Rock Trolls and Captain Guyliner: Once Upon a Time, Family Business

True Love! Pirates! Trolls! Characters who almost never change outfits! Pointless quests! Hunts for hats! And some absolutely fabulous sets, darlings! Yes, it’s time once again for ABC’s Once Upon a Time, with “Family Business.”


Actual major disclaimer this time around: This upcoming week will see me at the 2014 World Fantasy Convention in Arlington, VA, a place that, if previous WFCs are any guide, will have a terrible, terrible internet connection. So, while it’s extremely probable that by Sunday night I will be more than happy to be hiding up in my hotel room watching Once Upon a Time, it is even more probable that I won’t be able to upload my thoughts on that episode while there. Which is to say, chances are good that I will not have a post on Once Upon a Time next week, but will instead discuss “The Snow Queen” and “Smash the Mirror” in a single post on November 17th.

More minor disclaimer: I was recovering from a pretty bad bout of dizziness while watching this episode, so this post will be slightly less snarky than usual and may leave some stuff out.

Previously on Once Upon a Time:

Over in Fairy Tale land, Anna headed over to the Enchanted Forest, not accomplishing much beyond meeting Rumple and a cute mouse, and then returned. Elsa met up with Dairy Queen and they Became Besties, which is a problem because Dairy Queen is evil. Also, her aunt. A Sorcerer’s Apprentice played games with a Hat. Sven the Reindeer looked very disapproving.

Once Upon a Time Family Business

Over in Storybrooke, Hook and Emma finally went out on a date, almost destroying various Tumblr and Twitter users in the process, although the actual date was more than a bit marred by a touch of Hook/Rumple blackmail. Rumple went to a significant amount of effort to get Mickey Mouse’s Hat, apparently unwilling or unaware he could just fly down to Orlando at any point and buy one. Then again, perhaps his antique business doesn’t pay all that well. Robin Hood and Regina once again tried to tell us that they were Totes in Love, doing so right next to the frozen body of Robin Hood’s wife, Maid Marian, which somewhat chilled the moment. Dairy Queen stalked around, claiming that all she wanted was an evil mirror and a family. Elsa stubbornly refused to change out of her sparkly blue dress, on the basis that Halloweenand Christmas were coming up and Disney has plenty of Elsa merchandise on sale for both holidays. And Emma discovered that Dairy Queen had once been one of her foster mothers.

And now, “Family Business”:

Over in Fairy Tale Land: Belle’s mother was apparently brutally killed by an ogre, but Belle couldn’t remember this, so, against the advice of her father and most viewers, she decided to head over to find some cheery rock trolls to talk to, despite ongoing warnings that “Magic Comes With a Price.”

Sidenote: I do think that if Magic started coming with an actual price tag, the show’s characters might start paying attention to this, or at least start doing some shopping around for bargain magic—you know, the type where you can get half the effect at half the price? Talk about missed opportunities. As it was, Belle, not seeing a price tag, said, “What price?” and headed off.

Anyway. On her way, Belle found the cheery shopkeeper from Frozen and also Anna, who was looking for proof that her newly arrived Aunt Dairy Queen was totes evil. Anna and Belle had a nice chat with some trolls, who gave Belle a nice pink rock and told Anna some of the family dirt, like, thanks a lot rock trolls, very helpful there. Said pink rock contained Belle’s last memories of her mother, which was nice. Said family dirt included the revelation that Anna has not one, but two aunts: Hilda and Dairy Queen, whose real name turns out to be “Ingrid.” I can’t help but think that the characters on this show really need to spend more family time discussing their actual family members to avoid having to get this sort of information from chatty rock trolls, but moving on.

Once Upon a Time Family Business

Anna and Belle attempted to rush back to save Elsa from the evil manipulations of Dairy Queen, a great idea ended when Anna fell off a cliff and Belle dropped her nice pink rock. Belle, being Belle, managed to let both of them drop to the ground, shattering the rock and leaving Anna stunned. Fortunately, the far more practical Dairy Queen managed to whisk Anna off to a nice prison which, whatever its issues, was at least safe from Belle, though not safe from Dairy Queen’s rather overwrought speeches about family. Belle headed home to hear the full story of her mother’s death from her father, making her entire trip totally useless, like thanks Belle.

Also, we learned that Dairy Queen’s the sort of person who will lock brown-haired sisters up in dungeons while lavishing attention and care on their blonde sisters. I don’t want to leap to any conclusions here, but Dairy Queen may not be very nice. And I’m speaking as a blonde.

Unsolved mysteries: Who is sister number three, the mysterious Helga? Belle’s mother? Snow’s mother? Ariel’s mother? Mickey Mouse’s mother? Enquiring viewers want to know, show!

Over in Storybrooke: Emma shocked me by doing something entirely sensible and straightforward: informing nearly every member of the main cast that Dairy Queen had once been her foster mother. Snow was delighted to see pictures of her daughter as a young kid. The rest of the characters took the more practical approach of spreading out through Storybrooke to look for Dairy Queen, which had the added bonus of getting them mostly off the screen so that the episode could focus on Belle, Rumple, and Dairy Queen Ingrid. Henry pointed out that the show has an Evil Ice Cream Truck, because of course.

Once Upon a Time Family Business

Also because all ice cream trucks are inherently evil, but the show didn’t dwell on that point.

Before anyone could get too involved with the Evil Ice Cream Truck, though, it was time for Guilty Looks from Belle, working with Elsa to track down information in the library. What sort of books does this library have? Did they just transfer over one of the libraries from Fairy Tale Land and nobody noticed for years? And why is no one using Google for research, even once? Anyway, Belle decided that guilty looks were not enough, making it time for practical action, which in her case meant grabbing the Fake Dagger of Mind Control to force Rumple to do her bidding, something that only worked because Rumple decided that going along with the pretense was safer than admitting that he’d given Belle a fake magical dagger. I want everyone to remember that this is one of the healthiest, most stable relationships on this show. The two of them trotted out to the Dairy Queen’s lair, which turned out to be remarkably easy to find since it was draped all over with fake ice. My already low faith in the Storybrooke Sheriff’s Department dropped still further.

Anyway, rather than letting the rest of the cast know about this shocking lapse by their cops, Belle entered the evil lair, or as I like to call it, Superman’s Fortress of Solitude with a Frilly Bed and what I think is supposed to be an Evil Mirror. In this particular case, I’m not willing to judge the Mirror too harshly, given that the main thing that the Mirror does is attempt to tell Belle some hard truths about life, including the not so small fact that she is holding a fake dagger. This seemed less like evil, and more like much needed therapy. But I digress. Rumple, not exactly big on the whole truth thing, came in and zapped Belle off to the comparative safety of his antique shop where Belle confessed everything to Rumple and Rumple didn’t confess a thing. Lest, however, you begin to feel that the romance is rapidly wearing off these two, Rumple did head back to Dairy Queen’s lair for a nice exchange of threats and a fight over the Mickey Mouse Hat.

Once Upon a Time Family Business

Guys, guys. If you are very good and stop fighting and clowning around, you can both get cool Mickey Mouse Hats. Some of them even glow in the dark or light up and everything.

Elsewhere in Storybrooke, the rest of the cast discovered Dairy Queen’s Ice Cream Truck of Evil, made even more Evil by the lack of actual ice cream in it, though it did have—dun dun DUN—a LOCKED FREEZER, perhaps the last thing anyone would expect in an ice cream truck. Inside the freezer they found a file on Emma, which has all kinds of disturbing implications that we are not going to explore just now, and also some very cute little paintings that Emma did in foster care that were remarkably cheerful given her situation at the time. Robin Hood asked why Regina seemed so uncomfortable around him. Ignoring the multiple shouts of “BECAUSE YOU ARE MARRIED TO A FROZEN NEAR CORPSE RIGHT NOW, ROBIN HOOD!” aimed at television screens around the world at this, Regina gave a remarkable, moving and even—dare I say it—mature speech stating that she couldn’t break the spell on Marian, which meant that the only way she—that is, Marian—could be saved was for Robin Hood to fall in love with Marian again, something her frozen state might make just a trifle difficult. Hook lampshaded the entire show by pointing out, truthfully enough, that if you stick around long enoug in Storybrooke, you’ll learn that everyone in Storybrooke is related to everyone else in Storybroooke. Regina bested that line by calling Hook “Captain Guyliner,” something so accurate that it briefly trended on Twitter.

And Elsa and Emma realized Dairy Queen’s true goal: she wants a family of bright blonde sisters again, starting with Emma and Elsa, and she’s willing to make everybody completely mean to each other in order to do this. Again, I don’t want to leap to conclusions here, but Dairy Queen—that is, Ingrid—may not be very nice. And may have a thing for blondes.

Once Upon a Time Family Business

I must say, I was expecting a slightly more grandiose Evil Plan from Dairy Queen, given that the best thing about this season for me, so far, has been Elizabeth Mitchell coolly sauntering around being All Evil. I’ve never really warmed to her in previous roles, but she’s chilling it here. Hoping that she’s cooking up something much colder than just creating a chilly family. Then again, as I say so often, this show.

Mari Ness lives in central Florida, and is the owner of several Mickey Mouse hats, none of which she is willing to give to the villains of the show. The sexy pirate, maybe.


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