So it’s true what they say: Inside of every evil sorceress beats the heart of a sad, angry little girl, furious at the hand she’s been dealt and yearning to change her circumstances to reflect what she feels she’s entitled to.
It was true of Cora, a poor miller’s daughter who wanted wealth and status no matter the cost; it was true of Zelena (remember her? It feels like her arc happened 800 years ago), who tried to change the past so that her own mother couldn’t abandon her; it’s still true of Regina, as reflected by her current quest to change that mysterious storybook so that she can finally get a happy ending. (The Not-So-Evil Queen does realize that life goes on after a “happy ending” has been achieved, right? Or is she hoping things just kinda… stop once she gets what she wants?) And now we can add another woman—one not of the Mills line, for a change—to our list: the Snow Queen, whose master plan and real name are both revealed in tonight’s Once. (Farewell, Frostine! As a placeholder, you served us well.)
OUAT has a fondness for refrains and recurring motifs: “magic always comes with a price,” magically-inflicted memory loss, “evil isn’t born, it’s made,” quests to obtain Very Important Objects that come up once and are never spoken of again, “I will always find you,” serious mommy issues. It shouldn’t come as much of a shock, then, to find out that, like many an antagonist before her, Frostine—sorry, Ingrid—is nothing more than a disgruntled outcast looking for a place to belong. It is, however, a little bit of a letdown to learn that her motivation is so similar to Zelena’s; it would’ve been nice for the show to give us at least another half-season before mining this same material once more.
So, what is Ingrid’s big idea? We’ll get to that. First, let’s begin where the episode does: with a Fairyback focusing on Belle, before she became the Beauty to Rumpelstiltskin’s Beast.
We don’t know what happened to the original Belle’s unnamed, dearly departed mother. OUAT‘s version is, naturally, a little more fleshed-out: The flashback shows her to be a beautiful, British-accented, brunette queen who shares her daughter’s love of books and fighting spirit. Though I believe we don’t hear it spoken aloud, she also has a name—Colette.
From the brief moments they share onscreen together, we can tell that Belle and Colette are close. Unfortunately, they’re torn apart during the Ogre Wars, when an attack on the family’s palace knocks Belle out cold. She awakens to a terrible sight—her mother’s coffin. Belle knows that she was with her mother shortly before she died, but for the life of her she can’t remember what happened after the ogres arrived. Though her father forbids her to leave her chambers until she’s given a clean bill of health (he’s more of a King Triton than a Crazy Old Maurice, eh?), Belle decides to go on a journey to recover her lost memories. Her destination: Arendelle, home of rock trolls practiced in the art of reminding white girls about stuff they’ve forgotten.
NEXT: Belle and Anna pull a Belle and Mulan