Princesses! True love! Large hulking snowmen! Men trapped in mirrors! Women trapped in terrible plot lines! A surprising interest in Pop Tarts! Yes, it’s time for ABC’s Once Upon a Time to mess with our childhood memories, or make us just wish we could build large hulking snowmen to smash our enemies, depending.
Spoilers for the rest of the episode and all four seasons follow. Got it? SPOILERS.
Disclaimer: Prior to watching this week’s episode of Once Upon a Time, I watched the first episode of Star Wars Rebels on ABC, which led me to the conviction that what this show really needs is lightsabers. Also robots. The awareness of this lack may have colored my response to this episode.
Previously on Once Upon a Time:
Over in Fairy Tale Land: Lots of things happened that we are just going to ignore this week because none of it had any impact on this week’s episode.
Over in Storybrooke: Emma and Hook kinda accidentally sorta on purpose but mostly accidentally brought Maid Marian back from Fairy Tale Land, where she found out that her husband Robin Hood was totally having a fling with Evil Queen Regina. Before Maid Marian could get too unhappy about this, she was totally frozen by Evil Dairy Queen. Maid Marian needs to focus a lot harder on avoiding Evil Queens. Regina briefly freed Sidney from
a show on another network his hospital cell and then immediately imprisoned him in a mirror again, thus explaining in one neat scene just why Regina has problems inspiring employee loyalty. Snow got distracted by her new baby. I know. I too was shocked. Will Scarlet was arrested and thrown into jail. Elsa slid around Storybrooke trying to find Anna. Dairy Queen contented herself with freezing things, as I guess Evil Dairy Queens do. And Emma and Hook kept millions of Tumblr users busy making gifs by going out on a real date and making out again.
Also a number of people, including possibly a marching broom, are desperately trying to gain control of a Mickey Mouse Hat, but don’t worry much about that since that plotline was entirely dropped this episode.
And now, “Breaking Glass”:
Over in Fairy Tale Land: Nothing happened, since the show decided not to have flashbacks in Fairy Tale Land this episode. Instead…
Over in a location that I didn’t get the name of, but we’ll call, for no real reason, Vancouver: a young and adorable Emma was shoplifting some Pop Tarts. Oh, young and adorable Emma, I know you are on the run and your life is completely miserable, but that’s no reason to resort to Pop Tarts. You’re shoplifting. Aim higher! Also, shoplift some fruits and vegetables so that you can keep that gorgeous skin tone going; you’ll need it later when chasing evil Dairy Queens through dark woods. Trust me.
Anyway, just as Emma was about to get into trouble for stealing and poor nutritional choices, she was saved at the last moment by Lily, who pointed out that shoplifting can only get you so far: the real money is in stolen credit cards! Lily, I need to point out, was about to be the most moral and practical person in the entire episode. Lily and Emma bought a lot more decidedly not very nutritious food, ran from an angry looking older guy who seemed to be after Lily, had a nice picnic, broke into a mansion and played video games, and, as abandoned orphans, swore eternal friendship to each other. It was all very sweet except maybe for the criminal part until they were tracked down by Lily’s adoptive father, who called her “Lilith.” Emma, crushed to discover that Lily had been lying to her about the whole abandoned orphan and feeling invisible thing, decided that she didn’t really care if Lily’s adoptive parents were horrible or not, and walked away leaving Lily crying in a car. This probably would have been a lot sadder if they’d known each other just a touch longer.
Unanswered mysteries: How exactly did Lily’s father track them into the mansion before the police did? What was that star on Lily’s wrist, and who, exactly, will she end up being related to on this show?
(I’m betting Kristoff or Dairy Queen.)
Over in Storybrooke: At the jail, Hook very kindly offered to take Henry out on a ride on a (presumably stolen) boat, ensuring that the episode could be Henry free for one episode. (It was not clear if the marching broom went along with them.) Elsa, still wearing the same costume, complained that hunting through files was not exactly finding Anna all that quickly. I complained that this show is supposed to be full of Heroes and Good People and yet not a single one had yet bothered to take Elsa clothes shopping yet. I get that the ice wall currently surrounding the town is limiting access to various local malls, but surely a town large enough to have an Italian restaurant and an ice cream store must have a small boutique clothing store somewhere? Will Scarlet complained that nobody was feeding him. Emma didn’t complain about anything, partly because she had bitten into a Pop Tart and mostly because she felt that the files had given them, finally, a real clue: pictures of Emma and Dairy Queen chatting all the way back in the first season.
Those of you now thinking, uh, that wasn’t in the first season will be pleased to learn that Emma had the same feeling, and decided that the best thing to do was ask Sidney, the photographer (aka the Mirror from the first season) what he remembered. Which of course meant finding Sidney in the first place.
Any hopes of getting Regina to help find Sidney were soon lost, not so much because Sidney was, in fact, trapped in Regina’s mirror, but because Regina was having a lot of angst. It was quite understandable. I mean, I’m sure that many of you thought that finding out that her husband was having an affair with the woman who imprisoned her and then getting all frozen sucked for Maid Marian, but as it turned out, the person this really sucked for was Regina, whose Entire Life has been ruined because of this.
I think actual violins were playing here.
Anyway, either out of a desire to do the right thing, or a realization that finding Dairy Queen might be the one thing that could end Emma’s visits, Regina decided to order Sidney to find Dairy Queen and lead her there. It’s not quite clear why she decided to walk there, instead of, well, poofing there, but then again, this did give the show enough time to send Elsa off on her own quest for Dairy Queen, and enough time to send Emma off questing for Elsa, allowing Emma and Regina to meet up again and get all snippy with each other on an ice bridge, which, really, is not the safest place for that kind of thing. Particularly given Regina’s incredibly impractical clothing and shoes.
At that, she was better dressed than Elsa, who, seeing an image of Anna off in the distance decided to chase said image through the woods at night without even changing into sneakers. The Elves and the Shoemaker, show! A classic fairy tale that, bonus, can ensure that everyone on the show has the proper footwear for chasing after evil Dairy Queens that hide in the woods. This naturally allowed her to be easily trapped and captured by Dairy Queen, who took this opportunity to imprison Elsa in ice chains that would only get stronger the more terrified Elsa got. After this, Dairy Queen headed off to build a snowman, because this episode had not quoted any lines from Frozen yet and it was well past time. Elsa, to the surprise of nearly everyone in the audience, did something thoroughly sensible: she looked at her fear, and let it go—allowing her to break the chains.
And a good thing to, since the Emma/Regina teamup had already made three major mistakes:
1. Not bringing along lightsabers.
2. Assuming (on Emma’s part) that the two of them could get past all of their previous issues.
3. Assuming (on Regina’s part) that Sidney was a thoroughly trustworthy person and not, say, the sort of person who would make side deals with other Evil Queens and lead Emma and Regina right into a killer snowman ambush.
Fortunately, Regina and Emma had the power of CGI behind them. Unfortunately, Dairy Queen had the power of Awesome Coolness behind her, and rather easily nipped off with Regina’s mirror—what Dairy Queen had really wanted all along.
See, this is why they should have brought the lightsabers.
Back in her chamber of Icy Awesomeness, Dairy Queen freed Sidney, making her probably the first villain and one of the few heroes on this show who can actually be trusted to keep her promises, placed a shard from Regina’s evil mirror into her own evil mirror, and urged Sidney to buy warm clothing, which, you know, Dairy Queen, it might be easier for him to do if you lowered the ice walls around Storybrooke so he could reach a nice outlet mall, given that I expect his couple of seasons imprisonment in the hospital has not left him with a lot of money.
In other parts of the show, Snow and David had a little sideplot of cuteness mostly meant to a) remind us that yes, yes, Disney still owns the rights to Marvel Comics, b) ensure that Will Scarlet was freed, and c) reassure audiences that yes, our awesome Snow from the first season is coming back, no matter what these episodes might suggest. Emma and Regina had a scene where Emma explained that she was only following Regina because she—Emma—wanted a friend. Emma, I don’t want to be judgmental, but I think you could probably do better than the woman who cursed you into a childhood of lonely foster care and afterwards tried to kill you. Then again, sometimes I think I like you more than you like you. Regina admitted that she didn’t really want to kill Emma. All together now, AWWWWW. And Emma and Hook sent hearts racing again as they bonded over her Box of Childhood Memories, something that was totally touching right up until they both realized that Dairy Queen had once been Emma’s foster mother. Seems like Maid Marian isn’t the only person who needs to avoid Evil Queens.
Mari Ness lives in central Florida, visiting Disney World probably more frequently than she really should.