This episode, there were so many times when the answer was sitting there in plain sight, but no one even thought of it! Why do these people never think to ask me for my opinion? I probably could solve at least some of their problems without breaking a sweat.
So, Henry somehow manages to track down Emma in the woods, even though the adults have been trying all night without any luck. But Emma is so scared of hurting him, her magic bursts out of her at the wrong moment, resulting in Henry getting a minor abrasion on his temple. When Henry returns to the loft and explains what happened, Elsa talks about how she’d gone through this whole situation with Anna, with how she pushed her sister away. So… why doesn’t Elsa just go and talk to Emma right then? This whole episode’s dilemma could have been avoided completely if Elsa had done that from the get go. But because she doesn’t, Emma ends up going to Gold to ask for his help in controlling her power. But WHY is she going to Gold? I know Emma has no idea he’s up to his old tricks again, but Regina was the one who'd been covering her magical training. Wouldn’t the logical move be going to your magical instructor for help? Did Emma just think Regina was still holding onto her grudge over the whole Marian thing and would therefore refuse to help out of principle? Because I’m sure Regina could have put the grudge aside long enough to help Emma out with this, especially since Henry’s safety was an issue.
Speaking of Regina, where was she during all of this? Oh, right. She was off having 'taco time' with Robin in her vault. Look, it’s real nice that you guys want to be together and all, but there’s still the matter of how Marian is a human popsicle right now. That’s not just something that’s going to go away. You’d think Regina would be smart about this, since she SAW what happened during the whole Mary Margret/David/Kathryn fiasco back in season 1, which Snow actually references in this episode. True, Regina did play a hand in making it as big a fiasco as it was, but even so. Also, who’s watching Roland? Is Belle running a babysitting gig on top of her job as town librarian? Girl, you married the richest man in town. You really don’t need extra pocket money. Plus, we get more of Regina harping on the author of Henry’s storybook, saying that the Author made it so she’ll always be seen as a villain and will therefore not give her a happy ending, even though she’s changed. Yeah, because the other heroes got their happy endings SOOOO easily. Besides, while you have been saying you’ve changed, and you’ve certainly taken steps to do so, you’ve also backslid quite a few times. It wasn’t that long ago that you trapped Sidney in the mirror and refused to let him out until you got your way. That’s not exactly the action of a hero, Regina. Hate to break it to you, but someone’s gotta call you out on your crap. Thankfully, Snow did just that in this episode by stating Regina’s happy ending ‘may not happen as quickly as you want, but if you stay the course, your happiness will come.’ Thank you, Snow. That’s EXACTLY what I’ve been saying this whole story arc. I think I can actually forgive you for how badly you’ve been handling Emma’s current struggle.
And Snow’s words of wisdom came at the perfect moment, as throughout the episode, Robin and Will have been scrounging through the town library to try and find anything that could help them figure out who wrote Henry’s book. Just as Robin is about to throw in the towel, he comes across a loose page that appears to have come from the book. Only this one featured an illustration of him and Regina together, which appears that it could have been placed at the exact point where Regina chose not to enter into the pub to meet Robin years ago. Proving the book is fallible and can be altered based on one’s choice.
Anyway, Gold convinces Emma that there’s a way he could remove her magic permanently, and Emma is so desperate, she accepts the offer without a second thought. She doesn’t even question the fact that he’s seemingly agreeing to help without asking for anything in return. Emma, think for a moment! When has Gold EVER willingly done anything for anyone without asking for something in exchange? The only times I’ve seen him do so was when Belle and Nealfirebagelperson stepped in and made him. The fact that he’s not trying to turn this into a deal should have been the warning sign. You had to have Ingrid point that out to you, but I suppose I can forgive you for refusing to listen to her reasoning, since this is the woman who has gone out of her way to make you miserable. Anyway, when Emma calls up her family to fill them in, it leads to Snow and Charming going back and forth over if Emma giving up her powers was a good thing. They ultimately decide to simply support Emma’s choice in giving up her powers, as it might be her best chance at being happy. Thankfully, there was Regina who, after a touching moment between her and Henry in which she tells him that everyone has their own unique gifts that make them special, chews Snow and Charming out for being so blasé about the whole issue and actually gets them to wise up. Snow, Charming, it’s pretty disgraceful when Regina is the one who has to call you out. In another story, it was great to see Regina actually acknowledge the fact that she wasn't a good mother to Henry during season 1, realizing how wrong she'd been to try and convince him he was crazy by putting him into therapy. Pretty good character growth going on there.
Elsa, on the other hand, decides that talk is cheap, and she decides to take matters in her own hands, stealing the locator potion Regina dropped off to try and locate Emma on her own. Thank you, Elsa! This is exactly what you should have done the instant Henry came back from his encounter with Emma. Better late than never. But again, why do they need a locator potion? Where are Ruby and Granny? I know they came over with the second curse and are still in Storybrooke. We saw them in the season 3 finale. Anyway, Elsa manages to convince Emma to not listen to Gold and keep her powers, stating that the key to controlling them isn’t just through the love for her family, but through loving herself. In the end, Emma is convinced by Elsa’s words and chooses not to go stepping into Gold’s trap, thereby escaping the fate of being trapped in the Sorcerer’s Hat. But the victory is clouded by the fact that Emma accepting her powers results in Ingrid’s ribbons appearing on Emma and Elsa’s wrists. The moment the ribbons are in place, it gives Ingrid the opportunity to cast the Curse of Shattered Sight upon all of Storybrooke.
Killian also is immediately on the alert when he finds out about Emma’s plan. After all, he’s the only one who knows Gold is still his old conniving self, and he knows about the Sorcerer’s Hat and what it can do. So he KNOWS something isn’t right, and he goes off on his own to try and save Emma. He immediately goes to Gold’s shop and realizes his suspicions were well-founded when he notices the handprint burned into the countertop. Okay, how can you not find that beyond epic? He knows instantly that that’s Emma’s handprint just by looking at it. It’s not too surprising, to be honest. How many times had he simply stared at her, taking in every inch of her appearance? He’s probably memorized every little detail about her, right down to her shoe size. Can’t decide if that’s sweet or borderline creepy, but in the context of the show, I’m going with sweet, since there’s no question that this is True Love. Anyway, after finding the handprint, he tries to call Emma on his cellphone to warn her about the Sorcerer’s Hat and confesses everything he’s been holding back from her, about how Gold’s concocting some evil scheme and blackmailed Killian into assisting him. Once again, actor Colin O’Donoghue gives an amazing performance in portraying Killian’s fear for Emma’s safety and his devastation that he might lose her for good. This guy is an incredible actor, and he was just made for this role. And the monologue he gives when his call goes straight to Emma’s voicemail is incontestable proof of how much Killian loves her. He sincerely believes that if Emma listened to his message, she’d be so angry at him for once again lying by omission, she’ll immediately end their relationship for good. Even though that’s the last thing Killian wants; even though ending the relationship would devastate him, he’s still willing to live with it if it means Emma would be safe and unscathed. Love really does mean sacrifice. Of course, after leaving his final message, Killian stumbles across the map that informs him of where Emma and Gold went off to, and he immediately heads off to the abandoned manor house to stop Gold and save Emma. Of course, when he arrives at the manor house, he’s immediately held up by Gold, who promptly restrains Killian with a garden hose. To make matters worse, Gold decides to gloat by revealing he’d intercepted Killian’s phone message and erased it before Emma could hear it. And after watching this scene, I am so done with Gold. It was bad enough with him taunting Killian about being forced to watch as Emma gets absorbed into the Sorcerers Hat. But he then had the gall, he had the audacity to bring up Milah. Way to hit below the belt, guy. Oh, but it gets even worse. When Emma ultimately decides against undergoing the action she thinks would remove her powers, which of course means Gold failed to trap Emma in the hat, he decides to taint Killian’s tangible relief by revealing what Ingrid told him last episode, about the secret ingredient for the spell to free Gold from the dagger’s influence. Turns out this ingredient is the heart of someone who knew Gold before he became the Dark One. And Killian, tragically, is the only person remaining who fits the bill. So, of course, Gold forcibly removes Killian’s heart from his chest. And because he’s a total…IDK; there’s not a strong enough word in my vocabulary, he decides that instead of killing Killian immediately, he’s going to prolong his old enemy’s suffering by utilizing the whole heart-control thing to force Killian to do his bidding. (Yeah, thanks for resurrecting your father, Nealfirebagelperson. Nice work.)
Because of Killian’s heart being taken, his reunion with Emma is also a tragic one. Even without his heart in its rightful place, Killian’s love for Emma is so great, he doesn’t need it to express his utter relief that Emma escaped Gold’s trap. At the same time, we know his extremely enthusiastic kiss, and the fact that he’s staring at Emma so hard, it prompts her to say ‘if you look at me any harder, you're gonna drill a hole in my head,’ was much more than his relief at seeing Emma unharmed. He’s completely sure that it’s only a matter of time before Gold crushes his heart and kills him. He really believes he’s going to die at any given time. Which means he’s only got a short time left with Emma, so of course he’s going to take advantage of that time to treasure every second he’s got left with her. But he also knows that he’d made a promise to Emma, that she’d never lose him the way she lost everyone else she’s been with. Because he was a survivor. But now, thanks to Gold, he’s not going to be able to keep that promise, and he knows how much that would hurt Emma. She’d already stated she couldn’t bear to lose Killian, but now, she might end up doing just that. And, because Gold obviously commanded Killian to not inform anyone about how he’d got his heart taken, Killian cannot even warn Emma. And that’s gotta be agonizing for Killian.
That one moment at the end when Emma reunites with Henry and her parents after unknowingly escaping Gold’s trap is a nice one, and it is REALLY impressive how Emma can conjure up fireworks when it’s clearly pouring rain outside. But I do question how Emma seems to show no acknowledgement or concern over the fact that Killian is no longer standing with her, especially since he was right behind her moments ago, before, most likely on Gold’s orders, he doubled back to pick up the Sorcerer’s Hat. The season 3 finale made it perfectly clear how Emma noticed his absence when she was surrounded by the rest of her family. So, why isn’t she noticing it now?
Ingrid is really getting on my nerves. I wish she came with a mute button. She’s always going on and on about how people with magic will never be accepted by others and will always be feared, But whenever she references an incident to prove her point, the incident in question was ultimately caused by Ingrid. The whole issue Emma is going through during this point in the Frozen arc only happened because Ingrid took advantage of Emma’s understandable jealousy of how her baby brother was getting the life she missed out on because of the original curse. As for the flashback subplot, the ONLY reason Anna turned on you was because you tried to kill her! And she only turned on Elsa because you placed the Curse of Shattered Sight upon her (which seemed to be a subtle nod to the original tale of the Snow Queen, with the shards of glass entering the eye). And when the town was turning on Elsa at the start of this arc, it was because you'd framed her for hurting someone. Lady, think with your brainwords! Try watching what happens if you don’t try to influence the situation. You might be shocked to see your life philosophy doesn’t hold up. I was really proud of Elsa during the flashback. She refused to let Ingrid sway her faith in Anna and chose to believe her sister over Ingrid, agreeing to help Anna trap Ingrid in the Urn again. And even when Anna was under Ingrid’s spell, she knew that Anna was not acting out of her own free will. Too bad seeing Elsa’s unwavering faith in Anna didn’t tip Ingrid off to her mistake. Maybe if she had more faith in her sisters and the bond they shared all those years ago, Ingrid's life might not have turned out the way it did. Although, this flashback does explain a few things. Like how the hat got back into the possession of the unseen Sorcerer. And how Ingrid managed to find her way into the Land Without Magic, with the scroll that prophesied Emma’s existence. So this sorcerer can just open up portals to other worlds whenever he wants? Taking that into account, he must be even stronger than Dark One Rumpelstiltskin. If so, that’s incredible. And it does make you hope he’s on the good guy’s side.