May 7, 2020
Once Upon a Time RECAP: Maid Marian Gets a Cold (S4:E3)
What does it take to gain your trust? Are you someone who is easily won over? All it takes is a pretty face, a warm smile or a few moments of bonding over a sweet treat, and you are already convinced you’ve met a friend for life.
Do you tend to give people the “benefit of the doubt,” and view them in the best light possible, until they prove to be otherwise?
Or perhaps you are a bit more discerning in the people with whom you choose to share your secrets? You often find yourself skeptical of the motives of others. You play your cards close to your chest. Those who don’t know you well may even call you aloof, standoffish, or, dare I say… frosty…
Though one could argue that the theme of every episode so far of Season 4 of Once has been “how to milk the Frozen franchise for all its worth,” I would argue that this particular episode…
… had that theme too…
… but it was also about “Trust.”
For people like Elsa and Emma, who have been hurt and mistreated in their past, it is difficult to open up and trust others…
For people like Regina, Rumpelstiltskin and Will Scarlet, who have been stereotyped and marginalized for their past deeds, it is difficult to regain the trust of the people who may have already written them off.
And for people like the Snow Queen, this general lack of trust amongst the good people of Storybrooke proves to be a fertile playground for manipulation, control, and all sorts of other activities that tend to frequent the To Do Lists of every self-respecting Big Bad.
Let’s review, shall we?
Actually, before we begin…
A Little Background on The Snow Queen
What’s fun about Once Upon a Time is that most of the fairytale characters we meet here are fairly recognizable to pretty much anyone who has ever read a fairytale or… more likely… seen a Disney movie based on a fairytale. Most of us grew up knowing at least the basic stories of Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Little Red Riding Hood.
But Once seems to have waded a bit deeper into the Fairytale Pool for The Snow Queen, a story that probably didn’t make a lot of your first grade teachers’ Must Read lists… basically because its super dark, and a little gross…
You see, The Snow Queen’s modus operandi was basically to shove broken pieces of glass mirrors into people’s eyes (ouch!) and distort their vision of the world. She’d make them hate everything and mistrust everyone except for… wait for it… The Snow Queen herself.
This was a step-by-step process. First she’d make her victims act like total douchebags to all their friends. Then, when they had no friends left, she’d have them come live with her. Then she’d make out with them (even if they happened to be little prepubescent boys… ewwwww), causing them to not only mistrust and hate their former friends, but to forget their existence entirely.
In short, The Snow Queen was the “If I can’t have you, no one can” abusive boyfriend/mistress in every Lifetime Movie you ever saw…
So, with that in mind…
I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For… Well, you know the rest…
Maid Marian smells bad.
I know it sounds like a juvenile joke, but I’m merely stating a fact.
You know how after you’ve been on an airplane or a long bus or train ride, the first thing you do when you get to wherever you are going is change your clothes, because you are convinced you “smell like public transportation?”
Well, imagine spending days on the floor of a windowless, dank, dark prison, amidst a bevy of unwashed, soon-to-be beheaded masses, only to be broken free, knocked unconscious, dragged through a muddy forest, whisked away in a time portal to an entirely new world… and then spending at least three or four days in that new world without so much as slipping into a new pair of panties?
Put it this way, even Emma has had a costume change or two since the season premiere, and her entire wardrobe consists of a pair of jeans, a wife beater, and three tight leather jackets…
Anywho, thanks to a little not-so-subtle manipulation by son Roland…
…the Hood Family decides to drop by Any Given Sundae for a heaping helping of Rocky Road ice cream with some sprinkles, and, in Maid Marion’s case, a dollop of hypothermia.
The Hood family is still relatively new to the modern age, so I guess we have to let them slide for missing this very basic cardinal rule of life:
Never trust a woman who wears Size 0 pants and works in an ice cream shop.
These are two things that just do not mix.
Though she tries to be polite about it, it’s clear that Snow White is totally perturbed over Maid Marion having the audacity to nearly drop dead during her first ever Mayoral Town Hall Meeting.
Understandably, all the townsfolk assume Elsa is to blame for the Marionsicle, seeing as she was the one who encased the town in ice, and had Marion attacked by a snow monster…
But Trust Issues Emma isn’t so quick to pass judgment on her fellow blonde. I mean, just because Elsa made Emma nearly die of hypothermia doesn’t mean she did it to someone else too.
Clearly, someone else must be behind all this evil… someone who isn’t a beloved character from Disney’s most recent cash cow.
With her rarely-if-ever-works “superpower” of knowing when someone is lying tucked carefully into her back pocket, Emma puts on her sheriff badge and is officially on the case.
Meanwhile, another branch of Emma’s f*&ked-up family tree is venturing out on a mission of their own…
Over at Granny’s, Regina is bonding with Henry by grilling him about his big ole storybook, a topic of conversation that for three seasons made her eyes glaze over like mine do anytime someone tries to teach me the fundamentals of golf.
Henry is right to be suspicious of his occasionally evil adopted Mommy. “What’s the deal, Mom? Is this because Sleeping Beauty wouldn’t let you join her book club?”
Regina admits that she’s hoping to the find the author of the fairytale book so that she can extort, threaten, torture, maim, sexually abuse “persuade” him or her to write her the happy ending she deserves.
I think most of us assumed Henry would be upset over his mother’s plans. After all, changing the endings to fairytales is sacrilege (unless sexy pirates and hot blondes do it together, while making out, in which case it’s awesome), not to mention dishonest, and possibly even slightly dangerous. (We all know what happened the last time someone tried to change one of these stories…)
And yet, despite all this, Henry is totally on board with Regina’s idea. (Must be those puberty hormones messing with his forgetting-curse and Peter Pan Possession-addled brain.) He believes the author of his favorite book has wrongly written Regina as a villain, when in fact she is a hero… sometimes… and Sometimes Heroes deserve Sometimes Happy Endings, don’t they?
Henry chooses to name his and Regina’s plan to brainwash… er… I mean, track down and befriend the author of the fairytale book Operation Mongoose. Why?
Honestly, I have no clue. I know very little about mongooses, apart from them being kind of cute but scary looking, in a possessed teddy bear sort of way…
If I were Henry, I’d go for a spirit animal that’s a bit more Regina. An animal that’s cool, calm and calculating under pressure… an animal that could actually eat Operation Cobra for breakfast… an animal that doesn’t give a sh*t…
I’m talking about Operation Honey Badger… obviously.
Clearly, they don’t watch enough YouTube videos in Storybrooke.
We interrupt this useless exercise of coming up with inadequate and completely random code names for series plotlines to bring you…
Lessons in Erotic Telephone Talk Brought to You by Robin Hood, Prince of Babes
Oh Regina. The feminist inside me died a little bit watching you in action this week.
Yeah, I know, I know. We are supposed to be proud of Regina because she, once again, did the “honorable” thing by saving the life of her biggest competition for Robin Hood’s heart. (Though one could argue that, by removing Maid Marion’s heart from her chest, Regina not only saved that heart from freezing over, she also made it that much easier for her to control… and crush, if need be.) And I get that Robin Hood and Regina are supposedly “soul mates,” which makes all this pesky wife and kid stuff supposedly meaningless. (See Married David and Mary Margaret in Season 1.)
But being the mistress of a married man with a kid is never a good position to be in, even if (especially if) the married man in question is peppering you with lots of Big Talk like “I couldn’t save her with true love’s kiss because it’s YOU that I love,” and “My wife doesn’t understand me,” and “The sex isn’t good, because she’ll never take off that damn smelly cape.”
Stories like these never end well for the mistress, even if that mistress happens to be a hero in villain’s clothing… or a mongoose.
In other news, Snow White’s terrible taste in hair stylists and winter wear apparently also extends to interior decorating… who knew?
I mean, poorly painted pictures of blue birds are fine when you are living in a cave with seven little people whose idea of a Living Room Concept is a row of pickaxes lined up on a rock…but in the Swanky Mayor’s Mansion? Hell to the no.
In Snow White’s defense, Jiminy Cricket reveals her to be a bit of a hoarder, with extreme difficulty giving breathing room to the things she cares about… like ugly pictures of birds… and her child… the new one… not the one she left in a tree and didn’t look for for over 28 years.
Speaking of hoarders…
Because you can never have too many mystical urns…
For the first stop on their Find a Slightly Less Charming Ice Bitch to Be Big Bad Tour, Emma, Hook and Charming head on over to Rumpel’s antique shop with Elsa to see if he knows anything about why she ended up trapped in his urn, because Elsa apparently has no memory of this happening to her. Rumpel insists he knows nothing, even going so far as to have Belle “control him with the Dark One Dagger” to prove that he’s telling the truth about his ignorance.
Of course, us fans know that the Dark One Dagger Belle is using is a total fake, which makes the whole scene kind of ridiculous… like when little kids try to hypnotize you by waving a watch in front of your face and telling you that you’re getting sleepy.
Hook knows this too… or at least he suspects it… which is why, instead of following Emma’s instructions to bring Elsa to the safety of the sheriff’s office, away from the townspeople who want her head for supposedly freezing Marion, he goes back to the scene of the crime.
“Find me the Big Bad, and I won’t tell everyone you are a Big Fat Liar,” Hook instructs Rumpel.
Apparently it takes a Sometimes Villain Who May Or May Not Have Been Cured by “True Love” to know a Sometimes Villain Who May or May Not Have Been Cured by “True Love.”
Rumpel agrees to help, extracting the magic that froze Marion from a lock of her hair, and sending it off in search of its maker.
This sets Robin Hood and Elsa off into the forest chasing some snowflakes, which looks exactly as cheesy as it sounds .. .
Speaking of Journeys into Obvious Traps Set by The Snow Queen…
You got URNED!
Back in this week’s Frozen-land Flashback, Elsa and Kristoff are fighting over whether or not to go after Anna, who has apparently gone missing after her rendezvous with Little Bo Peep last week, when they learn that Evil Hans and his hot brothers are advancing on their kingdom. Elsa, who didn’t see the part of Frozen where Kristoff kicked ass and only saw the part where he got all moony over her little sister, tells her sister’s fiancé to go, like, gather berries or something, and leave the fighting to the Real Soldiers.
Kristoff thinks that’s a load of crap and assigns himself a recon mission of his own. During that mission he learns that Hans and Hot Bros’ Master Plan is to trap Elsa in a big ole cup and take the city entirely unopposed.
Kristoff rushes to tell Elsa the news, and she grudgingly agrees to let Kristoff head the mission to retrieve and destroy the urn—but only if she can come with him, which is basically the equivalent of moving your Queen out in front of all your pawns at the start of a game of chess… dumb, dumb, dumb.
Anywho, it isn’t long before Kristoff and Elsa find the urn. But when they do, rather than destroy it, Elsa gets all Smeagol from Lord of the Rings and decides she wants to play with it a bit first.
Then Hans appears, and it’s time to do battle.
Eventually, Hans outmatches Kristoff and Elsa willingly decides to give herself up to the urn to save his life.
Unfortunately for Hans, the urn isn’t empty…
It’s got that old TLC video inside of it…
“Don’t go chasing waterfalls… please stick to the cups and the urns that you’re used to.”
That’s right, boys and girls, Snow Queen was in the urn already. She quickly vanquishes Hans, Franz and whoever, reveals herself to be Elsa’s long lost “aunt,” vows to help her find Anna, and everybody lives happily ever after…
Or… at least they would if Snow Queen wasn’t the evil b*tch from the fairytales that puts glass shards in people’s eyes and makes out with little boys…
Unfortunately, Elsa has no memory of any of this happening, which pretty much means history is destined to repeat itself.
And it’s all just a little bit of history repeating…
Back in the present, Hook and Elsa follow their snowflakes right to the Snow Queen, who has taken the time to slip into something much less comfortable…
Elsa is excited to meet someone with powers like her for the “first time,” but is peeved that her Snowflake Sista framed her for turning the Character Nobody Likes Because She’s Infringing on Our Favorite Super Villain’s Sex Life into a giant popsicle.
Snow Queen takes this accusation in stride. “I did it because everybody already hates you and your magic and wants you dead,” she explains. “P.S. Your sister and her boyfriend also hated you and had you put in that stupid urn. So, why not hang out with me, and only me, for all eternity? We can make ice castles, and eat tons and tons of Rocky Road ice cream, while never gaining a pound.”
Ahhh… now THERE’S the Snow Queen I remember from fairytales!
Snow Queen then immediately tries to pin another almost-murder on Elsa by trying to drop some ice bergs on Hook’s head.
But Emma (who learned of Snow Queen’s identity from That Guy from That Canceled Once Spinoff who just stole money from an ice cream parlor)…
… arrives just in time to use her Magical Power to save the day.
Nope, not THAT power… her other power, the one where lightning bolts come from her fingers and plot-convenient things happen as a result…
Emma’s “powers” manage to free Hook. Unfortunately Snow Queen gets away…
“That woman seems so familiar to me. I feel like I know her from somewhere,” Emma muses in the forest. “Maybe it was that time I was in a plane crash, and landed on a deserted tropical island that ended up being a metaphor for purgatory, even though everyone insisted it wouldn’t be . ..”
Once things have calmed down a bit, Hook finally confronts Emma about why she’s been so “cold” to him lately (no pun intended).
“I’m scared for you, because everyone who touches my vajayjay dies,” Emma finally admits. “I’m like Taissa Farmiga’s character from American Horror Story… the one with the witches, not the one with the guy in the rubber suit…”
“Don’t worry. I’ll never die. And I’ll always wear a condom,” Hook promises, which is pretty much the TV equivalent of the guy in the horror movie who says “I’ll be right back.”
I wouldn’t be buying any green bananas if I were you, Hook.
Back in the forest, Snow Queen and Rumpel speak in frustratingly vague code about a time that neither Emma nor Elsa remembers, a plan of Snow Queen’s that nobody knows about, and a request for help that may or may not be utilized.
As Yoda would say… “Thickening, the plot is!”
Until next time, Once-ians!
Complete Season Recaps