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Once Upon a Time - Breaking Glass - Review: "QueenSwan at its best"

After last week’s weak episode this one comes as a refreshing change of pace of what we’ve seen lately. Most of the storyline clicks, there’s lots of character development, plot progression, fun scenes and dialogues, among many other great qualities. If last week OUAT portrayed some of its worst habits, this week the show decided to show some of its best.

Things between Emma and Regina have been tense to say the least; since the second half of season 3 both of them got to bond quite a lot and develop a pseudo friendship that grew stronger over time. Sadly, bringing Marian back put some walls between them and there hasn’t been time for the two of them to deal with their issues. Most of the episodes dedicates to that and it does it with grace.

After Elsa goes chasing an illusion of Anna- I knew it was a trap ever since the promo aired- Emma and Regina go after her hoping to find the Snow Queen as well. This gives them time to interact with each other. And woah! Regina was outright cruel to Emma the whole time, and she just took it all.

Whenever Regina is hurt her first instinct is to attack, that is because she doesn’t really handle her emotions well, so rather than showing vulnerability she prefers to go for a full frontal attack. And she goes for it, going as far as saying that Emma has to learn to live with the guilt of what she did and accept that she won’t forgive her. She knows she didn’t intentionally “ruined her life” as she puts it, but the result is the same anyway, so she is not really willing to forgive her.

This would have made Regina quite unlikeable if it wasn’t because the audience already knows that she is just hurt and that she is dealing with it the best she can; as she stepped away from her initial intention of killing Marian she had no choice but to deal with the fact that her relationship with Robin Hood has been damaged, so while she hangs out with Emma she finally has a chance to get her frustration out of her chest, and she uses Emma as some kind of emotional punch bag to get it out.

The script manages to show this very effectively and Lana Parrilla and Jennifer Morrison’s acting own every scene they share together, showing Regina’s frustration and Emma’s desire to bond with her quite strongly, making for something really emotionally affecting.

Reinforcing every single bit Emma and Regina share together, the flashback to Emma’s past makes for a beautiful echo of what Emma is going through right now.
When she was a teenager, Emma befriended a girl named Lily after shoplifting and they started hanging out together. They get close and they bond over a constant feel of loneliness that make them quite close.

The acting of both young actress is amazing, portraying their friendship almost as sisterhood which makes the storyline even stronger. In the short time the two of them were together, Emma got to have a real friend of her own age and they could bond over their similarities. So it’s really heartbreaking when Emma finds out that Lily has been lying to her and that she is not an orphan, but she actually has a family. Feeling betrayed Emma walks away, and leaves Lily behind, who was probably the closest thing Emma has ever had to a sister.

So it’s not surprising that she is so insistent on trying to fix what happened to Regina; they were becoming friends by the end of last season and since Emma already knows what losing a friend is she doesn’t want to lose what she was building up with Regina.
She almost gives up, but by the end of the episode Elsa gives her the push she needs to try one more time.

So she goes to meet Regina, and she tells her that while her family gives her love they can’t always understand her as she can; they share a lot of things in common even while they are so different, and Emma really feels that they became friends at some point. At that moment Regina is overwhelmed, and I can tell that she felt how poignant that statement was; she may have family, but she never had a real friend, so being considered as one finally pierced through the wall between these two. And even though it ends up with a simple “I don’t want to kill you” as Emma says “it’s a start”.
Emma can’t undo the harm that she inflicted on Regina upon bringing Marian back, but with time they may be able to go past it.

Now, onto the rest of the episode: Elsa follows Anna’s illusion- giving us a Frozen wink with the ice staircase- only to be trapped by the Snow Queen, who tells Elsa that as long as she is fearful the chains will hold, practically leaving the key to her freedom right next to her. At first I thought this was another dumb moment of lousey logic like two weeks ago, but then when she seems happy about Elsa breaking free of the chains I came to think this was more of a test, and that would explain why she would tell her how to break free.

I have to say that I loved Regina and Emma’s battle against the snowman; as short and simple as it was, I like how they teamed up with their magic to defeat it. And when the Snow Queen is choking them- Star Wars style- Elsa comes to the rescue, forming a triangle of powerful sorceress that looked pretty badass for a moment there.

The Snow Queen vanishes, and she takes Regina’s mirror with her.
I haven’t mentioned that Sydney betrayed Regina in order to get out of his mirror cage; it makes absolute sense considering the circumstances, and it’s very interesting to see him teaming up with the Snow Queen however shortly. And as he leaves her ice place, we finally learn what she is aiming: a family that loves her.

Sadly, not every single moment of the hour was outstanding. Snow’s motherhood storylines aren’t very interesting, and her “adventure”- if you could call it that- to find Will Scarlet is less than amusing. And when she finds him and believes him when he admits to be working with David to make her feel useful that’s beyond dumb. Seriously, isn’t Snow supposed to know better than this? This guy has been causing troubles, why would David use him to give her something to do?

I can’t get too mad at that considering how outstanding the rest of the episode was. The reveal that there was more to the tape that Emma made back on 1998 was a very effective cliffhanger, and showing us that the Snow Queen acted as some kind of mother to the home where she was after meeting Lily makes for a very interesting storyline that I can’t wait to see.
This is the kind of stuff that the show should deliver on a weekly basis.

Grade: A-

Stray Observations:

-By the title I’m sure there must be a Breaking Bad reference, I can feel it! But sadly I haven’t watched Breaking Bad yet, so I can’t tell.

-I appreciate that we got less Hook this week, overexposure can be hurtful to his character. It’s nice to see him just being a sweet boyfriend instead of dealing with everything he did last week, which you already know I’m not quite happy about.

-I’m starting to get a bit annoyed by how much Elsa talks about “my sister”. I know Anna is everything to her, but man! Give Georgina Haigg some other lines as well!

-So aside from taking care of the library, Gold’s shop, Belle also has some time to be a nanny. Either she is very good at multitasking or both the library and Gold’s shop require less work than I thought.

-Will: “Someone forgot about my DINNER!”
And that dinner is water and poptart; yummy!

-Nice details: the very same poptart Emma gave to Will is the one she stole back in 1998.

-Regina knows the word “frenemy”. I did not expect that.

-David mentioned a portal to Asgard as a joke, but do you imagine how awesome it would be if OUAT went there? It would be a bit weird since the show is more about fairy tales than mythology, but I would still find it pretty fascinating. Probably the show will never do it and this is just my active imagination, but surely I would enjoy that.

-Only Regina can use a pocket mirror as a cellphone without making it looking absurd.

-Regina: “There’re many enchantments you have yet to be exposed. If you bothered to study your craft, you’d know that.”
Emma: “Kinda learning as I go. Not many online courses for this sorta things.”
That was a golden line, right there!

-Seeing Emma and Lily playing that racing game on a Play Station 1 brought some serious nostalgia to me.

-So I imagined this dialogue:
Anna (singing): “Do you want to build a snowman? Doesn’t have to be a snowman!”
Elsa: “Go away Anna!”
Anna: “Ok, bye!”
Seconds laters, the Snow Queen shows up.
Snow Queen: “I want to build a snow man.”

-Regina: “Now hurry up! I want to get to that Snow Queen before it’s actually winter!”

About the Author - Pablo
I'm currently studying Psychology while also writing fantasy books (one already published in my home country, Chile, you can check it out on the facebook icon). I watch many different types of shows, including my favorites Revenge, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time and about 23 more. Currently writing reviews for Once Upon a Time, The 100, Community and Marry Me
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