New Show Recap

New Show Recap: Once Upon a Time, Episode 4×01: “A Tale of Two Sisters”

Hello, all! It’s time for the tweetcap of episode one of Season Four of Once Upon a Time. This episode picks up moments from the end of season three, which heralded the arrival of Elsa from Frozen and the beginning of a much-hyped story arc.

The episode begins with a storm at sea which is certain to wreck the ship upon which Elsa’s and Anna’s parents are traveling. The queen of Arendelle quickly pens a note for her daughters and puts it in a bottle, tossing the bottle out to sea in hopes that her message might reach them. The king and queen perish in the shipwreck, and Elsa and Anna are shown at their gravesites in Arendelle five years later.

Cut back to Storybrooke, and Elsa, freed from her prison in a stone jar, makes her way to Storybrooke. During all of this, there’s some drama unfolding among the citizens of the town itself. Hook and Emma, freshly returned from their trip back in time to the Enchanted Forest, have brought someone back with them: Marian, the wife of Robin Hood, who had been executed at Regina’s orders. Regina, who has worked so hard to redeem herself and become a better person, sees all hopes of happiness with Robin Hood, her true love, dashed away at Marian’s return. Marian, of course, doesn’t understand what’s going on, and still thinks Regina is still as evil as she used to be. Even though Emma apologizes profusely to Regina, Regina does not accept it, explaining that somehow, the Charmings always seem to mess up her life even though they don’t mean to. I guess the Emma, like her parents, hasn’t yet figured out that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Meanwhile, Grumpy and Sleepy are on their way home from the party, and Sleepy conks out while driving. Grumpy takes the wheel, honking furiously as the car careens toward Elsa. Elsa uses her magic to freeze the car in its spot and then continues on her way. She arrives in town and sees a dress in a shop window. We again flash back to Elsa and Anna inĀ Arendelle, and Elsa has a surprise for Anna: their mother’s wedding dress, which is an exact match to the dress in the shop window. While Anna is trying on the dress, Elsa discovers her mother’s diary and reads it. She exclaims to her sister that their parents’ deaths were all her fault.

A newly married Belle and Rumpel visit the grave of Rumpel’s son, Neal. Don’t even get me started on how much of a hot dysfunctional mess this relationship is. Rumpel retrieves the real dagger so he can switch it out with the fake one he gave Belle so she will actually have in her keeping the one thing that could destroy him. He promises Neal that he will be a better man and live a better life with Belle at his side.

Robin visits Regina at her house and tells her that while he loves her and wanted to build a future with her, he needs to remain with Marian and honor with marriage vows, for without adhering to his code as a thief, he would be nothing. He tells Regina that like her, he had lived a bad life and had redeemed himself, and that he has faith that she will remain a good person. Regina, saddened by all of this, loses control of herself for a moment and breaks a mirror with the force of her magic. She then gets the idea to retrieve Sid, who had been her magic mirror in the Enchanted Forest and who has been held in a mental ward during all this time. Regina asks for his assistance in ridding herself of Marian.

Belle and Rumpel come upon a deserted mansion that may have been created by Regina’s original spell that built Storybrooke, and they decide to honeymoon there. Rumpel surreptitiously switches the false dagger in Belle’s bag for the real one before pulling her into a dance eerily like the one in Beauty and the Beast.

Hook confronts Emma after their kiss and asks her if she has been avoiding him. Emma admits she hasn’t really been avoiding him, but using the current so-called crisis as a way to distract herself from dealing with her budding feelings for Hook. Grumpy interrupts them with the news that the town is under attack by something that has the magical ability to manipulate ice. They follow Elsa’s ice trail to the warehouses at the docks, and a frightened Elsa conceals herself there, creating an ice monster to keep the denizens of Storybrooke away from her. While in the warehouse, she sees a stray newspaper on the floor featuring Rumpel’s marriage to Belle as front page news. It’s clear that she may seek out Rumpel.

In the flashback, Elsa discovers that, per her mother’s diary, her parents had gone to see if they could find a cure for Elsa. Elsa blames herself and believes that her parents were afraid of her. Anna insists on going to see the trolls for answers to their questions. They discover that their parents were asking questions about a land called Misthaven. Anna insists that she go to find answers, but Elsa cautions her that it isn’t a good idea, since Anna is due to marry Kristoff the next day and Hans and his twelve angry brothers could attack the kingdom. We later see Elsa looking for Anna, and she ventures into the stable where Kristoff is feeding Sven. Kristoff eventually reveals to Elsa that Anna has left for Misthaven.

In the mausoleum, Regina imprisons Sidney in the mirror again so that she can see what exactly happened with Marian. It turns out she had ordered Marian’s death when Marian had refused to reveal Snow White’s whereabouts. Regina decides that she will need to go back in time to the moment before Emma and Hook arrived so that she might undo what they brought about and kill Marian.

The snow monster is headed for the forest where Robin and Marian are encamped. Hook, Emma, and Charming are right on its tail, but they, along with Robin Hood, are knocked unconscious by the snow creature. Marian tries to shoot the creature with an arrow, but the creature deflects it and knocks her to the ground as well. It’s revealed that Regina has been watching the while scene unfold nearby, and Marian sees Regina and begs her to save them. As the snow creature prepares to step on Marian, Regina uses her magic to destroy it and saves Marian’s life. Marian’s view of Regina seems to begin to change.

Emma and Hook finally have their little talk, and Emma says that she feels guilty about the effects their actions had on Regina’s life and that she needs some time before she’s ready to begin a relationship with him, which he’s okay with.

Emma later goes to visit Regina and tries again to start a conversation about the effects of her actions on Regina’s life. Emma apologizes for the unforeseen consequences and that Regina has to fight for her happy ending, too. Regina is still refusing to speak to her about it. After Emma leaves, Regina summons Sidney and tells him that they also need to find the person who wrote the book and see what else can be done, since in every story of the book she is the villain and should not have a happy ending.

Later that evening, Rumpel is still awake while Belle sleeps at his side. He uses his magic on one of the objets d’art in the mansion and it turns out there is more to it than there appears. It turns into a hat remarkably similar to the one in The Sorceror’s Apprentice.

Elsa breaks into Rumpel’s pawnshop and finds her sister’s necklace. We flash back to Kristoff and Elsa rushing to the docks only to see that Anna’s ship has already left Arendelle for the kingdom of Misthaven, which is also known as the Enchanted Forest. Back in the present, Elsa vows to find her sister.

I’ll admit I’m really pumped for this season. I think they’ll do a better job with Frozen than they did with last season’s Neverland storyline, which started out well but turned out to be very disappointing. I think expectations for the Frozen arc are very high and I hope the writers deliver, particularly since it seems they will be exploring the darker side of The Snow Queen and maybe some of Hans Christian Andersen’s other tales. And of course there will be live tweets from the cast throughout the season, so it will be interesting to see what they have to say!

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