Monday, September 7, 2015

Once Upon a Time- Episode Analysis (Rocky Road)

So, now that Elsa has met up with the Nevengers, they’re now focused on figuring out what happened to Anna and how Elsa got inside the urn that was in Dark One Rumpelstiltskin’s Forbidden Vault.  They seem to hit a dead end when they go to Gold to ask him if he knows something, but he claims to be just as in the dark as they are.  To prove his words, he requests that Belle use the Dark One’s dagger to command him to be completely honest.  However, we later learn that he knew exactly what was going on, and he actually met Anna and Elsa in the past, and was able to lie because Belle was wielding a counterfeit, something that Killian catches on to right away, if his facial expression is any indication.  The thing that did have me scratching my head is how Emma didn’t pick up on Gold’s obvious lie, particularly since she even threatened to use her superpower on him, but the more I dwelled on that thought, the more it made sense to me.  I bet Emma’s superpower did alert Emma to the fact that Gold was lying.  But as far as she knew, the dagger Belle was holding was the genuine article, so she might have started second-guessing herself and decided to ignore her gut instinct when it told her that Gold was lying.  After all, we do see her admitting to Charming later on that she was feeling like the Anti-Savior lately, so  it would only make sense she would even start ignoring her superpower going off.

Things get more complicated when Marian starts to slowly turn to ice.  This happens because the mystery lady who runs the ice cream shop did something to her ice cream cone when Robin and little Roland (who is still completely precious and adorable) decided to introduce her to the frozen treat, but since no one knows about her yet, the citizens’ first thought is that Elsa is the one responsible.   My question is why Mystery Ice Cream Lady did this.  I get that she’s trying to get everyone to turn on Elsa for her own sinister reasons, but why target Marian?  Was it because she somehow knew Mariaon was there when Marshmallow was on a rampage?  Because there were other people around as well.  It wasn’t just Marian who was ‘attacked’ by Marshy.  Mystery Ice Cream Lady could have easily targeted anyone else, so why Marian?  (I know the plot demanded it played out that way, but even so.)  Anyway, they can’t figure out how to reverse the freezing, as Robin’s attempt at utilizing True Love’s Kiss failed, so Emma decides to set off to figure stuff out.  Here, she does get a little overly testy.  First, she dismisses Regina’s statement over her needing to bring backup.  I guess this could have been a bit of a bruised ego thing, since Emma is supposed to be the Savior (and she later admits that’s precisely what’s up,) but she’s also the town Sheriff, so she should know that it’s always a prudent move to have backup.  (At least she ends up having Charming accompanying her, so she wasn’t being completely unreasonable.)  Then, when Killian tries to volunteer to go with her in order to watch her back, Emma quickly turns him down, instructing him to take Elsa to the Sheriff Station instead so their new friend would be protected from any angry mob.  While it was a good idea of her to try and get Elsa hidden away somewhere safe, what annoyed me about this moment is the fact that Emma says ‘can you for once just do what I say?’  Um… Emma?  When hasn’t he done what you said?  Because Killian’s always seemed to go along with whatever you decided to do, even if he thinks it’s a bad idea.

Anyway, while searching the campsite of Robin and his followers, Emma and Charming (who also is now a sheriff and not a deputy?  I didn’t think it was possible to have two sheriffs) stumble across Will Scarlett, a former member of Robin’s band of Merry Men who I understand was a main character in the Wonderland spinoff.  (Yeah, I should really watch that, shouldn’t I?)  Will informs the pair that during the blackout the night before, he broke into the ice cream shop and discovered that, even without the power on, the ice cream wasn’t melting.  When they check it out, Emma is quick to notice that there’s no sound of coolant engines and the like, and the back room is completely frozen over.  Putting two and two together, she and Charming determine that Mystery Ice Cream Lady also has ice powers like Elsa

Meanwhile, Killian, not willing to sit back while Emma runs off into a potentially dangerous situation (it was only the other night that he almost lost Emma to the ice cave, after all), decides that instead of taking Elsa to the Sheriff Station, they’ll head off to try and find the true culprit themselves.  Their first stop is Gold’s Shop, where Killian informs Gold/Rumpelstiltskin that he knows the truth about the fake dagger and uses his knowledge of this as leverage to get Gold to help them track down who really froze Marian.  Begrudgingly, Gold casts a spell that enables Killian and Elsa to track down the person whose magic caused the issue using a sample of the magic that froze Marian.  (Also, Gold states straight out that ‘magic can change forms, but never be destroyed.’  Ha!  I was right; take THAT, Greg and Tamara!)

The spell Gold casts on the sample of Marian’s hair leads Elsa and Killian into the middle of the woods, where Mystery Ice Cream Lady is openly using her powers.  As they make their way through the woods, we get to see that Elsa is already becoming BFFs with Emma in the sense that they’re bonding over their similarities and how they both have magic they can’t always control.  So it makes sense that Elsa concludes that Emma is keeping the people she cares about, like Killian, at arm’s length because she feels that she has to carry the burden alone, because no one else can truly relate to her.  After all, that’s how Elsa claimed she sometimes felt with her sister, Anna, and how she treated Kristoff in the Arendelle Flashback.

When Elsa and Killian catch their first glimpse of Mystery Ice Cream Lady, Killian responds by pulling out his new cellphone.  Guys, Killian owns a cellphone now!  This is amazing!  It really shows he’s making an effort to become a permanent citizen of Storybrooke.  We saw a bit of it last episode, when he revealed he’d done a bit of research on modern conveniences by displaying his understanding of the purpose of the electrical poles, and his knowledge of courtship in the modern world (‘world’s largest ice bucket’).  And there was that moment back at the loft apartment when Killian knew to grab the space heater to help warm Emma immediately after the power came back on.  But the fact that he’s carrying around a cellphone really emphasizes his efforts to acclimate himself into the Land Without Magic.  Plus, it was so precious to hear him mention the ‘Emma Button.’  But it does beg the question of how many times he’s pressed that particular button prior to this scene.

Emma’s Voicemail: Hey, this is Emma. Leave a message. (Beep)
Killian: Why should I carry around this ridiculous thing if you're never there when I use it?

I’ve now got a mental image of Killian pressing his ‘Emma Button’ multiple times a day, just to hear her voice and getting frustrated over the fact that Emma doesn’t always pick up, and Emma possibly becoming a bit exasperated over Killian overusing the cellphone.

When Emma doesn’t respond to the phone call, Killian decides to go and locate Emma in person, but they are caught by Mystery Ice Cream Lady, who threatens to kill Killian with falling icicles, just so everyone would once again think Elsa was responsible for his death.  (Lady, what is your malfunction?)  Killian escapes death because of the timely arrival of Emma and Charming, with the former using her powers to knock Mystery Ice Cream Lady to the ground before shoving Killian and Charming, who was trying to break Killian’s foot out from the ice that was keeping him in place, out of harm’s way.  However, Emma’s rescue of Killian and Charming gives Mystery Ice Cream Lady to escape unnoticed.  This is obviously an issue, and not just because there’s a crazy lady on the loose.  During their confrontation, Mystery Ice Cream Lady and also told Elsa that the reason why she was in the urn was because Anna had put her there, claiming that Anna had done so because she had started to fear Elsa’s powers.  Apparently that’s Mystery Ice Cream Lady’s outlook on life- that people with magical powers will never be accepted by their loved ones, and said loved ones will only grow to fear them.  Of course, Elsa refuses to believe that Anna was the one who placed her in the urn, because her sister loved her too much to do that, but the fact remains that Elsa has no memory of how she wound up being trapped, so she has no way of knowing the truth.

The Regina supblot in this episode was short.  We see her trying to spend time with Henry, who we saw last episode refusing to let Regina push him away.  During their lunch date, Regina asks for Henry’s help in locating the person who wrote his storybook, so they can ‘ask’ the author to give Regina her happy ending.  This does set up an ongoing plotline that more or less continues through the rest of the season, but it’s set aside in this episode rather quickly so Regina can be drafted into helping figure out how to save Marian.  And I do give her credit for actually helping instead of just letting her die.  The subplot ends with Robin admitting he’s in love with Regina, but because of his vows, he has to stay loyal to Marian.  (Didn’t we see this before in season 1?  You know, with the whole Mary Margret/David/Kathryn subplot?  Really hope this isn’t an indication that the show writers are running out of ideas and are just going to recycle old plotlines.)

Because the episode cannot end without wrapping up the drama between Emma and Killian, we get a scene that sets things up for the next episode.  It starts with Emma exiting Granny’s to find Killian sitting out on the patio.  Something that’s worth noticing is that he’s sitting at the exact same table where he and Emma kissed at the end of season 3.  Perhaps it’s possible he’s worried that Emma is rethinking or regretting that kiss, and that their dating relationship is coming to an end before it could even actually begin, so he’s going back to the spot where he felt the hope that they’d finally be more than friends, just to treasure the memory of that night.  When Emma attempts to simply pass by him, with barely an acknowledgement, Killian tries to get her to let him in, remembering wheat Elsa told him earlier about how Emma might feel like she has to be alone and can’t fully trust him.  However, it’s then revealed that Elsa had misinterpreted Emma’s actions this time.  (Well, we can’t be right all the time.)  Emma announces that she does trust Killian (a complete 180 from what she said back in ‘A Curious Thing,’ which proves that it was just the fear and anger talking at that moment.)  She then explains that she was pushing away Killian out of fear, because of her track record of boyfriends keeling over (finally, someone actually verbally acknowledges that Graham existed,)  and that she wouldn’t be able to bear it if Killian met the same fate.  While Emma did have a point here, she does have to ask herself which would be worse- to never take a chance and spend the rest of her life wondering what might have been, or opening herself up, treasuring their time together and, if she ever did lose Killian, be able to revisit her memories of their shared moments?  However, Killian knows that this wouldn’t be what Emma would want to hear, which makes sense as he can fully relate to what she’s feeling.  (How many loved ones has this man lost throughout his life?)  Instead he reassures her that he’s always been very good at surviving, and it would be very hard for her to lose him before sealing his words with a very heartfelt kiss.

In the Arendelle flashback, Elsa is growing anxious over the fact that Anna hasn’t returned from her mission in the Enchanted Forest/Misthaven.  Her trepidation only gets worse when her scouts discover their old enemy, Prince Hans, is leading an army towards the castle.  Kristoff, while spying on Hans’ army, finds out Hans is seeking a magic urn that can trap people with magic.  People like Elsa.  Elsa and Kristoff set off to find the urn before Hans can, but they find out too late that Hans has followed them to the cave where the urn was hidden.  When Kristoff’s life gets threatened, Elsa ends up surrendering the urn, but when Hans tries to trap her inside it, they discover there was already someone else trapped inside.  Surprise, it’s Mystery Ice Cream Lady, who, after turning Hans into an ice statue, reveals herself as Elsa and Anna’s long-lost aunt.

The final scene in the episode shows that Gold/Rumpelstiltskin knows Mystery Ice Cream Lady (shocker!) and that Emma’s earlier suspicion that she’s somehow met Mystery Ice Cream Lady in the past as well was spot-on, as they did meet once in the past.  Meaning something made Emma forget a certain moment in her past.

Really disappointed with the people of Storybrooke over how quickly they blame Elsa for Marian’s freezing issue.  Yes, they didn’t know about Mystery Ice Cream Lady at the moment, but think about how many times they’ve started pointing fingers and then having it turn out that someone else was to blame.  Let’s recap how many times this has happened throughout the show.  In season 1, when the original curse was still in effect, the whole town all suspected Mary Margret had killed Kathryn, and it turned out Kathryn wasn’t dead at all.  In season 2, not only did we have the whole debacle of how Cora had Regina framed for Archie/Jiminy’s apparent death (when Archie was, like Kathryn, simply being kept prisoner somewhere) but we also had King George/Albert Spencer murder Billy/Gus the Mouse, who then tried to pin the murder on Ruby/Red.  And then in season 3, when the Dark Curse was cast again, everyone was awfully quick to accuse Regina when it was later revealed that the curse was cast by Snow and Charming this time around.  By now, you’d think the people of Storybrooke would have learned their lesson about jumping to conclusions.  As for you Snow?  I get you’re a bit antsy over being a parent, and are probably having some issues with being away from your new son for even a second because of what happened with Emma.  But come on.  The moment when you were struggling with putting the stroller in the car?  You could have dropped Baby Neal then.  It’s okay to set the baby down for five seconds, and, as was the case with the stroller thing, it can actually be beneficial to the baby’s wellbeing.  Thankfully, we had Archie to offer some free advice to Snow, so hopefully she’ll take it to heart.  (Although, he could have offered to hold Baby Neal for a brief moment, too, but oh well.)

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