Emilie de Ravin

All posts tagged Emilie de Ravin

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Last week’s Once Upon a Time ended abruptly, with Emma reeling in the town’s square, dazed in her pursuit of The Author. This week begins exactly as we left, with Emma running through the town. Mary Margaret and David catch up to her, and she pauses.

They’ve lost The Author, and they need to find him. As Emma pants, Mary Margaret confesses that she and David know The Author from a long time ago. He’s the one who tricked them into dooming Maleficent’s child. They try to explain themselves, but Emma is still furious with their manipulation. They’ve controlled her entire destiny so she could become The Savior and they did so at the expense of an innocent child’s soul. But she doesn’t care to discuss it further. She reminds them again that they need to find The Author before Gold does.

They don’t, of course. As The Author races through the woods outside Storybrooke, he pauses to grab a stick and begins to carve a pen. Gold interrupts him, reminding him that the quill will only be magic if it comes from an enchanted pen, and there are no such trees in Storybrooke. The Author, sneering at having to speak to The Dark One, curses his reminder and moves to walk away.

Gold then produces the kind of pen that The Author is looking for. There’s no magic to be found in this world, but magical items brought over from other realms will still work. He’s got himself a magic quill, and he’ll give it to The Author so long as he uses it to write a whole bunch of happy endings.

The Author begrudgingly accepts, and Gold whisks them off in a cloud of purple smoke before The Charmings, Killian, and Henry charge into the clearing where the two just stood.

Cut to Regina’s vault, where she’s still unconscious and restrained. She awakens to find Gold standing before her. She’s his prisoner now, she supposes. He reminds her that she chose to go against him and had been caught. Regina bristles as he reprimands her poor decisions, incredulous that he once told her he cared about her happiness and now he’s holding her hostage.

It’s true, he admits, that he cared about her happiness. But in truth he cares about his own happiness more, and isn’t afraid to use her or eliminate her if she gets in the way of his. Regina wonders what could have happened to him to make him so heartless. He lost everything, he replies, but he found other things. Like a phone number for Robin Hood.

Regina knows that Gold is up to something and demands to know what he’s holding back. He shrugs, removes her bonds, and hands her a phone. He suggests she find out for herself. Suspicious, but unable to do anything to stop herself, she dials the phone.

But before the call can go through, we’re taken to nine weeks ago. We see Robin leave Storybrooke with Marian and Roland, and I cry just as hard as I did the first time. The trio winds up in New York City, looking for Baelfire’s old apartment. Regina had given Robin the keys that she had (somehow?) and a map. They aren’t finding their way through the city well, and as they pause to resituate their baggage and Roland, a man comes along and, in NYC fashion, grabs one of their bags and runs off.

Robin is frantic, but spies a horse from a nearby hansom carriage. He steals it and gives chase to the thief. In a very impressive pursuit scene, he chases the thief down and overtakes him. As he tackles him to the ground, Robin admonishes the thief’s lack of honor. Silly Robin. Thieves in New York in 2015 don’t have honor!

Eventually, Robin reunites with his family and they find Baelfire’s apartment. Marian is tending to a cut on Robin’s forehead when they hear someone trying to open the front door. They stash Roland in the back, grab some impromptu weapons, and wait as the door swings open.

Gold staggers into the apartment, looking horrible and then enraged as he sees the Hoods there when he expected to have the place to himself. The two men get into an argument over who should have the apartment, and as things get heated, Gold grabs his chest and collapses.

(Here my notes say “IT’S A GOOD DAMN THING THAT THIS WAS NINE WEEKS AGO AND I KNOW HE’S NOT DEAD RIGHT NOW.”)

In a critical care unit waiting room, Robin holds an iPhone. The screen waits patiently. Call Regina? But before he can decide anything, a nurse calls him and tells him that his “friend” is awake.

Robin goes to see Gold, who looks exactly like everyone looks in a hospital gown and hooked up to machines: like hammered shit. Robin enquires to his condition. Gold snorts, saying he was told it was a heart attack and got advice about diet and exercise. Robin understands that Gold is unimpressed with modern medicine. The problem isn’t physical, Gold continues, it’s moral. His heart is contaminated with all the dark deeds he’s done. In Storybrooke he used magic to keep him intact but outside it’s catching up to him. He needs Robin to fetch a certain potion for him that could fix his problem.

Robin wonders why on earth he’d do something like help Rumpelstiltskin. But Rumpelstiltskin knows Robin’s heart, or at least his honor. He’ll help him because it’s the honorable thing to do, and it would be a disservice to the sacrifice he made in giving up Regina if he forsakes that honor now. Looking much like everyone else who gets backed into a deal with The Dark One, Robin agrees.

Gold directs him to an abandoned antique furniture store that belonged to The Wizard of Oz after Zelena sent him to New York City to keep an eye on Emma when she crossed over. The name of the store? “The Wizard of Oak.” Yup, because this show has a pathological and delicious obsession with terrible magic puns. Anyway, Robin breaks in and immediately triggers a burglar alarm. He ransacks the dusty store, finding what he was looking for just in time. The cops come rolling up outside, but Robin smashes through a window and manages to escape.

He doesn’t immediately return the potion to the hospital, though. He goes home and confesses the past few hours events to Marian. She is completely against helping someone like Rumpelstiltskin and says as much. Robin explains the dire situation, but Marian is unmoved. Maybe letting someone like him die will be for the greater good. Robin is appalled—the Marian he married would never say something like that. “Look around, Robin,” Marian retorts. “Everything has changed.”

“Not me,” Robin replies. He leaves to take the potion to Gold in the hospital. He seems more agitated by Marian’s objections to following through on his duty to Rumpelstiltskin, and maybe it’s not only because Marian seemed so callous.

See, a long time ago, in the Sherwood Forest, Robin of Locksley was trying to clean up his act. He was working at a barkeep in a tiny village, obviously in love with the waitress (like every restaurant you’ve ever been to. Keep that in mind the next time you go out to eat. One of the bartenders is unstoppably in love with one of the servers. Gender nonspecific.) Anyway, he’s working at the tavern but it’s kind of a hole so nobody’s making much money. That’s especially unfortunate because Robin has wound up super-behind on his taxes and the Sherriff of Nottingham comes to collect. The two have a tense conversation and Nottingham eventually agrees to give Robin a two day extension, knowing that he’ll fail. Then, after Robin is in debtor’s prison, he can snatch up Marian for himself like she’s some kind of property. Which, she quickly interjects, she is not. Smirking and dismissing her rejection, he reinforces the two day deadline and leaves.

Robin was in trouble and not sure how to get out of it. Because The Dark One must be able to sense these kind of things, he visits Robin that evening with a deal for him. Robin’s the best thief around, and Rumpelstiltskin needs him to go steal something for him that he can’t take for himself. He’ll be rewarded handsomely for his troubles. Robin hesitates, but in the glow of the golden straw that Rumpelstiltskin extends, he accepts.

Rumpelstiltskin sends Robin to Oz to retrieve The Elixir of The Wounded Heart in a little curtained archway and a ball of magic. It’s no Kansas Dustbowl-era farmhouse, but it still manages to land on someone just in time to save someone else. A member of the royal guard has been knocked out by Robin’s blind landing, leaving Will Scarlett shaken but relatively unharmed.

The two men regard each other, quickly recognizing the other as a thief. Will encourages Robin to trust him, saying that the two are both in a bit of a predicament so it would be wise to help one another out. Robin discloses his mission to Will, and Will agrees to help Robin and dispose of the guard on the condition that Robin also steal some of this elixir for Will to sell to the highest bidder. Robin, realizing he’s getting a pretty good deal in a bad situation, agrees.

He steals the guards uniform and makes off to the palace, eventually finding himself in what would become the Wizard’s throne room. He begins rifling through the treasures there, eventually finding the elixir and pouring some of it into vials.

Zelena catches him red handed. She quickly deduces that he was sent by Rumpelstiltskin, and, rather than be enraged, she’s more amused by the little thief Rumpelstiltskin sent in his stead. She begins to engage him with magic, but Robin manages to create a diversion and escape. As he flees, we hear glass shattering.

He returns to find Will waiting for him outside the city’s walls. There, Robin tells Will that he’s failed his mission but thanks him profusely for his help. Will isn’t upset by Robin’s failure. He understands that Robin is desperately trying to turn things around for the sake of his true love Marian. Robin,

uncomfortable with Will’s flattery, suggests that he return to his realm and Will goes to accompany him. As Will starts out ahead, Robin reaches within his cloak. He’s a liar. He managed to steal one vial—the vial he needs for Rumpelstiltskin.

They make it back to the archway, and Will continues to praise Robins honor, and Robin grows more and more uncomfortable. For a thief, Will has a terrible poker face. Robin figures out that Will didn’t want to sell the elixir, but to use it himself, to heal his own broken heart. His sister, Will confesses, loved him truly, but she drowned and her loss has grieved him unrelentingly ever since. Robin, trying not to look absolutely ill as he continues his lie, wishes him the best. They shake hands, and then he slips through the curtain which disappears behind him, and Will continues along the Yellow Brick Road. Soon, though, Will realizes something is jabbing him in the ribcage. He reaches into his vest pocket and pulls out the elixir that Robin slipped into his pocket as they bade farewell to each other. Smiling, Will continues along.

And so maybe Robin has more of a debt to Rumpelstiltskin than he’s told Marian. That doesn’t stop him from demanding a further deal with Gold after he gets to the hospital, though. He wants Gold to vacate the apartment and leave Robin and his family stay there. Desperate for the potion, Gold agrees. Robin leaves, and Gold opens the vial and downs it immediately.

He waits, the angle shifts around the room and nothing happens. Confused and enraged, Gold shouts at the vial, “Why is it not working?!”

“Because it’s not real magic,” a female voice replies.

Marian walks into the room in a pronouncedly casual cantor, holding a vial in her hands. He just drank cough syrup—good for congestion but not great for healing wickedly black hearts.

Further agitated, Gold demands to know why she’s done such a thing when he’s done her no harm. Done her no harm? Marian doesn’t know about that. Well, not exactly.

She reaches beneath her shirt to reveal a pendant, and in a swirl of magic, turns into Zelena.

ZELENA. BACK. IN THE FLESH. IN NEW YORK CITY NINE WEEKS AGO.

This is no longer dropping bombs. We are getting shelled with plot twists. God, I hope it lasts.

Gold is incredulous that she’s survived, but she explains that she managed to extract her lifeforce from her body before he shattered it with the dagger. And then, she followed Emma and Killian through the time portal and followed them throughout their time-fixing adventure. Emma knocked Marian unconscious and they left her unattended, killed her and used a glamor spell to take her place.

SO MARIAN HAS BEEN DEAD AND ZELENA HAS BEEN MARIAN THIS WHOLE TIME. THINGS MAKE SO MUCH MORE SENSE. I MAY HAVE SCREAMED EVEN MORE THAN I AM RIGHT NOW.

Gold is reeling and Zelena continues to taunt him—his son wasn’t avenged after all! He’s failed in so many ways! And now she has the elixir that he’ll die without.

He flatlines. Zelena, utterly unconcerned, regards his body and listens to his chest. “Hollow,” she declares and the show cuts to a commercial.

I usually don’t note when commercial breaks happen because it’s not usually all that important but I would like everyone to know that the four-or-so minutes during the commercial break that I spent willing myself to not look at the internet to assure myself that someone in Eastern Daylight Time had already posted that Rumpelstiltskin wasn’t really dead were the longest of my life and all I did was capslock-scream into my notes for the entire time.

Anyway, Gold comes to with a tube in his throat and Zelena by his side. She knows he’s in trouble, and she’ll give him the elixir he needs, so long as she gets a happy ending from The Author. She also wants a truce between them, with the understanding that Zelena has the upper hand. Powerless and helpless as he was when he begged Killian for Milah’s life all those years ago, Rumpelstiltskin accepts.

Gold is discharged and doesn’t return to the apartment. Robin gets in contact with him, wanting to give him a box of Baelfire’s things that they found. Gold declines. The box has things that belonged to Neil Cassidy, who was a boy abandoned in this world by his coward father. It’s just a reminder of a happiness that Rumpelstiltskin had within his grasp but was too greedy and couldn’t recognize it.

The conversation drifts to Robin’s troubles with Marian. He means to remain true to her, but she seems so different from the woman he married (OH GEE I WONDER WHY). He misses Regina terribly but he can’t allow himself to leave Marian. Gold suggests that Robin assess his situation and advises that he hold onto happiness with both hands if it comes within his reach.

Robin departs and goes home to take a shower, angrily.

He recalls what happened two days after he abandoned his deal with Rumpelstiltskin. Nottingham came to collect from Robin but found him unable to pay. Nottingham moves to arrest Robin, but the Merry Men spring from hiding places around the tavern to defend him. Robin explains that he knows that he’s a failure as a barkeep, but he’s good at being a thief. He just wants to be a thief with honor. And so, he’ll steal from the rich and give to the needy, starting with Nottingham and his men, since they’re vastly outnumbered and holding quite a lot of gold that they don’t deserve.

Robin and his men relieve the troops of their gold, which he immediately turns over to the villagers. They celebrate and dance with joy like villagers do. Marian is impressed with Robin’s valiant thievery. Robin is incredulous, but Marian vows to support her husband the bandit so long as he does so with honor. It won’t be easy, since Nottingham will be calling for Robin of Locksley’s head, so Robin decides to become Robin Hood. The two begin their life together on the run not only from Nottingham but from Rumpelstiltskin, who didn’t give up his gold but who also didn’t get his potion. Robin managed to lift a charm from Zelena’s vault that will perform a glamor spell, so hopefully that will help somehow!

He exits the shower to find Marian (ZELENA. OH MY GOD NO WONDER SHE HATED REGINA SO MUCH) holding his phone. She found the screen still waiting to call Regina, and she doesn’t want to get in the way of Robin’s happiness (it’s so easy to say that when you know the person will never leave you, eh?).

Robin refuses, re-declares his love for Marian, and deletes Regina’s number. The two embrace, and the scene cuts away to reveal Robin sharing a love-affirming kiss with Zelena in the mirror opposite them.

And then we’re back to the present, with Rumpelstiltskin watching as Regina dials the phone and waits for an answer.

It’s not Robin who answers, though. It’s Marian, who quickly confesses that she’s Zelena, and that she’s got Robin Hood under her thumb, and so Regina better go along with everything she’s told or Robin will get it. It’s a hell of a conversation between two sisters who hate each other, filled with top-drawer Soap Opera Sorceress Queen dialogue that anyone could ever hope for. The phone call ends, and Gold approaches Regina. Yeah, he’s been deceiving her and he doesn’t care. He needs her to do as she’s told for the sake of his happy ending, or Robin Hood is gonna sleep with the fishes. Regina tries to resist him and hands him back the phone.

Gold asks her if she’s sure (actually he says “is that your final answer” and someone should get fired for that line because Bobby Carlyle shouldn’t have to say something that Regis Philbin made famous). Regina’s eyes fill with tears, then her expression hardens.

The End! They’ll continue living traumatically ever after next week!

Courtesy of ABC

Courtesy of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Last week’s mid-season premiere of Once Upon a Time gave me reason to be hopeful for the direction the show is headed in. This felt particularly good, because I was not particularly optimistic after being unexpectedly disappointed by this season’s first half. While part of me is really excited to see the storyline focus on my favorite characters, another part of me is prepared for some really terrible things to happen, because there’s no way Rumpelstiltskin is losing Belle and going down without a fight, and since this is a soap opera about fairy tales I can anticipate that the drama is going make me cry so hard I’ll mess up someone else’s eyeliner. And I would have to, since I don’t wear eyeliner. But anyway.

We left off with Mary Margaret and David sweating hard over Cruella and Ursula becoming the latest residents of Storybrooke. Our heroes have some sort of terrible secret involving those two and Maleficent. Mary Margaret is having nightmares, which leads to late-night whispered conversations over scotch with David. This secret, it’s a whopper, and they’re willing to do anything in their power to get Cruella and Ursula out of Storybrooke before anyone catches on to their secret history. Mary Margaret finds little comfort in the fact that Maleficent is dead. It seems like in OUAT Magic Law, people steeped in dark magic are slightly more resurrect-able than the average non-magic shlub. The Charmings want to act quickly against their newest neighbors before any terrible secrets are revealed.

You see, a long time ago, in The Enchanted Forest, Snow White and Prince Charming were returning from their honeymoon. Snow White is anxious to begin their reign as King and Queen, but things are off to a rocky start—they discover that their guards and the entire city inside the castle walls have fallen to a sleeping curse. They suspect Regina, but it’s Maleficent, Ursula, and Cruella who emerge to greet the returning heroes. They want an audience with the newlyweds, and they claim to have good reason.

That good reason, it turns out, is that they have evidence that Regina’s threat at the Charming’s wedding wasn’t just a bluff. Maleficent admits that Regina stole The Dark Curse, and it’s nothing to be trifled with. They think they might be able to figure out how to get around the curse and the devastation it will bring, but they’re gonna need Their Highness’ help. There’s a fairy-enchanted Tree of Wisdom within The Enchanted Forest, and it can answer any question asked of it. The Queens of Darkness would just ask The Tree themselves, but The Tree is a little picky about who it consorts with. It will take the heart of two valiant heroes to get an answer from it. And Regina is working on that curse so they don’t have much time to lose.

Snow White and Charming briefly deliberate whether or not to trust them, but their status as heroes and monarchs dictate that they do the challenging but honorable thing to try to save their kingdom. Snow White has plenty of reservations, which are realized when Maleficent turns into a dragon to torch some well-meaning, law-abiding bridge guards who refuse passage to the mixed company party. Snow White and Charming are horrified, but Maleficent isn’t fussed over it. By any means necessary, she says. Cruella and Ursula agree.

The next morning the Queens of Darkness are waiting for Snow and Charming to emerge from their tent, but Snow and Charming have split in order to make it to The Tree of Wisdom without the Queens of Darkness. Whatever the tree has to tell them, they can’t trust the Queens of Darkness with that knowledge, they reason. Upon discovering that their traveling companions have beat camp, Maleficent sends of a fiery drone thing from her staff to track them. The Charmings reach The Tree, put their hands in the conveniently placed, hand-shaped molding in some adjacent rocks, and ask how to defeat Regina’s curse. Magic shimmers and pulses outward from the tree in a sharp, red blast. Not much of an answer to their question. Snow and Charming are puzzling over why it didn’t work, and the Queens of Darkness arrive to add their opinions. Their deal isn’t over yet, despite the fact that the Charmings betrayed them, and they need to know why it didn’t work just as badly as the Charmings do.

And Maleficent sees it almost immediately, feeling foolish for not realizing it before. Snow is pregnant. The child she carries is the product of True Love; therefore, it has the potential for great power and good. But apparently another tenant of OUAT Magic Law is that magic often seeks a balance—and where there is potential for great goodness, there is also potential for great evil. The Tree couldn’t give an answer because the heart of Snow and Charming’s child holds the capacity to become the most powerful villain in all the realms. Ever.

Snow and Charming are bravely unimpressed. They will do whatever it takes to defeat Regina and they are going to win and of course their child will grow up to be good because being good is awesome and the best way to be. Well, that’s their initial reaction, anyway.

And so, in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and David are busy plotting a way to cast out Ursula and Cruella as soon as possible. They’ve arranged to meet Regina at Granny’s, but it gets weird fast because Cruella and Ursula are also there, trying to get the first course of their liquid lunch, but Granny is more interested in chopping lemons and staring at the ceiling than waiting on the two of them. She drops everything for Will Scarlett as he pops in for a couple to-go coffees. As he exits, Regina and Henry enter. Cruella is delighted to see Regina, and asks for a little help convincing the “old bag” to fix them their cocktails. Regina declines, and Ursula and Cruella begin to pop off about Regina’s wicked history of murder and wickedness. Henry is a little uncomfortable, and Regina is furious. Mention her past again, she threatens, and she’ll have the two of them outside the town line before they can say “costume jewelry.” All Hail Regina, Queen of Sass. Pretending to be bored, but probably more than a little intimidated, Cruella and Ursula abandon their plan for drinks.

David is indignant that the two of them would act in such a manner, but Regina wants to be patient with them. She knows what it’s like to be the villain-in-recovery and wants to give them the benefit of the doubt. And besides, she isn’t even worried about their magic. Regina has more power in her lipstick than the two of them have in their whole beings put together. David presses for at least rigorous surveillance, given their sketchy past. Regina agrees, and adds that it sounds like a job for the Sheriff’s Department, not the mayor’s office. She and Henry have to work on the book and she wants zero to do with whatever the Charmings are fretting about.

They all depart the restaurant, and Emma runs into David just outside. She’d planned on meeting them there for lunch and she’s hungry! But David wants to stay hot on Cruella and Ursula’s trail, so he quickly makes up a story about needing to follow the leads they’re leaving and rushes her into the sheriff’s vehicle to give chase.

Cruella and Ursula have given up on drinks in favor of a little shopping. They enter the pawn shop, which Belle is now operating, to be greeted by a sadder, wiser woman than the maid they kidnapped all those years ago. They start trying to Mean-Girls-Regina-George Belle over her breakup/banishment of Rumpelstiltskin. Belle tries to remain calm and distant, but she’s always had a bad poker face. She seems upset at the mention of him, especially as the witches gloat over the miserable condition he’s in. Does she miss him? Or does she just regret that she had to cast him out?

It doesn’t matter. Cruella and Ursula aren’t even there to talk about The Dark One. While they’re distracting Belle, Ursula slithers a tentacle around the shop to lift a wooden box with Maleficent’s crest on it out of the back room of the shop. With the item secured, and Belle’s patience running out, Cruella asks for a hood ornament for her car, and Belle goes to check the inventory.

As Belle searches, Cruella sends a text message. In the most powerful magic I’ve witnessed since the beginning of the show, the text is received several hundred feet underneath the library in a cave that served as Maleficent-The-Dragon’s jail cell. The text was to Rumpelstiltskin, of course. And since the birds have the package, it’s time to gather the dragon’s ashes and start to work resurrecting her.

Emma and David have staked out the pawn shop, waiting for Cruella and Ursula to emerge. Emma is more than a little mystified about David’s urgency and short answers regarding the pair. She presses David a little, but she’s cut short as the women exit the pawn shop. He orders Emma to call Belle to see if anything was taken as he speeds off after them.

Over the phone, Belle tells Emma that she believes something is, indeed missing. A wooden box. Well, Belle, at least you managed to notice what was missing after they left, I guess? That being reason enough to pull them over, David does so immediately.

He orders Cruella and Ursula out of the car and begins to search it. He performs a Hank-Schrader-esque smack to the seat of the car, revealing a hidden compartment with the stolen box inside. He opens the box, and, seeing that it contains what looks to be a sparkly egg in a crow’s claw, gives the all-clear that he didn’t find anything. Emma apologizes for the inconvenience in a rather unconvincing way. David is also rude, and the women are ruffled but clearly relieved that he didn’t seem to have found anything. Emma, disturbed that Belle would have reported something missing that wasn’t really missing, wonders if they hadn’t found another way to hide it. She wants to get a look at the security footage from around the pawn shop to see if there’s anything suspicious. David thinks it’s a great plan, and suggests that Emma return to the station to review security footage and that he go home. He’s palmed the object from the wooden box and wants to get it to Mary Margaret as soon as possible.

He’s not entirely sure what it is, he confesses, but the fact that her two witch friends wanted it means that it’s got to have something to do with resurrecting her. Right? Sure, Mary Margaret agrees. And that needs to never happen because of That Terrible Secret. They figure the only way to make absolutely sure that she isn’t resurrected is to go gather her ashes from the cave and throw them in the harbor. Seems like a solid enough plan.

Back at the sheriff’s station, Emma is reviewing the security footage and is soon joined by Hook, bringing her the much-sought-after grilled cheese sandwich. He wins major boyfriend points! But he loses them pretty quickly when Emma inquires after the brief encounter they had with Ursula earlier in the day. She appeared to know him, ahem, quite well, and Hook wasn’t very convincing or specific in his explanation of their previous relationship. Emma tries again, and Hook clumsily dodges the question again. Emma knows he’s holding something back, but he won’t say anything else. After a very awkward pause, he wishes her luck on the witch hunt and skips out.

Mary Margaret and David are packing up for their excursion to Maleficent’s tomb. Emma, having found something soon after her standoff with Hook and eager to be distracted from her problems, bounds up to the two of them. Security footage shows Cruella and Ursula on the street with the box! She assumes David will want to move on it directly.

But he has dragon ashes to destroy, and he can’t tell Emma that. So, he bluffs about hiking and redemption and the benefit of the doubt, with Mary Margaret chirping in about changing attitudes and reflection on themselves. Emma gets Superpower Face, but appears convinced by her parent’s hearts-of-gold aura. She returns to the sheriff’s station, and Mary Margaret and David exchange the look parents give each other when their kid is juuuuuuust about to find out the truth about Santa Claus.

In the mines on the way to the cavern, Mary Margaret worries over their lies to Emma. David is less remorseful, affirming that they did what they had to do to protect Emma, and they will continue to do so. They reach the cavern and find a pile of ashes in the middle. But, it’s a trap! Cruella and Ursula are waiting for them and quickly render them unconscious. Rumpelstiltskin joins them, asking assurance that his involvement remains a secret. He inquires if Belle suspects anything, but Cruella and Ursula say she didn’t ask about him and seems to have moved on. Well, liar, liar, pants on fire! But what exactly do they have to gain by lying about that, other than watching The Dark One squirm? Well, do you need a better reason?

A bit too coolly, Rumpelstiltskin hands Cruella a dagger and completely disregards her comments about Belle. He reminds her that she “knows what to do,” and leaves directly. Ursula is tempted to just kill them, but Cruella reminds her that there is so much suffering in their future, killing them would be a waste. Of course the trinket was just a ruse to get them to the cavern—what they really need to resurrect Maleficent is the blood of the people who wronged her most, and with Snow and Charming there, they have exactly that.

Maleficent is resurrected in a really badass-looking ball of fire and magic, turning into a dragon first, and then into her human form. Mary Margaret and David regain consciousness and begin to beg and plead explanations to Maleficent. But she isn’t interested. She doesn’t care about their secret, she doesn’t care if anyone ever finds out how exactly they hurt her so terribly. All she wants is their complete and utter suffering. And she’s certain she’s going to get it.

The Queens of Darkness stalk off, leaving Mary Margaret and David to revel in their terror. Mary Margaret realizes that they should have seen the trap coming, but they were so terrified to reveal their secret that they let that blind them to reason. David agrees. They have to tell Emma everything. They go to the sheriff’s station to do just that.

But when they get there, they walk in on Emma having a conversation with Hook. She admits that she isn’t happy about Hook so obviously lying to her, but she is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Her parents, she explains, always look for the good in people and so will she. Upon overhearing this, it’s clear that the Charmings can’t tell their daughter the truth just yet. They need another plan.

And so, after breaking up the romantic scene between their daughter and the pirate captain, they inform them that Maleficent has been resurrected and trouble is assuredly on its way. Hook and Emma are concerned and maybe a little annoyed—what beef does Maleficent have with them, and why would she come after them now? Because they’re heroes, Mary Margaret explains. But we all know that isn’t the reason.

In The Enchanted Forest, after Snow’s pregnancy is revealed, Maleficent pays her a visit in the middle of the night. Just girl talk, between the two of them, she insists. They have something in common more than anyone else in their partnership right now. Maleficent is pregnant, too. And she needs to work with whoever she can to ensure that her child is safe. It’s a compelling argument, but not enough to convince Snow to align herself with the Queens of Darkness. Her child’s capacity for darkness will surely overwhelm her if they turn to darkness to defeat Regina. Maleficent is taken aback—Snow White would see a kingdom destroyed to ensure that her child grows up to be a hero? Snow White isn’t moved. She will defeat Regina because that’s what good does and she doesn’t need help from the likes of Maleficent.

And so the mystery of What The Charmings Did To The Queens of Darkness begins to unravel.

So, since the Queens of Darkness want revenge, a plan must be devised to deal with them. Mary Margaret meets Regina in the rain at night, because that’s how secret pacts are made. Regina is exhausted from a day of trying to extract knowledge about The Book from a very not-remembering-anything Pinocchio (in which she totally snapped at the kid, and then tearfully apologized to Gepetto, and then Gepetto took pity on her and gave her some of August-The-Man’s old things that he saved when he got turned back into Pinocchio by The Blue Fairy which will hopefully help her), and encourages Mary Margaret to cut to the chase.

And so she does. She confesses that because of what she and Charming did, Maleficent lost her child, and that Maleficent is seeking revenge on all of Storybrooke for her suffering. They need Regina to go undercover to discover what they’re plotting and how to put a stop to it. And, above all, Emma must never ever ever find out about her potential for darkness, because she’s so close to being really and truly good. As her mother, Mary Margaret can’t allow this to happen. Regina is doubtful, but eventually agrees that she needs to do something heroic if she’s going to be a hero, after all.

Just in case there wasn’t enough Rumpelstiltskin-and-Belle angst in this episode, during Mary Margaret’s tearful confession to Regina about her past betrayal of Maleficent, we see Rumpelstiltskin looking into the pawnshop’s window at Belle, who is hanging ornaments in the display. She’s soon joined by Will Scarlett. The two smile and kiss and Rumpelstiltskin leans back against the wall like he’s having a heart attack. So, there’s that weekly break-your-heart-into-a-thousand-pieces-Rumbelle scene.
And that’s it till next week!

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

When we left Storybrooke in the mid-season finale, Rumpelstiltskin had been banished by Belle after she discovered that he’d deceived her about his dagger (and also stopped him from killing Hook). Regina had watched Robin Hood walk out of Storybrooke to save Marian’s life. The fairies had been sucked into the Sorcerer’s Amazing Magic-Stealing Dream Hat. The Arendellers had gone back to Arendelle and not a minute too soon. Henry had discovered the Author’s book binding room. Rumpel is skulking around New York City, trying to gather some firepower to do… something that is probably not good.

I’m going to interject here and clarify that, after rewatching 4A during the hiatus, I am officially not a fan of the Frozen storyline. It felt unnecessary and awkward, at best. It never developed into a cohesive narrative about any of the characters. Things happened and people reacted but somehow we wound up with nothing substantive happening to any of the main characters except for Regina, Robin, Rumpel, and Belle getting their hearts broken. The mysteries were too conveniently solved while obvious questions went largely unanswered. Overall, I’d like to put that unpleasantness behind us and move forward with season four, and hopefully villains getting a happy ending won’t end with me getting my heart broken. But, no judgments yet. Let’s say at least it can only go up from here.

Well, maybe not. Tonight’s opening sequence shows The Forbidden Forest, a long time ago, and Ursula tentacle-ing around Maleficent’s castle. Maleficent wasn’t expecting any company, she’s reasonably vexed, and even more so when Cruella de Ville shows up with some very aggro Dobermans. The three women have a bit of an Abbot-and-Costello routine about why they’re all there, but Rumpelstiltskin soon appears to clear things up. He summoned the ladies, he admits. They all may hate each other, but they have something in common. They’re all villains, he explains, and the time has come for the villains to get their happy endings.

So, if this beginning is anything to base the rest of the episode on, maybe things aren’t looking up and Rumpel is embracing his fate as The Dark One. And yeah that seems to be the case. He’s staying at Ursula’s crappy, aquarium-filled Bronx apartment. The two aren’t getting along. Not surprising, really. Ursula is frustrated with their lack of progress and Rumple’s vague promises about happy endings. He rebuffs her—she’s whining because her life is crap. And, as if on cue, the computer in the corner makes a bloop and he informs her that their situation is continuing to improve.

He takes her to a gorgeous mansion on Long Island that’s currently being raided by the FBI. Cruella de Vil is appalled by the “theatrics” of the lawmen as an unattractive, portly man (presumably her very rich and probably criminal husband) is being shoved into the back of a car. Rumpelstiltskin and Ursula waltz into the middle of the scene. Normally you’d think the Feds wouldn’t put up with that, but Robert Carlyle has enough charisma to float right past them, even if he’s walking with a cane.

Cruella and Rumpelstiltskin exchange un-pleasantries, but eventually he convinces her to come along for another shot at happy endings. She opens a garage door to reveal that signature car, which has been illustrated as a Panther Deville in the 101 Dalmatians novel and subsequent animated movies, and is being represented here by a 1980s Zimmer Golden Spirit. Not bad. The Dark One gives directions to Storybrooke, and they’re on their way.

Back in Storybrooke, life is getting on as usual as it usually does. Regina is slowly trying to put her life back together and has been reinstated as mayor. Hook and Emma look happy as coffee-drinking clams. Emma has her badge and her leather coat and is back to work as sheriff, and Hook is working on undoing some of the damage he did while under the thrall of The Dark One. He’s started working on how to get the fairies out of the hat, with an police-style bulletin board set up in the library. Belle is assisting him, going through ancient books of magic, trying to translate them. She’s even sent out certain passages to world-renowned linguists, hoping for some help.

Hook is frustrated with the lack of progress, but Belle remains hopeful. Or, as hopeful as someone with a totally devastated and broken heart can be. She speaks of her relationship with Rumpelstiltskin as a mistake in judgment, trying to put it behind her, but her eyes well up with tears when the words come out. Hook tries to reassure her that, regardless of what Rumpelstiltskin did wrong, he did love Belle very much. Belle agrees, and admits that she hopes that he finds whatever it is he’s been looking for.

Emma meets up with Regina, who is poring over one of the blank books from the Sorcerer’s mansion. Regina is trying to put on a brave face, but it’s clear she’s been devastated by her lost love as well. She’s attempting to have one of her barbed-tongued rapports with Emma, but is stopped short when Emma discovers the picture of Regina and Robin that she tore to shreds in the last episode. Helpless, Regina admits that she can’t help but keep it, even if it’s just a cruel joke.

Before she can go to pieces, the women get a call. One of Belle’s linguistic experts, a professor at Oxford, has panned out, and they now know how to get the fairies out of the hat! They’ll just need Regina’s magic to do it, of course.

The crew heads out into the woods to set up the necessary torch fires and other things one needs when one is attempting to release magical entities from a Magic-Stealing Dream Hat. It’s dramatic, but it works, and with a blast of golden light, the fairies are huddled in a mass in the clearing. Everyone’s so concerned over the fairies they don’t notice the black smoke that seeps from the hat box, roiling along the forest floor before it grows wings, develops glowing red eyes, and wings off into the sky.

That demon has a history, of course. Back in the Forbidden Forest, Rumpelstiltskin is leading Ursula, Maleficent, and Cruella through the catacombs of Bald Mountain. He’s explained that the way to their happy endings happens to be the darkest curse ever created, and it’s being kept there. They make it through the magic booby traps Harry Potter Style, with each witch displaying a certain talent to get through them. Cruella mind-controls some bugs, Maleficent eats some fire, and Ursula’s tentacles snatch the curse from its hiding place.

But there’s just one more thing. The curse is also guarded by a Chernobog—a demon who seeks to destroy the wickedest heart he can find. Rumpelstiltskin explains this as he grabs the curse and peaces out, leaving the witches to fight the demon. They manage, although barely, but their alliance is solidified. In the years subsequent, that demon somehow managed to find its way into the Sorcerer’s Hat, waiting until now to be released.

The Chernobog needs to gather strength, apparently, so it flaps off while the rest of the town gathers at Granny’s to celebrate the return of the fairies. Mother Superior is off in a corner, trying to readjust to life on the outside and looking rather sick about it all. Henry doesn’t seem concerned by this, and he encourages Regina to ask her about the blank books.

Mother Superior recognizes the book, and reveals that, even though the books were in the Sorcerer’s mansion, the Sorcerer isn’t the Author. The Author is a totally different guy. He disappeared a long time ago, and no one’s really sure how or why. They’re trying to figure out a way to find him (he left some clues in his works! Like Henry’s book, perhaps?) when a monstrous scream erupts from outside. Looks like that hellbat has found its strength!

Everyone rushes into the streets (because why wouldn’t you do that when you hear terrible screams?) to find the Chernobog sitting atop the clock tower. He takes off as soon as Regina, Emma, Mary Margaret, David, and Hook emerge from Granny’s. They take cover behind a building in order to construct a plan to deal with this. Well, first, Emma makes a punchy remark about accidentally unleashing a demon while freeing the fairies, but since they’ve all figured out where the beast came from, they decide to make a plan to send it away. They can’t send it back into the hat, though. That’s apparently a one-and-you’re-done kind of deal. Sort of like chicken pox! Belle goes to the library to look for information, Mary Margaret and Hook lead the townspeople to safety, and Emma and Regina hide out in the mayor’s office to try to magic up a plan.

As it so happens, Rumpelstiltskin has arrived at the town line with Ursula and Cruella. Here, he reveals more of his plan. The two witches are to make contact with the Magic Dream Team in Storybrooke and offer their help with whatever problem they may be having. They’ll say they’ve changed their ways, like Regina has, and they’re looking for somewhere to start their second chance. They’ll make note of whatever magic is used to get them across the town line. Once they’re inside and no one is looking, they’ll use that magic to let The Dark One in.

And so it happens that Ursula calls Regina from Rumpel’s cell phone (they say they stole it from him and left him passed out in a bar, because why wouldn’t you?) just as the Chernobog is flapping around the mayor’s office. Ursula relates her own experience with the creature and offers insight into why it’s after Regina (evil heart!) and how to stop it.

Regina and Emma use their new-found knowledge and decide to blast it over the town line into a world without magic, after a quick call to Mary Margaret and David to let them know what they’re up to. The two take off in Emma’s Bug with the beast hot on their tail. There’s a lot of swerve-y driving, a smashed out windshield, and it ends when Emma stops short to throw the demon, which is now crouched on the roof of her car, over the town line and into nothingness.

Regina and Emma are getting ready to use The Snow Queen’s scroll to let Ursula and Cruella in when Mary Margaret and David show up to the scene. They were, um, going to help fight the beast? Or maybe they just wanted to make a very strong case for keeping the two newcomers out of their town. They’re evil and they shouldn’t be trusted.

Predictably, Regina bristles at their misgivings. She understands, of course, that there’s risk involved, but since she turned over a new leaf, Ursula and Cruella deserve a chance, as well. Emma agrees, and they toss the scroll across to Cruella, who grabs it and drives across the line. Regina offers the warmest welcome you can offer someone when you don’t trust them. Cruella responds in kind, swearing that Regina won’t regret her decision.

Later that night, Rumpelstiltskin is waiting at the town line. He’s leaning on his cane, unshaven and rather disheveled looking. He’s very much Rumpelstiltskin here, not The Dark One or Mr. Gold, but the crippled spinner who doesn’t trust the world and yet somehow can’t stop getting his heart broken by it. He’s been waiting a while, it seems, and just as he’s turning to walk away, a scroll drops behind him. Cruella and Ursula haven’t abandoned him! He limps across the town line, immediately straightening and discarding his cane as his magic returns to him.

The witches begin to press him further about his plan. He reveals that he was the “Oxford professor” who led Belle to the incantation to release the Chernobog. He knew Ursula and Cruella would be able to give insight into its defeat, therefore earning the trust of the Storybrookers. Cruella and Ursula are to continue to establish themselves in town as reformed baddies, while he goes to work on the next part of their plan to claim their happy endings. Ursula is unhappy about having to rub elbows so closely with Regina, but Rumpelstiltskin assures her that Regina isn’t the threat she used to be. And, he adds, she’s not even the biggest threat in town. That Chernobog was going after the heart that had the greatest potential for darkness, and that heart belongs to Emma Swan.

But that’ll be elaborated on another time, I’m sure. For now, they need to work on getting Maleficent back, who is only kind of dead, as it turns out.

At Granny’s, Henry is going over the illustrations in his book, looking for a sign of the Author. Emma and Hook admire what a fine young lad he is. Emma can’t help but admit how relieved she is to be surrounded by his positive influence. Between him and her parents, she says, she’s been forced to become much more of an optimist. Speaking of her parents, they were supposed to be there some time ago. Wonder what’s keeping them?

Well, here’s what’s keeping them. They’re having a secret meeting with Cruella and Ursula, at the edge of town, in the rain. The two couples trade witty remarks (apparently witty remarks are Cruella’s specialty), but Mary Margaret will not have anyone’s crap. They’re welcome in Storybrooke as long as they’re no longer evil. And also they must swear to never ever speak of what happened between the four of them in the Enchanted Forest. Especially not to Emma. Because if they do, Mary Margaret, concludes, Regina won’t be one of their worries, because she’ll rip their hearts out herself.

Ah, Soap Opera Fairytales. I’ve missed you. OUAT has set itself up for a truly interesting plot with relevant things happening to the main characters. It’s been too long since that happened. I’m glad to have it back. See you next week!

The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 8:00 pm on ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

After watching Elsa from the ‘Disney” movie “Frozen,” arrive in Storybrooke, in the opening episode of the fourth season of the ABC Series “Once Upon A Time,”  it’s rather doubtful that many viewers would welcome her willingly to their town. Last week her fear manifested into a fierce snow-monster and this week Elsa apparently traps Emma inside a snow cave.

Elsewhere, Belle and Rumple, are enjoying their honeymoon in a mansion that mysteriously showed up after the second curse and Mr. Gold’s already discovered the house has secrets of its own. Genie, turned Magic Mirror, turned reporter, Sidney Glass has been “framed” once again by Regina, she once again has Glass under glass, to help do her bidding. Her latest plan’s to track down the author of Henry’s book and wreak revenge.

Join Chelle Figler, after the show for her recap of this week’s action in Storybrooke.

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

It’s nice when the thing you’ve been wanting comes through for you.

I suppose that, in a show about fairy tales, I shouldn’t be so surprised I’m so thrilled with the season four premiere of Once Upon A Time. But I’m ecstatic, not just in the storylines, but in this show’s deft ability to make you feel like you’re getting a happy ending even when everything is confusing and troubling and unclear. And, well, it wouldn’t be much of a story if everything were easy, now would it?

Mercifully, we began the episode in the thick of a scene from Frozen, and if I’m not mistaken the release of the pent-up Frozen/Once Upon A Time storyline hype could be seen from space. Much to my personal relief, the storyline instantly became a bit meatier and substantive—the opening sequence recalled the stormy seas tossing around the King and Queen of Arrendale’s ship like a toy in the bath. It’s the same violent storm it was in the movie that will presumably wreck the ship and take their lives, only now we see their mother desperately trying to get a last message to her daughters. The next scene is five years later, with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna laying flowers at their parents graves. It doesn’t appear that they received any message from their late parents, though. Their death still seems mysterious and impossibly vague.

But all isn’t completely unhappy. In this Arendelle, Anna is getting married, and Elsa is actually happy about it! Turns out, despite his more, ahem, rugged qualities, Kristof’s set to marry Princess Anna. Elsa has extended her blessing (presumably a bit blinded by relief that Anna was no longer interested in Hans or any of his politically ambitious brothers), and surprises Anna with their mother’s wedding gown, and a snowflake pendant to wear on her wedding day. (Orphan sister gives other orphan sister mother’s wedding gown. It doesn’t get much more fairytale drama than that, folks. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not gonna try.) While Anna is trying on the dress in the turret attic where Elsa surprised her, Elsa finds a diary belonging to her mother. A diary that, of course, just happens to have a vaguely worded passage about the journey that was their doom. They might have told their daughters they were on a diplomatic mission, but the diary reveals that the trip was regarding Elsa and her incredibly strong powers.

True to the regal-yet-somehow-also-uncertain Elsa we know from Frozen, she’s consumed with guilt and horrified by this revelation. Anna, also familiar in her enthusiastic, fearless-if-not-somewhat-reckless self, attempts to diffuse her sister’s worries, even taking her to see her future in-laws, the rock trolls. I was kind of concerned that we wouldn’t get rock trolls in this mashup, but there they were, with their goofy, earnest demeanor and pleasantly distracting humors. Grandpoppy Troll was his mystic self as well, examining the diary and offering clues to where the sisters’ parents had traveled. It seems that they were attempting to reach a land of magic called Misthaven. Of course, Anna wants to chase after them (regardless of the fact that her wedding is the next day). Elsa, of course, forbids it. And, as we find out in our delightful introduction to Kristoff in the conversation he has with Elsa later on, Anna, of course, departs anyway.

But, of course, none of this tells us why Elsa was in an urn in Rumplestiltskin’s vault, why she reanimated on Zelena’s time portal, or what she’s going to do once she realizes she’s in Storybrooke.

Elsa’s introduction to Storybrooke comes as she’s walking on the road into town and nearly gets taken out by the Dwarves’ van as they head home from Prince Neal’s christening party (who let Sleepy drive? And people should really not walk on the road in the dark in this town). Elsa’s powers still seem driven mostly by fear, as she freezes the van in a blast of ice by simply cowering and bracing for impact. The dwarves picked a good time to leave that party, though, because things got pretty ugly when Robin Hood (and everyone else at the party) tried to introduce Maid Marian to Regina. I appreciate the unshakable fairytale optimism of the citizens of the Enchanted Forest, although someone maybe should have had a second thought about that introduction, considering that Regina is the one who sentenced Maid Marian to death, and because Regina kind of has a thing going on with Robin Hood. Marian, presumably overwhelmed by being saved from execution, traveling through time, and being reunited with her husband and son, has a bit of a meltdown and begins shouting about all the terrible things Regina has done. At this point, Regina seems overwhelmed herself, and abruptly leaves. Is she returning home to accept another ruined romance’s fate? Is she plotting revenge against Emma for spoiling her happiness again? Or maybe she just wants to get Maid Marian out-of-the-way…

Robin Hood pays her a visit the next morning, and in a conversation that I sincerely hoped would end differently, he affirms Regina’s worthiness and goodness, admits that he’s made his mistakes in the past, and then tells her that he must honor the “till death do us part” part of his marriage vows. Regina tearfully accepts his explanation. Upon finding herself alone again, she has the most beautiful, dramatic, soap-opera-brokenhearted-lover meltdown, complete with eyeliner-smearing and broken glass. Yeah, I just said broken glass. She broke a mirror, actually. A mirror! Hey, you know who we haven’t seen since he took the fall for Regina’s attempted murder of Katherine way back in season one?

Yup. Sidney Glass, aka the Magic Mirror, aka the Genie in the Lamp, is back, which makes my Giancarlo Esposito loving heart sing! He’s promptly extracted from the psychiatric ward he’d been locked up in, and it appears he’s eager that he’s back at his mistress’ beck and call. And what a beck and call it is. Regina confides her plot to go back in time and kill Marian, which will then leave her free to pursue a future with Robin Hood. She casts Sidney back into the mirror to recall exactly why she’d sentenced Marian to death to begin with. We’re treated to The Evil Queen at her merciless, leather-clad best, scoffing in the face of Marian’s pleas for mercy. Desperate and enraged by Regina’s ruthlessness, Marian mocks Regina’s cold heart and taunts her for her inability to love. The scene fades, and we find Regina welling up with tears again. Is she terrified of her former self? Or is the Light Magic she was able to use to defeat Zelena changing her heart after all? (I did not shout “Stay strong, Regina! You’re a badass all on your own! Rise above!” at my television, but I wanted to.)

She has some time to think on it, though. See, Elsa’s still leaving a slug-like frost trail around Storybrooke, which Emma and Hook are following, because once Grumpy and the other Dwarves came to from their accident, they ran into town in hysterics about a new sorcerer in town (and yes that is a run-on to end all run-ons but this is Once Upon a Time we’re talking about here and if there’s one thing this show isn’t short on, it’s plot points. So. Pressing on.) Emma and Hook manage to track the trail into a conveniently placed warehouse, where Elsa cowers in a corner. Fearing her pursuers, she creates an abominable snowman-monster to attack them. The monster begins to wreak havoc on Storybrooke while the citizens run and flail in panic. That would sound ridiculous, except it’s Once Upon a Time so instead it’s a clever, light-hearted bit of relief in an otherwise emotionally intense episode.

And even though everything up to this point has been intense, we haven’t even talked about Rumpelstiltskin and Belle, and it has taken every ounce of self-control I have to not simply submit “OH MY GOD DID YOU SEE RUMPLE AT THE CEMETERY TALKING TO BAELFIRE’S GRAVE AND THEN THERE WAS A DANCE AND THEY ARE THE MOST ADORABLE COUPLE THAT HAS EVER EXISTED” as my entire post for this episode. Rumple’s ugly-cry-inducing goodbye to Baelfire included a heartbreaking story about a man who tried to protect his son in a time of war, as well as his confession about the dagger-switch, and a pledge to live his life with Belle in a way that would honor Baelfire’s sacrifice.

Presumably that also involves following Belle to a giant, empty house (that she found while out hiking one day) to begin their honeymoon. Because, in a tiny town of witches and sorcery and mystical creatures and magic, a mansion in the middle of the woods with no one living in it isn’t suspicious at all, and instead is probably just waiting for someone who wants to live in it. Okay, so that plot point is a little wobbly but I love these two together so much that I decided to overlook it, mostly because their first dance as husband and wife distracted me. Full Beauty and the Beast style, complete with a gold gown, blue jacket, and Tale as Old as Time playing in the background. Can you blame me for glossing over a silly plot point? Of course you can, because I’m sure you know I was sobbing like a schoolgirl and couldn’t pay too much attention to the television anyway. Besides, as he was taking his first look around, Rumple appeared to recognize the celestial pattern on a stack of coasters. Later, he waved his dagger over it (the one he swore he wouldn’t use anymore…) and managed to conjure a sorcerer’s hat that looks suspiciously like the one Mickey wore in Fantasia. So, really, there’s enough going on with the house for now, I suppose.

But what about the abominable snowman? Well, of course it manages to engage Hook, Emma, Marian, and Robin Hood in a battle in the woods outside town. Things aren’t going well, and Marian is about to become snowflakes, when Regina appears and saves her.

REGINA SAVES MARIAN. HER BOYFRIEND’S WIFE. THE WOMAN SHE HAD PLANNED ON MURDERING. GIRL HASN’T BROKEN BAD QUITE YET.

Regina wants little to do with a victory celebration. Instead, she returns home and begins plotting again. See, she figures, it doesn’t seem to matter if she saves someone or condemns them, because in Henry’s book, the villains don’t get happy endings. It’s that stupid book! That book that appeared mysteriously in Mary Margaret’s classroom, that inspired Henry to find Emma to return to Storybrooke and break the curse. Regina knows what she needs to do. She needs to find the author of this book and get some answers.

But Emma and Hook? Well, those two want some sort of celebration. Maybe it has less to do with defeating a magical creature and more to do with Hook’s dreamy green eyes. As much as Emma seems tempted to start a relationship with Hook, she’s always been guarded and cautious, and is still visibly reeling from being reunited with Neal and then losing him again so quickly. Hook is a patient man, though, and soap opera love isn’t afraid of the long game.

Phew! All that in 42 minutes! (I would make some comment about how that’s more action and plot development than some series get in an entire season but I am trying to not talk smack, despite my personal disappointment with other shows.) It looks like we’re in for another twenty-one episodes of gorgeous love affairs and heartbreaking plot twists. I must confess, I haven’t watched a network television drama in quite some time and I’m not sure if my heart can take the week-to-week suspense. Maybe I can talk Regina in to holding on to it for me? That’s not a bad idea, right?

The Story Continues Next Sunday At 8:00pm On ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The ABC series “Once Upon A Time” returns Sunday night with a double-dose to satisfy their hungry fans. The first hour that will air at 7:00pm EDT catches fans up to the events leading to the upcoming season. The last two seasons have seen the heroes battling an evil Peter Pan, as well as the Wicked Witch Of The West from “The Wizard Of Oz,” who we found out was Regina’s half-sister.

Coming up at 8:00pm EDT, the season premiere of the fourth campaign for the show entitled “The Tale Of Two Sisters.” Unless you’ve spent the last six months in hibernation you’re well aware that the cast of the Disney film “Frozen,” will figure prominently in this season of Once Upon A Time. Judging by the title, this episode will introduce us to the live character versions of the popular cartoon. Also joining the cast this season’s Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, V, Revolution) in a role not yet revealed.

Join Chelle Figler after the show for her update of the season premiere, as she will break down the show and give insight to what it all means.

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I only began watching Once Upon A Time a few weeks ago. I knew virtually nothing of the show. I assumed I would watch the first few installments to test it out. Two episodes in, I found myself irrevocably addicted, so I shot-gunned the entire series. I only finished a few days ago. I didn’t realize while I was watching most of the series, but season four premieres in just a few days! And it’s a good thing it’s so soon, because the Rumplestiltskin-sized hole in my heart is threatening to swallow me whole.

The writers (headed by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz) consistently delight in their ability to build an intricate universe, and their wrap-up of season three was no exception. The Wicked Witch of the West (Rebecca Mader) got defeated, although not before releasing a bit of post-mortem magic to open a time portal, sending Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) on a field-and-time trip to the Enchanted Forest, 30 years in the past. They made it back though, and in time for the christening celebration of Snow White’s (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming’s (Josh Dallas) son. We find out that they named the son Neal, in honor of the deceased Baelfire/Neal Cassidy (Michael Raymond-James), who died earlier in the season trying to stop Zelena/the Wicked Witch. In typical Once Upon A Time fashion, Baelfire’s significance is too complicated to briefly explain, but between the tearful announcement of the baby’s name and the “finally finding my family” speech from Emma, I will just let you know that I cried so hard that I woke up my cat, who was not in the room with me at the time. Because of Emma’s recommitment to family (and her growing interest in attaching herself to Captain Hook’s face), she decided that her son Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) and her would remain in Storybrooke. In other happy endings, Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) eloped in a private ceremony in the woods. They wrote their own vows. More hysterical crying.

But, this wouldn’t be the Once Upon A Time we love without a fair bit of trouble brewing. Regina/the “Evil” Queen (Lana Parilla) received yet another kick-in-the-happiness when all found out that her new boyfriend Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) isn’t a widower, because Maid Marian (Christie Laing) is very much alive and came back to Storybrooke. Will we see an old-fashioned, jaw-dropping, soap-opera-esque love triangle in season four? God, I hope so.  The show-runners filled season three with thrilling action and stunning firefights, but this show is also capable of some devastating romantic storytelling, and I can’t wait to see it happen again. Witnessing Robin and Marian’s happy reunion in the diner would make it seem like Regina’s heart’s destined to get broken for what seems like the thousandth time. However, we learned earlier in the season that a man with a lion tattoo’s (like Robin’s) as Regina’s True Love and Happy Ending, and there have been allusions that Robin and Marian’s relationship was not as Happily Ever After as many legends imply. Will Regina’s ruined romance send her back to Dark Magic and revenge? Will the love and respect of her adoptive son keep her away from the darkness? Will Regina scheme and plot to ensure that Robin Hood remains her own? Will Robin even want to stay with Marian after mourning and moving on with Regina? So many questions! And we’ve barely even started!

Regina isn’t the only one facing romantic upheaval. I’m just hoping that Belle and Rumple get some quality honeymoon time going to town on each other before Belle finds out that Rumple first gave her a fake copy of the dagger that empowers and controls The Dark One (and, of course, himself as well), then killed Zelena with the real dagger after he promised Belle (during his marriage proposal) he would Zelena face jail and justice instead of exacting revenge. Will that final act of dark magic shake Belle’s belief that Rumple is still a good man worthy of her love? Are we really sure that Rumple kept the real dagger and gave Belle the fake? And, speaking of Zelena, her magic seemed to work on its own to open the time portal—was that its only purpose, or will the Most Powerful Sorceress In All the Realms be joining us in some form down the road? The melodrama is billowing like crinoline on a princess’s wedding gown.

Have you noticed how I haven’t even mentioned the final scene and Frozen preview? I haven’t even started talking about how an urn from Rumplestiltskin’s vault started spilling its guts on Zelena’s time portal and lit the thing up with blue goo, with the blue goo then turned into a woman with the most gorgeous blonde French braid you’ve ever seen, clad in an ice blue gown, who shot frost out of her hands and then marched out of that barn like she was gonna kick everyone’s ass? THAT IS HOW MUCH THERE WILL BE GOING ON IN SEASON FOUR. I’m sorry, but I haven’t caps locked once in this entire piece and I was about to explode.

But yes! Once Upon A Time is giving us a Frozen story arc, and everyone on the internet’s heart may burst come Sunday evening. The show has been very careful about what to tease for this, and in the interest of letting everyone marinate in as much self-imposed spoiler denial as they wish, I’m not going to get too detailed about the previews, except to say that we know it’s an 11 episode arc, that at least Anna (portrayed by newbie Elizabeth Lail) and Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster) will be joining the cast along with Elsa, and although the arc will have the typical OUAT fractured-fairytale treatment, there will be tons of references to Frozen. As Georgianna Haig, who is playing Elsa, said, “”You have to do a shot for every reference to Frozen. You’ll get very drunk!” Well, if you insist…

Season four is usually a challenge for shows like this, particularly on ABC (I’m looking at you, Lost!), but even I have to admit that things would have to go off the tracks pretty hard to wreck the quirky, fluffy, resilient fantasy brilliance that has been Once Upon A Time so far. There are dozens of other mysteries, large and small, that have yet to get answered and no guarantee that season four will provide us with all the answers. I think we all hope that it won’t tie things up too tightly (but I will say that if we don’t find out who planted the book for Mary Margaret to find and give to Henry soon, I might have a little tiny fit). We’re on the cusp of twenty-two brand new episodes of magic, true love, and some of the best wardrobes I’ve seen on TV in ages.

How many more days till September 28th?

Once Upon A Time Returns Sunday September 28, at 8:00pm on ABC