OUaT S4E5 – “Breaking Glass”
A lot actually happened in this episode, so let’s just jump on in.
Way back in 1998… A whole lot of backstory is devoted to this intense and sudden friendship forged between Emma and a girl named Lily who helps her out of a potentially bad situation when Emma is caught shoplifting. The two become fast friends and hugely devoted to each other for the whole two days that they’ve known each other. They make a video recording of themselves just giggling and making faces, cheek to cheek, in a vacant house. Then, at night, a man with a flashlight comes to take Lily back. Turns out she’s not a system kid like Emma; she has a family and, to Emma, the shock of both being lied to and having this girl throwing away everything that Emma has ever wanted is such a betrayal that she turns her back on the other girl forever.
In Storybrooke, in the present, we’ve got a date night between Snow and Charming, Elsa and her lack of forethought, and the most passive-aggressive team-up ever in the form of Regina and Emma trying to track down the Snow Queen who, henceforth, will be referred to as “Frosty” because I can’t get past the technicality that Elsa is actually the Snow Queen…
Well, Charming and Snow leave their baby with Belle as a babysitter who, it looks, is getting some more screen time this season. Probably to distract us from Ruby’s mysterious absense… Anywho, they go out on a stroll and Charming claims that he’s got to track down an escaped Will Scarlet. Snow tells him that it’s fine and they split up, Snow heading back home. She very quickly, however, comes across Scarlet digging around the beach for his buried treasure… And the map to his buried treasure.
Snow confronts him, remarking that he’s not the brightest crayon in the box and making me feel better about his over-the-top accent. Him being so easy for her to find, to confront and to recapture (although she uses her new magic mayor powers to grant him a rather short-sighted pardon), she concludes that this little adventure was staged, a part of Charming’s date night, designed to bolster her confidence and have her feeling like the rebellious outlaw princess/queen/mayor once again. When she sees him at home again, she teasingly thanks him for the fun game, and he laughingly and disbelievingly tells her that she did all of that on her own.
At the police station, Emma and Elsa are trying to both find clues to Anna’s whereabouts and figure out how exactly the two of them know Frosty, even though neither of them remembers it. In the city records, they find surveillance photos taken by Sydney back when Regina was creeping all over Emma’s life in the first Season, and the set of photos includes one where Emma is confronting Frosty, seen through the window of her ice cream shop.
The reason, as we all know, is because all blonde people know each other, but they’re looking for some other explanation or something, so Emma does the only thing she can think of, which is ask Regina for help. She’s worried about that avenue because, well, Regina hates her guts.
Meanwhile, Regina is cooped up in her mausoleum, trying to get some clue to finding Frosty herself so that she can force the ice witch to reverse the freezing of her True Love’s wife’s body. Because doing the right thing blows, but she’s also trying really hard to turn over a new leaf.
Sydney is being difficult as usual, and in comes Emma to ask for Regina’s help. Although she certainly doesn’t want to help the blonde whose presence in her life has repeatedly turned it upside down, she goes along with her because she does need to find the same target. Emma exits the mausoleum, only to find that Elsa has wondered off, unbeknownst to her to trail after a vision of her sister disappearing throughout the woods of Storybrooke. Meanwhile, Regina is following the direction of Sydney-trapped-in-a-compact-mirror to seek out the Snow Queen’s lair. Naturally, they meet up. As Emma tries to get Regina to open up, the former Evil Queen rounds on her and tells her in no uncertain terms that friendship and forgiveness are not options for the two of them since Emma ruined her life by coming to Storybrooke, and then once again by reintroducing Robin to his wife, making Emma the second generation of Charmings to, albeit inadvertently, rob Regina of her True Love.
Elsa, ahead of them, finally catches up to Anna or, as it turns out, a doppelganger made of ice by none other than Frosty. She has lured the Queen of Arendelle into a trap, and is even using Elsa as bait for the two-woman rescue party hot on her heels.
On their way up a cliff to catch up to Elsa, Emma finds out that Syndey has been, literally, in Regina’s pocket all along, the latter having lied to her about the Magic Mirror’s whereabouts earlier in the episode. Regina waves off the lie, since Emma wouldn’t have believed her or her motives anyways, but it all ends up being moot as we learn of Sydney’s betrayal, choosing Frosty over any of the regular crew for a promise of true, final freedom.
With the help of a giant ice viking which needs the combines powers of Emma and Regina to defeat, and after a brief confrontation with Elsa, Frosty makes her escape, but only after stealing Regina’s hand-mirror. Later, in whatever place she’s been using as her lair, Frosty cracks the mirror, using one of its shards to complete what looks to be a large magic mirror of her own. She muses that this object, whatever it is, is going to help her get the loving family she’s always wanted, as she dismisses Sydney; he just came with the mirror, after all, and, like the stock photos in a picture frame, she chucks him aside like so much unwanted trash.
After the fight against the ice viking, which Regina poofs out of once she’s had enough of the heroes hassling her about her truthiness, Emma follows her back to the mausoleum anyways and kind of forces her friendship on the older woman, citing her experience with the girl, Lily, we saw in all of the day’s flashbacks as a mistake once made; she regrets having thrown away a friendship when she was, admittedly, friendless. Regina grudgingly accepts that the blonde is going to be a part of her life, and we see the start of a
beautiful probably aggravating, at least for Regina, friendship.
Back at the police station once more,
the last hot guy on the show Hook comes in to find Emma brooding over a box of her effects from her days as a kid in the foster care system. Her old nerd glasses are in there, a picture of her and Neal smiling at each other, her knitted baby blanket… And the video camera she had at the end of the flashbacks with Lily. Perhaps hoping for some closure, or in an effort to face off against some long-ignored personal demons, she connects the video camera to a TV and watches the tape of the girls goofing off in and uncomfortably close proximity, only for the tape to suddenly cut to another scene: Young Emma in another home with a stocky boy teasing her with her own camera just out of reach. “Look what the new girl brought with her,” Etc. As young Emma struggles to get her machine back, a lithe adult comes into the scene, ordering that the camera be given back to Emma.
It is…. BUM BUM BUM… Frosty herself, giving the camera her creepy, lopsided smile in an extreme close-up that ends on a freeze-frame, leaving Emma to wonder how in the hell she has no recollection of this woman who was, apparently, a foster mother to her at some point in her youth!
So, hey, progress. A little bit of an answer, a whole lot more mystery, but…
The episode was… Odd. I don’t know how to explain it. Pacing was a little bit faster than usual, even dialogue. Body language was awkward whenever magic was used. Regina seemed… Off. Which, yeah, bummer. Was it direction, or what? Because I legit have no idea. I see that the writers were different from last week’s episode (a shame since last week was actually great), but no director credit has been listen on IMDB for this episode.
Things happened to advance the plot a bit. There were sweet moments. There were lots of people feeling feelings. All great things. It wasn’t a bad episode, but it felt like I was watching a fan film with good casting and unusually high production values. It was good, but it didn’t fit.
I dunno. Maybe I’m nitpicking.
But I’d love to hear any other ONCE-ers opinions on the episode. And, as always, fan theories are welcome. Who is this woman? How did she get ice powers? How did she come to our world? And how is it, exactly, that she came to be what looks like a foster mother to Emma? Was it an accident or did she get there by design?
Also, did anyone else totally freak out over the reference to the Marvel Universe? Can Thor appear in OUaT next season?! Disney owns it all, anyways! And then Season 6 can be Star Wars!
Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see you all next week!
Posted on October 27, 2014, in Once Upon a Time, TV Show Reviews and tagged ABC, anna, belle, david nolan, elsa, Emma Swann, evil queen, frosty, frozen, henry mills, mary margaret blanchard, mr gold, neal, Once Upon a Time, pricne charming, regina mills, rumplestiltskin, snow queen, Snow White. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.