Our suspicions about the Snow Queen’s ties to Emma were confirmed in “Once Upon A Time’s” illuminating episode, “Breaking Glass.” A glimpse into Emma’s past leads to a game-changing revelation. Emma learns from previous mistakes and decides not to give up on her friendship with Regina. The two magical powerhouses team up to take on the Snow Queen and discover that their bond is stronger than they realize. Elsewhere, Mary Margaret’s date night with David takes a surprising turn and reawakens her inner badass.
Hopkins, Minn. 1998: “Friends forever…no matter what.”
Teenage Emma befriends Lily, a fellow runaway. They meet when Lily saves Emma from getting caught for shoplifting. From that moment on they promise to have each other’s backs. When they leave the store, a man drives after Lily. Emma catches sight of this and believes she has found a kindred spirit who is also on the run.
Emma explains how she fled her foster home in Boston after little Cecilia was adopted and drove away in the back of that station wagon. Emma knew she had missed her chance, so she ran away and has been evading social services ever since. Lily understands what it’s like to feel invisible. She shares the same kind of history as Emma and the two form a quick bond.
Lily finds a nice home for them to crash in while the homeowners are away for the fall. During their time together, Lily grows attached to Emma. When Emma points out the star marked on Lily’s wrist, she draws a replica on Emma’s. She says that Emma is special too. The two promise to stay friends, no matter what happens. They swear there won’t be anything they can’t come back from.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t end up being true. Lily’s father finds them hiding in the house. When Emma realizes that Lily ran away from a real family, she feels betrayed. Lily lied and Emma can’t forgive her. As Lily’s father prepares to take her back home, she makes one last plea to Emma.
Lily tells Emma they can runaway together. She didn’t lie about how she felt. Her adoptive parents make her feels invisible, just like Emma. They swore to be friends forever, no matter what. But Emma won’t hear it. She walks away from Lily and erases the star drawn on her wrist.
Storybrooke, present: “If someone’s important to you, don’t give up on them.”
Emma and Elsa are looking over files in the sheriff’s department. The Snow Queen took their memories but they don’t know how or why. Will gripes about his hunger, so Emma tosses him a pop tart. Will still complains and Hook shoots him a loaded glare before heading out to take Henry sailing for the day. Once Hook is gone and Will is fed, Emma discovers some telling photos taken by Sydney when Regina had her under surveillance. There are photos of Emma speaking with the Snow Queen in Any Given Sundae, but she has no memory of it. Emma visits Regina to see if she may have answers.
Regina asks her magic mirror where the Snow Queen is hiding, but he doesn’t know. It looks like Regina will have to figure this out on her own, until Emma arrives. Regina is still giving her the cold shoulder, but Emma really wants to fix their relationship. She considers Regina as her friend and she feels terrible about what happened. Regina stands her ground. Emma screwed her over and there’s no going back. So Emma discusses the business at hand. She wants to ask Sydney about the photos, but he’s missing, so Emma asks for Regina’s help.
Emma says, “I know I’m not sorceress of the year…you’ve had my back and I’ve had yours.” Regina snaps, “You’ve never had my back.” It looks like the tables have turned on Emma. This time around, Regina is the one walking away.
Elsewhere, Elsa hears Anna calling and follows her sister deep into the woods. You’d think she would have learned by now that nothing is as it seems in Storybrooke. The Snow Queen is setting up a trap and Elsa is blindly walking right into it.
Elsa reaches the edge of a cliff and sees Anna all the way on the other side of the canyon. She builds an ice stairway and starts heading towards her sister when Anna suddenly falls back out of view. Elsa rushes over and finally catches up with her sister. That’s when the Snow Queen reveals herself.
The Snow Queen had conjured faux Anna in her frosty lair to lure Elsa here. She places ice chains around Elsa’s wrists. The chains are part of the Snow Queen’s lesson for Elsa. If she can learn to control her fear, she will be able to do so much with her magic powers. The more afraid Elsa gets, the chains will get even stronger. The Snow Queen has shackled Elsa to get her out of the way. She promises that everything will be fine, but for now, she needs Elsa’s fear. Luckily for Elsa, it looks like help is on the way.
Sydney reveals the Snow Queen’s location to Regina. He wants his freedom in exchange for the information, but Regina doesn’t abide. She commands him to do as she says and condemns him to a life of reflective imprisonment. Using a compact mirror, Regina has Sydney guide her through the woods towards the Snow Queen’s lair. Coincidentally, she bumps into Emma on her way.
They are both tracking down the Snow Queen and would be stronger if they just stick together. Regina knows Emma won’t leave her be anyway, so she continues on her path with Emma at her side. Once again Emma tries getting back into Regina’s good graces. Regina taught her everything she knows about magic and Emma thinks it is admirable of her to help Marian. Regina stops Emma before she blubbers on. Whatever she says won’t make a difference. Intentionally or not, Emma ruined Regina’s life and there’s no coming back from that. Regina tells Emma to learn to live with the guilt of deeply hurting someone. Ouch! Well, we knew Regina wasn’t going to let Emma off the hook very easily.
Emma and Regina reach the staircase Elsa built and the Snow Queen immediately attacks them. Sydney betrayed Regina and set this whole thing up. Regina is enraged by his treachery and Emma is upset by Regina’s lies. They don’t have the chance to argue about it while under siege. The Snow Queen has built a huge snowman who is armed and dangerous. Regina and Emma use their magic to fight the frozen creature. Regina’s fiery red radiation combined with Emma’s white light melts the snowman, leaving the Snow Queen to finish doing her own dirty work.
The Snow Queen takes Regina’s compact mirror and places her in a choke hold. Thankfully, Elsa quickly learned to overcome her fear and broke free from her chains. She appears just in time to overpower the Snow Queen. She challenges her aunt, “You wanna fight…fight me!” But this is exactly what the Snow Queen wanted. Fearless Elsa is even more powerful now. The Snow Queen disappears back into her lair, leaving us puzzled by her plans for Elsa.
Despite what their teamwork accomplished, Regina’s feelings towards Emma have not changed. She will never forgive Emma because she doesn’t want to. They may need to work together from time to time, but they are not partners. With that said, Regina poofs away.
Back in her lair, the Snow Queen releases Sydney from the mirror and sets him free. All she needed was the mirror itself. It reflects her mood, desire, essence and it is a receptacle for a fraction of the soul. Who knew mirrors were so loaded? She breaks the small mirror and a shard of glass fits into the shattered mirror on her wall. Soon she will have a family that wants her. This can’t be good. What is her plan?
While walking back to town, Elsa encourages Emma not to give up on Regina. So Emma gives it another go. She tells Regina about her experience with Lily and she doesn’t want to make the same mistake again. Despite what Regina thinks, Emma considers her to be a friend. She still regrets not forgiving Lily and promises not to give up on Regina. Emma says, “I’m not going to stop. Even if you still want to kill me.” Regina replies, “I don’t want to kill you.” Well that’s progress! Looks like there is hope for Swan Queen after all. It’s just going to take Regina a little bit of time
While Emma, Regina and Elsa tackle the Snow Queen, Mary Margaret has her own adventure. Belle babysits little Neal, giving Mr. and Mrs. Charming a much needed date night. Mary Margaret has anxiety over leaving her baby behind, but she soon finds a welcomed distraction. When David sees that Will is missing from his cell, he cuts their date short and goes off to track the thief down.
Funnily enough, Mary Margaret is the one who ends up spotting the Knave digging around the beach. He hid a map in his knapsack, but then he buried the sack, so now he’s searching for both missing items. It wasn’t the smartest move. It sounds so silly that Mary Margaret thinks David set this whole thing up just so she can feel like herself again. She needed to channel her inner tracker badass Snow White. Will plays along with her theory and agrees that David set him free earlier. Snow pardons him and lets him go.
Mary Margaret returns home and thanks David for setting up such a clever plan. She feels more like herself now. David swears he had nothing to with it. Will wasn’t supposed to be set free. Hopefully his freedom won’t cause too much trouble in Storybrooke. The important thing is that Snow White got her groove back.
As the episode draws to a close, Hook rejoins Emma at the sheriff’s department. She’s going through a box of things she’s collected throughout her childhood. There’s a pair of glasses, a mood ring, a photo of her with Neal (awkward!), a baby blanket, and the camera from the time she spent with Lily.
Emma pops the tape in and watches the fun times she shared with her former friend. Suddenly the tape cuts to another recording after she parted ways with Lily. The video reveals that the Snow Queen was Emma’s foster mom!
It will be really interesting to see how the Snow Queen became involved in Emma’s life. How did the Snow Queen end up in Emma’s world? Did she track Emma down? Why did she erase Emma’s memories? What kind of past did they share? What did she want from Emma?
There are so many questions! What did you think of “Breaking Glass”? Share your thoughts below.
“Once Upon A Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.