‘Once Upon A Time’ S4 Ep 2 recap: The Snow Queen Cometh

Elizabeth Mitchell guest stars as The Snow Queen. (Photo credit: Disney/ABC Press/Jack Rowand via EW.com)

“Frozen’s” Elsa and Anna are beautifully blending into the world of “Once Upon A Time.” During a frantic frosty lockdown, Elsa makes new friends instead of foes when she tries to find her sister and causes trouble for Storybrooke. Meanwhile, in the Fairytale Land past, Anna helps meek shepherd David channel his inner Charming when she urges him to fight the Enchanted Forest’s warlord, Bo Peep.

Enchanted Forest, past: “It was an impossible battle which is why I had to fight it.”

Many years ago, Anna traveled to the Enchanted Forest on a “secret mission” to find someone who can help with Elsa’s unique condition. At the start of her journey, Anna reaches out to David, since he is one of Kristoff’s old buddies. Adorable Anna tries to be very covert about her identity and purposeful trip, but David easily deduces the obvious and says can’t wait to attend the wedding. Their introduction is interrupted when reigning warlord, not-so-little Bo Peep, rides in with a warning.

Admittedly, Bo Peep is “OAT’s” weakest fairytale/nursery rhyme adaptation to date, but let’s try really hard to disregard how ridiculous this is and just focus on the purpose she serves within the story.

Bo Peep keeps David and his mother safe for a price. With a wave of her shepherd’s crook, she brands the two of them and labels the pair as one of her flock. If they don’t pay up by the next day, Bo Peep will have them work off their payment as her servants. After Bo Peep leaves, Anna tells David he should fight back.

Farmer David with his 80s rocker mane is but a simple shepherd, it is not his place to carry a sword and fight epic battles against ruthless warlords. Anna argues that you must fight the battles you are least likely to win because those are the one most worth fighting for. Well said, Anna! David replies with lame excuses. He says farmers don’t do sword fighting. Oh please! We’ve seen “The Princess Bride,” farmers can become swashbuckling pirates if they want to. It is time for this timid shepherd to grow a pair and it is awesome to see sweet Anna show him how to wield a sword.

Anna explains how soldiers taught her how to fight, so she knows what she’s doing. She whoops David’s butt during their lesson, but she sees great potential in her apt pupil. You have to love “OUAT’s’” emphasis on girl power. They are making up for decades of damsels in distress. Elizabeth Lail is nailing it as Anna. She is the perfect combination of fun feistiness and endearing sweetness.

After the lesson, David tells Anna the reason for his outlook on life and his story is heartbreaking. David has daddy issues because his father was a drunk who essentially abandoned his family for the bottle. When David was 6 years old, he overheard his parents fighting. His father vowed to beat his addiction because he wanted to be a better man for his son. He would make regular supply runs that lasted a couple of weeks. Usually those 14 days would serve as a major bender, but this trip was going to be different.

For the first time, David had high hopes that his father would return home sober. Unfortunately, his father didn’t even make it back home. He stayed sober for 13 days, but could no longer resist the temptation. He spent his last night in a tavern. He was found under his cart at the bottom of a ravine. David fears he will be a failure like his father, so he doesn’t even bother to try. If you can’t change the way you are, then why bother? Anna sets him straight: David is not weak like his dad, he has the courage and strength to fight for what he believes in.

It is amazing to see exactly how much David has grown over the years. We knew he was a shepherd abruptly thrust into the life of a royal, but we didn’t know he had so much heartache in his past. It makes you appreciate his value as a leader even more now because he overcame a great deal. We never would have guessed that Anna inspired David’s first “Charm Attack.”

Bo Peep kidnaps Anna to give David more incentive to pay up. She has branded the innocent bystander and will not release her until David pays his fee or gives up his farm. He is left with no choice and follows Anna’s advice.

David takes out two of Bo Peep’s men and manages to gain the upper hand over the vindictive vixen. He sees Bo Peep wearing Anna’s snowflake necklace and grabs it. Then he uses the shepherd’s crook to locate Anna. Luckily, the stained glass sheep revealed in the magical crook is on the building right in front of David.

Anna jumps on David when he enter the building and tackles him to the floor. Then she is thrilled to see he put up a good fight and won. They both agree that impossible battles are the ones that need to be fought the hardest. There is more to this existence than survival. David’s time with Anna has taught him that he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he became trapped in a life he doesn’t want.

Before Anna leaves, David’ mother, Ruth, thanks her for changing him for the better. Anna was happy to help and wonders if magic like the one used by Bo Peep is common throughout the land because it is rare in Arendelle. Anna wonders if there is anyone who could help her learn more about magic, so Ruth writes down the name of Wizard she doesn’t dare to say aloud. David also thanks Anna and gives her his father’s horse, saying that it is a reminder he doesn’t want to have anymore. Anna is delighted to see David as a hero now, although he insists he’s still just a shepherd.

Anna rides away and she reads out the name on the paper. As she says, “Rumpelstiltskin,” we see the Dark One watching Anna’s every move inside a magic globe.

Well that can’t be good. Is Anna the reason why Elsa ends up getting imprisoned by Rumple?

Storybrooke, present: “You can give up on yourself, but I’m not giving up on you.”

Picking up from where we left off, Elsa holds Anna’s necklace in her hand and vows to find her baby sis. She puts Storybrooke on lockdown until she can figure out what happened to Anna.

Over at the Charming family residence, Snow White puts baby Neal down for a brief nap before he beckons her again with his “midnight shrieking.” Henry has prepared a sweet break-up care package for Regina. He is excited to spend some time with his mom, but Regina cancels their plans via carrier crow. That’s creepy and rude. Henry has a right to be disappointed. He ven googled how to get over break-ups and everything. Poor kid. Emma takes him down to Granny’s Diner and tries to cheer him up.

Emma explains that Regina’s withdrawal isn’t personal. Regina just needs to be alone for a little while and she probably thinks it’s even better for Henry not to see her this way. Henry disagrees. Suddenly the power goes out. Emma asks Henry if he wants to tag along to figure out what caused the outage. They can go on a new “Operation” whatever-he-wants-to-call-it, but Henry decides to sit this one out. Aww, you’re breaking our hearts, Henry.

During their car ride to the border, Emma tells David about Henry’s behavior. She is worried about him, but David points out Henry’s role models. Both of his moms put their walls up during times like this, so Emma can’t be surprised by Henry’s instinctive reaction. He just needs time.

David and Emma find a shocking surprise when they discover Elsa’s frosty fortress at the border. It looks like her icicle skyscraper cut through some power-lines and caused the blackout. Suddenly, Hook appears out of the woods. He quips, “I get a distress call from a fair maiden and I’m on the spot.” Adorable! Then he teases Emma, saying he would’ve brought champagne. This crazy case will serve as their second date, since she turned down his offer for a quiet evening of romance. Plus, they now have the world’s largest ice bucket. David isn’t falling prey to Hook’s unyielding charms. He wants to have a fatherly chat with his daughter’s new beau before things go any further.

David is concerned about Hook’s intentions with Emma, so the suave pirate speaks from the heart in hopes of putting an end to Charming’s qualms. Hook says he wouldn’t risk his life for someone he simply viewed at loot. Emma isn’t Hook’s bountiful booty, so David can simmer down. Technically, Hook has done nothing but prove his loyalty and love for Emma. David saw how many times Hook risked his life to save Emma last season, so he should be warming up to Hook by now. Right, Oncers?

While David and Hook chat, Emma sees someone in the ice and goes over to investigate. When David and Hook approach, Elsa gets scared and literally puts her walls up. Next thing you know, Elsa and Emma are buried under her frozen fortress of solitude. Hook desperately starts hacking away at the ice with his sharp appendage. David stops him, saying that magic made the wall, so they need magic to unmake it.

Using their walkie-talkies, David touches base with Emma, so Elsa explains herself. She tells him about Anna and they offer to help her out. David and Hook return to town to learn more about the necklace and Anna’s whereabouts while Elsa tries to keep Emma from turning into a human popsicle.

Meanwhile, a few disgruntled citizens, mostly Grumpy, confront Snow White about the blackout. He tells her that she is the Queen of the Kingdom, so she needs to fix this problem. They march her down to the power plant and force her to figure it out. As they get aggressive, Snow lashes out saying it wasn’t Regina’s fault for being evil. They lived without electricity for ages, so they can back-off and buy a flashlight. Well, you can’t blame her for being short-tempered. She’s nursing a baby and trying to manage a town crisis. At least her outburst scares them away and gives her some privacy to figure this problem out.

Back in the impromptu ice dungeon, Emma starts turning purple. Elsa can’t relate because the cold never bother her anyway. We see what you did there, “OUAT,” cute touch. Elsa tries to keep Emma awake by talking about their powers. Both of them don’t know how to control it. Elsa can’t undo the damage she has done. Anna is the one who helps her control it. Emma tries a little magical warm-up, but she fails too. Emma may freeze to death, but at least she’s making a new friend who understands where she’s coming from. They both have felt abandoned, isolated and overwhelmed by the hands they’ve been dealt in life. Elsa as the overnight Queen of Arendelle and Emma as the sudden Savior. Luckily, David and Hook are making some progress on the outside, so the girls won’t be lonely long.

Rumple says he can’t help with the icy barrier, but Belle shows David a photo of the snowflake necklace and he realizes that Anna is the “Joan” he befriended so many years ago. Elsa pages Hook and says that Emma is starting to slip away, so David doesn’t waste any time on his next stop.

Bo Peep has aptly become Storybrooke’s butcher. David and Hook ambush her before she has a chance to strike back. She doesn’t have Anna, but her shepherd’s crook could help locate Anna’s whereabouts since she was branded once. With that useful tool in hand, David and Hook return to the border in a last stitch effort to save Emma.

They can’t do anything from the outside to bring the wall down. Elsa must use her magic, she just needs the right inspiration to help her wield her powers. David knows how Elsa feels. He connects with Elsa by sharing the same advice Anna had given him in the past: survival is not enough, you have live. Elsa recognizes Anna’s words and David says she wouldn’t want Elsa to live alone in a cave. Elsa manages to melt a hole through the ice. Emma hugs Hook and he carries her to safety. Elsa feels terrible for endangering Emma’s life, but David is grateful that she was able to save his daughter. He also says that he owes Anna everything and promises Elsa that they will find her.

While two of the Charmings make it out of one jam, Snow struggles to fix their power problem. As baby Neal starts crying for food, Snow realizes that she just needs to turn on the fuel and feed the power source. With the flip of a switch, Snow White turns the power on in Storybrooke.

Back at the Charming house, Emma warms up in Hook’s embrace as their hands interlock. Maybe this near death experience will motivate Emma to show him a little more love. Like Hook has been saying, they need to cherish the quiet moments they can share with each other in between the crazy catastrophes. The poor pirate just wants to be a proper boyfriend. It is too sweet. Emma pulls away from Hook for a moment to tightly hug Henry.

Now that the gang is altogether, they all offer their support. Elsa is bummed that she lost her sister’s necklace, but she shouldn’t despair. David uses the shepherd’s crook and it reveals a heartbeat. They don’t know where Anna is, but at least they know for sure that she is alive. Again David assures Elsa that they will find her sister. The Charmings are in the business of finding people because they never give up, no matter what. Persistence and determination is a Charming Family trait. David’s words remind Henry of his true nature and inspire him to take action.

Henry knocks on Regina’s door until she answers. He says, “You can give up on yourself, but I’m not going to give up on you.” In an adorable huff, Henry claims that this is his house too and he misses his room. Seriously, who can resist Henry? Regina opens the door and welcomes her son home with a sweet hug. Maybe there is still hope for Regina. Spending more time with Henry will certainly keep her from slipping into the dark side.

So if Regina isn’t a villain anymore, who will be this season’s big baddie? As the episode ends, Emma and Elsa return to the frosty barrier in hopes of bringing it down. Emma gives Elsa a pep talk on how her power is unique and amazing. Elsa tries her hardest to mend her mistake, but it doesn’t work. Something is keeping the wall up.

Cut to Any Given Sundae (best ice cream shop name ever), where Elizabeth Mitchell is scooping out ice cream cones for Storybrookers. Her icy touch says it all.

The rumors are true! The “Lost” alum will be this season’s new villain based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.”

Next Sunday’s (October 12) “Rocky Road” will mark the Snow Queen’s grand debut!

What do you think, Oncers? Do you like the way “Frozen” is being woven into “OUAT’s” storyline? Did you think the Bo Peep spin was silly? Were you surprised by Anna and David’s past interaction? Were you happy to see Emma and Elsa hit it off? Are you enjoying Captain Swan’s blossoming romance? Were you surprised by Elizabeth Mitchell’s cool reveal?

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