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Once Upon a Time season premiere recap: 'A Tale of Two Sisters'

Brrr—it’s cold in here as Once begins its fourth season, featuring the gang from Frozen.

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Once Upon A Time
Katie Yu/ABC

Once Upon a Time

TV Show
Fantasy, Drama
run date:
Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla
Current Status:
In Season

(With apologies to Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez:)

Do you want to watch some TV?

Once is back, let’s take a look

We’ve been missing Rumpelstiltskin’s flair

And Emma’s magic hair,

(Though all we really want is Hook)

So wait, is Regina good now?

Or is she not?

Just one way for us to knooowww…

Do you wanna watch some TV?

It really does have to be TV

(Go away, Henry.)

To Storybrooke we go.


Welcome back to the wonderful world of Disney—that is, season 4 of Once Upon a Time. If you’ve been hiding under a bridge since May—and/or if your DVR accidentally cut off the bonkers final 30 seconds of season 3’s finale—you may have been surprised to see a few familiar braids pop up on tonight’s premiere.

That’s right: Storybrooke has officially Frozen over. Characters imported from Disney’s latest animated hit—Elsa, Anna, and, to a lesser extent, a short-haired Kristoff—got nearly as much screen time tonight as Once stalwarts like Emma and Snow White. (In some cases—hey, remember when Henry was Once‘s fulcrum?—they got a whole lot more.) And the relative plot stinginess of the premiere’s Frozen flashbacks, which set up some big questions without answering any of them, indicates that we’ll be taking several more trips to Arendelle circa “a long time ago” before Once‘s half-season Frozen arc is through.

So should fans expect season 4A’s flashbacks to focus solely on the snowy sisters? I could actually be into this idea, if only because three 22-episode seasons have wrung the flashback well fairly dry, at least for the show’s major characters. (Note that when Once‘s Grandmother Willow show Lost had reached this point in its own run, it’d already moved on to flash-forwards.) I can also, however, understand if some viewers grow to resent the amount of attention being paid to Once‘s latest visitors, given how new a property Frozen is—especially when compared to, say, Snow White. I also worry that the show may be too reluctant to give Frozen the full Once treatment—twisty, kinda dark—for fear of alienating the movie’s bazillions of young, fervent fans.

Of course, all of this hand-wringing is premature, given that OUAT‘s adventure in Frozen fan fiction has just begun. So let’s start out properly by examining what we learned from E&A’s first set of flashbacks.

NEXT: Two sisters, both alike in hairstyle