Season 4, Episode 9 (Fall)
For being a show about fairy tales and magic spells, Fall could be turned into a war movie with only a few minor cosmetic changes. This episode deals with the impending spell of Shatter Sight attacking Storybrooke. The characters have until nightfall to either make preparations to contend with the spell, say good-bye to their loved ones, or try to fight the attack entirely. Rather like a besieging army, the impending attack is inevitable. Like in so many sieges, there is no last hurrah that saves the town. The last scene is the town being engulfed in shards of glass.
But for the duration of the episode, we get to witness how the different characters react. For Emma and Elsa, who will be immune to the spell, trying to stop the Snow Queen remains a high priority. Elsa has the immediate need to find Anna – their reunion (along with Kristoff) is pulled together rather quickly, but due to the seriousness of the episode, the joy of said reunion was just the levity needed for the last ten minutes before impending doom. Furthermore, we learn that Anna, having been put under the spell before, will also be immune and could potentially be an asset to her sister and Emma. Really, they do need all the help that they can get!
Meanwhile, the majority of the other characters prepare themselves for the worst. When Rumplestiltskin (with the help of Hook as his puppet) incapacitates the fairies and puts an end to the hope of stopping the spell, even Snow White is at a loss and seems to give up hope. Rather, she once again puts her trust in Emma. Emma is reduced to tears as her parents hand her her baby brother and tell her that they trust her to save them.
The futility of the spell is also seen in how various character deal with it. They lock themselves in their houses – sometimes with magical protections, sometimes with just locks. They try to keep apart from their loved ones to give each other their best chances. Perhaps I am just cynical, but it is clear to see that the barricades are easily defeated – there is little point in locking yourself in your house if you can unlock it from the inside. Furthermore, they have no idea how long it will take Emma and Elsa to break the spell – it wouldn’t be long before most of them would run out of food and water.
However, this episode reminded me that for thousands of people, past and present, there was no last-minute rescue or happy ending. The siege lifted when the invaders breached the walls. The armies rolled through the streets. Countless lives ended in blood, tears, and fire. Those that hid long enough to survive emerged to devastation or a new world order.
Thankfully, this is a show about fairy tales. So…onto the happy ending –
Season 4, Episode 10 (Shattered Sight)
— in Act Two, Shattered Sight, when the Snow Queen is defeated by Emma, Elsa, and Anna (with some key but uncredited help from Regina). Most importantly, the Snow Queen is defeated by Gerda, whose last message to her daughters washes up on shore in the nick of time to remind the Snow Queen – or rather Ingrid – of the love that she had with her family and to confess that she was wrong to trap Ingrid in the urn. Gerda felt remorse and wanted her daughters to free their aunt and be a family again. Ingrid sacrifices herself in order to undo the spell.
The story of Ingrid and Emma in the past is also played out: we see how Ingrid took Emma under her wing and even tried to adopt her. Emma was truly happy with Ingrid until Ingrid got too excited that Emma might be exhibiting magical powers. She dragged Emma into oncoming traffic, understandably freaking out the teenager and causing her to run away from the foster care system for good. We also find out how Ingrid came to Storybrooke. While this story gave necessary closure to this plot, it felt a tad forced.
As for the characters under the Shattered Sight, this episode played out like a dark comedy. Regina was at her worst self, but more than found her match in an angry Snow White. David was highly sarcastic. The dwarves were at fisticuffs in the street. Will Scarlet drunkenly attacked Hook, who also suffered abuse from Henry’s homemade traps. Granny threatened everyone with her crossbow. Belle slept through the whole thing thanks to very strong tea. When the spell broke, nearly everyone burst into laughter.
Our loved ones are usually the ones that cause us the most pain and simply the most aggravation. We spend most of our time with them. We live with them. Our co-workers and neighbours can also cause similar irritation. Most of the time, we laugh off these annoyances – because to do anything otherwise would be to overreact and threaten death over unshovelled sidewalks, loud music, irritating phone voices, constant stories about kids, tendencies to chew loudly, or consistently preferring toilet paper to tissues to handle a runny nose.
But they are our loved ones for a reason. We care about them. We love them, and they love us.
Back to the Snow Queen – with her out of the way, the storyline can wrap up until the spring. However, from the way Rumplestiltskin has been acting, his plot cannot wrap up nicely. Meanwhile, Regina can get back to her search for the author of the storybook and her happy ending – if Marian wakes up, that is.