Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"Once Upon A Time" Recap: "Fall" [4x10]

I hate spoilers.

I've made it one of my duties to humanity, to never reveal vital information about a show or film that could ruin the experience for the audience firsthand. But it's pretty much impossible to review a single episode of a television show without discussing the actual events within the plot.

So unfortunately, these television reviews will uncover plot twists in detail.

Fortunately, said reviews will also carry a warning label.

And fortunately again, this will allow those of us who have viewed the episode(s) to discuss... fan theories. And fan theories are my jam.


The latest episode, “Fall,” begins in the woods, following yet another secret meeting between the villainous Snow Queen Ingrid and the villain-turned-good-guy-turned-villain-turned-good-guy-turned-I-don’t-give-a-care-anymore Rumpelstiltskin.

The Snow Queen is watching her Spell of Shattered Sight fall over Storybooke, and it will reach full coverage at sundown: it will bring out the very worst of everyone, at which the town will “tear itself apart” (as we are repeatedly told). Only Emma and Elsa will be left, to become Ingrid’s new surrogate family. Rumpelstiltskin proffers Ingrid a deal: if she lets him leave down with Belle and Henry, he won’t make her life miserable once the spell hits.

That’s right, folks: just when you think the Dark One has finally turned over a new leaf and started being thoroughly honest with his family and new wife… he reveals that he’s willing to turn his back on the good guys to save his own skin. What. A. Shock.

The one catch to Rumpelstiltskin’s plan is that he needs to free himself from all ties to his magical dagger and keep from forgetting his identity outside of the town borders. How, you ask?

I’m… not exactly sure. He needs the magical hat of Disney Destiny, and he had some sort of ‘ingredient’ to this spell that he was going to fetch with “great pleasure,” but exactly what was never specified. In previous episodes it seemed that he needed all of Emma’s magic to be trapped in the hat. Except… Emma didn’t get trapped in the hat. But that’s okay! Because Rumpelstiltskin seems to think his plan is still going swimmingly… though why, I’ve no idea..

Meanwhile, the good guys are all plotting their own way to evade the oncoming curse (this town sure does seem to have a regular forecast of magical storm clouds, doesn’t it?) and Emma suggests that they try to leave town. But… won’t that make most of them forget their identities?

Well, we never find out, because the ice queen is making the ice walls grow ever more around down: even blocking off the harbor. All exits are impassable. On the plus side, the shifting ice cracks open and Elsa finds Anna’s snowflake necklace that she lost a few episodes ago. That means that they can finally track down Anna! And to top it all off, Belle announces that if they can get a piece of hair from someone living who’s already experienced the spell, they can create an antidote/vaccine to the curse. Which is great! Except… for all they know Anna might be over 40 by this point.

When Ingrid first left Arendelle for ‘our world’ 30 years ago, she had just recently frozen Anna and Kristoff within their castle. It’s also possible (but not specified) that she froze not just all of the people within the castle (including all the princes of the Southern Isles), but also the entire kingdom of Arendelle. My best guess was that they’re all in some sort of cryo-carbonite-hyper-sleep, whether briefly or for decades we will find out eventually.

Cut to Arendelle, where all of the magic ice over the kingdom melts instantly… for some reason.

Since the time isn’t specified, we’re not sure whether this occurred because Ingrid left the magical world, or because of something 30 years later, roughly parallel to current events (perhaps it happened, say, when Emma first trapped Ingrid in those magic-canceling handcuffs during that special two-hour special episode. Though if those handcuffs were to cancel all her spells, wouldn't Maid Marian be un-frozen as well? Oh, well).

Anyway, they thaw. Anna finds a gold straw on the floor and comes to the conclusion that Rumpelstiltskin has the urn where Elsa was trapped. But before she and Kristoff can run off to rescue their queen, Hans and his brothers (thawed at last) turn up to snark them all and attempt yet another takeover.

Kristoff and Anna throw some punches and sword fighting moves, then escape.

Meanwhile, Rumpelstiltskin meets Hook at the docks to rub his evil-ness in the pirate’s face yet again. After some riveting dialogue where the Dark One insists that he really is evil and selfish and so forth, he orders Killian to capture all of the good fairies in the sorcerer's hat. (Apparently that will give him the magical power he needs, since he never got to trap Emma.) The fairies are gathering in the cafe to create the Shattered-Sight-Antidote, so all Rumpelstiltskin has to do is get Belle away from them long enough for Hook to do the dirty deed. And since the Dark One possesses the pirate’s heart, poor Killian has to do everything that he says.

I think.

I forget how heart-possession works: is he physically incapable of disobedience, or just functioning under threat of death? Because those are two very different circumstances. Either way, Killian glowers through his guy-liner as per usual.

Meanwhile, Regina shares a moment with Robin in the woods, worried about losing the only two people who love her: him, and Henry. They share a sweet moment, in which we can almost forget that he’s married... albeit to a functionally comatose woman, but it's still a tad awkward if one thinks about it. Especially since this show seems to support a lot of unmarried couples hooking up, seeing as that's how Snow and Charming finally got together.

We’re also reminded that the cocky Cockney Will Scarlett is still around. (I have a theory with almost no basis, in which *he* will eventually be the one to fall in love with Marian and save her life while conversely freeing Robin Hood to marry Regina. But I digress.)

Elsa and Emma come to Belle with the snowflake pendant. She observes that it has shattered glass embedded in it. She gives them a locator potion, they enchant the necklace, and follow it… to the library. The source of all magical mystery in town. Shocker.

Meanwhile, Anna and Kristoff make it to the woods, and Anna explains that she read in her mother’s journal that her parents were looking for a ‘Wishing Star’ that is owned by… BLACKBEARD. Dun-dun-dun!

Back in Storybrooke, Elsa and Emma go into the mines and find… a stone wall. Apparently the ice queen’s growing walls may have caused a recent cave-in. What to do?

True to the convenient and instant timing that is fairytales, Anna and Kristoff arrive in Misthaven. Wow, that was quick. They discuss finding Blackbeard,  then run into the fearsome buccaneer as soon as they say his name! They ask him for the Wishing Star ‘statue,’ but surprise! They’re taken captive, because Hans somehow beat them across the ocean, and he was in league with Blackbeard all along!

MEANWHILE. The dwarves offer to clear the tunnel to Anna, but it’ll take a few hours. Belle suggests that they extract the glass dust from the necklace to use in the antidote. It will take longer than with hair, but it will destroy the necklace (and any chance of finding Anna). Grumpy sums it up in his usual grumpy way: should they save the town, or save the sister?

Hook and Rumpel close in on the fairies. But since Belle won’t leave the magicking process, Rumpelstiltskin announces (with a voice dripping with dangerous sub-text) that he’s going to stick around and watch the fairies work (which they do not like).

In the council of Goodness, Regina suddenly talks like a hero and suggests that they do what’s best for the most people: use the necklace to make the antidote. Elsa surrenders the pouch she's been keeping the necklace in, and they go off to make the antidote... or so they think, but Elsa has the real necklace and Emma didn't even bother check the contents of the pouch before they left!

The good guys get to the cafe and discover the ruse. And now it’ll be too late to create an antidote, unless Anna’s physically present (cough cough). Snow White displays a firecracker temper about the whole situation, so much so that even Regina’s impressed.

Emma chases down Elsa, who tries her ice magic on the rock wall. What didn’t she try that earlier?

They reach the beach, but find nothing. They worry what it could mean; that Anna died here and decayed on the beach for thirty years.

Back in Misthaven, Blackbeard admits he met Anna’s parents and already sold them the Wishing Star. However, to make a wish on it, one must have a pure heart. (What luck! Anna has one!) But unfortunately, Hans stole their kingdom and has rendered them bankrupt. He sentences them to death… at the ship boneyard where Anna’s parents sank! Blackbeard decides to shut them in a trunk to keep mermaids from saving them, and just before dumping them overboard, Hans drops the bomb that they were frozen for thirty years.


If the castle was in hibernation for three decades, did no one tried to enter and explore or even loot it in that time? And if the entire kingdom had been frozen that way, didn't anyone sail in and discover that? Did no merchant ships or pirates or naiive explorer children look around the place? And if I may interject another long-awaited question here... WHERE THE HECK HAS OLAF BEEN ALL THIS TIME!?

Anna and Kristoff have about as many questions as I do at this point, but they're shut up and dumped unceremoniously overboard!

On the Storybrooke beach, the necklace stops glowing. The Storm of Shattered Sight is coming. All seems lost.

Meanwhile, the chest has sunk down into the underwater graveyard, mere yards away from a message in a bottle! Which, if you’ll recall the season’s first episode (or at least the “previously on OUAT” message at the start of this episode), was thrown into the sea by Anna’s parents before they died, in the hopes that their daughters would one day “know the truth.”

Inside the magically-airtight and surprisingly well-lit trunk, Anna and Kristoff try to wriggle free from their bonds. Kristoff gets free and unties Anna, but she’s strangely quiet. Suddenly, as they sit there (still trapped), she tried to hold back her tears and recite her wedding vows. I’m not a very emotional person, but Elizabeth Lail’s acting has been so spot-on that she feels no different than the animated Anna from the original movie. And seeing her - ANNA - stare death in the face and try in her last moments to marry Kristoff?

On the beach, Elsa cradles the snowflake locket and wishes for a chance to apologize to Anna. Suddenly, the necklace glows, and a sea chest rockets out of the surf, followed by the bottle message! Why? Because the necklace is the Wishing Star, of course! On the plus side, that means Elsa has a pure heart!

Meanwhile,  Rumpelstiltskin convinces Belle to leave the Cafe (and since whatever reason[s] she originally had for staying are now…gone?.. she obliges). Hook gets out the hat, and whoosh! Bye-bye, fairies. Then the poor pirate hides in shame as Emma and the Hero Crew burst in and find their last hope of an antidote in ruins.

Rumpelstiltskin ushers Belle into the shop and seals it with magic to keep her safe. Hook shows up, and the Dark One refuses to free him from his enslavement and consigns him to death. What a surprise.

The Charmings meet Emma in the jail: their plan is to lock one another up until she can save them all… AGAIN. WHILE watching the baby.

Hook comes to visit for a last farewell, and gets a goodbye kiss from Emma. Despite his current guilt-tripping, they’ve got pretty good chemistry. Except… does nobody besides me remember that he eloped with the mother of the man whom Emma originally had a baby with!?

This show has the weirdest hook-ups ever.

Regina and Henry reach the her mansion, and she seals him into her office to keep him safe (which should throw a pleasant wrench in Rumpelstiltskin’s plans to take Henry out of town). Then she goes to her vault to seal herself in… though can’t she unlock it when she turns evil in a few minutes and decides that she wants to get out and bust some skulls? Or does it take a pure heart to break the seal?

The storm descends on the town. Charming tells Snow that since their hearts are technically two halves of one heart, they might be immune to the spell. But the magic descends, and the glass enters into Kristoff and the Charmings (and their baby? Will it just perpetually cry from now on?)...

...and couples start breaking up all over the place. All ships have been canceled indefinitely. Tune in next week for old-school Evil Queen action, a new snap-dragon-tempered Snow White, and Angry Henry running around his house copying stunts from Home Alone to protect himself!

Current Questions:
A. Where's Olaf!?
B. Why did Rumplestiltskin suddenly decide to skip his desperate need for Emma's powers?
C. Is Hook even capable of confessing his captivity to anyone?
D. Who is eventually going to free Marian?

Current Theories:

A. The king and queen of Arendelle originally saught out the Wishing Star to prevent Elsa from using her powers, but since their hearts weren’t pure, it didn’t work. So they kept it and left it to their daughters, probably for one of two reasons:
     1. They had faith that Elsa could one day control her powers without use of the Wishing Star. I like this reason. It makes them seem like mostly-decent people again.
     2. They decided to go find Rumpelstiltskin, in the hopes of uncovering some other way to strip Elsa of her powers. Less admirable, but not exactly out of character.

B. Robin Hood, as his worst self, may be more like his "old self" that married Marian. So... does that mean he could potentially break the spell over her while he's cursed into being a hateful, un-loving guy? Meh, he probably wouldn't want to free her even if it were so...


Post a Comment