Coming Tonight: Once Upon a Time 4×02
Here there be spoilers, previews, and speculation
“White Out” – While desperately trying to find her sister Anna, Elsa is startled by Emma and accidentally traps them both inside an ice cave, with the frozen temperature placing Emma’s life in peril. Regina, depressed over her likely breakup with Robin Hood, secludes herself away from the town and Henry, which saddens her son. And with the townspeople considering Mary Margaret their leader, she faces her first leadership task in trying to re-start a generator and restore the town’s electricity after Elsa freezes and damages the power lines. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest of the past, Anna tries to teach a meek David to fight Bo Peep,(Robin Weigert, Deadwood‘s Calamity Jane) a brutal warlord who is threatening to take his and his mother’s farm away if they don’t pay her price, written by Jane Espenson and directed by Ron Underwood.
Here’s the episode promo from last weekend:
While there’s a glimpse of them practicing their swordsmanship, it’s worth taking a nice long look at grunge era James and Anna:Warrior Princess in these set photos.
ABC has released two sneak peeks for “White Out.” In the first, Elsa encircles Storybrooke in ice and vows to find here sister.
In the second, the town turns to Mary Margaret as temperatures drop. Can she handle the responsibility?
So, we’re pretty excited by all this. While Elsa’s magic is the hook, Anna’s the closet favorite in our home. Just last night, our toddler became Super Anna after the bath, adorably combining scenes from Daniel Tiger and Frozen. The implication that Anna might have been responsible for Prince James’s extraordinary abilities in the service of King George certainly warms our hearts.
Even more interesting, on further reflection, are Mary Margaret’s lines.
I may have cast a little curse, but I did not ask to maintain a metropolitan electrical grid. Oh, and get this. I’m starting to get why Regina was evil. It wasn’t her. It was you!
I ran across an insightful post the other day exploring the season four teaser that aired at ComicCon. The author identified the voiceover as lines from Paradise Lost. The first passage, “Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, Our labour must be to pervert that end, And out of good still to find means of evil,” is juxtaposed with images of Charming, Snow, Regina, and Emma. You can watch the whole thing here.
Snow’s not exactly breaking bad in the sneak peek, but it did remind me that she and Charming now share her tainted heart. “Out of our evil seek to bring forth good.” Condemning Cora started her down a path that lead to a killing curse. And now the two of them have to fight for good rather than simply being good.
We’re used to seeing Regina and Rumple struggle with their conflicting desires. It would be nice to see it from the, for lack of a better descriptor, light side. Those lines aren’t the only thing suggesting we might, either. “A Tale of Two Sisters” (4×01) is a clear pun on Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities opens with one of the most memorable series of juxtapositions in literature. And the incorporation of Frozen and “The Snow Queen” promise hidden motivations and mistrust.
Here’s how the latter opens:
Once upon a time there was a wicked sprite, indeed he was the most mischievous of all sprites. One day he was in a very good humor, for he had made a mirror with the power of causing all that was good and beautiful when it was reflected therein, to look poor and mean; but that which was good-for-nothing and looked ugly was shown magnified and increased in ugliness.
“Our labor must be to pervert that end,” resounds over a scene, featuring Charming, from “The Tower” (3×14), which revolved around confronting dark mirror selves.
So they seem to have woven a good deal of similar imagery together that points to fear, mistrust, and the internal struggle between good and evil. They’ve pointed us toward our familiar villains and given us an additional character on figuratively thin ice to wonder about. It’s almost certainly misdirection. Yes, Regina and Gold will agonize over what’s right and what they want, but that’s always been their story. I think the real struggle might be for the hearts of the Charming family.
Not to worry, though. Those lines from Paradise Lost “Book I” have parallels in “Book XII” that hold the promise of happy endings. Maybe.
Perhaps we’ll look at that, the hat, and the book next time.