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Once Upon a Time: Family Business Recap – The Master Plan Revealed

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

Family Business Recap

This week’s episode of Once Upon a Time brought us a whole new bag of goodies to sift through; the most exciting one, in my opinion, being the reveal of the Snow Queen’s master plan. As we are about halfway through the Fall season, it was about time for OUAT to give us a bit more insight into our villain. Unfortunately, I didn’t find OUAT’s treatment of the Snow Queen, whose name we now know is Ingrid, to be terribly original. In fact, her background and plan are ones I believe we’ve all seen before on the show. One of OUAT’s favorite sayings, “evil isn’t born it’s made,” which has been the excuse for every villain the series has introduced, has once again made an appearance. Every evil sorceress or sorcerer is really just a sad mistreated child at heart. This was certainly the case for Cora, Regina, and Zellena, as well as Rumpel. As much as I love the show, it would be nice to have some variety once in a while. Anyways, on to the recap.

The Enchanted Forest and Arendelle

In this episodes flashback, OUAT focuses on Belle’s life before she met Rumpelstiltskin and became the Beauty to his Beast. Colette, Belle’s mother, is introduced. Like Belle, she is brunette, loves books, and has a fighting spirit. Unfortunately the close pair are torn apart by the Ogre Wars.

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

During an attack on the castle, Belle is knocked out only to awaken some time later to the horrific sight of her mother’s coffin. For some unknown reason Belle cannot remember anything that happened after the ogres arrived. Despite her father’s strict orders to stay in bed until she gets a clean bill of health, Belle steals away on a mission to recover her lost memories.

And where you ask did she go to accomplish this? Belle travels to none other than Arendelle, where she hopes the rock trolls can help her. As fate would have it, Belle runs straight into Anna soon after her arrival. Anna is on her way to see the trolls also (big surprise), and the two join together at Oaken’s trading post. We discover that upon her return to Arendelle, Anna was introduced to Ingrid and told her back-story. Suspicious of Ingrid’s claim that she is their aunt and mother’s sister when their mother never mentioned her, Anna decided to seek out the rock trolls, figuring they will know the truth of the matter, and why Ingrid’s existence has been kept a mystery if she is indeed telling the truth.

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

As luck would have it, the trolls help both women, giving Belle a Magic Thought Rock that will restore her memories, and affirming that Anna’s mother had not one but two older sisters, Helga and Ingrid. Apparently, both mysteriously disappeared long ago, and in an effort to hide this strange occurrence, the royal family erased everyone’s memories of the two sisters. Despite the rock trolls proof, however, Anna still believes that Ingrid has some evil plan up her sleeve. Her worst fears come true when, on their way back to the city, Belle and Anna are waylaid by an awfully convenient storm. During the storm Anna just happens (I think we all know it was the Snow Queen’s doing) to be knocked off the edge of a cliff by a gust of wind. As Anna if hanging precariously onto the side of the cliff, Belle runs after her Magic Thought Rock, which was blown away by the same gust of wind. Unable to retrieve the magic rock, Belle turns to find Anna, only to discover her hanging off the side of the cliff. Belle tries in vain to save Anna, but is too late.

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

However, rather than falling to her death, Anna ends up falling into the Snow Queen’s clutches. We last see her locked up in a subterranean jail cell that looks suspiciously like Regina’s dungeon.


So, yeah, the usually perfect Belle is harboring a deep secret. She has clearly known where Anna disappeared to the entire time. Her excuse? She feels guilty for not saving Anna, and can’t work up the courage to tell anyone her secret. That is…until this episode.

Back in Storybrooke the usual gang of heroes, Emma, Hook, David, etc. go off to hunt for more answers about the Snow Queen’s grand plan for everyone. While this new mission keeps everyone busy elsewhere, Belle decides to embark on a mission of her own. Belle knows that when the Snow Queen captured Anna, she had a rare and powerful object in her possession, the sorcerer’s hat that absorbs magic. Belle figures that if she can get her hands on it, she can use it to freeze the Snow Queen herself. However, as we all know, Rumpel actually has the hat. This puts him between a rock and hard place when it comes to stopping Belle from running off. He can’t tell her he has the hat and stop her from going on her quest because then other things will come to light, such as the fact that he gave her a fake dagger and still holds the real one. This is quite the tangled web.

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

So, Belle “commands” Rumpel with her dagger to take her to the Snow Queen’s secret ice cave. Belle obviously does not find the hat, but she does discover the mirror we saw the Snow Queen assemble in last week’s episode. We learn that the mirror is a kind of reverse Mirror of Erised, which reveals the onlooker’s deepest desires. This mirror instead tells the person what they least want to hear. It brings out one’s insecurities and doubts, manipulating them into feeling worthless and alone in the world. When Belle looks in the mirror her guilt over not saving Anna comes to the forefront. The mirror taunts her with ideas that she is a pathetic coward, no one could possibly love her, and Rumpel surely wouldn’t have actually given her the real dagger. As the mirror comes a little too close to the truth, Rumpel intervenes, whisking Belle away from the Snow Queen’s lair and telling her not to believe the mirror’s negative manipulations. Worn down by her experience with the mirror, Belle then breaks down and tells Rumpel the whole story of her time with Anna and her knowledge of what happened to her. Belle unknowingly touches a sore spot when she says that she knows he would never keep a secret from her. Hmm…I see some rough waters ahead for this devoted pair.

Angry over the whole ordeal, Rumpel decides to go back to the Snow Queen’s lair later to issue some threats (you know, his usual routine of acting the part of the mob boss whenever Belle is not around). The Snow Queen may have her plan for the mirror, but he’s got the sorcerer’s hat, and can therefore stop her before she even has a chance to enact her plan. Now, this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for. What exactly is this master plan of hers? Well, OUAT gives us a nice little summary of it as well as the reason’s behind it’s conception. Here goes:

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

Ever since Ingrid escaped from the urn her only desire has been to reconstruct the family she lost so long ago. She initially thought Anna and Elsa could act as her substitute sisters to replace the ones she lost. After Anna’s betrayal, however, she comes across a prophecy indicating that the savior would “become Ingrid’s sister.” This explains why she previously became Emma’s foster mother. Her plan for Storybrooke hinges on her use of the mirror. In classic OUAT fashion, Ingrid’s plan will involve putting the town under a curse (you’ve got to love the deep devotion to this plotline). Anyways, Ingrid plans on using the mirror to cast the Spell of Shattered Sight, which will turn everyone in Storybrooke against each other. Mass fighting will break out, which only Elsa, Ingrid, and Emma will emerge from unharmed. Thus, with this blonde trio finally united, Ingrid gains her two substitute sisters and can live happily ever after.

Miscellaneous Extras:

*Minor details:

There was also a slight development in Regina and Robin Hood’s relationship saga in this episode. Since Regina hasn’t been able to find a cure for Marian, she advises Robin to help his wife by forgetting his love for Regina. Now, whether she means for him to accomplish this through will alone or with a little magical help, I don’t know.

*Unnecessary Plot Choices:

One thing that bothered me was the idea of having Belle run off to the magic trolls to regain her memories, which she didn’t actually achieve. She hardly needed to go to such lengths to find out what happened. Her father knew all along. All she needed to do was ask him.

*Fun OUAT Factoids:

Remember when Rumpel helped Belle’s father during the Ogre Wars in exchange for her? Well, Belle masterminded the entire plot. She was inspired by Anna’s story of how she gained the sorcerer’s hat.

*Original Fairy Tale Factoids:

Gerda, Anna, and Elsa’s mom are all named after the original characters in Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow Queen.

Ingrid’s mirror also appears in the story. Anderson’s version of the mirror has “the power of causing all that was good and beautiful when it was reflected therein, to look poor and mean; but that which was good-for-nothing and looked ugly was shown magnified and increased in ugliness.”

What did you think of this week’s OUAT episode? Are these “master plans” of OUAT villains all starting to look the same, or is it just me? And, finally, is Elizabeth Mitchell not the most amazing Snow Queen, not to mention actress, alive?! I am still doing a happy dance about that choice. Sound off below…


Make sure to check out our other recaps for The Originals and Arrow.

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By on November 4th, 2014

About Rebecca Lane

Rebecca Lane grew up in the hot desert landscape of Tucson, Arizona where she decided early on she wanted to write, if only to mentally escape her blistering surroundings. She has always been enamored of the arts and literature. As a child she often wrote short stories, and rewrote the endings of novels that she simply could not abide. She received her Undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she was lucky enough to also spend a year studying at Oxford University. While she began her journey dreaming of the day she would sing opera in a large Manhattan theater, she found in the end she could not stand waitressing and simply could not give up books and her hopes of someday writing them. She is currently working as a freelance writer/editor and earning her Masters in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

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