Monday, October 6, 2014

ABC's "Once Upon a Time": thoughts on "White Out" (OAD 10/5/14)

The season 4 premiere episode of "Once Upon a Time" set Elsa (from Frozen) as the seeming antagonist for the current arc, with her determined to find younger sister Anna in Storybrooke. How did the storyline advance in episode 2?

Using her magical powers, Elsa raised walls of ice around Storybrooke's city limits, trapping everyone inside. This had the unintended effect of knocking out power lines, which brought Emma Swan, David/Prince Charming, and Hook/Killian out to the road that leads out of town, where they discovered the ice walls. Emma went inside and met Elsa, but Elsa ended up causing more ice to appear, which trapped Emma inside the snow fortress, where she began to freeze. Outside, David and Hook worked to free Emma. They were able to communicate via walkie talkie and realized they needed to help Elsa find Anna.

Meanwhile, in flashbacks, we learned that Anna indeed arrived in Misthaven (aka the Enchanted Forest), where she met David before he became Prince Charming. (And we learned that David knew Kristoff.) David and his mother were being forced to pay protection money to the warlord Bo Peep. Anna tried to talk David into resisting and even gave him a swordfighting lesson, but David quit, feeling that resistance was futile. The next morning, however, when he tried to give Anna some provisions before she continued on her mission, he discovered that Bo Peep had already captured Anna. At the appointed time when protection money was due, David showed up at Bo Peep's tent empty-handed save for a sword. He defeated her two thugs and then fought her, winning when it appeared that he had lost, and then found Anna. She had instilled in him a degree of courage and resoluteness that helped forge him into the hero of the present.

Back in Storybrooke, David realized that Anna was the same woman he'd met before, and that Bo Peep had "branded" her with a magical staff. He went to Bo Peep, now a butcher in Storybrooke, and took her staff, intending to use it to help Elsa find Anna. Unfortunately, the staff could not locate Anna, but it did allow them to hear her heartbeat, reassuring them that Anna was still alive. Elsa, at this point, had been revealed to viewers as not a villain, but a loving sister who lacked control over her prodigious powers. But with the help of David, Emma, and Hook, she was able to melt a hole in her fortress so that she and Emma could leave. When she tried to melt the walls around town, however, she could not.

Why not? Because the true villain of this arc appears to have been unmasked. Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell, working in an ice cream store, also has freezing powers....


- Snow White didn't have to do in this episode, other than get harangued by Storybrooke residents who wanted their power back. Interestingly, she looks very much like what you'd expect from a woman who recently gave birth (as actress Ginnifer Goodwin did), and unlike, say, Grace Park or Kerry Washington. I guess the difference is that it's not just that Goodwin gave birth, but that Mary-Margaret/Snow did, so it would be unrealistic for the character to be slimmed down, where neither Kono (Park's character on "Hawaii 5-O") nor Oliva Pope (Washington's character on "Scandal") gave birth. To be sure, I'm not saying that actresses should feel compelled to look a certain way post-delivery, just that the consistent appearance fits the storyline.

- My, has Henry continued to grow! He's now almost as tall as Regina. The producers might need to work in another time jump to explain his growth.

- Speaking of Henry, he, like Snow, has gone from being a crucial character in the story to more of a B-story part. Some of that, I think, is that Hook/Killian offers a lot of intriguing storylines, not to mention the romance with Emma. It's also that Henry's role as the believer has fulfulled its role, and now everyone knows the Enchanted Forest past and the current Storybrooke.

- I do like the Emma/Henry interactions, though. The actors playing mom and son have warm chemistry, and not in a sappy way. I don't see a lot of mom/son interactions in the shows I watch. I do see some dad/daughter interactions (well, I gave David/Emma is one of those), but they tend to be, say, Jack Bauer and Kim, or Rowan Pope and Olivia. . . .

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