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Once Upon a Time - Smash the Mirror - Review

Super-sized review this week! I was so pleased with this two-hour episode, more so than I have been with any Once Upon a Time episode so far in season four. Finally we are getting answers and the suspense is building as this half of the season draws to a close. I find it very interesting that Rumpelstilskin is once more taking on the “stop at nothing to get what he wants” villainous role, and I like that the threats are coming for our heroes both internally with his schemes and externally with the Snow Queen’s. We got some fantastic scenes between Regina and Snow White this episode, I do feel their talks are too far between but when they do have a heart to blackened heart it’s always some of the more stronger character moments on the show. Two hours really gave this episode the time to let everyone shine, though, as well as unfold all of the outstanding mysteries in a well-paced manner. I consider this to be the season’s high point and wonder how the mid-season finale is going to try and top what we saw in “Smash the Mirror”.

The episode begins with the Snow Queen riding to a secluded area. Here, she freezes over the ill-gotten hat box and hides it away. There’s not much to this scene, though I find it interesting how it almost mimics the pilot of the show, particularly the scene of Charming rushing on horseback to Show White’s aid, though I don’t think there is any deeper meaning in this. Also, I’d like to point out the wardrobe upgrade the Snow Queen gets in this episode. That coat/cloak she wears in the opening, along with her other gowns are fabulous; everything she wore looked magnificent to me.

So a little while later in the Enchanted Forest, the Snow Queen pays a call to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. When the Snow Queen asks for an audience with the sorcerer himself, she is denied. It seems that Snow Queen wants to pull a Rumple and make a deal, but the apprentice blows the queen off until she reveals that she has the hat. Shocked to learn this, the apprentice draws his sword on the Snow Queen, who chides him for being foolish enough to think she actually has the thing in her back pocket. No, the sorcerer must give her the thing she desires or else he will never see the hat again. And what the Snow Queen desires is happiness (don’t all the villains on this show), a happiness she only felt in her childhood with her sisters. The Snow Queen wants new sisters, ones with magic so they will readily accept her. In her twisted plans, the Snow Queen has already accounted for Elsa, but they need a third, a perfect match.

Present day, in the woods outside of Storybrooke. We see Emma, who spent the night in her yellow bug, being awoken by her powers once again going haywire. As she exits the bug to get some air, Henry finds her. He has been out all night searching for his mother and when Emma assures him that she can fix all this on her own, he lays down some heavy truth. Henry hits the nail on the head and tells his mother that her usual method of pulling away from people isn’t the solution here. The boy tries to take Emma’s hand in a show of solidarity, but the magic is too much and Henry is blasted back into the brush, injured. And still he tries to approach Emma and help her. But the savior, shaken by the fact that she once again hurt a loved one with magic, shoos Henry away. And before Emma can catch her breath, the Snow Queen pops up behind her. Her Royal Iciness insists that she is on Emma’s side and offers similar advice to Henry; running won’t solve this problem. Emma must embrace who she is, though her concern at damaging the family she has struggled so far and so long for takes the forefront of Emma’s thoughts. While the Snow Queen, as twisted as she is, has a point, I can understand Emma’s point of view. She just lived every mother’s worst fear and hurt her own child.

Elsewhere in the forest, Regina is doing anything but studying in her vault. In fact, she and Robin are getting freshened up after a steamy night together. The pair both come off as much more comfortable than they have been these past episodes. They aren’t out of the woods just yet, but the two are appreciating their night together and seem happy. Regina remarks about how things would have been so different if she had chosen Robin over evil. The evil queen then shows Robin The Book, which he is weirded out by. Thief has a point, it’s a mysterious book that has everyone’s secrets and past in it. And that’s just it, Robin believes that The Book is simply about the past, that Regina is capable of achieving a happy ending in the future. However, the evil queen is certain that whomever authored The Book doesn’t want villains to get their happy end and explains Operation Mongoose to Robin, who wants to help. What I really like about this scene is how Robin and Regina both acknowledge they made a choice, one that most would frown upon. They understand the consequences of their adultery and seem ready to take responsibility for whatever comes from it. I sort of feel bad for Maid Marian as I am rooting for this couple, but at the same time I think in the case of Once Upon a Time, True Love supersedes all.

Across town, Rumpelstilskin returns to the pawn shop and sees a load of magical mischief occurring as everything in the shop is clattering about or bubbling on its own. Rumple knows its Emma who is hiding and calls her out. The savior admits to coming to his door in order to seek help controlling her magic. She confesses to hurting Henry and that Rumple is probably the only one safe from her unchecked powers. Emma is eager for a cure no matter what, so much so that she doesn’t give a second thought to the fact that Rumple just happens to have a spell that will permanently rid her of her magic. The Dark One warns Emma that the spell is bombastic, so he suggests they go to that mysterious honeymoon manor since it’s secluded. They plan to meet at sundown, though who knows if Emma can last that long as she accidentally burns her handprint into one of the many boxes on Rumple’s counter. As a final request, Emma asks that he keep what they are doing a secret, which Rumpelstilskin gladly obliges, though as soon as the savior leaves Rumple crumples up and tosses away the parchment containing the “spell”. It will be easy for him to keep this all a secret since Emma’s well-being is clearly not his primary concern.

In Arendelle of old, Elsa is busy preparing a special chocolate themed dinner for Anna, when the Snow Queen arrives and explains that Anna won’t be attending the festivities. The Snow Queen elaborates, going on the tell Elsa of the hat and Anna’s plans to use it on her sister, as well as how she already tried to use it on the Snow Queen herself. Elsa is in disbelief, not willing to trust these lies since she holds her and Anna’s sister bond above all else. To sweeten her case, the Snow Queen reveals that it was their mother, Gerda who trapped her in the magical urn, claiming to have kept that detail to herself until now so as not to destroy Elsa’s happy memories of her parents. At this point the Snow Queen seems genuinely concerned about Elsa and I find it interesting that when it comes to the more personal details of her stories, the Snow Queen tends to tell the truth. I wonder if she has been in her own little world and lying for so long, the line between the truth and her manipulations is seriously blurred. And so Elsa travels down to the dungeon to find Anna, putting on a show for the guards as to how displeased she is with her sister. For a sliver of a second I believed the ice queen’s ruse, but as soon as the guards leave the sisters alone, Elsa drops the act and releases Anna. The younger sister jabbers on about how scary the Snow Queen is and I for once have to agree with the motor mouth. However, Elsa has a plan to deal with their scary foe that involves sneaking Anna out and trapping the Snow Queen for good. But first they have to find that urn.

Back to the present day, our heroes are at Casa de Charming. Snow White is concerned at how upset the morning’s events made Henry. Regina arrives and she too is concerned about her son, so much so that she neglected to finish buttoning up her blouse before leaving her vault. Snow White is kind enough to clue the evil queen that the barn doors are open and they make plans to use the locator spell Regina brought. However, they may not actually need it for Emma decides to give Snow and Co a call first. Snow White begins by apologizing, which placates me at least since I’m still not a fan of her behavior last episode, but Emma assures her mother that it doesn’t matter and quickly explains her plan to get rid of her magic for good. Hook seems concerned about the method she will use, which makes sense as he recently helped the Dark One suck an old man into a magic stealing hat. The pirate makes an excuse to duck out and tries to get Emma to call him back. He’s concerned and for good reason since he knows Emma has made a literal deal with a devil.

Back in the past, Elsa and Anna break in to the east wing of their castle, an area that has been forgotten for years. As they investigate, Elsa notices a tall mirror in the room, smashed with a single piece missing. As Elsa gazes at her fractured reflection she wonders out loud at what could cause sisters to turn on one another. I like to think that the reflection Elsa was seeing in the mirror now is what the Snow Queen saw all the time; fractured and not quite right. Anna assures her sister that that will never happen to them and the amount of times she does so this episode really pointed out to me that they would end up having a falling out. In their search, Elsa and Anna uncover Hans’s um, corpsicle along with the urn. Just putting it out there for you dear readers, but you know who also hangs on to souvenirs of people they’ve killed? Serial killers, that’s who.

The sisters quickly retrieve the urn and begin sneaking back to the dungeons to enact their plan. Anna was really too much for me here. I like her spunk, but sometimes I think the character needs to chill, pun intended. That’s nothing to say about the actress’s performance, which I think is spot on. It’s just the character I get worn out by. While Anna continues to natter on, Elsa pauses at a painting of their late parents. Anna notices this and finally comes clean, admitting that the Snow Queen was being truthful and their parents were searching for a way to “fix” their eldest daughter. Anna assures Elsa that her chilly powers are what makes the young queen special, that their parents made a mistake and would be proud of how far Elsa’s come. This jumps right back into the scene at Snow White’s loft with Elsa gazing around at all of the Charming family photos. The ice queen has a determined look on her face as she grabs the locator spell and a scarf of Emma’s and dashes out of the loft.

Meanwhile, the Snow Queen is busy plotting in her Fortress of Solitude when Rumpelstilskin approaches. I’m amused that Rumple calls her twisted, even when the Snow Queen points out that it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black since the Dark One plans on betraying the whole town. Rumple shrugs off her accusations and lets the Snow Queen know if she plans on interfering by placing one of the sister ribbons she just got back from the imp on Emma Swan, she’s going to have a bad time. The Snow Queen lashes out angry at Rumpelstilskin, but can’t seem to touch him. This is a clever bit, while the Dark One was circling the Snow Queen during their hostile little chat, he was sprinkling dust gathered from the remains of the magic urn, dust that still holds the ability to entrap the Snow Queen, if only for a little while. Despite threats from his captive, Rumple remains confident in his plan and reminds the Snow Queen that he doesn’t need to betray everyone to get what he wants, just her and unfortunately Emma. This is an incredibly selfish choice for Rumple to make and reminds me of how the Dark One acted while searching for a way to reunite with Nealfire. Rumple must be increasingly desperate to get his own happy ending with Belle away from Storybrooke, but how will his extended family react to the betrayal? How will Belle? The only way Rumple can cover his glittery butt is by pinning this on the Snow Queen I think, but that would mean he continues to get away with literal murder. Everyone still doesn’t know the truth about Zelena and I wonder if they ever will now.

Back at Casa de Charming, Snow White and her husband are having a private moment together. Both are worried about Emma with Snow thinking that their daughter embracing her magic is the right thing to do, and Charming believing that getting rid of the magic would do what they wanted to all along and give Emma her best chance. This scene does include a bit of comedy, particularly Charming’s line mixing up the villains they’ve faced in the past, but the real part of this scene that stands out is the direction. The audience gets a voice over of Snow and Charming discussing their daughter’s decision over shots of Emma driving the bug to meet her fate. It’s a visually interesting scene that stand out in this episode. In another part of the loft, Regina keeps Henry company and pretends to like comic books, though she really wants to discuss what happened with Emma and how her son feels about that. Regina uses her powers to soothe the wound he got in the woods and Henry remarks that it must be nice to have magic, that he couldn’t help his mother because he was normal. Regina reminds Henry that is extraordinary, that he has the Heart of the Truest Believer, even without magic.

Over at the pawn shop, Hook is too late to stop Rumple from manipulating Emma. He sees the hand print she burned into the wooden box and knows she’s already come and gone. So the pirate tries dialing Emma again and then everything comes out; about Rumple, the hat, how the imp has been lying to Belle, and then finally his own role in the Dark One’s plan. Hook admits even though he wanted to be a better man for Emma, he’s failed and begs on the voicemail for forgiveness. Luckily, the pirate glances down and sees the map Rumple used to direct Emma, and sprints off in pursuit. I am so glad that Hook finally came clean to Emma, though unfortunately we will see she never gets the message. At least now we know where the pirate stands.

While this is going on the Snow Queen is still trapped in her magic bubble. She meticulously tests the force field like a cat clawing at a cage looking for a weak spot. Realizing she has her mirror at her disposal, the Snow Queen brings up a vision of Emma driving in her yellow bug. Emma currently is distracted from the road as she accidentally caused the radio to spark. And since her eyes aren’t on the road, when the savior glances up and see the Snow Queen of all people in the middle of the street, she swerves and lands herself in a ditch off to the side and gets knocked out cold. This is every reminiscent of the pilot of Once Upon a Time and fits since in episode one Emma was about to go through a great change in her life, to start the journey where she would learn of her saviorhood, and now Emma is again on a journey of self-discovery, only this time it’s more about her acceptance of herself and that role. Emma quickly wakes up only for the Snow Queen to appear and try to warn the savior of Rumpelstilskin’s plans. Her Royal Iciness insists that the Dark One doesn’t care about her, that he’s only interested in his own goals. It’s interesting to me that in this scene the Snow Queen seems to genuinely care for Emma, but is that only because the queen cares about her own goals as well? Emma doesn’t trust or believe the Snow Queen and comes to the realization that her enemy isn’t even corporally there. With nothing but words to stop her, Emma jumps back into her car and continues to the manor.

At Casa de Charming, Regina comes down after comforting Henry and thanks Snow White for the heads up on her blouse situation earlier. Snow is coy here, which I love, and asks about the queen and her thief. Unfortunately, the girl talk is interrupted by Charming, who to Regina’s surprise is not out looking for the savior. It seems Snow and her husband have made a decision and are going to let Emma go through with her choice. Regina is indignant of this, to say the least. The evil queen believes that this is the worst idea the pair has ever had and we get a great line from her reminding the two that they “hired the Wicked Witch as their nanny”. Regina then talks about her regrets, how she didn’t help Henry when he was feeling different and alone back in season one. Regina didn’t support her son when he found out he was special with his realization magic was real, and she believed that being “normal” and forgetting about what he learned from his story book would be better for him. Snow and Charming admit that Regina is right and that they too would regret not embracing how special Emma is. They move to grab the locator spell and renew the search, only to realize it and Elsa are gone.

Arendelle of the past and we see Anna sneaking back into her cell to carry out Elsa’s plan. Anna is to surprise the Snow Queen with the urn and trap her inside once and for all. Too bad as soon as Elsa leaves, the Snow Queen reveals she was lurking and heard all about her “surprise”. This Snow Queen is about five steps ahead of the sisters and had a contingency plan in case she couldn’t sway Elsa. Anna struggles as the Snow Queen binds her in chains, and segways into remembering an old Norse legend found in the castle library. She demands Anna recount the story to her, threatening the girl if she doesn’t give an impromptu book report on the spot. The legend goes that a Norse king wanted his daughter to see the beauty he saw in her, so he had a mirror made in her honor. However, the daughter died before the mirror could be gifted to her and in the end instead of showing beauty it only showed the ugliness of his pain. So the king decided his kingdom should share in this pain and used the mirror to cast a spell upon his subjects, making them only see the worst in their loved ones. Anna is thoroughly confused at what this has to do with the current situation, so the Snow Queen produces the missing piece of mirror from her room in the east wing. All the Snow Queen saw in her own mirror was her own pain. Anna concluded that the Snow Queen is going to use that mirror piece to cast the Spell of Shattered Sight, but the queen scoffs at this seeing as how it would take years to gather enough power to cast such a spell over an entire kingdom. No, the Snow Queen only needs to cast the spell on one person. The mirror shatters and dozens of fragments fly into Anna’s eye. This is a wonderful reference to the original Snow Queen tale, I’m so glad they are incorporating it into the show. I do wonder, since it apparently takes many years to gather the magic required to cast such a spell on, say a quiet seaside town in Maine, how the Snow Queen was able to gather such power in a land without magic. What magic was the queen tapping into while she plotted away in Storybrooke?

Back in present day Storybrooke we find Snow and Co. out on the road, tracking the skid marks from Emma’s bug. Snow and Regina walk further down the road and pick up their conversation about Robin Hood from the loft. This has to be my favorite scene of the night. I always love scenes between Snow and Regina, I feel they always get to the heart of each episode they are in and hope to see more of them in the future. Regina isn’t feeling so positive about her future with the prince of thieves, believing something, fate even, is working against her happiness. Snow White reminds Regina of how she and Charming always seems to work things out because they have hope. The evil queen thinks it’s easy for Snow to talk about this, she’s a hero after all and help, like Henry’s book, just seems to appear for heroes. Here, Snow counters that when a person does good, the universe rewards them. She refuses to believe that happiness is impossible for Regina, that she come too far not to get a happy ending. Snow also acknowledges that yes, Regina did sleep with a married man, but then so did Snow. I like how Once Upon a Time acknowledges this. It’s a difficult topic and goes to show how these perfect fairy tale characters are really just humans who don’t always make the best choices. The best part of their entire conversation is that these two discuss the idea of those choices, the idea of good and evil, and that a person isn’t wholly good or bad. Snow even goes as far to reference the dark spot in her heart.

While all this has been going on Robin Hood has been on his own adventure, dragging the Knave of Hearts into the mix. The two meet at Granny’s and Robin shows his former Merry Man the “borrowed” story book, enlisting the Knave’s help in figuring out who the author is. The Knave offers some insight through his past in the town and speaks about how magic suddenly came to Storybrooke one day, starting with the clock tower. He poses a question of what’s under that clock tower to Robin and at first I honestly thought this would be a reference to Maleficent, but no the Knave is referring to the library. The pair soon make their way to the Storybrooke library and begin scouring the shelves for clues regarding The Book. Robin is puzzled by the idea of The Cat in the Hat, but so far they make no headway. That is until the prince of thieves notices something in his pack and pulls out a folded piece of parchment that wasn’t there before, one whose contents startle him enough to ring up Regina and demand she meet him to see it. This is my favorite mystery of the episode, the one unanswered question that lingers after “Smash the Mirror” ends.

Emma finally arrives at the abandoned manor, but of course she leaves her cell phone on the seat. All this time Rumple has been preparing the manor for the savior. Behind closed doors he reveals the Sorcerer’s hat and places it on the floor, readying it to capture Emma Swan when she walks in. When the savior enters the manor, Rumpelstilskin calmly appears behind her and claims he already cast his spell, all Emma has to do is step through the doors and her magic will be gone. Emma admits she ran into the Snow Queen and that the queen warned Emma about Rumple, but the imp is quick with the manipulation and urges Emma to defy her apparent enemy, the Snow Queen. Before she goes through with the “spell”, Emma asks the Dark One if he is being honest, if what’s behind those doors is safe. He outright lies about the former and waffles a bit on the latter, not giving Emma a straight answer. What he does assure the savior is that all this is her choice and in fact her idea. Emma then asks a very wise question of Rumple; what would he do in this situation? The imp with the limp replies that he wouldn’t go in there, he is a man who always makes selfish decisions. Even when Emma counters this and points out all the good in Rumple’s life, the Dark One reminds her that he has had a hand in undoing every good thing that’s befallen him. Rumpelstilskin even admits Belle is wrong about his changing for the better and tells Emma that she doesn’t need to change because she is a person who always does the right thing. Rumpelstilskin only tell one lie in this entire exchange, similar to the Snow Queen’s tactics yet different because the Snow Queen is more direct with her manipulations, where Rumple simply let’s his target bury themselves. The question is, does Rumpelstilskin really believe his own words or is he simply using reverse psychology to goad Emma into entering the room with the hat? He leaves Emma to her decision saying “we have no choice” and I have to wonder if Rumple see this as justification for his actions.

Hook finally arrives outside the manor just as Rumple is leaving and the imp stops the pirate, magically binding him to the gate with garden hoses. The Dark One so generously is giving Hook a front row seat to Emma using the hat on herself and has even taken the liberty of swiping Emma’s phone, so all that confession from earlier is for nothing. Cruelly, Rumpelstilskin tells Hook that he will soon get over Emma just as he did Milah, showing that the grudge between the two has never healed, and wonders out loud if this loss will bring back the pirate’s old vengeance. Desperately, Hook reminds Rumple that Emma is family and Rumple admits he wishes he didn’t have to do this but he needs Emma’s power for his own happy ending and throws Hook’s need of Emma back in the pirate’s face.

Back in the past, Anna finds Elsa in the main dining room once more, but there is a change in the younger sister’s demeanor. I have to say, I like this dark Anna quite a bit, she is very well done and a perfect juxtaposition to the bubbly friendly person the girl from Arendelle has been shown to be. Anna’s dark side flares out more and more, her anger at being ignored by Elsa all those years, of being made to feel as if she did something wrong lashes out. Anna even goes so far as to throw her snowflake necklace in the fire, explaining its melted appearance in the first episode of the season. Of course, now the Snow Queen decides to arrive and uses this confrontation between sisters to show Elsa that she is the only one who will ever understand the queen of Arendelle. Anna brandishes the urn and the Snow Queen exclaims that the only way to prevent this fate is for Elsa to use her powers on her sister, the most difficult thing for Elsa to do. The ice queen refuses to attack her sister and so Dark Anna puts her in the urn, just as the Snow Queen has said she did. Anna comes to her sense and is shocked that she would do such a thing to her sister while the Snow Queen acts as if Anna is the blame for all of this. Kristoff bursts in the room to save the day and the Snow Queen grows more hostile, believing that Anna and her fiancĂ© see her as a monster. Willing to finally embrace that role, the Snow Queen freezes al of Arendelle, including Anna and Kristoff. I wonder if Anna is still frozen in another realm during the events of the present day, or is the Snow Queen did something else to her. And speaking of the Snow Queen, Her Royal Iciness is clearly upset and fearful of what she just did, but not so much so as to neglect ensuring the trapped Elsa that they will find their third sister.

In the present day, another confrontation is reaching a head. Elsa finally located Emma and is firm that she won’t let the savior get rid of her powers. Giving up on magic isn’t the answer, Elsa claims, there’s another way. This scene is so tense as Emma kept reaching for the door, I was certain she would end up in the hat by the end of the episode. Elsa tells Emma that it’s not just familial love that can save people like them, they have to love themselves too. They have to embrace the good and the bad because that is who they are. Elsa then extends her hand to Emma, who remembers what happened to Henry and is fearful she might kill Elsa with a touch. But Elsa takes the risk and as they clasp hands the magic shock wave of True Love blooms from the pair. Friendship might also be True Love, but I think here the magic was brought under control by Emma finally accepting all parts of herself. She is has accepted the fact that she is a lost girl, a mother, and now a savior and finally understand what all these roles mean and how they are a part of her.

True Love’s magic seems to have also deactivated the hat for now and Rumpelstilskin and Hook see from the front lawn. Rumple is in disbelief that his plan failed, while Hook celebrates by being incredibly smug to the imp. However, the Dark One isn’t done with the pirate and comes clean reading the secret ingredient missing from his plan. It is a heart, as we theorized, the heart of someone who knew Rumple before he was consumed by the power of the dagger. We get this great line where Rumpelstilskin reminds Captain Hook that he’s the crocodile’s “oldest friend” and plunges his hand into the pirate’s chest. Hook is now Rumpelstilskin’s puppet, one the imp will keep around to fill the Sorcerer’s hat with magic and then destroy to enact his spell.

Back in Arendelle, the Snow Queen is busy wiping Elsa’s memory so they can have a fresh start when Rumpelstilskin arrives. He’s come for the hat and zaps the urn from the Snow Queen’s arms, proposing a deal, “the urn for the hat, as simple as that”. Well, now we know who put The Cat in the Hat in the Storybrooke library.

And speaking of library, back in the present, Robin is pouring over The Book when Regina arrives. The thief explains his search and show Regina the parchment from his bag. It’s a page from The Book showing the two of them together in the pub where they should have first met. It’s actually a duplicate page showing an alternate future. Robin believes it means the evil queen’s fate could have gone many different ways. It’s still a mystery as to where this page came from. Regina believes that it’s the magic Snow spoke of that crops up when you do something good, but I personally think that someone, most likely the mysterious author of The Book, is watching them, messing with them, and perhaps leaving them clues.

In the past, the Snow Queen returns to her hiding spot and unearths the hat box, ready to make the trade with Rumple, but is stopped at the last minute from summoning the imp by the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Even though the Sorcerer doesn’t make deals, he changed his mind in this instance because the hat is very important to him and the Snow Queen surprised her mysterious benefactor. I wonder if this has to do with the fact that the Sorcerer can see into the future. Yes, the Sorcerer has seen what is to come and located a magical sister match for the Snow Queen, one who isn’t born yet unfortunately. The apprentice tells the queen if she hands over the hat box she will get her sisters and her happiness. So the Snow Queen agrees and trades the hat for a scroll containing the prophecy we saw a few episodes ago. The apprentice conjures a door that will lead the Snow Queen to the realm where her new sister will be found and we see that when the Snow Queen goes through it, she ends up in a bustling city in 1982. Now, Storybrooke wasn’t established until 1983,as we saw in the season two episode “Welcome to Storybrooke”, so what was the Snow Queen doing for a year in the land without magic and how did she find Storybrooke in the first place. Also, does anyone else think that the apprentice is actually the Sorcerer himself hiding in plain sight?

In present day Storybrooke, Emma and Elsa are leaving the manor when Hook rushes up, relieved she’s alright, though Emma notices something different in the way the prate is looking at her. Hook ushers the two women outside and lingers back, collecting the hat box from the other room. Snow and Co also arrive and each person is glad to see Emma didn’t go through with removing her magic, begging her to never change. With her powers finally under control, Emma shows off by shooting fireworks into the air and the group looks on in wonder at the light show. However, at the same time the barrier trapping the Snow Queen has finally dissipated, allowing her to fetch the sister ribbons. With a wave of her hand one appears on her wrists and she ramps up the creep factor by caressing it to her cheek. At the manor, Henry notices a ribbon around Emma’s wrists and all are clueless as to how it got there. Elsa has one too and they won’t come off, glowing with power as the women feel their magic being syphoned off.

While the Snow Queen pets her ribbon back at her lair, Rumpelstilskin pays her another visit. He is irritated, to say the least, that Emma didn’t do as he predicted. The Snow Queen is more confident in this encounter since Rumple has failed, telling the imp that she didn’t save Emma, Elsa did. Way to paint a target on Elsa’s back there. The Snow Queen can’t resist throwing in how sisterly she finds the two of them. Rumple remarks on her “strange fixation” on sisters and it seems as if this entire episode is validating the creeps that the Snow Queen gives me. I love that they chose to show how unhinged she was before they had characters remark upon it. The Snow Queen finally reveals the power of the ribbons. Useless until a perfect match comes along, a trio that can be bonded through how they embrace their magic. Now the Snow Queen wields the power of three, controlling Emma and Elsa’s magic as well and is able to use the mirror to destroy Storybrooke and leave her and her new “sisters” alone forever. And then there is my favorite line of the night where the Snow Queen casually suggests to Rumple that she “promptly decorate this place with his bones, shall I try?” Just an amazing reading of that line, but what gets me is the body language. The Snow Queen may have her magic under control, but her emotions are flickering to the surface and they are delightfully scary, transforming her face and hands into something almost feral. This woman is hanging on by a thread. As Rumple leaves the lair, the Snow Queen turns to her mirror and shatters it into a million pieces, shards of which go flying out into the town.

And there it is, all two hours of “Smash the Mirror”. What did you think of this extra long episode?

Like I said, I really enjoyed this episode. I found myself so surprised at moments, just completely captivated by the story unfolding. All these revelations really benefited from the extended run time. I do wish we could get episodes of this caliber within the normal 45 minute run time. There’s nothing that really bothered me about this episode enough to remark on it at length, except perhaps Emma’s sudden lack of control over her emotions, leading to her out of control powers. However, if your long lost foster mother suddenly showed up, was insane, and convinced you that that family you fought so hard to reconnect with was afraid of you, I think you too would find it hard to keep your emotions in check. I can’t wait to see what it’s like for everyone’s darkest private thoughts to come out. Considering the blood feuds and shared pasts that this town holds, the potential for some great drama is right around the corner.

Now even though most of the questions from this half of season four have been answered, there still are a few lingering mysteries. Who is the sorcerer? Is he good or evil? How powerful is he since he can see through time and travel across realms and why does he need the hat if he can do all that? Is the sorcerer the same person as the author of The Book? Hopefully we will learn more in these final episodes. Do you think the apprentice is the Sorcerer?

I predict that Elsa is going to end up in the hat by the end of the season. Perhaps Maleficent is already in there, collected as part of Rumple’s plan. This would allow an easy way for her to comeback for the second half of season four. Or does Maleficent’s return have more to do with the alternate page, maybe even pages, of Henry’s story book?

Join us in two weeks and see what happens when Storybrooke’s sight is shattered in “Fall”!

About the Author – Ashley B
Ashley is as serious as a sleeping curse when she says television is her life. Professional event planner, avid movie viewer, convention enthusiast, and resident sass master, Ashley writes reviews for ABC's Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and Galavant, as well as Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. She looks forward each week to the weird and wonderful world her favorite television programs provide.
Recent Reviews by Ashley B (All Reviews)


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