TV Review: Once Upon A Time (S4) | Part 1


Once Upon A Time has the particularity to have two major story arcs each season, this years they used Frozen. The season premiere picked up right were we left off, going in the thick of the drama. The Frozen story arc kick off the fourth season of OUAT with a bang, new characters, new places and new plots. And among the newcomers, Arendalle princesses Anna (Elizabeth Lail), Elsa (georgina haig) and comedic characters like Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster) and Prince Hans (Tyler Jacob Moore).


When Elsa was first introduced in the finale last year, I was under the impression she would be a new force to be reckon with, a villain version of the shy reclusive princess we’ve seen in the animated film. At the time, I thought brilliant, they did such a great job with Peter Pan and Elsa’s powers would be great for a villain, but I was also worried that it would give me a sense of déjà vu. Anyway, if you’ve seen the episodes you know that it’s not really case, Elsa’s no villain. She’s scared, confused and wary of the inhabitant of Storybrooke but the writers have put her powers to good use, I’ll explain later.


The primary Once cast was not completely sucked into the madness the Frozen storyline brought to Storybrooke. They all had interesting subplots of their own. For instance, Belle (De Ravin) and Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) are on their Honeymoon, which by the way featured a dance sequence that brought back memories of The beauty and the Beast cartoon. It was a nice touch, a little Easter egg as we may call it. The two look happy and in love, Belle is at her kindest and Mr. Gold is believably a changed man.


Naturally, they weaved the Frozen storyline to some of the primary characters, particularly Anna’s. The common history between Belle and Anna was interesting but it sort of came out of the blue. Belle never mentioned her and suddenly she knows Anna. The history Anna shared with David was a also little weak for my taste but they bounced back with an interesting encounter with Rumplestiltskin that gave a hint that he wasn’t the changed man we thought he was.


Speaking about change, Regina (Lana Parrilla) turned a new leaf, without loosing her sass, and was well on her way to a happy ending with Robin but things quickly went awry when his Robin’s wife came back. Parilla had great memorable scenes, it was so weird and funny to see her chatting about relationship with Snow White.The whole arc had an impressive storyline for Regina that added an interesting layer to the character.


I liked what they’ve done with Hook (Colin O’Donaghue) since the beginning, he’s funny, incredibly charming and he’s a little bit of a bad guy. Hook has, hands down, the best jokes in the show, his relationship with Emma is funny to watch and is moving at the right pace.
The parent-daughter relationship Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Charming (Josh Dallas), and Emma (Jennifer Morrison), have is great. It’s a little bit awkward but fun to watch. It shows that we never really grow up when it comes to our parents.

Like said earlier, I thought having a villain with Elsa’s powers would be a brilliant idea and they did it. I understand that it was also interesting to keep Elsa’s character close to the animated movie because of the relationship she has with her sister Anna. It’s when Ingrid (Elizabeth Mitchell) comes in and it was an even better idea to create her character.
The two hour episode they had flooded us with information but the writers managed to present and explain a lot about the Snow Queen (Ingrid), smoothly. Boy that woman is patient, and a little crazy, the composed and quiet attitude she has only showcased her madness. The other thing the episode did, it hinted at the sorcerer’s involvement in everything that ever happened on the show. He knew about Emma’s powers before she had them, Regina’s curse, etc. and sent the Snow Queen to our world, which could only mean that he is the writer of Henry’s story book. I suspect him to be Merlin btw.
Elsa and Anna were a big part of that episode, OUAT made their sisterly bond stronger, adorable better than the Disney movie. Haig and Lail were selling it marvelously. Anna was as funny as Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster), she’s quirky and cute, a real pleasure to watch. The same goes for Prince Hans, they were all really well cast, they were great.
The Frozen arc was good but not perfect, in fact when Emma started to lose control of her powers, I could see were this was heading, and I was a little bored. It felt like watching Frozen again. Yes, it helped link each character’s plot but all I had in mind was, The show is going to get cancelled if they keep this up. That part of the story was weak and boring. Also when Hook lies to Emma, isn’t she suppose to know he is? Let’s not get into this. Some episodes left a bitter taste in mouth, e.g. when the Snow Queen cast her spell, I was like another spell, really? But they made up for it with an incredibly hilarious episode that followed.
In the end, I did not expect much of what happened in the mid-season finally, Regina and Robin, Belle and Gold, and my favorite part Ursula – that I’ve been waiting to see in the show – Maleficent, and Cruella De Vil. I expected to see Cruella, I had heard about Victoria Smurfit being cast in the rôle. And I was particularly interested in knowing how they would integrate her in the OUAT world. The 100 Dalmatian world is not very fairy-like or otherwordly, like Elsa’s and the others, Cruella is in the real world so that’s why seeing her with Maleficent and Ursula surprised me. It was like a fairy tale version of the Sinister Six or the Suicide Squad. I can’t wait to see what’s to come in the other half of the season.
Now tell me what you thought about the mid-season finale? and of Elsa’s storyline arc? And who do you think the writer is?

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