Once Upon A Time is back after a week off and gearing up for the last three episodes of the fall season. Last night’s episode was somewhat static as we spent the hour moving our key characters into place for the final showdown of the Snow Queen’s Shattered Sight spell, which slowly made it’s way towards Storybrooke. Let’s revisit, shall we.
As the Snow Queen watches her spell make it’s way over Storybrooke, Gold joins her and proposes a deal – he gets to leave town with Belle and Henry and in exchange she doesn’t have to deal with him constantly trying to usurp her power or take her down at every turn. Gold then enlists Hook’s help to fill the sorcerer’s hat with magic so he can cleave himself from the dagger and leave Storybrooke.
Meanwhile Storybrooke’s leaders try to come up with a plan to protect the townspeople from the spell. Emma proposes they get everyone out of town, meaning they have to get past the ice wall Elsa has erected around the town’s borders. That idea is quickly put to rest when David attempts to climb the ice wall only to have it grow more. Their trip to the wall isn’t a total waste, though, as Elsa discover’s Anna’s necklace buried in the snow. With plan A having failed, plan B quickly comes into play. Regina and Henry go to warn Robin and his Merry Men of the impending spell, urging them to scatter in order to protect themselves.
Emma and Elsa, on the other hand, visit Belle in the hopes of finding a way to stop the spell. Belle tells them of a way to reverse the effects with what amounts to a magical vaccine by using the hair of someone who has already been touched by the spell. Elsa surmises that Anna was under the shattered sight spell when she trapped her in the urn, which Belle confirms when she finds mirror dust embedded in the necklace. Now that they have the necklace, they can use a locator spell to find Anna and save the town. They follow the necklace down to the mines, where they are led to a recently caved in section of the wall. Emma deems it too unsafe to continue alone, and they go to Grumpy who says the dwarves can unblock it, but not before the spell hits town. There is another option, though – they can extract the mirror dust from the necklace, accomplishing the same end but destroying the necklace and thus losing the opportunity to find Anna, which Elsa is obviously against. The Charmings are initially hesitant to make that choice, but Regina points out to them that they’re leaders in addition to heroes and must make tough choices. Mary Margaret realizes she’s right, that they have to “give this town it’s best chance.” Elsa willingly hands over the jewelry pouch and then stealthily leaves, with the necklace of course (really, Emma, you should’ve seen that coming), to hunt down Anna. The others discover they’ve been deceived when they hand the pouch over to Belle, only to find it empty. By then it’s too late to create the counter-spell with the necklace, and Emma goes to help Elsa in the mines in the hopes of finding Anna.
Back in our parallel Arendelle storyline, the ice over Arendelle melts and Anna, Kristoff and Hans awaken. Anna vows to find Elsa and return her as the rightful ruler of Arendelle, but Hans has plans to rule himself. A fight ensues, giving Anna and Kristoff the chance to escape. While on the run they decide to track down the pirate Blackbeard, who has a magical object called a wishing star, which Anna hopes to use to bring Elsa back. Fastforward to their meeting with Blackbeard, which is actually a trap set up by Hans. Blackbeard admits he no longer possesses the wishing star, having sold it to her parents years ago. Hans and Blackbeard go through with their plan to kill Anna and Kristoff, shutting them in a chest and throwing them overboard, but not before it’s revealed that their recent awakening came after 30 years of frozen slumber in Arendelle.
Elsa manages to blasts a hole in the mine wall with her magic, which opens up onto the beach. While on the beach, the necklace stops glowing, prompting a distraught Elsa to give a heartfelt goodbye to Anna, “wishing [she was] with her now.” The necklace once again begins to glow and, in the chest, Anna and Kristoff are sucked into a portal. Back in Storybrooke the other end of the portal opens and the chest appears on the beach, opening up to reveal Anna and Kristoff. A message in a bottle also seems to have been sucked through the portal, although we are left in the dark as to it’s origin or purpose. In a babble of explanation about how the chest arrived in Storybrooke they deduce that Anna’s necklace is actually the much sought after wishing star, and Elsa’s wish brought them to her. After a sisterly embrace the group heads to the diner, where Belle and the fairies are waiting to formulate the counter spell. However, Gold’s plan to cleave himself from the dagger involves capturing the fairies and using their magic to power the sorcerers hat. With the uncertainty of the counter-spell being completed in time, Gold whisks Belle away to the pawn shop to wait out the shattered sight spell, sealing her in with magic, while Hook uses the sorcerer’s hat to trap the fairies and their magic. When Emma and Elsa arrive at the diner with Anna in tow they find it empty and assume they’ve been foiled by the Snow Queen.
Emma and the others return to the sheriff’s station at her parent’s urging so she can help them with their plan – lock them in the cells so they can’t hurt anyone. Emma is entrusted with keeping her baby brother safe, since she, Elsa, and Anna are immune to the spell. David and Mary Margaret tell Emma she’s special, they trust her magic and believe she’ll be able to stop this. Hook arrives to say his final goodbye to Emma and we see that she notices something off about his kiss (perhaps related to him being minus a heart at the moment?).
As the shattered sight spell comes bearing down on Storybrooke the rest of it’s residents finalize their plans to protect themselves and their loved ones. Regina takes Henry to the mayor’s office and magically seals him inside alone. Afterwards she rejects Robin’s offer to go with her when he says he’s not afraid of her, telling him he “really, really should be.” She then seals herself in her vault and Robin goes to chain himself in the forest. Mary Margaret and David hold hands through the bars of their cells, vowing that nothing can come between them, especially since they share a heart. We are then shown various townspeople, each in their chosen isolation, as the spell falls over the town. We end with Mary Margaret and David pulling apart as they are both hit by the spell.
Looks like our last two episodes of 4a will be action-packed and drama-filled. Tune in next week for our recap of the penultimate episode.