In the opening scene, Emma and Elsa are at the sheriff’s station rummaging through city records in an attempt to find a trail of Anna. Meanwhile, Will is pestering Emma to let him go, and Hook drops off more papers with a sweet cheek kiss. Then, Elsa finds some photos of Emma from when Regina had Sidney spying on her. What began as nostalgic memories from the budding of her relationship with Henry soon turned into another mystery. There, mixed in with the rest of the photos was as a picture of Emma arguing with Sara (the snow queen) in the ice cream parlor, an event of which Emma has no memory. Evidently, the snow queen took their memories, but the question is, why?
As always, Emma has a plan. She goes to see Regina at her vault to ask her about the picture, but Regina claims she does not know anything about Emma and the snow queen, that Sidney never said anything about it. Then, Emma offers to help Regina thaw out Marian, but Regina sees it as an attempt on Emma’s behalf to gain forgiveness, and Regina is not having it.
When Emma gets back to her car, Elsa, who had been waiting for her, was gone. She had chased a vision of her sister that led her to none other than the snow queen herself. Emma figured as much, and sets off after her on foot. Meanwhile, Regina has the bright idea that if she can’t cure Marian that she can get the snow queen to undo it. She convinces Sidney to show her the way. Consequently, Emma and Regina run into each other in the woods, both of them looking for the snow queen. Emma suggests that they work together, an idea at which Regina scoffs, but feels she does not have much choice as Emma will just follow her anyway.
Elsa finally catches up to Anna, only to find the snow queen. She traps Elsa with ice chains and admits that it was all because she just wanted her out of the way. Out of the way of what is not revealed, but Elsa is left trembling, chained to a patch of snow on the ground.
Emma and Regina find an ice bridge that Elsa created in her pursuit of Anna. After a treacherous crossing, they find snow queen’s snow man, who is more like snow Norse warrior. They destroyed him, only after they worked together. At that point, the snow queen shows up and takes Regina’s compact mirror (the one with Sidney in it). As the snow queen holds up Emma and Regina, Elsa shows up and saves them. The snow queen just leaves. She already has what she wants and she tells Sidney as much when she sets him free.
Once the snow queen gets back to her frigid lair, she frees Sidney in return for bringing her the mirror. Sidney offers his services, but she does not want Sidney. All she wanted was the mirror. After he leaves, she breaks the mirror in the compact, and places a piece of it in a larger, cracked mirror of her own. The shard from the compact causes the larger mirror to coalesce into a smooth perfect surface. It is to this mirror that the snow queen confesses her desire for a family who accepts and loves her.
In a flash back from Emma’s teenage years we find out that she became friends with a girl named Lily, who kept her from getting caught shop lifting. Lily pretends to be a kid from the system, just like Emma. They agree to be best friends no matter what, but when Emma finds out Lily lied about being in the system, she refuses to forgive her. This appears to be similar to how Regina is treating Emma now. Perhaps Emma remembers this part of her childhood as a way to understand how Regina feels, and it causes Emma to confide in Regina that she wants to be her friend.
Back at home, she gets out her box of things that she has kept. Hook shows up, and wants to see what she’s got. He looks in what seems to be a cigar or pencil box. Within it he finds her old glasses, a ring, and a polaroid picture of her and Neal. Then, she notices a camcorder that she had used when she met Lily. They decide to watch it, and to her astonishment, the snow queen was on the video. She appeared to be one of Emma’s foster parents. YIKES!
On a quieter note, Charming tries to get Snow to go out for an evening stroll without Prince Neal. Charming insists that Neal will be fine in Belle’s care. Snow reluctantly agrees to go, but she insists that they borrow the walkie-talkies from the police station in order to ensure they are reachable if Belle needs them. While they are there, Charming notices that Will is not. He must have escaped. Charming tempts Snow with an adventure to catch him. At first she refuses on the premise that she should return home to Neal, but in the midst of her return, she is overcome with the desire to solve the mystery.
Snow finds Will digging on the beach. He claims to be looking for something valuable he buried there. Suddenly, Snow gets the idea that Charming let Will out on purpose just so that Snow could find him and feel a little bit like herself again. She offers to pardon Will if he’ll admit Charming was behind it all, so he does. After she’s back at home, she discovers that Charming was not behind it after all. Well, at least Snow is back in touch with her inner self.