Welcome to the Rotoscopers’ first-ever Storybrooke Sound-Off. We’re conversing here for the purpose of building a community for the overlap between animation enthusiasts and “oncers,” fans of ABC’s Once Upon a Time. You’ll get to hear others’ thoughts and share your own, too. (Think of it as a Rotorecap.) Whether you’re new to the show or have been watching since the beginning, everyone will have a voice. We’re calling it Storybrooke Sound-Off, and they’ll be posted each Monday morning (with spoilers) following the airing of Sunday’s episode. Let’s get started.
Let’s be real. You can go on Wikipedia and get a full, detailed rundown of everything that happened if you missed the episode. So rather than rehashing a long explanation of the show’s intricacies as we go along, this section will be a brief, note-like breakdown of the major storylines happening.
- Anna and Elsa in Arendelle. The sisters wish to find out the destination their parents’ shipwrecked voyage intended to have. Elsa be like, “Hmmm I want to know but I also have the leadership of a kingdom resting on my icy shoulders.” Meanwhile Anna’s all, “Let’s go and find this place ahehee!” It’s a good balance.
- Elsa in Storybrooke. Having emerged from Rumplestiltskin’s vault (we don’t know yet why or how she was there), Elsa is a-runnin’ through the town stirring up much speculation about an icy trail.
- Maid Marian reunites with Robin Hood. Regina is none too happy about this one. After finally finding her happy ending, it’s taken away from her as Marian, supposed to be dead, comes back from the past with Emma and Hook. Reverting back to her evil roots, Regina turns to her old accomplice (and magic mirror) Sidney Glass for assistance in eliminating Marian.
- Rumplestiltskin and Belle are married. They’re in a new house, too. Adorbs.
Let’s dive right in to what we’re all most excited about: Frozen. Elizabeth Lail as Anna and Georgina Haig as Elsa are difficult performances to assess because there are so many different layers to these characters’ presence here. For one, it’s disorienting but thrilling to realize there is a weekly television primetime drama about Frozen. That’s kinda awesome. I’ve gotta say, this is amazing. So there’s that mind-blownage (yep, blownage) that we need to wrap our heads around first. Additionally, we’re getting acclimated to Anna and Elsa’s similarities and differences with their animated counterparts, then we’re viewing the dynamic they bring to the program’s existing characters, and finally we’re zooming in on the performance itself. Anna and Elsa here are pretty much dead ringers of Frozen‘s heroines, and Lail and Haig have the characters nailed: Anna overly excited and willing to help, Elsa majestic yet worried. At times I felt like Anna was a bit too excited while Elsa seemed to have learned nothing from Frozen about love overpowering fear. I guess it’s a long process, but in any case the acting performances are commended at capturing the spirit of these two now-iconic characters.
The season premiere was, as expected, Frozen heavy. The show clearly realizes the property will reel in a lot of new viewers expecting to see a lot of Anna and Elsa, and this first episode of the season plays to that strength. Whereas normally when a new story is introduced on the show, small fragments of plot and characters are revealed over time, here we’re full-throttle Frozen right out of the gate. We see not only Anna and Elsa, but also Kristoff, Sven, Grand Pabbie (!!!), and even the fierce snowmonster Marshmallow.
That being said, longtime fans are not left in the dust, and one of the premiere’s integral plots involved the return of a character newbies have no clue about, Sidney Glass (aka the Magic Mirror, aka the Genie). I must say: Regina. Come on, girl. Let’s not do this. It’s a love-hate relationship with Regina every time. She’s so great at being evil but I want her to make the right decisions so badly. Honestly after such a deep transformation last season into becoming a hero (protecting Snow White’s baby, breaking the curse with true love’s kiss to Henry, defeating Zelena with light magic), it is disappointing to see how easily Regina can revert back to her old ways. I was hoping she’d be a bit more grounded, and I didn’t expect the writers to take such a drastic step backward with her. I’m very interested, though, in the question Regina asked that had never been considered before: who wrote that book of stories, and why does the villain never get a happy ending? Those answers have me quite intrigued and offers a signature Once perspective-shifter. Love it.
The What-The-Heck Moment: I watched the episode in a room full of friends, all in college, and we absolutely flipped our flagellas at the sight of Grand Pabbie. Truly, what in the world. We weren’t really happy or angry, just did not see him coming and thought it was amusing that the writers would include him. I mean, really, Grand Pabbie has now been on this show but Aladdin hasn’t. Just let that sink in.
The Magic Moment: Perhaps Once Upon a Time‘s most positive attribute is its focus of the depth of family, whether one you’ve been with forever or the one you’re creating wherever you are, or a little mix of both. It is moments that highlight this concept that infuse good, old-fashioned Disney magic into the series, and this episode packed an extra punch of Pixie Dust with a scene that had me softly teary-eyed. That was when Belle and Rumplestiltskin had their first dance as a married couple, dancing to “Beauty and the Beast.” While Once typically does follow the Disney version of the fairytale stories, it has never used Disney’s actual musical themes until now. It was a very nice touch.
The Woah Moment: Again, involving Disney music, but this time to deliver a twist. Once has the art of the cliffhanger down to a science, and really does a great job at surprising its audience. As Rumplestiltskin examined the artifact found in his new home, I was floored with excitement when the blue sorcerer’s hat appeared. In a season centered on Frozen, I didn’t anticipate any other new stories to be introduced, and here we go implementing Fantasia. What does this mean, though? Yensid? Some form of a sorcerer and apprentice? Would they be so bold as to have Mickey Mouse on this show?
And then there was this. [Insert incoherent fansquawk.]
So, what did you think? A few questions to sound off on in the comments and get conversation flowing:
- Are you happy with Frozen‘s inclusion on the show?
- How do you feel about Regina bringing out her evil side? Did Robin Hood make the right decision? Did Regina respond in the best way to that decision?
- Do you think it’s true that Arendelle is nothing but a green screen animated with the realism of Snapchat art?
- What were your “moments” this episode?
Sound off below!