In this weekend’s episode we finally get to see what turns Ingrid into the Snow Queen. It’s a tragic past, of course, but it’s the only part of the episode that makes any sense.
Ingrid’s past is like the prototype of Elsa’s: she discovers her powers at a young age, she’s afraid of them and she tries to distance herself from everyone and everything she loves. She has two supportive sisters, but her belief in them isn’t strong enough–so they visit Rumpelstiltskin where he gives her a pair of gloves and a magic jar as a fail-safe. When a situation between Ingrid, Helga and the Duke of Weaseltown escalates, Ingrid pays the price by using her magic, and her sister traps her in the jar.
We learned that the Snow Queen’s goal is to live with her “sisters:” in this case, Elsa and Emma because they were the only ones born with magic. The Snow Queen’s logic is that their families fear the women because of their powers. While Elsa & Ingrid have experienced this estrangement, Emma has not.
Up until episode seven, Emma’s magic has always been appreciated by her family and has never come into question. So it’s oddly convenient that Emma receives her first look of unease–in regards to her power–from her mother, while visiting at a baby support group. The Snow Queen uses this to her advantage, emotionally manipulating Emma who eventually goes into hiding from everyone in Storybrooke.
The issue with throwing an isolated Emma into the mix is that it’s not a substantial problem. It’s happened before in Season 3 on Peter Pan’s island, and it was happening earlier in the season with Regina. The cast is too connected, and their speeches about love and family will win Emma back within a minimal number of episodes. At least, that’s how it seems it will play out.