Freezing Powers: Once Upon a Time, “The Snow Queen” and “Smash the Mirror”

Princesses! Pirates! Orphans! Thieves! Elegant yet snowy residences! Periodic reminders of the joys of comic books! A number of otherwise somewhat sensible people chasing after Mickey Mouse’s hat! Yes, it’s time once again to chat about ABC’s Once Upon A Time.

Disclaimer before the cut: When I announced that I would be missing one episode (last week’s “The Snow Queen”) because of the World Fantasy Convention, I was not aware that the very next episode would be a two hour episode (this week’s “Smash the Mirror”), meaning that this post is both a bit long yet less detailed than usual. You have been warned.

Disclaimer after the cut: I caught up with “Snow Queen” right before watching “Smash the Mirror” and I have to tell you something important: watching three hours of this show in one day will cause brain cells to melt. Or at least cause my brain cells to melt. Which means that as always I probably missed some details.

Previously on Once Upon a Time: The Walt Disney Company, an American diversified international multimedia company (to quote Wikipedia) decided to make a little animated film called Frozen. Desperate to escape their flat, animated setting, the Frozen characters happily seized upon Disney’s offer to join a little show called Once Upon a Time to help out its ratings.

Also, the show told me that Captain Hook, a sexy pirate, fell in love with Emma, a magical princess who grew up in our world, which I believed, and also told me that Robin Hood fell in love with Evil Queen Regina, which I did not believe. Various other characters did questionable things, including eating ice cream, which this season, is an Evil Thing.

Also, Cinderella had a baby.

The show expects you to remember such things.

(I didn’t.)

And now, for the episodes:

The Snow Queen

Over in Fairy Tale Land: Little Ingrid, Helga and Gerda all chased a kite. This is the sort of thing that would be harmless enough anywhere but in Fairy Tale Land where naturally it led to an attempted kidnapping and Ingrid gaining her powers, which was sort of all scary but not really since it drove off a creepy kidnapper with a kite fixation, so I’m totally on Ingrid’s side here, as were Helga and, eventually, Gerda—well, once Gerda was bribed with a ribbon.

Once Upon a Time

Years passed, and Ingrid still couldn’t control her powers or, gasp, go to any balls, even in ice slippers. This was so sad that the three sisters turn to Rumplestiltskin for help, which was such a terrible idea that even Rumple pointed that out, but Ingrid was all “I NEED CONTROL” so the girls handed over the three ribbons that bound them as sisters and got some gloves and a nice urn in return. Something felt unequal there. Ingrid was all happy until the duke her sister was sorta interested in tried to kiss her, leading to MORE UNCONTROLLED MAGIC though again, noting the cause, I was totally on Team Ingrid here. So was Helga until Ingrid accidentally froze her and then shattered her body, leaving Helga ice cubes everywhere. That was meant to be very sad, and it was, until the phrase Helga ice cubes popped into my mind and I found myself hoping that no one would try to scoop those ice cubes into drinks.

Fortunately before I could go much further with this thought Gerda came along and scooped Ingrid into an urn before begging the trolls to cast a forgetfulness spell over the entire kingdom. I don’t mean to be critical but this really felt like overkill, like, really, only one person was aware of any of this, so why not put the magic spell just on him? And seriously, trolls, could you be any worse at giving advice?

Unanswered questions: How did those ribbons stay so clean? How was Ingrid planning on running the kingdom if she never left her room?

Over in Storybrooke: Time for Disney Princesses with Babies, as Aurora, Cinderella and Snow White gathered for Baby Time, an event mercifully ended by the arrival of Emma, and somewhat less mercifully ruined by some tactless comments from Cinderella and Snow White that reminded Emma of her miserable, miserable childhood. One of the babies was dressed up as Mickey Mouse. No, really. The outfit in question is readily available both online and at many fine Disney outlets in the U.S. Never accuse Disney of subtlety. Anyway, it was all mostly uninteresting except for finding out that Aurora has Certain Opinions about TV, which is all hilarious because she’s on TV, see, and…ok, never mind, but it became a plot point later, so I mention it here.

Before things could get too sad, Emma ran out to join Elsa to stop Ingrid with a magic candle. Remarkably enough, this worked. Even more remarkably, none of Team Good figured out that this was a trap, even though this very same trick has been played on them every single season. Ingrid used her capture to manipulate Emma, still kinda smarting from comments made during Baby Time, which resulted in Emma blasting through the walls of the police station and me idly speculating once again about how, exactly, the Storybrooke tax system works and how exactly these sorts of repairs get paid for. Or even done. Do they summon the marching brooms for help?

Once Upon a Time

Still blasting magic and uninterested in Storybrooke’s tax problem, Emma shouted at everyone to stay away from her, advice loudly seconded by the two other magic users in the group, Rumple and Elsa. Since, however, the theme of this episode was men ignoring women saying or shouting “Stay away from me!” Hook and David ran up anyway, allowing David to get hit by a plastic prop. This was all very painful especially since Snow chose this moment to yell at Emma, like THANKS FOR THE MOTHERLY ENCOURAGEMENT, SNOW. Ingrid, however, was so cheered by this that she offered Rumple an awesome deal: he could have entire rest of the world if she got Storybrooke. Either Ingrid really hates the rest of the world by this point, or tropical beaches seriously aren’t her thing. You decide. Also she wanted her ribbons back. Emma was left sadly looking at Storybrooke through the windshield of her car.

Elsewhere, Robin Hood came to Regina, who told him to go away, which he did, until he talked to Will Scarlett all about the code he lives by and came back and said SCREW THE CODE they totally made out again like THANKS WILL and also, did I mention the theme of the episode? The whole men entirely ignoring women saying “Please go away?” On the one hand, this happened right after Robin got all nostalgic about his still living if seriously frozen wife Maid Marian with Will, and on the other hand, at least Robin and Regina weren’t chatting about their feelings and making out right in front of Marian’s frozen body, so I feel that progress has been made on this front.

Also, for one shining moment Henry almost had a chance at holding a real potion but it turned out to be furniture polish.

 

“Smash the Mirror”

Once Upon a Time

Over in Fairy Tale Land, Elsa rescued Anna from a dungeon, then made Anna and Kristoff join her in searching through the castle for the magical urn, which was all fun and games until they came across a frozen body in a closet, which raised several disturbing questions, like, really, if you are an all powerful Snow Queen, why not invest in some high quality magical freezers to prevent wardrobe damage from ice statues. The hunt almost worked until Anna headed back to the dungeon to keep Ingrid from finding things out, which naturally a) didn’t work, and b) led to a scene with Anna in chains and Ingrid stalking around her like a dominatrix with a major fondness for white and piercing her with bits of an evil mirror, which was all considerably kinkier than I had expected from an ABC family show even if everyone’s clothes stayed on.

The entire experience—and the evil mirror—led Anna to bring up the various things Elsa had done to her in the past, and also led to Anna sucking Elsa into the urn. The lesson here, kids, is when your younger sibling asks you to build a snowman, build a snowman. That way, you might not be sucked into an evil urn unable to use your powers, although neither Tor.com nor I can guarantee that result. This all thrilled Ingrid so much that she froze Anna and Kristoff, mostly for fun, and then spent several happy moments contemplating all the ice she had made, which, ok, I realize Ingrid is evil and all that, but can we pause for a moment to acknowledge that, unlike most of the villains on this show, she does take time to create things?

Also, Ingrid bantered with Rumple and made a deal with the Sorcerer’s Apprentice (here in human, not mouse form) who assured her—and the audience—that the Sorcerer is really, really, really into Mickey Mouse’s Hat and absolutely, positively, could eventually provide her with two magical sisters—her niece Elsa and a yet unborn girl (Emma) and then sent her to our world in 1982, with, I must note, no identification, no money, no credit cards, and no warnings about the need for safe sex or instructions on where to buy condoms. I can’t help but feel this Sorcerer’s Apprentice is not a very nice guy. Or mouse. Depending.

Unanswered questions: Who is this Sorcerer? Why can’t he just go and get another hat?

Once Upon a Time

Over in Storybrooke, Robin Hood and Regina had sexy times in a crypt, just under (if I recall correctly) her father’s body, which probably would have disturbed me had I not been deeply distracted by another question: just how did Robin Hood get a T-shirt while poor Elsa is still stuck in that difficult to walk in blue dress? (I’m assuming that her actress spent most of her time on the set composing hate mail towards the Frozen costume designers, although I have no proof of this.) Meanwhile, Henry, who has apparently given up the entire concept of “school” along with “morals” and “not needing details about the intimate lives of either one of his mothers” went out into the forest and found Emma. This went badly, both for Emma, still unable to control her powers, and Henry, who on top of everything else, felt he wasn’t Special Enough.

Luckily enough for Henry and the show, someone on the set just happened to have a full set of Wolverine comics, which both served to cheer Henry up and give us our necessary Disney merchandise moment. That over, Regina chatted with Snow and Charming and was horrified to discover that they were Totes Okay with Emma completely giving up her magical powers. Regina asked them if they knew what her greatest regret was.

Charming: The countless innocent people you murdered?

Oddly enough, no this wasn’t it. It was not appreciating Henry for being totes special. Snow and Charming, suddenly realizing that failing to realize how special your children are is something worse than mass murder, jumped up and decided to head after Emma—well after Elsa and Hook had come to a similar decision.

Meanwhile, Emma begged Rumple to help remove her power—permanently, apparently forgetting that she already tried to do this last season and that went nowhere. Rumple eagerly agreed since this spell would help him with Mickey Mouse’s hat. Wow. This hat. First, it’s the source of all power, then, it’s a calling beacon to marching brooms, now, it’s stealing everyone’s power. I am sensing Mixed Messages about Mickey Mouse here, show.

Rumple and Emma, conveniently enough, agreed to meet up in an even more conveniently abandoned mansion several hours later, giving characters time to have speeches before this. Rumple used his time to trap Ingrid and the entire glorious train of her dress behind a magic circle; Ingrid used her time to shoot a shadow self through her mirror to try to crash Emma’s car and remind Emma that seriously, Rumple, not the sweetest, nicest, selfless guy; Emma used her time to otherwise vanish from the screen; Snow used her time to urge Regina to just go for it with Robin Hood (really, Snow?); Elsa used her time to become the most decent, caring member of the show; Hook used his time to leave heartbreaking voice messages confessing to deceit and love on Emma’s phone; and I used my time to consume more of the leftover Halloween candy. This left just enough time for Rumple to set up Mickey Mouse’s Hat of Consuming Your Inner Soul and Power, Emma and Rumple to have a touching scene about heroism; and Elsa to save Emma with a still more touching scene about needing to believe in yourself first. Enraged, Rumple stole Hook’s heart, Emma set off some fireworks, and most of Tumblr fell over Dead From Feels.

Once Upon a Time

Before anyone could get too happy, though, as it turned out, Ingrid had very much been in control of things all along—and more importantly, was now in control of Emma and Elsa through the still inexplicably clean ribbons around their wrists. Before anyone could get too sad, though, Regina and Robin had a Revelation: at least one of the pages in the Book of Magical Contrivance now exists in two versions: one in the book, where Robin and Regina never met outside the tavern, and one in Robin’s satchel, where Robin and Regina did meet outside the tavern. Never mind the philosophical implications of this: the main thing, as Robin noted, is that now he and Regina can totally make out again, and, even better, enjoy Sexy Times in a library and not in a crypt, a decided improvement by any measure. Unless, of course, you are poor frozen Marian, who cannot possibly be enjoying any of this.

Next week, ABC has decided to show the American Music Awards instead, so see you in a couple of weeks for the next edition of Once Upon a Time.


Mari Ness lives in central Florida.

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