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Once Upon a Time Recap: Smash the Mirror – The Ice Age Has Arrived

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

Smash the Mirror

Prepare yourselves because this week’s Once Upon a Time recap is a doozy. The Fall Finale episode, “Smash the Mirror,” was the length of two episodes, so this is going to be a long one. My favorite part of this week’s show, as horrible as it may seem, was that the Snow Queen finally cast the Spell of Shattered Sight over Storybrooke. I guess I just can’t help myself. I find this show so much more interesting when chaos abounds. The moral, as I am sure you will notice, of this week’s episode is that one must embrace all of ones’ self, the good and the bad. I actually liked this little bit of preachiness on the part of OUAT this week. I think that’s a pretty good saying to live by, as none of us are perfect. Anyways, enough of my yapping. On to the recap!


Our first glimpse of flashbacks this week begins with the Snow Queen/Ingrid hiding the magical sorcerer’s hat in her lair. From this we are transported to the Enchanted Forest. The Snow Queen wants to make a deal with the powerful sorcerer; the hat in exchange for her two new sisters. She wants him to find her a third sister who will be a “perfect match” for her and Elsa.

Once again back in the quaint kingdom of Arendelle, we see Elsa setting up a surprise chocolate feast for her sister. Her fun is interrupted by the Snow Queen, who has come to tell her some bad news. According to the Snow Queen (who we all know is lying) Anna was planning on taking away Elsa’s magic with the sorcerer’s hat. She also reveals that Elsa’s mother is the one who trapped Ingrid in the urn previously.

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

Next we see Elsa confronting Anna about the magic hat after she has found where Ingrid has been keeping Anna. After her curt dismissal of her guards, however, Elsa’s demeanor goes back to being the sweet one we are all used to seeing. Her accusations were simply a ruse to fool the guards into believing that she feels betrayed by Anna, so that they don’t rat her out to Ingrid. After Elsa frees Anna from her cell, Anna tells her of her worries about Ingrid’s intentions. The two then make a plan to find the urn and once again trap Ingrid within it.

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

As Anna, Elsa, and Christophe search for the urn, Elsa is plagued by thoughts of what Ingrid told her about her mother and the urn. In a stroke of good luck they come across the urn as well as a frozen Hans in a closet in the East wing. Later, as Elsa and Anna are creeping around the castle trying not to get caught with the urn, the two have a touching heart to heart moment. Elsa asks Anna if what Ingrid said about their parents’ reason for leaving is true. Anna, ever earnest, admits that they were in fact searching for the sorcerer’s hat in order to take Elsa’s powers away.

Returning Anna to her cell in the Snow Queen’s lair, the two hatch a plan to lure her back to the cell and have Anna trap her in the urn when she comes to check on her. Elsa leaves the scene thinking all is well. Unfortunately for our heroines, the Snow Queen is a master at subterfuge and had already figured out the two were plotting against her. Anna suddenly finds herself bound in magical shackles as soon as Elsa leaves, and the Snow Queen shows up to gloat over her victory. After a series of questions asked by the Snow Queen, we discover that she possesses a piece of mirror from the broken one we saw in her old room and is planning on casting the Spell of Shattered Sight over Anna. Once Anna is under the spell and can only see the bad in Anna, the Snow Queen is certain she will turn away from her.

A short while later, back at the castle Anna enters the room in which Elsa was preparing her surprise feast and finds a waiting Elsa. Anna, however, is not pleased by the sight, but rather can say nothing but negative things about Elsa. She appears to have turned against Elsa, saying nothing but hurtful things about her and their relationship. Cue the Snow Queen, whom Elsa is surprised to see outside of the urn. She reveals that she has cast a spell that causes Anna to reveal her deepest, darkest feelings about Elsa. The Snow Queen tries to convince Elsa to use her powers against Anna, who is about to open the urn and trap Elsa inside, but Elsa refuses to harm her beloved sister. Unwilling to “embrace” her powers and turn Anna into ice, Elsa is trapped in the urn by her little sister. This act seems to jolt Anna out from under the spell, and she is appalled by what she has done. When Christophe shows up as well the Snow Queen, distraught by the thought of Elsa trapped in the urn, lashes out and turns the entire castle, including Anna and Christophe into ice. As she looks out onto the snow-covered kingdom from a window, the Snow Queen is now more determined than ever to find a third sister.

Then, low and behold, Rumplestiltskin decides to come around to gloat. He wants the sorcerer’s hat from Ingrid, and he’s willing to do anything to get it, including stealing the urn containing Elsa from her. He offers to return the urn only if Ingrid gives him the hat. Cut to the Snow Queen’s lair. She almost gives in and calls for Rumple in order to trade the hat for the urn, but before she can, the sorcerer’s apprentice appears and stops her. He says that the sorcerer is indeed willing to make a deal with the Snow Queen. He has found her third sister, and claims that in due time she will be reunited with Elsa and find her third sister. However, none of this will come to pass if she gives the hat to Rumple. He then reveals a magical door that leads to a new land where all of this will happen, agreeing to open the door in exchange for the sorcerer’s hat. The Snow Queen hands the apprentice the hat, after which he hands her a scroll that is supposed to help her find her third sister and opens the door. Next thing you know the Snow Queen is standing in our world in the year 1982.


Back in Storybrooke Emma is hunkered down in the forest, staying as far away from her loved ones as she can, with her powers still wildly unstable. Henry shows up, trying to convince her that she should return and is blown away for his efforts. Thankfully, the kid is fine, having scraped by with a minor cut and some bruises, and he chooses to leave after that. The Snow Queen, sensing a moment of weakness, appears in the forest to commiserate with Emma, encouraging her to embrace her magic. Emma replies by driving away as fast as she can.

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

At Emma’s home we see the usual gang return from searching for her, when Henry shows up and tells them about what just happened. Elsa wisely outs in her two cents that Emma can’t run away from the ones she loves because they are the only ones who can help her.

Cut to Rumple’s shop where Emma is now hiding. Desperate, she asks for his help in ridding herself of this problem. Rumple suggests a spell that will take away her magic, which Emma is only too happy to take advantage of. The two then make plans to meet at an abandoned manor in the middle of the woods later that evening.

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

We later find out when Rumple pays a visit to the Snow Queen that his real plan is to have the sorcerer’s hat swallow Emma and her magic whole, as he needs the power in order to separate himself from his dagger and truly be free. The Snow Queen is not too happy about this plan and tries to stop Gold. However, while he was telling her his evil plan Rumple trapped her in a magic circle made from the dust of the broken urn.

Back with the gang, Elsa tries to explain that Emma’s magic is ties to her emotions, which is why she is having so much trouble controlling it. Regina then joins the scene, bringing a locator potion with her. Mary Margaret receives a call from Emma, during which Emma tells her her plan to get rid of her magic. Warning bells go off in Hook’s head at her claim that Rumple is going to help her, and he quickly leaves in search of Emma, calling her phone first to try and warn her against Rumple. The issue of whether Emma should even get rid of her magic continues to plague Mary Margaret and David. Elsa, hearing them debating the issue, takes matters into her own hands when she takes the locator potion and runs off to save Emma herself.

Upstairs Henry and Regina have a little heart to heart discussion about his own insecurities about not having powers. She tells him that he’s special in his own way as the truest believer (remember the second season). She comforts him, telling him that Emma will be fine since heroes always win. When Regina goes downstairs later she tells Mary Margaret and David that they need to support Emma and her powers rather than let her get rid of them. The one thing she regrets the most is that when Henry first began reading the book she didn’t support him. And so, the gang all dash of to search for Emma once again.

Cut to Hook still searching for Emma. He calls her once again, warning her that Rumple is up to no good. In doing this he is forced to admit that he’s been lying to her because Rumple blackmailed him. Our brave Captain Hook is ready to risk all to save his lady love, though. Noticing the map with the manor circled on it, Hook then dashes off once again.

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

As all this is happening, the Snow Queen is futilely trying to break out of Rumple’s magic circle to no avail. Spotting her magic mirror, however, she is inspired to take a peak in on Emma. The next thing we see is Emma driving towards the manor when she sees the Snow Queen standing in the middle of the road. Trying to avoid hitting her, Emma drives off the road and almost crashes. The Snow Queen, who we find out is simply a hologram, tries to warn Emma about Rumple’s plan to trap her and her magic in the hat, but Emma won’t listen. Instead she gets back in her car after she realizes that the Snow Queen isn’t actually there, and continues on her journey to the manor and Rumple.

Emma eventually arrives at the manor, but conveniently forgets her phone with Hook’s messages on it in the car. Inside we see Rumple ready the hat to swallow Emma whole, pointing it towards the door where she will enter. Telling Emma that he’s already cast the spell and all she needs to do is step into the room, Rumple insists that despite the Snow Queen’s warnings, he is trying to help her. He fudges around the truth a bit in regards to how safe the spell is, but does admit that it will stop her from hurting people. In a last moment of uncertainty, Emma asks Rumple if he would do what she’s doing. He replies that he “wouldn’t do it for anything” because he’s not like her. Rumple admits to being selfish and power hungry, ending with the comment that he doesn’t think he’s capable of changing. Emma, though, always does the right thing. With this assurance, Emma thanks Rumple and turns towards the room.

Hook, clearly the most useful member of the gang at the moment, finds the manor and tries to stop Rumple from letting her go in. But he is no match for the Dark One, and Rumple quickly traps him, taunting him with the fact that he is going to now have to watch while Emma is sucked into the hat. Unbeknownst to Rumple, however, Elsa has also made it to the manor. Sneaking inside, Elsa sees Emma about to enter the room and tells her to stop just in time. Elsa tells Emma that she won’t give up on her. Elsa herself just realized something else important about their magic powers. It wasn’t just Anna’s love that saved her. When Elsa came to Storybrooke she was able to find a way to control her powers without the help of Anna. Not only does the love of the people around these women matter, but their own love and acceptance of themselves also. Emma must love herself and embrace her powers in order to be able to control them. Extending her hand, Elsa urges Emma to accept every part of herself. And lo and behold, when Emma takes Elsa’s hand her power is magically under control again.

When Hook and Rumple see that Emma doesn’t go into the room and get swallowed by the hat, Hook rubs the loss in Rumple’s face. Well, this turns out to be a bad move indeed, as our Rumple has one more trick up his sleeve. Rumple needs one more thing in order to free himself from the dagger; the heart of someone who knew him before he was the Dark One. Wouldn’t you know it; Hook is the only person in Storybrooke who fits that bill. Rumple rips out Hook’s heart, but doesn’t kill him. Instead he wants to control him, and force him to help him find the power he needs to use the hat for his own nefarious purposes. When Hook runs into the house to check if Emma is alright Emma notices a difference in him. After shooing her off, Hook then goes into the room and fetches the hat for Rumple, proving that he is now under the control of Rumple.

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

Back at the Snow Queen’s lair, she has finally managed to get free of Gold’s circle. We then see her walk over to the box of yellow ribbons she got from Rumple in the last episode and put one of them on her wrist. Outside the manor we see Emma using her powers once more. However, the group also notices the yellow ribbons now adorning Emma and Elsa’s wrists. We find out from the Snow Queen when Rumple visits her later that now that both women have embraced their powers, all three are a “perfect match” and are magically bonded. The Snow Queen now has access to their powers as well as her own, and can cast the spell connected to the mirror. The episode ends with the Snow Queen breaking the mirror, causing smoke to billow out from it and towards the waiting town of Storybrooke.

Miscellaneous Extras:

Other Plots:

We saw a good bit of development in Robin and Regina’s relationship this episode. Robin found out about the book of fairy tales and enlisted Will Scarlet’s help in finding out more about the author. After raiding the local library, Robin discovered an interesting piece of paper in his satchel. When he showed it to Regina we discovered that it was an alternate picture of them from a page in the fairy tale book. This alternate of page twenty-three showed Robin and Regina kissing, proving that there is the possibility of a happy ending for the two. I have to say this warmed my heart. I like the idea of Regina getting a happy ending after all she’s been through.

Romantic Moment:

Not to repeat myself, but I would definitely say that the last scene with Robin and Regina was my favorite romantic moment this week. That couple is really growing on me. I thought it was really sweet how he decided to try and help Regina in her search for the author, and the last scene when they both find hope is just downright cute.

Favorite Quote:

“You might not make it home for cinnamon and cocoa. Ever.” Ok, this has got to be the cheesiest line I’ve ever heard, even for OUAT. However, it is kind of catchy…

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By on November 17th, 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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