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[WARNING: Spoilers ahead from Sunday’s season-four premiere of Once Upon a Time, “A Tale of Two Sisters.”]
Picking up immediately after the finale, Once didn’t veer too much from the backstory already established in last year’s blockbuster, something co-creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis were adamant about from the start. Instead of sprinkling on the Once twist, the portrayals of the Frozen characters were rather faithful, keeping true to the DNA of the Elsa (Georgina Haig), Anna (Elizabeth Lail), Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster), Grand Pabbie and even Sven that we knew on the big screen.
There were even inherent nods to the movie, such as Emma and Regina’s doorway scene, which mirrored the moment between Anna and Elsa in the movie. The Hollywood Reporter highlights the top Frozen moments from the premiere and where the rest of the characters are for the following episode.
First, Arendelle in the past …
1. The Once premiere opens in Arendelle of the past with Anna and Elsa’s parents, the King and Queen of Arendelle — dressed in the same wardrobe they were shown wearing in the movie — on a supposed diplomatic voyage to the Northern Isles. As the ship is consumed by towering waves, the Queen writes one last message in a bottle to her daughters to tell them “the truth.” “It’s the only thing that will save them,” she says, as the ship goes down.
2. Five years later, Anna and Elsa meet at their parents’ graves before Elsa insists that she show her the wedding present now. Her gift? Their mother’s wedding dress. And Elsa gives her sister a brand-new necklace, which comes into play later on in the episode.
3. As Anna gets dressed, Elsa discovers a hidden diary from their mother that alludes to the fact that it could have been Elsa’s fault their parents never came back from that voyage. They were afraid of Elsa and her powers; she was becoming increasingly dangerous. Without revealing much, Elsa exclaims, “It’s all my fault!”
4. But before that, Anna and Elsa share some light banter about Kristoff and his reindeer Sven’s choice of attire for the wedding. It seems Elsa has some worries concerning Kristoff and his lack of appropriate fashion sense. “It’s not like he grew up in a barn …” Anna begins, before conceding that fact. And what about Sven, who may have to escort Elsa down the aisle? “He’s going to be properly attired … for a reindeer,” Anna reassures. (Mystery No. 1!)
5. Anna and Elsa inquire about their mother’s mysterious diary with their future in-laws, Grand Pabbie, leader of the troll kings, who helped raise Anna’s future husband, Kristoff. While Grand Pabbie (voiced by John Rhys-Davies), can’t offer any additional intel for the sisters, he does give them one more clue as to where their parents were going: a new land called Mist Haven.
6. Though the villainous Prince Hans isn’t seen in the premiere, Elsa warns Anna that he and his 12 angry brothers are out there ready to pounce at a moment of weakness.
7. Elsa meets Kristoff and Sven in the barn, but she quickly discovers that Kristoff has been stalling to allow Anna enough time to catch her ship to Mist Haven. Unfortunately, Elsa is too late catching Anna as Elsa watches the ship sail off to Mist Haven, a land no one’s familiar with. But we’ve all heard of the place before: It’s the Enchanted Forest.
Now, Storybrooke in the present …
8. After slipping through the time portal with Emma and Captain Hook and making her way through town, Elsa realizes the new land she’s found herself in, a mysterious place called Storybrooke. It’s not long before she’s caught in a bind. When Sleepy falls asleep at the wheel and nearly crashes into Elsa, she freezes their truck with seconds to spare.
9. It’s not long before Elsa makes her way through the main part of town, having increasing difficulty maintaining her powers. Emma and Hook follow the ice trail she leaves and after Elsa is cornered, she creates a snow monster, the same one seen in the movie. “That’s a new one,” Hook says. (Remember, they haven’t seen Frozen because it hasn’t come out yet.) Emma and Hook recruit some help as they follow the snow monster to the woods, and when Marian and others start unsuccessfully attacking the snow monster with arrows and bullets, the snow monster gets even more menacing. It’s Regina, reeling from her own setbacks, who becomes the unexpected hero.
10. Elsa, meanwhile, makes her way into Mr. Gold’s pawnshop after recognizing the necklace she had given Anna in the newspaper. After finding it in the shop, she says of her sister’s mysterious whereabouts, “I will find you.” And thus begins the Frozen mystery.
As for everyone else’s storylines …
Robin Hood makes a choice
One of the questions posed at the end of last season was whether he’d continue his romance with Regina or honor his vows to Marian. In the premiere, Robin Hood chose to do the honorable thing, which caused Regina (and supporters of that pairing) grief. Though he tells Regina that what they have “is real,” he must go back to Marian. After all, she is his wife. “I loved her and I made a vow, ’till death do us part …’ and then it did and then it didn’t … but my vow remains,” he tells a grief-stricken Regina. “I may be a thief and I have a code .… and I have to live by my code; otherwise, what kind of a life am I living?” Sure, it’s an honorable decision, but that prompts Regina to bring her friend, The Mirror, back to help her get rid of Marian for good. Regina makes the observation that whatever events are written in the storybook are “immutable” and she vows to change that, embarking on a journey to find the identity of the book’s author. “It’s time for villains to get their happy ending.”
Emma and Hook have relationship problems
Things between the savior and the pirate were looking promising, but their attempts at continuing their new relationship take a backseat to the immediate threats that were taking over Storybrooke (see: Elsa and the snow monster). And Emma doesn’t seem to be willing to move forward with a romance just yet. “Are you avoiding me?” Hook asks Emma before all of the chaos consumes their attention. In a word, yes. It’s not until after they defeat the snow monster that they have a brief moment to discuss the realities of their situation. “Do you want to go home and see what’s on Netflix?” Emma asks. Hook, with his lack of tech savvy, responds with a gem: “I don’t know what that is, but … sure!” Things are left at a standstill between the two, and it’s not likely they’ll get a chance to address their future for a good while.
Mr. Gold brings in a sorcerer
Belle and Rumple’s Beauty and the Beast dance is memorable for obvious reasons, but Once makes a pretty significant reference to another Disney property. While Belle is sleeping, Rumple brings to life the hat from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It’s known that Henry will be spending considerable time with Mr. Gold at the shop; could this have anything to do with it?
What did you think of the premiere?
Once Upon a Time airs at 8 p.m. on Sundays on ABC.
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