Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episodes 8 and 9 – TV Review
Can you believe it’s time for another double episode of Once Upon a Time already?
At least the Snow Queen’s backstory is finally put to bed.
I was getting a little overdosed on Arendelle, you know.
TL;DR Emma is still going haywire and accepts a dubious proposition from Gold; the gang do their best to find Emma in time; Regina and Robin play grab-ass again; Gold traps Snow Queen so she won’t stop him from sucking Emma into the Sorcerer’s hat; flashbacks show how Ingrid tried and failed to turn Elsa against Anna.
Elsa has experience in letting things go.
So Emma is the centre of attention in Storybrooke this episode. Henry manages to track her down, but she injures him (minorly. Damn) with her magic. In desperation, she goes to Gold for help. He promises her a way to rid herself of her magic, which she accepts. He doesn’t tell her that it involves being sucked into a hat, but whatever. That’s just details, you know? Gold also uses fragments of the trapping urn to keep Snow Queen at bay so she can’t interfere. Snow, David, Elsa, and Hook worry about where Emma is, while Regina tends to Henry’s wounds (both physical, and emotional). Meanwhile, Robin, having had some morning glory with Regina, steals Regina’s storybook and asks Will for help in how they might find more answers to its mysteries. And in flashbacks to Arendelle, Ingrid tries to strike a bargain with the Sorcerer (through his Apprentice) to get a new, magical family member in exchange for the hat. While she waits for an answer, she does her best to convince Elsa that Anna attacked her, and should be punished. Elsa is onto that shit, though, and she, Anna, and Kristoff track down the urn and hatch a plan to trap Ingrid.
They also find Hans’ frozen body, but macabre corpse-icles are, like, totally hilarious, yo.
Once Upon a Time is suffering the same issue that The Vampire Diaries currently is: the heroine sucks.
Emma could just have some wine or smoke some marijuana or something to calm down. But no, she has to get herself involved with a clearly sketchy scheme with Gold.
Why I hate this episode:
Also, I am insulted on Regina’s behalf that Emma went to him for help in harnessing her magic. Regina has proven to Emma that she is able to help her with that kind of thing. But no, babe. Go to Gold and agree to a vague plan that will apparently remove your magic. That’s cool.
And he asks her to meet him at an abandoned manor miles out of town, because there’ll be a blast radius or something from the “spell” he’s going to use on her. Isn’t Emma supposed to be some supernatural bullshit detector? I understand she’s preoccupied right now, but good grief, girl.
Kristoff gets a bit ripped off when it comes to screen time. He arbitrarily shows up when Anna and Elsa are searching the palace for the urn, then has to leave the scene to keep watch in case guards are coming. Then he just utterly vanishes from the episode. Rude.
Hook tries to call Emma several times to warn her about Gold likely using the hat against her, but she doesn’t check her phone ever, evidently. I get that she probably doesn’t want to talk, but at least listen to the voicemails. That’s what voicemail is for.
So Gold traps Snow Queen in her lair, but doesn’t think to maybe turn her mirror of doom around so she can’t use it to, oh, I don’t know, communicate with Emma and ruin his plan?
Elsa goes off alone to find Emma, using a locator potion Regina had brought with her. She overhears David and Snow talking about how Emma might be better off without magic, so that’s why she went by herself. But personally, I might have called in the magician extraordinaire evil queen who’s just chilling upstairs. Yet another insult to Regina.
Oh, and Henry is jealous that he doesn’t have any magic of his own. Has he watched this show before?
But it’s not all bad:
Haha, Henry. You’re not special.
Seeing Emma power blast Henry was orgasmic. She even draws blood. Keep up the good work, Emma.
The flashbacks are the star of this episode. They’re the lead-up to the end of the Arendelle sequences, and it’s nice to see Anna and Elsa back together as a team. Elsa’s unwavering faith in Anna is heartwarming; she doesn’t believe Ingrid’s lies for a moment, and immediately goes down to Anna in the dungeon and assures her. Their plan to trap Ingrid in the urn isn’t exactly inspired, but it’s practical enough. Bravo, girls.
Ingrid’s dealmaking with the Sorcerer is an unexpected development that gives the flashbacks the depth they needed. Dare I say I almost half care about Ingrid’s search for a happy family?
Gold is typically diabolical in his dealing with Emma. He doesn’t miss a beat when he deceives her. It’s lucky that Emma is dumb enough to believe him.
Regina gets to have some more sexy time with Robin at the start of the episode. They feel just ashamed enough about the Marian situation to mention it, but obviously not ashamed enough to not have morning sex. That’s some hot hypocrisy.
Regina also tells Robin the reason they can’t be together is because of the storybook, which is what spurs Robin on to ask Will for help. Henry has failed, so I suppose it’s only right that someone more competent took up the Operation Mongoose reins.
Hook’s attempts to stop Emma from taking Gold’s deal are futile, but his fervour is admirable.
Snow Queen’s despair at being trapped by Gold is delectable.
David makes a fair point that Emma might be better off without her magic.
Flashback Elsa, while happy enough to forgive Anna’s withholding of the truth about her parents’ voyage to Misthaven, is still sore about the fact that they wanted to strip her of her power. Anna maturely reminds her that they were only human, and their intention was only to help. All this rational behaviour is starting to make me nervous.
Oh, and the episode ends as Snow Queen uses her mirror to project an image of herself onto the road and make Emma crash her car. If she can’t have Emma, it looks like no-one can.
TL;DR Emma almost falls for Gold’s scheme, but Elsa stops her at the last minute; Snow Queen gets free and puts her plan for Storybrooke into motion; Robin finds a new page for the storybook; flashback Ingrid ends up having Elsa in the urn, Anna frozen, Rumple pissed off at her, and a gateway to Earth to find her third replacement family member.
I’m still kind of hoping that the Sorcerer turns out to be Mickey Mouse or something. Just to see if Disney would be that crass.
So we’re picking up immediately after last episode: Emma was fine in the crash, and continues on to the manor despite Snow Queen’s protestations. Once there, she continues buying Gold’s bullshit about helping her, while Gold has already set up the hat in the next room to suck her in. Hook arrives at the manor, but Gold restrains him and waits for Emma to complete the plan. Elsa, too, arrives. She sneaks in the back, and manages to talk Emma out of going into the room. Gold is disappointed, but he reveals to Hook what the secret ingredient Snow Queen whispered to him was: the heart of someone who knew him before he became the Dark One. That’s you, Hooky. The rest of Emma’s search party then shows up to reunite with her, but at that moment Snow Queen’s barrier dissolves, and she activates her sisterhood ribbons, which bond themselves to Elsa and Emma and allow Snow Queen to harness their magic. Which she uses to shatter her mirror to close out the episode. Meanwhile, Robin and Will find a new page for the Storybook. Robin shows Regina, and it’s actually a replacement page for the time she chose not to go into the pub to meet him, and it depicts a better story for her. And in what I hope are our final Arendelle flashbacks, Ingrid infects Anna with shards of a magic mirror that make her real bitchy towards Elsa. Anna traps Elsa in the urn, then Ingrid freezes Anna and Kristoff solid. Rumple arrives and takes the urn to trade for the hat, but Ingrid gets a better offer from the Sorcerer: a doorway to Earth to wait for her replacement sister to grow up.
Love is an open doorway to another dimension.
I’m just glad that we can be rid of Arendelle. Once Upon a Time has been resting on the popularity of Frozen for too long.
This could be the start of something new.
Why I hate this episode:
Emma is ready to take a risk on whatever massively dangerous concoction Gold has to strip her powers, but is dissuaded from going through with it when Elsa, who is basically still a stranger, gives her a pep talk? OUaT makes a big deal about how Elsa is willing to risk her safety to take Emma’s hand and help her. It’s like, bitch, Emma barely knows you.
I also love how the cure to Emma’s powers going haywire is just “take a second to calm down.” I would have gulped down a goon sack or two, myself.
And demerit points to Emma for not remembering that Elsa faced the exact same problem earlier on. Seriously, people. This woman should not be allowed to work in law enforcement with a memory and problem solving ability as pathetic as this.
In the scene last episode between Regina and Henry, a big deal is made about how having magic doesn’t make you special blah blah blah believe in the heart of the cards. You know the drill. But then this episode, Regina is horrified to hear that Emma might be stripping herself of her magic, and everyone then convinces themselves that Emma’s magic is what makes her special and she simply must not give it up. Umm.
The new storybook page is literally not explained at all. Robin just happens to find it in his satchel (his and Will’s search of the library was pointless). Is Bonnie Bennett a character on this show now? Because this is textbook Bonnie Ex Machina.
In gloomy mode, Anna goes full bitch on Elsa, letting out all her pent up frustration towards her, and culminating in Anna trapping Elsa inside the urn. If the mirror shards truly made her all angry and uppity, you’d think she’d be more likely to direct that rage at Ingrid, no? You know, the woman who just blew shards of glass into your eyes? Priorities, Anna. Gosh.
Oh, and as noted above, Anna could have just closed her damn eyes when Ingrid was blowing evil mirror shards into them. It’s not like she didn’t understand what was happening.
But it’s not all bad:
I’m glad to see some evil mirror action. I’ve been hanging out for it ever since the Snow Queen first popped up. And blowing broken mirror shards into your enemy’s eyes is pretty fabulous.
Elsa is a bit of a sweetheart when Anna is sucking her into the urn. She doesn’t blame her or anything. Aww. Ingrid mentions that she’s erased Elsa’s memory of that, so that ties up that loose end, too.
Rumple’s appearance after the showdown is typically cruel. He really wants that hat, girl. He steals both the urn, and Anna’s necklace. So that’s more loose ends up tied up.
Ingrid tries to summon Rumple to accept his trade of the hat for the urn, but the Apprentice shows up to stop her. He affirms that the Sorcerer has agreed to the trade, and he takes the hat in exchange for a door that will take Ingrid to the realm to find her new family member.
Not everything is all tied in a neat little package, though. We still need to find out how the Apprentice lost the hat. And who owns this abandoned manor that apparently has no alarm system? Mickey?
We also need to find out how Ingrid made it from landing on Earth in 1982 to living in Storybrooke. I’m guessing Gold must be involved in that.
Regina gets the call from Robin about the storybook page when she’s out on the hunt for Emma. She hesistates leaving the search party, but Snow steps in to tell her not to give up on happiness. Snow reminds her that her own heart isn’t untainted by darkness (and also how much of a little shit she was when she was a kid), and that hasn’t stopped her from finding her happy ending. Snow doesn’t do a lot of things right, but whenever she’s good to Regina, it just makes you feel all warm inside.
The page is a perfect replacement page that changes Regina and Robin’s missed meeting with a kiss, instead. So the storybook’s author is a fanfiction writer? Which means we can expect torrents of gay pairings to flow. Finally.
Gold, as part of his effort to convince Emma to go through with the plan, tells her that he would never give up his magic because he’s too selfish. It’s true, and it helps the cause. It’s a winner.
Gold isn’t particularly bothered by Emma’s failure to complete his plan. He now has Hook’s heart, which means Hook will now be ordered to fill up the hat with magic (I think it doesn’t matter who it comes from). And when he’s completed his mission, he’ll kill him. Efficient.
Hook ends up stealing away the hat by the end of the episode (at Gold’s demand, natch).
Even Gold is frightened by Snow Queen now that she has the sisterhood ribbons in effect.
Oh, and I eagerly await the swath of dysfunction that Snow Queen’s shattered mirror will cause in Storybrooke.