(Beware, spoilers below!)
I’m a little out of breath as I write this: this episode of Once Upon a Time was far more emotional than I thought it would be (that’s saying a lot), so let’s begin with the recap.
We begin as Gold makes a deal to be able to let both Henry and Belle leave with him so that they will be free of the spell of shattered sight. Hook sees that he cannot escape either the town or his fate, and Gold tells him that he has a job for the pirate: he has to take all the magic from the fairies with the hat since they’re all working together at Granny’s to come up with an antidote. However when Gold finds Belle there with the she’s unwilling to leave the makeshift lab with the fairies so he stays in wait. After the fairies start to fail without the presence of either Anna or the necklace Gold manages to get Belle out of the way before Hook goes about his dirty business.
At the same time, Emma thinks that they might be safe if they leave town, but as soon as Charming gives it a shot, the ice wall only retaliates. In the ensuing ice-movement, Elsa does manage to find Anna’s necklace. Through Belle’s help they find out that Anna is the key to being able to create the aforementioned antidote.. The locator spell for Anna works and leads them to the library and below the mines. However they see that Anna is beyond their reach and Emma urges Elsa not to use her magic and cause another cave in. As they’re running out of time, they can choose to either destroy the necklace to help make the antidote, which would prevent Elsa from ever finding Anna. Elsa tricks them and runs off back to the mines, where she breaks down a wall that leads them to the beach but Anna is nowhere in sight.
Regina goes to visit Robin Hood and his men, telling them to break camp. She tries to memorise him ‘with love in his eyes’, since she knows that when the spell strikes she will become who she used to be. Back at home, Regina tells Henry that she’s locking the house to seal everyone out and keep him safe locked inside so that no one at all can enter. Robin comes to find her her but she goes to seal herself in because she’s afraid of the person she used to be.
Meanwhile in Arendelle, Kristoff and Anna are unfrozen and with the clue of a golden straw they decide to go and find Rumplestiltskin. However, Hans and some of his brothers manage to walk in. Kristoff shows his mettle to be able to disarm them and escape with Anna. With both of them on the run, Anna says she reads about something called a wishing star and goes to find Blackbeard, who is said to have the last one. In fact, it’s just another trap by Hans and we find out that Blackbeard sold Anna’s parents the last wishing star, but it didn’t work because only the pure of heart can use it. Having finally trapped Anna and Kristoff, Hans twistedly decides to kill them in the exactly the same spot where her parents ship went down. With the help of Blackbeard he throws them overboard in a chest. We also find out that Ingrid’s curse froze them all for thirty years, which is how long Elsa was also trapped in the urn.
Back at the beach the power of the wishing star works as having given up, Elsa wishes for Anna to be with her by way of an apology. Miraculously, Anna and Kristoff (still in the chest) are brought to that very beach. We find out that Anna’s necklace was somehow a wishing star and that is what brought Anna to Elsa, though at the same time… the bottle that Anna’s mother sent off her ship before it went under also comes to the surface.
They hurry back to the station where Emma finds her parents. They instruct her to lock them away in the cells, giving her Neal to look after and tells her they believe in her to undo the spell.. The curse finally arrives with the town looking on and as the shards of glass enter the eyes of Snow and Charming, we see them instantly change.
This was a dramatic episode that resolved a lot of its threads nicely. I’m as before, still full of questions – why thirty years? How come Hans has so much power(how is he navy captain before a load of his other brothers)? What will happen to the fairies now? Will they be trapped forever? For all of the questions, there are also lots of other small moments which I am sure the hardened fan will pick up on that I don’t want to bore the casual reader with (perhaps I will save them for a special review).
There are still moments which are unclear but if the high tensions and emotions that ran in the last ten or so minutes tell us anything, it’s that for the patient, Once Upon a Time is willing to serve up a treat. It also reminds us how much the characters have changed since we first met them in Season 1 and the shots of important faces at the end show us how many people the audience has welcomed into the fold. The actors too did a great job, with many props to Colin O’Donoghue, Elizabeth Lail and Scott Michael Foster for making storylines that might otherwise seem ludicrous very much beautiful and real. Lana Parrilla is also brilliant, and a conversation between her and Charmings show that how her growth has not only made her better person, but also a more savvy one (on a side note, who also enjoyed the scene between Anna, Kristoff and David – the hair discussion!). I’m also thankful that the writers still provided enough mystery and drama for those of us that might be well clued into spoilers and therefore knew that the Spell of Shattered Sight would happen no matter what. Elsa’s search for Anna gave us enough to hang on for, though I hope the existence of the wishing star comes up at some point again so that it doesn’t appear to be some construct created for this plotline.
I will dearly miss the Frozen cast when they leave, though luckily there are two more intense episodes in store before we have to say goodbye.