TV Time: Once Upon a Time 4.10

Title Shattered Sight

Two-Sentence Summary As the Spell of Shattered Sight takes hold of the residents of Storybrooke, Emma, Elsa, and Anna search for a way to defeat Ingrid. In flashbacks, we learn what happened to Emma during her time as Ingrid’s foster child and how she lost all memories of that time.

Favorite Line “Still want to hold hands, sing ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah?’” (Snow)

My Thoughts “Shattered Sight” was an emotional roller coaster. Throughout the course of one hour, it had me laughing, cheering, crying, ugly crying, swooning, feeling pride for my favorite characters, and feeling wonderfully nervous and excited about what’s to come in next week’s midseason finale. This was an incredibly well-balanced episode, and that actually took me by surprise. I was ready to laugh and maybe cry a little bit at the interactions brought about by the Spell of Shattered Sight, but I certainly did not expect to end up sobbing harder than I have at any point while watching this show since Emma drove away in last season’s “Going Home”—and to do that over a character we just met this season. But such is the magic of Elizabeth Mitchell and the power of a well-written redemption story.

Even before the brilliant emotional tour de force of the episode’s climax, I was already thinking of “Shattered Sight” as one of my favorite episodes of the season because it was so much fun to watch. Every little detail of the spell’s effects on the residents of Storybrooke was brilliant—from Happy somehow getting Granny’s crossbow to Kristoff throwing papers at Charming in the background of one of the scenes in the sheriff’s station. My only desire was that we could have seen even more of it—I wanted to see Dark Robin and Dark Archie and even more Dark Henry (I was so hoping he’d run into Regina or Emma because I think there could have been some really deep stuff to come out of those interactions). But I had a feeling this spell would get broken before this episode was done, setting up a climatic finale showdown with this season’s real villain: Rumplestiltskin. And, despite my love for all of the wonderfully snarky scenes this spell gave us, I don’t think this kind of campy stuff would have carried over well for more than one episode. It was perfect just as it was.

I could have watched any combination of cursed Kristoff/Charming/Snow/Regina interact forever and still wanted more because all of the actors were just so good in this episode. You could tell they were enjoying playing these different sides to their roles (or, in Lana Parrilla’s case, returning to a side she hasn’t gotten to show in a while). It was the most alive I have seen Snow and Charming as characters in a long time, and it was nice to see my favorite couple on the show get a lot of screen time after a half-season that has (understandably) seen them and their relationship mostly in the background.

Cursed Kristoff and Charming were wonderful in the way they couldn’t even really insult each other. Seriously, guys, “ice man” and “stable boy” are the best insults you’ve got? It was kind of adorable, if I’m being honest. But the real fun of those sheriff station scenes was in watching Snow and Charming—the epitome of True Love—go at each other. I was happy to see all of their fighting played more for laughs than drama because, ultimately, this episode made me cry enough and I didn’t need them to be another cause for tears. Instead, they were the King and Queen of Snark. I wasn’t sure which moment I liked best: Charming commenting on Snow hitting him in the head when they first met (which seems to be a common theme among Once Upon a Time couples, as Anna and Kristoff joined the ranks in this episode), the fact that Whale was brought up again, or Charming telling Snow that their stroller isn’t actually new (just “gently used”). Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin were fantastic in this episode. They seemed to relish this chance to explore this side of Snow and Charming’s relationship, and, for the real-life married couple, it had to be fun to take the gloves off and spar like this for an episode.

In the end, though, I loved that, even while cursed, Charming ended up having Snow’s back when it came to fighting Regina. Yes, they said some nasty things to each other, but, ultimately, they still worked as a team when push literally came to shove against the Evil Queen. They earned that kiss after the spell was broken. Once again, Dallas and Goodwin proved that they are every bit the perfect fairytale couple with that kiss. I missed their love story more than I realized, and it was so nice to see them get a lovely, romantic moment before this half-season comes to a close.

For as much as I loved Snow and Charming’s interactions, I think I had even more fun watching Snow and Regina go at each other. For a while now, we’ve watched these women put their pasts aside and forge a kind of tentative friendship, but there was still a lot swept under the rug, which they didn’t hold back when this spell hit.

Have I mentioned I loved Goodwin in this episode? For as annoyed as I get with Snow sometimes, when Goodwin is given good material to work with, she’s simply the best. And this episode allowed us to see her really sink her teeth into a side of Snow that only appeared in Season One’s “Heart of Darkness.” Her confrontation with Anna was wonderful because usually those two characters are very similar, but Dark Snow could not be further from hopeful, optimistic Anna. And Goodwin didn’t hold back in showing that. From calling Anna “Swiss Miss” to her smile when she talked about killing Cora, I could not get enough of this side of Snow. Goodwin was the best she’s been in ages in this episode, and that was put to great use opposite a fellow actor in Parrilla who was clearly having the time of her life playing Evil Queen Regina again.

Snow and Regina’s swordfight was everything I never knew I always wanted. Even at her darkest, Snow is still a devoted mother, and I loved that no spell could take away her desire to protect her baby. And how much fun was it to see these two fierce female fighters in all their glory? It was such a great reminder of Snow’s badass side. And I don’t know about anyone else, but Snow screaming “I was 10!” in response to Regina bringing up Daniel again had me cheering and laughing at the same time. It was the kind of reaction I’ve always had in my head when it came to Regina blaming Snow more than Cora for Daniel’s death, so it was the best kind of catharsis to watch one of my favorite characters voice what’s been in my head for so many seasons now.

In the end, what the spell reminded these characters and us was just how far they’ve come since the days when they were sworn enemies. That’s what made their reactions upon the spell being broken so wonderful. Their laughter came from a sense of understanding how far they’ve come and how ridiculous it looked for them to be back to Square One—complete with Regain in her full Evil Queen outfit. What I loved most about their hysterical laughter was that it felt real (and looked real, especially Parrilla’s reaction). They were so relieved to be free of a spell that could have killed them that all of those emotions of confusion, relief, and joy spilled out as laughter. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the insanity that is your life when you have a moment to reflect on it, and it’s about time these characters were able to do that.

While Snow and Charming’s cursed selves were like nothing we’ve ever seen before (except for a very brief time with Snow), Regina turned back into someone we know well. And it furthered highlighted her growth as a character over the last few seasons. From fighting to the death with Snow to wanting to kill Emma again, this spell brought back a part of Regina that she’d worked so hard to put behind her—even if it is fun to see for us as an audience every once in a while. While the Regina we know now is someone driven by love strong enough to break curses even without her heart, this Regina was driven by hate strong enough to cause magic of its own. All magic is emotion, and it was very smart of Emma to know who to go to for the strongest kind of hatred she could find. And just like Snow and Regina’s interactions showed how far that relationship has come, Emma and Regina’s scene in the vault reminded me of how much those two have grown from their purely antagonistic relationship in Season One.

“Shattered Sight” was an episode about growth. The spell gave us a chance to think about how much these characters (especially Regina) have grown, Rumplestiltskin and Hook’s interactions showed how much Hook has grown, the flashbacks reminded us how much Emma has grown, and Ingrid’s fate showed that it’s never too late to grow into the best version of yourself. It would seem that heroes—or at least those characters who do heroic things—are the characters who actively choose to be better than who they were. They’re the characters who know they didn’t always make the right choices, but they have the power to choose to make the right ones now—and they make that right choice, even if it means giving up everything to do it. That’s an important thing to have the audience reflect on before a midseason finale entitled “Heroes and Villains.”

I’m going to say this now before I go any further into Ingrid’s story: I have never cried so hard over a death on Once Upon a Time. In only a handful of episodes, the writers and Mitchell created a character who I felt so intensely for that I actually said out loud as she was dying, “I just don’t want her to leave!” Yes, I wept mostly for the beauty of Ingrid’s redemption, but part of me also wept for the loss of a brilliant, captivating character and an actor whose talents have made this season something truly special.

The flashbacks in this episode were fantastic. It all started with the wonderful fish-out-of-water stuff with Ingrid in 1980s Boston. (Her earnest “Thank you” as payment to the psychic killed me—Mitchell’s delivery was flawless.) But the real heart of those flashbacks was in seeing the way Ingrid and Emma did genuinely love each other at one time, and the real tragedy of those flashbacks was waiting for and watching the way it fell apart. In that way, it actually reminded me a lot of “Tallahassee.” I spent both episodes waiting for the other shoe to drop, for Emma to end up alone and feeling unloved once again, and when it happened, it left my heart crushed for this teenage girl who thought she had found a home with someone only to lose it.

Kudos to Abby Ross for once again nailing Jennifer Morrison’s mannerisms and vocal inflections, but also for making me feel emotionally engaged by the beauty of her own performance, too. She had wonderful chemistry with Mitchell. What broke my heart the most was the way Mitchell so clearly showed that Ingrid did love Emma; she just didn’t know how to love in a healthy way anymore. Ingrid was so broken that she became fixated on magic instead of on genuine love, which is the only thing that can make a family. Instead of holding on to the pure joy of the moment when Emma told her she loved her, Ingrid wanted more and put Emma in danger just to try to bring out her magic. She thought she needed Emma to accept her magic in order for them to be a family, when all she needed was Emma’s love, which she already had at that point.

Young Emma and Ingrid’s last scene was so heartbreaking because Ross sold Emma’s disappointment so well. You could see her start to believe that no one could ever love her just for her. Once again, we saw Emma lose a chance at a family because someone got caught up in prophecies and a destiny she had no say in choosing. It broke my heart, but it also made me feel so proud for this character, because she’s finally accepted that people can genuinely love her without ulterior motives. She’s grown and healed so much from that broken teenage girl, even with the added heartbreak of having Neal leave her after what Ingrid did. This season has been so strongly focused on Emma’s growth, and this episode was a perfect way to allow us to reflect back on who she used to be and the heartbreaks that made her who she was when we first met her (which we were also reminded of in that little flashback to Season One-era Storybrooke, complete with Emma’s curls and blue leather jacket, both of which I missed even more than I originally thought I did).

The flashbacks also showcased why Ingrid was this show’s most compelling and complex villain since its earliest days. Mitchell showed so clearly that Ingrid’s love for Emma was never fake, and that right away made it difficult for me to want her to die, despite that being the only way to break the disastrous spell she cast. There was an inherent warmth to Ingrid in the flashbacks that contrasted beautifully with her icy exterior in the present, and her entire character arc has me thinking about intentions versus actions and other deep thoughts, which only the best arcs on this show have done. Ingrid was driven by love, but it was a selfish kind of love—caring more about the way her family would accept her than what she was doing in the name of forming that family.

Ultimately, though, Ingrid’s desire to love and be loved turned from selfish and monstrous to selfless and heroic. I had a feeling the message in the bottle we saw in the last episode would become important in breaking the spell, and I also had a feeling the letter would be about Gerda wishing she would have accepted her sister instead of putting her in the urn. As Frozen taught us, the love between sisters can thaw a frozen heart, and that’s exactly what happened with Ingrid. At first, she didn’t believe Anna because she still saw Anna as an extension of the worst in Gerda (while, to Ingrid, Elsa was an extension of the best in her). But reading those words for herself and reliving those memories of love warmed the part of her that she’d purposely frozen for all of those years, the part that she chose to turn into a monster.

Ingrid’s understanding that it was her choices that made her a monster perfectly reflected one of this season’s main themes: Our choices define us, and when we make better choices, we can change the way people perceive us. Ingrid knew she was responsible for choosing to become a monster; she didn’t blame anyone else, and that’s the first step on the road to redemption—taking ownership of your actions. She also knew that she could choose to do the right thing and stop being a monster, even if it meant dying in the process. The selflessness inherent in that action was so beautiful, choosing love and sacrifice over power. In her last moments, Ingrid believed in her own goodness again, and that was truly touching to see.

Also in her last moments, Ingrid was able to see that what makes a person special isn’t their magical powers but their ability to love. That’s why it was so powerful to see her include Anna in the group of women she called special. Anna, Elsa, and Emma are special because of everything they are—not just their magic (or lack thereof). Magic doesn’t define you; love defines you. That’s why Ingrid will be remembered (at least by me) not for the spell she cast but for the way she ended it. My lasting memory of this character will be her facing death with a smile because she’s getting to see her sisters again. It was the most poignant way imaginable to bring the most important themes of Frozen to the conclusion of the Snow Queen’s arc. And it left me moved beyond anything I could ever have expected.

I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Ingrid, and I’m not ready to say goodbye to Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff next week. I’m going to miss Elizabeth Lail’s pitch-perfect work as Anna, her wonderful relationship with Kristoff, and the beautiful friendship we got to witness between Emma and Elsa. I’m already prepared to be a mess next week when it comes to saying goodbye to them.

But it’s not quite time to say goodbye yet. There’s still one villain left to be discovered right under everyone’s noses before we can have a bittersweet sendoff for these Frozen characters. If Ingrid’s story showed me how powerful it can be to let go of a need for control and choose to let love define you instead, then it also highlighted how low Rumplestiltskin has sunk in his inability to comprehend anything more important that power. Ingrid chose to be more than a monster in the end, but Rumplestiltskin seems to have chosen to stop believing he can ever be more than his worst self. It’s a sharp contrast with Ingrid, as well as with Regina and Hook. Regina has come so far from her Evil Queen days, while Rumplestiltskin is still very much the Dark One. And Hook has gone from a man consumed by darkness to a man who can still smile so brightly even without a heart at the mere possibility of Emma saying they’re “together,” a man who has gone from almost letting Storybrooke be destroyed to using his dying wish to beg the man who’s going to kill him to spare not just Emma but the whole town. Love has changed both Regina and Hook (and it changed Ingrid in the end, too), but Rumplestiltskin is refusing to let love of any kind deter him from his plans for world domination. (Such a cliché endgame, Rumple.)

I still wonder if sacrificing himself for love and having that all end up for naught is playing a big role in Rumplestiltskin’s full-villain mode right now. He tried to do the sacrificial thing for love, and he still lost his son. But even that reason isn’t enough to justify his selfish plans. Part of me hopes that shot of Belle in bed before Rumplestiltskin revealed his big plans to Hook at the end of the episode means she heard him. (But would they have made it clearer if that was the case?) No matter when she finds out, though, I can’t wait for her to show him that he can’t selfishly have both love and power. And I can’t wait for Hook’s heart to get put back in his chest. And I can’t wait to see the Queens of Darkness (Maleficent, Ursula, and Cruella) descend on Storybrooke. Basically, it’s only Monday, and I already can’t wait for Sunday, even though it seems I’ve just stopped crying from this episode.

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41 thoughts on “TV Time: Once Upon a Time 4.10

  1. Excellent review, as always, and I had a couple of things to express but have to keep in brief:

    I liked this episode but I almost wanted it to be longer or have stretched over the course of 2 episodes rather than just one. My issue was mainly concerned with how quickly the episode resolved; while I adored Ingrid’s redemption (and believed it), I wanted to savor it a little more. I know logistically it wouldn’t really have worked, but I just a little cheated that she was able to have this wonderful, heartbreaking epiphany and moment of growth but almost immediately turned around and sacrificed herself.

    There were so many lovely little moments in this episode, most of which you’ve already mentioned (Hook getting all smiley about “together?” LOVED IT). I also really loved Regina’s double “what am I wearing,” especially after the course was broken. The way she and Snow broke down into a giggle fit over her Evil Queen outfit was a fun little moment, it just emphasized that Regina has grown so much from how she used to be and can truly recognize how ridiculous her behavior has been in the past. I do realize we had a lot to get through in only an hour, but there were some things I would have like more of: I also would have liked a little more character interaction under the curse (and agree that they missed a huge opportunity to do some interesting character/relationship exploration between Henry and either or both of his moms), I would have liked more Hook in the episode, especially because I thought him not being affected was an interesting little twist, he just felt underutilized, and I definitely could have seen something between Rumple and Belle (although I guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with what we got of her darkest inner feelings in Family Business).

    Overall, I was pleased with the way the Snow Queen plot was tied up, and am (anxiously) waiting for the finale so we can hopefully get all this Rumple business taken care of as well.

    • Thank you!

      I do agree that this was another episode that could have benefitted from being two hours instead of one, but ultimately I felt that way because what we got was so good that I wanted more, not necessarily because I found anything to be too lacking. I’m just happy that it was such a good episode that I wanted two hours of it; I can’t say that about a lot of shows/episodes of TV that I watch.

      I think we’re all anxiously awaiting the finale at this point!

  2. I loved your analysis and review of the episode, as always. But I have to comment on something that stood out to me as a wow moment from Emma. She’s certainly a close to the vest kind of person. Her interaction with Elsa over being called prickly was downright adorable. And the snark was dead on when they entered and saw Regina – Halloween costume indeed.

    But the fact that Emma used her relationship with Hook as a reference to make Regina angry just made me smile. There are a dozen things she could have used there. She could have commented that she was a better mother, had more friends, better hair, etc. But the fact that Emma knew that would be something that would work, as well as felt comfortable enough to say it, made me smile.

    I was dreading the whole scene with Hook falling on the marbles since the preview last week. It seemed very silly and not all that original. But I will slap my own hand and admit that was a great scene. His smile and interest in the wording that Henry chose was adorable. It was also quite interesting to me to note that he went from reluctant and pessimistic talking with Rumple and then at the beginning of the exchange with Henry, to hopeful and smitten. Maybe there is a little fight and hope left in him.

    I can’t wait to see next week though I hate to see the three Frozen cast members go away. I have grown to love them, which is remarkable since I have yet to see the movie or been interested in changing that. I’m hoping for a scene with Anna, Rumple, and Belle. Probably won’t happen, but a girl can dream.

    • I just had to comment on Better Hair lol… that made me laugh lol but lets me honest Emma Swan has beautiful hair.
      But yes i agree… Emma knew that would work and rile her up to extremeness.
      But we heard Emma/Hook indication all over the episodes at times… from Emma herself, from Henry, from Will, from Hook himself when he got all smiley on the word together, and his dying wish is that Emma and the ppl she cares about and her home to be left alone.

      • It was all over this episode. I agree. I just found Emma’s comment very telling in a way. She’s not normally the type who would have gone in that direction. Even though Regina has called her out a few times in the past two seasons about her relationship with Hook, Emma’s usually mute on the subject. So it made me smile that she said it of her own free will.

        The show has used Regina as that person telling her that she and everyone see or realize that there is something there. (comments about yearning in 3B, the boyfriend comment in 3A, and earlier this season with the comment about making eyes at each other). It was just a first for me to see Emma acknowledge something in front of anyone but Hook.

    • Thanks! And thank you also for giving me a new dream scene combination with Rumple/Belle/Anna. Like you, I’m pretty sure it won’t happen, but there’s so much good history to delve into with those characters. And how great would it be to see Anna’s reaction to Belle marrying the Dark One?

      I agree that Emma using her happy relationship with Hook to draw Regina’s ire was important. First of all, I think it harkened back to the season premiere and Emma’s lingering guilt that her happiness would be rubbing it in for Regina while the latter woman was in pain. But, like you, I was also impressed that she was open about being genuinely happy with Hook, even if it was in a situation like this one. It felt natural for her to talk about her relationship with Hook in the same way as she talked about her parents’ relationship in that moment with Regina, and we know that’s no small thing for Emma to do—no matter the situation.

  3. Fab review! These are always a bright spot on a Monday . . .

    This was an amazing episode . . . but . . . I must admit to being a little conflicted. Part of that is probably my own fault. I had such high expectations for this episode in terms of addressing buried conflicts or issues. (I was expecting something like Buffy’s “Once More With Feeling.”) These expectations might not have been fair, but the repetition that the curse would bring out the worst in people, that everyone would tear each other apart, did feed that expectation some. We really didn’t get that. I did love, LOVE, Snow’s, “I was TEN!” That really needed to be said. I would have liked a little more of that. Since they were going with snark, I wish we could have seen that in some other characters. I want snarky Archie, tired of dealing with everyone’s issues. I want snarky Belle, snarky Little John, etc. This is an episode that I wished could have been a little longer. (I don’t think it needed to go two episodes, but just a “super-sized” episode.) While I loved that Regina, Snow, and David could all laugh at each other at the end — it shows how far they’ve come, I was disappointed at the general dismissive attitude (“we were cursed”) to everything said. Yes, it a curse, but the curse brought out what was there. For instance, Anna didn’t intend to say hurtful things to her sister when suffering the same curse, but that doesn’t mean the isolation Anna voiced wasn’t real. “We were cursed” feels like avoidance. I can understand why the curse segments needed to lean more toward humor to provide a balance to the emotional Ingrid/Emma flashback scenes. I have a feeling I’ll enjoy the curse segments more on a second viewing not that I’ve modified my expectations. Because those scenes were fun and there was much to love. (He’s not a burrito! Don’t wake the baby!) The Charmings are always great to watch — especially in team mode.

    Ingrid . . . oh my. Elizabeth Mitchell . . .just . . . wow. I appreciated the resolution to her story so much because she’s one of the few “villains” I’ve felt sympathy for. She was more misguided than anything. Others’ comments are much more coherent on the amazingness that is Mitchell, so just let me add a small point. It was heart-breaking to see that Ingrid could have had a family earlier. Anna and Elsa were willing to love her as family. Emma was ready to love her as family, but Ingrid had a set idea of what family love looked like. She was so focused on re-creating the bond of sisters that she missed out on nieces. She was so focused on the link of magic that she missed out on a daughter. Poor Ingrid — the one time she wasn’t patient, she pushed Emma away.

    I’ve always felt that one of the reasons Killian is so successful with and good for Emma is that he lets her set the pace. Love how he gets side-tracked by “together.”

    Oh, and Rumple, Rumple, Rumple. Can’t wait to see how this plays out.

    Is it Sunday yet?

    • I definitely think that the expectations we go into an episode with have a way of coloring how we see it. This seems like it will be one that improves upon re-watch for many who went into it thinking that it would be a little deeper than what it ended up being.

      After I saw the first two sneak peeks, I had a feeling that this was going to be more campy fun than anything else, so I tempered my expectations. I think that helped me really enjoy it. And it let me focus my emotions on Ingrid, who, as you so beautifully pointed out, was just heartbreaking in her failure to see the family she could have had if she would have realized sooner that family is about love and not magic.

      I love how every Monday NGN is filled with “Is it Sunday yet?” comments because it makes me feel less alone in wishing my week away. 😉

      • Oh, yes. It is nice to know I’m not the only bouncing like a small child waiting for the next episode.

        Will there be a support group during the hiatus? 🙂

  4. I’m really loving 4A and I don’t want it to end next week! I really liked how Ingrid’s story ended, and even though I didn’t want her to die, I was really glad she got her happy ending! I enjoyed the flashbacks a lot more than I expected, Emma and Ingrid really did love each other and now that Emma has her memories of that time back, I hope we see more reactions from her about this next week.
    I thought the scene between Emma and Regina in her vault was brilliant – from Emma’s reactions, to just how she knew exactly what to say to Regina to rile her up. When Emma asked Regina how does she wear those clothes and Regina replied with a flourish “with the poise and composure of a Queen” I just cracked up.
    Snow & Charming were great and the Snow & Regina fight was excellent as well.

    I really thought Emma would find out about Hooks heart this week but after seeing this episode I totally understand why they didn’t reveal it yet. They really are leaving all the Rumple fall out to happen in the winter finale, and I can’t wait to see it. I’m also really excited to see how the evil trio are brought into the story, from the promo it looks like we’ll see them in 4.11 which I wasn’t expecting.

    • I’m so happy you brought up Regina’s “with the poise and composure of a queen” comment because I laughed so hard at that line! Lana Parrilla’s delivery was amazing.

      I’m actually really happy they left everything with Rumple and Hook to play out in the finale. It’s going to make it a very cohesive episode with there only being one real conflict (besides the Queens of Darkness, who I think will be in the flashbacks only and then maybe make an appearance at the very end of the episode). I’m usually a champion of the “temper expectations” technique for episode-viewing, but I don’t think I can contain my hopes for this finale at this point even if I tried. 😉

  5. I don’t know why I was expecting both the Snow Queen story and Rumple’s story/Hook’s heart to both be resolved in the final episode but I’m glad they did it this way because that would have been a lot to pack into one episode.

    This episode was a lot less serious than I had originally anticipated but I’m OK with that. Belle’s experience with the mirror was so dark and I was really concerned that Snow/Charming/Kristoff were all in the same room with other loved ones and was afraid for them to say some really hurtful things. Even when Anna was under the curse, her words to Elsa were a lot more cutting than Charming insulting Kristoff’s profession. I was much happier with that we mostly got snark because I don’t want to see these people be awful to each other.

    It also allowed for some great lines. Regina’s confusion about her outfit after the spell hit and once it wore off cracked me up as did the way she and the Charmings dissolved into laughter once the spell was broken. I also loved Snow’s rant to Anna. Ginny was amazing in that scene and it’s always nice to be reminded that Snow is more than just sunshine and rainbows.

    What I loved the most about this episode was how much more it made me care about Ingrid. Part of that was the always fabulous Elizabeth Mitchell but another part was how well-crafted her character was. You can see where she went so wrong and how her singular focus to recreate the family environment she thought and wished she had destroyed her chance for a family with Emma, Elsa, and Anna.

    It was a bittersweet ending for the character. It might have been nice for Elsa and Anna to have an aunt back at home and rebuilt some of the family they lost with their parent’s deaths and to see her work on her redemption and happiness as we’ve seen Regina do (assuming we ever check back in with everyone in Arendelle which I very much hope we do). But as Ingrid said, she would finally be reunited with her sisters and the curse did need to be stopped.

    In a final comment, Hook’s smile at Henry’s use of the word “together” to describe his relationship with Emma was precious. Even without a heart, he still turns into a giddy love-struck dork who can’t believe his luck at being with Emma.

    • First of all, “giddy love-struck dork who can’t believe his luck at being with Emma” is my new favorite way to describe Hook. 😉

      Like you, I was ultimately happy that this episode favored snark over real angst because I couldn’t handle that amount of heaviness, especially with Ingrid’s storyline already being so emotional. I loved what you said about us being able to see exactly where she went wrong because I love when I can see the motivations behind even the worst characters’ actions. Ingrid really was the perfect example of what happens when great writing meets great acting, and I’m going to miss her even more than I thought I was going to.

  6. Wow. Just wow. It wasn’t quite the blow-me-away level of a show like Homeland (though like everyone else, I’m expecting amazing things from the mid-season finale next week!) but I was completely satisfied with the conclusion of the Ice Queen/Frozen story arc. Since Emma Swan is my favorite TV character in the history of ever, seeing more of her backstory just crumbled me to bits. Had Ingrid had more support; had she figured things out like real hope and real love earlier, she could have been the mom that Emma never had. Of course, then Emma would have never hung all of her hopes and dreams on Neal; would have never been alone, and the curse would have never broken. Like a true savior, Emma’s happiness had to be sacrificed for the good of the world, as it was her broken childhood and empty adulthood that led her to the town of Storybrooke, and eventually her home. But seeing the missed connections; the life she could have had, is so sad for so many reasons. I am glad she has her real memories back, even if it’s just the good ones, because so much of who she is is how far she has come.

    So many things about this story arc came to a satisfying conclusion; how Emma saw the Snow Queen twice and doesn’t remember either time, and the show got it right, right down to her exact outfit in both the pictures that Sydney took and her actual encounter in the ice cream shop, and the gaps were filled in with more of Emma’s heartbreaking backstory; the “only a crazy lady would love me” sentiment almost moved me to tears. Elizabeth Mitchell played Ingrid flawlessly; from the “cool mom” on the couch to the desperate-for-love person in front of a speeding car; well played, Show. That is exactly why Emma would have run away, why she was so susceptible to Neal’s charm, and why she’s been pushing Hook away for as long as she’s known him. You nailed the scene where Hook lit up like a Christmas tree at the mere mention of Emma telling someone that they are “together”. And like everyone else mentioned, using Hook as an example to Regina of Emma’s true love, that’s an incredibly huge step for Emma. She’s finally okay with saying that she’s together with Hook. Emma and Hook are a thing! I should be positively giddy over that, but you know. Rumpelstiltskin. The real bad guy. I still blame Neal for everything. But Robert Carlyle is a true gem and there is nothing more fun than watching him spin a web; I would just prefer he only plays with Belle’s heart.

    Snow White was epic in this one. Her “I WAS TEN!” line will go down in OUAT lore, since I’m sure that each and every one of us has yelled exactly that at the screen more than once in the last four years. The Swiss Miss line slayed me as well, and the Dr. Whale paternity question was absolutely comic gold. Of COURSE Charming is still bugged by that! And I love that Snow White doesn’t actually feel all that guilty for killing Cora. Good thing Regina didn’t hear that little tidbit, or she probably wouldn’t have been laughing when the spell wore off. I’m pretty sure they used real footage of the actors laughing at themselves in that scene. I thought it worked though, setting up the mirth and merriment to underscore the absolute darkness of Mr. Gold and his plan.

    I feel like I say this every week, but the set up for next week is incredible. Presumably, Marian is thawed, right? Next week has the potential for Regina/Marian/Robin drama to go with Belle/Rumple and Emma/Hook? I’m trying to temper my excitement and expectations. And I really, REALLY can’t wait for Sunday.

    • Excellent points. (I may have also giggled at your “I blame Neal for everything.”) I do love the progress Emma has made on the Killian front.

      Based on the precedent with Zelena, I would also assume that Marian would be de-frosted. Since the Snow Queen is dead, her magic should be undone.

      I’m trying to temper my expectations (in terms of what types of things will happen and/or how), but I think tempering my excitement is asking too much. 🙂

    • I agree with everything you said, but especially the comment about Snow and Regina’s laughing at themselves – I think Charming was acting, but I feel like Regina and Snow’s laughter was a genuine reaction and perhaps not even what was originally scripted. Lana and Ginny cracking up at the whole situation is just so believable – the whole thing was just so ridiculous with the Evil Queen outfit and everything. If that wasn’t genuine hilarity they must be extremely good actors.

    • Christy, your comments always make me smile. Reading your thoughts about Emma is always a joy because I can tell how much she means to you, and she means so much to me, too.

      As far as Marian goes, I would guess she’s thawed because of the fact that Zelena’s spells died with her. And I have given up all pretense of tempering excitement—bring on the tears, the drama, and hopefully a little happiness, too!

  7. The more I think about this episode the more I like it, and the more I enjoy just how all of these stories have been woven through the season.

    I want to start with the curse. I know some people are disappointed that this curse didn’t provide more emotional conflict and development amongst the characters, but hear me out. I don’t think this curse was supposed to reveal deep repressed inner feelings. I think this curse was meant to show what would happen if our characters were one dimensional “evil”. Our characters have always operated in shades of grey. The conscious intent behind our words and actions are what makes us human, and it’s what makes these characters interesting and relatable. You take that away, and what are you left with? You have silly, one-dimensional cartoons. It was supposed to be campy and unbelievable. I think the point was to kind of show how unfulfilling it would be if these were their real relationships with each other on the show. As you said, the curse was meant to show just how far this big tangled family has come. They collapse in laughter because how they were acting is not how real humans act. I also think the scenes they chose to show matched up quite well with what we have seen all season. The complex Emma/Regina relationship from ‘Breaking Glass’ compared to here. Even Henry and Hook from ‘The Apprentice’ compared to here. It would be easy to just make Henry not like Hook because he is dating his mom. But we know that he is conflicted. He isn’t sure about it, but he wants Emma to be happy. That is an complex dynamic and one I hope is explored more in 4B.

    You can even argue that to a lesser extent, Ingrid’s villainous nature was born out of something similar to the shattered sight curse. She was operating under the assumption that her family didnt love her, and without that love, she was her worst self. The moment those memories returned to the surface, she was back to being a complex human being, one that regretted hurting others but was willing to take responsibility for her actions, and one I didnt want to see go.

    I also love that this episode was laser focused on family. We had sisters, and parents, and even the drwarfs and granny are part of a type of family. Its why Kristoff, and Hook, and Robin weren’t part of the reunion at the end. This episode wasn’t about them or romantic relationships. And now, by tidying up all the family threads of the season, we are left with a big chunk of romantic relationships to explore in the finale!

    I personally loved the reunion just the way it was (although if any of them should have run off it should have been Anna, I was a little concerned for Kristoff). Seeing Snow and Charming together with their theme playing brought me right back to the Season 1 finale. Its impossible not to to be happy watching those two, with their family and the rest of their town (kingdom) behind them.

    Then there is my dear Hook. You said it perfectly, He is “a man who has gone from almost letting Storybrooke be destroyed to using his dying wish to beg the man who’s going to kill him to spare not just Emma but the whole town.” I just cant help but think back to that moment in the Season 2 finale of Emma asking him to be stay and be a part of something. He is starting to feel a part of something, and I hope that 4B can explore more of him settling into the town (I am now starting a Hook needs a job petition for 4B). While Emma was the catalyst, its not only about her anymore. I also love that Hook’s track record of not being part of any curse is still intact. I feel like there is some bigger meaning to it, but I cant quite put my finger on it yet. Hook having his memories was an important symbol in 3B, but the fact that this is a thing that now spans 3 seasons, I feel like there has to be something more there.

    I have nothing to add to all of your beautiful thoughts on the flashbacks. My poor little Emma. No more sad Emma ever again. Emma deserves to be happy for the rest of her life! Let her be happy show, the woman deserves it!

    Randomness:

    -There were SO many great quotes, but for some reason Charming’s “gently used” stroller comment was by far my favorite. I laughed for a solid minute. I am laughing typing this.

    -The entire town is really, really, seriously inept at being outright evil. Paper throwing and making someone punch themself? Come on guys, you didnt even try!

    -Instead of one of those “Days worked without an incident” signs, the Sheriff station needs to put up a “Days without a curse” sign. Back to zero they go.

    -Small nit pick, but if Emma’s memories of Ingrid were taken, I am surprised Emma wasnt at all curious where that mood ring came from when Hook was looking though her box of childhood things.

    -I am REALLY interested to know if Disney will consider the frozen arc as cannon when it comes to the frozen sequel. They definitely have a open ended story there if they wanted to continue it. And here I am again hoping that they can throw in an easter egg in the movie by having animated Charmings (and Hook) in the audience at the wedding. I am obsessed with this story detail at this point.

    -Sunday come soon!

    • See, this is what’s so cool about this site. I love getting the different perspectives to consider. I’m still a little conflicted about the curse, so I appreciate these posts that lay out other views so nicely.

      I personally lost it on the swaddling/burrito exchange. However you approach the curse, it does make sense that sometimes what comes to the surface are seemingly nit-picky things like a spouse’s perceived inability to correctly swaddle.

      Yes! I want to see a “curse free” day board. They could put it in the Sheriff’s office.

    • Shauna! I always love your comments! I love everything you have to say here. And now I want the Frozen sequel to have Once references. And I hadn’t noticed that Hook has been immune to/spared from every curse, but now I’m going to be obsessed with that detail – it has to mean something! maybe =) I love that you highlighted the curse breaking celebration being about family love rather than romantic love. That makes sense. I love this community of people all fascinated with the details of this show! I get so much out of all of these comments each week.

    • I finally have a spare minute to reply to this lovely comment! 🙂

      I really liked what you said about this spell showing what would happen if these characters and relationships were one-dimensional. Yes, it’s fun to watch for an hour, but it made me appreciate just how rich these characters are and how far all of their relationships have developed. I also really liked the comparison you drew with Ingrid on that front.

      You are 100% right in saying that reunion scene was all about family. I was completely okay with it ending on that note instead of a romantic one because—for as much as I love romance—there’s so much more to life than just romantic love. There’s family and friendship, and I have always admired the way this show has celebrated those kinds of love as being just as powerful and important as romantic love.

      I’m happy you were also thinking about Emma telling Hook he could be a part of something as he dealt with Rumple in this episode. He really has become a part of something so much bigger than just his relationship with Emma, and I love that this town has become something worth saving to him not just because of Emma but because he’s come to call it home, too, and it’s simply the heroic way to see things. And now I’m having heroic Hook feelings and need to lie down until the emotions pass. 😉

      Finally, I won’t be able to see the Frozen sequel whenever it comes out without desperately looking for the Charmings and Hook at Anna and Kristoff’s wedding.

  8. This entire episode felt anti climatic. And once again, someone other than “the Savior” managed to save the day. Can someone remind me why Emma has to be “the Savior”? Because right now, I don’t see the point.

    • But Emma’s savior title is about SO MUCH MORE than just literally saving everyone from every menace that hits the town. There is honestly so much I could say about it, but I still think that this is going to be explored more in 4B as they hunt for the author of the book, so I am going to save my thoughts until then. Also, it would be kinda boring if Emma was the only one doing the saving all the time. I like seeing everyone get a moment to shine.

    • Emma’s role as the savior was for a specific purpose, the end Regina’s curse in season one. She has chosen to take on a more pro-active role in helping people and/or fixing problems when other issues/dangerous situations have arisen, but technically she already did what she was “supposed” to do in terms of saving them all from the original curse. Being “the Savior” doesn’t mean she’s obligated to do it every time, she’s not Batman.

    • I can understand parts of this episode feeling rushed, but I thought it was a perfect ending to Ingrid’s story—not anticlimactic in the slightest as far as her character was concerned.

      And I have to echo the others who’ve commented about Emma’s Savior role. It would get boring if she was always the one to save the day. And I think her title as the Savior is going to be a big part of this season’s overall theme of fate and destiny vs. choosing how you define yourself. It’s interesting to me that Emma’s savior title is one she didn’t choose originally—unlike Rumple choosing to be the Dark One, Regina choosing to be the Evil Queen, and Killian choosing to be Hook. But she still actively chooses to want to help people find their happy endings even after the first curse—her savior moment—was over. I think there will be a lot more to be said about her being the savior as the show goes on, since that’s such a huge part of her character. So I don’t want to speculate too much about it except to say I think it’s admirable that she wants to help everyone find their happy ending, which I think is the more important part of her “savior” role than actually physically saving people.

  9. Ok, I couldn’t help myself. All the Emma Savior references I could find in 4A (so far). This is for everyone’s reference going into the finale because I think its important.

    4×01
    Emma to Regina: “Henry brought me to Storybrooke to bring back the happy endings. My job is not done until I do that for everyone, including you”

    4×02
    Emma, to Elsa: “Im, get this, a Savior. Im still not sure what the hell that means”

    4×03
    Emma to Charming, questioning her usefulness: “Its like Im the anti-savoir”

    4×06
    via the prophecy scroll: “The Savior’s name is Emma”

    4×07
    Snow Queen to Emma: “How often have you felt more like a savior than their daughter?”

    4×08
    Snow to Charming regarding Emma and her magic: “but its part of who she is. The Savior. She was born this way, a hero”.

    4×10
    to Anna’s question about “the savior” being a job title: “Apparently it is. I promised all these people I would give them their happy endings. And I will. Im just not sure how at this moment”.

    Yep, thats 7 out of 10 episodes (at least, I could have missed some) where Emma and her title of Savior title have been brought up just through this season. There are way more if you look back over the entire series so far. They have been hitting us over the head with this almost as much as they did with Emma wanting to go back to NY last season. And, considering the next episode is called “Heroes and Villains” I expect it to be brought up again. I actually find Emma’s savior title to be one of the more intriguing things about the show, and I am super excited to see where they plan on going with it moving forward. The ENIRE SHOW is framed around Emma being the savior. Its not going away. This theme will be there until the very last episode of this show.

      • I don’t know if this was directed at my comment, but I wanted to clarify what I was trying to say. I phrased my reply poorly and don’t mean to deny that Emma is the Savior or that she has an important role to play (of course she does, that’s why they keep bringing it up). What I was trying to say is that I don’t think that “savior” is synonymous, in this context, with “person who physically saves everyone during the crisis.” I think Emma has already fulfilled that portion of the Savior role by breaking the curse in season 1. I think that Emma’s role now, as the person that is going to “bring back the happy endings” is to support everyone else around her in becoming people that can defeat villains and break curses themselves. If you consider the pattern that’s being established, each person that has defeated a villain has been able to do so after moments of personal growth (examples: Rumple stepping up to atone for the his sins to his son, Regina realizing that she can be “good” and therefore gaining the ability to wield light magic, Ingrid’s repentance and self sacrifice). I’ve always viewed Emma as “the Savior” because she is there to help those around her become their best selves, not because she was meant to be a fairytale superhero that flies in to save the day every time a curse is enacted.

        • Definately not directed at you. I just have a slight obsession with the idea of people as symbols (don’t even get me started on the hunger games) and so I tend to think about Emma’s savior title a lot. I just wanted to write it all out for everyone’s reference before Sunday, since it has a good chance of being brought up again. I enjoy having themes like this in the front of my mind before watching new episodes, and I thought others might too. I swear I need a study guide for this show sometimes.

  10. I never quite got through all the comments on last week’s review before this week’s episode started and so I never actually got to comment on last week at all! I still have the tab open, so I might still get to it =)
    This week was amazing. I have no prior knowledge of Elizabeth Mitchell but just based on her role as Ingrid I would agree that she needs her own awesome show to star in, or at least she should continue to get awesome complex challenging roles in shows like this. I think I understood why the Wicked Witch was played so campy and over the top – it just seemed to work for a Wizard of Oz themed season. But I enjoyed Ingrid so much more. She was so restrained and calculating as a villain, and so genuinely lovely as a foster mom (until she pushed Emma too far).
    Thank you for emphasizing the themes that we’re going into the finale with – Heroes and Villains. I think we all know who the only true villain is on this show right now… I can’t wait to see how it plays out. I hope we see a lot of Belle in the finale – I feel like he haven’t heard much from her this season and I miss her.
    And so many other loose ends to tidy up! Marian will defrost now I would assumer… (thanks to Tempest pointing that out – tbh I had mostly forgotten about her). And the fairies are in the hat. And Hook. And my poor heart… this is going to be amazing!

    • I’m so glad this arc introduced you to the brilliance of Elizabeth Mitchell. 🙂

      Like you, I understood Zelena’s more over the top side, but I enjoyed Ingrid so much more. I knew it was coming, but I’m still so sad to see her go.

      I think we will be getting a lot of Belle in this midseason finale, and I for one can’t wait!

  11. Oh, and I forgot to say – I KNEW that bottle was really important! I’ve been saying all along that I wanted to see what Gerda wrote. I figured it was something about being wrong about trying to take Elsa’s magic away, or earlier in the season I thought it might be something revealing about Ingrid’s nature – maybe a warning. But I knew it had to be extremely important – they often start a new season with something that doesn’t make much sense out of context, but this show doesn’t leave us hanging (unlike certain shows where characters write things that look a lot like “l-o-v-e” on valet cards and never bring them up again! no, I’m not bitter about that at all 😉 )

  12. Just wanted to add one of my favorite townspeople moments was when one of the dwarves was yelling at Dopey “Speak!” and slapping him. That cracked me up for several minutes, I had to keep rewinding to hear what happened afterwards.

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  15. I felt that the tone of this episode was nicely balanced. You had Emma and Eksa struggling to free themselves from the ribbons, confronting Ingrid and then seeing how the town reacted to the spell. The smaller moments were awesome–like Doc slapping Dopey repeatedly and trying to get him to speak–such an underrated moment. We don’t get enough of the dwarves interacting and yes, Kristiff throwing papers at Charming as well as exchanging lame insults that oddly worked. I loved those moments and it was truly refreshing for the first time, our heroes did not have to vanquish the villain of the arc and she chose to vanquish herself and move on. Isham’s music, his score is so beautiful and it beautifully accentuated Ingrid’s last sacrifice and instead of her going out as the villain she played for 10 episodes, she died a hero with the knowledge that Gerda was sorry for what she did all those years ago and loved her.

    Bravo to Elizabeth Mitchell for portraying such a chilling victim that was not as over the top as Zelena but I think raised the bar on what a Once Upon a Time villainess should be. She deserves a spot next to Barbara Hershey!

    (The chilling comment was totally intended ☺️)

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! I’m especially glad you pointed out the score in this episode; it was even more beautiful than usual, which is saying something.

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