[THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!]
Once Upon a Time (will now be abbreviated OUAT) has arrived and the premiere showcased on Sunday night and I am in absolute Storybrooke heaven.
Once Upon A Time (OUAT) has been blasting away since 2011. For the last three years, a parade of story arcs involving famous and not-so-well-known Disney/Fairy tale creatures have been presented. The core of the show begins with the White Family: Snow White (played by Ginner Goodwin), Prince Charming (played by Josh Dallas ), their daughter Emma (played by Jennifer Morrison), and Henry the only non-fairy tale character (played by Jared Gillmore). The conflict between them and the Evil Queen, Regina (played by Lana Parilla) has been the major core affecting all the story arcs in OUAT. Thanks to the curse that Regina created, most of the fairy tale characters were transported from the Enchanted Forest to a modern day town called Storybrooke.
As the seasons progressed, the mistakes and decisions done in the past (meaning the time spent in Enchanted Forest) is re-hashed and forgiven. Piles of lessons, karma, and ethics have descended upon the season. It became a heavy,tangled pile of weird story arcs that had unsatisfying endings, unfavorable character changes, or even worse boring. Some episodes would have progressed more simply if they had all just stood around in a circle and pointed fingers at each other then battling each other out.
It was even getting to a point where they story was writing itself into a possible happy ending. Regina was no longer viewed as the evil queen and even found her happiness (in Robin Hood; still weird). The White Family was united, the baby was safe, everyone had their memories. Granted, they were all still stuck in Storybrook but they all had their memories and seemed content.
Then the final episode from the last season: everything went crazy. Emma and Hook were transported back into the Enchanted forest but arrived at a crucial moment where Snow and Prince Charming were to meet. Emma and Hook screw up that meeting and they scramble to right the past. Then Emma commits another faux-paux in regards to time meddling: she brings back a person who the Queen had sentenced to die. Turns out it was Maid Marion and now she is reunited with Robin Hood and their son. AWKWARD. Then the ending showed another item that was unintentionally sent through the portal. The item cracks upon and Elsa appears. I believe alot of OUAT fans did what I did and lost our collective minds.
Ever since seeing the huge banner of snow emanating from Elsa’s hand during San Diego Comic Con, weeks of teasers and “FROZEN IS COMING” posters, the premiere delivered what was anticipated and more. Just from the premiere, I can sense a return to what made me such a devoted OUAT since the first season. Compelling modern-ish renditions of Disney characters, easter egg speculations running wild, fantastical elements, and solid conflicts.
The show opens up moments before a ship is about to be wrecked in a storm. For those who watched “Frozen”, it is immediately apparent that the two soaked doomed couple are the parents of Anna and Elsa. Also the distinct embroidery gives it away. Unlike the animated movie, we see that the mother is frantically rolling up a note and placing it into a bottle right before they perish. Mystery #1 has been set.
Back in Storybrooke we are taken back to the really awkward diner scene between Regina, Robin, and Marion. Understandably, Marion is shaken at the appearance of Regina and is appalled that everyone else is not afraid of the evil Queen. Regina is even called a monster as she slinks away. This may begin a well worn and almost expectant return of the Evil Queen. There are hints of the possibility but there is also signs that she is holding strong to stay good. She even visits Sidney Glass, the genie behind the magic mirror. The magic mirror was completely forgotten in the story arcs and the writers did a small little joke with Regina’s dialogue in regards to that. Initially, Regina wanted to take Marion away but later changes her mind to find the writer of the Fairy Tale Book. Wahoo! I’ve been curious about the power of the book since day one! Mystery #2 is set. The Grimm brothers will most likely be involved since they were the collectors of the stories. Or will another entity be introduced? Will it be evil even though it helped Henry figure out Storybrooke?
Meanwhile Elsa is running amok in Storybrooke. She becomes so frightened that she creates a snow monster to protect her. It should look familiar, since it is the same creature from the movie. The scaling of the body keeps changing though. At one scene it’s tall enough to walk through powerlines but in another scene, it seems to be only about seven feet tale. I wonder if Olaf will even make an appearance? Possible mystery #3.
On a quieter note, removed from the crazy in Storybrooke, we revisit Rumple and Belle. They are now married and have moved into a house. He freezes Belle in mid conversation as he swaps out the dagger that holds his power. In previous season, he had given Belle the dagger as a sign of trust. Mystery #4: Why did he switch out the dagger? Does he still have trust issues? More likely he’s reluctant to become completely vulnerable. Rivaling Regina’s character growth, Rumple’s story still has so much more to reveal. Plus I thought he was a little crazy to hand that dagger over like that. His power is grounded in dark means but it is essentially power that he has great skill over. Their story in the premiere also had the most romantic fangirl moment for me: their dance! The suave way he changed their outfits and bring about music. Everything about that small little scene was beautiful and made me so happy ( I love the story of Beauty and the Beast in all of it’s forms). Then there was another little easter egg. Rumple returns to a trinket on the table that had caught his eye earlier.As he opens it magically, He reveals the familiar hat of a magician. Well it be the magician from Fantasia? Is it Merlin? Mystery #5 excitedly set!
The premiere also shuffles back to the day before Elsa is to be married to Kristoff. Elsa gifts Anna with wearing their mothers wedding dress and a snowflake necklace. While Anna tries on the dress(which fits perfectly and she can put on without any assistance), Elsa finds a diary from their mother. She becomes upset after reading an entry that may point to Elsa being the reason their parents took their doomed trip. The sisters decide to get some answers from Kristoff’s family, the rock trolls. He does not know why the parents went on their trip The CGI on the grandpa rock troll was beautiful if I may add. Ignoring Elsa’s pleas, Anna goes off to uncover mystery #6: why were their parents heading to the Enchanted forest?
Mystery #7: How did Elsa get trapped in a bottle? Leading to mystery #8: what happened to Anna????! Elsa sneaks into Mr. Gold’s pawnshop and finds the snowflake necklace that she gave Anna.
The crazy just continues in the premier. The weird shift in the last season is now seen as just an unstable peace before the storm hits. Everything is cracking and I am prepared for a new season of intrigue.
Georgina Haig is a wonderfully cast as Elsa. She has the ethereal beauty of Elsa even as you watch her inner struggles with her power. Plus, she has an amazing deep voice. Elizabeth Lail is so perfect as Anna. The energy, optimism, and stubbornness of Anna is all there. My one disappointment is Kristoff. I am a sucker for a large, beefy guys so Scott Michael Foster smaller frame was a let down. He still won me over with the quirkiness and awkwardness of Kristoff.
I did appreciate that Frozen story characters did not overpower the OUAT premiere. The stories and mysteries are intermingling seamlessly and brings up another dimension to the show. There is a grander map that is expanding. There is more to the Enchanted Forest and this means more possibilities of stories and characters. Interjecting Frozen due to being such a fan favorite was a great creative move. It brought more life and attention to a show that was just floundering in its own tangled mess. Really loving that there are two Queens with opposite powers but strong similarities. I’m hoping a friendship would kindle between them.I am even more pumped and excited to continue watching my beloved series.
Did I miss any mysteries? Did you catch any other easter eggs in the show? Feel feel to comment and let your fangirl flag wave strong!
Other than your local television provider, you can catch the episode here on the ABC website or on Hulu.
As a side note: If this show is right up your alley and your looking into a gateway into the comic world, I recommend Fables written by Bill Willingham from Vertigo comics. This is a comic series definitely not intended for young or sensitive audience. In Fables, all of the fairy tale characters have been exhaled to the modern world from an evil entity. Fables is a story of civil unrest, ethics, morals, war, social issues, and so much more. It is a dark, compelling series that I recommend to anyone who is a fan of OUAT or Grimm stories.