Recap: Once Upon a Time – A Tale of Two Sisters

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The episode starts off in a realm not our own with a small vessel struggling to stay afloat crashing through the waves of a surging sea. A young woman of noble blood staggers below deck fighting the rocking ship and jolt of the rough waters to desperately etch out a note before the ship’s demise. Her husband enters the cabin frantically trying to get her to join him on deck but she is determined to finish the note explaining to Elsa and Anna the truth in the hope that it will save them. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know this couple are the parent of Frozen characters Elsa and Anna on their way from Arendelle to parts unknown.

Jump forward five years to a beautiful landscape as two young women approach two large stone monuments placing flowers in front of them. It’s Elsa and her sister Anna! Frozen fans your wait is over! They share a sweet moment about their parents and Elsa drags her sister away with the enticement of a wedding present she’s excited to share.

Flash forward to present day in our world and we are right where we left off at Zelena’s barn and a very pissed off and confused looking Elsa strutting out from the barn leaving a trail of ice behind her. Shake it girl cuz that dress is lookin’ fierce!


We cut to Granny’s with a devastated Regina running from the diner trying to figure out what the hell just happened and how she in one fell swoop got the short end of the lollipop. Emma chases after to her trying to console her and apologizes for screwing up her life. She tries to explain she didn’t know who Marion was when she saved her but she’s not sorry for saving her life. Regina doesn’t want to hear it. She’s fed up with trying to change and redeem herself only to knocked down again, thrust into the role of villain and robbed of her happiness. Honestly Regina, I’m right there with you. You deserve some lovin’ too!

Robin chases after Marion who exits the diner and stumbles upon Emma and Regina. This is a little awkward to say the least. Poor Robin is basically screwed at this point. He tries to convince Marion to at least meet Regina and see for herself that she has changed and not at all the woman Marion thinks she is. Marion quickly realizes what’s going on and is furious that Robin has been involved with Regina, that her son has been spending time with the Evil Queen and starts flipping out. To be fair, as much as I love Regina, for Marion she just locked her up and tried to kill her so this revelation has got to hurt like a bitch. Enter the Charming’s. Snow and Charming step outside to see what all the commotion is about. Snow’s concern for Regina enrages Marion who can’t comprehend while everyone is defending Regina. She’s the Evil Queen who wanted all of the dead and it takes all of Regina’s willpower not to incinerate Marion. Henry and Hook join the group as Regina stalks off angry and undoubtedly heartbroken.


Does anyone else need a drink? Between the arrival of Elsa and her raging ice magic and the homage to Days of Our Lives Marlena, Roman and John love triangle; I think I’m gonna need a couple…hundred this season.

The party is definitely over and we find our old pals Leroy and Walter (aka Sleepy) driving home in an old van. Really? You’re gonna let a guy known for sleep drive your van down a dark winding country road late at night? Sure, why not.

Suddenly Elsa appears as she makes her way down the country road where she encounters Leroy and Walter in their van. Being that she has no idea what this magical beast is she does what any Queen with ice magic would do trying to protect herself. She blasts them with ice, encasing them in a crystal cocoon as she makes her escape.


Elsa makes her way into town still dragging ice as she goes though despartely trying to control it. She notices a beautiful wedding dress in a shop window and we are taken back to a moment she shared with her sister Anna when she presented her with their mother’s wedding dress. They share a sweet sister moment trying on the dress and Elas gives Anna a snowflake necklace. The sisters together discuss the wedding and are lovely together. Fans of the animated movie should enjoy this exchange. As Elsa waits for Anna to change she snoops around the room and discovers their mothers diary. She’s clearly affected by its contents because snow starts to fall around her. She blames herself for their parents death and storms out of the castle.


Back to present day Storybrooke and we find the newlyweds Mr. Gold and Belle at the cemetery. Gold has a little one-on-one time at Neal’s grave to confess how he deceived Belle by giving her a fake dagger but that he wouldn’t let Neal’s death and all the goodness he represents wont go to waste. He’s going to start his marriage off right and give Belle the real dagger.

Next we move to Robin and Regina. Robin shows up at Regina’s office to chat about what a hotmess of a situation they are in. Regina looks beautiful though a little more conservative in this grey suit but I’m not mad at it all. Robin looks sick to his stomach and apologies to Regina for what has happened. Regina’s confused by his apology because after all in Regina’s mind she is still a monster and every stat Marion spewed at them the night before was true. Robin doesn’t see it that way and believes that Regina is no longer the woman of her past. She’s changed as he has changed. He shares with her that he was no angel in his own past but he too changed for the better and now lives by a code of honor. He reassures Regina that what they’ve had over the last days…week…their moment was real.


But at the end of the day Marion is his wife and he has to follow his code. So his choice has been made and Regina is of course devastated. And angry. Very, very angry. So angry in fact that her magic shatters a mirror…a mirror you say? Hmm. Honestly I wasn’t expecting Regina to revert back so quickly to bad habits but clearly I’m not writing this show so here we go!

This is where that sneak peek of Sydney comes in. Regina rushing down the corridor of a hospital, plugging in the number on a keypad to unlock a secured wing. She enters a padded room to find a disheveled Sydney Glass shocked to see her. She informs him that someone is trying to steal her happy ending so of course she needs her trusty mirrors help. Just wait, this is about to get all kinds of crazy so much so you’ll think it’s fan fic.

We are back to Gold and Belle post wedding ceremony bliss arriving at a large home that of course nobody has ever seen so of course it’s safe to go inside and use as a B&B for their honeymoon. What could possible go wrong? The home is beautiful and filled with knick knacks and trinkets. As they enter Belle goes on about how beautiful the view is and Gold freezes her in place to pull the old switcher roo with his dagger making sure Belle has the real one before things go any further.

Once unfrozen Belle tries to whisk Gold away for a tour but as they are leaving the main hall Gold notices a mysterious circular ornate box decorated with stars which catches his attention. Clearly he knows something and this box will come into play later on. They open the door to uncover a ballroom where they proceed to have their first dance as a married couple. And yes, they go there. It’s a scene right out of the animated movie. Yellow ball gown, blue and gold jacket, and the pièce de résistance…the music. Tale as old as time…sorry. I got caught up in the moment.

Now for the Charming’s. Emma, Henry, Snow and Charming with baby Neal are taking a leisurely stroll down main street as Emma tries unsuccessfully to reach Regina. They are all worried and Henry decides to try and contact her himself because honestly why would she want to talk to Emma at this point. She’s too busy plotting Marion’s demise with Sydney!

But I digress. Snow makes a comment about Henry taking everything in stride especially seeing both him moms having new men in their lives. Way to be subtle Snow…subtle as a jackhammer. Emma informs her that Henry doesn’t know about them because there really isn’t anything to know but really Emma’s not quite ready to define what’s going on with her and Hook at this point. Enter Hook. Does he have her low jacked? He just seems to always know where to find her. He lets them know his efforts to find Regina are fruitless and wants to know if Emma is avoiding him. Snow takes the hint and falls back to give them a moment to chat. Emma tries to assure Hook she isn’t avoiding him even though she clearly is but that she’s trying to deal with her stuff and yet another crisis which Hook calls her on because there will always be a crisis and she needs to try living her life in between the craziness.

And as if on cue Leroy and Sleepy come running up to give them the skinny on some new monster that attacked them with ice. I guess they couldn’t see that it was a beautiful blonde in a stunning blue dress or maybe they took a hard hit to the head when they smacked into her ice wall. Either way they’re looking for a monster.

Back in the forest of Arendelle we find Elsa sitting on a log surrounded by a light swirl of snow holding her mother’s diary. Anna races to her still in the wedding gown frantic to help her sister and find out what was in that book. Cute banter begins because Anna is awkward and hyper and seriously the cutest thing ever. Elsa clearly wants to be alone but Anna informs her she has a sister so she’ll never truly be alone. I’ve got two sisters…trust me, she’s right (Love you Melissa, love you Betsy). Elsa spills the beans about what their parents were up to on that voyage we witnessed at the beginning of the episode. Elsa reads the worst possible implications from the vague entries and of course blames herself for their parents death. Anna knows there are answers to the whole truth of what happened and seeks the help of her future in-laws.

You still with me? Yes it’s a lot but this is Once Upon a Time. You knew what you were getting when you signed up for this season! With a trail of ice ahead of them, Emma and Hook follow the wintery mix into a warehouse. Elsa is a few steps ahead so they still haven’t seen her. She hides behind some machinery freaking out and conjures a giant snow monster. NO, it’s not a snowman. This monster is fifty feet high and looks like an ice version of the Thing from the Fantastic 4. Yes, I’m just enough nerd to know what that is. Of course this is exactly when Emma and Hook enter the warehouse so they assume this is the monster Leroy was talking about. Elas has bought herself some time.

Flash back to Arendelle where Anna is leading Elsa to the rock garden to speak with her future in-law Grand Pabbie. He rolls up to greet them and Anna asks him for his help with the diary and the truth behind their parents journey. The only information was their true destination, a land named Mysthaven. Anna is now more determined than ever to find out the truth and wants to rush off to Mysthaven even though she’s set to be married the following day. Elsa is not so eager to run off and reminds her sister that she is the Queen with a kingdom to protect.

Present day Storybrooke brings us back to Emma, Hook and a giant pissed off snow monster in the middle of a warehouse. Emma tries to reason with it but after he huffs and he puffs and knocks them both down I think it’s safe to say its time to run Emma. So they do. The chase is afoot and the snow monster chases Emma and Hook through Storybrooke. Elsa is still hiding but discovers a newspaper that blows into the warehouse which tells her of Gold’s wedding. This sparks something within her. Meanwhile Elsa’s snow monster changes course distracting our hero’s from her location and heads for the woods while passing Regina’s mausoleum in the process.


Regina and Sydney are inside looking through Henry’s book now filled with new pages of Robin Hood and Marion. Regina explains who Marion is and the situation she finds herself in. Marion needs to die and Sydney needs to help her do it though not in the conventional way. She realizes that if something happens to Marion here in Storybrooke everyone will know it was her so Regina needs Sydney’s help in finding a way to go back in time before Emma’s arrival to finish off Marion ensuring her happy ending with Robin. Regina believes Henry’s book holds a great deal of power and is the key to changing her story.

This is depressing. It took literally no time for Regina fall off the wagon and lose her mind. Yes she’s in love and brokenhearted but she just changed her stars so to speak and now she’s back on the crazy train. That being said, who better to join you on this voyage of madness but Sydney cuz this dude has gone off the rails. It gets a little awkward at this point. He clearly believes she kept him around for a reason all these years instead of forgetting he was even there because that’s probably what really happened but he doesn’t see it that way.

Unfortunately Sydney is powerless here in this world so Regina’s only option is to send him back into the mirror which he does not appreciate. At. All. She send him back into the mirror to locate the exact moment she needs to successfully accomplish this task by uttering the most delicious phrase “Mirror, Mirror on the wall who do I wish to kill most of all” Damn girl! Lana Parrilla’s voice is like buttah! I’m just gonna replay that a couple times. Excuse me.

Ok I’m back. I can’t wait to see how the plays out because you just know he’s gonna try and screw her over at some point because you know…he crazy yo! So there is one thing I have to ask though that was a little confusing. During their little exchange there’s a shot where Regina is facing Sydney so her back is to the audience and you see the back of her head. Clearly this isn’t Lana because the hair is a different length and cut. What the hell happened? Did she really need a double for that shot? With the incredibly talented wardrobe, hair and makeup departments that OUAT has on staff are you really going to tell me they couldn’t get a wig that resembled Lana’s hair? Sorry for the rant but it’s bugging the hell out of me lol. Moving on…


We find Elsa entering the stables near her castle calling out for her future brother-in-law Kristoff who is feeding his trusty reindeer Sven in hopes that he knows where his bride-to-be has run off to. After an awkward but sweet banter between the two he comes clean and tells Elsa of Anna’s plan to travel to Mysthaven which is currently underway.

Racing through the forest of Storybrooke, Hook, Emma and Charming run into Robin and Marion and explain they are chasing after a giant snow monster when the monster in question shows up behind them. Little John hastily shoots an arrow at the monster which undoubtedly ticks it off. Charming reminds Emma she has magic so she zaps the monster and really pisses him off and it’s hilarious. The monster freaks out and suddenly has spikes and claws and tosses them all around like a rag doll. All except for Marion. She is the only one not unconscious. Just as Marion is about to get trampled by the snow monster, Regina shows up and only hesitating for a moment decides to save Marion by blowing that icy creature to pieces. Yeah, you know cuz heat melts ice. Emma still needs a few lessons but she’ll learn.

Once they all regain consciousness and realize Regina has saved the day yet again, Emma tries to talk to Regina but Regina’s takes off in a cloud of purple smoke. For me this raises a question. Her magic blasted Zelena with beams of white magic. Does the color of her magic change now? If so does nobody notice that it’s once again purple? Because that should be a giant red flag. Just saying.

Heading home after the latest excitement, Hook approaches Emma and she asks him if he wants to watch something on Netflix which he of course has no idea what that means but if he gets to hang out with her he is up for anything. But before he can bask in the glory of some alone time with Emma she informs him she needs to take care of something first. Hook gets irritated and once again accuses Emma of avoiding him. She agrees that yes she has been avoiding him because she feels a great deal of guilt towards the mess she made for Regina. He thinks there’s more to the story than just her guilt over Regina so Emma tries to reassures him with a kiss.


Emma makes her way to Regina’s office and tries the door which is locked. She knows Regina is there but is determined to have this talk if it’s the last thing she does. We get a split shot of Emma on one side of the door and Regina on the other sitting on the floor in the beautiful suit. Weaving the web of Frozen imagery once again. Emma tells Regina even though she doesn’t think she can be happy that she really can and she needs to fight for it and if Regina isn’t going to fight for it then Emma will because Henry brought her to Storybrooke to bring back everyone’s happy endings and Regina deserves to have one too.

Regina has a revelation. The book is her problem not Marion. Because of the book and the stories that are written within it the book will only see her one way, as the villain. So she decides instead of killing Marion she needs to find the author of the cursed book and have him change the book so villain’s get their happy endings. Sure Regina. That’s a solid plan.

Remember that little circular box I mention that Gold noticed in the B&B? Well once Belle falls asleep Gold creeps out into the main living room, pulls out the real dagger and turns it on. The stars open up what looks like a galaxy inside the hat of the Disney sorcerer. Yes the hat Mickey Mouse wore in that Sorcerer Apprentice. It looks pretty rad and Gold seems a little taken back by the sight of it.


Meanwhile, Elsa is breaking into Golds shop where she finds Anna’s necklace and we get a flashback to Elsa and Kristoff at the docks in Arendelle having just missed Anna’s ship on its way Mysthaven. Kristoff reassures Elsa that Anna will be fine and that she doesn’t give up on the people she loves which is of course the theme for this season. But Elsa isn’t convinced. She doesn’t know anything about the land Anna is headed to and has never heard of it. This is where Kristoff drops a bomb. He tells Elsa that the enhabitants of Mysthaven have another name for it and its…THE ENCHANTED FOREST. BOOM!

I have no idea where the fourth season of Once Upon a Time will go with our cast of characters but it should make for one hell of a ride!

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays 8pm on ABC.