Sunday’s suspenseful “Once Upon A Time” delivered an unforeseen and extremely delightful twist. “Fall” reveals Anna and Kristoff’s trials in Arendelle after Elsa’s entrapment. We assume it is another flashback that will show us where Anna has been imprisoned for the past thirty years. Much to our surprise, Anna’s story is about to unexpectedly coverage with Elsa’s quest. In present day Storybrooke, the Spell of Shattered Sight looms over the town and everyone is scrambling to develop a vaccine that will prevent them from turning on each other. Elsa holds the key to the cure and is forced to make a grave decision: find Anna or save the town.
Arendelle: “So my choices are evil wizard or pirate!”
Anna and Kristoff awake from the curse. A gold straw confirms Anna’s worst fears: Rumple has taken the urn with Elsa trapped inside. To make things worse, Hans and his despicable men barge in and deliver disturbing news. Hans is the new King of Arendelle. Boo! Anna and Kristoff pretend to surrender, then blindside Hans & Co., locking them in the room while they get away.
Anna remembers reading about a wishing star in her mother’s diary. She learns that Blackbeard has it and thinks she can use it to wish Elsa back home. Either they reach out the pirate or confront an evil wizard. Pirate wins, so Kristoff and Anna go to see Blackbeard and they’re in for a big surprise.
Blackbeard welcomes them aboard his ship and says the wishing star is worth his weight in gold. Anna says she’ll pay him from the kingdom’s treasury. It seems like a done deal until they realize this was all a trap set-up by Hans. Plus, Blackbeard doesn’t have the wishing star anymore.
Blackbeard met Anna’s parents and liked them, so he gave them the wishing star. But there’s a catch: only those who are pure of heart can make a wish that will come true. We can understand why her parents’ hearts were not pure enough to make it work: Gerda trapped her sister in the urn and now they were going to wish away Elsa’s powers. That’s not very pure hearted. But we all know Anna has proven to have a heart of pure gold. If she could only find another wishing star, surely her wish would bring Elsa back.
Unfortunately, Hans pops up, says he’s in control of the treasury and the Jolly Rodger. Seriously! Hans really sucks! He tells them to walk the plank into “Poseidon’s Boneyard” where Anna’s bones will “mingle” with her mother’s. (Kudos to Jane Espenson, she had some stellar, catchy lines in this episode, both funny and haunting.)
Blackbeard has learned from experience and suggests they be placed in a sealed chest or else mermaids might save them. Oh that’s just cruel. Just before Anna and Kristoff are plunged into the sea, we learn some alarming news.
This is all taking place in the present day! Ingrid cast a spell that kept Arendelle frozen for the past thirty years. Now Elsa’s quest in Storybrooke makes sense. Of course, Anna and Kristoff have no idea, so they say their heartbreaking “I love you” filled goodbyes just in case they can’t break out of the trunk. Aww this couple is so precious! Don’t give up just yet, a miracle is about to happen…
Storybrooke: “We share one heart and nothing can come between two halves of one heart.”
A sparkling cloud of doom descends upon Storybrooke and the townspeople are running out of time. At sundown, the Spell of Shattered Sight will infect everyone and they will turn on each other in an instant. Everyone is trying to find a way out of this hellish predicament.
Rumple threatens the Snow Queen: he can stick around after the spell has been cast and rip her heart out or she can let him leave peacefully with Belle and Henry untouched by the spell. Being a fan of her heart, Ingrid agrees to his deal. Well now we know that Rumple truly only cares for two people. What’s his plan? To spell them into forgetting what really happened in Storybrooke? Is he just going to tell Henry that everyone else died? This isn’t Rumple’s best work. He’s just being unnecessarily heartless at this point. For shame, Rumple!
Elsewhere, David & Co. try to see if they can find a way to sneak people out of Storybrooke, but it is no use. Ingrid’s created an icy barrier around the town and there is no way out. But there is one good thing that comes out his effort. He finds Anna’s snowflake necklace. Yay! Since a great escape won’t work, they start preparing ways to separate themselves from one another just in case they can’t find a way to stop the spell.
Mary Margaret and David have Emma lock them up in separate side-by-side cells. They know Emma and Elsa are immune to the spell because their ties to Ingrid. That’s also why they think Henry will be safer with the girls. But Henry wants to stay with Regina. Aww, it is sweet how Henry never loses faith in Regina and trusts her to put him somewhere safe. Unfortunately, without having someone watching him, it will be so much easier for Rumple to snatch him up and skip town. Yeah, this isn’t going to end well. Carrying on…
Belle rushes in with a lead. She’s done some research and they can create a vaccine to make them immune to the effects of the spell. They just need a strand of hair from someone who has been spelled before, someone like Anna. The snowflake necklace is their best bet. The Fairies start using the tiny bit of spell dust residue left on the necklace to concoct a counter-spell, while Elsa uses a locator spell in hopes of tracking Anna’s whereabouts by following the necklace. While they work on saving people, Rumple plots his next coldblooded move.
Even if Hook wanted to, he cannot disobey Rumple’s command. The Fairies are working away in Granny’s Diner and he wants Hook to capture all of the Fairies in the Sorcerer’s hat. He will distract Belle long enough to keep her out of harm’s way. Hook can’t believe Rumple will stoop so low as to destroy the cure. The Dark One coldly replies, “If I have to choose between everyone else and me, me wins every time.” Come on! What happened, Rumple? He was finally on the road to redemption. Ugh this is so frustrating.
During Rumple’s evil scheme, Regina and Henry go to the woods to warn Robin and his Merry Men about the incoming spell. The men all scatter. Regina takes a moment to memorize Robin’s face and the way he looks at her with so much love in his eyes. Both Henry and Robin have faith in Regina and don’t think she will be so evil again. Robin assures her that the True Love they share in this moment is real. Sigh. At least we get a few tender moments sprinkled in the midst of chaos. While they bunker down, Emma and Elsa still hope to find Anna to completely secure a cure.
The locator spell illuminates the necklace. Emma and Elsa follow it to the library and it leads them down into the mining tunnels. When they reach a dead end, Emma convinces her to take the necklace back to the Fairies, it is their only hope.
The Fairies will have to destroy the necklace in order to create the cure. Elsa must decide to save Storybrooke or find Anna. Regina, the Charmings and everyone else in sight say they need to destroy the necklace. Regina makes a compelling speech saying that more than heroes, Storybrooke needs leaders who will make tough decisions. This is no time to get sentimental, lives are at stake. Even Mary Margaret agrees. Elsa complies. She hands over the necklace pouch and leaves. After she takes off, they open the pouch and find a pebble. Guess Regina’s speech wasn’t that compelling. Mary Margaret’s reaction to Elsa’s move is surprising and entertaining. Mary Margaret: “Well it seems Elsa’s blind faith is exactly what’s screwing us right now.” Regina: “Coming from you that’s just terrifying.” Yet it is! Snow White has changed her tune after becoming mayor. Now the Fairies must make do with the little they have. The odds don’t look good, but Emma has faith in Elsa and goes to help her friend.
Emma finds Elsa in the mines. Elsa disregards Emma’s warning and blasts the cave wall down. They walk onto the beach. According to the necklace, Anna is out there across the ocean somewhere. Thirty years is a long time, anything could have happened. Unfortunately, Emma tells Elsa that they need to focus on the present and worry about finding Anna later. Suddenly the necklace stops working.
The curse quickly approaches and Elsa still feels she has a right to be attached to the necklace because it is all she has left of Anna. Elsa still has faith and won’t give up hope on finding Anna. She clutches the necklace and wishes Anna was with her now. As the necklace lights up, we realize that the snowflake has been a wishing star all along. Nice twist, “OUAT”! This episode peaks and gets even better from here on.
A whirlpool blast of magic washes Anna and Kristoff’s trunk onto shore. Yay! Finally, a happy reunion. Elsa and Anna tightly hug each other. They are so grateful for this miracle. To make things even better, their parents’ message in a bottle washes up. That’s fairytale timing for you. They quickly fill Anna in on the spell and rush back to Granny’s.
Over at the Diner, Rumple forces Hook to make his move. Hook painstakingly vacuums the Fairies into the Sorcerer’s hat, all except for Blue, who hides behind the counter. It’s great that she survived, but this does not bode well for Hook. Even though she does hear him apologize whole-heartedly: “I’m sorry. I truly am.” Poor Fairies and Hook! Killian sneaks off before the others return to find this devastating sight.
The gang assumes the Snow Queen did this and they prepare for the worst. Without the Fairies, Anna’s immunity cannot be developed into a cure. They must separate themselves and protect the ones they love.
Rumple tells Belle to stay in his shop and places a protection spell over her. He promises they will be together again soon and everything will be fine. Once she’s inside, Hook brings Rumple the loaded hat. Hook tries to see if Rumple has any conscience left at all by reminding him how deeply Belle loves him. Again, Rumple is choosing power over love, but he’s going to try to hold onto the best of both for as long as he can. Rumple simply sneers back that he is not yet done with Hook. The pirate should enjoy his last day alive because his heart will be dust soon.
Back at the police station, we see an adorable reunion between David, Kristoff and Anna. Then they all get down to business. Anna and Kristoff are also immune from the spell since they lived through it once before (guess it’s like chicken pox), but everybody else clamors to take precautions. Mary Margaret and David have Emma lock them up in side-by-side cells. They tell Emma that she is still the Savior and will find a way to fix this, they all believe in her. So sweet! And a lot of pressure, but Emma can handle it, plus she’s got reinforcements. They give Baby Neal to Emma and tell her something they should have said from the start. They don’t fear Emma’s magic, she’s special and will use all of her power to save everyone. Good will win. Elsa sees this and tells Emma, “You have wonderful parents.” The Charmings may have slipped-up a bit at first, but at least they’re making up for it. This was the perfect thing to say in this moment.
Hook steps in and wants a moment with Emma to say goodbye before he chains himself up. He kisses her and after they pull away from each other, Emma touches her lips. Is she able to tell that Hook isn’t quite himself? Did she feel that his heart was not in that kiss? Emma is probably the only who can save Hook at this point. The Savior has a lot of weight on her shoulders right now. This is still so heartbreaking for Hook because he improved so much and Rumple is unwillingly dragging him into darkness. So not fair!
Regina secures Henry in the mayor’s office. She apologizes about Operation Mongoose and letting Robin and her heart pull her away from the mission, but Henry hasn’t given up on it yet. He has faith that Emma and Elsa will fix this and save them. They say their “I love you’s” and Regina casts a protection spell over him. Let’s hope it is strong enough to keep Rumple out or at least slow him down.
Robin approaches Regina and says he wants to stay with her, but she says it is too dangerous. She is going to seal herself in her vault. She warns Robin that he should be afraid of her. No one wants the Evil Queen to be out on loose as the worst version of herself. It breaks his heart, but Robin understands and goes off to chain himself down somewhere.
In the police station, Anna tries to remain optimistic and views this as another adventure. Snow White and Charming hold hands and also try to stay positive. David warmly gazes into Mary Margaret’s eyes and says, “We share one heart and nothing can come between two halves of one heart.” Swoon. Such a perfect thing to say in this horrifying moment. The Charmings’ True Love affair is one of the best parts of this show.
As the episode ends, the curse kicks-in. Shards of shattered glass start to rain down and enter into the rooms through vents. We spectacularly see how instantly the Spell of Shatter Sight takes effect as tiny shards of glass hit Mary Margaret. Her eyes crack like a mirror and her expression changes. David and Mary Margaret step away from each other. This spell may be even worse than what we feared. This whole sequence was so beautifully filmed and wonderfully directed by Mario Van Peebles.
This was a stellar episode and the last ten to fifteen minutes were exceptional. The second we realized Anna’s storyline was taking place in the present, everything changed. Elsa and Anna’s reunion was perfect. We should’ve seen the twist with the wishing star coming, but we didn’t. The surprise made that moment even sweeter. Now that the curse has infected Storybrooke, the stakes have drastically escalated. Buckle down, Oncers, this is going to be bumpy ride!
On the next “Once Upon A Time”
This Sunday, everything will come to a head in “Shattered Sight.” Here is ABC’s official press release:
Storybrooke is in a state of chaos with all the residents under the Snow Queen’s Spell of Shattered Sight at each other’s throats. Emma and Elsa race against the clock to free themselves of the ribbons and take down the Snow Queen and her curse. David can only watch when Regina clashes with Mary Margaret in an epic battle. Meanwhile, Gold gathers Belle and Henry as he prepares to leave town forever, and Will Scarlet looks to square his tab with Hook. Kristoff’s thick-headedness leads Anna to a heartwarming discovery, on “Once Upon a Time,” SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
“Once Upon a Time” stars Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White/Mary Margaret, Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan, Lana Parrilla as the Evil Queen/Regina, Josh Dallas as Prince Charming/David Nolan, Emilie de Ravin as Belle, Colin O’Donoghue as Hook, Jared S. Gilmore as Henry, Michael Socha as Will Scarlet and Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold.
Guest stars include Lee Arenberg as Leroy/Grumpy, Beverley Elliott as Granny, Georgina Haig as Elsa, Elizabeth Lail as Anna, Scott Michael Foster as Kristoff, David-Paul Grove as Doc, Gabe Khouth as Mr. Clark/Sneezy, Faustino Di Bauda as Walter/Sleepy, Jeffrey Kaiser as Dopey, Michael Coleman as Happy, Mig Macario as Bashful, Rebecca Wisocky as Madame Faustina, Ilias Webb as Kevin, Abby Ross as Young Emma and Elizabeth Mitchell as the Snow Queen.
“Shattered Sight” was written by Scott Nimerfro and Tze Chun, and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton.
Sneak peeks from the episode give us a better taste of the nastiness that will surface during the curse.
Sneak Peek #1 shows Anna sweetly trying to help David and Mary Margaret see the best in each other and themselves. MM snaps her back into harsh reality with one bitter quip: “Snow White is a murderer.” Yikes! This is going to get really ugly before it gets better. Watch the scene HERE.
Sneak Peek #2 reveals Regina’s regression into the Evil Queen while she’s trapped in her vault. Watch it HERE.
In an interview with TVLine, Ginnifer Goodwin discusses the return of Dark Snow and teases swordplay with Regina. She explains:
It’s really wonderful, because Regina comes back [to the sheriff station] as her full Evil Queen self. But instead of it being that they fall into their old dynamic, it’s more that the Evil Queen battles Dark Snow, from those episodes where Snow White was under dark enchantment. And those two energies together is kind of hilarious. I mean, I kept saying, “I could film this episode every day forever,” because also the dialogue was so meaty. There was just so much to play, because these characters have so much history, and yet so much has changed between them. For her to come back in her Evil Queen regalia is hilarious, because she’s so not that person anymore. And there’s something about being Dark Snow in Storybrooke that we also found very funny, because it’s so not the woman that she has become.
As for the sword-fighting, Goodwin says:
Well, Mary Margaret does call her on her B.S. and say, basically, “Of course you’re going to use magic, because you’re afraid to get your hands dirty.” She ribs Regina enough to put down her fireballs and go at it, man-to-man.
In behind-the-scenes images, it looks like Anna and Elsa have their parents’ message. Was it warning about the Snow Queen? Why would Ingrid want to take it from them? What’s with the Snow Queen’s stones? Are they part of what keeps Emma and Elsa tied to her?
What do you think, Oncers? Will the curse be cured within one episode? Will Rumple get away with Belle and Henry? What will happen to heartless Hook? This episode is going to have us all on edge!
Share your thoughts, predictions, worries and hopes in the comments below.
“Once Upon A Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
I have an insatiable passion for TV, Film, Music & Entertainment news (which is really a fancy way of saying I'm a TV addicted couch potato). I'm currently a National Examiner for "Galavant," "Once Upon A Time," "Saving Hope," and "Sleepy Hollow" on Examiner.com. I provide detailed, thoughtful, witty, and occasionally saucy recaps/reviews, as well as some fun and interesting interviews. You'll frequently see me tweeting away about my favorite shows. If you love chatting about TV as much I do, then join the fun and Talk TV with Tiffany!