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TV Review: Once Upon a Time Season 4 Ep. 5 “Breaking Glass”

This week’s episode gave us the big reveal for the Ice Queen’s motives, and it was not so much a shock as it was a disappointment. But on the flipside, there was some character growth for some other ladies in the cast.

It starts with Elsa and Emma looking through the sheriff’s files to see if there is any trace of Anna. While digging, they come across photos that Sydney Glass had taken of Emma back when she first arrived in town. They head towards Regina’s mausoleum for answers. But while Emma confronts Regina and tries to make amends, Elsa wanders off into the Enchanted Forest thinking she hears Anna crying for help.

Although Regina rejects Emma at first, the two women end up working together to find Elsa and track down the Snow Queen, with the help of Sydney Glass in the mirror (although Emma doesn’t know this). They find the Snow Queen, learn that Sydney betrayed Regina, battle and get rescued by Elsa, but not before the Queen steals Regina’s handheld mirror.  As she reveals later to Sydney, she needed Regina’s specific mirror for its dark magic, which will help her get what she’s always wanted—a family.

This episode’s flashback focused on Emma’s past as an orphaned teenager. In showing the short-lived friendship between Emma and Lily, it’s meant to reflect the guilt Emma feels for refusing to forgive her old friend. When Emma shares this story with Regina, the two women start a path to begin anew.

The big reveal at the end, of course, comes when Emma and Hook decide to watch some of Emma’s home videos. There’s the nostalgia-tinged sweetness of seeing Emma  & Lily onscreen, but the footage that follows shows the Snow Queen in a very odd setting…

While the Snow Queen’s motive seems weak, there was a wonderful character growth in Elsa, who is slowly learning to control her powers and not let her fear rule over her. And while Emma and Regina are still flawed, their path towards reconciliation is a start towards them becoming more wholesome characters instead of flat caricatures.

 

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