Elsa please, I know you’re in there
Hello & welcome back to The Magic of Storybrooke and after a long hiatus, Once Upon A Time is back and as you can see from my opening quote it has Frozen over, which is something I’m trying with all of my blogs. Now before, we get too far into the review, I want to address some people that are ticked off about Frozen playing such as prominent part in season 4 and saying things such as Frozen doesn’t deserve to be called a classic or beloved. When Frozen came out, last year, it was embraced around the world and not since The Lion King has a Disney movie see this much widespread appeal and really, it was inevitable that Frozen would end up on Once Upon A Time with it’s popularity. And I do please that it is very beloved and for Once fans, think of it this way, Frozen may get new viewers to check out the show that have not watched seasons 1 -3. So, Frozen being a part of the Once canon can be beneficial to the show in the long run. And for Frozen fans, Once is going to a great length to honor and respect, the Frozen characters. With that long-winded introduction out of the way, let’s begin.
A Tale of Two Sisters
When I first saw the title, I thought it might refer to Emma and Elsa and how they take on responsibilities of being an older sister. However, after watching the episode, it’s more about Elsa and Anna. And honestly, that was the best part of the episode.
I’m going to mix things up here and start with the Arendelle plot. As it was the more exciting storyline in the episode. I think I’ll do that from now on, whichever storyline I liked better will be the one that I go over first.
We open on the fateful day, the ship of the King and Queen of Arendelle sunk. And the girls’ mother write a message to their daughters as they need to know the truth. To be honest, this scene was very well done as it seemed to expand this small moment from the animated movie and we cut to five years later, where Elsa and Anna are visiting the graves of their parents. And we learn that Elsa has a present for her little sis as her wedding day is approaching in one day. She takes the adorkable Anna (seriously, Elizabeth Lail gets Anna’s mannerisms down so well, that it feels like she came right out of the movie) up to an attic in their castle to give her sister, a touching present. Their mother’s wedding dress.
And Anna tried on the dress and this entire sequence evoked visions of the deleted “Dressing Room” scene, where Anna tried on various dresses before Elsa’s coronation.
I’m pretty sure that was intentional as I do recall reading somewhere that Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis did mention wanting to include things from the movie that didn’t make it into the final film. So, that’s a nice touch. And I get the impression that Adam and Eddy are big fans of Frozen and want to show as much to respect to these characters as possible. Though, that is not to say that they aren’t afraid to put their own spin on things. Such as we find out as Elsa finds their mother’s diary, they weren’t going to a diplomatic thing/event. They were heading to a place called Mist Haven as it had something to do with Elsa’s powers and her mother writing of her being scared of what she was seeing from her eldest daughter. This upsets the Snow Queen and makes her feel guilty for the death of her parents. Anna decides that they can head to the one person that can help them, her future in-law Pabbie. And I just have to say that the CGI on the show has greatly improved and they actually captured the look of Pabbie quite well.
For comparison’s sake, Pabbie from “A Tale of Two Sisters” and Pabbie from Frozen. They honestly did quite a good job here.Though I do have one question. Look, I have nothing against John Rhys-Davies voicing Pabbie but there is a small part of me that wonders why Once didn’t try to get Ciaran Hinds, Pabbie’s VA from Frozen to reprise his role. Look, I get Once wants to tell a new story with these beloved characters that the world has embraced and I understand that you can’t get Kristin Bell or Idina Menzel back to reprise their roles as the Royal Sisters because A. they are super busy and you actually need actors that look the part of Anna and Elsa but as for Pabbie, you just need a voice actor and why not let Ciaran Hinds have another go at voicing Pabbie. I dunno maybe, Hinds was busy too and Once couldn’t get in contact with him and don’t get me wrong, John Rhys-Davies turns in a solid performance. Pabbie is the one that informs the Queen and her little sis that their parents headed to Mist Haven and they had come to him, the day before they left. Anna decides that they need to go there to find out what their parents were looking for. Which is exactly what she does, the day of her wedding with her future hubby, Kristoff tries to cover for her.
The actor playing Kristoff was… okay. It seems like Once is trying to take an older, more mature approach to his character but something seems lacking with his character. I can’t pinpoint it and I had a similar issue with Elsa but Georgina Haig really tried with Elsa and it’s hard to live up to what Idina Menzel did with the character as she made Elsa, an icon. I will say that one improvement that the show made upon the character of Kristoff was that, while he talks to Sven, he does not talk for Sven.
This is such as minor thing but it bugged me so much, when I first saw Frozen. It was one of the most annoying things in the movie and one of the only things I truly despised about Frozen. And while it barely worked in the animated movie, it would look even more stupid in live action and I cannot thank the show enough for getting rid of this. Hey, just because Frozen is in my Top 4 of Animated Disney Movies, doesn’t mean I don’t have issues with it. Also, it being in my Top 4 should explain why I was excited for this season beyond the fact that I love Once.
Getting back to the review, we find out that Anna headed out on her own to Mist Haven and Elsa asks why, she didn’t her big sister go with her. Kristoff says that she knew that Arendelle needed it’s queen and also, he remembers what happened the last time, she left Arendelle and Kristoff didn’t go with Anna because Anna wanted him to be there for Elsa. Elsa asks why, she has never heard of Mist Haven. And Kristoff states that she might know it better as why the denizens of Arendelle call it, The Enchanted Forest. Okay, so that was a pretty good reveal. Though, I do find it odd that now in season 4, we learn that The Enchanted Forest has another name.
It just seems odd that the name, Mist Haven was never once brought up before. And I have to wonder, if any of the citizens of The Enchanted Forest knew of this name. Oh, and I should point out that Mist Haven/The Enchanted Forest is only a boat trip away from Arendelle. Now, nothing has been said yet but from what we saw in the Storybrooke plot of Anna’s possessions being in our world, I have a hunch that Anna going to The Enchanted Forest ties into the role that’ll Elsa will play into the present day Storybrooke plot line. Just an assumption but I don’t think that I’m too far off on this one. Honestly, the Frozen flashbacks were so strong and so well done that it could stand on it’s own as a Frozen TV series. And as I said up top, this was my favorite of the two storylines featured in last night’s episode.
Favorite Fairy Tale Moment
Another new thing that I’m introducing this year is that for both the Fairy Tale and Storybrooke plots, I’m going to point out my favorite moment from both. For the Arendelle plot, it is Anna centric and it is tough to pick but I think I have to go with how Anna was willing there by Elsa in her time of need after reading their mother’s diary and was even willing to postpone her wedding to continue her parent’s journey to see what it was about.
Now onto the Storybrooke plot.
It’s not that I dislike the Storybrooke plot but it just felt so lackluster compared to the Arendelle storyline. I will give them this much, the show didn’t wait to get back into the action and picks up, right where “There’s No Place Like Home” left off. As the Storybrooke plot line picks up right at Granny’s Diner after Marian is reintroduced to the show. And you can still see that Regina is hurt and heartbroken over losing the love of her life.
Marian still views Regina as the monster that tried to kill her. We also get to see Elsa exploring Storybrooke. And get a moment, where she freezes a car with Leroy/Grumpy and Walter/Sleepy driving and they almost hit her until she freezes the car. Oh, and Grumpy was drunk and made Sleepy the designated driver. Okay, who thought it was a good idea to make Sleepy, the DD.
And of course, this strikes fear into the two dwarfs thinking that they have a new foe. Elsa hides herself and after some more exploring around the town, she finds a necklace that belonged to her sister and more importantly, Anna’s wedding dress in Mr. Gold’s Pawn Shop. And you get the sense that Elsa is scared and confused in this new world that she’s never been to before. Meanwhile, Rumple and Belle missed out on the action for their honeymoon that just happened to show up during the last curse and I’ve heard speculation that it may be Storybrooke’s equivalent of The Dark One’s Castle. And we got the dance, The Dance. They did the Beauty and The Beast dance in the costumes and set to an instrumental of Beauty and The Beast.
This was such a squee worthy moment for me as a Disney fan and this was one of many great Disney moments in this episode. Meanwhile, Elsa continues to explore Storybrooke and after Emma and Killian/Hook came seeing what was going on, Elsa created Marshmallow out of fear.
And I have to say that Marshmallow look especially creepy on Once. Now, there were some other key moments to touch upon such as the return of Sidney Glass, who Regina apparently had kept locked up in the hospital since season one and needs his help. She at first wanted to go back in time and kill Marian. But after saving Marian from the attack on Marshmallow, she decided that she needs to find the writer of the book, so that she can have the writer rewrite the stories and give all the villains, a happy ending. I should mention that Regina had trapped Sidney in a mirror, so yep, he’s back to being the Magic Mirror.
Man, I feel bad for Sidney, he gets freed, only for another form an entrapment. Now, of course we also have to touch upon some of the other plot lines such as Yen Sid’s hat appearing in the house, where Rumple and Belle had their honeymoon. Yep, Fantasia has entered the picture.
And again, they played the music when the hat showed up. Rumple made the hat appear with the use of his dagger and he promised to give it to Belle but I don’t know as Rumple likes his power. And we also got a lot of Frozen nod moments such as this scene. You can read this Buzzfeed article as they point out a lot of the Frozen nods.
We get the sense that things are just being set up a lot of big things for this season between Elsa wanting to find her sister, Regina searching for the writer of the book and the appearance of the hat. Spoilers have hinted that Henry will serve as the Apprentice Overall, I thought that this was a pretty good opener for season 4. No, let’s move onto my favorite Storybrooke moment.
Favorite Storybrooke Moment
Okay, I know that the dance with the use of the music played off people’s nostalgia for Beauty and The Beast and well, it worked. It took me back the watching the dance sequence from the original movie.
It was just such a great moment, now let’s move onto characters.
Regina played by Lana Parilla
I am a bit worried that the show is sending Regina down on the path of becoming a villain again. And with her wanting to find the writer of the book and give all the villains, a happy ending, I’m afraid that they are going to throw out the character development that Regina has gone through.
Elsa played by Georgina Haig
Georgina Haig as Elsa isn’t bad but I just couldn’t get into her as Elsa. Something about her as Elsa seemed off. I don’t know but she did a good job as the role but it’s going to take a few more episodes before I warm up to her in the role.
Emma played by Jennifer Morrison
Emma seems like she’s going to play a big part in Elsa’s story. There wasn’t much interaction between Elsa and Emma but going by the promo for the next episode, they will have a lot of interaction.
Rumpelstiltskin played by Robert Carlyle
It seems that Rumple is trying to redeem himself but I don’t know, with the hat now with him, I’m afraid that he might be tempted to back down the path of darkness. We will have to wait and see.
Anna played by Elizabeth Lail
Elizabeth Lail was perfectly cast as Anna. She truly captured who Anna is and I’m looking forward to the rest of her take on Anna. Seriously, it felt like Anna had just stepped out of the movie and even sounded like Kristin Bell. I loved it.
Sidney Glass played by Giancarlo Eposito
I’m happy to see Sidney back but man, this must suck for him. Regina frees him from his prison in the hospital, only to trap him in the mirror. Sure, Regina said that it’s temporary but we don’t know how long, Regina is going to take to find the writer of the mirror. So, temporary is varying length of time.
Grand Pabbie voiced by John Rhys-Davies
I really liked Pabbie in the episode and I thought that John Rhys-Davies was excellent in the role. He did a good job and besides my minor complaint about not using his Frozen voice actor, I loved Pabbie and hope that we see more of him in future episodes.
Kristoff played by Scott Micheal Foster
I don’t want to discredit Scott Micheal Foster as we’ve only had one episode with him playing Kristoff but I can’t put my finger on it, something about him in this role seems amiss. He’s not doing a bad job but I’m just having a hard time seeing him as Kristoff.
Robin Hood played by Sean Magurie
With the way, this season has been set up, Robin isn’t going to have it easy. He still loves and cares for Regina but his wife who had died at the hands of Regina is no longer dead and as he said, when they wed, she made a promise, “Til death do us part”. And it did and then it didn’t. Robin said that. And the show is going to lose no matter what they do because if Robin is paired back up with Regina, that’s going to upset fans that want to see Robin Hood and Maid Marian together and if they pair him back up with Marian, they is going to upset fans that want to see more Robin and Regina interaction. The show really wrote themselves into a corner with this one.
Maid Marian played by Christie Lang
It appears that the show is setting Marian up to come to the realization that Regina is not the same woman, who was once known as the Evil Queen. Because rightfully so, when she first Regina, she viewed her as a monster but after Regina saved Marian from Marshmallow, she thought that maybe she isn’t much of a monster after all. I don’t know what more the show could do with Marian because as pointed out with Robin, the show is going to upset fans either way.
My Final Thoughts
All in all, this was a solid start for season 4. I enjoyed the Arendelle story more than the Storybrooke plot but they both had their great moments and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next. Join me next time as I look at the second episode of season 4.