Once Upon a Time: Rocky Road Review

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By: Marianne Paluso (@Marianne_P81)

Spoilers Ahead

If “A Tale of Two Sisters” set up the many mysteries and new characters for the season, and “White Out” established the emotional resonance sure to be a commonality every week, then “Rocky Road” is the wonderful combination of each of these attributes, with both plot and character development, a lot of heart, and a hint of mystery.

In Arendelle of the past, Elsa and Kristoff form a sweet friendship as they team up to obtain an urn that can trap magical people before Prince Hans can obtain it. Their scenes together were a real treat as they bond over a shared love of Anna and slowly begin to understand each other. Scott Michael Foster makes a perfect Kristoff. Funny, loyal, and always straightforward, he even made a scene where he talks to his reindeer Sven believable and endearing. Elsa and Kristoff’s plan is nearly thwarted by Hans when Elsa is forced to hand over the urn in order to save her new friend’s life. But instead of trapping Elsa inside, another person comes out – the unnamed Snow Queen who freezes Hans and reveals herself to be Elsa’s aunt!

In present day Storybrooke, much is going on. Regina tries to see what Henry knows about the writer of his storybook and it was great to see that he was able to tell she was up to something and how quickly she was honest with him. She wants to find the author and have them write her a happy ending. Though I still hope Regina learns that her happy ending must be earned and not simply given to her, the prospect of having these two work together on their new mission, Operation Mongoose, makes this errand no longer sinister, but instead intriguing. Meanwhile, in the middle of new mayor Mary Margaret’s first fireside chat, Marian collapses, having been frozen from, as the audience sees, an ice cream cone from the Snow Queen. As our heroes gather to help Robin’s wife, Elsa assures them this was someone else’s magic and that only an act of true love can undo a freezing spell. Robin tries True Love’s Kiss but it doesn’t work. When he and Regina are alone, Robin confesses the real reason it didn’t work is because he’s in love with someone else. Lana Parrilla and Sean Maguire play this scene where Robin indirectly tells Regina he loves her wonderfully. You can hear the depth of their feelings in their voices, and despite Robin remaining true to his marriage vows, we can see hope for this couple. And because she loves him, she does the right thing and helps, taking Marian’s heart so she can remain frozen but still alive.

Trying to uncover who truly hurt Marian, Emma and David venture out, with Emma telling Hook to take Elsa safely to the Sheriff’s Station. In the woods, the father/daughter Sheriff duo encounter sass master Will Scarlet. In order to save himself from jail, he actually is quite helpful, leading them to the ice cream parlor that was miraculously fine during the blackout. Will manages to escape with a cash haul but before Emma can go after him, David implores there are more pressing matters at hand. She agrees but is feeling insecure, like the anti-savior. David, being the ever-supportive dad, tries to bolster her confidence and they quickly leave to find this mysterious ice cream queen. In the meantime, Hook brings back a little bit of his pirate side. Hell-bent on protecting Emma as well as helping an Elsa who desperately wants to find this person who shares her kind of magic, they go to Mr. Gold for assistance. Hook asks for his help in exchange for his silence, as the perceptive captain knows Gold would never let anyone have his dagger, not even Belle. Gold makes no admission of guilt, but agrees to help. His face says it all, as does his statement, “I hope Miss Swan is worth it.” The rivalry between these two is back and I love it.

The interaction between Hook and Elsa was also engaging as they followed a trail of snowflakes through the woods. Elsa is amused at Hook’s resistance to magic considering his relationship with Emma, and he insists that being a pirate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But the best moment was when they discover the Snow Queen and he pulls out a cell phone to call Emma. Elsa wonders what it is and both his hilarious attempt to explain the device combined with his frustration when Emma doesn’t answer was really sweet. When he said he just presses the “Emma Button” I think my heart grew three sizes. This light moment quickly turned dangerous when the Snow Queen discovers them and freezes Hook’s foot to the ground. Elizabeth Mitchell makes a fantastic villain with her soft voice, stoicism, and stilted demeanor as this can be much more frightening in its unpredictability. We see that Elsa has no memory of her aunt, and for the moment, all we know is that her attempt to frame Elsa was to teach her niece the lesson that everyone will eventually turn on people like them. Luckily Emma arrives and saves Hook from the icicles crashing down on him, showing her most impressive magic to date, no doubt spurned from protecting those she cares for the most. The most interesting part of this scene was the Queen’s recognition and surprise in seeing Emma. How she knows the savior is unknown, but we know she does as we see in the chilling final scene between her and Gold, who seems to know all and looks forward to the day when the Queen will come to him to make a deal.

In the aftermath of nearly getting himself killed, Emma is angry with Hook, even storming right past him and refusing a drink. He runs after her, apologizing and asking for her trust. But Emma opens her heart and reveals her anger has nothing to do with that. Of course she trusts him, which is obvious in her being completely honest with him. In truth, her anger is actually fear because everyone she’s ever been with has died and she doesn’t want to lose him, too. He softly reassures her that she need not worry because if there is one thing he excels at, it is surviving. And then he passionately kisses her to comfort her, to show her his love, and to give her hope. She welcomes him with equal ardor, displaying a beautiful, new closeness for the couple.

Once again it was a moment between Emma Swan and Killian Jones that proved to be the loveliest part of the episode. Between Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue’s astonishing chemistry, the gorgeous direction, and the meaning behind the scene, there was a multitude to love. It was heart wrenching when Emma revealed that she didn’t want to lose Killian, holding back tears and exposing a deeply-rooted fear in her heart few have seen. It takes a naturally emotive actor to expose so much in a single look and seeing them both delicately smile with so much hope and affection in their eyes was moving. And their kiss was glorious, not only in the panned out shot that was undeniably romantic, and the way they embraced each other so tightly, but also because of what this moment meant for them. In many ways, every kiss between them had been rooted in a different aspect of their relationship. The first, passion; the second, love; the third, hope. Their amorous kiss here is based on all of these facets and reveals so much. At his darkest point, Killian did not care whether he lived or died, but his love for Emma inspires him to survive because he wants share his life with her and doesn’t want to leave her the way everyone else has. What he’s telling her with his passionate kiss is that because he loves her, he’s going to fight like Hell to survive, for him, for her, and for whatever they become. The passion behind her kiss expressed just how much she wants to be with him despite all of her fears and all the loss she’s suffered. She wants to find happiness and just how deeply she is falling for him is beautifully displayed in this exquisite moment. For a show all about magic, it is lovely when its most magical moment comes from two characters engaged in something so real and genuine as falling in love.

Favorite Moments:
Emma and Hook’s romantic scene in the middle of Storybrooke’s main street was breathtaking, while Robin’s confession of love for Regina was touching. I also loved the budding friendships between Elsa and Kristoff and Elsa and Hook, as well as the first mention of Graham since Season 1. Jaime Dornan is quite busy but I hope to see another flashback of our beloved Huntsman one day.

Favorite Lines:
Emma: Of course I trust you.
Hook: Then why are you pulling away from me?
Emma: Because everyone I’ve ever been with is dead. Neal, Graham, even Walsh. I’ve lost everyone. I can’t lose you too.
Hook: Well love, you don’t have to worry about me. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s surviving.

Elsa: His name is Kristoff. He’s my friend.

Hook: I push the Emma button and she answers usually. (Upon hearing her voicemail) Why should I carry around this ridiculous thing if you’re never around when I use it!


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