(Beware, spoilers below!)
The Spell of Shattered Sight takes its full effect on Storybrooke this episode in a dramatic but beautiful twist, and we hurtle towards the midseason finale in style.
(As can be expected, this episode warrants a rather hefty recap, so scroll to the last paragraph or so if you want to miss that out.)
We’re first taken to the past and to the first moments Ingrid reached our world, fully dressed up. She visits a psychic (hilarious moment) and finally uncovers the truth, trying to find out when she will be born. We’re brought to the day when her and Emma are finally reunited when the latter is a foster child. Ingrid and her attempt to bond in a charming scene and it cleverly works. As time goes on we see as their relationship gets even closer. Ingrid announces that she’s trying to adopt Emma and Emma is delighted, telling Ingrid she loves her. When Emma makes a comment about wanting powers like Harry Potter Ingrid reveals that Emma has powers and tries to reveal them by making her stop an incoming car. Thinking Ingrid is crazy a devastated Emma runs away from her into the night. Having lost Emma, she uses the scroll to magic herself to Storybrooke and ten years later she encounters Emma in her ice cream shop, who still remembers what Ingrid did to her. Sadly, she remembers the bad things that happened between them then Ingrid takes away her memories as a result.
Back in Storybrooke, Anna, Elsa and Emma wait it out in the police station as Snow and Charming begin to verbally cut into one another. Snow accuses Charming of being a fraud whilst he accuses her of being a spoilt brat. They start quibbling over how they rock the baby and ripping into each other, and Snow confesses to Anna that she doesn’t regret killing Cora even though she said she did.
Emma and Elsa find out that they cannot hurt Ingrid because of the ribbons and also that there’s nothing that can get them off. Emma comes up with a theory that an equal opposite emotion could break the ribbons, and that therefore Regina is the answer. This is perfectly timed as Regina, locked in her own vault, gets it into her head that the saviour is responsible for what’s happened. Emma undoes the containment spell and manages to taunt Regina with lies so that she attacks her. When Emma and Elsa hold up their hands the ribbons are whittled away and the two escape as quickly as they can. After the two manage to find Ingrid’s cave she holds up the rocks with their memories.
Regina finds the gang in the police station and magics Anna and Kristoff ‘back to where they came from’ before she decides to take as well as take away Baby Neal. When Snow calls her out for using her magic Regina says all she wants to do is see Snow bleed. The two go at it for a while until both Anna and Kristoff are magicked to the beach where they came from and Anna finds the message in a bottle from her mother, knocking Kristoff out in the process. She declares it’s changed everything and runs off to find Elsa.
Anna finds Elsa, Ingrid and Emma before it was too late and reads out the farewell note her mother wrote. Gerda reveals she has a crystal with the memories of Ingrid and that she wanted Elsa and Anna to release Ingrid and tell her she loved her, as well as bring memories of Helga and Ingrid back to Arendelle. Even though she is about to attack Anna she eventually lets go and decides she needs to reverse the curse, and that the only solution (as was in the legend) is to kill herself.
Hook visits The Dark One and asks why the curse doesn’t seem to have affected him. Mr Gold says it’s because his heart was not in his body when the curse came into effect. He orders the pirate to find Henry so that when the stars align with the stars on the hat he can leave town with Belle and Henry, wiping their memories of the past day in the process. When Hook finds Henry he unlocks the door but manages to escape. Will Scarlet gets in his way before he can immediately run after him, resulting in a funny knockout scene.
The Spell of Shattered Sight finally ends in a flurry of snow and the town wake up to their former selves. Loved ones are reunited and all goes back to normal. Hook goes back to Mr Gold confessing that he didn’t manage to kidnap Henry and promises the pirate that he’ll leave Emma and Storybrooke alone as long as they don’t get in his way.
This episode has some lovely touches, such as Emma winning a dalmatian at the fair (hello, second part of the season), as well as the funny quips “what am I wearing?” and Regina and Snow sharing a laugh at the end. I’m sad to see Elisabeth Mitchell go, who throughout has been a wonderfully played tragic figure. As we herald in the queens of darkness the following season, I’ll miss her soft spoken ambiguity. We also really head somewhere with the Rumplestiltskin/Hook arc this episode, whilst getting telling sneak peeks of the other characters emotions. Even seeing Kristoff lamenting the loss of his simple life with Sven was touching. I can’t decide wether or not I feel they overblew Ingrid’s death scene but I do appreciate the use of the memory flashbacks via the memory stones, since these memories are utilised for a powerful purpose and aren’t just informative for the audience. The brief Hook interaction might have seemed a little off in terms of the tone of the forty minutes, but I’m interested as to wether or not Henry remembers how normal Hook seemed during the curse and how he was somehow able to circumvent magic. At times it also felt too much like the Snow/Regina action was all just a side show, and that the trick with the ribbons was to get Regina loose. Though any hints of ‘they made this too easy’ might still linger, the fun fight between Snow and the Evil Queen went some way into making up for it. Given that the main razzmatazz Frozen arc is pretty much over with, I’m looking forward to what many unexpected things next episode might unfold. Great ‘ending’ Kitisis/Horowitz, and amazing job by the composer two for really pulling out the stops to great effect. I’m hoping we see great things from what’s to come. On a side note, how impressed are you that Gerda managed to right such a long letter as her ship went down (what can I say, she’s a damn fast writer…)?