In follow-up to my musings while reviewing season 3, Elsa and Emma do seem to be able to commiserate on several levels. Emma seems to immediately or intuitively understand that Elsa herself is not a threat. She’s powerful, and she’s scared. Emma feels a real connection with her, because she herself is still learning how to control her power. She knows what it’s like to be alone, and yet, what it’s like to lose someone you love. Elsa realizes that she’s not the only one who has magical powers that no one taught her how to use. What you would expect to be a hostile clash between the town protectors (Emma, Charming, and Hook) and the newly arrived monster-creating, ice-wielding queen of Arendelle turns out to be a rather unique welcome.
There seems to be this unspoken understanding between everyone, not just Elsa and Emma, who could easily be seen as “soul sisters.” We soon discover, as with most of the characters brought into Storybrooke, that there is a connection between Elsa’s past and one of the regulars. As it turns out, Charming had a rather fateful meeting with Elsa’s missing sister, Anna. A meeting that changed his life, that changed him from just a shepherd to a hero. A hero that just happened to remain a shepherd by trade.
The episode actually begins right where last week’s ended, in Gold’s shop. Elsa vows to find Anna, and by declaring that no one shall leave the town until she does, it would seem that she suspects foul play. With the clenching of her fists, she erects an ice wall that surrounds the town. However, in Once Upon a Time fashion, nothing is as simple as an ice wall. No, it had to go and knock out the electricity causing a town-wide blackout. This led to a very entertaining exchange between Mary Margaret, Granny, Leroy, and Happy (his human name was never disclosed), in which Mary Margaret was pressed to take the place of the self-secluded Regina as mayor of the town. Meaning, it was up to Mary Margaret to solve the blackout crisis.
While Mary Margaret is dealing with the stress of a new style of leadership, Emma is searching for the source of the ice wall, and consequently the source of the power outage. Accompanied by Hook and Charming, she finds Elsa. However, Hook and Charming scare Elsa into creating a protective ice wall around herself, and Emma gets caught within. It is at this time that they do all their commiserating and sharing of their life’s struggles. It becomes a time sensitive situation, though, when Emma begins to go into hypothermia. Hook helplessly chips away at the ice with his, well, hook.
Meanwhile, in The Enchanted Forest of the past, Anna seeks out David, as a recommendation of Kristoff’s. David, it would seem, liked to “rock” the shepherd look! On a side note, Josh Dallas admitted, in an interview with TVGuide that he enjoyed wearing the wig so much that he wished he could wear it all the time. I’m not so sure Ginny would agree. What she is probably happy about (well, at least Snow is happy about) is that Anna taught David how to use a sword, and never give up. “If it’s impossible, you have to fight to achieve it!”
As the episode fluctuates back and forth between David’s encounter with Anna (who calls herself “Joan”), and the present frigid conditions in Storybrooke, we are introduced to two new characters, Bo Peep and the ice cream shop lady. Leave it to Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz to turn Bo Peep into the equivalent of a 1930s mobster. She comes around to collect her protection “fee.” She’s a bully who won’t take “no” for an answer. You can pay the money, or you can be in her debt, in which case you might as well be her slave. In a clever play on words, she refers to her protectees and slaves as her “sheep.” She herds them, protects them, and gets what she wants from them. I suppose when Anna convinced David to stand up to her, and of course he won, you could say Bo Peep lost her “sheep.”
In Storybrooke, David and Hook try to find another way to save Emma. During the process, David recognizes the necklace that belonged to Anna - the one Elsa found in Gold’s shop. The same necklace that the evil Bo Peep took as a souvenir of her conquest over David’s farm, where Anna just happened to be the day Bo Peep came to collect. Now that he knows who Elsa is looking for, he is able to find the modern day Bo Peep, confiscate her magical staff, and use it to look for Anna. It seems as if all will be okay.
But, that’s not all. As for the owner of the ice cream shop, her mystery is that she too has ice power. Elsa was wrong to think she was the only one with a power like that - a power that Emma coined as being “cool.” Who is this ice cream lady (other than the one and only Elizabeth Mitchell)? This episode doesn’t say, but if you’ve been keeping up with the previews and gossip, then you know she’s the snow queen.