Hooray! This week’s Once Upon a Time finally reveals the Snow Queen’s plan! Is it ridiculous? Of course! Does it involve a magic mirror? Hell yes! Is Emma in some convoluted way at the centre of it? You betcha! We may not know where Anna is yet, but at least we know why she’s missing.
“Family Business” (which sounds more like the title of a Supernatural episode than an OUAT one) switches up the pace and gives Belle a little more screen time. We’re dropped into a flashback during the Ogre Wars. Belle and her mother need to flee because the ogres are coming, but instead start packing up their library because … priorities. A CGI ogre breaks in and the two cower under a table until it’s ripped from above them. Belle wakes up from this terrible dream, only to realize that it wasn’t a dream at all and her mother is really dead. Of course, this being OUAT, she can’t remember what happened and wants to find a way to restore her memory … by reading … in book!
Back in Storybrooke, the team splits up to search for the Snow Queen. Rumpel tells them he works better alone and no one argues. Belle isn’t up for an adventure and decides she’s more useful in the library. Elsa joins her to look for clues about Anna. While traipsing through the woods, Robin and Regina discuss their Marian problem. Regina tries to convince Robin that she might not actually be powerful enough to break the spell and that he needs to fall in love with his wife again. Sacrificing her love for another is sweet and all, but I just can’t help remembering that Regina has killed a hell of a lot of people, including Marian. Yes, people can change but I’m not ready to forgive her that easily.
Our band of merry men/women finds the Snow Queen’s evil ice cream truck (thanks for the tip, Henry!) but it’s empty. Hook breaks open a locked cabinet and finds a creepy file-folder of Emma’s grade-school artwork and news paper clippings since the day she appeared in “the real world.” Apparently she’s been following Emma for her entire life. That’s not frightening at all. Rumpel goes off to find the Snow Queen for a little evil bantering before going home to Belle. To his surprise, Belle wants to go see the Snow Queen for herself and pulls out the Dark One’s dagger to force him to comply.
In flashback, we learn that Anna and Elsa were reunited in Arendelle, but not for very long. Anna doesn’t know how to tell her sister about their parents’ attempts at curing her magic and awkwardly dismisses the topic. She’s surprised by Elsa’s control over her powers and is introduced to Ingrid, the Snow Queen, and her aunt. I am happier than I should be that they’ve finally given her a name. The Snow Queen was beginning to lose all meaning. Ingrid tells Anna she looks exactly like her mother, which tells me ABC is completely aware of controversy over the Frozen Animation team’s comments about female characters. Anna is suspicious and decides to go to the rock trolls for help. She runs into Belle (who is also looking for the trolls) at Oaken’s shop and invites her to come along. No word if there’s a big summer blowout, but any friend of Anna’s gets a half-priced sauna. For a stranger to the Enchanted Forest, Anna sure has encountered a lot of our main cast. Belle, Rumpel, Charming—who would have thought?
Anna is still carrying around magic box, and clumsily drops it while trying to climb up a mountain. When Belle asks about it, she tells her that it can strip people of their magic but declines to name Rumpel for obvious plot reasons. They find the rock trolls and Belle is given a stone to make tea out of (?). Anna asks about Ingrid’s identity and learns that she in indeed her aunt. In fact, she has two aunts. Both disappeared long ago and the kingdom was so heartbroken that the royal family erased them from the record books, and asked the rock trolls to give all of Arendelle collective amnesia to forget they ever existed. Anna is understandably miffed this was kept from her, and realizes her aunt probably has bad intentions for Elsa. She decides she can use the Apprentice’s hat to trap her aunt just as a storm rolls in. Belle trips and her stone tumbles out of reach. Anna clings to the edge of the cliff. Belle is forces t make a choice between Anna and her memories. She reaches for the rock but it tumbles down and shatters. She looks to Anna but she’s too late and Anna falls and lands on her back. The Snow Queen appears, takes the box, and magics them both away. Belle returns home to learn that her father knew what happened to her mother all along. She died a hero, saving Belle from the ogres. Belle now wants to be a hero too and suggests they call on Rumpel to help with the war effort, even if it means sacrificing herself.
Continuing with the heroism theme, Belle goes into Ingrid’s lair and tells Rumpel to stand guard. She finds a the magic mirror which starts putting doubts in her head about her marriage and her goodness. Rumpel returns and Belle lashes out at him accusing him of giving her a fake dagger and slicing at his neck. He magics them back home and Belle breaks down. She cries, apologizes for not telling him she knew Anna,and cutting him with the dagger. She says she’s not good enough for him but Rumpel accepts her apology and tells her that he love her, without admitting any of his own deceit. Here’s where we should stop and question this relationship. You can’t tell me this is healthy. I love Beauty and the Beast, but we’re crossing a line now.
Elsa and Emma find the one record book that still has Ingrid’s royal heritage intact (convenient), and learn that she is Elsa’s aunt. Remember, both of them have amnesia too. After an “everyone in this town is related joke,” Elsa translates a letter from the file. It states that Emma, the Savour, will become Ingrid’s sister and they deduce that she’s trying to make the prophesy come true. Elsa and Emma will becomes her true family and the mirror will cause the destruction of everyone else…for some reason Belle and I don’t really understand. In case we’d forgotten, Rumpel returns to the lair of the Snow Queen and threatens to trap her in the hat if she touches the people he cares about. At this point I’m not sure who I want to win that fight. Everyone in this series needs to take a step back and learn a little about healthy, consensual relationships. Right now Hook and Emma look like role models … and he has a psychosomatic evil idle hand.
I also have BINGO on my OUAT amnesia BINGO card.