. She knows that magic is a special gift, and Emma shouldn’t give hers up just because she’s afraid. Elsa steals the locator potion that Regina brought over to find Emma to try to stop her.
Her absence is not immediately noted. Regina and Mary Margaret run into each other in the kitchen, and, Mary Margaret wants the full dish on why Regina shuffled into the Storybrooke Magic Brain Trust meeting late and unbuttoned. Regina admits that she and Robin spent the night together, but insists that she knows the relationship’s doomed and shouldn’t even be happening in the first place. Mary Margaret isn’t getting anywhere with Regina, so the subject changes to Emma and her powers. Regina, much like Elsa, is incredulous that Emma’s family would allow Emma to give up her powers. She convinces them that it’s a bad idea, and they set out to find her. They reach for the locator potion to use on something that belonged to Emma so they can find her, but it’s gone. And so is Elsa. Sometimes, Mary Margaret and David aren’t the most observant people around.
Hook has made it to the pawnshop to look for Gold. He finds the shop in disarray, and empty. He sees Emma’s handprint on the counter in the shop. He’s frantic to reach Emma and convince her that any deal with The Crocodile will only hurt her in the end. He calls her, but gets her voicemail again. This time, he leaves a message confessing everything he knows: Gold’s plot with the hat, the fake dagger, being blackmailed by Gold –all of it. He spies the map that Gold left on the counter, pointing out their rendezvous point. He rushes to leave, hoping he can stop Emma before does anything that Gold thinks would be a good idea.
Officially everyone in Storybrooke wants Emma to flake on her deal with Gold. Although The Snow Queen’s trapped in her lair, she can still view her magic mirror. She tracks down Emma and projects herself in the middle of the road, causing Emma to swerve and skid into a bank. Emma gets out car, which is going bananas because of all her uncontrolled magic. Ingrid begs Emma to keep her powers and find another way to control them. She warns that Rumpelstiltskin will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means killing her. Emma doesn’t trust that Ingrid has the best intentions with her advice. She realizes that she’s only seeing Ingrid’s projection, and that Ingrid has no magic to use against her. Emma gets in her car to continue to meet Gold at the manor house.
Regina, Henry, Mary Margaret, and David have managed to track Emma’s car along the road and find the site of her wreck. They continue to track her on foot, and Mary Margaret corners Regina to learn the rest of the Robin Hood situation. Regina doesn’t have anything new to say—yes they’re in love, no they can’t be together, yes it’s because of that stupid book. Mary Margaret thinks that Regina needs to be a little more hopeful. Regina isn’t even kind of willing to entertain hope as an option. Mary Margaret persists, though—she and David got separated and have always reunited. Regina reminds her that Snow White’s a hero and she is the Evil Queen. Mary Margaret still doesn’t buy it, though. She’s made her fair share of mistakes, even as a child. She’s not totally good, and Regina isn’t totally evil. Everyone deserves a chance at happiness.
And, as it would happen, Regina gets a phone call. Robin Hood and Will Scarlett have been investigating the Storybrooke library (since Robin kinda stole Henry’s book earlier in the day and is trying to find some clues towards the author’s identity) and have made a breakthrough. Mary Margaret urges Regina to leave. They can look for Emma by themselves from there on out.
When Regina arrives at the library, she finds Robin nearly beside himself. She’s a bit annoyed that he stole her book, but, as Robin points out, she knew he was a thief from the beginning. He explains that he and Scarlett were looking in the library, not just because it has a lot of books, but because it’s beneath the clock tower, where the first sign of magic in Storybrooke appeared. While they were there, someone slipped a paper into his satchel. It’s an alternate engraving of Regina’s story in the book. The book’s engraving shows Regina leaving the tavern where Robin Hood was drinking, despite Tinkerbelle’s urging to go inside and meet her true love. The alternate page shows Regina and Robin Hood having a great big kiss in the middle of the tavern. Is this a sign that there are alternate versions to her story? Will they be able to find anything else from this page? Well, for right now, they’re too busy making out like teenagers to care.
At the manor, it looks like Rumpelstiltskin is doing the worst thing possible. He sets up the hat and lays it behind a door for Emma to walk into. Emma meets him inside. She tells him of her earlier conversation with The Snow Queen. He reiterates that The Snow Queen may not have Emma’s best interests at heart. The two engage in conversation that would have been really sweet, about Emma’s destiny and Gold’s weaknesses, if it weren’t for the fact that Rumpelstiltskin was, despite what he said earlier, playing Emma the entire time and plotting to trap her and steal her power.
He leaves Emma to decide whether she should walk through the door and surrender her power or not. It might have been to respect her privacy, but probably had more to do with the fact that he was expecting Killian to be outside, trying to figure out a way to save Emma. And of course Killian was there, allowing Gold to lash him to the fence while he gives another villain soliloquy. It’s not specifically Emma’s power that he needs to capture, although he wants to be certain that Killian sees Emma destroy herself. It’ll help, sure, but what he’s really been after all this time is Hook. He knew if he lured Emma away from town, Killian would eventually come looking for her. To be free of the dagger, he needs to collect power in the hat, and he needs the heart of someone who knew him before he took on The Dark Curse. And, in all the realms, the only one he knows of is Killian Jones.
There’s a blast of magic from inside the house. Elsa has found Emma and convinces her, in fairytale-perfect conversation about loving yourself as well as believing in the love of others, to keep her powers. The two join hands, and a blast of Emma’s magic radiates throughout Storybrooke. The hat’s knocked back into its box.
The look on Gold’s face lets Killian know that Emma didn’t walk into his trap. Killian gloats, like he always does, and it’s too early, like it always is. Gold removes Killian’s heart. It’s not so Gold can kill him, he assures Killian, but so he can use him as a puppet. Without Emma’s power, he’ll have to find another’s power to collect in the hat. He’ll be controlling Killian’s heart to make sure he still gets the needed power before he crushes it and completes the spell to free him of the dagger’s thrall.
Does it get any more fairytale than that?
Elsa and Emma are catching their breath inside the house when Killian bursts into the room. A very enthusiastic, handsy sort of Killian. Emma isn’t a fan of PDA. Gold is pulling the strings on his new toy. They prepare to leave the house and joined by Mary Margaret, David, and Henry. Everyone has a happy reunion, promising to always support each other even when magic tries to get in the way. Emma releases some celebratory fireworks, which dim in the sky unexpectedly. Looking down, Elsa and Emma realize that they’re wearing yellow ribbon bracelets. The bracelets make their magic feel, well, funny. And they can’t take them off.
Rumpelstiltskin’s temporary Snow Queen Blocker has worn off. He’s there to express his grievances that Emma didn’t fall into his trap. Ingrid, of course, claims that she got trapped by Rumpelstiltskin himself and would have no way of contacting her. She waves her hand across the ribbons. The ribbons, she explains in her own villain soliloquy (can we make “villoquy” a word?) will unite the magic of three perfectly matched sorceresses. She has access to Elsa and Emma’s power, as well. She and Rumpelstiltskin exchange some fighting words. It appears that the villains are about to get their hands very dirty.
It’s funny how, after two hours and all the answers you thought you wanted, you only feel like you had even more questions than before.