Monday, December 8, 2014

The Fears That Once Controlled Me

Review/Recap of Once Upon a Time 4.10 Shattered Sight - Spoilers!

First off all - I need this version of "Let It Go" here. Yes, I know it's not as good as the Idina Menzel version, but somehow I feel like this one fits with this episode of Once Upon a Time. Especially some of the lyrics that are in the pop version that aren't in the movie -

Last summer, I wrote a blog post (before I knew what the Frozen story arc was going to be about) comparing and contrasting a lot of the Once Upon a Time "villains" and why I thought Elsa would be a perfect fit in this overall story of those past feeling coming back for their redemption. Well, now that Once's retelling of The Snow Queen is complete, I almost want to rewrite that post, but instead of focusing on Elsa, make it about Ingrid.

Before I get to that, I've got to talk about sisters (and I hope to heaven my own sisters don't read this because I'm probably going to be rather embarrassing towards all of them). Lately, Once has been hitting a lot of sensitive nerves for me. To be honest, it's probably in the same way that Frozen hit those same (yet wholly different) nerves as well. I've had some interesting experiences with this season - mostly around my youngest sister. I'm not particularly close with any of my sisters. It's just a matter of fact - we all have our different lives and interests and very few of them overlap. Except my youngest sister and I started watching Once Upon a Time totally on our own and for different reasons. It was kind of an odd - but good - moment when we both realized that we were both watching this show and we liked a lot of the same characters (we're both huge Hook fangirls). So, here was something that we both could enjoy together (even though we live in different cities - but we both know what the other is doing on Sunday nights). When Season 4 started, we made it a bit of tradition to text each other and talk about what we liked about the episode and what we thought was going to happen next time - sometimes these conversations last throughout the week (the week after "Smash the Mirror" - that discussion lasted well into Wednesday). My point is - I've been glad to have something to share with at least one of my sisters. And it's opened up our relationship to the point where we can talk about other things we like and we're kind of rediscovering that whole "sisterly bond" thing that I kind of missed out on for... reasons.

So, I guess when you've got a villain who's only a villain because she's trying to recreate a relationship with new sisters because she lost hers early on - I'm going to respond to that in a bit of an emotional way.

I have completely loved The Snow Queen arc this season (which, marketing and hype aside, that's really what this storyline has been about). I love how Ingrid's journey has been paralleled with Emma's and I love how Emma's journey has been paralleled with the movie Frozen. I love how it all came together in this episode - in a way that I probably should have seen coming, but I didn't realize that it would happen like that until Anna read her mother's final letter to her and Elsa (and, in some way, the letter was also written to Ingrid).

I'll start at the end and work my way back. I positively bawled when Ingrid heard Gerda's letter and realized that she'd made a huge mistake in using the Spell of Shattered Sight. It speaks to Ingrid's moral strength that, instead of continuing to blame her sister and milk that victim card for all it's worth, Ingrid immediately takes responsibility for her actions and works to correct what she's done. In a season where Regina is still holding onto that decades-old hurt and betrayal and Rumple is out for power and world domination, it's interesting that we have a villain who is only a villain because she is seeking for the kind of love she once had and lost. And, upon realizing she never really lost that love at all, she does a complete 180. She even points out the goodness and love that she felt for the people she met along the way - Emma, Elsa, and even Anna. If we had longer with the Frozen characters, I would guess that Ingrid would have a very similar character arc to Hook - who is another character who is motivated by love and whose actions are guided by losing and finding love over and over again.

One of my favorite lines in Frozen (Source)
I'm continually blown away by how complex these stories and characters are. This may seem like a simple show about fairy tales and magic and happy endings - and those elements are certainly important in bringing in an audience. I love how the writers use one plot to tell multiple stories - we've had the running theme of Frozen (and The Snow Queen) and from that one story, they've built upon the mythos of all the other characters in Once Upon a Time. Just to show one example (and it's the most obvious one) - Emma Swan got her traditional "Happily Ever After" at the end of Season 3. But the writers went even further to show how, even though she's found her family and true love, that's not the end of her story. Because she's found happiness before, but it's been taken away through circumstances beyond her control (and some that were somewhat within her control - as shown in the flashback to her days in the foster system). But this season - she's done running. She's done being scared. Even when she had the most reason to be afraid, she looked for a solution that would make her safe for people to be around her (she didn't know that solution was actually going to kill her, but it's been well-established that Rumple's an ass). Emma Swan is done running away. She is in Storybrooke for good - and she is going to do everything she can to protect her new home and the people she loves.

I feel like I could go on and on in circles about this episode (and, considering the number of paragraphs I've deleted and rewritten, I think I have). If I had one complaint about this episode, it's that I feel like there was a lot more story to tell. But at the same time, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. I think that I enjoyed Ingrid as a character so much that I would love to have as much backstory on her as we've gotten on someone like Regina or Rumple. I'll be honest - I'm kind of feeling a little burned out on those two characters. I'm ready to follow somebody new. At least, as far as flashbacks are concerned. This season hasn't been as bad as Season 3A was with Rumple - and the Frozen characters have helped to mix it up a little bit. But how many second chances do these two get before they are past redemption. Especially Rumple (but he may be getting his comeuppance next week? I hope? Please???)

Other Things I Liked/Noticed

- There wasn't a whole lot of Captain Swan interaction in this episode (which, given where they left off last time, it makes sense). But there were a couple little lines thrown in there just to remind us - yes, Emma and Killian are very much together. Regardless of how cursed!Henry feels about it.

- I adored Killian's little goofy smile when Henry referred to him and Emma as being "together." I mean, obviously they're together - but it's probably nice for Killian to hear it from someone else.

- Along those lines - Will Scarlet is never going to get the better of Killian Jones. That's just a fact that everyone is going to have to come to terms with (but he's welcome to continue trying. It amuses me).

- Considering how scared and angst-filled everyone was last week when Shattered Sight was closing in on Storybrooke, the actual result of the curse hitting the town was pretty hilarious. No more so evident than in the sheriff's station where Snow, Charming, and Kristoff are all bickering with each other and poor Anna is trying to maintain the peace and keep Baby Baelfire safe (even though she admits that Kristoff's words are pretty hurtful, even though she knows he doesn't mean it).

- When Emma and Elsa figure out that the only way to remove the Snow Queen's ribbons is with an equal amount of hatred, Emma goes directly to Regina. It's funny in a really sad way - but it's still funny.

- Ingrid hid the memory stones in the carrot sherbet. Honestly, the humor in Once continues to be a delight to my soul.

"There is no version of this where you come out on top."

Feels like we waited so long for this season, and now this half of it is coming to an end (stupid hiatuses!) And I've got to talk about Rumplestiltskin and his plans to separate himself from the dagger and become the Head Cheese in Charge of the World. But first, I'm going to let another Disney property speechify on how this whole this is going to go down -

At this point, Rumple is in all kinds of hot water. His plans hinged upon everyone in Storybrooke being too preoccupied with Shattered Sight and the Snow Queen keeping Emma and Elsa prisoner in town. Now that Ingrid is gone and the curse is broken - how in the hell does he expect to get out of there unnoticed? I can think of three possible scenarios -

Worst Case: Rumple is successful in skipping town. He kills Killian and leaves him for dead near the town line, likely to be found at some point because Emma's going to notice that he's not where he should be. Somehow, the manner of his death is discovered and they figure out that Rumple and Belle are also missing. Emma isn't limited by the town line, so she could very well take off after the rat bastard - with all manner of righteous indignation and the fury of true love lost bearing down on Rumple's head. Savior magic trumps anything that Rumple can come up with and Emma is hell-bent on destroying the piece of shit that killed her pirate (this scenario is all kinds of unlikely because there is no way that the creators are going to kill off one of the more popular characters on the show).

Best Case: Rumple is in a mad rush to get out of town before anyone notices that he's Up To Something. Mistakes are made in haste and Killian sees an opportunity to warn Emma and the Charmings of Rumple's plans. Showdown at the Town Line at High Noon (Will Scarlet's selling tickets).

Even Better Case: Belle overhears something and FINALLY cottons on that her hubby dearest is a piece of garbage and calls him out on his crap. Rumple folds like a deck of cards because his asshattery has been discovered by the one and only person he gives a crap about and he's left with absolutely nothing.

Bonus Round: When Rumple goes to use the hat to separate himself from the dagger, it turns out he's made a severe miscalculation in what the hat is actually meant to do and everything goes "EXPLODEY!" Everyone that the hat has collected is released, very much alive and very much well (the Apprentice, the fairies, probably the Sorcerer, anyone else Eddy and Adam want to throw into the mix - Maleficent, Ursula, Cruella - just to set up Season 4B), and they all proceed to wail on Rumple's ass. That douchey little attache case gets found at the scene and Emma returns Killian's heart to him and we have a happy little cliffhanger until March (the Dark Queen triumvirate is left to plot and scheme and whatever, but that's coming up).

That's what I've got. Rumple is done. He's had it. He can talk a big game and strut around like he owns the place (which, I suppose he does), but this time he's bitten off more than he can chew. And it's probably not even going to be Emma or Regina or anyone else that brings him down. It's going to be his own ego and hubris that (to borrow an overused phrase from Season 3 that just about had me screaming for the hills last year) will be his undoing. All I can say is it's about bloody time.

And here's the promo for next week. And then we're done. And then we wait.

(even more Rumple backstory... *le sigh* All right - let's do this thing)

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