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Once Upon A Time, Episode 406: Family Business



Missing memories, long lost relatives, and a Road Trip!!!


This week, we begin in a picturesque castle on a cliff. There’s a sense of urgency as a woman, who I think we can assume is the queen (and who plays Mr. Selfridge’s wife on Mr. Selfridge) goes through her library grabbing books quickly. Her guards come in to tell her the castle is under attack. Belle comes running in and we realize that the woman is Belle’s mother. We also realize that they have the same skewed priorities when it comes to saving their own skins. There are OGRES on the attack. Get yourselves out of the friggin’ castle!! You can afford to buy new books once you’re safe!!

But they’re not listening to me. They talk about their mutual love of books until there’s literally an Ogre at the door. Then they choose to hide under a table in plain sight. For avid readers, these two don’t appear to be too bright. Aren’t there any secret passageways in that castle? As you might expect, it doesn’t go well. And that is one fugly ogre.

Then Belle wakes up, and I think she assumes the whole thing was a dream—until she comes upon her father and the guards around her mother’s coffin.

In Storybrooke present, Gold puts the “hatbox†into his safe as Belle calls to him in a screechy voice. I guess the honeymoon’s over. There are more important things than romance; Emma needs to see them! Emma shows them the video of her former, forgotten foster home. Hook and the Charmings, Regina, Henry, and Elsa are also there. (Do I have to point out what Elsa’s wearing? Didn’t think so.) While Mary Margaret (MM) gets wistful about Emma’s teen years, Regina cuts to the chase. Emma had a previous relationship with the Snow Queen (SQ).

Now the brain trust discusses how the SQ got to our world and why she wanted Emma. Since they’ve already searched her store and home, they split into groups to search for her ice cream truck. (Which no one knew about besides Henry. I was wondering why he was in this scene.) Belle tells everyone she can be more useful at the library researching SQ. I’m not buying that. Elsa wants to join her to look for information on Ana. Ana, Ana, Ana. She’s a nice girl and all, but I’m sick of hearing Elsa drone on about her.

In the past, Belle combs through books to find a way to get her memories of the attack back. She’s found that there are magical creatures who can help, but her father, who apparently doesn’t take kindly to book learnin’ or to magic, forbids her to leave the castle because “Magic always comes with a price.†Belle doesn’t listen. Road trip!! She’s headed to Arendelle to meet the trolls!

At the Storybrooke library in the present, Elsa asks Belle where the “Arendelle†section is. Belle replies unconvincingly that she’s not familiar with Arendelle or Ana. Where is Emma with her super power now?

In Arendelle past, Ana is back from her sojourn in the EF. Elsa is so happy at Ana’s return that SHE. CHANGED. HER. OUTFIT!!!!!!!! I’m happier about this than I should be so I’m distracted for most of the sisters’ conversation, but if I may summarize: Elsa learns that Ana found out nothing on her trip (Ana’s lying) and Ana learns that Elsa can now control her powers because she’s training with the SQ, who is also the girls’ aunt.

Ana seems to dislike SQ right from the get-go. (Good instincts, Ana!!) Elizabeth Mitchell’s quiet, breathy delivery gives me the creeps, too. Ana runs right to Kristoff to tell him about her suspicions. He thinks she’s overreacting but supports her when she decides to go find the trolls to see what they can tell her about SQ. And he’ll watch over Elsa while she’s away. Well, he seems like a nice, though blinded-by-love, boy. As Ana leaves, we see that SQ has been eavesdropping!! I don’t know how she can hide in a dark barn in that sparkly white gown, but I suppose she knows she’s not dealing with the sharpest tools in the reindeer barn.

In Storybrooke present, the SQ is still in the white sparkly gown (wearing clothes to death runs in the family just like snowy magic). She watches while Sheriff Emma and the Merry Men approach her ice cream truck which has a few branches strewn on top of it. I don’t know if it’s the SQ’s attempt to make it look like she wanted to “hide†the truck or if that’s just what happens to a truck if you leave it in the forest. But I don’t feel like thinking about it now. Let’s see what our heroes do.

Emma calls off the guard of Merry Men. Showing that he is still the master of bad timing, Robin tells Regina he needs to speak to her. Regina replies with my first favorite line of the episode: “Can’t you see I’m about to storm an evil ice cream truck?†Even Regina knows that these plot lines are really starting to stretch our ability to suspend disbelief.

Emma chastises Regina for being mean to Robin because apparently she cannot remember just two episodes ago when she was such a bitch to Hook. Regina responds with my second favorite line of the episode: “It’s bad enough I’m stuck with you and Captain Guyliner making eyes at each other.†Hee!

The team enters the truck to find that the freezer is locked. Hook breaks the lock with his Hook. And he looks so pleased with himself for doing it. Yes, my sweet pirate, you broke the lock all by yourself. You’re very manly. You’ve made us all forget how many times you’ve been knocked unconscious. By your girlfriend.

Inside the freezer, there’s a file about Emma, starting with when she was found in our world as an infant. And no one thinks it’s odd that the SQ just left this information behind. In a truck. In the woods. In a freezer. Where they would stumble upon it. It’s so easy to fool Storybrookers. They deserved to be cursed. Twice.

Back at the library, the other geniuses in town, Elsa and Belle, discuss Ana. Elsa starts to doubt she’ll ever find her sister. Belle says she knows that Ana is alive and loves her sister. Elsa asks her how Belle knows this. Belle replies “Well, it’s certainly NOT because I once went to Arendelle and met your sister. No siree, not me.†And Elsa believes her.

In Arendelle past, Belle walks into Oaken’s shop and asks where to find the rock trolls. Oaken can’t help Belle but he tries to make a buck by pushing the store’s sauna services. (Half price for friends of Ana!!) Ana says she’ll take Belle to meet the rock trolls. Girlfriend road trip!!!

In the Storybrooke woods, Robin hounds Regina about why she’s avoiding him. For god’s sake, Robin, for once in her life Regina is trying to do the right thing and you seem to be all pissy that she’s stopped fawning all over you. You picked your wife. Now leave our Evil Queen alone!!

Regina tells Robin she can’t figure out a way to help Marion and if he wants to save Marion he has to fall back in love with her so he can true-love’s-kiss her. Robin looks horrified and disgusted by this thought, which makes me wonder, did he love ever love Marion in the first place? (Because Robin is supposed to love Marion. It’s a thing. Ask Belle. She’s probably read the book.) Also, if he is that appalled at the thought of loving his own wife, maybe he should just let her die. I’m sure with very little effort he can convince Regina to help.

In another part of the woods, Gold meets SQ. And they know each other—because all the villains in this show have worked together at some point. It must be an evil union thing. He warns SQ that Emma is on to her. SQ, once again dealing with the incompetence of everyone around her, basically says, “yeah, no kidding, I did that on purpose,†while pacing around the woods dragging leaves behind her sparkly white gown.

But Gold still thinks he’s smarter than SQ. And he wants to make a deal. SQ is growing bored of dealing with this confederacy of dunces. She surmises that Gold needs something from her but she’s not feeling generous and warns Gold to stay out of her way.

At Gold’s shop, Belle and her see-through blouse grab some cold weather gear and a pick ax. She’s fixin’ to help Ana!

In Arendelle past, Ana and Belle bond over their lost mothers. They come to a cliff which they have to climb. Ana grabs the pick ax, makes a feeble attempt and falls on her face. Not a promising start. When her bag falls, the magic hat box falls out. Belle asks about it and Ana describes how she got it from an “evil sorcerer.†Ana prays Belle never “crosses paths with that twisted man.†And the writers want us to see that this is IRONIC, because that “twisted man†becomes Belle’s husband. Siiiigh.

Speak of the devil, in present-day Storybrooke, Gold walks in on Belle and her pick ax. She says she’s going to fight the SQ. Gold says, no, because SQ has already defeated Emma and Regina and Belle is way stupider than Emma or Regina. (Well, that’s the subtext I got out of it, anyway.) So Belle grabs the fake Dark One dagger and orders Gold to come with her. (It’s still the fake one, right? I feel like we’re playing a shell game with those daggers.) Gold plays along so as not to let on that he’s a lying liar who lies. And off they go to the SQ’s fortress of solitude.

In the woods, Emma and Hook discuss the contents of the folder, the wounds of their childhoods, and how sweet it was that the SQ saved Emma’s youthful artwork. They seemed to have had a good relationship at one point, so Emma wonders what happened to make SQ erase her memories. There’s a scroll among the papers, with writing in the language of Arendelle. Dun dun dun!!!! Emma is mystified.

At the entrance to the fortress of solitude, Belle makes Gold wait outside after explaining that she’s looking for the magic hat. Gold tries to talk her out the whole thing because he doesn’t want his cover blown. But Belle spouts some words of wisdom. “A hero always helps strangers.†That’s not a saying, Belle. And I don’t know that it’s true. I mean heroes do sometimes help strangers. And sometimes they help friends. But do they ALWAYS help strangers? But we have no time to ponder this, because Belle’s going in.

In Arendelle past, Belle and Ana meet the rock trolls and I’m just noticing that Belle’s tights don’t go all the way up. Her thighs must be cold. The grandpoppy rock troll doesn’t care, as he has no thighs of his own. He helps Belle by pulling out her memories, transforming them into a crystal, and telling her to have some memory-crystal tea.

It’s Ana’s turn for some rock troll counsel. Grandpoppy confirms that Ana’s mother did have sisters, but they vanished and all references to them were erased from the Arendelle archives and from the Arendellians’ memories. This leads Ana to guess that Ingrid is keeping other secrets and she’s off to warn Elsa.

Back in the fortress of solitude, the SQ’s mirror calls Belle to it. She removes a covering and, lo and behold, there’s crazy-eyed mirror Belle.

In Arendelle, Belle and Ana head back to Elsa. They walk along the top of the cliff they climbed to get to the trolls. Why they both chose to wear heels on this adventure, I will never understand. The skies look foreboding, but it’s not a storm, it’s an angry Snow Queen. But Ana has the magic hat box, so SQ can’t hurt them.

Instead, they are their own worst enemies. A gust of wind tips them off their heels. Belle drops her memory crystal and Ana hangs off the side of the cliff. Belle, not acting like much of a hero, wastes precious seconds trying to get to the crystal. Ana screams but Belle tells her “just hang on a minute.†Because that’s what people clinging desperately to cliffs like to hear when they’re screaming for help.

Belle’s crystal falls and breaks into a million pieces and she’s too late to save Ana who also falls. She doesn’t break into a million pieces, but it doesn’t look good. The SQ saunters menacingly toward Ana, takes the magic hat box, and swirls herself and Ana away in a puff of magic.

In Storybrooke, our Belle is mesmerized by crazy-eyed mirror Belle, who is very mean and calls her out for not saving Ana on the cliff and for being a coward. And to add further insult, she points out that the dagger’s a fake.

Gold comes in (because he’s most likely been eavesdropping), tells Belle they have to leave. She swipes at him with the knife, and cuts his neck before he magics her out of the cave. Back at the shop, he manages to convince her that he hasn’t been a lying liar who lies and gets HER to apologize to him. Belle confesses that she is the reason that Ana is missing. Then she talks about being sorry for taking advantage of HIM. She seriously says this. SHE took advantage of HIM. SHE doesn’t deserve to be with HIM. I have no words. Gold does, though. And he “forgives†her. Ay yay yay. I can’t with these two.

At Belle’s castle in the past, her father has been waiting up for her. But he’s not mad that she broke curfew. He’s sorry that he never told her the truth: that her mother died protecting Belle. Also, he doesn’t want to worry Belle, but the Ogre War is not going well. (As if she couldn’t tell from personal experience.) Belle thinks Rumpelstiltskin can help. Her father is against it, but Belle gets back on her soap box with more words of wisdom: “Sometimes a hero has to sacrifice everything to save the people they love.†I don’t think that’s grammatically correct, but I get the idea.

In present-day Storybrooke, Gold pays a call on the SQ in her fortress. She talks about his “easy to turn†bride and Gold gets all indignant as if he hasn’t been playing Belle all this time. He warns her not to hurt the people he cares about. (I notice he didn’t say “love.â€) SQ doesn’t have time for his nonsense. She’s got an evil plan to enact. But Gold has an ace up his sleeve. He shows SQ the magic expensive hat. She seems surprised that Gold has it.

In Arendelle past, SQ has Ana caged. She thinks Ana wanted to use the expensive hat to take away Elsa’s magic. Ana questions her about the other sister, Helga, and her disappearance. SQ’s not telling, but she does mention how she wanted to be a family with Elsa and Ana, until Ana ruined it by trying to destroy her magic. Now she’s going to find someone to take Ana’s place, which is why…..

…..we cut to Emma, Hook and Elsa in the Storybrooke jail. Elsa found a book with her ancestry which proves that her mother did have a sister. Hook adds my last favorite line of the episode: “Spend enough time in this town and you realize everyone’s related.†That’s right, Cap’n, but blame the writers. I hope Emma doesn’t turn out to be your sister.

Elsa points out pictures of her mother’s sisters and Hook seems to think Helga looks like Emma. I don’t see it, but I’m willing to go with it. Hook makes a wry comment about blonds and Elsa says SQ is looking for the savior. There’s a prophecy about it. As there always is. SQ believes in this prophecy and is trying to bring it about. As one does.

Belle ruins the moment by coming in and apologizing yet again. This time, she’s apologizing to Elsa for letting the SQ kidnap Ana. Even Emma rolls her eyes. Then Belle tells them about the SQ’s magic mirror of doom which she can use to cast a spell that pits the townspeople against each other. Because they’ve been so unified up to this point? How will they even know the difference?

Since the word of the day seems to be “imbue†let me close by saying, I love how Elizabeth Mitchell imbues her evil persona with an overlying sadness. We can see how her rejection by her family has affected her. If you like Mitchell’s portrayal, or if you want to defend Belle’s intelligence, or if you have anything at all to say, join us in the forums at: ttp://www.freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13046&p=822755#p822755


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