Dee Discusses: Once Upon a Time Season 4 First Half

Posted: January 11, 2015 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Once Upon a Time, Television
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

There are spoilers in this review.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the end of season three, mostly because I felt that the Wicked Witch was a let down after the fantastic story arc and acting of Peter Pan. That kid was amazing, pure and simple, and even now I wish there were ways to bring him back. I also wasn’t entirely certain how I felt about Frozen being used, mostly because it was the height of its popularity and I was getting a little sick of it. In season three, Regina got officially accepted into part of Team Good after helping in Neverland, and she was able to use white magic for the first time. This was an extremely satisfying arc for me. We’ve seen her go back and forth for seasons, and it is great to see that this character development is going to stick. Meanwhile Gold’s has gone ten steps backward, but it’s okay, not all villains change completely. Snow White and Charming had a second child, a son they named Neal after Baelfire, who died tragically halfway through the season. It was sort of cheap to bring him back only to end it that way, especially since I maintained Gold should have stayed dead, ah well.

Season three ended with Gold going back to his roots, even though he married Belle and had some version of happily ever after. He killed Zelena and pretended to give Belle the dagger so she felt like he trusted her. Liar liar liar. Hook and Emma got together after they went through time and changed Snow and Charming’s love story by accident. I like the idea that the book can change, something that became a big part of this season. Nothing’s set in stone, not even these fairy tales. Regina found love in Robin Hood, but Emma brought Maid Marian back from the Enchanted Forest. Marian was killed by Evil Queen Regina, and her being back in the picture took Regina’s love away, so she was resentful at Emma about it. Also Emma brought back a magical device that kept powerful magic users in it, and Elsa was set free at the very end.

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Season four started out there. Elsa arrived in Storybrooke and panicked, creating a snow monster and freezing everyone in to the town. She nearly killed Emma by accident, but Emma quickly realized she didn’t mean any harm. All she wanted was to find her sister Anna, but she couldn’t remember how she was trapped or what happened. The flashbacks were mostly of Anna’s journey to the Enchanted Forest to find out what happened to their parents. While there she learned about the Sorcerer’s Hat, and that Rumplestiltskin was desperate to get his hands on it. Anna realized their parents were looking for a “cure” for her sister, and chose not to tell her. It was here that we met the real bad guy of this segment, the Snow Queen, Ingrid. She was Elsa and Anna’s aunt, who shared the same ice powers, and the same fear of hurting the ones she loved. Unfortunately Ingrid had a tragic past, which they took their time getting to, and in her case it was genuinely sad. I never cared much for Zelena, and obviously we weren’t supposed to feel bad for Pan. But Ingrid accidentally killed one of her sisters, and her other sister – Elsa and Anna’s mother – trapped her in the urn. She then erased all the memories the kingdom had of Ingrid, as if she never existed. When Ingrid was released from the urn, she was obsessed with bonding with Elsa, and convinced that normal people like Anna would turn on them out of fear eventually.

Ingrid used a spell that was a broken mirror, bringing out the worst in people, and it caused Anna in the past to trap Elsa in the urn. Horrified, Ingrid froze her (and most of the Kingdom) for 30 years and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice/Sidekick/Protector made a deal with her to help her find one of her potential “sisters.” Emma. Ingrid came into modern day, when Emma was still an orphan, and took care of her in a foster home. She came to genuinely love the girl and wanted to adopt her, but she wanted to push Emma into using her gifts, and since Emma didn’t believe in magic, she rejected Ingrid. Ingrid’s plan was to make Elsa and Emma her new sisters and to destroy the rest of the town so it was only the three of them, and no “normal” people to reject them. Meanwhile Rumplestiltskin made a deal with her because he was tired of Storybrooke and wanted to find a way to leave with his power intact. He wanted to take Henry and Belle with him and seek power in this world, getting everything he wanted. His own happy ending. He tried to kill Emma and took Hook’s heart, all for this purpose, while pretending he was still a good guy. Oh Rumple. You should’ve stayed dead.

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While the broken mirror spell was turning everyone in town against each other, Anna arrived just in time (thanks to a spell) to give the last letter her mother wrote to Ingrid. In it she explained what happened to Ingrid and how much she regretted hurting her sister, and that Elsa shouldn’t let fear rule her. Ingrid realized then that what she was doing was wrong, but it was too late to reverse the spell. She gave Elsa and Emma back memories she took from them about the happy times they shared with Ingrid, and she chose to let the spell kill her to save the town. Despite dying, she was truly thankful to see her sisters again, and to get back the love she thought she lost. It was a touching farewell to the character, while keeping with the general show’s theme of accepting each other and finding forgiveness. Once gone, Rumple was the real problem, and Belle took care of that nonsense. WAY TO GO BELLE. I still cheer like crazy when I think of this scene. She realized that he never gave her the real dagger and found it, and forced him to leave the town line. He doesn’t have his magic and he can’t come back. It took a lot of strength to do that, so I wanted to hug the poor girl. On a more forced front, Robin had to leave because Marian was going to die if she stayed in the town. Yeah okay forced conflict, let’s make Regina hurt just because we can. Le sigh. The season ended with Emma agreeing to help Regina find the author of the book (the Sorcerer, probably), and Rumple meeting with Ursula in the real world with a plan to get his revenge.

I’m glad that Regina ended up sticking to the good side. There was a moment early in the season when I feared she was going to backslide, but she stuck with her redemptive arc, and that was satisfying. I also love that Marian came to her and was like ‘hey, I don’t want Robin to stay with me because he has to.’ It was irritating that they needed to separate them just for the drama, but it looks like he’ll be coming back and it’ll be a part of whatever plans Regina and Emma have for the rest of the season. The Frozen storyline was very well done, and that’s why I ended up forgiving it for taking up so much time. I was tired of the movie, but they handled it well, and the actors were all really excellent in their roles. It was also lovely to see Elsa connect with Emma, and give her someone who was equally scared of magic. Elsa was able to encourage Emma to accept her magic, and therefore found that strength within herself. Very nice. It was irritating that these new characters got 95% of the screen time, but c’est la vie. It is what it is.

I suppose since Regina stayed on the good side, I was fine with Rumple going evil again. He’s always been portrayed solidly as a character who makes bad decisions and chooses power over anything else. Yes, he’s capable of making good choices, but only in rare occasions. I never doubted he loved Belle and Neal, but not in a way that made him a good person at the end of the day. It’s too bad he didn’t stay dead, his ending with Peter Pan was perfect. Still, I was so thankful that they handled it this way. What an incredible acting job by both Robert and Emilie as Belle and Rumple go through a very painful version of a divorce. I am so glad that she stood up to him, and they made it clear that all of his choices this season were not okay. I appreciate they didn’t excuse him for any of it. He chose evil, plain and simple. They continued great emotional journeys with Emma dealing with her magic, and her family’s reaction to it. Once Upon a Time always does family and found family well, with the whole town growing close enough that when they’re torn apart, it’s difficult to watch. Emma and Hook started a relationship which had some good moments, but didn’t detract from the major storyline, which I appreciated.

The Snow Queen story was excellent and wrapped up well. I’m not certain what to make of the three villains coming up here. Maleficent, Cruella de Ville, and Ursula. Maleficent was dead, wasn’t she? I guess we’ll see. Cruella seems out of place there, but interviews suggest that she will have magic/power of her own. Rumple sells it to them as finding the writer of the book and insisting on their happy endings too. Sometimes the show irritates me with this running “villains never get happy endings.” Guys, are you paying attention to the heroes? They’re not exactly getting their perfect endings either. Sure for right now they’re doing okay, but it’s never come easily to them. I wish someone would point that out to Regina. I mean look at Belle, she’s a hero, and she’s not exactly happy running in fields right now. It looks like we’ll get to know more about the author of the book, and no idea how that’s going to lead into the end of this season. Are they going to get everything rewritten? How many villains do they have left to use?

Now to think of new villains they could use. Hmmmm.

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