We’re getting closer and closer to the Snow Queen’s end game and in this week’s episode she took steps toward creating her new “family” with Elsa and Emma by isolating Emma from her own family.
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We start in Arendelle, as we so often do these days, with a young Ingrid (our Snow Queen) chasing a kite in a field with her younger sisters, Helga and Gerda. They come across a man who tries to abduct the two youngest sisters, only to be stopped by Ingrid’s magic. The man runs off after calling Ingrid a monster, and she urges her sisters to stay away from her, afraid she can’t control her magic. Helga and Gerda ignore her, promising to keep her secret and never look at her like a monster. They seal their agreement with three ribbons from the kite string, which they each tie around their wrists.
Fast forward several years to their father’s 70th birthday party, which Ingrid refuses to attend in fear that her powers will be revealed. She watches from behind the scenes as Ingrid dances with her new suitor, the Duke of Weselton. Ingrid’s emotions get the best of her and her magic comes out, making it snow around her. As Helga and Gerda return from the party Ingrid is packing to leave, having decided she doesn’t want to risk hurting anyone with her powers. Her sisters convince her to stay and Gerda tells her of a sorcerer she’s heard of who may be able to help with her powers. A man named Rumplestiltskin.
After tracking down Rumplestiltskin and turning down his offer to teach her to use her magic, Ingrid makes a deal with him. Despite her sister’s misgivings, she agrees to give Rumplestiltskin their three ribbons in exchange for a pair of gloves which will conceal her magic and an urn which will trap her and her magic, should the gloves fail.
Back in Arendelle, the Duke of Weselton comes up on Ingrid alone in a gazebo with her gloves and her urn. He actually wants Ingrid, the “Queen to be” and not Helga, and tries to kiss her. She rebukes him with her magic and then they’re interrupted by Helga. The Duke twists the story around, blaming Ingrid and saying she tried to kiss him, but Helga calls him on his lies. The Duke then calls Ingrid a monster and promises to tell all of Arendelle her secret. Ingrid lashes out at him with her magic, only to accidentally hit Helga, who freezes and crumbles. Gerda comes upon Ingrid crying over Helga’s body and is horrified, also calling her a monster and using Rumplestiltskin’s urn to trap her. We then see the meeting between a heartbroken Gerda and GrandPabbie, where the deal is made to erase all memory of Ingrid and Helga from Arendelle.
On the Storybrooke side of things, Emma and Elsa are devising a plan to catch the Snow Queen. Emma shows Elsa a spell Belle found which will contain the Snow Queen so they can question her about what happened to Anna and why she wants Emma and Elsa. A conversation ensues about how Emma and Elsa are the only magical ones in their families, with Emma insisting her family doesn’t look at her any differently because of it. She is quickly proven wrong, however, when she goes to pick up baby Neal from his Mommy-and-Me play group with Mary Margaret and the rest of the Storybrooke moms. Emma gets defensive about Mary Margaret treating Neal like her first baby while simultaneously trying to reassure Mary Margaret that she understands. Her subconscious betrays her true feelings, as the baby bottle she’s holding starts to boil from her magic. Here we see the first hints of Emma’s family being afraid of her magic, as Mary Margaret hesitates to hand Neal over to his big sister. They’re both saved from the awkward aftermath when David calls to tell Emma they’ve located the Snow Queen in the clock tower.
Emma, Elsa and David descend on the clock tower and use the spell to magically handcuff the Snow Queen. They take her to the sheriff’s office to interrogate her, and while they don’t get any closer to the whereabouts of Anna or why she erased Emma’s memories, the Snow Queen succeeds in getting under Emma’s skin. She tells Emma that she and Elsa are her true family because they’re alike and won’t look at her with fear or panic at her magical abilities. She continues to provoke Emma, bringing up her old feelings about having been given up by her parents and saying how happy they must be to now have a “normal” child. Emma finally snaps and blows a hole in the wall of the building. Having gotten the reaction she wanted the Snow Queen shows that she was never really captive, magically removing her handcuffs and disappearing to her lair. The townspeople, including Mary Margaret, David, Hook and Gold, arrive at the scene to a still-agitated Emma. She tells them to stay away but Hook tries to subdue her and grabs her arm, causing her to lash out with her magic. She knocks over a lamppost, which injures David and makes Mary Margaret yell at her in a mix of fear, panic and anger. Emma runs away and we later see her sitting alone in her Bug, overlooking Storybrooke, while Mary Margaret tells David that they’ve failed their daughter and are doing a good job of turning against each other, no enchanted mirror spell needed.
Meanwhile, Henry starts his work at Gold’s pawn shop in support of Operation Mongoose. We get a lovely little Regal Believer scene here, with Regina helping Henry’s get ready and admitting to him that she and Robin Hood are over.
On that note, Robin pays a visit to Regina in her vault and tells her how conflicted he is. He can’t fall back in love with Marian while Regina’s in his life. Regina, in her quest to be a better person, takes the high road and tells him to forget about her.
He obviously can’t, however, and broods over darts and a drink at Granny’s, where he runs into Will Scarlet. Scarlet apologizes for having betrayed Robin and his Merry Men, and then reminds Robin of something Marian told him about why she chose a life on the run with Robin Hood – “When you see the good in someone you don’t give up on them. Especially if they don’t see it themselves. And if you’re ever lucky enough to find True Love you fight for it everyday.” Rather than reminding him of his love for Marian, this speech prompts Robin to run back to Regina’s vault, tell her he’s basically abandoning the code he’s lived his life by, and embrace her in a passionate kiss (come on, admit it, you cheered when this happened).
And to leave us with a little intrigue, after unleashing an unstable Emma, the Snow Queen tracks down Gold at his shop. She’s ready to make a deal with him. She wants her sister’s ribbons back, and in exchange, she’ll give him the last thing he needs to separate himself from the Dark One’s dagger. In doing so, he’ll be free to leave Storybrooke and unleash his magic on the rest of the world. The Snow Queen can then take his place as the number one magical entity in Storybrooke (which I’m sure the Evil Queen will have something to say about!). We’re left to wonder what exactly Gold needs to do in order to cleave himself from the dagger, a task he eagerly agrees he will “[do with] great pleasure.”
Prepare yourselves for a super-sized, 2-hour all new episode next week, folks. It’s promises to be a good one!