A VERY Troubling Relationship with Ice Cream: Once Upon a Time, “Rocky Road”

Ice! Cameras! ACTION! Plus plot holes! Magically contrived moments! Terrifying moments where ice cream is associated with—gasp—EVIL! Yes, it’s another wacky week with ABC’s Once Upon a Time, where every Disney character you’ve ever heard of turns out to be related to every other Disney character you’ve ever heard of and many you haven’t.


Disclaimer: So, after hinting that it was finally going away, the heat returned to Florida this week with a vengeance, which made me not entirely happy about watching anything that involved people enjoying lovely cold-looking weather and props that looked entirely like ice. Yes, yes, I know, this episode was actually filmed during a hot summer week, but that did not end any of my resentment, which may very well have colored my view of the entire episode and made me think Unsympathetic Thoughts about Ice Queens who are perfectly willing to go around and freeze things in Maine, which not to be mean, doesn’t really need it, but refuse to come down here to Florida even though I’m only twenty minutes or so away from a place dedicated to selling their merchandise. I mean, really. Anyway, moving on…

Once Upon a Time Rocky Road

Previously on Once Upon a Time: Over in Fairy Tale land, Anna headed off to the Enchanted Forest in the hopes of helping her sister and encountered Charming and Little Bo Peep. Not enough sheep jokes were made. In Storybrooke, Elsa arrived and began freezing things until won over by the power of Emma’s friendship, which, to be fair, is a very powerful thing. Also, another Snow Queen showed up and opened an ice cream store, thereby opening a direct, powerful, and entirely wrong connection between ice cream and evil, shortly before throwing up ice walls around the town, which at this point, given how difficult it’s been to get in and out for the last three seasons, really shouldn’t be a biggie, but maybe some of the residents just want to go on a nice Caribbean cruise. Snow White tried to juggle the twin needs of new motherhood and running a semi enchanted town currently encased in ice walls. Hook swaggered around in Sexy Pirate form. The show tried to tell me that Regina and Robin Hood were TOTES IN LOVE and I refused to believe it.

Also, this conversation:

David: “I’m your father, Emma!”

My brother: “That guy is way too young to be her father!”

Me: “This is a very complicated show.”

And now, “Rocky Road.”

Over in Fairy Tale Land: Elsa and Kristoff continued their bonding as reports came in of a large invading army led by Hans, aka the mean prince from Frozen who totally used Anna to try to take over the kingdom, like, bad form, Hans. Transforming from a cartoon to a live action dude hasn’t exactly improved him: not only is he invading the country with some of his brothers, but he also is carrying an Urn of Plot Contrivance. It’s the one thing that can take away Elsa’s powers, so naturally, she decides to go after it. With the help of just one person, Kristoff.

Once Upon a Time Rocky Road

While wearing a long blue sparkling dress that, of course, blends right into the woods and the cliffs that they are trying to sneak through unseen.

I mean, granted, this show has had immensely stupid plans before, but still, I can only express just how unbelievably stupid this plan is by noting that when the evil princes showed up to corner Elsa and Kristoff with swords, easily defeating them, I cheered, and not just because the Evil Princes were kinda hot. Unfortunately for them, their attempt to steal Elsa and put her in an urn failed, not because, as you might be hoping, Kristoff snarked them to death, but because already hiding in the urn? Snow Queen number two, icy and kinda awesome, really.

And, of course, related to Elsa, because, this show.

Seriously, show, shock us sometime with giving us characters who aren’t related. It could be fun.

Sidenote: It occurs to me that, going forward, things could get still more confusing, what with a Snow White, a Snow Queen and another Snow Queen, so for the time being, to avoid the potentially inevitable “I’m Snowy, this is my sister Queeny and this is my other sister Queeny,” I’m going to steal from the show and try:

Once Upon a Time Rocky Road


Once Upon a Time Rocky Road


Once Upon a Time Rocky Road

Dairy Queen. Look, the show went there, not me. (I also thought of Queenilla Ice, but Microsoft Word is having a heart attack over Queenilla, so Dairy Queen it is.)

There we go.

Back in Storybrooke: Robin Hood and Marian explored the town. Since the town doesn’t actually have much to explore, they ended up in the ice cream shop, where Dairy Queen happily poisoned Marian because, you know, why not. Regina interrupted Henry with a nice Crossover Marketing Moment For Hulk Comics, published by Marvel, owned by Disney—and some of you are still trying to claim that there isn’t that much Corporate Influence on this show.

Once Upon a Time Rocky Road

Anyway, after establishing that Hulk comics are very very cool and that everyone watching the show should head over to Comixology and buy some, Regina finally gets to the point and tells Henry what the audience already knows: that she wants to find the writer of the fairy tale book and force the writer to give her a happy ending. Henry thinks this is a great idea. Henry has obviously not been watching this show. Or Henry is enchanted. You decide. Regina and Henry Pair Bond and agree to go after the writer together. Regina is Obviously Touched. Touched, in this case, can mean a lot of things. You decide. Also, Rumple used the Totally Fake Evil Dagger of Control to prove that he was Totes Innocent of everything.

Meanwhile, Snow had gathered up most of the secondary characters for a nice fireside chat at Regina’s place, since she—Snow, that is—is apparently the mayor now. Alas, no one wanted to follow her nice agenda items, and no one was convinced that the ice walls around the town were really a good thing, a belief only bolstered when Marian passed out and started freezing to death. My irritated and not exactly under the breath comments about how this is not the way we treat Maid Marian, show, who is—or should be—cool and awesome and not someone that passes out just because of a little ice cream apparently caused me to miss the next few moments. Anyway. Various characters summoned Regina for help, because why not (well, I can think of at least two seasons of why not, but let’s not linger) who suggested that Marian could be revived with a Kiss of True Love.

Once Upon a Time Rocky Road

Robin Hood bent down.

The Kiss of True Love failed.

Me: You suck, show!

Moving on. The rest of the minor characters decided that this was obviously the work of Elsa and that the best way to handle it was to send the town mob after Elsa because, um, why not. Elsa, meanwhile, decided to go after true culprit, so after some nice blackmailing of Rumple by Hook, they followed the Snowflakes of Evil out into the forest where they encountered the Dairy Queen. Three points of note here: one, before heading into the forest, the CGI snowflakes flew right at the television audience, in a nice meta suggestion that we, not anyone in Storybrooke, were responsible for the arrival of this whole Frozen thing; two, Elsa apparently remains under the impression that long, formal blue gowns are appropriate hiking attire, and three, Emma gave Hook a cell phone with a button that says CALL EMMA. Oh, Emma. :: melts ::

The Dairy Queen, having no appreciation for romantic plot lines about cell phones whatsoever, decided to skip the technology and just imprison Hook in ice. It took Elsa about two seconds to realize that the point of this was not, as I originally thought, to make sure that Hook would be wearing a wet shirt on his chest when Emma arrived, but to frame Elsa for Hook’s murder so that everyone in Storybrooke would hate her. It’s not at all clear why Hook’s murder would upset anyone other than Emma (and rabid Tumblr fans), but Dairy Queen doesn’t appear to socialize much.

Once Upon a Time Rocky Road

Fortunately, Will Scarlett saved the day (and stole some cash) by letting Emma and Charming know who the real villain was. I am very sorry to report that neither Emma nor Charming expressed the slightest shade of disbelief that someone who makes ice cream could ever be evil. Oh, show. Anyway, Emma easily defeated Dairy Queen—possibly too easily—and Hook was freed, without a single sign of frostbite. Oh, show.

Meanwhile, Robin Hood explained that the Kiss of True Love failed because he was in love with someone else. Cue Meaningful Looks. So Regina promptly removed Marian’s heart, in order to “save” her, because, you know, the only way you can respond to a heartfelt dedication like that, made right next to the frozen body of the guy’s wife, is to make an overly dramatic metaphor. Show, I really, really think we have issues here.

Meanwhile meanwhile, Archie explained to Snow that really, given the show’s production costs and the difficulties of filming around infants, she could put her baby done every once in awhile, a moment that might have gone over better had he not included this with a full moment of watching her struggle with a stroller and not help. Dairy Queen and Rumple had a Significant Moment of Conspiring in the forest which bodes evil. And Emma and Hook, with absolutely no consideration for Tumblr’s server capacities, made out again. I am reliably informed that at this moment, many viewers “TOTALLY DIED,” and while scratching out their last, overwhelmed words which included things like “CAN’T BREATHE” and “I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.” You go, Captain Swan fans. You go.

And Outlaw Queen fans? I’ll try to get with the program, really, I will. Just, maybe have your next True Love moment someplace that isn’t, say, right next to the guy’s slowly freezing wife?

Once Upon a Time Rocky Road

There’s a lot more to say about the Regina/Robin Hood relationship, and its many, many problems, but let’s wait until we see what happens with this book storyline. Because that is going somewhere, right? Right?

Somewhat related sidenote: I understand the name, but I have to be honest here: “Outlaw Queen” makes me immediately think that after totally breaking poor Felicity’s heart over on Arrow, Oliver Queen is next going to hook up with Robin Hood, giving us the possibility of not one, but two shirtless archers, which, frankly, I’m in favor of. Just a suggestion, showrunners. Just a suggestion.

Mari Ness does not feel anywhere near Frozen enough just now. She’s hoping the weather cools again this upcoming week before she recaps the next chilly episode of Once Upon a Time.


Back to the top of the page


Subscribe to this thread

Post a Comment

All comments must meet the community standards outlined in Tor.com's Moderation Policy or be subject to moderation. Thank you for keeping the discussion, and our community, civil and respectful.

Hate the CAPTCHA? Tor.com members can edit comments, skip the preview, and never have to prove they're not robots. Join now!

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.