Review: Once Upon a Time Season 4 2-Hour Episode 8
That’s right, you read that right! Sunday night’s episode of Once Upon a Time, entitled “Smash The Mirror,” was two hours! If you didn’t catch it, be sure to check out Hulu to watch parts I and II.
This episode deals with witchcraft, sorcery, and infidelity. There is also some violence, drinking, and references to sex.
This was a painstakingly long episode (but still very good, don’t get me wrong). The review may be very long too, but I promise to cut it down to the bare-minimum and still give a detailed review.
We first see the Snow Queen coming to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice to strike a deal: the Sorcerer’s Hat for two new magical sisters that must be a perfect match. The Apprentice reluctantly agrees, but warns her that it may take time. She says that she is a very patient woman.
Emma’s asleep in her car, and is awoken by her haywire powers. She gets out to take a breather and Henry tries to calm her. She won’t listen, and her powers go crazy, blasting back Henry. She apologizes, and tells him to leave; her powers are uncontrollable. The Snow Queen appears behind her—the only way for this to end is for Emma to learn to embrace her powers.
Regina’s getting dressed in her secret vault, and into the frame steps Robin Hood. Apparently the two shared an intimate night. He’s trying to enjoy the moment, but Regina tries to distance herself since Robin Hood’s wife is still in the coma. She shows him Henry’s Magic Book—the one that makes Regina out to be the villain of the story. Robin wants to help, but Regina doesn’t know how to let him.
Elsa first arrives on the scene with David, Mary Margaret, and Killian. They’ve been searching for Emma with no luck. Elsa worries that the longer Emma stays secluded, the more her powers will spiral out of control.
Next we see Elsa in Arendale, preparing a special, chocolate-themed dinner for Anna (we’re talking chocolate ice cream, chocolate covered cherries, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate… I’d be in heaven). In steps the Snow Queen. She informs (ahem, lies to) Elsa that Anna is imprisoned in the dungeon for attacking her with the Sorcerer’s Hat. She attempts to fill Elsa’s head with lies, telling her that Anna plans to use the Hat on Elsa just as Elsa’s mother used the urn on her.
Mr. Gold enters his shop to find all kinds of bobbles and trinkets coming to life. He’s instantly aware that Emma is there. She pleads with him for help; she doesn’t want to hurt anyone else that she loves. Mr. Gold agrees, but the only way to really help her is to permanently remove her magic. She immediately agrees. The spell is dangerous, so they must perform it outside of town. Emma eagerly agrees and leaves. Mr. Gold crumples up the spell and throws it away (very sinister, Mr. Gold).
Elsa heads down to the dungeon to see her sister Anna. She fools the guards into thinking she still supports Ingrid, and Elsa and Anna plan the trap to put Ingrid back in the urn.
Back in the present, Elsa climbs down the stairs from Mary Margaret’s loft, trying to console Henry. Elsa tells Mary Margaret that Henry is upset. She wants him to understand that Emma’s powers are connected to her emotions (by trying to avoid hurting Henry, she actually hurts him). Regina arrives with a locator spell and wants to help Henry. Mary Margaret’s phone rings; it’s Emma. She explains that she’s getting rid of her magic and hangs up before Mary Margaret can argue with her. Can Emma trust Rumpelstiltskin?
Flashback: Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff are looking for the urn in the royal castle in Arendale. Anna tells Kristoff to keep watch. Elsa begins to worry; what caused their mother and her sister to stop trusting each other? Anna finds a frozen Hans in the cabinet in Ingrid’s room, and there she finds the urn.
The Snow Queen is in her fortress, and in steps Mr. Gold. She goes to attack, but she’s trapped in a force field. Rumpel collected the magical remnants of the destroyed urn, and used it to make the force field! He threatens the Snow Queen, and says that he now has to betray the Snow Queen, and now Emma Swan.
Will Scarlet is sitting alone in a booth at Granny’s Diner. Robin Hood joins him in the booth, and asks for his help to find the author of the magic book. Will explains that all of the magic in Storybrooke started happening at the clock tower, which has a library underneath. Next we see David and Mary Margaret talking about Emma giving up her powers, cut with images of Emma going to the location that Mr. Gold showed her. Mary Margaret is worried for Emma, but David thinks that Emma’s magic is her decision. On top of that, it may be her best chance at getting away from the Snow Queen.
Elsa and Anna sneak through their castle, trying to stay away from the guards for fear they may have sided with Ingrid. They get a moment to themselves, and Elsa stares at a painting of their parents. She asks if their parents really did try to get rid of Elsa’s powers. Anna says yes, but explains that they were just scared, confused humans. Anna loves Elsa the way that she is, powers and all.
In the present, Elsa takes the locator spell and Emma’s scarf to go after her. Regina and Henry are in his room reading comics, when Regina presses the issue of what happened with Emma. Henry says he’s fine. Regina heals the wound on his head, and Henry explains that he feels useless without magic. Regina reminds him that he brought them all together.
Killian bursts through the doors of Mr. Gold’s shop looking for Emma, and then calls her again. He leaves her a message—he knows that Gold has deceived her. Gold wants to steal her powers, and in the process, get rid of Emma. The dagger that Gold gave Belle is a fake. How does Killian know all this? Here’s the kicker—Killian has been deceiving Emma too! Gold blackmailed him into helping him. Gold knew that Killian would do whatever it took to be with Emma. He finds the coordinates for the meeting place in the woods and leaves after her.
The Snow Queen is still trapped within the barrier, but she uses her mirror to project herself to Emma, running her off the road. She tries desperately to get Emma to change her mind about working with Gold. Red flags! If the Snow Queen is so adamant about her not going, there must be something to it. Emma ignores her warnings.
Regina visits with Mary Margaret about Henry, and the conversation steers towards Robin Hood. In comes David, before it gets too deep. Regina asks why no one is looking for Emma, and David and Mary Margaret stand behind Emma’s decision to get rid of her magic. Regina agrees that they should stand behind their daughter, but she should keep her powers. They go to look for Emma, and realize that Elsa took the locator spell and the scarf.
Regina, Henry, David, and Mary Margaret find Emma’s car and decide to continue on foot. Mary Margaret asks again about Regina and Robin Hood. She explains that staying on the right path will bring about Regina’s happy ending. Regina isn’t the Evil Queen anymore; she believes that her happy ending is coming. Regina isn’t all evil, just as Mary Margaret isn’t all good. It doesn’t work that way anymore. Heroes and villains: it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s all about the choices we make. Regina just has to believe.
Robin and Will search for the author of the magic book. Robin looks at the book again, and notices a page folded in his satchel. He opens it. He has to get in touch with Regina. Immediately. She heads his way.
Mr. Gold is in the manor, and sets the Hat on the ground; it instantly starts to suck magic into itself. Emma walks in, searching for Mr. Gold, and her magic goes crazy. Mr. Gold tells her that the spell is cast. All she has to do is go into the room. Emma is hesitant, especially after the Snow Queen warned her to stay away. She asks if it’s safe, and Gold says that there are risks, but that she won’t hurt people anymore. What would he do? He says that he wouldn’t give up his magic for anything. But he’s selfish and makes bad decisions. Every good decision he’s made was for the wrong reasons. He doesn’t think he’ll ever change, but he believes Emma will always make the right decision. Always. She thanks him, and he walks away. She inches towards the door.
Killian finally gets to the manor, only to be stopped by Gold. He casts a spell that holds him against the gate. Fortunately, Elsa finds her way through the back door of the manor and steps inside.
Back in the past, Elsa is waiting on Anna, and she finally arrives, but is acting awful. Anna is saying terribly cruel things to Elsa about their past. Ingrid enters and says that this is the real Anna, and that only Ingrid will be able to understand her. But didn’t Elsa just cast a spell? Ingrid says that the spell only makes Anna tell her true feelings. Anna goes to use the urn on Elsa, and Elsa refuses to use her powers against her sister. Anna traps her inside the urn. Anna wakes from the spell, and is confused. Ingrid almost attacks Anna, and Kristoff enters the room. Ingrid freezes the whole castle.
Emma’s about to enter the room to give up her powers when Elsa enters. Elsa lived in fear her whole life, but there is another way. Emma says the love of her family wasn’t enough. Elsa extends her hand, and Emma reaches for it. The haywire magic stops. She finally has control. Gold and Killian see that Emma didn’t give up her powers. Gold tells Killian that there’s another way to get what he needs: the heart of someone who knew him before he was the Dark One. The only person still alive that fits the description is Killian himself. Gold takes his heart, promising that they will have some “fun” before he kills Killian.
Killian runs to the manor and grabs Emma. He kisses her and tells her that they’ll find a way to defeat the Snow Queen together. Emma can tell that something’s off, but they go outside to see her family.
Robin Hood is still in the library, and Regina finally shows up. He explains that he found a page from the book while searching for its author. The page is a picture of them kissing back in the Enchanted Forest. Robin believes that it appeared as a sign to prove to Regina that she can have a happy ending, despite the choices from her past.
The barrier breaks, and the Snow Queen walks over to her childhood ribbons, and casts a spell causing one to wrap around her hand. Flashback: Ingrid finds the Hat, and as she is summoning Rumpelstiltskin, the Sorcerer’s apprentice appears. He says that he has found a match, but she isn’t born yet. Happy endings take time. He summons a door to take her to the land where the sister will be born. All she has to do is give him the Hat. She agrees, and the apprentice gives her a scroll that will lead her to Emma. He opens the door. She walks through to our world in 1982.
Emma and Elsa walk out of the manor and join her family, and show that she is now in control of her magic. She conjures up some fireworks to prove it. As the family gazes up in wonder, Henry notices a ribbon on Emma’s wrist, and Elsa notices one on hers too. They can’t get them off, and they feel their powers draining. Gold wanders into the Snow Queen’s lair, and asks if she had anything to do with Emma changing her mind. She says no, it was Elsa, but now that all three of them have embraced their powers, she can use the ribbons to wield their powers. She threatens the Dark One, and he warns her not to overestimate herself. She warns him not to underestimate them either. The show ends as she smashes her mirror with her newfound strength.
I’m a huge fan of the show as a whole, so I really enjoyed all of the new information and plot twists. However, this episode was entirely too long. If there were more action and it had a faster pace, I’d probably feel differently. Unfortunately it was just too drawn out. Some of my favorite parts were the Easter eggs. There’s a scene where Regina looks at David and Mary Margaret and says, “this is the most idiotic thing you two have ever done, and you hired the Wicked Witch of the West to be your midwife.” Then while Robin and Will are in the library searching for clues about the book, Robin stumbles across The Cat in the Hat and asks, “why would a cat want a hat?” It was hilarious.
While the writing may have been a bit dry, I have to commend the actors for making the show watchable. They do a superb job of getting into their characters. The special effects in this episode were quite good too.
The Season So Far
Elsa is really shaping up to be pretty useful in Storybrooke. I think that she and Emma are really bonding, maybe even a sisterly bond. They can certainly relate to one another because of their magic; they’ve both been outsiders for much of their lives. Neither of them had close relationships with their parents, and both are still learning what it means to be part of a family.
I hate the fact that when Regina finally gets together with Robin, his wife magically and conveniently is brought back to life, only to be induced into a frozen coma. Come on! Now Regina’s in that weird place between loving Robin and wanting to do what’s right. She’s been through so much and has fought so hard to distance herself from “The Evil Queen.” But now, instead of cruelly ruling a kingdom, she’s “evil” for being a homewrecker. It’s one of the biggest issues I have with the show at this point. Is it wrong? She’s in a coma. Why does Robin have to keep forcing the relationship like this?
Has anyone else noticed that David and Mary Margaret are just there in the season so far? I mean, they don’t really help drive the plot along, and they’re two of the biggest characters on the show. I get that they have a baby now, but they should have more screen time. And not just arguing over who will watch the baby, and if they’ll stay home and watch *insert some ABC show here*.
Honestly, Rumpelstiltskin is the primary reason I watch the show. I hate that he can’t let himself find true happiness. I hate that he insists on finding the bad in a good situation. But, every time he does it’s an awesome mess. It’s almost like the writers know that we thrive on his self-destruction. I want Rumpel and Belle to just live their happily-ever-after together, but at the same time I love it when he goes all “Dark One.”
Unfortunately Once Upon a Time will be skipping next Sunday and will be back November 30th.
Don’t forget that you can catch Once Upon a Time every Sunday night on ABC at 8/7c, or on Hulu the following Mondays, and be sure to keep coming back for more of my reviews.
+ Great story
+ Great acting
+ Easter eggs
- Drawn out/slow paced
- Too long
- Dry writing