Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 1 – TV Review

Once Upon a Time Elsa snail trail

Girl, that’s nasty.

Who would have thought Once Upon a Time, the little soap opera that could (with the help of some Disney magic), would make it to a fourth season.

You’ve gotta run out of Disney-owned properties soon enough, though. Better milk Frozen for all its worth.

TL;DR Elsa and Anna seem to be overtaking the plot, but nothing of importance is revealed just yet; Regina struggles with Marian’s return; naturally, she is planning to kill her (or at least erase her); Emma doesn’t do anything relevant.

You don’t say.

So now we’re all done and dusted with Zelena and Peter Pan, it’s time for Elsa to shine as the latest focus newbie. In Storybrooke, she kind of just wanders around for a while and looking scared/fashionable. She summons a golem because she’s anxious, then rocks on over to Gold’s pawn shop because she sees it contains a pendant she gave Anna back in Arendelle. Meanwhile, Regina isn’t exactly loving Marian being back on the scene (Marian’s kind of an enormous cunt, too. Obv). Robin tries to let her down easily. Regina’s response is to go grab Sidney from her hospital basement prison/mental asylum, turn him back into the magic mirror, and force him to show her when she first met Marian back in the Enchanted Forest. So she can go back in time and kill her. Then she decides she’ll just change the prophecies inside Henry’s fairy tale book. Meanwhile, Emma and Hook are on, but Emma is reluctant in breaking the news to Henry. Meanwhile, Gold decides his life of power hunger is over. Until he finds an odd ornament in an abandoned mansion on his honeymoon. And back in the flashbacks to Arendelle (they’re all post-Frozen, btw), Elsa sooks about the revelation that her and Anna’s parents died while on a mission to Misthaven that was connected to her snow powers. Anna goes off on her own to Misthaven to see what it was all about.

And Misthaven is actually another name for the Enchanted Forest.

You know, I’d complain that Once Upon a Time is all very post-script season by now. But it’s been like that since last season. And letting a series shamble on, dragging its soap opera shackles with it, isn’t anything new for ABC.

But this is all very dull for a season premiere, no?


Why I hate this episode:

And my inner cynic can’t help but see the prominence of a Frozen plot line merely being an attention grab. Frozen is so hot right now, and Once Upon a Time could definitely use some of that heat. It won’t be validated in my eyes until we get a song, though. And with all these other singing princesses around, is a musical episode really out of the question? It’s just the kind of thing you’d expect in a desperate fourth season.

I know Marian is an absolute, scum-sucking road whore, but Regina’s instant devolution from rebuilt anti-hero to “Imma go back in time and murder a bitch” loon is hard to be convinced by. All because some skank moved in on the guy Regina was kind of getting to know a bit? Come on. Regina’s stronger than that.

She then backpedals on her already-ridiculous plan of time travelling (because we saw how well all that worked out last season) to instead target the author of Henry’s fairy tale book. Because that’s far less absurd.

Emma likes Hook, but she’s worried about telling Henry. Wah wah wah who cares. Henry’s hit puberty so hard he’s basically 21, now. I’m sure he can handle it.

Gold is too wishy-washy with this dagger business and I’m so over it. First he didn’t give Belle the real dagger. Then this episode he does give her the real dagger. But when he notices the strange ornament, he takes it back again. Make a commitment, fella.

I’m not invested in the mystery surrounding why Elsa and Anna’s parents went on their voyage. I don’t think anyone who saw Frozen thought to themselves “You know what’d be great? If a live action TV show expanded upon this insignificant plot point to justify wangst.”

The golem is crappy CGI.

Kristoff isn’t very attractive.

Oh, and I love Belle’s logic: “I noticed this manor is suspiciously empty. Let’s honeymoon here.” Rude.


But it’s not all bad:

The Gold subplot is a nice distraction from the “Regina falls apart over a man” and “Elsa is boring and has poor communication skills” mainlines. He waves his dagger over this little ornament, and some CGI, witch’s hat shaped protrusion emerges from it, with a mini star projection thingy inside. I have no idea what’s going on. And I like it.

I’m still really keen to see just why Elsa was locked in Rumple’s vault of doomsday weaponry, too. I suspect Elsa must follow Anna to Misthaven (aka the Enchanted Forest), and run afoul of Rumple.

Regina may be embarrassingly lovesick, but I can’t oppose anything that might see her soaring back to her fabulous, villainous heights. The tastiest part of her entire vendetta against Marian is that she doesn’t even remember her from their original meeting. Because she’s so pass√©. Regina has to get Sidney to do some magic mirror stuff just to view the moment they met in the old Enchanted Forest: Queenie arrested Marian and sentenced her to death for not divulging Snow’s whereabouts.

Sadly, I wish present day Marian was more forgettable. Her violent, anti-Regina sentiment doesn’t go unnoticed. Luckily (and frustratingly for Marian), everyone tells Marian to chill out because Regina has come a long way since her Evil Queen days. So shut up, Marian.

Regina endears herself to Marian later by stopping the snow golem before it crushes the poor maid. Regina still wants to rewrite the book, though. Get at it.

Emma’s own attempts to subdue the golem with magic are wonderfully unsuccessful. It makes me happy.

Emma does herself some favours by showing that she feels badly for ruining Regina’s chance at happiness.

Regina isn’t so interested in listening to her apology, though, because it doesn’t change the fact. Which leads Regina to saying the best line of the episode, which doubles as a fair distillation of the series as a whole: “The more you try to help, the worse my life becomes.” Emma is the real villain.

Gold and Belle do a Beauty and the Beast waltz sequence. It’s cute enough.

Sidney’s back. That’s something. When he says to Regina that he was sure she hadn’t forgotten him, Regina’s like “Uhh…” I know, right.

Oh, and Robin is really only going back to Marian because he feels obligated by his wedding vows. Someone introduce this man to a divorce lawyer.

Once Upon a Time Robin Regina

“But enduring a stagnant marriage for the sake of my son is too hard to pass up. Sorry.”

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

5 responses to “Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 1 – TV Review”

  1. ihr says :

    Spot on.

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