Previously on Once Upon A Time, the Snow Queen built a magic mirror in which she could admire her cleave whene’er she wished, and was also on a quest to collect magical blondes like American Girl dolls and form a perfect family. While on this mission, she used her own insecurities about being different to try to turn Emma against her family.
We open an indiscernible amount of time ago in Arendelle, with the Snow Queen riding a horse wearing what looks like an only slightly more practical version of her ice-white getup. She arrives in a cave and hides the starbox under a rock, freezing it there, because she can. She then heads to the Enchanted Forest, where she shows up at the cottage of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mickey. She tells Mickey she wants to talk to the Sorcerer, because she has his starbox. In return, she wants a magical family to replace the sisters she lost. Elsa will do fine as the first replacement, but she’ll need a third, and she’s willing to wait as long as it takes.
Present-day Emma wakes up in her buggy because her hands were sparking as she was sleeping. She gets out to try to walk it off and runs into Henry in the forest. He tries to tell her to stop pulling away from the people she loves, but in her attempt to get him to stay away, she ends up flinging him across the forest floor, hurting him. Her hands tremble and sparks fly out of her hands and she begs him to go, and when he realizes his love isn’t going to solve this problem, he runs off.
The Snow Queen, always lying in wait for her moment, appears suddenly and tells Emma that she can sympathize, that running won’t help, that she has to embrace who she is.
That’s a Cheshire Cat grin if I’ve ever seen one.
Regina is still in her vault, but now Robin Hood is there too. I’ll spare you the details. Regina tells Robin Hood about the storybook and how she’s sure to be doomed to an unhappy ending, because she’s a villain, and that’s how things always turn out for villains. Robin Hood offers to set the author straight, just tell him who he is. Regina points out that she doesn’t know if it’s a he or a she, or even if it’s human, and doesn’t know how to find them, but Robin Hood offers to help anyway.
Back at the Charming Loft, Elsa tells Mary Margaret and David that the more Emma runs and hides from her powers, the more her soul will be spiraling in frozen fractals all around. Just then, Henry comes home bleeding from the ear and saying he found Emma but couldn’t help her, and the Charmings take this as a sign that they’re doomed. Elsa tries to explain what it’s like, how the more you love someone, the more you fear hurting them and the more out of control you can feel, and Hook offers to send Sneezy or Happy or whichever dwarf she despises. Which could be a coincidence, but I’d like to take it as a quiet apology from the writers for the actor who plays Happy’s Twitter incident.
Flashback to Arendelle, many moons ago. Elsa is preparing a banquet of chocolate for her sister to stuff in her face when Ingrid comes and tells Elsa that Anna has been put in the dungeon. She tells her niece that Anna had lied, that she hadn’t come back from Mist Haven empty handed, but instead with a magic hat that would strip Elsa of her magic. Ingrid says Anna tried to use it on her and that Anna called her a monster, just like their mother. Elsa doesn’t understand, and Ingrid tells her she didn’t want to ruin the memories of her mother, because she was hoping Anna was different, but Anna would never accept Elsa for who she really is. Elsa needs a moment to process all this information and asks to be alone.
Good thing there’s all this chocolate lying around.
In present-day Storybrooke, Gold returns to his shop to find everything buzzing and twirling and glowing. He knows that this means Emma is nearby. He tells her to stop hiding and she comes out, begging him to help her fix her powers. He tells her that the only way he knows to stop what’s happening to her is to remove her magic entirely. Emma barely even blinks and agrees, take it away, she’s ready to be ordinary if it means she won’t hurt her family. He tells her it will explode an entire city block, and instead of a) being concerned by this and b) choosing a location in the middle of the infinite forest of Storybrooke, she agrees to meet him in an abandoned manor on the outskirts of town.
Flashback Elsa goes down to the dungeons and starts yelling at her sister, reprimanding her for lying to her, and asks the guards for a moment alone with her. As soon as they’re out of sight, Elsa apologizes and admits she was pretending to be furious. Anna is as relieved as I am that Elsa didn’t blindly trust Ingrid over her sister.
Elsa’s better at Emma’s superpower than Emma.
Elsa gives Anna back her snowflake necklace, and Anna says that when they took her necklace from her, it felt like they were taking her sister away, something that she never ever wants to happen. Elsa says it doesn’t have to and tells Anna about her plan to trap Ingrid inside the urn. The only problem is, they live in a gigantic castle and Elsa has no idea where to even begin looking. Anna tells her not to worry; she’s spent a lot of time exploring the castle and knows every potential hiding spot by heart.
In the Charming loft, present-day, Elsa comes downstairs from making Henry an ice pack and doing her best to explain to him that Emma only hurt him because she was trying so hard not to. Regina comes storming in, finally out of her vault, with a locator potion and a half-buttoned shirt.
Presented without comment.
Emma calls Mary Margaret and tells her that things will be okay soon and explains her plan of ridding herself of her powers. Hook knows this can’t be good news and excuses himself to use his “talking phone” to call Emma and try to talk her out of it, especially if Gold is involved.