TV Time: Once Upon a Time 4.03

Title Rocky Road

Two-Sentence Summary In flashbacks, Elsa and Kristoff work together to eliminate a threat posed by Hans and his brothers, which leads them to the urn that will later be used to imprison Elsa and was also used to imprison a woman claiming to be her aunt, who also has freezing powers. In Storybrooke, that same woman freezes Marian in an attempt to turn the townspeople against Elsa, but her villainous identity is uncovered by Hook and Elsa (after Hook blackmails Rumplestiltskin) and Will Scarlet (after Emma and Charming discover him in the woods).

Favorite Line “Hey, Dairy Queen!” (Emma)

My Thoughts The first two episodes of Once Upon a Time’s fourth season were very strong, but I think we can all admit they were a bit imbalanced. The season premiere was fairly heavy on the plot, while “White Out” favored focused character development over really moving the plot forward for a variety of characters (which I didn’t mind one bit but I know was an issue for some). “Rocky Road,” however, struck a really lovely balance between plot progression and character growth for the entire main cast.

What made “Rocky Road” work despite the sheer number of storylines was its thematic cohesion, which was my favorite part of “White Out,” but was even more impressive in this episode because of the broader scope of its storytelling. Despite the sheer number of stories being told, each one was—at its core—the same: a story of a person who believes they are fated to be unhappy and alone struggling to let themselves hope that their fate can be changed.

Regina’s story this season seems to be the most literal interpretation of that overarching theme. When it comes to the “changing the book” plot, I’ll admit to still being very confused by the details. I was always under the impression that the book ended with the casting of Regina’s curse, so I don’t know what exactly she’s planning to have them change in order to get her happy ending. Does she simply want the book to reflect her point of view as well as that of the heroes, or does she actually want to change the events of the past so she looks less villainous? Because she may be changing in the present and may not a villain anymore, but it’s not incorrect to say she was a villain in the past. I was hoping Henry would ask for more clarification, but I think he was so happy to be spending time with her again that he just went along with it. It was cute to see him excited to embark on “Operation Mongoose.” Also, did anyone else notice that Regina’s name was a subtle—but very in-character—dig at “Operation Cobra?” (Google “mongoose versus snake” if you need proof.)

What I find the most interesting about Regina’s story so far is that she’s already changing her fate without changing the book, simply by being a better person. It makes sense for Regina to feel as if she needs the validation of the book claiming she deserves a happy ending, but I hope she comes to earn that happy ending by continuing to do the right thing in Storybrooke. I loved her choices with Marian in this episode because they were so selfless. There was a part of her that did it for Robin (because true love is selfless love), but there was also a part of her that seemed to want to do the right thing simply because it’s right.

I love the way these past two seasons have used Regina holding hearts in her hands as a symbol of how much she has grown. Last season, she held Snow’s heart in her hands and used it to save a life instead of destroying the woman she hated for so long. And in “Rocky Road,” she held the heart of a woman who was standing in the way of her happy ending, and she chose to protect it without ever once seeming tempted to crush it. It’s actions like that which make me—and will make the characters—see Regina as a woman worthy of a happy ending, not her quest to change the book. When Robin said he was in love with someone else and Regina smiled that gloriously hopeful smile, that moment was earned (if a bit awkwardly staged with Marian lying lifeless right next to them). While I still feel like the depth of their feelings are a bit rushed, both Lana Parrilla and Sean Maguire sell that depth so well that all I want is to hug both of them because they’re both trying to do the right thing despite knowing that the right thing will keep them from the person they love.

Speaking of characters I want to hug, Snow’s little side plot broke my heart in this episode. At first, I found it somewhat strange that she wouldn’t even pass Neal off to Charming during the fireside chat. But it all made so much sense after her scene with Archie. (How perfect was Snow saying that she didn’t remember scheduling a session?) Snow is a woman who lost both of her children. She lost Neal for a few hours, but she lost Emma for 28 years. She’s still living with the effects of what losing Emma did to both her daughter and herself, and she doesn’t ever want to suffer through that again or have her son suffer like Emma did. That guilt and fear are two things I’ve always wanted them to address with Snow, and the show did it in such a believable, honest way. Snow must feel like she’s fated to always lose her children, and she wants to do everything in her power to change that fate, even if that means holding her son a little closer than she should. Yes, she needs to learn to let go a little bit, but I completely understand her reluctance to do so.

Another character who is constantly struggling with letting go is Rumplestiltskin. His story has always been focused on the idea of whether or not we can control our fate. He might be telling everyone he’s turned over a new leaf thanks to his marriage and his son’s death, but we know he’s still the same man, desperate for a sense of control. He’s also a man who believes more than perhaps any other character that he’s not truly meant to have a happy ending, so I think that, by keeping his secret from Belle, he’s subconsciously sabotaging his happiness because he doesn’t think he’s supposed to have it.

And if anyone can understand the psychology of Rumplestiltskin, it’s the man who spent hundreds of years planning to kill him. I loved that Hook was the one who saw straight through Rumplestiltskin because, as he told Emma, he’s “actually quite perceptive.” And, for as much as Hook has changed for the better, it was great seeing him use his pirate side again—and using it for good. Robert Carlyle and Colin O’Donoghue are fantastic scene partners. That moment in the pawnshop was filled with such delicious tension and a deep sense of history between those two characters. I know this won’t end well for Hook (because when does anyone end up on the winning side of a conflict with the Dark One?), but it’s going to be fun for those of us who love great acting while it lasts. And if Hook ends up being the one to reveal to Belle that she’s being played by her husband, I am more than okay with that. She needs to know, and she needs to know soon.

Hook/Rumplestiltskin was just one of the many combinations of characters I enjoyed seeing in this episode. Hook/Elsa was another. I liked how their dynamic mirrored hers with Kristoff in the flashbacks; you could see her trying to relate to both men because she knows they’re important to people she’s come to care about (Emma and Anna). And while the advice she gave Hook about why Emma is avoiding him may not have been true for Emma, it showed the potential for a nice relationship to form between these two characters in addition to the friendship we see strengthening between Elsa and Emma. (I especially loved Emma defending Elsa to Regina.) And on a lighter note, how cute was Hook trying to explain a phone to Elsa? I don’t know what I loved more: O’Donoghue’s exasperated facial expressions, the fact that he only knows how to work the phone in relation to “the Emma button,” or his frustrated voicemail. How is it possible for this character to be threatening Rumplestiltskin with complete conviction in one scene and then be downright adorable trying to call Emma in the next scene? It’s a testament to O’Donoghue’s impressive versatility.

Another dynamic that has the potential to be a lot of fun is Emma and Will Scarlet. I didn’t religiously watch Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, but when I did watch, I always loved Michael Socha and what he brought to this character. His charisma is a welcome addition to this show, and I think Socha is a great match for Jennifer Morrison in terms of the dry sense of humor they both bring to their characters. I’m not sure how well he’ll continue to work within the main stories of these episodes, but I liked that his thievery was the key to discovering the Snow Queen. (Side note: This is what I’m calling that character until she’s proven to be someone else or is given a name.) Between Hook’s blackmail and Will’s larceny, I liked that this mystery was solved by less than 100% noble methods. And who else is super excited for those two charming British rogues to meet?

While Emma and Will showed potential to make good scene partners, this was another episode that focused on Emma’s relationships with her father and with Hook. Through both of those relationships, we were able to see Emma start to live out that theme of changing the way you feel your life is fated to go. Emma started this episode in a bit of a slump. She let Regina get into her head with her comments about not being much of a savior, and she told her father that she felt like a failure after the snow monster and ice wall debacles. But Charming, ever the supportive father, encouraged her to believe that just because it felt like she wasn’t meant to succeed, that wasn’t the way it had to be. After the last episode, it was nice to see Charming continue to inspire people not to give up on themselves, because now we know where he got it from. And I always love watching Josh Dallas deliver encouraging little pep talks because he puts such sincerity into every line reading.

Of course, Charming was right. Emma may have felt like people were seeing her as a failure of a savior, but she changed that perception pretty quickly when her father and Hook were in danger. All magic is emotion, and Emma’s magic always seems to be its strongest when she’s protecting people she loves. In this case, she didn’t even have to take time to summon her magic or control it; she unleashed it with incredibly powerful results. It was a nice victory for a character who’s been struggling with a series of magical failures, and it was especially nice to see the strength of how much she cares for both Hook and Charming after we saw how much they cared for her when she was in danger in “White Out.”

At first, Emma’s interactions with Hook in this episode might have given you a sense of tonal whiplash after how open and vulnerable she was with him at the end of “White Out.” But I think between her own brush with death and seeing Robin struggling with Marian’s curse, Emma had mortality on the brain. This made her suddenly very forceful in her attempts to keep Hook safe and in her frustration with him when he ended up in a life-threatening situation. However, Hook did what he does so wonderfully where Emma is concerned: He made her stop running (literally and figuratively). He voiced the same concern we saw him state in the first episode of the season: She’s avoiding him, and he wants to know why. And this time, she actually told him. In the course of two episodes, their relationship has grown so much, and I loved that the physical intimacy shown in their closeness in “White Out” gave way to the emotional intimacy of Emma finally being honest about why she’s been holding back with Hook. I adore when characters are allowed to talk through their issues like real adults, and that’s one of my favorite things about Hook and Emma’s dynamic: He makes her feel safe enough to open up to him about emotional things she probably wouldn’t share with anyone else.

That openness, which is so rare for Emma Swan as a character, comes from a fact that was explicitly stated in this scene: She trusts him. For so long, Emma Swan was afraid to trust anyone after what Neal did to her; it was the reason she said she wore the keychain he gave her as a necklace—to remind her never to trust anyone. Emma chained Hook up to the beanstalk when they first met because she was afraid to trust him, and her trust issues only got worse after what she went through with Walsh. Knowing her history made this admission of trust so huge for Emma as a character. I loved the way Morrison delivered this line, like it was such a basic fact. It only served to highlight just how much her relationship with Hook has helped her heal from the damage she suffered in past relationships; she doesn’t even think twice about trusting him now.

Because Emma trusts Hook, she could open up to him about why she’s so afraid to fully dive into their relationship. Before their kiss in the Season Three finale, Emma was afraid that he would hurt her, but those fears were put to rest, allowing her to embark on this relationship. However, she was still afraid, only it wasn’t a fear of him intentionally hurting her anymore; it was a fear of him leaving her through death.

That confession broke my heart, and it was all because of how Morrison delivered it. To hear her tearfully list of all the people Emma cared for and lost made her fears so understandable. Emma believes it’s her fate to be alone, to go without romantic love, because she’s never known a love that survives. But perhaps the most beautiful part of that confession was the moment she looked at Hook and told him, “I can’t lose you, too.” The fact that she said “can’t” instead of “don’t want to” is so important. Emma has lost so many people, but Hook is the one man she feels like she can’t lose. For her to be so open about what was probably her biggest fear and most vulnerable part of her heart was monumental for this character. The way Morrison delivered that line with such sincerity was truly beautiful. It was one of the biggest moments of character growth for Emma to date, and she gave it the weight it needed.

And then we have O’Donoghue, whose reaction to Morrison’s emotional honesty was just as beautiful as the words she’d just said. These two actors work so well together because they can make the shortest lines and quietest moments resonate with chemistry and depth. The little smile he gave before he started to talk spoke volumes about Hook’s understanding of this woman he loves so much. His expression was so soft and almost awestruck, and it was because Hook understood that she was finally telling him she cares about him as much as he cares about her. He doesn’t have to guess at her feelings anymore or worry they’re not on the same page. He knows exactly what it’s like to lose everyone you love, so he knows how much it took for Emma to tell him she can’t lose him—because that’s how he feels about her. To be able to convey all of that in one smile speaks to just how much O’Donoghue brings to this dynamic.

Hook followed that soft smile with exactly the reassurance Emma needed. He’s good at surviving, and the way O’Donoghue delivered that line was like a promise; he’s not going anywhere. That line was once used by Hook as a threat, but now it’s a romantic vow. Emma’s not the only one who’s grown incredibly through this relationship.

The moments after Hook promises Emma that he’s good at surviving were my favorites in the whole episode. When the camera paned back to Emma, Morrison had a look on her face that was so beautiful I could spend another thousand words talking about it. It was hope—pure and simple. There was the slightest hint of a smile on her lips and determination in her eyes, and you could see the exact moment she chooses to stop believing that she’s fated to lose everyone and chooses to start believing she can have the love and happiness she’s always wanted. Hope is such a powerful emotion on Once Upon a Time, and it was at the center of this powerful scene. And that same hope is reflected in Hook’s eyes and in his kiss. For the first time, Hook initiated a kiss between them, and it was because he finally had hope that she feels as strongly for him as he feels for her. There was so much confidence in that kiss, and I loved it. For the first time, neither was holding back, and it made for one heck of a romantic moment.

While Emma and Hook made me feel the most strongly in this episode, it was the Snow Queen who kept me up until 2 a.m. thinking. Elizabeth Mitchell was such a phenomenal casting choice for this role. Her ability to make you question everything about her motives was the hallmark of her time on Lost and was used perfectly here as well. She’s so subtle and controlled, which is a nice change from Zelena’s campy presence last season. And she projects a warmth and kindness that makes you completely understand why no one suspected her and why Elsa trusted her so easily.

Elsa also struggled in the flashbacks with feeling fated to always be alone and misunderstood. Yes, her bonding with Kristoff was nice (Scott Michael Foster was great at taking Kristoff’s sass from the movie to another level.), but she immediately opened up to this woman because for the first time she felt completely understood. It broke my heart to know that this woman wasn’t worthy of Elsa’s beautiful openness (and it made me appreciate her friendship with Emma even more). I do believe the Snow Queen is her aunt, but the thing with Mitchell is you can never tell when her character is telling the truth. She might just have been preying on Elsa’s desire for family.

The real question, though, isn’t how the Snow Queen knows Elsa but how she knows Emma. Mitchell played that moment of recognition with such complexity that I am baffled by what these two characters could mean to each other. There was surprise there and an unexpected kind of tenderness. Could she have been one of Emma’s foster mothers (or the mother who gave her up when she was three), altering Emma’s memory in the same way she seems to have altered Elsa’s? How does her obvious past with Emma fit into her belief that people with magic will always be feared and oppressed by people without it? (This reminded me of Magneto from X-Men, and I loved it.) And what kind of history does she have with Rumplestiltskin? (Please let it mean more scenes between Mitchell and Carlyle, because the one we got was perfection.) I haven’t been this excited to see the outcome of a mystery on this show since its earliest days.

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63 thoughts on “TV Time: Once Upon a Time 4.03

  1. I was also intrigued by the Snow Queen. Don’t know how she knows Emma, although it will be excellent to find out. However, I believe her when she says she’s Elsa’s aunt, and I also believe that Elsa’s mother put the Snow Queen in that urn, and Elsa winds up in the urn as the Snow Queen’s revenge.
    Worried about Anna fighting the Dark One, of course.
    Is Hans really gone for good? YAY! Well deserved ending! Way to go, Snow Queen!

    And now we know why Elsa destroyed the urn as she walked out of the barn; she never wanted it to be used again.

  2. You’d think at this point the townspeople would stop blaming everything on the first person that pops into their heads, because most of the time it’s never that person. It’s annoying how that keeps happening.

    Will was one of the things I liked about OUaTiW, so I’m glad to see him here. I wonder how this fits into the timeline though? Does this take place before or after OUaTiW?

    I like your theory about how the Snow Queen might have been Emma’s foster mother… so does that mean she wasn’t in town for the first curse?

    I had a feeling one of the reasons she was afraid to fully open up to Hook was because of Neal, Graham, and Walsh all ending up dead. I can’t wait for their date next episode, I just hope nothing crazy happens in town again to interrupt it.

    • Thanks for the comment! I think this show takes place after OUATiW, and we’re supposed to find out at some point exactly how Will ended up back in Storybrooke and why he’s there without Ana.

      I can’t wait for Emma and Hook’s big date either! I’m sure something will happen to interrupt it, but I hope we get plenty of wonderful moments before then (and maybe after the interruptions are taken care of too).

  3. Great review, as always. This episode, overall, left me feeling like I’d just eaten a really delicious and anticipated meal; satisfied, happy and generally full of good feelings. I had a couple of issues, mainly being confused on the status of Rumple’s dagger. Did he actually switch them? I re-watched the scene where Belle compels him with the dagger, and he specifically says he doesn’t know anything about Elsa or her sister, which we KNOW is not true (even if you didn’t know at the time, the promo for next week clearly shows Anna and Rumple interacting, and Anna specifically mentions Elsa’s name). So….what’s with the dagger? Also, I guess my original Snow Queen theory was off, although it is obvious that Rumple and SQ know each other in some capacity. I’m inclined, like you, to believe that the SQ is related to Elsa, but we’re definitely missing some crucial pieces so far. I’m intrigued by the foster mother theory and think it could add a really interesting level of complexity to an already mysterious and obviously twisty backstory.

    Can I just say how happy I was to have some of our old pirate Hook again? Not that I don’t adore him as a devoted-to-Emma Hook (and come on, the cellphone part was amazing), but it was really refreshing to see some of that old sassiness again. Even the kiss scene had a little pirate in it; the cocky little half smile and his reassurance that was good at survival, and that KISS. It was really great to finally see Hook get to take the lead (I get why he wanted Emma to initiate on previous encounters, but there is something really satisfying about watching him just grab and kiss the living daylights out of her).

    Maybe this is strange, but I’m going to be honest, for all the amazing Emma-Hook development, the mystery of the Snow Queen and her history with just about everyone, and the really great Elsa-Kristoff flashbacks, that small scene with Archie and Snow REALLY stuck with me. I’m a mom (little boy and another on the way), and while I don’t think you have to be a mother to feel for Snow in that scene, it really resinated for me (although I’m a little extra emotional at the moment, especially about mother/baby interactions). Reflecting back on previous episodes with Snow, her attachment to Neal takes on such a darker tone, and I just ached for her thinking about all of the fear, anxiety and lingering guilt she must be carrying with her. Having to reconcile such heavy emotions on top of dealing with trials of being a first-time mom (because honestly, she missed all the baby-rearing with Emma) just seems so overwhelming. I’m really glad that at least Archie seems to get it, and I hope Snow gets the chance to work through some of that this season.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words and for sharing your thoughts with us!

      I think the dagger Belle has is once again the fake. Rumple took out the real one to deal with the sorcerer’s hat, and I don’t think he ever gave the real one back to Belle after that. At least that’s the impression I got.

      I also completely agree that it was nice to see some of that pirate swagger back in Hook this episode. That last scene was the perfect combination of devoted Hook and confident Hook, and I hope we continue to see more of that because the way he just went for it in that kiss was…WOW. 😉

      I absolutely loved reading your thoughts about Snow’s scene with Archie. It was such a small moment, but it really stood out to me, too. And I’m not even a mother (kudos to those of you who are, and congrats on the baby on the way!).

    • Not strange, I think they’ve played Snow’s motherhood really well. It is both very realistic to modern parenting challenges of feeling the need to redefine yourself and do everything. The fears embedded in Snow’s experiences in particular with Emma. Up until now she has mostly responded to the impact that putting Emma in the tree had on Emma, but not the real turmoil it created for her as a parent. Snow knows she did the right thing and believes in the choice she made regarding Emma, but what she’s learning through Neal is how much it altered who she is and her confidence. It’s been subtle but effective.

  4. Hi Katie, that was such a good review – everything you said about Emma’s scene’s with Hook and David was just perfect – I am loving this season so much and I especially love that they really seem to be focussing on Emma in this part of the season – I do think that 4B will focus on Regina especially now that Malificent is going to be in it, but if we keep getting scenes like this with Emma then I don’t really care!

    I still don’t know what to think of the Regina/Robin/Marian triangle – I thought as well that they really rushed their relationship in 3B but the fact that they got to know each other during the year in the enchanted forest means that I can buy that they are in love – although I would have preferred it if they’d gotten together first during that year. Where I’m struggling is that surely Robin must know that Regina was the one who killed Marian originally and I really need to see some reaction from him on this – maybe we’ll see it later on but what was the point in showing that Regina was the one who killed her if we don’t see some fall out from Robin. I’ll wait to see how this plays out but I’m sitting firmly on the fence on this one.

    Also I’m very confused about the story book – my understanding is that the story book tells the true stories of what happened in the past – the story book does not determine the end. But I agree with you (again) that Regina will learn that only she can ensure she gets a happy ending. That said as well I’m excited to find out who wrote the book.

    I loved, loved the Snow Queen – I have absolutely no clue what she’s up to but she’s a great villain. I have so many questions about her after this episode, I can’t wait to find out how she know’s Emma, I think she was probably one of her foster mother’s, but then how does Rumple know about her history with Emma, and finally she must have only just arrived in Storybrook as if she’d been there since the first curse she’d surely have seen Emma before now. So many questions and I can’t wait to find the answers!

    • Thanks, Joan! 🙂

      I agree with you—I’m so happy that this half of the season seems to be focusing so much on Emma. I also think 4B will be heavy on Regina, so it’s nice to see Emma’s story take on such a prominent role here.

      I definitely share your concern about Robin not really reacting to Regina killing Marian in the other timeline. I know she’s not that woman anymore, but it seems kind of unbelievable for him to not be upset at all by it. I just want more of Robin’s emotions in general besides loving Regina, but that’s just my love for any and all Robin Hood stories talking. 😉

    • Joan, you arent alone with the Regina/Robin/Marian triangle. I just dont really see where they are trying to go with it. I am over here swooning like mad over Emma/Hook while Robin and Regina do nothing for me. But I am glad that they have different types of romantic pairings on the show that speak to different people.

  5. I loved this episode too, though my friend who just doesn’t started watching thinks David and Emma are the worse sheriffs in history running into an empty (icy) room and allowing their prisoner to escape. Not sure what to make of Will Scarlet. Did not watch Wonderland so will have to give him a try but I am a little annoyed he’s a full cast member and Sean is not.

    Naturally the highlight for me was Regina and Robin’s scenes. It would be interesting for Regina to save Marian but also devastating to see that means he reunites with his wife. Wonder how long she will stay frozen.

    Good catch on Operation: Mongoose! And I am confused as to Regina’s desires now…I was worried she wanted to rewrite the book in the sense to change the past that way but if it was just to make it add her bad history and how she too deserves a happy ending I’m all for it.

    Emma earned good points calling out Dairy Queen to the Snow Queen. Loving Elizabeth Mitchell so far and I like how Frozen is still tangled up with the current cast. HOWEVER its funny to me that after being nearly frozen by Elsa the day before, Emma is ready to entirely trust her 100% but still gives daggers to Regina whenever anything is amiss in town. LOL.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

      Your friend isn’t wrong in saying Emma and Charming aren’t winning any “Sheriff of the Year” awards. I rolled my eyes so hard when they left Will alone in the shop. And Will was one of my favorite parts of OUATiW. His charm grows on you, and Michael Socha is actually a really good actor. But I do agree that it’s still a little strange that he’s a regular and Sean Maguire still isn’t one.

  6. With regard to Marian: I posted a comment on my tumblr blog that says, basically:
    Cheating death by not dying when you are supposed to never works out well. The trope is that the Grim Reaper WILL be coming to collect you. I don’t think Marian dies from freezing; I think the setup is that she will die to save her son, maybe when he is with Henry. A heroic death that leaves Regina in a good place, also Robin, although he will still be sad to lose Marian.

    But we now know who is true love REALLY is-Regina.

    • I’ve seen that theory about death coming for Marian, and I have a feeling that’s right. It’s a common trope, so if she has to die, I hope it is doing something heroic. Part of me is still hoping she doesn’t have to die, but that’s because I’ve loved the character of Maid Marian since I was a little girl and first watched the Disney animated version of Robin Hood. 😉

    • Yeah, I’m certain that she’s going to die… the way that Robin phrased his commitment when he was talking to Regina – he could have said it in different ways, but he specifically said “till death do us part” so I’m afraid she’s not going to make it to the end of the season.

  7. I completely agree, this was a more balanced episode than the first two and I was really happy with how it turned out. We had plenty of character moments but also some plot movement and the balance between the original characters and the Frozen characters was also really good. My only problem is that it left me with too many things to talk about! 😉

    I’ll start with Regina because there was so much to love about both her character and Lana’s performance this week. First of all, her turning away when Robin tried to give Marian a TLK just broke my heart. She was so willing to help because it was the right thing to do and it clearly meant a lot of him but it had to have been killing her inside. Then with Robin explaining why he thought it didn’t work, that combination of hope, sadness, and understanding made me want to wrap Regina in a hug. I am so proud of the way she is growing and continuing her journey, even with this heartbreak.

    I also really loved her scenes with Henry. Maybe it was just the change of clothing to be more casual, but there was a lightness and freedom to the way that scene felt and it was such a nice change for Regina to have a simple, happy moment with her son. She got to be his mom and part of the special group that plans missions and gives them silly names.

    Moving along to the next parent-child set in the episode, I love Emma and Charming together. When she went off to look for the Snow Queen on her own in the forest, you could see that brief second of hurt on Charming’s face. He just wants to keep his baby girl close and doesn’t want her to stop needing him. Then we got her confiding him him about feeling like she’s failed as the savior lately and the pep talk he gave her in return and I melted. It’s a relationship that feels so natural and effortless when it should probably feel a little weirder that they are the same age but it never does.

    And finally, Snow and baby Neal. Can we have more scenes with Archie the psychologist? The whole town has been through so much and they could use his insights. Early in the episode, I just assumed that she was excited to be a mother and determined to handle everything herself then once she and Archie started talking, everything made so much more sense. Her history with her kids has mostly involved them being taken away from her and that reminder broke my heart, especially after her cute moments with Neal last week. I want her to get to fully enjoy being a mother without worrying that it’ll all go away.

    Which actually led better than expected into my weekly Hook and Emma feelings lol. Emma took the opposite approach from her mother. Where Snow held on a little too much, Emma did the opposite and tried to push Hook away again. But this time, without a life-threatening situation, she opened up when Hook pushed her. There was a lot to love about that scene, but my personal favorite had to have been Emma’s face when she said “of course I trust you”. She looked a little sad that she hurt him by making him feel like she didn’t trust him. She knows how intensely she feels for him but she hadn’t stopped to think about how her pushing him away made him feel and it made her feel badly that he had the wrong impression. She’s past the point where she can keep her feelings in when it comes to him and it was time for her to verbally express those feelings. It was such a huge step for her personally and for their relationship and it made me so incredibly proud of how far she has come.

    In other big Emma progress, she was so protective of her new friend Elsa. She knew the town would be after her so she did her job as sheriff and sent her to safety with someone she could trust but she also made sure that she was OK personally.

    I apparently just want all of the Elsa scenes we can get because every one of them was perfect to me. She works so well with Kristoff and I can’t wait for them to be officially family and reunited with Anna because that will be a fantastic combination of characters. I really love when she made sure the Snow Queen didn’t hurt him because he was a friend. She struggled a little getting the words out because she’s always been alone but he helped remind her that maybe she wasn’t as alone as she felt. She was also perfect with Hook and once again, protective when he was in danger.

    Finally, we come to Elizabeth Mitchell as the Snow Queen. What a perfect casting choice because I have no idea what her motives are or what’s going on with her. I like your idea that she played a role in raising Emma at some point in her past. It seems to fit the most with the surprised yet affectionate response when she saw Emma for the first time. I desperately want to see more of how her relationship with Elsa evolved and how Elsa ended up in that urn because I’m just not buying that it was Anna. At least not yet. Basically I just need more of her because Elizabeth Mitchell is flawless in this role and incredibly compelling to watch.

    • This comment brought me so much joy because you articulated everything perfectly, and it left me nodding along to all of it.

      In terms of Regina feelings, Lana Parrilla does such a good job of making me want to hug this character. The way she tried to hold back her obvious joy when Robin said he was in love with someone else speaks to how much she’s grown. She knows it’s not the time or place to let herself show total joy, but she couldn’t help letting herself hope in that moment.

      I also loved your take on all of the parent-child stuff in this episode. From Regina and Henry and Snow and Neal to the perfection of Charming and Emma, they got all of the familial stuff so right in this episode. And I agree with you about Jennifer Morrison and Josh Dallas—they make that relationship seem so natural and effortless, and it will always be one of my favorites on the show.

      Your thoughts on Emma telling Hook “Of course I trust you” were so spot-on. There was a really nice twinge of guilt there because she genuinely didn’t want him to have the wrong impression about why she was pulling away. And I think that led directly to her openness with him; she knows what it’s like to feel like you don’t matter, and she needed him to know how much he matters to her.

      “Basically I just need more of her because Elizabeth Mitchell is flawless in this role and incredibly compelling to watch.” – 100% YES. This fandom may not agree on a lot, but I love that almost everyone seems to be in agreement about how perfect Elizabeth Mitchell is already. As a fan of hers for years, it’s bringing me so much joy to see her already developing a new legion of admirers.

  8. Where to begin.

    Regina
    I love that Regina and Henry are finally spending quality time together and that they are about to embark on this mission together. I caught the whole Cobra/Mongoose thing, that made me smile. I’d be lying if I said don’t enjoy catty Regina.
    I honestly wasn’t liking the idea of the Robin/Regina/Marian love triangle initially but I actually think there is so much potential there now.
    What I kinda love about it is that it becoming less based on what the characters want for themselves and more on what they want for each other. It’s very selfless. Regina wants to be with Robin but Marian is in the way. There have been two incidents where Marian has been moments away from being killed at someone else’s hand and Regina would have been left blameless and free to be with Robin, but in both instances Regina chose the more difficult path, which was to save Marian and let her continue to have her little family. The same family that Regina loved and was so close to being a part of. That has to be so difficult for Regina because she’s been after this happy ending forever, and to have it dangled in front of her and her not snatch it, shows incredible growth on her part.
    With Robin I feel emotionally drained for him. He loved his wife and has blamed himself for putting her in danger and her being killed for years. Now she’s back and she’s in a different world, in a different time and he knows that all she has is her family. He’s honorable & feels obligated by his honor, his vows and his love for her to not just end his marriage and leave her, because he knows she doesn’t deserve that and he wants to do what he feels is best for her, even if it means he doesn’t get to be truly happy with the woman he loves. On the other side there is Regina who has been so damaged and was so guarded and he doesn’t want her to feel like he just ditched her because she wasn’t wanted/needed anymore. I think him knowing that he’s hurt Regina (as unintentionally as it was) genuinely hurts him because from the time he met her in the EF he seemed to have this ability to see past the persona she projects to the rest of the world and see her, and in SB she went as far as allowing him to see her vulnerable. While he told her in 4×01 that his feelings are real, I think he really just needed to reiterate it last night, while he knows she understands somewhat, he doesn’t want her to let his decision make her feel unloved, unwanted or unworthy, and even though she’s trying to be strong about everything, I’m sure on some level it probably does feel that way to her. He’s desperately trying to not hurt either of these women and do what is honorable and good by both of them, regardless of how much it hurts him. I think this triangle is going to end with Marian also being selfless and wanting Robin to be happy, even if it’s with someone else. I can’t see Marian doing that at this moment because so far Regina to her is the evil queen. I feel like a lot of Regina’s selfless choices concerning Marian are gonna give her a new perspective on who Regina is.
    Adam and Eddy had said there would be one important scene between Regina and Marian. I hoping it will be one where they make amends with each other. I personally think that would be a great ending (for the triangle) because it removes the guilt from Robin and its less baggage for him to carry into his relationship with Regina. It also clears the slate for these characters allowing them to coexist healthily which is great for Roland who won’t have to feel this major tension among the adults and it leaves Marian open to find her own soulmate while still having her family happy nearby.

    Rumple
    I’m really curious to find out what he’s up to. His storyline is pretty unpredictable right now and I’m enjoying that. I am sad he’s back to lying to Belle but I kinda understand. After spending half a season being controlled by Zelena with his dagger, I can understand why he’s reluctant to let anyone else have ownership of it.

    Snow
    I loved the scene with her and Archie. Considering what happened last time with Emma and how he was taken at birth by Zelena, I really can’t blame her for not wanting to let him out of her sight for even a minute.

    Frozen
    I love Frozen, I was a little bored last week but I actually really enjoyed the flashbacks this week and I love The parallels of Elsa bonding with Kristoff and Hook.

    I’m enjoying this season so far, I hope Rumple and Regina get a bit more screen time tho.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I especially enjoyed reading your take on Regina and Robin because it was articulated so well and with so much genuine affection for these characters and their story. I loved how you described Robin’s story as emotionally draining because I think Sean Maguire is playing that really well. I didn’t think about it until you mentioned it, but he makes you feel how completely drained and lost Robin must be in this impossible situation. It’s subtle, but it’s very realistic.

  9. Great breakdown of the episode! I’m curious to pick your brain about what you think will happen to Marian? The line where Rolland plees for ice cream with “Regina would let me!” is I think a big slap across the face for Marian and a painful reminder for Robin Hood. How do you think the Marian-frozen-while-Robin-confesses-his-love-for-Regina bit will play out/ what do you think the significance is?

    • Thank you! And I honestly have no idea what is going to happen with Marian. I can tell you what I’d like to see, which is for her to somehow be freed from her curse (probably by some act of true love, which might involve Regina and Robin—like Regina protecting Marian’s heart somehow out of her true love for Robin), and then to have an honest conversation with Robin about their marriage. I don’t want her to die because I like this character already (and have always loved Marian in all versions of this story), but I don’t want her and Robin to just stay married because of their vows. I have a bad feeling that she isn’t going to survive long even if the curse is broken, but a girl can dream. 😉

  10. This was a great episode. I don’t have much to add since you summed it up perfectly. I did particularly enjoy the Elsa/Kristoff interactions. I love how she called him her friend, it was very sweet. And I think Scott Michael Foster is perfect as Kristoff. I loved how sincere Robin was telling Regina he was in love with someone else and then Regina’s smile. We don’t get to see a lot of those.
    I was so happy when Emma told Hook she trusted him. That was such a big thing for her and she stated it like there was no question. Basically I loved that whole scene as per usual because I can’t get enough of Emma and Hook interactions and character development. And I’m very curious to see what the Snow Queen’s connection to Emma is. She definitely knows her. I like your theory about her being a possible foster mother.
    I wasn’t a big fan of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland but I did love Will Scarlet so it was great to see him back. I think he makes a great addition to the cast. So excited for next week’s episode!

  11. I dont have too much time to comment tonight before MNF, so I am going to focus on Hook, because you know he is my writing muse. 🙂

    I enjoyed the Elsa/Hook dynamic (hey, you dont change clothes either? I get you!). I like to think that Emma and Elsa talked about Hook while they were in the ice cave even if we didnt see it on screen, which is why Elsa felt comfortable talking to him about Emma. I also think its been a consistent part of Hook’s character that he gets snarky and tries to hide his feelings about Emma around people he doesnt feel comfortable with. I also think he has zero reason to trust any magic that isn’t Emma’s. Rumple. Zelena. Regina. Usually magic is of the bad variety.

    They did a great job at setting Emma up for her revelation at the end. I think this was missing a bit last week since for me there was a slight disconnect between how grave her freezing situation was and her response to Hook at the end, but I didn’t feel like that at all here. From her getting snippy with him earlier in the episode, her feeling self conscious about failing as a savior (there is that word again), and Hook again putting himself in harms way, it made perfect sense by the end of the episode that she was ready to lose it.

    One of the things I love so much about Killian as a suitor for Emma is he knows when to push. A woman like Emma needs her agency, but she also can’t have all her agency. I am also one of these women. Its a very delicate line that I think is sometimes hard for people to understand, but its one I understand far too well. Here Emma’s first instinct is to run away. Avoid it. But Killian doesn’t let her get her way. And that’s exactly what she needed. Would you rather have Killian let her go, where she could fume about him not listening to her, or worry more about how she is going to lose him, or convince herself taking the chance isnt worth it? Instead she got to face and admit her fears and make out on the street with a sexy man that loves and supports her. Just try and argue the first option is the better of the two.

    And that kiss. I have loved all the kisses between Emma and Hook we have gotten so far. Each one has been so different, and each one has been huge in their progression. For me, this was the most romantic of all the kisses. Emma was vulnerable and laid her fears out there and Killian not just told her he wasn’t going anywhere, he made sure she felt it too. As you mention, the previous kisses were all Emma’s. Emma giving in to attraction. Emma showing gratitude. Emma asking for time. But this kiss wasn’t from Emma, it was FOR Emma. It was all of Hook’s answers to those previous kisses rolled into one. “I couldn’t handle it”. “I would go to the end of the world (or time) for you”. “I will be patient”. “I am not going anywhere and I wont let you push me away because you are scared”. Swoon. I know there has to be major angst brewing, so I am just going to enjoy all of this and hold on to it before things get rough.

    Random Thoughts:

    -Its just so sad and insulting for Belle to have to keep using the fake dagger, but at the same time I think its hilarious how terrified and uncomfortable she is using it. Does this make me a bad person?

    -Thank you for explaining the ‘operation mongoose’ thing. I never would have put that together and it had me stumped.

    -Emma has become the queen of bad jokes and I absolutely love it.

    -The town mob thing is getting really old. Also, Emma’s “superpower” was endearing for the first 3 seasons, but now it just kinda makes her look bad. Rumple lied straight up to her face. Maybe its transferred to Killian?

    -I enjoy the frozen storyline a lot, but I still feel like I am watching two different shows when the flashbacks dont include Storybrooke characters.

    -I am going to assume that the Snow Queen was not part of the first curse and only came over with the second or by some other means. Its the only thing that makes sense about her not knowing Emma was in Storybrooke. And, if she had some connection to Emma’s life growing up in our world that would support the theory. I am genuinely intrigued by all things Snow Queen at the moment.

    -Bring on the Hook/Emma date! I already have so many feelings about this and I havent even seen it yet.

    • Not a bad person. Blind Belle makes me roll my eyes a bit these days. Her character deserves (and knows) better. What makes her loving Rumple work for me is she loves him in spite of the tendencies that drove him to become the Dark One.

      And I didn’t mention the mob mentality but you are so right. It has gotten old. I’ve grown accustomed and fine with Grumpy being the town crier but to have everyone storm the police department.

      With regards to Frozen, I think this was the last week that happens. I think with Anna headed into Rumple’s lair the two will come together in the Enchanted Forest. But it has been disjointed for me as well, but I simply wrote it off to my resistance to Frozen as a whole.

    • First of all, thanks for absolutely killing me with Killian feelings. I’m going to start with your random thoughts in order to regain my composure before talking about how you made me cry. 😉

      You are not a bad person at all for finding the Belle stuff funny at this point. I need her to find out and to find out soon because this is just making her character look so bad. It never ceases to amaze me that my favorite Disney princess (Belle) is my least favorite OUAT princess and my least favorite Disney princess (Snow White) is my favorite on OUAT. I hope that whenever Belle finds out about how her husband is playing her like a fiddle she shows some backbone because it’s just sad at this point to watch her think he’s changed when he’s backsliding into his old ways without feeling bad about it at all.

      I also agree that the Frozen storyline felt especially disconnected here. While I still liked it, I’m ready to see it all come together next week when Anna meets the Dark One.

      And now for the feelings…

      I absolutely loved what you said about Hook having every reason to be wary of magic that isn’t Emma’s. He’s seen a lot of it in his 300-ish years, and hers is the only one he’s seen consistently used for good.

      Every single thing you said about Hook knowing when to push was perfect because he does it without ever coming on too strong or acting like he’s doing it for any other reason than helping her be her best self. In Season One, Mary Margaret was the one who knew how to push Emma in exactly the right way to get her to be honest with herself about her emotions. And then that relationship got complicated with the whole “friend/mom” dichotomy, so Emma lost that person who didn’t let her hide from her own feelings. And then she found Hook. He pushes her to be open about her feelings because he wants to help her be the best version of herself, which is what she’s doing for him without even trying. And that’s really beautiful.

      “But this kiss wasn’t from Emma, it was FOR Emma. It was all of Hook’s answers to those previous kisses rolled into one. “I couldn’t handle it”. “I would go to the end of the world (or time) for you”. “I will be patient”. “I am not going anywhere and I wont let you push me away because you are scared”. Swoon.” – SHAUNA THIS WAS PERFECT. I have nothing to say except you made me want to cry, and I love it so much.

  12. For me this episode was all about recurrence and the cadence that these characters share as they seek out their happy endings. There’s been some role reversals – Emma is fighting alongside Charming while Snow is trying to navigate her new roles and doing so with a built in fear of failure, not unlike Emma when she first arrived in Storybrooke. We’ve got the wonderfully devilish back and forth between Rumple and Hook (thank goodness someone has finally called him out on the lie). Hook pushing Rumple to admit to his lies was very reminiscent of early Regina and Rumple scenes when we were uncertain if he had retained his memory from the curse. Then of course we had the Snow Queen and Elsa very much mirroring the manipulation and actions that we watched Cora reap on Regina. Setting Elsa up to take the fall for Marion and believing that most simply fear their magic. And of course Operation Mongoose, thank you very much for the Rikki Tikki Tavi memory flash.

    For me the power of Emma in this episode was interesting. When she doesn’t have a moment to think and trusts her gut, her power is great. I love what you said about emotions being the driver of magic. I think it is interesting that for Emma, her power is at its strongest when she simply lets go and works from her gut. That’s what made her confrontation with the Snow Queen interesting and very different from when she faced Cora in the Enchanted Forest. When they were attempting to get back to Storybrooke and needed to face Cora Emma’s motives were different. She was simply trying to get back to Henry, she wasn’t trying to save her home, her sense of place and her sense of family. It hadn’t fully formed. When we get the confrontation in the forest Emma has much to fight for, embodied by Hook and Charming being in trouble, but also in understanding there was something to protect, not merely save. That’s why scene on the street was so immensely powerful. I thought throughout the episode, what the hell is Emma running from that she is being downright disrespectful to Hook, treating him like she would have treated Henry in season 1. It was very much in the same vein as her continued cadence about returning to New York City last season. I don’t think it was so much tonal whiplash, than it is Emma’s knee jerk reaction to that which means the most to her. Her instinct is to blindly protect. She doesn’t stop to think of the impact of her decisions and that is the result of a lifetime of only relying on yourself, never being around long enough to live the consequences of your decisions. So when she is confronted by Hook who calls her out for the truth (not dissimilar to the way he called out Rumple for the truth) it is outstanding that she opens up like a flood gate. Because of her endurance neither Hook, nor we the audience paused to think. Emma has truly lost everyone she’s been close too it sets up an unconscious fear that you don’t allow yourself to acknowledge until you are confronted with it. That’s what Hook gave her, the ability to say it out loud and realize that her past is not the script of her future. Yes Hook is a survivor, but he is also a man who has lived in the darkness of fear as he sought out revenge. It’s a beautiful moment that reveals more than vulnerability. It reveals that they are truly partners because there is trust and he gives her the ability to believe that placing her trust will not lead her to heartbreak. And then of course that kiss spoke for itself. O’Donohue was a rock star this episode. His ability to juggle the sincerity, humor and gravity of the varying scenes was a tour de force. He never over plays his hand and his dance with Rumple was just a masterful chess match between scene partners.

    I have to say, this was the first time I enjoyed the infusion of the Frozen storyline into the show since the season started. It is fantastic that the Snow Queen emerged from the urn and that she has relationships with both Elsa and Emma. Elizabeth Mitchell’s response to seeing Emma established more curiosity then every reveal we were given from the sibling relationship of the Snow Queen to their mother to her claims that it was Anna who trapped her in the urn. I am so eager for the unfolding of that story and how her actions play into her villainy. I think her actions intersecting with Rumples and the sorcerers hat are going to make for some terrific scenes and story telling. I will be extremely interested to see how it crosses paths with Regina’s quest to change the book. I know they aren’t isolated threads, but I honestly have no clue how they are going to be woven together.

    Rumple continues to be a problem which is why I was grateful for Hook calling him to the carpet. I feel like there is a great disservice being done to Belle with the blind acceptance of his change. I am always curious to know what he is controlling within the story to play it to his advantage, but Belle’s naivete at this point is irksome. I think Rumple is ultimately the character whose redemption is simply too far out of reach. I am curious about how much of the redeemed Rumple has returned. Because for me, when Rumple sacrifices himself with the dagger killing Pan and himself that was the moment of redemption. Rumple’s return was sketchy at best. He died. What Belle and Neal brought back was the Dark One. They raised him up and we never truly learned what of Rumple remained. I wonder if this piece of the story will simply be abandoned or come back to play a role. Rumple has changed his story, gotten his happy ending (unlike Regina) but we don’t know if it is lasting because it was born of the dagger.

    I was going to let Regina go this week, because I found Emma’s arc so interesting. But what you wrote was so intriguing to me. First I should admit I was sitting on my couch yelling don’t suggest true love’s kiss because we know that’s not gonna work. But aside from that lovely moment between Regina and Robin, I actually thought the joy that Parilla gave Regina at Granny’s when she realized Henry was by her side and wanted to help was so heartening. We watch her begin the conversation in a typical manipulative way, trying to derive information she needs out of Henry. When he asks her what she’s up to she’s honest with him. By doing so she discovers Henry really believes in her. She doesn’t have to plot alone as she always had. Because she’s not alone and as a result didn’t need manipulation to garner his trust and assistance. To watch he switch gears and then see the sincere surprise that she is believed in was one of my favorite moments of the episode. You wrote: “Does she want her point of view or to change the events of the past so she looks less villainous?” I think that Regina realizes history is written by the winners. Villains are a product of the story to get to the happy ending when in real life it isn’t nearly that simple. I don’t think that Regina wants to change the past. Neverland taught us that Regina doesn’t regret her choices (it was why she could break out of Pan’s capture at the tree). She’s changing, but not a complete change of character. It’s why moments like when she corrects herself “Make them…ask them to change..” are important. People don’t inherently change, they make different choices. Regina wasn’t evil before Daniel’s death. Her instinct to save someone were real when she saved Snow. That woman didn’t disappear when she tapped into her magic and chose to use it for revenge and to bury her pain. It was simply the set of choices she made, bad ones certainly, but choices none the less. I think Regina has been judged for her methods, not her intentions. So where does the evil truly lie? Does it lie in her magical methods or the intention behind them. It isn’t clear cut. Intent matters when making choices. It doesn’t always matter in the consequences. Best intentions (Emma saving Marion) can have devastating consequences. We’ve watched Regina rip hearts out of the chests of many and destroy them. We watched her use that same method with Marion as an act of mercy, not malice. Certainly it gives us an example of Regina’s growth, but it also offers insight to the fact that change is choices, not purity of heart. She saves Marion because she has come to the realization that actions, consequences and choices aren’t black and white. We do the right things sometimes in spite of its impact on our personal happiness. We make poor choices believing it is for the best. I think getting her happy ending is about making the book less ‘typical fairy tale’ black and white, good and evil. There is more at play. Being responsible for your actions, even the awful ones doesn’t reject you outright from deserving happiness. Change can only happen in forward motion. We can’t change the past. I think that is what Regina understands to a degree, she can’t change her actions in the Enchanted Forest, but she has evolved from them and her story isn’t simply that of a villain. And that a villain’s actions aren’t simply an obstacle of heroes. I think that is the piece that will evolve as we get to understand what the Snow Queen’s motivations are and how her actions are grounded in something more than evil.

    • I would just like to say that reading this was such a lovely way to spend my little midmorning “snack break” at the office. 🙂

      I’m going to start with your Regina thoughts because you bring up so many wonderful points, but I think my favorite was your comparison of the storybook to the idea that “history is written by the winners.” I keep coming back to that thought every time I think about this storybook plot. What keeps me guessing about this story isn’t Regina’s character motivations behind it, which you so wonderfully laid out here, but the actual, nuts-and-bolts “How?” of this plot. It’s so weird that I’m usually game for going along with the ride when it comes to a lack of clear details, but this time I’m getting too lost in the technicalities. I think I just need to let go and see this from a character standpoint and not question how exactly this will impact the plot. Because if it keeps giving us nice mother/son scenes like the one at Granny’s, I think I can stop trying to work through the details and just appreciate this story for what it is—another chance for Regina to grow.

      I’m so glad we’re on the same page about Rumple. I’m beyond thrilled that Hook confronted him because it was so frustrating to see him lying to everyone—including his wife—and not facing any consequences for it or showing any real guilt. I think you might be right that his redemption is the one I have the most trouble seeing, and I think that might be because he had it at the end of “Going Home,” but bringing him back caused him to revert back to his worst tendencies. Watching him go toe-to-toe with Hook is going to be great because both actors are so good and because, like you said, their relationship feels very much like Regina and Gold’s in early Season One. It’s layered and full of depth and filled with so much believable tension. It’s also interesting to see Hook, who has worked very hard to let go of his own darkness, confront a man who seems like he doesn’t want to let go of the dark parts of himself that have defined him for so long. Hook is really working to change for the better because he’s found love, but it seems Rumple is only paying lip service to that idea lately. It’s going to make for an interesting dynamic between these two men.

      And then we have Emma. I like that you pointed out her first instinct is to “blindly protect” because I think that’s been said in interviews and brought up as a point of similarity between her and Hook, which also goes to your point about what happens when you’ve been on your own for a long time (28 years for Emma, 300-ish for Hook). As you said, that scene between Hook and Emma strengthened their partnership better than any that has come before. For Emma to be able to fully trust not just him but the idea of loving someone and not losing them speaks to the hope that this show is all about. Emma was scared to let herself hope, but Hook allowed her to acknowledge that fear instead of running from it, which is the first step towards letting go and letting hope replace fear. It was a beautiful moment in a relationship that has turned out to be so much deeper and nuanced than I think most of us anticipated (myself included). And I wholeheartedly agree that O’Donoghue was a rockstar in this episode—he wins my vote for episode MVP. 🙂

  13. This was downright fabulous. I’m not a very articulate person so forming thoughts into words is a real struggle, but it just amazes me to see how effortlessly it is to actually voice everything into words and have it make perfect sense and even go beyond the conscious thought. Amazing job and I can’t wait for the next episode and your analysis!

  14. Great review as always.
    I liked Emma calling Regina out on her bitterness. I get that Regina is hurt and sass is one of her main characteristics but her attitude is bothering me this season. I’m excited about the book story, but Regina naming it Operation Mongoose was definite dig at Emma. I read they are suppose to explore the friendship between Emma and Regina, but I’ve never thought they were friends and Regina’s attitude isn’t changing my mind.
    Loved Hook calling out Rumple. It’s nice to see Captain Hook come out to play, I wouldn’t mind seeing him come out again especially to help/protect Emma and the Charmings. I don’t know why Emma didn’t pick up on Rumple lying – maybe because he wasn’t looking at her directly? Or she wasn’t looking for lies since she thought Belle had the dagger.
    I though Hook with the cellphone was great, but I also like the way he marked the trail as he and Elsa were following the Snow Queen and his use of “me thinks” was a reminder that Hook is much smarter than he lets on.
    I like that the Charming/Hook dynamic continued with Emma. Charming gives the motivational speeches, Hook pushes her to be her best self and doesn’t let her run. And it was great to see Hook initiate a kiss with Emma.
    I am not familiar with Will Scarlet as I didn’t watch Wonderland, but I am not sure he was needed to be introduced at this point. Even though Frozen is temporary, I feel like they are in danger of too many stories going on at once. He may be minimal at this point, but there are a lot of other characters I think could fill his role. His sass was funny, but I need a reason for him to be here before I invest.
    I think Emma’s comment about Elsa and Anna being a distraction will be very true. I think going forward the Snow Queen’s story will be more about Emma than anyone else.
    Finally, I am really looking forward to the date next week. Except I’m fully expecting there to be angst.

    • Thank you!

      I liked that you pointed out both Emma and Hook not putting up with Regina and Rumple because that’s something I really appreciate about both of them—they call it like they see it, and there’s a directness that both characters have when dealing with others that I really like. I would like to see Emma and Regina grow closer because I think they compliment each other well as characters, but, they still have a ways to go. Emma bringing Marian back would understandably make Regina a little harsher towards her than usual, but I wasn’t a big fan of her belittling Emma’s magic. (But I will fully admit to being way too protective of Emma, so I’m biased there.)

      I’m eager to see exactly how Will is going to factor into this show. He was such a wonderful part of OUATiW, but he does feel a little forced at this point. I have to imagine that his role will become more apparent, and I’m hoping that having him here will bring more depth to Robin’s character.

      • While I’ll agree that Regina saying what she said was slightly mean, it definitely wasn’t untrue. We were now entering episode 3 and already, Emma had been bested by the snowman in episode 1, and nearly frozen to death in episode 2 because her magic wasn’t competent enough. Was Regina belittling Emma magic? Yes. But, she was also making a valid observation and useful suggestion that she needed to take someone with her, because recently she hasn’t exactly been an effective savior. I don’t think it was so much the catty/bitterness that bothered Emma, but more so that underneath what Regina said, there was some truth.

        • I agree Emma was bothered by Regina calling out Emma on her magic not working well, not her tone. But Regina should know as well as anyone that Emma’s magic is still very new and she is still learning to handle it. And I get that Regina is still upset over Marian – it’s been maybe 4 days since the time portal. I think my issue with Regina is her wanting to change the book. I liked her development last season and I appreciate her not cursing the entire town or trying to kill Emma this season, but I also feel like she hasn’t learned anything.
          If the book tells the pre-curse stories, isn’t she attempting to change the past? Much like Zelena did? I’ve always thought the only way for Regina to grow is for her to deal with her past actions, but it seems like she wants to erase them or at least retell her side of the story – which while I sympathize with Daniel’s death her response was over the top – not a lot of ways to soften that story.
          Plus I think Regina wanting to potentially change the past or force her happy ending is such an opposite action to what we are seeing with Emma and Hook. Emma and Hook’s pasts left both of them broken, but they aren’t going back to change it, they aren’t trying to forget it or force the ending they want. They are trying to grow from who they were and see what they can became together and separately. (And after those promo photos I have a lot to say re Emma/Hook and their pasts and moving forward:)
          Charming believes in fighting for happy endings, Emma believes if you want people to see you differently you have to make them, and Hook believes if you don’t fight for what you want, you deserve what you get. Regina has changed, but one season of growth doesn’t erase 30+ years of misery that she subjected people to. And instead of continuing to change and show people that she is different, she wants to jump ahead or back and force the happy ending.
          Sorry this got so long, but as interested as I am in the book story, it’s Regina’s role in it that is bothering me. Maybe its because we are watching Emma/Hook taking every step in their relationship that Regina trying to skip to the last chapter is annoying me. Or maybe as much as I liked Outlaw Queen, the return of Marian isn’t really bothering me since I feel like Regina needs to do a lot more personal growth and stop wrapping up her idea of a happy ending in other people (Henry, Robin, Snow’s death). I’m just not enjoying Regina this season like I did last season.
          I do think Emma and Regina should learn to co-exist and co-parent, but I don’t need them to be friends at this point. Plus I have been wondering if she would have gone to such extremes to save Marian if it hadn’t been for Robin asking. If it was Snow asking her to save Grumpy, would she have given a damn? I think her actions towards Marian were motivated more by her feelings for Robin and not because saving a life was the right thing to do.

          • I don’t think it’s a case of her wanting to rewrite history or pretend that she hasn’t done terrible things. In fairy tales, good things happen to good people and bad things to bad people. When bad things happen to good ppl, everything always manages to work out for them in the end. With Regina, she started out good, and for her, she was a good person, doing the right thing and It’s like she got screwed over. Daniel died, she was forced to marry a man three times her age, who she didn’t love and who didn’t love her, and that effectively stopped her from being able to move on and heal. It’s not like she could ask for a divorce and go and find another true love. It kept her suspended in this place of grief and hopelessness. In a way, her good deed in saving Snow started a domino effect which essentially ruined her life. She didn’t immediately turn evil, that happened after years of resentment, loneliness and lack of freedom (having Rumple in her ear pushing her didn’t help either). While all these other stories have someone coming to the rescue, or things simply working out, in her case it didn’t. Now, she’s been actively trying to change and to revert back to good, and she’s been doing well and even though she’s not the villain anymore, and despite all her heroic acts, the universe still seems to punching her down as if she is. The book clearly is powerful & I feel like she believes that it does have something to do with the way the universe/karma sees her. As far as the book is concerned, she’s a villain. In 4×01, she said to Emma about her “being the villain…even when she’s not”. I think her main qualm is that, regardless of if she’s the villain or not, the book/the universe/karma seems intent on making sure suffers (and does it alone most of the time), and not just during and post her evil queen era, but before it also. I think she feels like she just can’t win and no matter how much she changes and how sincere that change is, it will never be enough & I honestly think that terrifies her. She never wanted to be alone and she has spent her life alone, and the idea of never having someone (Henry doesn’t really count) for her is just…soul destroying. Rumple called her out on it in Neverland when he asked if she was jealous of the fact that he (despite him having done just as much evil) has someone and she doesn’t.
            My point is, I don’t think it’s a case of her changing her history, she accepts and owns that. I think her search for the author is just her way and ensuring that somewhere down the line, (even if it doesn’t happen immediately, and she still has to work on it) there is in fact some form of a happy ending to her story at the end of all this heartache.
            Also, had it have been Grumpy or someone else, I do think she would have helped. I think that even with her anger and heartache, she would still step up as she has been doing for the last year (Enchanted Forest included). Yes I think her helping Marian is partially for Robin, but it’s also partly her atoning for her sins. Robin has made it clear he’s staying with Marian, so Regina saving Marian isn’t exactly fully beneficial to Regina & what she wants. I think she’s doing it because it’s the right thing to do and because she wants to spare him anymore pain.

  15. So much good stuff, in the episode, and here, as always!

    I wonder if Regina even knows what she wants to do with the book. She wants to find out who wrote it, for sure, and then I don’t know if she’s really that clear on what’s next. At first in 4.01 she wanted to go back in time and change things, but then she seemed to want to write herself a happy ending. I don’t think she actually wants to rewrite/change everything – I think she acknowledges that she was a villain and she doesn’t regret what she did, but maybe she wants to tell her whole story – why she became who she was, and how she has changed. It’s true that the victors write history – I don’t think the book has much sympathy for Regina’s motives or whole character. But hey, who knows? We shall see what they have in store for us 🙂

    I loved Operation Mongoose. I was actually surprised that Henry was so keen to help, but I think it’s great. He should keep her on track.

    I yelled at the screen when Robin tried to TLK Marian… I knew that wasn’t going to work. It was awkward when Robin told Regina why later, with poor Marian frozen there. (Also awkward, little hobbit talking about Regina letting him have icecream!) But it’s good to see that Regina is trying to help – as I would expect. I didn’t expect her taking M’s heart. I’m sure Marian will die eventually.

    I have no idea wtf the snow queen is up to, but it’s wonderful. I assume everything she says is a lie until proven otherwise. My friend was disappointed in the Frozen characters coming to the show because she prefers the traditional Snow Queen tale – I told her to have faith! I knew these guys could somehow include both stories! That familiarity in her voice when she saw Emma was brilliant – so well done. I look forward to seeing what that means.

    I enjoyed Will Scarlet (didn’t watch the other show). He seems like maybe someone else Emma can have a connection with, as well as some Sheriff conflict with. Fun!

    I was so glad they didn’t draw out the drama of finding the villain. And that they didn’t let Emma’s coldness with Killian go on too long. I’m loving that he keeps calling her on her shit, and that she keeps opening up to him – both for character reasons, and because I don’t want to draw out these conflicts unnecessarily. I don’t need Hook stewing because he thinks Emma doesn’t trust him or doesn’t like him and it creating a bigger wedge between them – I know that’s necessary in some drama and especially in comedy, but I hate those misunderstandings where someone just needs to ASK what’s wrong! Now Killian knows she (basically) loves him as he loves her.

    Argh! so much to say. Loved: Emma’s instinctive protective magic to save her men, smoldering and danger-loving Hook, everything Hook and Elsa but especially the phone (especially because someone had done a thing on tumblr a day earlier with Hook explaining modern tech to Elsa and everything was in terms of what it did for Emma – of course the phone was a device for talking to Emma when she was far away). The kiss, obviously. Another totally different kiss 🙂

    Annoying things: Grumpy leading the mob (again?) And for all that Archie had great advice for Snow, and I felt bad for her holding on tight to her baby (let it go, snow, let it go), I was too distracted by Archie being an ass – at least lift the damn stroller into the car while you’re giving her unasked for advice. She did need to hear that, but she also needs someone to help her out with the big ass stroller! (unpopular opinion/pet peeve – my mum got a lot of helpful lectures from people who wouldn’t lift a finger to help her. I also don’t like Archie much anyway.)

    I was trying to keep this short but there was just so much! And I’m so excited for whatever is coming next week with the date and Captain Hand. I loved that Hey Dairy Queen and Captain Hand were trending on twitter last night.

    • Once again, I loved reading all of your thoughts! 🙂

      I especially loved that you brought up how refreshing it was to see both the villain reveal and Emma’s confession handled within the course of one episode. I hate contrived angst with a passion, and I am a very impatient person. So I appreciate the fact that (Zelena’s “lip curse” notwithstanding) there has been little to complain about in terms of contrived obstacles for Emma and Hook. And I was so happy that we didn’t have to spend a period of episodes getting mad at the townspeople and their obnoxious mob thinking Elsa was the one who cursed Marian.

  16. THANK YOU for this amazing review! I agree so much with what you said, you wouldn’t believe.
    I won’t mention everything because you already did a stellar job. Just these 3 points:

    – Hook and Rumple. Loved their scene so much. The sense of history you described is exactly what I felt and it was glorious to see that Killian is indeed the one man who can see behind the Dark One’s facade. And he knows how dangerous this game is and he plays it anyway. For the sake of Emma. There are no words for how much I love Killian for that. Colin and Robert are incredibly talented actors (to me the best on the show) and I’m very excited for all their scenes that are yet to come, hoping that Killian will be safe and sound by the end of that particular arc.
    Just one question: Dr Whale had no price to pay for the magic Rumple exercised for reattaching his hand, no? I wonder why Killian has to pay it this Sunday…

    – Hook and Elsa. I loved the natural chemistry that existed between those two. How easy it was for them to have an honest conversation. And that was obviously routed in their mutual yet different affection for Emma. Even if Elsa’s advice didn’t turn out to be completely true in Emma’s case (she does trust Hook after all and has done so for a while now), Emma had never told Killian that much. And I love that he was willing to really listen to Elsa in what she had to say about Emma because he saw that Elsa really cares about Emma and might have insight into her that he lacks. He’s very humble when it comes to Emma, yet a force to be reckoned with when he needs to be. And the source of endless amusement, too. I agree very much on Colin’s versatility. The scene with the cell phone was pure gold…

    – Hook and Emma. You described everything so perfectly, I have tears in my eyes because of it. A million thank yous for that. For descrigin everything I felt throughout and finding the words I have not. Just one last thing: It’s so wonderful to see Emma open up to Killian. To see him heal some of her hurt just like she’s healed some of his and to see them give each other this most important thing: hope. And love. I’ve never been more moved by a fictional tv couple.
    I can’t believe that we’re getting all this beautiful development in their relationship without the typical “will they won’t they” that seems to be a law in TV land. With Emma and Killian we get actual conversations, meaningful development that we get to witness on screen and not guess at because it is only hinted at. I hope Adam and Eddy will continue writing them us amazingly as they have up until now.

    ps: I’m VERY intruiged by the Snow Queen knowing Emma. I thought I detected some love in her tone when she called out “Emma”. Or was it fear? I don’t know. There was familiarity there though and I’m really looking forward to finding out how the Snow Queen travelled to our world to meet little Emma and what her motivation was…

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing all of your enthusiasm and thoughts with us!

      You bring up a good point about Rumple and Whale, but I think the reason Hook has to pay a price comes down to his history with Rumple. All magic comes with a price, but some prices are steeper than others, and I think Hook is going to learn that Rumple’s going to make his price steep because of all that’s happened between them.

  17. I absolutely love your recaps of this show! I think someone upthread nailed the Hook and Emma story line by mentioning exactly how much they care about these characters. There have been some good pairings on TV over the years (and your other show, Castle, has one of them), but I’ve never been on a ship quite like this one. I alluded to this in another comment, but I just can’t get over how perfect the writers have been in exploring the Hook/Emma story. Every piece of their romance is laid out for us; we haven’t missed a minute, and that’s why the three important kisses (more than a year from when they met, seven months later and five months after that, no less!) have each meant so much to us; the writers are letting us go on this journey with the characters. Every single week since the beginning of Season 2 has had breadcrumbs leading up to this relationship. There is always one moment with Hook/Emma each episode, even if they go forward a step and two back, from villain to hero, from closed off to not, and it was a slow build to that first kiss (passion), the second kiss (gratitude) and the third kiss (equal feelings). In a weird way–and the best way possible–it reminds me of Joey/Pacey in Dawson’s Creek; where Pacey may never have felt good enough, but he put his feelings out there anyway. After nudging Joey toward her feelings, he still made her initiate the final step. Hook has put his feelings out there time and time again–really from the time they climbed the beanstalk together. He tested her out, he has been constantly asking her about her past, her life, her fears, her strengths; it’s been obvious for a long time that he knows her best; better than her own family; mother, father, son. Yet he made her set the pace of their entire relationship until this week, when he is sure.

    Even at the turning point of their relationship, when Hook was hurt and angry (indifference is the opposite of love, after all, not hate), his cutting words to Emma in Season 2 hit her hard because he knew how to cut her emotionally. He all but accused her of freezing him–and everyone else–out of her life and walling off her feelings. But he wasn’t just angry at her; he was angry at himself for being a villain (not a pirate, but a villain) and he was never going to get the girl he was starting to love. And then he made the decision to go back with the magic bean to rescue her son, even though he couldn’t have known it would make a difference in the way she felt about him. And from that moment on, he set about proving to Emma that he loves her. She let herself kiss him once, just to confirm the chemistry, but absolutely everything he said to her from that moment on chipped away at her walls until she couldn’t deny her feelings. He contrasted Neal’s betrayal; he admitted to loving another person with all of his heart, and he wants to love like that again (looking back, I wish we’d seen more of Hook/Milah’s relationship), he encouraged her magic, he was glad she could love someone again, even if it wasn’t him, he believed in her, he flirted with her, he put his true feelings out there, he gave her as much as she would allow him. And in turn, she pushed him away for a full season; spanning two years time, and he found he couldn’t go back to a pirate’s life without her, and all he wanted was to go find her again. Re-watching the emotional powerhouse of the second curse, when Emma and Henry drove off, leaving Hook and all of their family to disappear in the cloud of magic, packed a wallop that the writers couldn’t even deliver to us at a season’s hiatus. They had to put Hook finding Emma a year later into the final scene, because our hearts just couldn’t handle that kind of loss.

    And after the Season 3 finale, where the writers could have very easily skipped ahead to show Hook and Emma already deep into a relationship, they did all of us proud and kept the story line immediately tied to that night. We get to see Emma tentatively feeling her way around having a boyfriend, we get to see her parents’ and son’s reactions (I hope!), and we get to see another kiss that felt like the very first. And now we get to see a date. And hopefully we get to see the difference between Emma’s one-night-stands and being with the man she truly loves. That’s a rare gift in TV land.

    Yet as emotionally invested as I am in Captain Swan, I still think that the writing of the first season of this show was beyond phenomenal and I feel like they’re getting back to that in Season 4. Even though we saw key moments of Snow/Charming’s romance, which was epic, and the Emma/Graham moments (and I think the writers realized at some point that Neal was never going to be real competition for Hook; the triangle that would have worked beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations would have been had Emma brought Graham back from the past instead of Marion), everything else was story/fairytale driven, not necessarily romantic, and it was exciting and shocking to see who would show up next. I was invested in all of the characters, even the ones we only saw briefly, but especially Emma, because this entire series is her fairytale, after all. I just can’t believe how much I care about Elsa/Anna, when I really had written this storyline off as a gimmick. I love the flashbacks to the Enchanted Forest; I can’t be the only one who wishes they all still lived there, and I’m dying to know why the Snow Queen (Juliet is my favorite hero/villain from any show of all time!) knows Emma! I did not see any of that coming, but I’m loving the ride.

    (And I read that preview as the Hook hand thing was supposed to be funny and campy, and even though they overlaid “All Magic Comes with a price”, I think it was referring to Anna’s bargain with Rumple, not Hook. But I could be wrong)

    • Hey look, someone who rambles about Hook and Emma as much as I do :). Ugh, I had so many feelings about the end of ‘Going Home’. You are totally right about my heart not being able to take that without Hook finding her a year later. That episode is probably one of my favorite episodes of TV, not just for what it meant for Hook and Emma, but what it meant for all of the characters. If you havent read Katie’s review of that episode and all of the lovely comments, I highly suggest you do!

      I love what you said about the show being Emma’s fairytale. I think because the cast is so large and the actors are all so great and everyone has their favorite its easy to forget that Emma is the person the show is framed around. I love that she has been getting so much attention this season!

    • First of all, thank you so much for saying such kind things about my reviews. Also, please feel free to share your feelings about Emma and Hook, Emma in general, and all things OUAT with us whenever the mood strikes you because this was so beautiful I can’t even find words to describe it. Your passion for these characters and this relationship, your understanding of this show’s nuances, and your emotional investment came through so perfectly. I loved reading every word.

      You are completely correct when you say that this show is Emma’s fairytale. That doesn’t mean she has to be everyone’s favorite character, but this show started with her at its center and I’ve always felt it’s at its strongest and most emotionally compelling when it’s telling stories about her growth and the relationships around her and the members of her family. I love a good Regina and Rumple episode as much as the next OUAT fan, but I started watching this show because it was a story about a girl whose life was anything but a fairytale learning that she is literally a fairytale princess and hero—and struggling with what that means. Her love story with Hook is a beautiful extension of that because it’s a love story that is grounded in realism (they’re not perfect; they’re hesitant; they’ve been broken by lost love before) but still has that hopeful element that is the key to any good fairytale.

      Thank you so much for providing me with a healthy dose of Emma/Hook feelings on a Wednesday morning, and I hope you come back to share your thoughts with us after this next episode! 🙂

    • PS: I was so busy falling in love with your thoughts on Emma and Hook that I forgot to tell you how I excited I was to see that you’re a fellow Juliet lover! She was my favorite character on Lost and also one of my all-time favorite TV characters. Just seeing Elizabeth Mitchell again brings back so many wonderful Juliet feelings. (And now I’m going to go watch the vending machine scene from the Lost series finale for the 80000th time.)

  18. I’ve been thinking about Rumple and his arc this season and I think that part of the reason why A&E decided to kill of Neal was that they wanted Rumple to go full on evil again. From the start Bae/Neal has been the driving force behind all of Rumples decisions, and when he got Neal back Rumple really wanted to show he could be a good man for his son. What I liked most about Neal was that he was not afraid to call out Rumple on his s**t. In Finding Henry when Rumple wanted to make a deal with Emma to save David – Neal said no you’ll do it because it’s the right thing to do and Rumple immediately agreed to it. Rumple knew that if he didn’t do the right thing that Neal would never speak to him again and if you contrast this with Belle – she forgives Rumple all the time and even if she’s mad at him she always returns to him eventually. I think Belle has forgiven Rumple so many times that he really thinks she’ll forgive him anything (and who can blame him) – whereas with Neal he knew he’d lose him forever if he didn’t change. Neal really was his anchor to the man he was before and I don’t know if his love for Belle is a strong enough motivation for him to change…

    • You make some really interesting points here, and I think you might be on to something. Wanting to be better in memory of Bae isn’t the same thing as actually having Neal there to call Rumple out when he’s acting selfishly. It’s something I really do miss when it comes to Neal, because, as you said, Belle has not been doing a good job of that this season (I’m thinking especially of her non-repsonse to Rumple’s antagonistic words towards Charming and Hook in “White Out”). I do think that, out of all the characters on the show, Rumple has the most unclear story in terms of whether or not he will ever truly let go of his darkness. I know Robert Carlyle has said that the version of Rumple we’re seeing so far this season (ambiguous but leaning more towards the dark side) is one he really likes to play, and he’s so good at it that I think that plays a role in how his story is going to progress, too. I may not always love his actions, but he is probably the most fascinating character on the show. So whatever arc they give him, I’m sure I’m going to be riveted by it.

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  20. So Iam loving your commentary mainly the ones concentrating on Emma and Emma/Snow Queen relationship. I love Elsa but Iam much more curious about Emma/Sq than Elsa and Sq. Elizabeth Mitchell is also great. My only problem with this show is Regina. Sometimes I just want to stop watching because of her. Iam kind of tired of her character and bitterness. Operation M. with Henry does not help. Maybe some advice how can I enjoy show even with character that lil bit triggers me?

    • Thank you!

      And as for how to deal with the parts of Regina that bother you, I think it’s important to remember that she’s at a very low point right now. She opened her heart to love after being afraid to do so for a long time, and she tried to do the right thing. But she got hurt, and I think it’s understandable for her to have trouble dealing with it. I think this whole season (or at least this half of it) is going to be about Regina learning that you have to change the way people see you by the good you do and that you have to fight for happiness because it’s not easy for anyone—even the heroes. I think if you see everything that’s happening with her as part of a learning process for this character, it will make it easier. Plus, focus on the selfless things she’s done already for Marian. That might help you see this character in a better light.

    • As someone who didn’t particularly like Regina when the show first started. I think characters ebb and flow, particularly in a large ensemble cast like this. So their stories have fits and starts as a result. The show’s creators have spoken about the fact that the writer of the book and Regina’s story will arc the whole season, so it will have a slower progression as a result. I didn’t like the Belle amnesia story line at all and candidly would record the show and fast forward past it sometimes. I also wasn’t a fan of Zelena last year. I think in those instances you can’t throw the good out with the bad. Invest in the storylines that touch you and ignore the parts of the show that don’t. On shows with large cast’s like this one has it would be hard to have all stories that all fans enjoy. I am with you though – I think the Emma Snow Queen relationship is going to be fascinating.

      • I enjoyed Regina’s arc last season but I’m struggling with her story so far this season. She blames the writer of the book for her being seen as a villain but she wouldn’t be seen as a villain if she hadn’t done all the things she did. I think it comes down to that Regina still hasn’t fully accepted that her current predicament is caused by her own actions. She told Emma that actions have consequences but Regina is not very self-aware re her own actions. I actually think it’ll be interesting to see how far she thinks she can go to find out who the author is. I wouldn’t be surprised if we do find out the author at the end of the season & it is the set up for season 5. This whole story might be her own version of the Jolly Roger when Hook learned some very hard lessons.

  21. My life has been absolutely crazy since August and I don’t have as much time as I’d like to watch TV shows, read blogs or comment here but I just wanted to say that I really, really, REALLY want the Snow Queen to be Jadis the White Witch from Narnia. I know ice cream is not exactly Turkish delight but wouldn’t it be brilliant if Emma had found some magic wardrobe when she was a child and met this woman and then have her memories erased?

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  24. FINALLY, for like a week and a half I was sick and exhausted and I love Once too much to watch an episode on a half-dead brain so I kept waiting for the day for things to go back to awake.

    LOVED THAT EPISODE! What a pleasure! How charming and well written was the dialog between characters in this episode? Stuff like Hook-Elsa, Hook-Rumplestiltskin (Ok, Hook and everyone), Kristoff-Elsa, Jiminy’s wonderful scene with Snow that was so wonderfully acted by Ginnifer, Regina-Henry, everything was rolling this episode. Add in the double story of chasing after the urn and chasing after the Snow Queen and that episode helped remind me of why Once is my MEOAT (Most Entertaining of All Time) which is unfair considering all the great emotional/characters stuff it does. Which this episode had too such as the great Emma scenes you covered and Regina stepping up to save Marian (It’s not even that she didn’t crush the heart, but it’d have been so easy to not mention the plan that came to her head)

    I love the Snow Queen and Elizabeth’s internalized performance already and the motive behind her villainy (if it will even be called that) what a great characterization choice considering Elsa’s flaws and the theme of this season. I get goosebumps thinking about how the Snow Queen and Elsa’s relationship in the past will be developed and however it leads to Anna putting her in the urn, if true.

  25. First, let me say that I love your analyses. They always point out new things I hadn’t noticed and make me appreciate the episodes more. Sometimes when an episode has left me feeling kind of flat (maybe because it didn’t focus on the characters I most wanted to see at the time), I read your analysis and realize there was some beautiful thing happening for other people that I wasn’t paying enough attention to. Your love for the characters make me love them more.

    Not that this episode left me feeling flat, though! There was some really great stuff going on. I really enjoyed Hook and Emma’s relationship development in this episode. So beautiful to see her open up to him like that. And that kiss! The first time I watched it, Hook and Emma was what really got to me.

    I was just watching it again, though, and really appreciating Hook and Elsa together. I was watching their talk in the woods and thinking about how she’s an older sister and he’s a younger brother, like Mary pointed out in the comments for the previous episode. As an older sister to a younger brother myself (and we are also both adults), I recognize that dynamic between them.

    You see it from practically the first second they’re alone together, when she announces she’s not coming with him and he rolls his eyes in exasperation at her stubbornness, just like he might at his own stubborn brother. (Stubbornness also being a quality in Charming that also reminds Hook of his brother.) Later, in the woods, she teases him and then gives him some advice in a little bit of a know-it-all way, while he gives her sass and tries to pretend that he thinks she’s full of it. But even though he doesn’t show it to her, we see from his reaction shot and from his later talk with Emma that he really was listening to every word. All very sibling-y. I think it’s actually really sweet how easily they fall into this pattern, especially since Hook hasn’t interacted with his brother in hundreds of years.

    It’s kind of great to see Hook and Elsa’s relationship developing because Hook really needs a support system that extends beyond Emma. He and Charming have a special rapport, but they don’t really talk. I worry about how much he relies on Emma alone, especially because he’s still clearly afraid that he might scare her off or that he’s not worthy of her. I really love Hook as a character and I hate to see him still so alone after all this time.

    So, it was so nice to see him open up a little to someone else about Emma and his worries. It’s an unusual move for him. He’s normally so guarded with almost everyone about his feelings and she’s basically a stranger. I feel like part of the reason he did that was because of the way she initiated that conversation like a sibling might, by first teasing him about her. And he slipped into it because it was a comfortable dynamic for him.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words and the very thoughtful comment.

      “Your love for the characters make me love them more.” – This was so sweet of you to say. I’m honored to think that my writing helps you love these great characters more. 🙂

      I absolutely loved what you had to say about Hook and Elsa’s dynamic. You are so right about both of them falling into their natural sibling roles: older sister/younger brother. They are the only characters we’ve really seen with close sibling relationships, and I think that automatically helped them relate to each other. I also think that those two characters relate as outsiders trying to fit into this world. I really hope we see more interactions between them because I really loved their scenes together in this episode.

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