Though Sidney Glass (a.k.a. the Magic Mirror, a.k.a. the Genie, a.k.a. Gus Fring) gets name-checked in the title of tonight’s episode, he’s more of a side attraction than the main event. “Breaking Glass” easily could have been renamed “The SwanQueen Hour,” given how much of it was devoted to Emma and Regina teaming up and navigating the tricky waters of their relationship. As fans of one of OUAT‘s most venerable ‘ships will be pleased to know, that journey ends with the queen and the savior in a place of mutual understanding and, perhaps, even friendship. Did you hear the way Regina finally admitted that she doesn’t really want to kill Emma? For her, that tone was downright warm!
Still, Regina hasn’t totally forgiven Emma for bringing Marian to Storybrooke and effing up her happy ending. The queen’s inability to let bygones be bygones is paralleled in tonight’s flashback sequences, which leave the sisters of Arendelle behind (for a change) to focus instead on the foibles of Young Emma. Honestly, the connection between these flashbacks and what’s happening (either thematically or narratively) in the present is more than a little tenuous; I’m guessing that this is because these scenes are the first piece in a puzzle that Present Day Emma has just begun to assemble. As of now, though, here’s what we know:
Way way back in the 1990s, 15-year-old Emma is on the run from her group home. After traveling from Boston to Minnesota, she quickly befriends a brunette girl around her own age. (Emma gets caught shoplifting; the girl, Lily, helps her out of her jam, then advises her to try credit card fraud instead. It’s all very Thirteen, if that movie were rated PG.) Lily tells her new pal that she, like Emma, lives in a place where it feels like no one understands her; Emma assume that means she’s also in the foster care system, and Lily doesn’t correct her. Like many a troubled 15-year-old before them, the two break into an empty house; unlike those other kids, instead of immediately getting hammered on stolen booze, they just play video games and eat junk food and goof around with a camcorder. Maybe it’s not much like Thirteen after all.
Anyway, their little Rebel without a Cause routine is spoiled when a grown-up steps into Lily and Emma’s Neverland. Surprise: He’s Lily’s father; she’s not really an orphan. (Also, her full first name is Lilith, which is about as symbolically loaded as names get; given OUAT‘s history, it’s unlikely that this is an accident.) Emma is so furious about her so-called friend’s lies that she immediately shuts her out, refusing to take Lily’s contact info after social services arrives at the house to escort Emma away. So much for getting matching tongue piercings! It’s unclear whether the Lily incident will matter in the long run, or whether the show’s just using it as a method for Emma to discover what she does at the hour’s conclusion; either way, it’s nice to have a break from Arendelle.
NEXT: Into the Woods (to find the queen!), Into the Woods (to find her sister!)