Friday, September 11, 2015

Once Upon a Time Episode Analysis (Snow Queen)

Okay, where did this episode come from!?  Out of nowhere, we got Emma feeling like her family can’t accept her because she’s got magic.  Was there ever any indication of that before this episode?  Did we ever see anyone having a problem with Emma’s magic beforehand?  While I still love the show, it does bug me a bit that they pull this plot point out of nowhere for the sake of the story arc.

It starts with Emma practicing a spell that could help neutralize Ingrid powers so they can capture her, but she has to leave early to babysit Baby Neal.  But upon arriving at the town’s Baby-and-Me class, which is run by Ashley/Ella and also includes Aurora and her newborn son (they aparently named him after his father), Emma starts to feel a bit jealous upon seeing how her baby brother is getting a life she was denied.  I suppose this makes sense.  Even though she seems to have made peace with how she missed out on having a good childhood, as Killian said last episode, ‘wounds that are made when we're young tend to linger.’  Because Emma’s magic is connected to her emotions, she briefly loses control, but is able to rein it back in when she becomes aware of it.  That doesn’t stop Snow from essentially giving Emma the cold shoulder by refusing to allow Emma to hold Baby Neal.  Nice work, Snow.  But that’s nothing compared to what happens later.  When they do capture Ingrid, the Snow Queen manages to get into Emma’s head, feeding on her family-related insecurities.  (So much for following your own advice about not letting your emotions cloud your judgement, but oh well.)  In the end, Emma loses her temper and inadvertently blasts a hole through the wall of the Sheriff Station.  This results in Emma getting so scared of her magic possibly hurting someone, she ends up causing a chain reaction that results in a lamp pole falling.  The lamp pole very nearly ends up hitting Killian, who was so focused on Emma, he didn’t notice the danger until Charming pushes him out of the way, getting hit himself in the process.  Charming doesn’t get seriously hurt, mind you.  I don’t think he got anything worse than a sizable bruise on his arm.  But that doesn’t stop Snow from angrily rebuking Emma. 

Okay, Snow, what’s with you today?!  You SAW it was an accident.  Emma didn’t cause that light pole to fall on purpose, and before your angry rebuke, Emma was coming over to see if Charming was okay.  I swear, Snow’s been acting so out of character this whole episode, and it really irks me.   Someone once theorized that when Snow had her heart split into two in order to bring Charming back to life after his own heart was crushed upon enacting the second Dark Curse, Snow ended up getting the half that had the dark spot.  I suppose that’s a good explanation for her iffy behavior in this episode.  And to her credit, she does realize her error immediately and is apologetic, but it’s too late, as Emma’s already taken that one errant word to heart and ran off, because she now believes Ingrid’s verbal poison.

Now the thing is, prior to this episode, when has anyone looked at Emma differently?  Because the impression I always got was that everyone was supportive of Emma’s magic.  Even in this context of the episode, the only one who seemed to have an issue with it was Snow.  But I guess for Emma, her mother’s approval meant a lot to her.  And Mary Margret was the first person Emma connected to when she came to Storybrooke, apart from Henry.  Even so, everyone else was solely focused on trying to help Emma when she lost control.   And that is particularly true when it comes to Killian.  Not only has he vehemently praised Emma’s magic in the past, just look at him in this episode.  When Emma’s starting to lose control, his sole focus is on her.  So much so, he doesn’t notice the lamp pole about to fall on him until Charming pushes him out of the way.  And even after seeing that Charming got hurt and knowing that could have been him; he STILL reaches out for Emma when she runs off.  Although, that does make me a bit miffed at Snow’s ‘we failed her today.’  Hate to break it to you, Snow, but from what I saw, only you failed her.  You’re the only one who expressed fear of Emma at that crucial moment.  Everyone else seemed to simply be concerned for Emma.  (Still, I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. Since the second half of season 2, Snow and Charming had a tendency to annoy me at least once a story arc.  So, this might as well be their opportunity to do so in the Frozen arc.)

It’s such a shame that Emma allowed her mother’s shameful response to the Lamp Pole incident add fuel to the verbal poison Ingrid filled her head with.  It was enough to make her forget about the obvious counterarguments to Ingrid’s philosophy.    Emma’s not the only one with magic in Storybrooke.  Regina has magic, and no one is ostracizing her for it, are they?  Same goes for Elsa.  There goes your ‘they’ll never accept your magic’ argument, Ingrid.  All the same, there is an interesting parallel going on between this episode and ‘The Apprentice.’  This episode, Ingrid is trying to feed on Emma’s insecurities in order to sway her into seeing things her way.  At first, Emma insists that Ingrid won’t get to her, but despite this level of confidence, Ingrid knows exactly what buttons to push to get under Emma’s skin.  In the end, Ingrid’s words place that seed of doubt which takes root when Emma’s lost temper sets off uncontrolled bouts of magic, resulting in Emma to believe what Ingrid said.  Back in ‘The Apprentice,’ we had Gold telling Killian his left hand had a curse upon it that could get him to resort to his old habits again.  Killian simply waves it off, fully confident that Gold was just spouting off at the mouth in order to get to him.  But when Killian responds violently to Will’s behavior and then to Gold’s manipulative ways, Killian starts to lose that earlier confidence, allowing Gold to get under his skin.  As if we needed another example of how Emma and Killian mirror each other.

As for Ingrid, she is really messed up in the head.  Her backstory, which is fully explored in this episode, does explain her malfunction a bit, but even then, it still makes me facepalm.  So, Ingrid’s power manifested itself when she and her sisters were young, when her ice powers inadvertently did away with a man who was trying to kidnap the three girls for ransom money.  But because of their sisterly love, Helga and Gerda aren’t bothered by Ingrid’s ice powers in the slightest.  In fact, they're almost acting a bit too cool about it.  If my sister suddenly started displaying magic out of nowhere, I'd be all 'whoa!' and would need a second or two for the shock (not fear, but shock) to subside.  Regardless, they promise to always be there for each other.  This doesn’t change until the sisters have grown up.  Ingrid is still fearful of accidentally harming someone and seriously considers running away.  Of course, Helga and Gerda refuse to let their sister leave, and they decide to visit Dark One Rumpelstiltskin for a way to help control Ingrid’s power.  Which begs the question why people keep going to him.  Yeah, I get he’s powerful, but come on.  If he’s that well known to have his name be recognized in other kingdoms, surely there would be enough people saying ‘No!  Not worth the risk!  Keep away!’  Anyway, Dark One Rumple insists Ingrid has exactly what she needs to control her powers- the love of her sisters.  But that’s apparently not good enough for Ingrid, who insists on choosing the ‘fail-safe’ option.  Namely the Urn and a pair of blue gloves (which I guess are the same gloves Elsa was given in the movie).   Flash-forward an undetermined amount of time, when Ingrid accidentally reveals her powers to Helga’s suitor, none other than the Duke of Weselton, when he revealed himself as a cad, and when the Duke continued to insult Ingrid despite Helga’s attempts to defend her sister, Ingrid lashed out in anger.  Tragically, the Duke used Helga as a human shield, which resulted in Helga’s death.  Upon stumbling across the scene, Gerda reacted negatively and trapped Ingrid in the Urn.  While this was painful to witness, I just can’t help but think that this could have been avoided if Ingrid hadn’t rejected the symbol of their sisterly bond and given up the yellow ribbons the sisters had always worn around their wrists in order to obtain the ‘fail-safe’ options.  That showed that Ingrid didn’t have enough faith in the love between her and her sisters.  So in a way, she was the one who broke their oath first.

Besides, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was more truth to Dark One Rumpelstiltskin’s ‘with enough love, ordinary objects can come to possess their own special kind of magic’ then he was letting on.  I suspect that when Ingrid rejected the symbol of the love between her and her sisters, it resulted in the strength of their sisterly love to weaken, which made it possible for Gerda to ultimately reject her oldest sister after Helga’s tragic death.  Actions do have consequences, after all.

So I do sorta get why Ingrid feels that people with magic will always be rejected by their families, but come on.  She SAW everyone trying to stop Emma from running off.  She SAW them wanting to help her, not reject her.  You’d think that would have tipped her off that her life outlook wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.

And I have one more grievance about this whole debacle.  After Lamp Pole-Gate, Charming, Elsa and Killian return to the loft apartment stating they’ve had no luck finding Emma, because apparently, Storybrooke is bigger than we’ve been led to believe.  Okay.  Um… guys?  Have you forgotten Ruby and Granny?  They have the Wolf Senses, remember?  They can track people down with just their scent.  And I’m fairly certain they’ve memorized Emma’s scent by now, meaning they’d have no problem tracking her down.  So why not just ask them to help find Emma?  Just saying.  (Come to think of it, have we even seen them this season yet?  Where are they?)

On the plus side, we did get a great moment from Belle when they come across Ingrid mirror.  When she sees Killian looking into it, she is very quick to step in to stop him.  She is just so fearful of him falling prey to the evil mirror’s influence, which is sweet.  It indicates she’s forgiven him for their less than favorable past encounters, which is great.  Of course, the mirror that Ingrid placed in the clock tower was just a decoy and not the real mirror, and it’s the realization of that fact that’s what tips everyone off that Ingrid got herself captured on purpose so she could work her way into Emma’s head.  What I’m curious about is what Killian would have seen if he HAD been looking into the real mirror.  It’s no secret that he’s got a list of insecurities a mile long, so there’s no way he’d be completely immune to the evil mirror’s influence.

So, that’s the main chunk of the episode out of the way.  Now on to the Robin/Regina subplot.  Even though Regina has been insisting that Robin forget about her and figure out how to fall in love with Marian again, he’s still in a funk.  Until his reunion with Will Scarlett, where you get the impression they didn’t part under favorable circumstances.  (Note to self- find out where I can watch the Wonderland spin off.)  They end up talking over drinks, even though Robin has CLEARLY had enough (couldn’t even come close to hitting the dartboard.  Graham and Killian would be so disappointed).  In the end, Will gives Robin an unintentional pep talk about fighting for true love and all that jazz.  That results in Robin deciding to put aside being an honorable man for once and he returns to Regina’s vault, where they engage in a complete lip-lock.  (Again, I’m getting season 1 David and Mary Margret vibes here.)

Before this analysis ends, I should mention the final scene with Gold and Ingrid.  Ingrid comes into Gold’s shop, asking for her childhood ribbons back.  In exchange, she gives Gold some information regarding his plans to free himself from the dagger’s control.  Apparently, possessing the magic-filled hat is not enough.  He needs an additional ingredient.  How’d she figure this out?  Not a clue.  She says it’s because she’s had the Sorcerer’s Hat in her possession for quite some time, but I don’t think I can accept that answer.  Anyway, Ingrid whispers what this mystery ingredient is, and Gold seems to REALLY like what he hears.  Yeah, because that’s not foreboding at all.

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