Chaos broke loose in Season 4, episode 11 of “Once Upon a Time.” With the spell of shattered sight in motion, no one was safe from the Snow Queen’s (Elizabeth Mitchell) plan to make Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Elsa (Georgina Haig) her sisters.
Episode 11 kicked off with a flashback to Boston, 1982. The Snow Queen had just traveled through a portal thanks to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but she had no idea where to begin searching for her third sister -- Emma. While strutting through the city in her princess dress, the Snow Queen stumbled upon a psychic.
She entered the psychic’s shop looking for answers, and the woman played along. The Snow Queen handed over her necklace as payment, but shortly after realized that the woman didn’t possess any powers. When the psychic told her that the baby she was looking for was named “Susan,” the Snow Queen snapped. Fortunately for the psychic, the Snow Queen’s powers had disappeared in this new world.
Richfield, Minnesota 1999
The flashback then moved to Richfield, Minnesota, in 1999. It was a scene that “Once Upon a Time” viewers have seen before -- Emma’s first night at her new foster home. One of the other kids had tried to steal her video recorder, but Ingrid, aka the Snow Queen, had stopped him. When Ingrid left, the kid threatened Emma again.
Emma was ready to run away from the foster home, but was caught by Ingrid. She tried to explain to Emma that she has someone to care for her now, but Emma wasn’t interested. However, she did change her mind when Ingrid slyly revealed that the boy who had been taunting Emma was deathly afraid of spiders.
Emma and Ingrid’s relationship progressed. The pair bonded while Emma played with a claw machine to win a Dalmatian stuffed animal (perhaps a nod to Cruella de Vil) and plastic ring. The lights flickered as she touched the machine, and Ingrid began to suspect that Emma was coming into her powers.
Things got tense when Emma discovered an envelope in Ingrid’s possession and thought she was getting sent away again. But Ingrid revealed she was in the process of filling out the paperwork to adopt Emma.
"We’re going to be family," she told Emma. "I know that it’s a big leap and you may not look at me as a mother, but I promise I will be the best big sister you could ever hope for."
Emma was overjoyed. She hugged Ingrid and told her, “I love you.”
Unfortunately Emma and Ingrid didn’t get their happy ending. A week later, Ingrid frightened Emma with talk of magic and powers. Believing that Emma had it in her, Ingrid held Emma in front of a moving car and encouraged her to stop it. Emma freaked and ran away.
Ingrid had to wait a couple of years after Emma ran away, but the Sorcerer’s scroll eventually led her to Maine. With the scroll in hand, the magical town of Storybrooke appeared in front of her.
Thanks to Henry, Emma found Storybrooke in 2011. She entered the Storybrooke ice cream shop and was shocked to find Ingrid, who hadn’t aged a bit thanks to the magic in town.
Ingrid explained everything to Emma, but as “Once Upon a Time” fans know, Emma wasn’t a believer at the time. Thinking Ingrid was stalking her, Emma threatened to call Sheriff Graham. However, Ingrid stopped her first. She stripped Emma of her memories and sent her on her way.
Present Day Storybrooke
In present day Storybrooke, the spell of shattered sight swept through the town. Everyone except the Snow Queen, Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle), Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell), Emma and Elsa was affected by the magic and quickly began fighting in the street. With everyone attacking -- physically and verbally -- Emma and Elsa knew they had to kill the Snow Queen’s spell before it was too late. The pair left baby Neil in the care of Anna at the Sheriff’s station, and sought out the Snow Queen.
Elsa and Emma thought their magic combined could stop her. However, the Snow Queen revealed as long as the yellow ribbon was tied on, they couldn’t stop her.
“Soon you won’t want to hurt me,” she explained. “Soon you will love me for real.”
The two ran to Gold’s store to get his help in removing the ribbons but he was already gone. With Hook’s forced help, his plan to leave town with Belle (Emilie de Ravin) and Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) was in motion. The only thing the Dark One had left to do was wait for the stars to align to use the Sorcerer’s hat to rid him of the dagger once and for all.
Emma tried every sharp item in Gold’s shop, but nothing would cut the ribbon. That’s when she hatched a risky plan -- get Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) hatred for her to overpower the Snow Queen’s love. Prior to the spell of shattered sight, Regina had used magic to lock herself in her vault. Her magic worked, but Emma and Elsa’s magic broke it. When they entered the vault they discovered the spell had turned Regina back into the Evil Queen that “Once Upon a Time” viewers met in Season 1. Fortunately for them, Regina’s hatred for Emma was strong enough to break the ribbons.
Emma and Elsa were now able to fight the Snow Queen, but they let Regina loose in the process. Regina went straight to the sheriff’s station and decided being able to kill Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David (Josh Dallas) was a good enough substitute for Emma. She first threatened to take baby Neil, and used magic to send Anna and Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster) back where they came from. Taking baby Neil triggered the mama bear in Mary Margaret, and she engaged Regina in a sword fight.
Meanwhile, Ingrid was upset to find that Emma and Elsa had managed to take the ribbons off. But she still had one trick up her sleeve -- the memories she had stolen from the two.
“These are the good memories and nothing else,” she told the girls.
During the past few years, Ingrid had cherished the memories and she was finally ready to share them with Elsa and Emma. The two didn’t want to play any more games with the Snow Queen, yet hesitated to kill her now that they had the ability to do so. Emma warned her magic can’t create love. But Ingrid argued if you loved someone in the past, you could love them again.
Elsa seemed to be buying it, but Emma knew better. She was about to use her magic on the Snow Queen when Anna came rushing in. Regina had tried to send Anna and Kristoff back to where they came from, and that turned out to be the beach where they washed ashore. It was while on the beach arguing with Kristoff that Anna found the message in the bottle that had washed up with their trunk.
The message was from Anna and Elsa’s mother, Greta. She revealed the truth about her two “beautiful, kind and wonderful” sisters, and that she had stripped Arendelle of their memories. She wanted her daughters to return the memories of her sisters and release Ingrid from the urn.
“When you see her please tell her I love her and I’m sorry,” the note read. “I’d give anything to take back what I did, to hold her hands one more time.”
Ingrid didn’t believe Anna at first and tried to choke her. However Anna wasn’t ready to give up on her aunt. “Family never gives up on each other,” she told Ingrid in between gasps of air.
Ingrid released Anna and began to cry after reading the note. She realized that her magic had turned her into a monster and decided to do the only thing she could to stop the spell of shattered sight -- kill herself.
Emma, Elsa and Anna wanted Ingrid to find another way, but there was none. Ingrid was ready to join her sisters and returned Elsa and Emma’s memories before dying. She had sacrificed her life not just for Elsa, Emma and Anna -- but for everyone in Storybrooke.
With Ingrid’s death, the town returned to normal. Everyone stopped fighting in the streets, and Mary Margaret and Regina were able to laugh about their sword fight (and Regina’s Evil Queen outfit). However, evil was still lurking in Storybrooke. Gold still planned to kill Hook, rid himself of the dagger and flee town with Belle.