Some fairy tale characters get to live happily ever after. Others, alas, turn into products of the Walt Disney Company and thus, find themselves trapped for what might seem like near eternity on an ABC Sunday night show. That’s right, it’s time for the weekly update for Once Upon a Time, with season four, episode two, “White Out.”
SPOILERS BELOW. SPOILERS! SPOILERS:
Disclaimer: About forty minutes into the show my cat suddenly realized that my attention was on the television and my notes, not, say, a plate that still had some fish on it, a plate that was, perhaps, not as secure as it could have been. To put it mildly the consequences of this were a touch more exciting than anything on screen, which is to say, this recap? Missing bits.
Previously on Once Upon a Time: Regina decided that it was time for villains to get their happy ending; Rumplestiltskin conjured up Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat, complete with a nice image of a swirling galaxy; Emma told Hook to be patient and sexy times would come (the second part of this may have just been implied); Anna went off to the Enchanted Forest to find something to save her sister; most of the other characters, as usual, were completely ignored; and Elsa arrived in Storybrooke wearing one uncomfortable looking dress and immediately conjured up a giant snowman, as you do.
So what happened this week?
Back in Fairy Tale Land: Anna found David/Charming, still working as a shepherd in the Misty Enchanted Forest past, well before his prince days. I’d try to work out some sort of timeline for this that fits with how old Elsa looks now, but we all know this is pointless, so moving on. David, alas, is not rocking as much as his rock star hair is: he’s got troubles with Little Fairyster Boss Bo Beep, who in this version, is less interested in finding sheep than in collecting major payments from poor shepherds wearing long wigs. This incensed Anna, who encouraged David to fight, fight, fight. This depressed David, who could only respond with a monologue about his alcoholic father. This and one day of sword fighting lessons was enough to give David the skills to take down not one, but two of Bo Beep’s swordsmen, in yet another suggestion that really, the Evil People in Fairy Tale Land really need to provide more sword training for their minions. Anna rode off with the grateful thanks of David and his mother and a little paper saying “Rumplestiltskin” which bodes badly. For her.
Unsolved mystery in Fairy Tale Land: Exactly how did a poverty stricken shepherd and a poverty stricken ice picker from two lands so separated that the citizens of one land don’t even know the name of the Evil People in the other land?
Also, who makes the wigs?
Over in Storybrooke: things were a lot more fun, starting with a Moment of Adorableness with the Charming family cooing over a baby and Henry deciding to send his other mother, Regina, a big basket of chocolate and wine, like, um, ok then! Then a bird hit a window.
After this, things got much more exciting, what with a town wide blackout; large ice walls surrounding the entire area, trapping everyone inside yet again (not surprisingly, everyone took this return to Storybrooke’s default state with impressive calm); Hook deciding that big walls of ice count as a second date with Emma, like, UP YOUR GAME, Hook; Charming choosing this moment to ask Hook about his intentions towards Emma (answered by Hook with the awesome, “That’s old-fashioned even by my standards, and I still pay with doubloons,”); Emma almost freezing to death inside an ice cave, only this was all ok because it allowed her to totes bond with Elsa and finally Make a Real Friend, like THANK YOU SHOW, THIS ONLY TOOK FOUR SEASONS (I am not counting her family members, because the first are, well, family, or Hook, since I think it’s very clear that Hook doesn’t want to Just Be Friends) and also ok because, as Elsa explained, the cold never bothers her anyway, and Hook all desperately hitting a wall of ice with his, well, hook.
Meanwhile, over at the power plant, Snow and various Unhelpful Secondary Characters were trying to get the power back on, only to find out that Evil Enchanted Curses don’t actually leave extended instructions in English for restarting a power plant. I could complain that surely, the Evil Enchanted Curse would have given at least one fairy tale character some abilities as an engineer, or a basic electrician, but I won’t, because this scene gave us this powerful moment of Snow shrieking at the Unhelpful Secondary Characters:
“I’M STARTING TO GET WHY REGINA IS EVIL!”
The official Once Upon A Time Twitter feed wants me to quote, “STOP SAYING LETTERS!” which was also a good line, but I liked the one I use better. Sing it, sister! And suddenly, our awesome Snow, largely missing since season one, was back. Also, she did a little high five with her baby which was totally adorable.
But that was just the comic relief. The real excitement was back in the ice wall, where Emma was slowly but surely shivering and dying. Time for a Hook/Charming team-up, complete with:
1. Rushing back to Storybrooke to consult with a pretty much entirely useless Rumple, who, I guess, the plot required to go evil this week. (Oddly, the supposedly good Belle just, you know, went with this, but she may have been nailed by the same destiny that forces Rumple to be evil or good depending on the plot.)
2. Taking down the Bo-Beep, who had, stunningly, failed to leverage her Evil History into a cushy position in town, forcing her to—gasp—chop up lamb chops. While the refrigeration was still off. Ok, I take back what I said earlier about villains not always getting punished for their evil deeds on this show.
3. Despite all of this, completely failing to find Anna, the one person who could help Elsa control her powers.
4. Fortunately, Elsa, like the viewers, couldn’t possibly wait any longer for another Captain Swan moment, which was enough to force her to melt just enough of the ice to create a hole large enough for Emma to stumble through and collapse into Hook’s arms. All together now, say, AWWWWW. (Unless you are a Swan Queen shipper in which case I’m sorry to say you were out of luck again this episode.)
That ended the Hook/Charming team-up, but started the Charming family moment, a heartwarming moment only slightly shaken when:
1. Henry went over to Regina’s to demand his room back.
2. An ice cream store went evil.
Unsolved mysteries in Storybrooke: Does the Snow Queen put her fingers into every tub of ice cream she creates, and if so, will the State Board of Health ever inspect her ice cream store? And while I’m asking questions about Maine, did any state official notice the power fluctuations on the grid, and wonder if maybe, just maybe, someone ought to go check it out.
Meanwhile, I’m just perturbed that any show would equate ice cream with evil. Wrong, show. Just wrong.
Mari Ness lives in central Florida.