Sunday night was the Winter Finale of Once Upon a Time. Season 4-A is now over, and the entire Storybrooke Has Frozen Over" arc has ended. As with any show, this arc has had its fans and its critics. Some people thought that they jumped the shark by bringing in cash cow Frozen, especially since at times it seemed more time was spent with the guest characters than the regulars. Some people have even thought this half of the season was completely pointless. I don't, and I'll tell you why.
Regina and Robin
Everyone knows that Emma mucked things up between the Evil Queen and Robin Hood with she brought back Marion from the past in the Season 3 finale, "There's No Place Like Home," saving her from a being put to death by Regina. Robin, a man who lives by a code of honor, initially chose to stay with his wife. Then the Snow Queen froze her. Regina spared Marian's life by ripping out her heart until they could heal her. In the mean time, Robin chose Regina, who believes villains never get happy endings. Once the Snow Queen was gone, they returned Marian's heart to her body, but the curse came back. Regina had to once again say goodbye to her true love, because Robin and Roland took Marian past the town line, to where magic could no longer harm her.
Regina had the chance to turn completely around once again and revert back to her evil ways, but she didn't. That's not who she is anymore, and I have to say I like her as a good guy with a snarky mouth. She is one of the good guys now, and I can't wait to see what happens when the "Queens of Darkness" descend upon Storybrooke with Gold in 4B. I have loved her growth.
Gold and Belle
Well, they're married, but I don't know anyone who didn't see things not ending well. For all the growth Gold had in Seasons 2 and 3A after finding Neal, once Neal died he went back to his old ways. Seriously, their marriage could not have started off on a worse foot. He had already given Belle a fake dagger, causing her to think that he has trusted her with his power. In reality he has killed Zelena (though no one misses her), and stolen Hook's heart to make him do his bidding in a power-play to relieve himself of his dagger and conquer the non-magical world.
Belle, Belle, Belle, Belle, Belle, Belle. I spent each and every episode of 4A upset with her. She has been too trusting, too naive, and too unlike how Belle should ever be in believing Rumple would give up power for her. He wouldn't give it up for Bae, and he won't for her. He has no plans to, even if getting what he wants included killing his grandson's mother. Then, (duh, duh DUH!) in "Heroes and Villains" she finally gets a clue. She finds the real dagger, stops Gold's nefarious plans, and orders him outside Storybrooke, where he has no power. FINALLY I could yell, "Right on, Belle! You go, girl!" Unfortunately, I'm afraid she has just incurred Rumple's wrath on all of Storybrooke when he brings
Emma and Elsa
No, this isn't about a romantic pairing. Like the movie Frozen was about sisterly love, Season 4A of Once Upon a Time was greatly about the love between friends. You have Emma Swan, who hasn't exactly had a great many friends in her life. There was Neal, but he was her baby-daddy, not just her friend. She and Mary Margaret were besties all throughout Season 1, but then the curse was broken, and Mary Margaret is Snow White, aka Emma's mom. They have done their share of bonding and bickering but in the end, Snow is her mom. She's always trying to impart the motherly advice she didn't get to give Emma all of her life. At one point during the entire Neverland arc, Emma even told Snow and David that they're the same age. They don't have any more life experience than she has. The dynamic of that relationship has changed. It's still a great relationship, but it's a mother/daughter thing now rather than just friends.
Since the Season 2 episode "Queen of Hearts," it's been obvious that Emma also wields light magic, as the product of true love. Other than the fairies (which seem to have been wiped out by a Gold-controlled Hook recently), everyone else in Storybrooke with magic has dark magic. Emma's pretty much alone in this. She and Regina have sort of bonded as Regina has tried to teach her how to control it, but that's always a tenuous relationship. So the truth is, Emma doesn't really understand her magic, nor how to control it. Enter Elsa.
When Emma and Hook traveled into the past, not only did they bring back Marion, but they also brought back an urn containing non other than Queen Elsa of Arendelle. Elsa begins a search to find her beloved sister, Anna. In the process, she creates an ice wall all around Storeybrooke and loses control of her powers somewhat because she is afraid, and Anna isn't there to help her control them.
Emma discovers Elsa, and they get trapped inside in icy cave. They bond over having powers they can't really control, and being a totally unprepared Queen and savior as Emma almost freezes to death. It turns out that Emma's dad, David, was aided by Anna back in the Enchanted Forest days, and they vow to help Elsa find her sister. Meanwhile another Snow Queen has a weird plan to make Elsa and Emma her sisters, since they have light magic like her.
Throughout the whole arc, these two become really good friends. I equate Elsa as the Ruby to Emma's Snow. At one point, Emma's powers go out of control. She asks Gold to help her get rid of them all together. She almost goes through with it, until Elsa stops her, telling her that she has to love herself, and that her powers are a part of who she is. What they don't realize is that Elsa actually saved Emma's life also, because Gold planned to kill her.
This friendship is, I think, the most important relationship development of the season. Both Emma and Elsa needed a friend who isn't family, isn't a love interest, and doesn't have some other complicated relationship to them. I don't think that Elsa ever had any friends other than Anna. In flashbacks to Arendelle of the past, it's a BIG deal when Elsa calls Kristoff her friend, and I think it's a HUGE deal when Anna asks Elsa if she trusts Emma, and Elsa calls Emma her friend. For either of these ladies to trust someone else like that is a huge milestone. Both Emma and Elsa are better, stronger people for having known each other. THAT is why it was so sad when the Frozen family returned to Arendelle. One can only hope that sometime around May Sweeps, Emma calls upon her friend Elsa to help in the fight against the "Queens of Darkness."
Anyway, this gif I found on a Tumblr page pretty much sums up the importance of this relationship. It makes me think of the close friends I've made through the years and how important they've been in my life. It truly is wonderful to have friends so wonderful that makes saying goodbye so hard. The good news is that with such friendships, time and distance can't diminish them.
|Courtesy of http://adrina-stark.tumblr.com/post/105374345225/shes-my-friend|
I'll miss our friends from Arendelle, because I loved the friendship between the two E's. Many people were upset because we didn't get to see a Kristoff-Anna wedding. IT WAS NEVER ABOUT THE WEDDING, FOLKS! Many were upset because we didn't see a lot of Snow and thought that many of the scenes between Emma and Elsa should have been between Emma and Snow. Actress Ginnifer Goodwin has even admitted that being in the back burner during this half of the season was best, because she just had a baby in real life and needed the time with him. Also again, Emma needed a friend, as did Elsa, not another relative or love interest.
In all, I loved the Frozen arc far more than the Neverland arc in Season 3A. I was sick of that by the second episode of the season. The Winter Finale wasn't quite as intense as last year's, but it was still pretty great. I'm ready for 4B and everything it offers.