'Once Upon a Time' season 4A recap

In less than a week ABC’s Once Upon a Time will be returning to its 8:00 Sunday night slot. On March 1, the midseason premiere will pick up with the imminent arrival of the queens of darkness in our quaint little Storybrooke.

For the various viewers out there, TheCelebrityCafe.com has created a quick summary of each episode from the first half of this season, starring the characters from Disney’s Frozen. If you are interested in full recaps, those are also available, and will be linked to each summary in this list.

If, however, shipping be your pleasure, we have that too! Though we have not explored every ship yet, we have compiled lists of the best clips of the current couples for your viewing enjoyment:

Top 10 Hook and Emma moments from 'Once Upon a Time'

Top 10 'Once Upon a Time' Regina and Robin Hood moments

Top 10 'Once Upon a Time' Rumple and Belle moments

10 reasons Snow White and Prince Charming are a fantastic couple

I hope you enjoy this video recap of the first half of season 4 as we prepare ourselves for the next phase in our favorite fantasy!

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A Tale of Two Sisters

In this season premiere we get to meet Elsa for the first time. She’s in Storybrooke, she’s alone, and she’s scared. More than anything, Elsa wants to find her sister, Anna.

At the end of season three, Emma, not knowing who she was, brought Marian back from the past with her. This was of course an added complication to Robin Hood and Regina’s relationship, as you can see here.

Out of frustration and anger, Regina retrieves Sidney, who she had locked up safe and sound in the mental ward. She wants to undo Emma’s mistake by going back in time to kill Marian before Emma rescues her, and she thinks Sidney can help in his mirror form. He, of course, is heart-broken and betrayed.

Elsa’s fear grows exponentially as she begins to think the worse for her sister. Partially out of defense and partially to distract the townsfolk away from her presence, she creates a snow monster. He certainly keeps our main characters busy for a bit.

Throughout the episode, Hook keeps trying to spend time with Emma, but is consistently rebuffed. Finally, she just asks him to be patient.

Rumple and Belle seem to be enjoying their honeymoon, at least until Rumple finds the Sorcerer’s hat!

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White Out

The power goes out. Emma, Hook, and Charming go to the town line to see if they can figure out why, while Snow heads over to try to fix the central electricity dispenser. Emma, Hook, and Charming find more than they bargained for. They found Elsa, who subsequently enshrouded herself in an ice cave, and unintentionally traps Emma with her. During this time, they bond.

While Snow is downtown, accompanied by Granny, Grumpy and Happy, she gets so frustrated with all their complaining that she has a full blown anxiety attack!

It takes Hook, Charming, and Elsa a while to break through the ice wall and save Emma from freezing to death. In a sweet motion, Charming lifts her out of the cave and into Hook’s arms. He carries her back to the apartment and cuddles her to warm her up.

There’s an interesting single episode story line involving an evil version of Bo Peep, and the closing scene introduces the Snow Queen.

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Rocky Road

Robin, Marian and Rolland stroll into the ice cream shop where the Snow Queen casts a spell on Marians scoop causing Marian to go into a frozen coma. Meanwhile, Regina and Henry are at Granny’s and coming up with a plan for Regina to get her happy ending: Operation Mongoose.

When Regina finds out about Marian’s condition, she tries to help. Robin tries to break the spell with true love’s kiss, but it doesn’t work. People think Elsa is to blame, so Elsa goes to look for the Snow Queen to prove her innocence and Hook tags along. That’s when she and Emma, who shows up just in the nick of time to save them, meet the Snow Queen, or so they think.

As it turns out, Elsa has met Ingrid (the Snow Queen) previously. In fact, Ingrid was the one in the urn, and when Hans attacked Arendelle and attempted to trap Elsa in the same urn, Ingrid emerged.

By the end of the episode, we find out the real reason Emma has been avoiding Hook: She’s afraid of loosing him.

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The Apprentice

Back in the Arendelle/Enchanted Forest realms, Anna searches out Rumple for answers about her parents. He somehow ensnares her in his plan to steal the Sorcerer’s hat from the Apprentice. In the end, Anna won. She was able to leave with the hat as well as her and her loved ones’ safety, in exchange for his dagger.

In Storybrooke, Emma gains the courage to ask Hook out on a date. As a result, Hook wants his hand back from Rumple, and threatens to tell Belle that the dagger Rumple gave her last season is not the real dagger.

Hook and Emma proceed to go on their date, but it is not without its interruptions. Upon return, they share quite a heated goodbye kiss!

Afterwards, Hook returns to Rumple and wants his hook back instead of this hand. He is convinced it is making him act like his old self (a thought Rumple put in his mind). Rumple, however, is tired of this same old bribery and demands that Hook assist him in an errand (trapping the Apprentice in the Sorcerer’s hat).

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Breaking Glass

This promo gives a nice overview of this episode, including: a confrontation between Regina and Emma, Elsa chasing a phantom Anna, Regina fighting an ice monster, and the Snow Queen entrapping Elsa.

Emma and Elsa go to see Regina, but Elsa takes off. Emma and Regina go after her, using Sidney in compact mirror form to help guide them. In the process they also find the ice monster. Once he is defeated, the Snow Queen takes the compact mirror, i.e. Sidney.

Later that night, Hook walks in on Emma going through her things. She comes across an old video recorder and decides to watch the video which sheds some light on her past with Ingrid.

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Family Business

In this episode, we learn how Belle’s mother died, leading her on an adventure that allows her to cross paths with Anna. At first she acts as though she knows nothing of Arendelle or Anna, because of the shame she feels from letting Anna down.

When Anna returns to Arendelle from her trip to the Enchanted Forest, she finds a calmer Elsa, and meets her Aunt Ingrid.

In their search for the Snow Queen, Regina, Robin, Hook, and Emma find an old ice cream truck. It's what's inside the truck, though, that makes this significant. Locked within was an old runic prophecy that explains the connection between Emma and Ingrid.

Belle decides she has to right her wrong, so she goes after the Snow Queen on her own…sort of. She commands Rumple to accompany her and keep watch at the door. Inside, Belle finds the mirror that is cursed with shattered sight.

After this, she returns to the group and confesses she lied about Anna and going to Arendelle, and then tells them about the spell of shattered sight.

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The Snow Queen

Here, we learn about Ingrid’s past, before she became the Snow Queen. It’s enlightening to say the least. Now, Ingrid decides to set up a fake cursed mirror in the clock tower so as to be “caught” by Emma. Her plan works.

During interrogation, Ingrid pushes Emma to the point of exploding, literally. Faced with the possibility of not being able to control her powers, Emma takes off.

Towards the end, Robin Hood does not seem to be able to still his aching heart, because he shows up at Regina’s vault…again! This time, he won’t take no for an answer.

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Smash the Mirror Part 1

It turns out that Robin stayed the night with Regina. The next morning she tells him about Operation Mongoose, as well as reminds him that this type of rendezvous cannot happen again. He suggestively points out that as long as he hasn’t left yet, it’s still the first time!

Later, Robin magically finds a page that looks as if it were torn from the storybook. However, it is a picture of an event that never occurred: Robin and Regina’s meeting at the tavern in the Enchanted Forest. When Regina comes to inspect it with him, they discover that it is an alternate event as it has the same page number as a page that is in the storybook. Hmmm…


Emma seeks Rumple’s help to get rid of her magic so she won’t hurt anybody. Rumple uses this as an opportunity to set Emma up so he can capture her, and her powers, in the Sorcerer’s hat. Hook figures it out and goes after her, but Rumple intervenes. Elsa, on the other hand, is able to get to Emma, and talks her out of giving up her magic (i.e. not going into the room with the hat trap).

When Rumple stops Hook from helping Emma, he ends up taking Hook’s heart so that he can control him!

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Smash the Mirror Part 2

In the second part of this episode, which ran concurrent with the first, we return to Arendelle and Ingrid’s twisted plans. She casts the spell of shattered sight on Anna, who then, with clouded judgment, traps Elsa in the urn.

Out of sheer anger, Ingrid freezes Anna and Kristoff, who had come to assist her. 30 years later, when they were thawed, they set out after her. In a twist of fate, they end up on Black Beard’s boat, and then locked in a chest and thrown overboard.

In Storybrooke, Elsa, in desperate pursuit of Anna, left the group to search for her. Emma followed not far behind. Finding themselves on the beach, Emma persuaded Elsa that now is not the time to look for Anna, because the Snow Queen has cast the spell of shattered sight, and they only have a limited amount of time to find a solution. Elsa, reluctantly, acquiesces, and grabbing the snowflake necklace she had given Anna all those years ago, wishes for Anna to be with her. To their surprise, as well as Anna’s and Kristoff’s, the chest comes flying out of the water. Soon, Anna and Elsa are reunited!

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Fall

Together again, Elsa, Anna and Kristoff accompany Emma back to Granny’s to help the fairies finish an anti-shattered spell potion. Before they get there, Hook, under Rumple’s command, uses the Sorcerer’s hat to trap the fairies.

Realizing that they have no recourse in the amount of time they have left, the go about preparing for the curse. For example, distancing themselves from the ones they love, or locking themselves up so that the shattered sight (only seeing the worst) will not drive them to harm one another.

Anna, Elsa and Emma are all immune to the spell, so they stand ready to fight for the rest of the town. Kristoff handcuffs himself to a desk in the sheriff’s office, while Snow and Charming have Emma lock them up in separate cells. Snow hands baby Neal over to Emma who passes him off to Anna.

Regina prepares for the curse by sealing Henry in her ex-mayoral office, and before she can lock herself in her vault, she runs into Robin Hood. He wants to go with her, but she admitted that was not a good plan.

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Shattered Sight

Once the spell of shattered sight took hold of our main characters, they began to behave strangely embittered. From within their respective jail cells, Snow and Charming have at each other with Anna and Kristoff for an audience.

Emma and Elsa paid Regina a visit in her vault to get her to unknowingly help them in their fight against the Snow Queen. Once released, Regina went on a rampage for Snow that led to an interesting throw down in the sheriff’s station.

Anna finds a letter from her mother that explains her guilt for entrapping Ingrid and how much she loved her. Moved by this, Ingrid decides to undo the curse, even though it means her own demise.

Robin choses Regina over Marian, and Marian is accepting. Regina seems to be the only one hesitant. Nothing is that easy for Regina though, as Marian, still infected with the ice spell, passes out in front of them and Rolland. Regina figures the only solution is to get her out of Storybrooke into a world without magic. Then the magic spell won’t affect her. She sends Robin away with Marian and Rolland so that they will be taken care of.

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Heroes and Villains

In an Enchanted Forest flashback series, we see Belle kidnapped by Maleficent, Ursula, and the rather unexpected Cruella de Vil. Meet the queens of darkness:

With the curse removed, everyone goes back to their normal selves, which allows from some humorous scenes, and Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff are able to use a door between worlds to return to Arendelle. This is all well and good, except Rumple finally has everything in place to be able to use the Sorcerer’s hat to unleash himself from the control of the dagger. Just as he’s about to finish, Belle stops him. Then, she banishes him from Storybrooke, exclaiming that he is a beast after all.

With Rumple defeated, Hook gets his heart back. He gives it to Emma so that she can put it back in his chest, and when she does, he reminds her, “I’m a survivor.”

But, when does Rumple ever give up? He finds Ursula in New York and recruits her to help him return to Storybrooke, commenting that they’ve got two more stops to make (i.e. Maleficent and Cruella de Vil).

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Carissa Shuman

Carissa is a writer, editor, and artist with a love for science and science fiction.