Warning: Spoiler Alert
We open to the forest outside Storybrooke. The Snow Queen admires her Curse of Shattered Sight as it builds in a menacing, glass-shards-filled cloud over the town. She’s joined by Rumpelstiltskin. He can’t resist a few taunts, but he wants to make a deal. He’s already dealt with Ingrid to make sure that he’ll be able to leave after Storybrooke tears its cursed self apart. But, now that he’s thought on it, he wants to take Belle and Henry with him as well. How in the world he’s going to explain why the three of them get to leave while their loved ones remain and suffer I don’t know. I hope I won’t have to find out, because hopefully everything will stop and Rumpelstiltskin won’t be able to make any more deals that will blow up in his face. I’m not holding my breath, though.
Across town, The Storybrooke Magic Brain Trust (minus Rumpel, because he’s too busy being a bad guy and ruining his marriage) is watching the cloud gather. They figure they’ll try to leave Storybrooke before the curse hits, since they don’t have much time. They all gather at the wall and Charming does his best to strike a hole into it, but that only makes the ice thicker. So, that’s going to be a no-go. They decide to split up and try to prepare for the curse in a different way. And, as luck would have it, the disturbance in the ice wall has made a conveniently placed crack that reveals Anna’s lost necklace. Elsa immediately sees it. She and Emma decide to go to the pawnshop to see if Gold or Belle can help them. Regina takes Henry to Robin Hood’s camp to warn them. Mary Margaret, David, and everyone else set out to alert the rest of the townspeople of their coming disaster.
Emma and Elsa are with Belle at Gold’s Pawnshop. Belle (looking very much the part of a knows-her-stuff antiquities dealer, behind the counter with volumes spread out in front of her), explains that, while she hasn’t found a way to undo the spell, she’s found a way to make a sort of vaccine against it. A potion the fairies make, that utilizes something from someone who has already been affected by the curse. With that, everyone can be inoculated. Since Elsa found Anna’s necklace, they can use the locator spell to find Anna, produce said potion saving the town! Belle agrees to assemble the fairies at Granny’s to get the potion started, and Emma and Elsa head out to find Anna.
Having all the fairies in one place could backfire, though. Gold is running short on time to gather magic to cleave himself of the dagger that controls him. But, he’s got Killian’s heart and the (still unnamed) Sorcerer’s Amazing Magic Stealing Dream Hat, so he’s got what he needs. He’s going to extract Belle from Granny’s, he tells Killian, and once Belle is out of harm’s way, Killian will use the hat to capture all the fairies and all their magic. Of course, this means that they won’t be able to make the cure that they’re all working on, thus certainly dooming the town to fall under the curse. Killian reminds him of this, but The Dark One scoffs. He’ll be able to save his wife and his grandson, and that’s all that really matters to him.
Okay, time out for just a minute.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN. HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN HOW YOU SACRIFICED YOURSELF TO SAVE HENRY AND THE ENTIRE TOWN FROM THE WRATH OF PETER PAN?! YOU WERE A HERO ONCE! WHAT THE HECK HAS HAPPENED TO YOU!?!? You even had a tearful graveside confession with your dead son! You swore you’d make sure his death wasn’t meaningless! Then, in the next scene, you realize the Sorcerer’s Hat
has somehow fallen right into your lap, and you throw it all away?!? WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE DONE WITH ALL OF THIS. THERE BETTER BE A DAMN GOOD EXPLANATION WAITING FOR ME AT MIDSEASON FINALE OR I AM GONNA BE SO MAD AT YOU.
Ok. Back to business.
The necklace leads Emma and Elsa to the town’s library’s basement, which meets up with the mine tunnels. They follow the necklace to a dead-end. Elsa wants to blast her way through the wall, but Emma convinces her to stop and return topside so they can look at some maps and make a well-informed plan. The Storybrooke Magic Brain Trust reconvenes, but the news isn’t good. The dead-end they got led to is in a tricky part of the mine that will be hard to reach. In the meantime, The Blue Fairy has discovered that there might be enough magic within Anna’s necklace itself to create a vaccine. So, they’ll be able to save the town anyway! Except, the potion will destroy the necklace, which means Elsa will be back at square one when it comes to searching for her sister.
Regina, of course, pushes to convince Elsa to give up the necklace. Mary Margaret and David are uncertain they can ask Elsa to make such a sacrifice, but Regina has no time for their hope or their heroics. They’re more than heroes, she reminds them. They’re leaders, and leaders need to do what’s best for everyone, not just for the people they’re sentimental about. The Charmings relent, and Emma goes to tell Elsa that Anna’s necklace must get destroyed. Elsa looks stricken, but hands over the pouch that holds the necklace. The Charmings and Regina rush to deliver the necklace to Granny’s, where the fairies and Belle are working diligently and Gold is sitting in a corner, looking quite ill and trying to convince Belle to leave so that he can protect her. Killian is waiting just outside Granny’s with the hat, waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Gold to leave so that he can ambush the fairies. He’s not happy about it, but when The Dark One has your heart, you don’t have much of a choice.
The Charmings open the pouch to give the necklace to The Blue Fairy, and it’s immediately discovered that Elsa has played a bit of a wild card. She couldn’t give up on finding Anna, so she gave them a pouch full of rocks and took off with the necklace back into the mines. Emma runs to go find her; the Charmings and Regina begin working on a plan to keep the rest of the town safe in case their potion fails.
Emma comes upon Elsa quickly in the mines. She’s at the dead-end again, ready to blast it with magic to see if Anna is waiting for her behind the wall. Emma tries to stop her, but she can’t. Elsa blasts the wall to reveal… the beach?
Maps must have been wrong, the women surmise, and they’re walking along Storybrooke’s shoreline as they try to figure out why the necklace lead them there, since Anna is nowhere to be seen. Where has she been all this time? Why isn’t the magic working? The light from the locator spell begins to fade. For whatever reason, it appears that hope is lost.
Well, back in Arendelle, Anna and Kristoff thaw from the spell Ingrid used to freeze the entire kingdom. Anna sees a piece of gold straw and guesses that Rumpelstiltskin came along and has taken the urn with him. Kristoff isn’t entirely convinced, but it’s at least a starting point. They agree to set out to Misthaven/The Enchanted Forest to find Rumpelstiltskin and save Elsa from the urn.
It’s a good plan, but one that’s interrupted by a very un-frozen Prince Hans. Elsa is missing, and he’s just heard Anna confess to locking her into an urn. He’s taken over as Diplomatic Protector of Arendelle, since all suitable heirs for the throne are currently compromised. A quick melee ensues as he and his guards try to capture Anna and Kristoff, but the two manage to escape.
Once they’re safely away, Anna confesses to Kristoff that she’s read more of her mother’s diary, and she maybe wants to change their plan. It seems that, regardless of any hooey Rumpelstiltskin might have thrown her way about looking for a way to remove Elsa’s powers, her parents were in search of a piece of fairy magic called a wishing star, and it’s possibly held by a pirate captain named Blackbeard. She thinks they should try to find that, maybe, instead of going back to Rumpelstiltskin. Pirates are easier to deal with, and probably The Dark One’s going to be mad at Anna for taking his hat and maybe that’s a battle that can be fought another day. Buying off a pirate seems like a much better plan than facing an angry wizard, doesn’t it?
The two manage to find Blackbeard (aboard the Jolly Roger, interestingly enough). They try to deal for the wishing star, but instead they’re ambushed by Prince Hans and his Doucheguards. Blackbeard, it seems, got wind of Anna and Kristoff’s intentions, and Hans was able to convince him to turn the lovebirds over for a great sum of gold. Since Hans wants to rule Arendelle and Blackbeard just wants to get paid, they sail to the middle of the ocean to dispose of the two things standing in their way: Anna and Kristoff. And, since Blackbeard is a villain, he can’t help but regale them with a tale as they travel. Once upon a time, he had a wishing star in his possession, but he already sold it to Anna’s parents, who couldn’t even use the damn thing because they weren’t pure of heart. And in that amount of time, they’ve managed to make it to the spot where Anna’s parents drowned.
Blackbeard and Hans begin to bind Kristoff and Anna for their plunge into Poseidon’s Graveyard (I assume that they didn’t call it Davy Jones’ Locker because the Pirates of the Caribbean already drove that into the ground), Anna is still sputtering a mile-a-minute, trying to make sense of these events. (I’ll be honest. At that point, so was I). In trying to answer her exasperating questions, Hans drops a bomb: All of Arendelle has been frozen since Anna trapped Elsa in the urn, and they all only unfroze a few days ago.
They’ve all been frozen for thirty years.
We aren’t watching a flashback. This is happening here and now as Ingrid’s curse only broke when she started casting the Shattered Sight curse in Storybrooke. As Kristoff and Anna are bound, loaded into a truck, and unceremoniously pitched into the ocean, Elsa’s on a beach with Emma, holding Anna’s necklace and grieving over her sister.
The trunk sinking and filling with water, Kristoff struggles to break free of his bonds. He manages, and sets to work to free Anna. It seems, though, Anna has lost all hope. She begins to recite wedding vows so that she can marry Kristoff before he dies. We’re also treated to a pull-away shot, which shows that their trunk has landed next to the message-in-a-bottle that Anna’s mother penned for her children just before she died.
And in Storybrooke, Elsa continues to clutch Anna’s necklace and wishes she could see her sister again. That necklace, if you’ll recall, got created by Elsa out of one of their mother’s jewels. Or, it wasn’t a jewel so much, as a wishing star. Elsa has just wished on a wishing star, people! Yes, it is as completely out-of-the-blue and abrupt as you think it is, but there is a lot of plot to cover and not a lot of time left to do it! The trunk pops up out of the water a few yards from where Emma and Elsa are standing, and Anna and Kristoff quickly break free. The barnacle-crusted bottle with Helga’s message to her children came along, as well. Convenient! Except no one notices it so they leave it in the water. Oh well, maybe they’ll get it later?
So, that’s that. Elsa and Anna reunite, everyone is ecstatic, and they all haul ass across town so that the fairies can use some of Anna’s hair in their curse vaccine.
It wasn’t ever going to be that easy, though.
The four arrive at Granny’s to find everything smashed to bits, and everyone missing. Gold managed to lure Belle away from the diner, and Killian seized the opportunity to trap all the fairies in the Sorcerer’s Hat (not that he had a choice, really). So, despite recovering Anna in what would have been the nick of time, there will be no potion and no cure for the town of Storybrooke. Time for Plan B, then.
Plan B is basically locking everyone away while Elsa and Emma try to work against The Snow Queen to break her curse. In the sheriff’s station, Anna and Kristoff share a brief reunion with David (and some jokes about how freakin’ awful David’s hair was when he met Anna) before they lock themselves away in the holding cells. Mary Margaret hands baby Neal to Emma, tearfully telling her that she believes that Emma’s magic will find a way to break the curse, and that she trusts Emma to take care of Neal until that happens. It’s a speech Emma needed to hear from her mother, especially considering this season’s “Mary Margaret Is Kind Of Being A Jerk To Emma” storyline.
Regina, who earlier took Henry to Robin Hood’s camp to warn him of the curse, decides to lock Henry in the Mayor’s office. Regina is full of regrets, but Henry still has his Truest Believer heart. The curse will pass, he assures her, and Operation Mongoose will be back, better than ever.
She seals him away just as Robin Hood rushes to her side. I could give you a breakdown of the adorable things they say to each other, but I won’t ever be able to do it justice. Regina’s terrified of the horrible things the curse will bring out in her. Robin’s convinced he’ll love her anyway. She doesn’t believe him, but she wants to believe him enough to share an extremely hot kiss before she rushes off to her vault.
Rumpel manages to convince Belle to be sealed in a protective spell within the pawn shop. She’s terrified, of course, but he assures her that the curse will pass, and that they’ll be safe together once it’s all over. (LIAR, LIAR PANTS ON FIRE AND SHE IS GONNA LEAVE YOU WHEN SHE FINDS OUT, SIR.) She hides in the back room of the shop as he uses the dagger to cast an enchantment around the building. Killian arrives to deliver his hatful of fairies, but he isn’t happy about it. Rumpelstiltskin, being every inch
the Crocodile that Hook despises, tells Killian to run along and enjoy his last few hours on earth. Just a few more preparations to make before The Dark One crushes Killian’s heart to free himself of the dagger’s control! UGH. RUM. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?
Killian uses that time to find Emma at the sheriff’s station. Their tearful goodbye exchange is fairytale-perfect, except for the part where Emma notices that her mouth feels weird after he’s kissed her. (PROBABLY BECAUSE HE DOESN’T HAVE A HEART).
And so, with Mary Margaret and David locked in their cells, Regina in her vault, Gold standing guard in front of the pawn shop, and Killian chained to a dock for some reason, the curse arrives and falls on Storybrooke.
There’s only one more episode until the midseason finale. Once Upon A Time, you have eighty-four minutes to tear the roof off of this piece and put it back on so that I don’t suffer some sort of emotional meltdown while you’re on hiatus. Get to it.
The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 8:00 pm on ABC.