Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Once Upon a Time, Season 4, Episode 8 & 9: Smash the Mirror

Flashback time – to a long time ago in Arendelle to when Ingrid buried the hat-box-thing (that steals magic, hereby called the Fantasia Hat). She then goes to the Enchanted Forest to tell the Sorcerer’s Apprentice (who doesn’t lie her because she embraced the dark side of the Force) that she has his boss’s hat. He tries to threaten her with a sword that doesn’t really impress her much and she presents what she wants – happiness, a third magical sister to join herself and Elsa.

To the present and Storybrook where Emma is still shooting off magical sparks in her car. Henry tracks her down (somehow) telling her how running from people never fixes anything so she zaps him with magic (accidentally. Honest :P) Henry tries to reassure her but Emma panics and tells him he has to leave.

To be fair, if I were Emma I’d have trouble not zapping my blood relatives as well.

Ingrid drops in to do her recruitment pitch but Emma drives off.

The Charmings, Elsa and Killian gather together for angst and whining, as they do and Henry joins them to explain how pear shaped everything has become. Elsa decides to exposition which throws us into flashback world where Ingrid told Elsa a somewhat edited version of events on how their sisters will always hate them for being magic and special and occasionally freezing people to death. Anna is in prison and totally evil.

Elsa goes to the prison, gets rid of the guards and makes it clear that she doesn’t believe aunty Ingrid and is definitely team Anna. They hatch a plan to put Ingrid in the urn. They go searching for the urn (“helped” by Kristoff and Anna) and find the urn (and Hans’s frozen body).

They work their way through the castle, hiding from the guards (for some reason) while Elsa angsts about her parents trying to take away her magic while Anna tells her how her magic makes her special and she loves her sister with magic.

Sadly for them, Ingrid outsmarts Anna (which, admittedly, is not exactly a difficult feat) and chains Anna up. They then discuss old legends including the creation of the magic mirror that makes whole kingdoms hate each other. She uses a piece of the hate mirror on Anna. Angry Anna goes to confront Elsa with the Urn but Elsa rightly realises Anna has been spelled. Ingrid tells her to freeze Anna – and Elsa refuses. Anna puts Elsa in the urn

Ingrid isn’t happy with this turn of events and plays to the idea she’s being persecuted because Anna and Kristoff look at her like she’s a monster (hah must be all the monstrousness). Ingrid freezes the whole castle – Anna and Kristoff included. This may have killed them – or so Rumplestiltskin thinks when he appears. He wants the hat Anna took from him and to make sure he gets it, he vanishes the urn full of Elsa Ingrid has. Oh Rumplestiltskin, the source of all the evil everywhere!

Rather than trade the hat the sorcerer’s apprentice arrives to continue Elsa’s deal with the Sorcerer for the third sister, not yet born (Emma), Elsa and herself. She gives the apprentice the hat in exchange for a door to the real world and a scroll leading her to her “third sister.”

Back to the present and Emma hiding in Gold’s shop which amuses Gold rather a lot because her random magic is setting all kinds of artefacts to moving and glowing. She wants Gold’s help learning how to control her magic, thinking he’s the only one she can’t hurt (that’s some excellent common sense there Emma, applause!). Gold, who seems to be rapidly becoming Team Evil again, shows her a spell to permanently remove her magic. They arrange to meet at the old manor to perform the spell. When she leaves, Gold promptly screws up the spell since it’s obvious he’s going to use the Fantasia Hat.

Meanwhile Robin has spent the night in Regina’s crypt and they’re all lovey-dovey though Regina won’t go with him to his camp (because camping? Hell no!) because they still want to keep their relationship quiet. Regina regrets not going to him when Tinker Bell said and it’s all very fluffy. She also remembers harsh reality – both the fact Robin is married and that things tend to end badly for her. She shows him the book, tells him her belief that she can’t have a happy ending because of it and her task to track down the author.

Regina hurries to the Charming residence when she learns that Henry has been hurt. When David is a bit surly Regina lets him have it with both barrels which is always wonderful to see. She’s also brought a locator potion for them to find Emma (the Charmings waffle around all night. Regina gets stuff done).

Regina goes to see Henry and heals him and Henry brings the flip side of everyone angsting over having magic – he feels useless because he doesn’t have magic. And Regina counters that everyone has their own gifts and talents.

Emma calls Mary Margaret to tell her she’s found a way to make it all better, getting rid of her magic forever. Even Mary Margaret realises that’s probably not a good thing but Emma hangs up. Killian figures out what’s up and tries to contact Emma privately – never ever trust Gold.

David and Mary Margaret discuss whether they should try and talk Emma out of giving up her magic (with a side order of Mary Margaret emphasising how Emma was born that way and whether she should accept it). Regina leaves Henry and she and Mary Margaret almost have a serious discussion about her Robin Hood dilemma when David arrives and she hears about Emma’s magic stripping plan. Regina thinks this is a bad idea (in fact, to quote in awesomeness “this could be the worst idea you’ve ever had – and you hired the Wicked Witch as your nanny”. Regina, as ever, is awesome). Regina has an excellent scene drawing on her own regret – trying to convince Henry he wasn’t special, that he was “crazy” over his stories, encouraging him to be “normal” rather than support him in his specialness.

They’re convinced and set off to find Emma – only to find Elsa has already taken the locator potion. They set off using their own tracking and Regina and Mary Margaret continue their discussion (Regina snarks gloriously at Mary Margaret’s endless “hope!” refrain). Mary Margaret drops goodness and hope everywhere (and nicely points out she’s also slept with a married man and so isn’t joining in the judging) while Regina has some wonderful cutting insight (if you do good for redemption, is it really good or self-serving?). Mary Margaret of all people even dismisses the idea of good/evil as overly simplistic.

Gold goes to see Ingrid and it’s clear she intends to use her sister ribbons to somehow bond Emma to her – which won’t work so well if Gold takes her magic. Ingrid is not amused and tries to freeze Gold which doesn’t work out because he’s the Dark One and not impressed by the icy shenanigans. He’s trapped her in a magic circle by taking the Urn’s magic. Gold assures her it’s temporary but will give him chance to betray Ingrid – and Emma.

Killian runs to Gold’s shop, realises that Emma has been there and calls her to warn her about Gold stealing powers with the Fantasia hat, that it will suck Emma in as well and that Gold has been lying to Belle, Killian even throws in his own lies - and gets her voicemail.

In her little prison, Ingrid finds she can use the evil mirror’s magic to track Emma – and mess with her car. She forces Emma off the road and then appears as an image to try and talk Emma out of meeting Gold. Emma decides listening to the villain is a bad idea and continues on to see Gold.

Time for a Knave break because Will is awesome. Robin drops in to see him at Granny’s. Robin has stolen the fairy tale book and wants Will’s help tracking down the author – Will points out magic only came to Storybrooke when the clock tower started ticking again and Regina’s curse was broken. That tower is over the library. So it’s off to the library for some oblique Wonderland references and Robin have a page appear magically in his backpack. He calls Regina to tell her that she has to drop everything to come see it – because the writers need SOME way to get her magic out of the upcoming confrontation.

At the manor where Gold is to meet Emma, Gold sets up the hat in a room as Emma enters the building. He meets her and tells her she just has to go in the magic room. She has doubts and he kind of skillfully talks her out of them – saying it would definitely stop her hurting people and he would never do it because he’s selfish. He even repudiates all the good things he’d do because he always always chooses power and that Belle is probably wrong about him. While Emma always does the right thing. He does look awfully conflicted at least

Outside, Gold is confronted by Hook who challenges him. Gold casually ties him up and points out he has Emma’s phone (because he’s Gold and a Magnificent Bastard). Elsa has a better plan though, sneaking through another door. She talks Emma down with her own experience which she’s just realised – it’s not just the love of family that lets her control her powers, but also self-acceptance; loving yourself and embracing your power. She takes Emma’s hand and there’s a wash of nifty CGI and all the sparkles caused by Emma’s out of control magic stop.

Outside again, Gold isn’t super happy but as well as a hat full of power, to escape the dagger he also needs the heart of someone who knew him from before he became the Dark One. Hello Killian, kinda sucks to be you. Gold takes Killian’s heart but doesn’t kill him – because now he can turn Killian into a puppet. He rushes in for a happy reunion with Emma though she can kind of sense his concern with his super-intense gaze (that’s just the eye-liner Emma). He collects the Fantasia Hat.

Emma, in control of her magic, puts on a light show for the family. But Elsa has escaped her cage and casts a spell over the yellow ribbons of sisterhood she has – 1 appearing around Emma’s wrist, the other around Elsa’s. Elsa says she can feel it funnelling their magic away.

Ingrid gloats to Gold that with all three “sisters” having embraced their powers, Ingrid now has the magic of all three, giving her enough power to use the town-wide mirror hate spell. She also thinks she may be able to match Gold. May. Gold warns her against that she leaves – she decides against stopping him. With him gone – she unleashes the mirror spell.

Back to Regina and Robin (the theft of books is turned into a cute couple thing). The page he found looks like a page from the book – and it shows Robin and Regina kissing. It’s a replacement for the page on the book – to replace the page where Regina walked away from Robin when Tinkerbell showed him to her. Robin believes it’s a sign of hope – that the book can be written several different ways.

While I am really not a fan of this ongoing Frozen fanfic, I am glad that they have kept one of the more important themes of the film – the trust and love of sisters. Last episode, someone tried to turn Ingrid’s sister against her but Helga wouldn’t hear of it – trusting her sister. This episode tries to turn Elsa against Anna but, again, Elsa won’t believe it. I’m glad to see it because too often we see women at odds in the genre and the whole “complete stranger tells me stuff, I now hate my family” is a ridiculously common trope that gets on my last nerve. Trusting loved ones is really something that shouldn’t be so rare in the genre.

I’m in two minds about the whole Robin/Regina storyline. On the one hand it hasn’t gone nearly as badly as I expected and, unlike Gold, Regina hasn’t sunk back into evil villainy. Regina has been pretty damn awesome in nearly every scene she’s been in. But she hasn’t been in that many – she’s very much sidelined in this story which, in part, is one of the frustrating ways this show deals with Regina’s (and Gold’s) powers. They did the same thing facing Peter Pan last season – tried to find reasons to stop Regina using her magic to fix things because she is such a powerful protagonist

I like Regina’s storyline, but it’s a tacked on addition to the main plot (Frozen obsession and they need to let it go stop). I also quite like how Mary Margaret and Regina can have deep conversations while still including passive aggressive little digs – because you know you would. And I love how Regina’s cutting insight often cuts through the fluffy mush Mary Margaret tends to throw out

I would like to know why all the guards of Arendelle are following Ingrid and not Elsa or Anna. Maybe because they’re so used to random supposed royalty being given command in this ridiculous place? Or maybe they’re just desperate for a ruler who isn’t a shut in or an incompetent?

I’m part cringing over Gold’s storyline and part cheering. He has always made a magnificent villain