Cold and Colder.
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ONCE UPON A TIME A Marriage Turned A Bit Cold


[All photos: ABC/Jack Rowand]

Episode 403: “Rocky Road”

Be sure to read our last recap here.

On last week’s episode, there were Will Scarlett, a magic urn, and ice cream!


I’m really liking Kristoff. He may not be a very smart character, but he’s got some back talk and a quick tongue. And he’s probably the only one who Elsa lets get away with it on her. He did manage to talk her out of going after Anna and staying with the kingdom though. But then word came that Hans and his brothers (12 in all) have amassed and army and were getting ready to attack Avondale. Hans still wanted to be king. It’s still good to see that Once Upon A Time is serving as a continuation of Frozen and not a twisted ruin-your-childhood retelling like they tend to do with other stories. But it’s not without its issues. Kristoff spied on Hans and his brothers to find out he knew where there was an urn to capture Elsa. Hans and his brothers not seeing Kristoff in the woods isn’t a big deal. But not noticing the big reindeer with him seems a little bit off. Not once did they notice Sven. Maybe they were too distracted? I expected a confrontation. There was none.

I'm sure that it just says "urn".
I’m sure that it just says “urn”.

A second slight issue I have is when Elsa and Kristoff went to the cave to destroy the urn. When Elsa was ready to destroy it, some runes appeared which piqued her curiosity and kept her from breaking it. I think the whole I-need-to-do-this-but-it-somehow-distracts-and-stops-me as an excuse has been overdone. Luckily, I like the twist this one has. When Hans opened the urn to capture Elsa (using Kristoff as a hostage), out came its current inhabitant, the Snow Queen! She froze (and I assume probably killed) Hans. And if the whole OUAT family tree wasn’t already convoluted enough, we found out that the Snow Queen was Elsa’s aunt. SQ and the mother of Elsa and Anna were the original Elsa and Anna!

In Storybrooke in the present day, the Snow Queen put a spell on Marian’s ice cream cone, which caused her to freeze. Throughout the episode, it’s never made clear why Marian was chosen for this. I just hope it’s revealed in another episode soon. Otherwise, it’s just another awkward hand-of-the-writer moment that seems out of place. She collapsed at a mayor’s “Fireside Chat” (without any fire) being held by Snow White. Marian’s body then started to freeze. Ironically, Regina gets called in to help her, taking her away from planning “Operation: Mongoose” with Henry. (It’s where she plans to find the book author to get a happy ending.) In some ways I like the duality of Regina’s character, being a jealous villain yet setting it aside to be the hero. But at times it seems more like mood swings to benefit the story at the writers’ convenience. It does set up a great part of the story, that Robin Hood’s act of true love, a kiss, doesn’t work, since he was in love with Regina and not Marian. Regina used her villainous magic, removing Marian’s heart to save her life.

Regina does "open heart" surgery.
Regina does “open heart” surgery.

And of course Elsa got blamed for Marian’s freezing. To find answers, Emma and David went off into the woods to find Marian’s tent for clues while Elsa and Hook went to talk to Mr. Gold. Gold’s deception with the dagger started to fall apart when Hook told him that he knew the dagger Belle had was a fake. (Gold got Belle to use the dagger earlier to make sure he told the truth about not knowing where the necklace came from.) It’s surprising that the discovery of this secret occurred so soon. I expected the arc to play out a little longer before he was found out. Hook got Gold to help them find who froze Marian in exchange for his silence. Once a pirate, always a pirate. So Gold made a tracking spell that led them into the woods and to SQ. She was doing her special magic stuff. As they were leaving, SQ froze Hook’s leg to the ground and dangled giant icicles over his head. Elsa’s memory of SQ had apparently been wiped by the rock trolls. Elsa is supposedly being “taught a lesson”. And Anna put Elsa in the urn.

Emma and David found someone at Robin Hood’s camp in the woods. It turned out to be Will Scarlett. He led them to the ice cream shop where he thought weird things were happening during the blackout. They broke in (without a warrant) where Emma noticed there was no sound of refrigerator compressors. Will told them to check out the back which was completely covered in ice. Will then took the opportunity to clean out the cash register and run away. And now we have yet another character with a potential story arc added to the already loaded cast of characters. Going out to find SQ, they went into the woods where they found her, Hook, and Emma. Emma then had one of the best lines so far in the entire series, calling SQ “Dairy Queen”!

Snow Queen and the miniature Fortress of Solitude.
Snow Queen and the miniature Fortress of Solitude.

Then the real fun began. Emma had the opportunity to release her own magic fighting SQ. It was ice powers against some kind of telekinesis. SQ brought down the icicles while David was trying to free Hook. Emma magically knocked them out of the way, allowing SQ to disappear. Since SQ was already in Storybrooke and Elsa appeared fairly recently, So they are apparently being used as pawns, according to Emma.

In the conclusion, we found out that Emma was a bit distant from Hook because of her bad record of boyfriends living long. Then they kissed in the middle of the street with no cars to run them over. And we found out that SQ and Gold already knew each other. SQ doesn’t need Gold’s help … yet. I’m so glad that even though Gold has had his moments of heroism and is now married to Belle, he’s still a big baddie at heart.

So we now have substantially more questions, as if the storyline wasn’t already chaotic enough. There were a few shaky parts. But overall, OUAT is continuing on a strong path for this season.

[Show web site at ABC]


Daniel C. Handley

Dan Handley was raised a Trekkie, fell in love with "Star Wars" at an early age, and became obsessed with comic book superheroes. He spent his youth dreaming of how to get real superpowers, starships, and so on.

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