Emma Doherty ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Viewers were hit with a cold front when after months of waiting for the return of Once Upon A Time and the highly anticipated incorporation of Disney’s newest sensation Frozen, the show returned with a bang.
The episode picked up right where the story left off with Elsa (Georgina Haig) arriving in Storybrooke when Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) returned from the Enchanted Forest. In true Once Upon A Time fashion, we see a lot more of her past before we get to see much of Elsa’s new development in town. With flashbacks of Arendale, it’s shown that Elsa has discovered she is the reason her parents died on a journey across seas years ago. The reason why they were travelling still remains to be seen and prompts Anna (Elizabeth Lail) to replicate the journey and find what her parents were looking for. In an un-Disney like twist, we find out that while Elsa has been trapped in the urn and even before that, she had not seen Anna in a very long time and is on a mission to find her. Once again, we are met with another OUAT storyline of an incomplete life and finding something that has left or been taken.
This plotline is surely guaranteed to bring in a wide variety of new viewers, but what fans of the show from the beginning really wanted to see, was how our Storybrooke clan was getting along after the arrival of a new character. It’s no secret that Emma and Regina (Lana Parrilla) have had their fair share of violent disputes and trust issues in the past, but towards the end of last season, it was great to see the two working together and really gaining an understanding for one another.
However, we will have to wait and see if they can re-establish this connection after Emma’s latest mishap. When returning from the past, she accidentally brought back Robin Hood’s (Sean Maguire) wife Marian (Christie Laing) who had unfortunately experienced the worst of the Evil Queen. Just when fans of Regina thought she was getting her happy ending, it was mercilessly taken away from her once again. After developing a relationship with the person who was deemed to be her “true love” it was a shock to find out that this will just be another test for this devastated but resilient character.
Although we have seen an endless amount of heart-aches for Regina, it did not make it any easier to watch her be turned down by the love of her life. Although this was heart-breaking to see, the writers seem to have an ulterior motive to this painful plot. This seems to be a test to see if Regina can remain good, and after how she saved the town recently with her light magic, it will be interesting to see where this journey takes her. However, it seems that we will not have to fear the worst. In a surprising scene, Regina sought out the help of long forgotten Sidney Glass (Giancarlo Esposito) aka The Magic Mirror. She says with his help, she wants to travel back to kill Marian before Emma can save her. This was the make or break scene for Regina’s character development, and she passed with flying colors. After seeing the past through new eyes and a clearer head, she knows she could never kill Marian and sees that she has come too far as a person. The realization coloring her face when she saw this was absolutely brilliant and is a true testament to all that Lana Parrilla brings to this dynamic character.
The most interesting part of this new development however is that this time, when Regina is getting sucked into the darkness and turmoil, she is not alone. Emma is with her, and in a moment that chillingly parallels a scene from Frozen where Anna is trying to communicate with Elsa when she locks herself away, Emma vows to help Regina and make sure she gets her happy ending. This is what makes Once Upon A Time so wonderful, and despite the constant flow of new characters and plot twists and turns, keeps viewers coming back. Going from two women who once wanted to tear off each other’s heads, to giving one a good life she never had, to the other promising that she will find her her true love and happiness, is character growth unlike any other.
Even with the frenzy over the inclusion of Frozen, this is not the most shocking new aspect of the show. This episode introduced a new concept to the entire makeup of the series that has never been covered before but has been a constant wonder.. Who wrote the book? When Regina states that the book of fairytales is determining the outcomes of people’s lives, she sets out on a mission to find this mystery person and have her own happy ending written in. The only indication we seem to have as to whom this person might be is of course from Rumplestiltskin. While on his honeymoon with Belle in an abandoned mansion, he discovers that a box, when activated by his magic, comes to life and takes form in the shape of a holographic hat. But not just any hat, the famed Disney icon Sorcerer’s hat from the film Fantasia.
So who is this mysterious, hat wearing, all knowing being? Is Jefferson making a comeback? Is it Merlin the magician? Let’s just hope it’s not Mickey Mouse. Either way this entire episode managed to throw out some great new storylines without being over the top. If the next episodes are anything like this one, season four of Once Upon A Time looks like it’s heading in a creative and thrilling direction.
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.
Overall Episode Grade: B