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Once Upon a Time “Smash the Mirror” 

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

This episode was wonderfully forthcoming with answers to the questions that have been plaguing us all season. I had mentioned earlier that I hoped the Snow Queen would be closer to the original Hans Christian Andersen version. Although not exact, the spell of shattered sight hits surprisingly close to the mark. Glass instead of ice, but the end result is basically the same: people can see only the bad in the world, none of the beauty. It will be interesting to see what happens to the residents of Storybrooke once the spell takes hold. They have been through so much together already, one might hope their trust in each other has been solidified by past trials, but hope is a word reserved for the eternal optimists like Mary Margaret, and there are few like her in Storybrooke.

In the flashbacks to Arendelle, we are finally shown what happened to Elsa and how she ended up in the urn. I confess, it’s the last thing I expected. The Snow Queen tries a test run of her spell of shattered sight on Anna with spectacular success. As it turns out, she wasn’t lying about Anna being the one to put Elsa in the urn, she just omitted a few important facts like magic being to blame for Anna’s diminished capacity. We also see Ingrid using rock troll magic to remove Elsa’s memories, but it’s still unclear how she learned that particular trick.

Emma spends a lot of the episode trying to reconcile her out-of-control magic with little success. In the end she decides that the best course of action is getting rid of it altogether. She turns to Rumplestiltskin for help and, as it happens, Rumple is in the market for extra magic to power up his sorcerer’s hat. That Emma will be consumed in the process is of little concern to him, after all she has fulfilled her destiny already by breaking the original curse, hasn’t she? Her loss seems a negligible price to pay for Rumple’s freedom from the dagger. That Hook’s heart is also required is just an added bonus. Rumple never liked him anyway.

Elsa is the big hero of the week, she is the only one who seems to see the truth in the actions of those around her. She understands the pain that Emma is feeling and knows that she is the only one who can truly help. Of course, by helping Emma she also helps the Snow Queen fulfill her prophecy of three sisters. Clearly the Snow Queen is less worried about a loving family and more concerned with acquiring power. The sister line felt a little weak, it’s nice to know there is an ulterior motive behind it. It looks like we may soon learn the true depth of Ingrid’s villainy.

Regina finds a bright spark of hope this week in the form of her aborted destiny. In a surprisingly charming conversation with Mary-Margaret she gets a crash course in hope, which comes across sounding a lot like karma; make good choices and earn a happy ending. At the exact moment she is feeling that tiny spark of hope, a page from the storybook appears in Robin Hood’s satchel. The page shows Regina and Robin hooking up inside the pub back on that fateful day when Tinkerbell showed Regina her true love; an event that never happened. That the page exists is proof enough of the possibility of a happy ending, but is Regina strong enough to reach out and claim it? It requires her to turn her back on the darkness of her past and embrace the goodness in her future. That’s a tall order for an Evil Queen. If she succeeds, she’ll owe Snow White a second quarter.

Moment of Goodness: faith and trust

Elsa reaching out to take Emma’s hand even though it is still sparking with uncontrolled magic is a beautiful reflection on Ingrid reaching out to Gerda over Helga’s icy remains and being rejected. Emma and Elsa are a shining example of everything good that Ingrid lost when she traded her ribbons to Rumple, proving that she didn’t have enough faith in the love of her sisters.

Once Upon a Time returns in two weeks with “Fall,” airing November 30th at 8/7c on ABC.

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