Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Honest Goods

Review/Recap of Once Upon A Time: 4.06 "Family Business" - Spoilers!

Okay, fandom - breathe in, breathe out. We all good? All right then.

That's what "Family Business" was. A nice, cleansing breath smack dab in the middle of Season 4A. After four episodes of glorious Captain Swan happiness and then one episode of Regina pouting and Emma getting the brunt of it (*le sigh*) - it was good to have a slight shift of perspective. Still dealing with our Frozen/The Snow Queen storyline, but we get to see it from an entirely new set of eyes. And not a moment too soon.

Yes friends, after nearly a season and a half of not-much-to-do, Belle FINALLY gets her chance to shine.

(yeah, yeah - she did have that thing in "Quiet Minds," but that was overshadowed by Neal's death, so it kind of doesn't count).

When the teaser came out that Belle would be getting a flashback episode and they'd even cast someone to be her mother, I was ecstatic. I've felt that Belle's been woefully underused, despite being the Dark One's love interest. It's like the writers never knew what to do with her, even though she's one of the most popular Disney princesses (or maybe that's just me. You know in Doctor Who fandom how each fan has his/her favorite Doctor? Well, Belle was MY Disney princess. I was so mad when I couldn't be Belle for Halloween when I was in second grade. Anyway...) But I guess sitting in the library reading wouldn't make for riveting television (dammit).

So, how did Belle's first centric episode in two seasons go? Short answer: really well. Long Answer: pretty good. Though it didn't go quite the way I hoped (they're making me wait, because of course they are!)

Two Plotlines Converged In A... Sauna

The flashback story starts out during the Ogre Wars. Belle and her mother, Colette, are in the library scrambling to salvage as many books as they can before the ogres attack. Long story short - they don't. They have to hide under a table (well, I guess you have to improvise where you can), but then they're discovered. Later, Belle wakes up in her room and discovers that her mother didn't survive the attack, but her father doesn't want to tell her what happened. Belle, being the resourceful sort, finds out that there's a way for her memory to be restored and she has to go to Arendelle to meet the Rock Trolls (lately, people are going back and forth from Arendelle and the Enchanted Forest like they're going to the corner store for milk).

In Arendelle, Anna and Elsa are reunited (WHOO!) and Anna meets her heretofore unknown Aunt Ingrid (oh yay - Snow Queen Prime finally has a name! Ingrid's a lot shorter than Snow Queen Prime, anyway). Anna doesn't believe that Ingrid is really their aunt, so she goes to Grand Pabbie to find out what the deal is.

It's inevitable that Anna and Belle meet each other (at Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna - of ALL places!), so they team up and travel together. They get to the Rock Trolls without incident (mostly... maybe Kristoff should have gone with Anna). Grand Pabbie gives Belle a memory stone to boil into a tea that she can drink and regain her memories of her mother. And for Anna - well, Pabbie's got a bigger bombshell - that Ingrid is indeed Anna's mother's sister (who also gets a name - Gerda. Which was the name of the little girl in Hans Christian Andersen's original fairy tale, so I appreciated that nod. There still needs to be a Kai somewhere, though. Maybe that's Anna and Elsa's dad). Ingrid and Gerda had yet another sister - Helga. Nobody seems to know what happened to Helga, though (but I think we can guess - snow magic gone bad. I mean, even worse than what little Elsa accidentally did to little Anna). All memory and record of Ingrid and Helga was excised from the royal records (with the help of Grand Pabbie), so that's why Anna and Elsa don't know about their aunts.

Anna and Belle race back to Arendelle to tell Elsa what's going on - except dear auntie is on the case. Ingrid sends a storm to knock Anna off the cliff. Belle tries to save her, but only after trying to recover the memory stone that she dropped in the chaos. She loses the stone, and she also loses Anna. Anna falls to the ground and Ingrid takes her away. And Anna is still alive, though Belle feels guilty for not trying to save Anna before thinking of herself.

CSI: Storybrooke

When last we left Out Intrepid Heroes, Emma discovered that one of her foster mothers was Ingrid, but she doesn't remember it. So, the Storybrooke PD (all four of them) kicks into high gear and everybody splits off to go find the Snow Queen (with nobody wanting to go with David - poor guy). Belle decides to go back to the library to see what she can find out and Elsa volunteers to go with her (HOORAY! Elsa gets to be friends with another Disney Princess!!) (Look, I got really excited about this one, so shush). Much like David's encounter with Anna in the Enchanted Forest, Belle's meeting with Anna made quite the impression on her. Unlike David, however, Belle's experience wasn't a positive thing. And Belle, seemingly giving into her darker side, succumbs to temptation and decides she's going to use the Dark One's dagger to force Hubby Dearest to take her to the Snow Queen's lair.

(I'm sure nothing bad will come of this. Nope. Nothing at all).

Look, I've totally lost track of how many times Rumple has pulled the Switcheroo trick with Belle and the dagger - so I'm not even sure what's going on anymore. But Rumple is either genuinely under Belle's control... or he's a damn good liar (and this being Rumple - that could still go either way). But there is one thing that's for sure - I can't fault Rumple for his reaction to what Belle does. And I can't fault Belle either for the situation that she's in. Mostly, I just love seeing this side of Belle because it is so different from anything we've seen. Snow White has certainly had her moments of moral uncertainty and she's been coming back from that (there hasn't been much moral uncertainty from Princess Mayor Rainbow Lollipop lately. Like, in an entire season). But Belle - like I said earlier, the writers haven't really done a whole lot with her. So, to actually have a scene like the moment in front of the Snow Queen's mirror - where Belle's reflection is repeating all these terrible things that Belle (probably) thinks from time to time (look, we all have that negative mind chatter. Or maybe it's just me).

Rumple comes back to warn Belle that the Snow Queen is on her way and he poofs them back to the shop, but not before she tries to attack him, leaving a slight nick on his neck with the dagger. But once they're both back at the shop, Belle calms down and... sigh... this scene. Belle confesses that it's probably her fault that Anna's missing and she's trying to make it right, but in the process of doing so, she's betrayed and hurt Rumple. Oh Belle, honey - IF YOU ONLY KNEW! Except... she does know. Because mirror!Belle told her that the dagger was a fake. But that was couched in all those other terrible things mirror!Belle was saying, so she doesn't believe it. And Belle apologizes to Rumple for not trusting him and for keeping secrets. To which I say...

This is SO messed up! Given all the crap that Rumple has pulled?? And here's an opportunity for the ONLY person in Storybrooke that can effectively call him out on his stupidity - and Belle doesn't do it???

Okay, okay - Once Upon a Time likes to play the long game. I get that. But there had better be some sort of Final Reckoning coming for Rumple regarding this ridiculosity with this damn dagger. I want CONSEQUENCES, dammit!!

(on the scale of "How stable is this relationship?" Rumbelle is heading to the basement and beyond. And considering that Outlaw Queen is currently tangled up in a love triangle with a comatose human popsicle, that's pretty bad. I'll be interested to see how the writers pull this one off).

Henry Mills and the Thanksgiving Dinner of DOOM!

Going back around to last week's cliffhanger (and the character growth Emma shows in actually informing people of her past relationship with the Snow Queen - see what happens when people talk?), the mystery of What The Hell She's Up To is revealed. Ingrid's family did something to her because of her magic (three guesses what) and now she's trying to replicate her sisterly relationships by cherry-picking two people with magic and who most resemble her lost sisters. Elsa, I can understand. She's Ingrid's niece. But Emma - I just sat there going "How are they going to explain the resemblance between Emma and Helga?" (I repeat my impassioned plea from over the summer - If it turns out that Elsa is Snow White's mother's sister's cousin's former roommate or something equally as absurd, I will throw things. I don't care how many lampshading jokes you give to Hook to smooth this over - however funny that joke was - it's really getting old).

So - Ingrid's out to destroy Storybrooke by cursing everyone into hating each other, but keeping Emma and Elsa safe so they can be her new little sisters. It sounds nuts. But those are the best villain motivations, aren't they? A villain wants something - however ridiculous - and they are going to tear through any and all opposition to get that thing. And the Snow Queen is very much motivated to get her happy little family. And given who is standing against her... this will not end well. Angst is coming.

Other Things I Liked/Noticed -

- Everything Captain Swan related (who is surprised by this?). Doey eyes, quick little glances, both of them going through all of Emma's stuff from when she was with Ingrid in the foster system.

- Also - the slight reference to Killian's childhood (oh, please please please let this be a hint that we're going to see baby!Killian. I mean, we got baby!Emma last episode! I need Killian Jones' childhood - NEED IT, I tell you!!)

- Okay, I was pissed at Regina last week, but when she turns on the snark and sarcasm - I can't help but love her. I lost it at "Captain Guyliner" (Killian took it in stride, though).

- I mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating here - Killian making a quip about everybody in Storybrooke being related. I am glad the show acknowledged this phenomenon, but bonus points for Hook being the one to comment about it. Just - let's not get too carried away with all this "make everyone related to each other whether they want to be or not" thing.

- Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna. Just... Oaken himself. You know, Once Upon a Time makes such an effort to make all the fairy tale characters look and feel realistic - even if they are based on animated characters. But as far as Frozen is concerned, everybody looks like they walked out of the movie and into real life. I'm sure there's something in the agreement with Disney Animation about that, since Frozen is still so new, but it just works and I love it.

- Snow seeing the video of Emma as a teenager and being partially heartbroken and partially adoring about it. I sniffled, I won't lie.

So, now we know what the Snow Queen has planned (as incredibly creepy as it is - I mean... yeah... create your own family. Why not?) Everything looks like it's falling into place (more or less). What's next...

...oh. Oh dear.


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