Once Upon a Time, Season 4 Episode 6 Review: “Family Business”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

Before we start this episode, I’d like to point out the picture at the top: the picture of the ‘big summer blowout guy’. I’m sorry – I got very excited when I was he’d be on the show. He’s one among many things to be excited for in this episode, and for those who want to skip my recap – as I am aware my OUAT reviews are amongst my longest – a large chunk of my dissection is (as always) at the end.

We begin with Belle and her mother during the Ogre Wars. The brutes are terrifying. Unfortunately Belle wakes up with no memory of what happened to her mother save that the woman is dead. She finds out that there are creatures that can restore memories – the Rock Trolls of Arendelle – and she journeys to find them. At the same time in Arendelle, Anna reunites with Elsa and is introduced to Ingrid, the woman that has helped Elsa’s magic get newly under control. She instantly doesn’t trust the lady – she’s not on the royal records, and there’s no trace of her anywhere. Anna decides to go to see Grandpabby for more answers but the Snow Queen overhears when she tells Kristoff. The paths between Belle and Anna cross – enter the big summer blowout guy! – and they decide to journey together. Without Elsa the journey is more difficult (it’s a funny scene). Anna says she hopes she never meets Rumplestiltskin … funny how things end up, isn’t it?

Grandpabby manages to extract Belle’s memories via a stone she has to brew in a kettle. The more intriguing story however lies in that her mother Gerda had two other sisters – Helga and Ingrid. Both the elder sisters disappeared one day and as a result, Grandpabby erased the memories of everyone in Arendelle. As they climb down the mountain a storm rages. Anna can’t hold on and as Belle attempts save find the stone she not only loses it but Anna also falls off the cliff. Ingrid takes the magical hat and whisks Anna away, which leads to a sinister conversation that made my skin crawl. When Belle returns home she finds out her mother sacrifices herself for her, a secret her father kept. As the ogre war still rages we see how she’s set on the path to meeting Rumplestiltskin for the first time.

The big elephant in the room – that the Snow Queen aka Ingrid was once Emma’s foster mother – brings together the big Scooby Gang that is the Charming extended family in the Sherriff’s Station. They split up into teams to try and uncover more answers. In the Ingrid’s truck Emma finds out she was with her for around 6 months. She finds a huge file of her old pictures and essays as well as a creepy scroll of runes (not hieroglyphs, Hook!). It seems Emma and her ex-mum was close, but this still doesn’t explain the absence of memories.

Back in the Library, Belle struggles in the knowledge that she’s familiar with Anna. Elsa is becoming desperate, willing to believe that Anna might have truly locked her in the urn and now doesn’t want to be found. Belle uses the dagger because she’s desperate for Rumple’s help. Remember now, she doesn’t know that the dagger she holds is fake, but Mr Gold takes her to the Ice Queen’s cave. In the cave she encounters the Queen’s magic mirror, where she in turn encounters a version of herself. Her reflection puts the idea in her head that the dagger is fake, but Mr Gold whisks her away in time. Let it just be said that right now, Mr Gold doesn’t deserve Belle’s love or trust. I always want to like him – he’d better have a good reason for deceiving her.

Ingrid and Mr Gold meet in secret. Ingrid is clear she has a plan – there’s a terse exchange that makes it clear Mr Gold is after something from Ingrid he can’t get. Later on he threatens her to not use the mirror on anyone he cares about. He reveals the hat to gain the upper hand and right now I really don’t know who I’m more scared of. He also reveals more about the mirror to Belle, that it’s part of a plan that when used against the whole town, will make everyone turn against one another. Before the end we’ve uncovered even more intriguing discoveries – not only that Emma looks just like Helga, but that the scroll prophecy purports that Emma is involved, and that they’ll be one happy family (Emma, Ingrid & Elsa).

In the smallest yet no less important of side stories, Robin and Regina have their own drama too. Regina’s been avoiding Robin Hood because she’s tried everything she possibly can to save Marian. She tells him the only thing she believes will save her is if he forgets about her and falls in love Marian again. It’s one of Regina’s quietest and noblest moments, and one which I believe defies her critics which say she’s just regressed back to her old ways this season.

‘Family Business’ arguably doesn’t feature as much action as last episode, but this doesn’t matter in the slightest. The focus on Belle not only makes up for the character neglect on her so far, but also flashes out some important plots, as well as providing us with important answers. This season the writers have been great at inserting telling lines or actions into characters that might not have much else to do in the episode (aka the Charmings/Hook this week), and this episode is full of them. Unless you’re the world’s biggest Snowing shipper, fans of any of the mjor characters should find something to take away from this episode. This past quarter of an hour we’re drawn deep into Arendelle and not that I’m not enjoying it, but I hope in the second half of the season the writers bring it back home with a bit more focus on its most beloved characters in Storybrooke. I sense that it’ll be a slow burn with characters such as Rumple, Regina and Henry, so I’m holding out for that.

Once again, it’s been a great episode, one that further enhances season 4 of OUAT and makes up for any iffy moments in season 3. I’m filled with questions – so what exactly did happen to Helga? Where in hells bells is Ana? And where in double hells bells is Kristoff? Was Anna and Elsa’s father named Kai? (For anyone who knows their HCA mythology, you must have questioned that when Grandpabbie uncovered the name of their mum as Gerda.) Does anyone else think it bodes ill when Hook said he wanted to smash the mirror? And with another comparatively Charming-less episode what are Team Snowing going to play this season beyond town figures? Is the absence of the Charmings meant to parallel something I’ve missed? As you can tell, I’m looking forward to next week – roll onwards ABC!

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