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Once Upon a Time “The Snow Queen” 

Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand
Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand

The flashback scenes of the Snow Queen’s youth are enough to melt any heart. Watching Ingrid struggle with her growing power mirrors Elsa’s troubled childhood and gives us fresh insight into the emotions that drive the Snow Queen. Ingrid has the support of her two warm-hearted and generous sisters, but doesn’t realize what strength the three of them have in each other. In an act of desperation, she trades their three ribbons — a long-standing symbol of their dedication to always protect each other — to Rumpelstiltskin for a pair of gloves that are meant to control her power and the urn in which she is ultimately imprisoned. Rumple alludes to the fact that the ribbons hold more power than she knows, but she doesn’t listen.

Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand
Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand

Robin and Regina are still fighting their mutual attraction with limited success. There is a lovely scene where Will Scarlet repeats a conversation he once had with Marian about love. She described it as seeing the good in someone even when they can’t see it themselves; fighting for that spark no matter what it takes and never letting it go. Robin takes the words to heart but applies them to Regina instead, letting his darker urges prevail. The passionate kiss that follows likely had fans either cheering or screaming.

The Disney Daycare scene is too precious for words. The idea that all the princesses get together for Mommy & Me classes is a lot of fun to ponder. Mary-Margaret is basking in all her new-parent glory, not fully realizing that she is hurting Emma in the process. Her bond with baby Neal is reinforcing Emma’s feeling of childhood loss. When Emma’s magic shines the light on her emotional state, the result is a general atmosphere of fear.

Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand
Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand

The Snow Queen scores a little quiet time with Emma by allowing herself to be captured. Emma claims to be in control and starts her interrogation, but she is expertly manipulated into lashing out in anger which serves to send her magic into overdrive. When her parents come to the station to help her, she asks everyone to keep their distance because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone; a theme that has been echoed in both Elsa and Ingrid’s lives. Naturally nobody listens and David ends up getting knocked off his feet. Just as the Snow Queen predicted, the group look at Emma with fear and judgement in their eyes at a time when what she needs most is a little understanding. It seems the stage is set, at least emotionally, for Emma to turn to the Snow Queen for the support that her family can’t seem to provide.

It’s quite beautiful the way the stories of these three women has been woven in similar threads. The themes are consistent, each having magic that they can’t control, and each have lost their family in various ways. There is a logic to the Snow Queen’s plan, she sees their similarities more than their differences and to her the idea of Emma and Elsa being her perfect sisters is not much of a stretch. In her childhood she was the frightened one who was taught to trust by her younger sisters, now she is the leader, the teacher, the confident one. She doesn’t see herself as the villain, just as someone who has grown into her powers and has the strength now to use them. If only she could see that using her yellow ribbons to force Emma and Elsa to become her family is an act of villainy, not an act of love.

The moral of the [back]story

Young Helga and Gerda are the epitome of purity. They have a strength of character that Ingrid doesn’t see. It’s Ingrid’s own fear that is her downfall. If she had trusted her sisters to keep her balanced, she likely never would have lost them.

A special 2-hour Once Upon a Time airs Sunday, November 16th at 8/7c on ABC.

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