Once Upon a Time, Season 4 Episode 5 Review: “Breaking Glass”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

Well what about that episode of Once Upon a Time?! I was pleasantly surprised by that episode and how great it was, and there were plenty of twists I wasn’t expecting. One thing can be said though: us OUAT fans can be seen to be right in their theories. You detectives, you!

So I’ll get started before I explode. Regina is still scheming with Sidney, though he’s got a lot more sass than we’ve seen him be in the past. He directs via a cool handheld mirror her to a spot in the woods where she promptly meets Emma, herself there after try to find a missing Elsa. In an interesting (though in retrospect unsurprising) twist, we find out Sidney’s been working for the Snow Queen. How did she even find him! Either way, a short battle later with a ‘snowman’, leads to the Snow Queen showing up and taking the one thing she really wants – the mirror itself. It’s a magic filled moment, where we’re linked back nicely into Frozen movie canon by Elsa conquering fear to free herself, whilst Emma and Regina team up to fight the monster. It’s a truly awesome moment. We look to see the Queen in her (awesome) ice palace near the end of the episode, and discover her motivations. Her reasoning behind trying to complete her mirror isn’t unforeseen given her purported backstory, but was still more a surprise to me than other reveal I’ll mention at the end. Credit must also be given to Elizabeth Mitchell, who has made her soft spoken Snow Queen one of the most enigmatic ‘villains’ we’ve had in a while.

Meanwhile, in arguably the least interesting (but still interesting!) part, Mary Margaret is encouraged to get out of the house by David. Whilst at the station, they discover Will Scarlet has managed to escape. The thief has started to be one of my favourite titbits of the show, what with his requests for ‘bangers and mash’ and the understandable confusion of any OUAT newcomer that Emma is Mary Margaret’s daughter. Anyhow, whilst out in the night to find him, she actually manages to find him – though surprisingly quickly. He’s digging holes trying to find a map he’s hidden. Interesting arc here, and one I hope explains what he’s doing in Storybrooke.

The last arc that runs in the episode is one featuring what happened to Emma as a child. Whilst attempting to shoplift, she makes an unlikely friend called Lilly (short for Lillith!). Whilst managing to steal some food, they hide out in a big summerhouse, play games, and record selfie videos together. She also happens to have this strange star on the inside of her wrist that she’s had since birth. Anyway, they’re found and it turns out she has a family, a factor she previously lied about to Emma. Though she holds out a contact piece of paper to Emma when they part ways, the latter has felt betrayed, and walks away. It’s primarily interesting to see how lonely Emma’s childhood was, and gives us more depth into her past. But it also helps us see why Emma works so hard earlier in the episode to connect with Regina. Since Marian’s come back the old Evil Queen has blamed Emma for her unhappiness and takes any niceties from Henry’s other mum as hollow. There’s a heartwarming moment near the end of the episode where Emma explains why she’s been reaching out to Regina, and I don’t want to spoil it. It’s really a great one.

Back at the station, Emma plays back the tape. Obvious increasing Swan/Hook couple moments aside, as we near the end of the tape we near a section which Emma doesn’t remember at all – and in it we see the Snow Queen as her foster mother.

Well now that bombshell’s been dropped, I’ll quickly drop in the other myriad little things I picked up – the moment when Charming mentions ‘Asgard’. I think I did a flip. They can’t possibly merge it in, can they? No, surely not. No. I’m having kittens just thinking about all the fandoms exploding. The girl from Emma’s childhood with the star marking. They said they’d be ‘friends forever’, which obviously quickly went south. Her name was Lillith, for goodness sake. Lead in for the second arc of the season anyone? Hook’s animosity with Will Scarlet, who seems to be able to be one of Storybrooke’s trickiest players. I know Mary Margaret isn’t known so much for her smarts, but still, he played her. Conclusion? Hook needs more friends. The original Snow Queen story has much to say about mirrors, which I will henceforth in everyday life call ‘soul receptacles’. Will OUAT tread the lines of the legend and have someone caught by hers? I think not, but it’s so far been an interesting twist to the tale. Did anyone else wonder WHERE elsa managed to find such a beautiful cloak that managed to go with her outfit? And I thought cold didn’t bother her anyway? What up with that?

As you can see, ‘Breaking Glass’ has managed to fit in so many little teasers and titbits to not only make this episode worth watching, but also make me itching for the next one. Since the start of this season it’s been exciting to watch the OUAT episode quality go up, as well as become increasingly more compelling. It’s a sad episode without any of Robert Carlyle or Emilie de Ravin, but it looks like next week they’ll really get their moment to shine, both independently and as a duo. Meanwhile, I’ll anxiously spend the coming week theorising: and it be next Sunday already?

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