Fall TV 2014RecapReviewTV

‘Once Upon A Time’ Review/Recap: “Family Business”

Emma Doherty ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant Editor

Robert Carlyle in the Once Upon A Time episode "Family Business." Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.
Robert Carlyle in the Once Upon A Time episode “Family Business.” Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.

After a few weeks of disappointing episodes this season of Once Upon A Time, “Family Business” hit the mark with an episode filled with character growth and development, relationships with our core characters, and looking into an aspect of the show everyone has wanted to see since season one: Emma’s (Jennifer Morrison) backstory. This episode follows Storybrooke’s newest villain as we find out more and more about why she’s here and what she wants with the residents of the town.

If you were wondering if there is a show where you can see a Saviour, The Evil Queen, and Captain Hook together in an ice cream truck, you’re in luck! Here is where we get more information about Emma’s childhood and her life as a foster kid with the Snow Queen (Elizabeth Mitchell). Seeing Emma find out that this woman kept things from her childhood and clearly cared about her in some way just makes it more apparent how much more we need to see of Emma. We have seen so much of nearly every character’s backstory expect the saviour. It’s easy to forget how vulnerable and hurt she is about her past but when we get scenes like this, its heart breaking and really gives Jennifer Morrison a chance to dive in and explore this character.

Perhaps the success of this episode is due to something this reviewer did not see coming. The main storyline was focused on Belle (Emilie De Ravin) and she shined in every scene. We don’t get to see much of Belle besides her being supportive of Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and the rest of the town when they need her for help. This episode proved that she is just as strong and has as much fight as the other very powerful women on the show.

Elizabeth Mitchell and Elizabeth Lail in the Once Upon A Time episode "Family Business." Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.
Elizabeth Mitchell and Elizabeth Lail in the Once Upon A Time episode “Family Business.” Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.

We never knew much of Belle besides the fact that she is selfless and kind, but of course, everyone on this show has secrets and things they want to forget. In this case it was two things. We learn that Belle’s mother lost her life in a selfless act to save her daughter. When it happened, Belle was injured so she seeked out the advice from the rock trolls to try to restore her memory so she could remember the last time she saw her mother. This is where her path crossed with Anna (Elizabeth Lail) and we find out that it was the Snow Queen who is responsible for her disappearance. However, Belle inadvertently played a part in her capture. When they were venturing back from getting guidance, Anna slipped and fell from a cliff and Belle gave up the opportunity to save her and had to witness her capture as a result.

All of this was revealed from a brilliant scene from Emilie De Ravin. The guilt from keeping it a secret that she knew Anna became too much and she decided to use the dagger to help her find the Snow Queen and control Rumpel. On her search for her, she ends up in the Snow Queen’s ice cave and comes across the mirror that we were left to wonder about previously. In an eerie scene, we see that Belle discovers a darker more cruel side of herself when she looks into the mirror. This version of Belle reaches into her and pulls out all of the things she fears and suppresses. We learn that she thinks she is a coward just like Rumpel does, which is a beautiful parallel that more concretely solidifies their relationship. We are left seeing Rumpel pull her out of the trance the mirror has her in and she apologizes to him for using the dagger. It’s so frustrating to see yet another character be manipulated by The Dark One, especially one as sweet as Belle. Maybe this time when she finds out the truth about him, it will be the final straw.

One of the most important scenes of the episode came when Regina (Lana Parrilla) told Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) that she can’t continue to be the person to solve his problems. She reveals that saving Marian is something he needs to do himself because he is the one who can’t wake her up. Honestly, it’s bad enough that he tells Regina he is in love with her and can’t be with her, but he also wants her to save his dying wife too? If that isn’t selfish, what is? Once again we see how strong Regina is as a person when in a show of selflessness, she tells him that he needs to stop caring about her so that he can truly love his wife (A+ delivery from Lana Parrilla as always).

Emilie de Ravin and Elizabeth Lail  in the Once Upon A Time episode "Family Business." Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.
Emilie de Ravin and Elizabeth Lail in the Once Upon A Time episode “Family Business.” Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.

Finally, we find out that the Snow Queen just wants to have a family. However, this family only consists of Emma, Elsa, and herself because of a prophecy. We’re left to wonder who wrote this prophecy and why no one had ever heard of it before. It could be the fact that they all have magic that would unite them as a family. But if thats the case, then why isn’t Regina included in this all powerful female family? Is it because she isn’t blonde? Maybe we’ll find out next week.


1. Will it take as long for Elsa to wear normal clothes as it took for Hook to take off his leather cape ensemble?

2. Couldn’t Emma just loan her a pair of her warehouse sized collection of skinny jeans?

3. Where did the Snow Queen keep her white gown during her time as an ice cream scooper? Maybe a dry cleaning freezer? Her back up ice cream truck in the woods?

4. What is the relationship between Rumpel and the Snow Queen? Perhaps another creepy Cora- like love affair? It would be a strange twist if Rumpel isn’t romantically tied to one of our female villains.. Maybe we’ll get another uncomfortable make out scene in the future! Fingers crossed!

Overall Episode Grade: A


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One Comment

  1. I loved that they gave the chance to Belle to grow like character and give her much needed depth and meaning outside rumple. I liked very much what they did with her, she is from the side of the heroes but the show has showed that none is white. Solved tons of questions that I, like fan of Belle had since long ago and I truly felt like too much costly candy, delicious and a very good one. I like the adult tone to her relationship with Rumple. I’m still a little insecure about change important matters to be frozen related but…hope see more of my 3 “babies”: Rumple, Belle and Regina.

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