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ONCE UPON A TIME Things Got A Little Frosty


Episode 401 “A Tale Of Two Sisters”

[Photos: ABC/Jack Rowand]


This week, we have a marriage, a murder plot, and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Snowman!


Of all the story lines going on, let’s start with the biggest. While all the other stories seem to intersect with the fairy tales they’re based on, Once Upon A Time‘s episode last week is supposed to be a continuation of the story from the movie Frozen. It should be interesting to see how they make it all fit in to the existing timeline, as complicated as it has already become. All we need is more complexity, right?

No, Sven. You may not run off and join Santa's team.
No, Sven. You may not run off and join Santa’s team.

Getting ready for Anna and Kristoff’s wedding, Elsa took Anna to an attic to show her their mother’s wedding dress and give her a snowflake pendant on a necklace. She saw a diary from her mother that reveals that the parents didn’t go off on a diplomatic mission; they were going to a place called Misthaven (commonly known to us as the Enchanted Forest), something that is revealed later by Pabbie, the Rock Troll, which was nicely animated as it exactly mimicked the movie. Somebody in the animation department had some fun with that one. It had something to do with Elsa’s frost powers. She felt guilty for it. So Anna had Kristoff cover for her (horribly) as she went off to Misthaven to find what the parents were looking for. So Elsa went looking for her sister only to somehow end up in Storybrooke. Hopefully they’ll get to how that happened soon. As soon as she showed up, she froze the welcome sign and completely iced the van with Sleepy and Grumpy. That’s right. The chronically drowsy one was in the driver’s seat, and Mr. Road Rage was riding shotgun. Storybrooke is a dangerous place.

Norwegian road block?
Norwegian road block?

After leaving an icy snail trail through the town (and right down the middle of the main road), she was eventually found by Emma and Hook, To protect herself, she built a snowman. Not just any snowman, mind you, but a giant killer snowman that wreaked havoc on the town. Then, by pure coincidence, a newspaper blew over by her feet. What did it show at the bottom of the front page? It was an advertisement for Gold’s shop showing the snowflake pendant she gave to Anna for her wedding. How … um … “convenient”. So she broke into the shop by freezing the lock, and she found the pendant. A bit of a writing stretch there. But when there’s only an hour to tell a story, I guess we can excuse … something other than this.

Meanwhile (said in my best Super Friends narrator voice), Mr. Gold and Belle are apparently married now. The first scene where Mr. Gold visited Neal’s grave seemed a little unnecessary other than to talk about his regrets as a father and reinforce for the audience that he did the old switcharoo with his knife. Belle thought she had the original. It was a fake. Something tells me this little deception is going to have some payoff soon, otherwise, they wouldn’t mention it.

Then they do a little B&E on a mansion which Belle stumbled onto but nobody claimed. Never mind that it’s a bit too clean to be abandoned. So they use it for their honeymoon. Mr. Gold noticed an artifact of some sort on the table just before Belle called him to go upstairs for a surprise. They went into a large open room which looked to be a library of some sort. They then had their first dance, right after Mr. Gold started a Victrola, upgraded the chandelier, and made them outfits befitting of a fairy tale, simply by snapping. Arthur Fonzarelli would be jealous. The payoff? The Victrola was playing the theme from Beauty And The Beast.

A reference to Fantasia?
A reference to Fantasia?

Then while Belle slept, Mr. Gold had the artifact he found earlier, waved his knife over it, and started a spell. It looked like the shape of a Harry Potter sorting hat full of stars and a galaxy. Apparently the light show wasn’t bright enough to wake Belle up even though she was sleeping only a few feet away. That would have been awkward.

Finally, there was the saga of Regina, Robin Hood, and Marian. Marian was unhappy about Robin hooking up with the Evil Queen. Regina was unhappy about Marian being alive. As annoying as Marian tends to be, I am almost inclined to agree with Regina. And of course she blamed Emma for it. Well, Robin still had feelings for Regina, but chose to stick to his vows with Marian. Looking for her happy ending, Regina got Sidney Glass out of his sanitarium cell and made him the Magic Mirror again, much to his displeasure. She makes him show her the time when she met Marian so she could go back in time and stop Emma from saving her. But Emma reassured her that she was fighting for everyone’s happy endings, including Regina’s. This was a great scene. Emma talked through Regina’s door while Regina sat on the floor, leaning against the door and crying. In an episode full of bad writing decisions, this one being a turning point was very refreshing.

Giving Grumpy a run for his money.
Giving Grumpy a run for his money.

The big snowman, not having melted yet, chased people into the forest. Robin Hood and his merry men, Emma and her magic, Hook, and Marian were unable to fight off the creature. So Regina blew it up and saved them. Marian instantly had a change of heart saying that Regina may not have been such a monster after all. But then Regina told the Magic Mirror to find the author of the book that described the fairy tales. Her intent was to find him and force him to give the villains happy endings, including her. And I think of Deadpool saying, “Somewhere, there’s a man at a typewriter completely making this up.”

So there were some hits and some awkward, hand-of-the-writer misses. But altogether, it was a decent showing for the season premiere. Now to see how all the new wrinkles play out…

[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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