REVIEW: ‘Once Upon a Time’ premier fails to impress

Madison Chan, Staff Writer

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS … Do not read if you haven’t watched the season 4 premier.

As of last Sunday, magic is in the air once again – and this time there’s a forecast of snow.

Once Upon A Time came back to ABC on Sunday with its fourth season. It opened with the episode “A Tale of Two Sisters”, which starred two much newer Disney additions who have quickly made a name for themselves among the multitude of Disney characters.

Many fans of the series were worried that the newness of Frozen would not mesh well with the storyline of much older fairy tales. It has a much different feel than that of the traditional fairy tales, which in general, have a more somber tone. While it’s true that Frozen is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” (1844), ABC is taking its cue more from the animated phenom than the classic fairy tale.

The episode begins with an expansion of the scene in Frozen where the ship goes down in a tumultuous storm. Elsa’s (Georgina Haig) and Anna’s (Elizabeth Lial) parents throw a message in a bottle into the sea right before the ship capsizes, deciding that the two girls must know “the truth”. In Arandelle, Elsa’s and Anna’s story picks up a little after where Frozen left off, with the two sisters preparing for Anna’s and Kristoff’s wedding. While Anna tries on her mother’s wedding dress, Elsa discovers her mother’s diary and a hint as to why their parents may have disappeared. The two consult Grand Pabbie, who tells the girls that their parents were headed to Misthaven, which is later revealed to be another name for the Enchanted Forest. Despite her upcoming wedding, Anna sets off on a journey to Misthaven, much to her sister’s dismay. Kristoff assures Elsa that Anna knows what she’s doing.

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, thanks to Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), Robin Hood’s wife Marian (Christie Laing) has returned, and Regina (Lana Parrilla) is both heartbroken and furious. While she storms off to plot revenge, Elsa has entered Storybrooke, and the alarm has been raised. With Emma and Hook hot on her heels, Elsa summons a snow monster to stop them. Yet not even Emma’s magic can destroy the creature, and just when it seems like all is lost, Regina steps in, saving Marian’s life, despite their conflict. At the same time, Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) are on their honeymoon, and when visiting his son’s grave, Mr. Gold promises that he will try to be a person his son would be proud of. As the episode draws to a close, Elsa discovers Mr. Gold’s shop, and in it, the necklace she once gave to Anna. With tears in her eyes, she vows that she will find her sister.

I personally was not overly impressed with the series premiere. Though the beginning did raise some interesting questions, the storyline was just repeating itself with the possibility of Regina turning toward the dark side once again, and panic in the streets of Storybrooke as they have to deal with another magical monster. While Elsa’s presence has caused some chaos in Storybrooke, she hasn’t yet established herself as a true villain that we feel strongly for or against. Emma and Regina are at odds, but it seems more of a continuation of the conflict that began at the end of the season 3 finale.

Overall, the episode itself was not as enthralling as past episodes have been. However, this show has proven to be a fantastic watch in past seasons, with extraordinarily clever surprises around every corner, and I have hope that this season will soon meet those standards. The next episode airs on Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC.