Robin, Marion and their kid are out for a walk with Robin trying to sell how wonderful the town is (really, show her central heating and stop camping in the woods – that’d convince me!) and their son plays the “Regina let me…” card. Oh kid that’s below the belt. So to the ice cream parlour with the probably-evil ice magic lady who spells Marion’s ice cream.
Emma and Elsa confront Gold about why Elsa was inside his magic urn (she was? I don’t remember that?) but Gold claims complete ignorance – he runs a pawn shop, things enter his hands. It’s what they do. Hook suspects nefarious intent but Gold claims to be a whole new person. When Emma continues to doubt him Gold insists Belle use the dagger to compel him to tell the truth (is this the real one or not?) and Emma still has a lie detector power (or so she says); he claims ignorance of Elsa and Anna
Which seems to be a lie because flashback last week had Anna go seek out Rumplestiltskin.
Flashback back to Arendel and Kristoff is very annoying but she does convince Elsa not to go running after Anna because leaving her kingdom without a monarch (AGAIN) is a bad idea. And she gets news that there’s an army led by Prince Hans amassing south of Arendel. It seems Hans likes being frostbitten. Kristoff wants to scout but Elsa thinks it’s too dangerous (and her chief minion thinks that someone who cuts ice for a living probably shouldn’t have a say on matters of war. Personally I think Elsa should just send annoying animate snowmen at them until they surrender).
Kristoff decides to ignore Anna and go scout anyway, spying on Hans and his 12 older brothers who don’t have a great deal of respect for their younger brother. To try and claim the crown of Arendel, he apparently has an urn.
Kristoff hurries to warn Elsa that Hans is going to get a cave of magical people trapping (Elsa and her war council having rightly realised that Elsa is quite capable of destroying entire armies). Elsa doesn’t want to risk her troops so wants to go, with Kristoff (and no guards) to destroy the urn.
As they walk, Elsa realises that an urn to trap magical people means that she isn’t the only magical person in the world. She tries to get Kristoff to understand how much that means to someone who is so different from those around them, appealing to Kristoff’s experience being raised by rock trolls but he doesn’t get it – because his family was loving and accepting (and Elsa’s parents were terrible) and has never felt alone among them.
They find the urn but Elsa wants to study it in the hope of finding others like herself. Her delay means Hans and his brothers arrive and, despite magic, Kristoff gets taken hostage. I’d consider him reasonable sacrifice. Alas Elsa disagrees and gives up the urn – and tells Kristoff to find Anna and save Arendel.
This plan is awful in so many ways –it assumes Hans will let Kristoff go to help Arendel and it assumes Anna and Kristoff are even moderately competent.
The urn releases… the Snow Queen (as Kristoff snarks “no-one thought to check if it was empty?”) The Snow Queen freezes Hans since she heard his less than charitable description of Elsa. Hans’s brothers run away.
Back at Arendel castle, The Snow Queen reveals she is Elsa’s mother’s sister.
In Storybrook, Mary Margaret is having a town meeting since she’s taken over as mayor (which was less democracy and more “you keep dishing out orders, you can start being responsible”). She tries to brush over the ice wall and dismiss it as harmless but everyone else is very excitable about it nor are they very reassured by the idea that Elsa is a friend despite the ice monster and wall. While they continue to mouth platitudes, Marion’s hair develops a white streak – and she faints.
To Granny’s Diner where Regina meets up with Henry, it looks like a nice familial reunion especially after last week but it seems she has an ulterior motive when she questions him about who wrote his storybook. Henry is rightly suspicious and questions her – so she comes clean about wanting the writer to write her a happy ending. Henry is very enthusiastic and they have their own secret mission together. The cuteness is interrupted by Robin hurrying to ask Regina’s help with Marion because this show loves to torment her.
Regina hurries to the mayor’s office (but takes time to snark Mary Margaret’s appalling decorating. Seriously Mary Margaret, Regina has the most amazing sense of style – do not mess). Emma, Elsa and Hook also arrives and Regina suspects Elsa may be responsible. Emma stands up for Elsa but Elsa does know about the act of true love healing a freezing spell.
Robin rushes up with true love’s kiss that doesn’t work. Oh Robin, not quite true enough? David draws on his past experienced with Frederick and claims the cold is acting as a barrier (seriously, you might want to try the kid just in case Robin’s love has… shaken a little). Regina agrees to study the curse though she does unfairly lash out at Emma which Emma rightly points out is misdirected anger. Emma’s also still avoiding Hook who she sends to take Elsa to safety. Of course, instead he wants to follow Emma to help keep her safe and Elsa wants to find the person with powers like her’s and anyway Hook has a very very very sexy pirate look.
They go to see Gold and Hook blackmails Gold by threatening to reveal the dagger Belle has is a fake. They want him to use his magic to track down who cast the curse on Marion, which he does. They follow it and Elsa gives Hook lots of relationship advice about him and Emma (she also briefly suggests being a pirate may be bad but Hook counters that he’s a very very sexy pirate indeed. This is a persuasive argument).
Emma goes to the camp looking for some clue of who cursed Marion and runs into Will Scarlett, the Knave of Hearts (and he who just completely stole Once Upon a Time in Wonderland) ransacking a tent. After holding him at gunpoint, she has to chase him as he runs. He doesn’t escape because David tackles him. Now caught he reveals his knowledge – as he was burglarising Storybrook during the blackout (as he does, being a rather shameless thief), he broke into the ice cream parlour and realised none of the ice cream had melted.
They go to the ice cream shop, break in and find the place silent – which means the freezers aren’t on but the ice cream isn’t melted; the back room is frozen solid (and, yes Will ran away then – with all the takings from the till). David also has a little pep talk for Emma who is feeling kind of useless these last few days.
And Grumpy, with Granny is gathering the people of Storybrook into an anti-Elsa mob, much to the amusement of Ice-cream shop lady.
Elsa and Hook find the Snow Queen (as she’s called in the credits) in the woods and have an adorable mutual confusion about telephones as Hook calls Emma. As they try to leave, the Snow Queen freezes Hook’s feet. She wants to talk to Elsa, though Elsa has forgotten ever meeting her due to the Rock Troll magic – blocking a painful memory. The Snow Queen claims that Anna grew to fear Elsa and trapped her in the urn.
The Snow Queen froze Marion to try and teach Elsa how everyone will eventually turn on her – and she now plans to kill Hook to show to Elsa how everyone will turn on her when Emma and David appear. The Snow Queen briefly seems to recognise Emma but covers it quickly.
It’s a magic duel – Emma managing to get Hook and David clear of the falling ice and throw the snow Queen across the forest and she escapes.
Afterwards Emma is convinced the Snow Queen is familiar somehow – and knew her – but David is more interested in plaudits and reassurance than Emma trying to track down this mental clue (this is so typical of the Charmings, far more interested in wishing on stars and positive thinking than practicality). Emma’s also annoyed with Hook for ignoring her and nearly dying because of it.
Hook and Emma finally have a relationship discussion – he thinking she’s avoiding him for trust issues while she’s actually avoiding him because all of her relationships end with death: Neal, Graham, Walsh; all dead. That out in the open they can now kiss. In the middle of the road. Why is this such a romantic trope? One day someone’s going to get hit by a truck and then there’ll be chunks of romance splattered everywhere. Hooks’ even wearing black – if you’re going to do your romantic moment in the middle of the road at night you could at least wear something reflective.
Back in the Mayor’s office, Regina sends Henry to get something from her vault to help Marion and Robin confesses the obvious – the reason why True Love’s kiss didn’t work was because he loves someone else (Regina, obviously) but still marriage marriage duty, divorce is apparently not a thing and may make the Disney mouse die. To prevent Marion’s heart freezing (and her dying) Regina removes her heart: keeping her alive but frozen until they find a cure.
The Snow Queen walks through the woods and is Gold greets her – they know each other. Gold does that classic “I may be on your side but maybe not, who knows?” thing he’s so good at. He says lots of menacing things about Emma getting her memories back to try and push the Snow Queen into making a deal
Will! Will has transferred over! Yes, I am gleeful about this. And yes he’s still awesome.
I’m not sure why there was a need to blackmail Gold into tracking down whoever used magic on Marion. I know he’s still not a super nice person, but if they asked I think he’d co-operate. If he wouldn’t, Belle would certainly make him. Yes he has some nefarious plan, but if he was going to be compelled into acting anyway…
Gold is being nefarious. Part of me cringes at his redemption falling apart – but he is such a good villain.
The Snow Queen – actually I like the idea of someone who has been rejected and betrayed and demonised so often that she no longer trusts anyone. And I can see her going to extreme lengths to connect to Elsa, the only one like her, the only one she can trust, the only one she can think won’t treat her like a monster. I do think her plan is a little lacking – I mean, sure everyone will turn on Elsa but only because of reasonable suspicion and in response to murders done in her name – it requires Elsa to ignore that it was the Snow Queen who turned them all against her. But then, if Elsa is sufficiently isolated wouldn’t she end up turning to the Snow Queen simply out of lack of options (though, drawing upon the Disney cannon of Elsa, it’s not like isolation troubles her).