Once Upon a Time: Shattered Sight Review

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By Marianne Paluso (Marianne_P81)



Spoilers Ahead

Since the beginning of the season, what I have enjoyed so much is the way emotional poignancy has been balanced with levity and character growth. This week’s crucial episode brought the Frozen and Snow Queen storylines to a beautiful conclusion that was both satisfying and deeply moving. In fact, I cried almost as much as did for “Going Home” and that is saying something. The fact that the tears came for a “villain” also says a great deal about the complex nature of the show.

Although there were many tears shed, there was also a tremendous amount of humor. The spell of shattered sight brought out the worst selves in each of the characters and although many of the things they said and did were quite nasty, they were also flat out funny. It also gave the actors a chance to do things they would not normally do. This was most true for Ginnifer Goodwin’s Snow and Josh Dallas’ David. The couple, who are the epitome of true love and support, were at each other’s throats. When Snow says she couldn’t believe she had a child with him, and David responded, “Maybe you didn’t! Could be Whale’s,” I could not help but chuckle. Poor Anna was left to take care of baby Neal and watch over the Charmings and cursed Kristoff, and seeing her try to calm them down and remind them of their true selves was endearing. I shall really miss her character. The worst self that was brought out in Regina was also humorous in the sense that she is so maniacal. Of course this Regina is also as bloodthirsty as the Evil Queen can get. This proved to be useful for Emma and Elsa. Needing to remove their yellow ribbons in order to defeat Ingrid, they sought out Regina to find the opposite of the love their ribbons were infused with: to counter the amplified love with amplified hate. Emma knew this version of Regina would hate her and it was very easy to anger her. She taunted her that she brought Marian back on purpose, and that she wanted her to see herself and Hook together to see the happiness she’ll never have. Although she was taunting her, the latter was still lovely to hear because we know that she meant it. She and Hook are happy together.

Elsa and Emma’s plan works as they free themselves from the ribbons and flee while Regina pursues, fuming in anger. She ends up at the Sheriff’s Station and we witness a drag-down, knockout fight between her and Snow. This was the most violent and physical altercation I think we’ve ever seen on the show, but what spurned it was actually very touching. Regina threatened their baby and Snow and David instantly reacted with fear and visceral protection. Even their worst selves are loving parents, which says something profound about the true nature of their characters. Even a spell cannot take away the love for your children. It is one of the most untainted forms of love in the world.

The love that we share with our families truly can be one of the most beautiful things. It can give us strength and shape our lives, which is why it can be so devastating when we lose it. As we saw in “The Snow Queen,” Ingrid’s backstory was truly tragic. She was not evil. She elicited the most sympathy I have ever felt for a so-called villain. In this episode, Ingrid manages to garner more sympathy, even when some of what she does is not good. We see a glimpse into her history with a teenage Emma as her foster mother. While Ingrid’s objective was less than altruistic, what was actually moving was that we saw a genuine, sincere affection between the two. Emma finally felt like she had a family, and Ingrid as well thought she had found someone like her who could be part of her new one. When Emma hugged her and told her she loved her, the look on Ingrid’s face was enough to break anyone’s heart. She was so happy. But this happiness did not last because when Ingrid tried explaining to Emma’s that they both had powers, Emma is understandably upset, thinks Ingrid is crazy, and runs away. We then see a flashback to Emma’s first days in Storybrooke and venture into the ice cream shop, and the question as to how her memories were taken is finally answered. Seeing these reasons behind Ingrid’s behavior not only made her sympathetic but also allowed the conclusion to her story to hold so much weight and resonance.

After Regina poofs Anna and Kristoff out of the station, Anna discovers the message in the bottle that her parents had sent off their ship and arrived through the portal with them. She rushes to find Elsa and Emma in Ingrid’s ice cave because the letter written by her mother (and Ingrid’s sister) Gerda was exactly what was needed at that moment. Gerda relates everything about the past and her deep remorse for what she did to her sister, and that she truly loves her for who she is. Ingrid doesn’t believe it at first, but when she sees the letter, her moment of realization of what she has done is potent. Elizabeth Mitchell has been brilliant and exceptional all season but none more so than in these final moments when she was able to convey Ingrid’s regret, sadness, love, and sacrifice all at once. She finally wakes up and knows she must undo the spell to save everyone. In doing so, she must sacrifice herself and she gladly does so. Emma tells her they can find another way and that she deserves a happy ending, too. But Ingrid tells her this is it. She truly redeems herself, fully admitting her mistakes and that she allowed her power to turn her into a monster. But now that she knows her sisters truly loved her, she can have a happy ending. Her happy ending is reuniting with them in death. And as they spell envelops her, the music swelling to great radiance (there is something so powerful when instrumental music includes chanting), Ingrid disappears, breaking the spell and leaving only a gently falling snow. We then see an image of the three sisters – Ingrid, Helga, and Gerda – happily running hand in hand as children, symbolizing that they are together again and at peace. Cue many, many tears on my part.

As we see everyone come out of their cursed states, none were better than Snow, David, and Regina laughing hysterically at how ridiculous they were acting. It just shows how far they’ve come. I also loved seeing the family reunited, especially seeing Emma run into her father’s arms. Someone noticeably absent from these reunions was Killian. Because Rumple had his heart, Killian was immune to the spell’s effects and was ordered to find and bring Henry to Rumple so he could leave town with him and Belle. When Killian finds him, Henry’s worst self says he never liked him, even less so now that he and his mother are together. For a brief moment, we see Killian smile, happy at the prospect Emma would use the word “together.” It was the first time since he told Emma he was a fan of every part of her that we saw any kind of true happiness in his eyes. And it was also simultaneously sweet and heart wrenching that he still does not realize how much Emma cares for him. One thing he is sure of is how much he loves Emma. Henry was able to get away thanks to a marble booby trap. But when Killian returns to Rumple, who says his plan will still succeed, Killian asks for one dying wish: to spare Emma and the rest of Storybrooke. Rumple agrees but only as long as they don’t get in his way. This final scene sets up what will no doubt conclude this first half of season 4 in a meaningful way, and further illuminates who these characters truly are. Of course Killian would want Emma to be spared, but the fact that he asks the whole town to also be left alone proves what we know even if he does not: that Killian is a hero. The man who once only thought of himself and was ready to leave Storybrooke to its doom at the end of Season 2 has come so far since he turned his ship around and offered to help save Henry in Neverland. Ever since Emma offered him a chance to be a part of something, he decided to try to be a better man, and has proven to be one even when he can’t see it in himself. But Rumple has abandoned any such notion. Ingrid showed a true sense of redemption, but whether Rumple can do the same is in question. He is the true villain of the season. The finale next week is entitled “Heroes and Villains” and will surely shows us what these characters are made of in true Once Upon a Time style: with deeply poignant moments that will likely bring tears, smiles, and surprises.

Favorite Moments: Ingrid’s sacrifice of herself was truly stunning from an emotional, acting, storytelling, and visual standpoint, making it one of the show’s most resonant conclusions to an story we’ve ever seen. Seeing how much our characters have grown was another highlight, particularly Killian’s wish to keep Emma and everyone safe, and Snow, David, and Regina’s amusement at how they were acting under the spell.

Favorite Lines:
Emma: There has to be another way. You deserve your happy ending too.
Ingrid: Long ago, a prophecy told me that you would lead me to just that, Emma. And this is it. All I wanted to have my sisters’ love. Now I have it. Now I get to join them.

Killian: Grant me one dying wish. Leave Emma and the rest of Storybrooke be. There is no need to harm them.

Cursed!Snow: Still want to hold hands? Sing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah?

David: Careful, the stroller is not under warranty anymore.
Snow: You said you got it new.
David: It’s gently used.

Killian: Where’s the Missus? She turn homicidal on you yet?

Emma: I wanted you to see me and Hook together. To see the happiness you could never have.


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