ABC’s Once Upon a Time season four episode seven includes the big reveal of what happened between the three sisters that caused Ingrid to transform into the evil Snow Queen. So, was it worth the wait? The answer’s definitely yes as the backstory revealed is heartbreaking and actually makes Once Upon a Time fans feel at least temporarily sorry for the poor, misunderstood Ingrid. And while the episode titled “The Snow Queen” focused primarily on Ingrid, her sisters, Emma (Jennifer Morrison), and Elsa, there was also time to squeeze in an update on what’s happening in the Robin and Regina (Lana Parrilla) relationship.
Here’s a recap of the main events in “The Snow Queen:”
Long ago in Arendelle: Ingrid (Elizabeth Mitchell), Helga, and Gerta as young girls open the episode, chasing a kite when a stranger comes upon them and says the kite’s his. He tries to kidnap the three princesses and kicks Ingrid hard (what type of creep kicks a child in the stomach and sends her flying?). She gets upset and rightfully so, causing a frozen branch to fall on his head and killing him. Even though she asks them to, her sisters won’t stay away from her and insist she’s not a monster. Helga and Gerta say they’ll help her try to control her powers and will never look at her as a monster. They each grab a ribbon and make a pact to always be there for each other.
Flash forward, Ingrid walks through Storybrooke’s town square, up to the clock tower, to a mirror, and smiles that special smile of hers that doesn’t touch her eyes.
Catching up with the torn apart love birds: Meanwhile, Regina and Robin meet and she tells him it’s best he stay away so he can give Marion a kiss of true love to awaken her. Robin says his heart is with Regina, and Regina says he needs to save Marion. But Robin says he can’t fall back in love with Marion with Regina is in his life. He doesn’t know what to do, and Regina says he has to forget about her and think only about Marion.
The search continues for Anna: Emma and Elsa (Georgina Haig) talk about using a spell against the Snow Queen to get rid of her powers. Elsa says it’s hard when family looks at you differently, and Emma says her family doesn’t (you know that exchange is taking place just to prove Emma wrong). They try out the spell but it doesn’t work and unfortunately Emma’s got to head out to babysit her baby bro and can’t stick around to try it again.
Don’t mess with momma bears: Mary Margaret’s with her Mommy and Me group of first-time mothers and Emma tells her she fits in with these newbie moms since she’s never really been a mother before. Their conversation isn’t going well and quickly takes a turn for the worse when the magic Emma had practiced with Elsa heats up the baby bottle she’s clutching. Super over-protective mom Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) won’t let her touch the baby and fortunately that discussion is delayed when news comes that the Snow Queen is still in the clock tower.
Up in the Clock Tower, Emma and Elsa use their fire magic on Ingrid and it works. She’s in shackles and ready to be taken into the sheriff’s station…but she doesn’t look upset. This is not going to end well, is it?
Back in time in Arendelle: The sisters are older and it’s their father’s birthday. Ingrid has to disappear before anyone sees her, but her sisters don’t look at her as afflicted and don’t want Ingrid to think the worst of herself or worry about what people will think of her. Ingrid doesn’t want to risk ruining her sister’s chance to introduce her new potential boyfriend, the Duke, to their father so she refuses to go with the sisters to the birthday celebration. The King welcomes the Duke to Arendelle, and the Duke’s completely tongue-tied. “It always starts with a dance,” says the King. Unbeknownst to everyone, Ingrid watches from outside, far away from everyone with tiny snowflakes swirling around her head.
Ingrid’s plan is coming together: In Storybrooke, Ingrid’s in handcuffs. Elsa and Emma ask her about Anna (she’s alive because they heard her heartbeat in Bo Peep’s shepherd’s crook). Ingrid continues to insist it was Anna who put Elsa in the urn and Elsa’s getting more and more angry as Ingrid talks. Emma settles her down and sends her on the way to help David and Hook take apart Ingrid’s mirror. Ingrid says she’s proud of Emma and that she’s proud she knew her as a child. Emma says they will not have the future together that Ingrid wants, but Ingrid says they will and that she’ll understand it’s all true. Ingrid also tells Emma she’ll see the truth and she’ll let her escape.
Back to the Regina storyline: Henry (Jared Gilmore) is working with his grandpa so he has to wear a suit and tie (side note: he looks much older and handsome dressed up). Regina’s proud of how he looks, but Henry says Regina has been going through through the book with her scary face on. Regina tells her son she’s moving on and she needs to let Robin go. Henry’s sorry, but Regina says the next time a happy ending knocks on her door, she will not let it go. Henry’s got ideas about where to look for clues as to who wrote the book.
And at the sheriff’s station: Emma knows what Ingrid wants but she wants to know why. Ingrid says she’s protecting her and that’s why she erased her memories. Ingrid the three of them – Ingrid, Elsa, and Emma – are a real family because they belong together. Ingrid tells Emma that her real family fears her and that they’ll hold her powers against her, just like Gerta and Helga did to her years ago.
Back again to Arendelle of the past: Ingrid’s preparing to leave because she wants to give her sisters normal lives. She wants her sister to be the queen Arendelle deserves and she knows she herself shouldn’t wear the crown because she can’t control her power. Gerta thinks she knows someone who can help, a sorcerer who might be powerful enough to control her powers: Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) in the Enchanted Forest.
And once again to Storybrooke: Elsa, Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), and David (Josh Dallas) look at the mirror and don’t see anything special about it. Belle bursts in and tells them not to look into the mirror because they’ll see the worst in themselves. But Hook (being Hook) says he only sees that he’s more devilishly handsome and charming than usual, which prompts Belle to take a closer look at the mirror to discover it’s not actually Ingrid’s mirror. Elsa wonders why Ingrid would risk planting a fake mirror in town and David quickly deduces it’s because she wanted to get caught. Belle, David, Elsa, and Hook make it to the sheriff’s office but the doors are frozen shut.
Adding a touch of Will Scott to the mix: Robin’s at the diner throwing darts when Will Scott (Michael Socha) comes in. Will said he wants to make amends for what he did to Robin and the Merry Men in the forest, and Robin reminds him that what caused the rift had to do with a woman. Robin recalls the story of how he met Marion, a story Will’s heard three dozen times before, with Robin trying to convince himself he needs to remember the Marion that he fell in love with. Will reminds him Marion gave up everything to be with Robin because she saw the good in him.
A custodian in the making: Henry’s swept the floor twice and wants to learn something magical. Rumple, showing he has a sense of humor, gives him a potion to transform something old into something new: it’s furniture polish. David and the gang barge in and need Rumple’s help getting into the sheriff’s station. When everyone leaves the store but Hook and Rumple, Hook wants to know what Rumple’s game is because he doesn’t seem concerned by Ingrid. That line of questioning doesn’t go well as Rumple tells him it’s none of his business and puts an end to the interrogation.
Rumpelstiltskin’s a very tricky creature: Rumple meets with the three sisters from Arendelle to discuss how to get rid of Ingrid’s powers. The sisterly bond is worth its weight in magic, but Ingrid says her powers are too strong and is willing to give Rumple whatever he wants to get rid of it. Rumple produces gloves that will help conceal her powers but Ingrid doesn’t want them concealed, she wants them gone. Rumple then shows her the urn and tells her if things get too chilly, she can pop the top and in she’ll go. All of her problems will be contained and Arendelle will be safe. Rumple asks for the three ribbons in exchange, saying ordinary objects can possess their own special magic when there is a lot of love involved, like with the ribbons. Ingrid wants to give them to him, but the sisters really don’t want her to. She does so anyway, against her sisters’ wishes.
Ingrid fights dirty: Ingrid and Emma are still discussing their history, and Ingrid says Emma felt unwanted for 28 years, because her parents gave her up as a baby. Emma says they did what they did to save an entire kingdom but Ingrid wants to know how long she’s felt more like a savior than a daughter. Ingrid tells her she can relate to feeling misunderstood, alone, and different, and now Mary Margaret and David have a new child and don’t need to hide their fear of Emma. Emma’s pissed and says they love her. Ingrid says people fear what they can’t understand, and that includes her family and friends. Emma’s pissed off and her powers get out of control, knocking out the wall of the station and setting Ingrid free (just as she predicted). Emma wants it to stop but Ingrid says no, that it’s beautiful.
Everyone arrives on the scene and Emma doesn’t want them to come closer because she doesn’t want to hurt them. She’s confused and backs away, but Hook reaches out for her which causes fire and lightning to emerge, knocking over a light pole that almost kills Hook until David pushes him out of the way and is nearly crushed himself. Seeing the damage she’s done, Emma gets into her car and races away.
Secrets are revealed in Arendelle: Ingrid’s sitting with the urn and gloves when the Duke stumbles upon her while looking for Helga. In a weird twist, he tells Ingrid he finds her irresistible and tries to force himself on her. She shoots her magic at him and he runs away scared, threatening to tell everyone about her powers. Helga comes on the scene and the smarmy Duke says Ingrid started kissing him and when he rebuffed her, Ingrid used her magic on him. Helga doesn’t believe him at all and takes her sister’s side. Helga says Ingrid is her sister and loves her, as will the people when they learn that Ingrid has powers. The Duke is a real scumbucket who calls Ingrid a freak and a monster. As he’s upsetting Ingrid, Helga steps in the way to keep Ingrid from doing something bad. Unfortunately, Ingrid mistakenly turns Helga into an ice statue that breaks into hundreds of pieces. Ingrid weeps, “What have I done?!”
It’s not over for Regina and Robin: Regina’s looking through her book when Robin comes in. Robin says he’s lived by a code his entire life: steal from the rich, give to the poor, be righteous and good. He’s tried to live by that every day of his life. “Then, why are you here?” asks Regina. Robin gives her a passionate kiss as an answer.
Emma’s torn apart: They can’t find Emma and Margaret says they failed, that Emma looked into their eyes and saw fear. Meanwhile, Emma’s parked in her VW under a tree, crying. Ingrid’s very satisfied with herself and embraces her mirror.
And now the urn’s in play: Gerta finds Ingrid over Helga’s dead icy body and she’s scared of her sister now. Ingrid tells her not to be afraid and begs for her help. She pleads with her to take her hand but Gerta refuses. Ingrid killed their sister and now Gerta actually believes Ingrid is a monster. Gerta looks down, grabs the urn, and Ingrid’s sucked inside. Gerta closes it and clutches the gloves Ingrid dropped.
Gerta visits the Grand Pappie and he says her face shows great tragedy. Gerta says it’s too painful to talk about and that they need to see that Arendelle survives recent events. Gerta wants everyone within Arendelle’s borders to forget Ingrid and Helga ever existed. Grand Pappie says he will do it for her, but it’s strong magic and magic always comes with a price.
The final act of “The Snow Queen”: Rumple clutches a snow globe as he tells Ingrid he’s impressed by the number she did on Miss Swan. Ingrid’s ready to make the deal – she wants her ribbons back however Rumple is not convinced Ingrid has anything he wants. Ingrid had the hat longer than Rumple and she knows about the missing piece of the puzzle he needs to cleave himself from the dagger. Ingrid’s figured out Rumple’s plan, revealing that Storybrooke is too small for the Dark One to be content. Rumple wants to cleave himself from the dagger so he can go outside of Storybrooke without losing his power. Ingrid says he wants what all villains want – everything – and that she’ll give it to him. The deal: Ingrid wants control over Storybrooke and in exchange Rumple can have the rest of the world. Ingrid says they have a deal, but Rumple tells her to go first. She leans over the counter and whispers it in his ear. “Not only can I do that, but I shall do it with great pleasure,” replies Rumple to whatever it is that Ingrid whispered.
The Bottom Line:
Once Upon a Time‘s seventh episode of season four was stronger than episode six, and delivered the big payoff we’ve been waiting for this season. Although a tad bit too predictable, “The Snow Queen” was more emotionally involving than the usual Once Upon a Time episode and managed to propel every storyline, other than Belle and Rumple’s relationship, forward. Emma’s always so strong and to see her breakdown and feel removed from her family and friends (including Hook) was obviously a major changing point in the evolution of this season’s story.
-By Rebecca Murray
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