“Once Upon a Time” returned to ABC on Sunday, Sept. 28, for its Season 4 premiere. The hit fairytale drama kicked off with Elsa (Georgina Haig) and Anna’s (Elizabeth Lail) parents on the open sea. While “OUAT” viewers have seen rough waters while on Captain Hook’s Jolly Roger, nothing compared to the “perfect storm” like whether that the King and Queen of Arendelle were stuck in. With their situation looking grave, the Queen made a last effort to get a message home to their daughters – leaving a message in a bottle.
The Season 4 premiere then moved five years into the future to tell the story of Elsa and Anna in the kingdom of Arendelle. It’s the day before Anna’s wedding to Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster) and Elsa has a surprise to make her day that much more special – their mom’s wedding dress and a new snowflake necklace.
As Anna tried on the gown, Elsa came across their mother’s diary. It was while reading through it that she discovered a dark secret – she was the cause of their parent’s death. While the king and queen said they were leaving on a diplomatic mission, they were actually just using that as a cover. Their mother wrote that they had seen “terrifying” things from Elsa, and left to try and stop it.
Needless to say, Elsa was devastated. However Anna believed that their mother’s diary didn’t tell the whole story. In order to get more answers, Anna took Elsa to her future in-law, Grand Pabbie (John Rhys-Davis). Grand Pabbie couldn’t tell them why their parents left, but he did reveal where they were going – Mist Haven.
Anna immediately wanted to explore Mist Haven for more answers. But with Elsa as Queen of Arendelle and Hans (Tyler Jacob Moore, only mentioned) desperate to get his hands on the land, Elsa told her sister that there was no way she could go on the journey. That didn’t stop Anna though. With Kristoff to help distract Elsa, Anna left on the two-week journey – the same journey that killed their parents.
Meanwhile in present day Storybrooke, Elsa was confused about her new location. A trail of ice followed her path as she explored the town, and she used her chilling powers to freeze Sleepy (Faustino Di Bauda) and Grumpy’s (Lee Arenberg) car when it went rouge and almost hit her.
The residents were unaware of Elsa’s arrival in Storybrooke. Rumpelsiltskin (Robert Carlyle) was busy visiting Neal’s (Michael Raymond-James) grave before heading off on his honeymoon with Belle (Emilie de Ravin). Marian (Christie Laing) was struggling to come to terms with her arrival in the future and Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) involvement with Rob Hood (Sean Maguire). Emma (Jennifer Morrison) was avoiding talking about her relationship with Hook (Colin O’Donoghue).
Rumpelstiltskin was feeling guilty for lying to Belle about the knife. He wanted to start over with his new wife, but holding onto the dagger meant that they were starting their relationship on a lie. Finding an abandoned mansion that came to Storybrooke with the latest curse, the pair settled down to enjoy married life. With Rumpel’s magic, the dark one dressed his wife in the iconic yellow gown from “Beauty and the Beast.” However he also used his magic to freeze Belle and switch out the fake blade with the real one.
Regina decided to resort to magic after a visit from Robin Hood. The former evil queen was surprised when Robin Hood apologized, but that didn’t mean he was choosing her over Marian.
“My feelings for you were … are real,” he promised Regina. “But Marian is my wife. I loved her and I made a vow until death do us part. And it did … and then it didn’t. But my vow remains.” Robin Hood’s words made Regina cry, but she wasn’t willing to let him go that easily. Heading off to the secret rooms underneath the Storybrooke hospital, Regina opened up a cell holding Sidney Glass (Giancarlo Esposito) aka the magic mirror. Regina explained that she needed him to take care of a situation. Sidney immediately thought that she needed him to kill someone. However murdering Marian would be too obvious. Instead, Regina wanted to change the past and make sure that Marian was dead long before Emma would travel back in time. Sidney was confused as to how he could play a part in this. That’s when Regina used her magic to send Sidney Glass back into the mirror.
Sidney was devastated over losing his human body, but he agreed to help. Using his magical abilities, the magic mirror was able to show Regina exactly how and why she sentenced Marian to die in the past.
While Regina plotted to end Marian and Robin Hood’s relationship, Grumpy informed the town of an attack from someone with the ability to create ice. Hook and Emma immediately sprung into action, following an ice trail straight to Elsa. However Elsa wasn’t ready to be discovered. Scared of who might be chasing her, Elsa created a giant snow monster to protect her.
After some slight destruction in town, the snow monster headed towards the woods. Emma, Hook and David (Josh Dallas) chased after it, running into Robin Hood, Marian and the Merry Men. Despite all their weapons, the creature could not be defeated – even using Emma’s white light. Emma’s magic only irritated the snow monster. With a gust of wind, the monster knocked everyone but Marian unconscious. Things looked grim for Marian, however Regina arrived in the nick of time. While it appeared at first that the snow monster would be a great way to “accidentally” kill Marian, Regina decided to save Robin Hood’s wife last minute. Using her powers, Regina was able to defeat Elsa’s creation.
With the snow monster defeated, Emma and Hook finally got their chance to talk. Emma admitted that she had been avoiding Hook because she felt guilty over ruining Regina’s happiness. Hook tried to argue with her, however Emma asked him to be patient.
“I have all the time in the world,” he told her. “Unless another monster appears and kills me.”
The “Once Upon a Time” Season 4 premiere concluded with Emma promising to use her powers as the savior to give Regina her happy ending. Emma’s words inspired Regina’s next move on eliminating Marian and reuniting with Robin Hood – find the author of the fairytale book and force them to give villains their happy ending.
No Storybrooke characters ran into Elsa, but Elsa did recognize one resident from a newspaper clipping – Rumpelstiltskin. Breaking into his pawnshop, Elsa took back the snowflake necklace she once gifted Anna.
But Rumpel will have other things on his mind than a missing snowflake pendant. At the house he’s staying at with Belle, Rumpel finds a box that turns into a hat – potentially the "Fantasia" hat.
What did you think of the “Once Upon a Time” Season 4 premiere? Tweet your thoughts to @AmandaTVScoop.