I have a love/exasperated relationship with Once Upon a Time. It has fairy-tale magic and beloved characters that I adore, but it also suffers from left-field logic and too-convenient solutions. But we are just going to laugh off the plot problems and enjoy the magic!
Every episode of Once has an individual theme that two or more of the characters are dealing with. This week, it was “never give up!” So everyone in Storybrooke had to buck up and press on, regardless of impossible odds.
We start precisely where we left off with Elsa finding her sister’s necklace in Mr. Gold’s shop. She then holds the entire town hostage by creating a giant wall of ice around them and telling them if they don’t bring Anna to her, she’ll kill them all. Cause, you know, that’s a totally reasonable way of handling things. I mean, last time I couldn’t find my mom in the store, I locked the place down and put a gun to a cashier’s head. It’s what you do, right? I’m drawing this ridiculous parallel because after Elsa endangers everyone and nearly kills Emma (not to mention the evil snowman she unleashed last episode), everyone instantly forgives her and vows to help her find Anna. Seriously. No repercussions for practically marching Emma to Death’s door and holding a proverbial gun to everyone’s head. They don’t even demand a pinky swear that next time she gets mad she’ll count to ten rather than freeze everyone to death. Yeah, ok.
But anyway, both Swan and David talk Elsa into “not giving up” and it looks really cool when she throws her power at the wall and melts a little hole just big enough for she and Swan to crawl through. Hook is also present, but he’s mostly there to look hot and chip away at the wall ineffectually with his hook. Oh, and to tell David to stop being such a sexist pig, that Emma’s relationship with him is her choice, and that this is the modern world, so back off with his antiquated don’t-touch-my-daughter talks. Damn, Hook! Tell him!
Meanwhile, Henry is taking a time out to mope because his mom- no, his other mom, Regina- sends him a raven telling him she doesn’t want to see him. That’s right. A text didn’t suffice. When one of your moms is the Evil Queen, you get messages via ominous black bird. But in the end, he “doesn’t give up” and demands she let him in the house because he’s not gonna back down- and he misses his bedroom. I mean, come on, Regina! It’s where he keeps all his stuff!
And finally we have Snow’s story line. She must single-handedly decipher a Japanese manual in order to get the power back on. Oh, and the pushiest of the town’s people tell her she’s the queen now, so it’s her responsibility to fix everything. I have to say I kind of liked when Snow freaks out and tells everyone that Regina became the Evil Queen because of having to deal with them. Perhaps it was the influence of that black spot on her heart? Or just lack of sleep. Whatever the reason, it’s always nice when one of the Charmings takes a break from being so vanilla.
Oh! And I almost forgot the flashback/Enchanted Forest story line. Apparently, David was a hippy back before he met Snow. And Bo Peep was a crime lord who was extorting money from poor farmers and shepherds, giving them the choice of paying up or becoming her slave. And once you become part of her slave flock, she can find you with her magical staff. Anna, Elsa’s sister, shows up and convinces David to “never give up,” he saves her from Bo Peep, and then his mother tells her Rumple can help her. So that makes his mother what? A frienemy? ‘Cause getting into a deal with Rumple was really bad news back in the day. But we do get a Rumple giggle out of this exchange, which is really what makes this entire show worth watching. So, no complaints.
With the power back on, Elsa no longer volatile, Henry back in his room, and everyone not dead, the only thing left to do is to take down the giant ice wall. Elsa, now empowered with the confidence of a second-hand pep talk, throws her powers at the wall to take it down- and it doesn’t work. I assumed she was already out of juice. Or perhaps since it’s no longer a life or death situation, she doesn’t have enough adrenaline to get her powers flowing. But she and Emma decide that it must mean that someone else must also have similar powers and be keeping the wall up. To me, this seems like a bit of leap, logically… but it’s OUaT so they’re totally right. We see the lady who runs the ice cream shop also has Elsa’s powers… and uses them to make ICE CREAM! Mwua-ha-ha-ha-ha- oh wait. That’s not really that evil. Regardless of the sinister smile she has as she freezes her wall. Wait- so nobody notices that every time that lady leans against the wall, the whole place freezes over? I mean, it was a cool effect, but I’m thinking somebody would have noticed that by now.
So what did you think of the episode? Would you get Elsa some Xanax, or would you trust her to not freeze everyone to death? Let me know in the comments!
Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8/9c. Catch this and previous episodes on ABC’s website.