Once Upon A Time – Season 4, Episode 7 Recap: Family, Schmamily

We begin this week’s tale in the lovely Austrian Alps Arendelle where we see the Von Trapps Anna and Elsa’s maternal family skipping idyllically (is that a word? Yeah. I just checked and it is) through the green meadows, over the hills and under a kite, holding hands and obviously bestest sisters forever.

A very bad man comes  of nowhere, having obviously used the previously idyllic kite to lure them, tries to grab all three (even though there’s no way he could with two arms) and Ingrid (whom we all remember is our Snow Queen) freezes the everloving crap out of a single tree branch that he hesitates under conveniently and ends up smushed because of it.

Ingrid is slightly taken aback by it, but her sisters are like “It’s chill, babe. Whatever.” and they all share cheap, dime store ribbons that they obviously bought at a convenience store at the foot of the mountain and conveniently had on hand and with them, they reaffirm how happily they’ve got each other’s backs before they perform an intricately choreographed number to exit the scene.

This segues over to our now-grown and creepily evil Snow Queen, climbing the clocktower and dramatically frosting a mirror. Which is better than grabbing a high-powered rifle and picking people off, but still somehow as ominous.

Back in Regina’s formerly evil lair that apparently everyone in town knows how to get into, Robin stops by to show off his acting chops and emotionally eviscerate us in the process. Thanks for that, writers. Yeesh.

Belle, meanwhile, has discovered a spell in Elvish that can take the Snow Queen’s powers and gives it to Emma who practices with her new buddy Elsa, with limited success. This is twice now we’ve been specifically shown spells written in Elvish. This cannot be coincidence, because there’s just no such thing in this universe and we all know it. So when do we get our Elves? And I’m talking Orlando Bloom, writers, not Keebler, okay? Or maybe Evangeline Lilly? I’ve been binge-watching Lost for a few weeks now and Evangeline Lilly most definitely gives me a Ladyboner, and I’m generally not into chicks. So, here’s hoping.

Emma, fresh off her magical defeat, shows up at Snow’s MommyBonding group where we see all the little princes and princesses – which prompted this week’s funniest damn Tweet in the history of ever:

Emma gets ticked off when Snow accidentally forgets she had a baby before this one and her magic boils the baby bottle in her hand. Snow understandably feels a little uncomfortable about handing baby Neal over to a person with scalding palms, and looks at Emma like she’s got three heads when she’s never, ever looked at anyone with magic that way, let alone her own daughter. Hormones? Plot convenience? Who knows, but I don’t like it.

We’re saved from hearing her explain it when the Snow Queen is spotted in the clocktower by David, who figured out that an ice trail probably means it’s her. He’s a sharp cookie, that David. He even noted that the trail went up, but not down, and I’m not sure how when we’re talking about a sheet of ice, here and not footprints in the dust that point a certain direction – but what do I know? Emma and company rush up the stairs, Emma activates the candle with her magic, blows on it, and the Snow Queen conveniently waits with her arms aloft until magical chains tie them down, not even bothering to fight it, and nobody’s terribly suspicious of this for some reason.

And now we’re off to Arendelle, where the sisters are all grown up and explain that it’s Daddy’s seventieth birthday, so we can all understand why the Snow Queen is suddenly forty-something and still sharing a room with her sisters. Ingrid lets them know she won’t be attending the festivities since she’s pretty much a recluse these days, and off the other two go.

Expendable sis decides to dance with a duke who looks like a middle-schooler with a fake mustache, and thank goodness, they have the Pompous Oompah Orchestra to play them off. Once the dude starts dancing, it’s clear he’s from Weaseltown Weselton, which is a wonderful callout that actually made me chuckle. Good on ya, writers!

Finally! Some Henry and Regina, and then they go and ruin it by making her say “Let it go.” *grumble* But I do think it’s hella cool that Rumple makes Henry dress to the nines for menial labor. He’s all about style, that man.

We quickly flash over to the Snow Queen’s magnificent rack (c’mon…that was an utterly gratuitous shot and you know it) for some more Arendelle backstory and oh look! The girls are all still wearing their ribbons tied around their wrists. ‘Cause grown women do that, you know. Even if they clash with their ballgowns.

Gerda lets them know that she knows of a powerful sorcerer who can help and oh, my goodness me, whoever can it be?

Is there anyone anywhere in any realm who hasn’t met Rumpelstiltskin? Honestly? It’s getting a little overworked, doncha think?

And speaking of gratuitous, we get a nice, long shot of Hook admiring himself in a mirror (covering all the bases with the gratuitous shots), Belle rushes in and warns them not to look in the damn mirror, and realizes it’s a fake because all we can see is how gorgeous Hook is. David realizes that the mirror being fake means the Snow Queen set them up, and is once again, the smartest person in the room for the second week in a row. Who’d’ve thunk?

The confederacy of dunces race down to the Sheriff’s office, where the Snow Queen freezes the doors shut and leaves them completely bamboozled.

And now back to Storybrooke where we see – yes! Robin Hood with the Magical Dartboard of Unwavering Hotitude!!!  Can I call it, or what? We have a warm, fuzzy bromance moment between Robin and Will Scarlet that fills in those of us who never bothered with Once Upon A Time in Wonderland and are possibly reconsidering it for their Netflix queue, and Will reminds Robin about all the he loved about Marian and how much true love is worth fighting for. We close-up on Robin’s angsty face and wonder which true love he’s going to regain his gumption over. And I must point out that this scene gave us what I consider to be the winning line for the episode, courtesy of Will Scarlet:

“If you find someone you love enough to ruin your entire life for, it’s always worth it.”

[DISCLAIMER: That sounds terribly romantic, but in reality is a totally lousy idea. If it’s really love, you shouldn’t have to wreck your life for it. Ever.]

Meanwhile, back at the family business – oh, wait – that was last week’s title, sorry – Henry is still using that crap broom on the floors but he’s owning that suit and now wants magic. Rumple throws out a great little quip and tells Henry not to touch anything he shouldn’t, which is probably three-fourths of the damn shop, especially the creepy puppets. Is it just me, or do those things seriously skeeve everyone out?

In troops the Bumble Squad, begging Rumple for help and he reluctantly agrees. Hook gets one steely-eyed moment to remark that The Dark One obviously has a history with the Snow Queen, setting up the next scene where we’re introduced to the backstory, the urn, and the reason for the tacky wrist ribbons of sisterhood.

Back to the Sheriff’s office, where Emma is letting the Snow Queen interrogate her in the interrogation room, which is definitely not the Emma Swan I know, being played like that. This pisses Emma off and she blows out a wall, freeing the Snow Queen and leaving her feeling like a freak of nature. I gotta wonder if Emma’s PMSing this week or something. She doesn’t lose her cool like this, especially with a perp. It’s just kind of…I don’t know…jarring?

To make matters worse, she loses her shit again and throws a lamppost down on dear old Dad, who threw himself into the path of the lamppost to show that he and Hook still have the best bromance on the show despite Robin Hood and Will Scarlet’s tender moments. This causes Snow to snap at Emma – and really, it’s not an over-exaggerated Mom moment – hasn’t everyone accidentally nailed Dad in the ‘nads at some point in their young lives with a football or an elbow and gotten the Mom glare for it?  I’ve given my daughter that exact tone of voice for it, too. Of course, now that Daddy is Mommy’s ex-husband, I’d probably pay my daughter to sock him with a softball now. (Wait – did I type that out loud?) But Snow’s rebuke just reinforces Emma’s feeling that she’s a freak, and Hook inadvertently calling her a monster didn’t help.

Oh no, he di-int!

I’m betting if Emma showed Hook that steamy, glowing hand, he’d be mildly intrigued and offer to put it to good use – or am I thinking of Season 2 and 3 Hook? Season 4 Hook does a lot of crossword puzzles, plays Mahjong and crochets doilies or something. He’s definitely not much on making time with anyone this season. It’s like they’ve decommissioned his saucy eyebrows or something, and that makes me sad. Very, very sad.

Not as sad as our Snow Queen, though, who we see in an Arendelle flashback, accidentally icing her sister into 1/3 of a margarita after missing the Duke of Weaselton. Bummer. She’s devastated, of course, but I’ve got to wonder why the hell she didn’t just kiss her sis or something. She loved her, right? Didn’t that bring Anna back in the movie? What am I missing? But hey, at least we have the gazebo again this week. We do love that gazebo.

Back to Storybrooke and Regina’s vault with the revolving door, where we finally get some damn romance in this place. It ain’t Hook and Emma, but I don’t care, I love my Outlaw Queen just as much, and this scene is beautiful. I’ll just sit here in a puddle of oozy feelings for a moment.

And now we rejoin the bumblers, who’ve all suddenly realized how intolerant, bigoted and generally horrible they all are where Emma is concerned, and they can’t seem to find her despite the fact that she’s in an excruciatingly small town sitting in a bright yellow bug.

Meanwhile, back at the gazebo, Gerda discovers what Ingrid did and it turns out she’s the one who stuffed the Snow Queen into the urn. Luckily, there’s enough in the CGI budget this week for her to visit the rock trolls, and Grandpabbie warns her that making the whole damn world forget your sister may be the essence of plot convenience, but it comes with a price.

And we end the episode in Mr. Gold’s shop, where he makes a deal with the Snow Queen – her ribbons for a secret that will give him power over the whole freaking world if he leaves Storybrooke to her (she assures him, breathily – she does a lot of stuff breathily). She whispers, he smiles, and he makes a remark about doing whatever it is he has to do with great relish. And if it involves great relish, I get an deep-seated, horrible sense of foreboding for a one-handed man with formerly saucy eyebrows.

What the hell are you doing to me, writers?

I’m going with 4 hooks out of 5 on this one.

I was intrigued, despite the serious lack of Captain Swan. There was some great angst and good exposition, despite the gratuitous gazebo and the overuse of the word gratuitous in this review.

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