Once Upon a Time: Shattered Sight Review

Once Upon a Time’s been many things since Frozen fell upon it. Good, bad, awful, and unpredictably inept, it’s hard to say what the stuff of magical hats and rock trolls have lent this last half-season of whiny family melodrama. For ten episodes of babies, lies, and jealous sisters, you’d think the show would’ve been more exciting in the time its spent building up the mythos that it’s so painfully underused. Along the way, that chemistry, that thing that made Once Upon a Time click fell away. That love is only true in fairy tales is the familiar feeling that Shattered Sight left me with; that somehow, the marriage is over, but let’s just be friends.

This week, the spell of shattered sight (you know, the one that took forever?) finally fell on Storybrooke, its effects instantaneous. As advertised, the spell was just the spark our characters needed to go over the edge – all they needed was a little push and some magic words. A mad Storybrooke is the best Storybrooke, especially when you consider how dull the place’s been since the premiere, and what an entertaining change it is for the story and probably the actors.

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What a pleasant surprise it was to see Snow and Charming’s curse-induced argument bring out some of their best scenes of the season, but Regina’s transformation? Hysterical. It’s always a joy to see Lana Parrilla when the claws come out and knowing that it wasn’t a permanent transformation made it more excusable. Her sword fight with Snow was predictably silly, but outlandish enough to be tolerable. The show never has been able to find another villainess as grand and it certainly shows in moments like these.

Of course, there was no harm done in the lovey-dovey afterword. A few choice words and a duel to the death didn’t stop a good long laugh from patching things up. There’s something about watching Regina double over in her elaborate Evil Queen costume that speaks to the absurdity the series amuses itself with and it was a rather well-timed bit of humor to contrast the gloom cast by our Snow Queen arc. That said, it all begs to ask how forgiving the rest of the town is assumed to be. After all, are we really supposed to assume Grumpy’s all right with his dwarves strangling him?

As his mandate, Mr. Gold took a refresher from the action to muse on his own exit plan. Of all the cast right now, it seems right that Gold’s the only one in character. Of course he’d be the one to see the trouble and pack up accordingly, but I’d like to think it’s debatable whether he’d fail to mention taking Belle with him and not Henry. His quoted plans for threatening the entire world is intriguing to say the least, but Gold seems about as characteristically aloof as the series is on details as this point.

It was Hook who ironically shared some endearing back and forth with Henry, but it’s confusing why Emma doesn’t bother to keep a closer eye on him ever since his voice changed. The two’s romantic date night never seemed to kick off more than Emma’s goofy prom dress did episodes go, but it’s odd that he seems to be further from her mind than I’d expect. Was there some irony in mentioning that Krystoff’s haircut wasn’t for the writers?

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Elizabeth Mitchell’s Snow Queen has disappointed me all season since she was introduced, but so be it that she has her moments in Shattered Sight. Her icy regality was on full display as usual, but it was her twenty years away as a seemingly sane mother-to-be that finally nailed down some growth for the character. Her flashbacks with Emma had a rather sweet, emotional sincerity to them, if not the first real explanation we’ve ever had of the two’s past. Whatever progress those moments seemed to make washed out with her tide of crazy during the pair’s ice castle showdown.

I suppose being overbearing and childish are more interesting than her stony cold stares at minimum, but the shattered glass swirling around her during her epiphany was a deal breaker by any means. It looked fine falling from the sky when the spell was cast, but we can thank the studio for some crappy CGI.

OUAT Shattered Sight Ice Castle Tabloid.ioIf nothing else, Ingrid’s flashback-heavy exposition did something right in combating the haphazard pacing the season’s suffered from. Jumping back and forth between decades kept things fresh, and for once, the hour felt like it flew by, with or without Anna and Elsa. God forbid that Anna should obviously be the one to read off the typical Disney script and bring our wicked Snow Queen from the brink like her sister too. This is why I’ve never left like I ejected that DVD of Frozen I saw a year ago. There’s no new interpretations here, not like Pan or Rumpelstiltiskin. Just recycled Frozen montages.

For better or worse, the Snow Queen’s reign came to its bitter end, and it’s a shame that relief should be the first feeling to come to mind. It was a nice – if sad – turn that her finest hour be her last. It should illustrate how much time was lost on this season thus far, however. I’m not sure how many more times someone can save Storybrooke from spells and evil queens before the show loses coherence all together, but maybe our coming pack of villainesses will bring some kind of flavor. For now, we can be thankful for the good that came out of this long winter of discontent. It’s all over. It’s finally over.

Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights on ABC at 8/7 Central. Catch all the latest episodes at ABC.com and all the latest episode reviews here at Tabloid.io.

5

Good Things

  • The Frozen Story Arc Is Over
  • Some Amusing Character Confrontations
  • The Snow Queen FINALLY Got Her Moment

Bad Things

  • The Finale Played Out Rather Predictably
  • Mr. Gold Was Unnecessarily Sidelined
  • The Crappy Mirror Shards' CGI