Review: Once Upon A Time 4.03 – “Rocky Road”

Oh, Once Upon A Time, what a truly ridiculous show you are. But, I’m going to let everything (mainly: plot, character development, logic) slide, because you are at least trying to make things fun and hopefully not trying to just capitalize on the success of Frozen. Anyways, get in for a “rocky” ride this week (get it, the episode is called “Rocky Road”) because this episode was… interesting.

***SPOILER WARNING***

Elsa still doesn’t have any memories. So she, Emma, and Hook need answers. They interrogate Rumplestiltskin about why he had Elsa trapped in that urn. He “lies” while under the oath of the fake dagger. So there’s that dead end.

Newly appointed mayor Snow White (though I still don’t know how that happened) holds a “fireside chat” with the concerned citizens of Storybrooke. By citizens, I mean the same ten townspeople. They are all freaking out about the ice wall and are quick to form a mob! Luckily for Snow, Marian suddenly develops white hair and drops to the ground, frozen. Marian cannot catch a break! Earlier, she, Robin, and their kid decided to get ice cream on this cold day. Ice cream lady decided to use her secret snow powers to curse Marian. But why?!
robin family snow charms

On-the-mend Regina, who is unusually dressed casually for once, not so subtley comes to Henry with questions about his storybook. He is on board and Operation Mongoose is officially a go. Yay for Regina, but pause that ’cause she has to help Marian first.

Marian is getting icier and apparently only true love’s kiss can stop the ice from reaching her heart. Robin bends down to kiss her, but nothing happens. Awkward. Savior Emma is determined to find who did this. Hook wants to go along with her, but she snaps at him to guard Elsa from the current mob forming, led by Grumpy and Granny. Hook and Elsa both refuse to hide, so visit Rumple, where Hook reveals he knows the dagger is fake and that Rumple was lying, so Rumple agrees to help.

will

Meanwhile, Emma and Charming, the most eager sheriff-detectives in the town, search the woods. They stumble across a young man, Will Scarlett (Michael Socha — fan-favorite from Once Upon a Time In Wonderland), thieving a tent. They catch him and he announces he is Robin Hood’s old friend and reveals that the ice cream shop in town has been keeping the ice cream cold without electricity. Hmmmm.

They head to the ice cream store where Emma spouts nonsensical knowledge of ice cream stores. Er, when did she become an expert on compressor systems? Well, anyways, Will Scarlett was right. The back of the store is completely iced over, but as Emma and Charming are in the back, Will escapes out the front with the cash from the register. Charming tells Emma to “let it go” but she apparently took a quip from Regina earlier to heart. She doesn’t know if she is the savior or not. Oh, groan, not this again.

Over at Gold’s shop, Rumple uses a piece of Marian’s frozen hair to discover who cast the curse. The hair turns into snowflakes and leads Hook and Elsa on a journey into the woods. On the way, Elsa spouts relationship advice to Hook about Emma. She says its hard to let people in when you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, even the people you trust. Let’s see how Hook takes that advice and uses it later.

hook elsa 2

The snowflake trail leads them to the Snow Queen, dressed to the extreme in a gaudy, extravagant white gown. She is making a little ice castle dollhouse for no apparent reason. Elsa is intrigued and wants to know more. Luckily, she gets her chance when the Snow Queen notices them. Elsa doesn’t remember her, but the Snow Queen reveals all (or most of her motive) by saying she framed Elsa to prove the town would turn on her without knowing the truth. She also tells Elsa that Anna put Elsa in the urn, but Elsa doesn’t believe. Just before things get even more frigid, Emma and Charming blast onto the scene, saving Hook from the falling icicles conjured over his head. The Snow Queen calls out Emma’s name as if she knows her, which freaks Emma out even more. During the fight, the Snow Queen disappears into thin air.

Emma is weirded out about the Snow Queen seemingly knowing her. Elsa thinks the Snow Queen is lying about Anna, but Emma points out that she was here in Storybrooke already. Something isn’t adding up. Later, Hook tries to talk with Emma, but she isn’t having it. The reason: everyone she is ever close to dies, so she doesn’t want to put Hook in that position. Hook grabs her, telling her he’s good at surviving. And then they kiss. And crane shot. And aw, aren’t us viewers just supposed to adore them?

regina

Oh, and meanwhile, Regina reluctantly agrees to help Marian in a less-conventional way, ripping out her heart. Henry helps, getting a box from her vault. Right before she does it, Robin admits he is in love with someone else, right over the frozen body of his wife. Real classy. I want Regina to be happy, but this is shenanigans! And then Regina takes Marian’s heart, as you do when someone is frozen.

This week we get flashbacks to Arendelle, where Elsa says at least 50 times that she is the queen. Okay, we get it Elsa. You. Are. The. Queen. And you never change out of your icy blue robe, lest some kid gets confused and doesn’t recognize you as the “Let It Go” lady from Frozen. Anyways, infamous Hans, who tried to take the Arendelle throne back in that movie, is back at it again, now with his many brothers. Kristoff and Sven the Reindeer go to spy and discover that Hans knows of a magical urn that can trap “magic folk” like Elsa inside. I will say that that casting of Hans is pretty spot on.

elsa

So, Elsa being Elsa, she abandons all logic and reason and decides to go with Kristoff, and just Kristoff, to find this urn. Not bringing her army or her followers or anything. Mmk. Well, they eventually find the urn and a secret cave. Kristoff wants her to destroy it, but Elsa is intrigued by the magic words that appear on the urn. She wants to know more about it and find others like her. But before she can do anything, Hans and his brothers arrive. There is a short icy fight, but Hans holds a sword to Kristoff. Elsa surrenders the urn.

She bemoans that she should’ve listened to and trusted Kristoff, but now she will. Welp, Hans has another plan. He opens the urn to trap her, calling Elsa a monster. A weird, white liquid falls out and moves towards Elsa. Meanwhile, Elsa cowers and does nothing as time slowly passes. The white blob, of course, takes form in the human body of a voluptuous Elizabeth Mitchell aka The Snow Queen. Da-dum! She immediately turns Hans into a Snow Pop and declares that no one should be trapped in that urn!

Elsa takes the Snow Queen back to her palace, where she reveals that she is Elsa’s aunt (Elsa’s mother is her sister). Something sinister and odd revolves around that, but we don’t know yet. The Snow Queen says she was trapped in the urn by her but promises to help Elsa find Anna, because “that is what family is for.” Ooh…hmm, dang it, I hate to admit but I’m excited about where this could lead…

elsa and co

Back in Storybrooke, the Snow Queen sexily saunters around the woods in her white gown at night. Who should she come upon? Why, it is indeed Rumplestiltskin! He tells her that he is sorry it didn’t work out the way she wanted and that Emma didn’t remember. The Snow Queen says when she wants a deal, she’ll come to him. Aha, so, of course Rumple has something to do with this. He always does, doesn’t he?

And that’s it for this “rocky road” of an episode. I can’t help but be excited for the Snow Queen but that might be because I am a huge Elizabeth Mitchell fan. There is definitely something sinister and fun lurking there. I worry about the regular players, Regina, Snow, Charming, and if their characters/storylines are just going to fall further back into the secondary position. Snow’s storyline was just the worst this week! Comment below and share your thoughts!

Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8/9c. Catch this and previous episodes on ABC’s website.

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Post Author: Ben Fleck