"Breaking Glass" is the 71st episode of Once Upon a Time.
Regina reluctantly teams up with Emma to search for the Snow Queen after Sidney, who is once again Regina's prisoner in the mirror, discovers her whereabouts and agrees to lead her to the location. With Belle babysitting baby Neal, a nervous Mary Margaret and David prepare for their first date night away from their child and find themselves on a mission to track down Will Scarlet, who has escaped from the town jail, and Elsa sees Anna in the Storybrooke woods. Meanwhile, back in the past, young Emma finds herself a kindred spirit when she befriends a girl who, like her, is a runaway orphan.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
Marian collapses due to the Snow Queen's ice curse; Robin is later seen alerting Regina, who is then shown her true love's frozen wife. ("Rocky Road") To Mary Margaret, Regina exclaims that Robin Hood is honor-bound to stay with Marian, and therefore she has to save her. ("The Apprentice") Raising her gun, Emma asks the Snow Queen why the hell she's been following her. ("The Apprentice") We see the Snow Queen creating some sort of ice sculpture in the woods, and Emma later theorizes that it was something other than a curse that brought her to Storybrooke. When David asks where she is, his daughter replies, "She's gone." ("Rocky Road")
ONCE UPON A TIME
Ice ice baby!
In her ice lair, somewhere in Storybrooke, the Snow Queen is seen waving her hand over something frozen, emanating magic and thus causing the ice to neatly schlep off, shrinking into snowflakes which melt into water, all of which swirls in the air around her before finding its way elsewhere. As the ice continues to clear, it becomes apparent that she hasn't been thawing a frozen something... but carving a frozen someone. And that someone, false life created by the Snow Queen, opens their eyes with a bright blue flash of light.
The search for Anna continues... slowly.
Over at the local Sheriff's Station, Emma places a large cardboard box down on a desk and opens it, telling Elsa, who's nearby, that somewhere in these records there's got to be something on Anna. We then see that dozens of like boxes litter the office, all of which presumably proved unhelpful in the blondes' search, and Elsa comments that there must be a better way of going about it, pointing out that, while they're reading files, her sister is out there somewhere; they have to confront this Snow Queen. An agitated Emma assures her new compatriot that she would if she could, but they have to find her first and also they have to be careful because this woman is tricky, seeming to know both of them whereas they don't remember anything about her, and something tells the savior that that is not an accident. Elsa wonders if the Snow Queen took their memories and Emma explains that she's really good with names and faces - it was her job - so the Snow Queen definitely took them, but the question is: why? She adds that they need to find out what the hell she's up to, and as she begins going through the cardboard box she earlier set down, Hook is seen entering with yet another one, saying that they're old city records from the Mayor's office, per Emma's request.
Your average Brit.
She smiles, and he smiles back at her, before a certain someone is heard yelling, "Oi! Someone's forgotten about me dinner!" Emma rolls her eyes as Will Scarlet, locked in the cell behind her, says that he'll have the bangers and mash, but she turns to him and says that he'll have the water and Pop-Tart, proceeding to hand said foodstuffs through the bars. Taking the Pop-Tart, Will points out that somebody's already had a nibble, to which Emma replies that she's had her shots. Will sarcastically comments what a relief that is and begins eating the Pop-Tart - chewing with his mouth open - before asking when he'll be free. Emma replies that he'll be free when she says so, much to his annoyance, and Hook, having only just started going through his box with Elsa, says that he's off to take Henry sailing unless there's something Emma would like him to do. Up close to her new boyfriend, Emma simply tells him to make sure Henry wears his life vest, and Will comments, sarcastically again, that no one will ever see through Hook's strategy of "befriending the son to get with the mum".
Whoa, how high was I?
Annoyed, Hook menacingly suggests that Will keep his thoughts to himself, and the prisoner remains silent as the pirate steals a quick goodbye kiss from Emma before leaving. From the box she's searching, Elsa discovers a brown envelop full of photographs and tells Emma to look, wondering why there are pictures of her mixed in with the city records. Taking them, Emma explains that Regina abused her power a bit as Mayor and was looking for any reason to run her out of town. She smiles at one of the photos, saying that it's the first time she and Henry went for hot cocoa, and hands it to Elsa, followed by one of her walking him to school for the first time. However, the next picture shocks Emma to her very core, and we see that it's one of her and the Snow Queen conversing in the latter's ice cream parlor. Elsa wonders what's wrong and Emma shows her the picture, saying that it's she and the Queen, leading Elsa to reconfirm that the savior doesn't remember any of this, which she doesn't. However, she knows someone who may... the person who had the photos taken.
Sidney gets sassy.
Down in her vault, Regina is seen with a spell book in one hand as she sorts through potion ingredients with the other. Tired and frustrated, she shuts the book and places it down, retiring from her task and begging her Magic Mirror to "please tell me that you've found her". Sidney's face then comes into view and he asks which "her" that would be, wondering if she means Snow White, Maid Marian or maybe Emma Swan, going on to comment that it's so hard to keep track of her majesty's nemeses. Regina says that she's not in the mood for games and needs to know where the Snow Queen is hiding; if she can't unfreeze Marian herself, then she'll force her to do it. Sidney replies that he hasn't come across the Snow Queen yet, which he's sorry to say, and Regina informs him that that is his new task; "Find that Snow Queen... or you'll learn what 'sorry' really feels like!" Sidney obliges, disappearing from the mirror.
Emilie de Ravin earns her paycheck.
Belle cradles and comforts baby Neal in her arms over at Mary Margaret's apartment as she and David watch. David points out that Belle's a natural and reminds his wife that she has all the emergency numbers so, if anything happens, Neal will be okay. Mary Margaret argues that she's not worried about emergency numbers; she's worried about leaving him at all, pointing out that, between the Dark Curse and the Wicked Witch, they don't exactly have the best track record with their babies. As Belle continues smiling down at the littlest Charming, David assures his wife that their child will be fine, adding that they need this time away, especially her. "So what do you say? You ready for our evening stroll?" he asks, and the nervous mother nods hesitantly.
A tale of two blondes.
Emma's car pulls over in the town graveyard and Elsa asks the driver if she's okay. Emma explains that the pictures, which she has resealed in the brown envelope in her hand, just remind her of when she first got there and she and Regina hated each other; she then amends herself to say that they did not mix. Elsa points out that it seems as though they've come a long way since then, but Emma points out in turn that it looks like they're right back at it, and she just wishes she could fix it. She prepares to exit the car, asking Elsa if she's coming, but Elsa answers negatively, saying that she thinks this sounds like something the two of them (Emma and Regina) should talk about alone and that, if things were getting better between them before, maybe they can again. Emma doubts it, explaining that she screwed Regina over and once you screw someone over, there's no getting them back. As she opens the car door, Elsa asks the savior what makes her say that, to which she replies, "Experience." Envelope in hand, she gets out of the yellow bug and begins to approach the Mills family mausoleum.
Emma is helped out of a tight spot.
A young Emma is seen making her way down the aisle of a grocery store, coming to a selection of Pop-Tarts. She then stops, as she notices a girl staring at her, but the girl soon smiles and walks away and Emma's attention is returned to the tarts. She takes a box, inconspicuously, and stuffs it under her coat when she believes no one is looking. She then discretely begins making her way back up the aisle where she's stopped by the store manager. She asks Emma what she's got there, but before she can remove the Pop-Tarts from her coat, the girl from earlier suddenly arrives with a shopping cart in tow, telling Emma that she's been looking all over for her. Emma looks confused, and the girl whispers to her to just go with it, taking the box from Emma's coat and thanking her for hanging on to it, proceeding to toss it into the cart. The store managers asks if these two girls are on their own, but the one with the cart explains that her parents are outside in the car, having sent the two of them inside to grab a few things. The manager buys their story, walking away with a simple "okay", and a relieved Emma thanks her new friend for preventing things from getting ugly. "No kidding," she replies, "You know that whole stuffing things under your shirt thing never works? You need one of these." With that, she takes a credit card from out of her pocket, telling Emma that it allows them to buy whatever they want. Emma nods and says she'll remember that next time, beginning to walk away, but Lily tells her to wait, pointing out with a smile that the two of them are part of each others' cover now; "So, what do you say? Wanna go shopping?"
Best friends forever.
The two girls are next seen exiting the store with shopping bags in tow; while Emma is surprised that that actually worked, her new partner in crime is cautiously checking her surroundings, soon telling the blonde to hold on to her bag and run. Emma is surprised, wondering why, and the girl tells her to trust her, before yelling, "Go!" The two girls begin running as it becomes apparent that a man in the car behind them is following them, calling out, "Hey!" and driving in pursuit of the young ladies. They keep on running and, luckily for them, a minibus blocks the road and makes it so the car can't go any further, thus allowing the two of them to make their getaway. The girl directs Emma into an alleyway where they hide, smiling as the man in the car drives past without noticing them. As relief washes over the pair, Emma introduces herself, and the girl reveals her name to be Lily, before thanking Emma for her help. Through heavy breathing, she replies, "You have my back... and I got yours."
Whoa, how high were you?
Back in the present, Regina continues staring down at one of her spell books as Emma enters the not-so-secret vault, bringing with her the photographs that she was earlier looking through with Elsa back at the Sheriff's Station. "Miss Swan," Regina acknowledges, not bothering to look at her, "What an unpleasant surprise. Unfortunately, I'm a little busy trying to save my true love's wife. Or haven't you heard?" Not in the mood, Emma hands Regina the pictures and asks her what she knows about them; sighing, Regina accepts said pictures and says that it appears Emma and the Snow Queen are old friends - frenemies, at best. Taking the pictures back, Emma assures the former Mayor that she has zero memories of this conversation and was hoping she might, pointing out that Sidney took these pictures when he was ordered to spy on her and wondering if he ever said anything about what's going on there or why she was arguing with the Snow Queen.
Regina no longer ships Swan Queen.
Regina tells the blonde that he never mentioned anything, unhelpfully suggesting that maybe Emma skipped the tip jar at Any Given Sundae, and Emma deduces that she needs to talk to Sidney, but no one seems to know where he is. She asks Regina if she's seen him but she replies that she's been too busy working on Marian - the problem Emma created - and Emma decides to let her get back to it. After a pause, she asks if there's any progress on thawing out the maid, but Regina tells the savior that it's none of her concern. "It could be," Emma tries, much to Regina's aggravation, and the former continues in saying that she knows she's not sorceress of the year but if she wants some extra juice for the spell then she should let her know. She then begins to leave and a surprised Regina evocatively asks if she's offering to help her. Emma confirms this, pointing out that, despite everything, Regina's done a lot for her; "You've had my back and I want you to know that I have yours." Regina smirks and says, "Miss Swan, one thing's abundantly clear: you've never had my back... and you never will." Emma appears saddened by this.
Creepy ghost - must follow.
Out in the graveyard, Elsa remains waiting patiently in Emma's yellow car as the night begins to draw in, along with the fog. Suddenly, however, a mysterious voice is heard calling her name from afar, and the Ice Queen appears evoked. The voice soon gets clearer and it becomes apparent that it belongs to Anna, which worries Elsa even more when the word "help" is added to her cries. She hurriedly exits the car, looking out into the mist, and Anna's figure is seen standing in the distance. "Anna!" the Ice Queen yells, which is met by, "Elsa... help me!" Anna then begins walking away, and Elsa follows.
Dafuq she go?
Upon exiting Regina's family mausoleum, a very sullen-looking Emma immediately notices that Elsa, who was last seen waiting in the savior's yellow beetle car, is no longer there. Worried, she quickly rushes over to the vehicle anyway and opens up the door, poking her head in and checking the inside just to be sure. She calls out the Ice Queen's name, but there is no audible reply; she's nowhere to be seen. She then pokes her head back out the car and begins looking suspiciously at her surroundings. She calls Elsa's name again, but again, there is no reply to her frantic yelling.
Who the hell took this? Sure is a curious thing.
Regina is seen staring down at a framed photograph of her and Robin Hood, heartbroken over having lost him to Marian, and when she looks utterly defeated, Sidney appears in his mirror, alerting his Queen of news: he has found the Snow Queen's lair. Regina demands to know where it is, but Sidney says he believes a little quid pro quo is in order, adding that he's growing tired of his glass prison. She replies that they shall only discuss his freedom if his information yields results, but he refuses to give up his leverage before he's received anything in return, insisting that he's not an imbecile. She points out that she's trapped him in a mirror twice and if he finds them too constricting then perhaps he'd like to return to his cell at the hospital. Sidney pauses; "Upon further reflection," he comes out with, "It appears I don't have the leverage I thought. Listen closely, I will lead you to her." Regina is listening.
The thief has escaped.
David and Mary Margaret enter the Sheriff's Station as the latter is telling the former that she needs one of the good walkie-talkies, as opposed to the short-range ones he lets Henry play with. He points out that they're only going on a short hike and will be gone less than an hour, but she points out in turn that they'll have no cell reception and she wants to be sure Belle can reach them. David soon realizes that she's looking for a way out of this, which she doesn't respond to, and he tells her that they are going on this hike. She agrees, but adds that they shall be reachable, and her husband sighs before grabbing a walkie and saying that it'll do. As he attaches it to his belt, he explains that he'll call Belle and tell her where to find their walkie at home and then she'll be able to reach them wherever they are, whether they be on a drive or on a hike or having fallen through a portal to Asgard. Mary Margaret nods, calling him her hero, and the two of them exchange a kiss. As they go to leave, however, David notices something: Will Scarlet is absent from his cell, which means he's escaped. Initially he appears worried, but then he smiles and exclaims, "Come on, let's go!" She soon realizes that he wants the two of them to track the thief down and he convinces her to do so by pointing out that it'll be just like old times: a prince and a princess on an adventure, but without the Evil Queen on their trail.
A pretty likely duo.
Meanwhile, Regina makes her way through the town woods with her compact pocket mirror in tow, inside which is Sidney. She tells him that she's walking due north and wonders where to go next, and so he instructs her to head past the Toll Bridge, then go east; the Snow Queen isn't far. She looks determined, but worries when she hears some twigs snapping nearby. Quickly, she snaps her compact shut and shoves it in her pocket, only to have Emma emerge from behind some bushes. The savior looks surprised to see Regina, who demands to know what she's doing there, and Emma explains that Elsa ran out on her and she thinks she may have gone to confront the Snow Queen on her own - she's afraid she's in trouble. Regina sighs before being asked the same question and explains that she intends to force the Snow Queen's hand and make her reverse the damage she's inflicted on Marian. Emma wonders how she even knows where she is but Regina exclaims that explaining her magic to a beginner is a waste of her time, adding that the Snow Queen is east of the Toll Bridge. She tries walking past Emma, but Emma suggests that the two of them stick together since the best shot of finding Elsa is to go the direction of the Snow Queen. She asks Regina if she minds the company, but Regina asks in turn if it matters whether or not she minds; if she says "no" then Emma will just come anyway. She continues walking, and Emma shrugs and follows.
You couldn't cut that sexual tension with a knife.
In flashback, Emma and Lily are seen to be enjoying a junk food picnic on a grassy hill overlooking a lake, with the former rushing her sandwich into her mouth. Lily points out that it's not going anywhere and Emma laughs before explaining that, where she comes from, if she didn't eat fast then the big kids would steal things from her plate. Lily wonders if that was around where they are, but Emma tells her that it was back in Boston; she sneaked out overnight and hopped a bus. Lily asks why she left and Emma explains that this little girl from her home, Cecilia, got adopted; she watched her get in the station-wagon with this perfect-looking couple (see "Snow Drifts") and realized that no one was going to look at her the way those parents looked at Cecilia... Emma's too old, and has missed her chance, and there was no point of her staying another day if she was just going to keep feeling... "Invisible," Lily finishes for her, claiming to know what it's like to live someplace where it feels like no one cares about you, let alone understands you. Emma asks her new friend if she was in a home too, and Lily pauses, before being asked by the blonde if that guy chasing her was from social services and trying to take her back. After hesitating, Lily answers positively, and Emma wonders what it is she's going to do. Lily then smiles and points to the two luxuriant mansions across the lake, explaining that people use them in the summer, but now that it's fall, they'll be empty; she figured she'd pick the nicest one and then crash there for a while. Emma likes the idea, and so Lily proposes another one: that Emma come with her. Emma smiles, surprised, and Lily points out that they'd be better off if they stuck together. They smile at one another before their attention is turned back to the mansions close by.
One with the wind and sky.
Elsa runs through the woods of Storybrooke towards Anna, hoping to catch up with her, but she eventually comes to the edge of a cliff, below which is a bunch of sharp rocks and a river. "Elsa!" Anna is heard calling, and the Ice Queen spots her sister standing atop an even higher cliff across the river. Elsa tells her not to move, assuring Anna that she'll be right there, and she proceeds to shoot powerful ice magic from her hands, creating a lavish, snow-covered staircase from her cliff to Anna's. It becomes more crystalline as she steps on it and continues running, and her sister continues begging for help. When Elsa finally makes it to the upper cliff, Anna suddenly falls backwards out of sight. The Ice Queen is unsure of what to do.
Mary Margaret finds the thief, accidentally.
David and Mary Margaret are holding hands as they continue their nighttime hunt for Will Scarlet; he looks excited whereas she looks annoyed, going on to exclaim that she should be home with Neal, not chasing after some thief. David tells her to just give it a little longer, but Mary Margaret points out that they've been out for over an hour, which is the longest she's been away from the baby since he was born, and she thinks that's a pretty good start. He concedes, telling his wife that she's right, and suggests that she head home (he kisses her) whilst he deals with the Will situation. Mary Margaret is happy with this arrangement and stays where she is while her husband walks away; she then turns around and begins to head home, but stops when she hears the sound of frantic digging from close by. She turns her head and sees Will Scarlet attacking the earth with a small spade in the near distance, but tries to tell herself that it probably isn't him so that she can go home in good conscience... but she can't; with another glance, she realizes it definitely is him and begins approaching.
The quest continues.
Out in Storybrooke's woods, Emma and Regina are walking and the former is asking the latter which way she should turn as she follows her to the Snow Queen's lair, and Regina sternly tells her to go right. The blonde then asks if they're using a locator spell, wondering if they should be following some sort of floating object or not, and Regina sarcastically writes her off as having become a "magic expert". Emma simply points out that that's what's been done in the past, but the former Queen and Mayor assures her that there are many enchantments that she has yet to be exposed to, going on to say that she would know that had she bothered to study the craft. Emma argues that she's learning as she goes, saying that there aren't exactly a lot of online classes in this sort of thing, and adds that, when Regina helps her, she seems to learn pretty fast. Regina then says she doesn't have time for lessons, and Emma says she knows, chalking it up to Regina being busy; she then tells her that she thinks it's admirable to be helping the wife of the man she loves.
Regina finally tells Emma off.
Regina freezes, and turns to look at Emma for the very first time during this conversation. "So I've impressed you?" she asks with faked enthusiasm, "Well that makes it all worthwhile then, doesn't it?" Emma asks her why she's doing that, pointing out that she's just trying to give her credit and be nice, but Regina wonders what comes next, asking (again, sarcastically) if Emma's going to start complimenting her outfits or giving her makeovers or braiding her hair or calling Robin Hood and then hanging up; "You're trying to win me over so that I can assuage your guilt for what you've done, but I won't! Intentionally or not, Miss Swan, you brought Marian back! You ruined my life, and there is no coming back from that! Because I know you think you didn't mean to, but you hurt someone. So do as I do... learn to live with it." Regina turns around after her little sermon and finishes it up by saying, "Welcome to my world," before continuing her trek. From behind her, Emma, who's stood still in a stunned silence, looks rather hurt.
Lily's fist is seen being slung through the window of a door before she reaches through and unlocks it, granting access for she and a young Emma. The two girls enter one of the luxuriant mansions from earlier, stunned by just how luxuriant it truly is, and Lily turns to Emma and says, "Not too shabby, huh?" The blonde nods.
The two young ladies are next seen standing in front of the couch, surrounded by junk food, some of which has been eaten, some of which hasn't, as they play a racing game on the PlayStation, laughing as they do so. It appears that Lily wins and she begins cheering to herself as Emma laughs and falls back down on the couch, defeated but not caring. Lily sits down beside her and Emma exclaims that she sucks at this, leading Lily to ask if she's ever played before. Emma explains that she's never lived in a place that could afford any sort of games console, but Lily assures her that she'll get the hang of it. She asks if she's hungry, going to grab some of the various junk foods from the coffee table, but Emma suddenly notices something on her partner in crime's forearm and wonders what happened - it's a mark on her wrist, in the shape of a star.
Two special gals.
Lily says that she's had it for as long as she can remember, adding that she likes to pretend it's some kind of symbol, like Harry Potter or something. "Like you're one of a kind... like you're special," Emma realizes, and Lily says she knows it's stupid, but Emma assures her otherwise and her new best friend smiles before grabbing a marker pen from amidst the junk food. With it, she draws a similar star shape on Emma's wrist and tells her that she's special too. The blonde thanks her, touched, and goes on to spot a video camera nearby, rising from the couch to go pick it up. She brings it back and starts recording, allowing Lily to wave at the camera, and the two girls film themselves smiling and making funny faces. When it's turned off, Lily makes Emma promise to stay friends, and there won't be anything they can't come back from no matter what; Emma likes the idea, and so she promises. "For real?" Lily asks. "For real," Emma reassures her.
At least it wasn't Cora this time.
Back in the present, Elsa continues wandering through the woods in search of her endangered sister, calling out for Anna in hopes of a reply. She soon gets one, and Anna's figure is seen rushing past the screen. Elsa tries following it and comes to a large patch of snow in the middle of a clearing, at the center of which her still and emotionless sister is standing, not saying a word and purveying nothing on her face but a mere blank expression. Elsa immediately runs to hug her tightly, telling her that she was so worried she'd never find her, which is when the Snow Queen approaches and says, "But I'm so glad you did." Elsa commands the Queen to stay away from the two of them, assuring Anna that it's okay and she won't let her hurt her, but the Snow Queen simply waves her hand and Anna turns entirely to ice, before drifting away in the breeze in the form of snowflakes. The whole thing was an illusion; the pretend Anna was in fact the person the Snow Queen was earlier seen carving out of ice back in her lair.
Elsa gets tied down; still no husband, though.
Elsa is both shocked and devastated, and the Snow Queen suddenly creates a pair of shackles out of ice, grasping Elsa by the wrist and keeping her bound the ground. She demands to know where Anna is and what the Snow Queen did, but the latter explains as she approaches that Anna was never really there, apologizing for all the theatrics; "An icy illusion because... I needed you." Elsa wonders what for, and the Snow Queen nods, thus using her magic to make Elsa kneel. "Look at yourself... so much fear... imagine what you could do if you only learned to control it. You had a chance to do so once, but... you squandered it. Fortunately, for me, the more frightened you are, the stronger those chains will hold... and that's all I need. For now. You... out of my way." The Snow Queen then kneels down in front of her supposed niece, adding, "I would tell you that everything's going to be fine, that I won't hurt you... but your worry, your fear... are exactly what's needed right now." She then smiles, stands up and walks away, leaving a tearful and terrified Elsa to ask, "What are you gonna do?" The Snow Queen turns to her, smiles, and says, "I'm going to build a snowman."
Short and dumb.
Multiple holes have been dug in the earth by Will Scarlet, and still he continues to dig strenuously, eventually retiring the activity with a simple, "Bollocks." He wonders "where the bloody hell" the something is, and as Mary Margaret approaches, she asks what it is he's looking for. He tells her that it's not really her concern, and she suggests that maybe he should have made a map for whatever it is he's looking for. Will explains that he did make a map, "thank you very much", and Mary Margaret asks if he lost it. He says that he didn't, telling her that it's safe and sound in his traveling sack, but she realizes that the reason he's not traveling is because he buried the sack... and the map, which he confirms, reiterating that he buried the map to find the sack and the sack he's trying to find; he screwed up, and it happens to "the best of us". Mary Margaret doesn't think so, and so Will amends himself to say that it happens to "the best of us when... we've had a touch too much to drink". That she buys, and he wonders what it is to her anyway, since it's not as though she's the sheriff. Mary Margaret then informs him that she's the sheriff's wife, and he asks if she's married to the blonde, who she says is her daughter; she's married to the other sheriff.
And he would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for this meddling sheriff's wife.
"What now?" he asks, confused, and she points out that he looks taller and smarter in his mugshot, at which he asks - as he stands up - if the sheriff's wife just called him short and dumb. She points out further that he's not even going to try and run, and he assures her that he isn't, throwing his spade on the ground and explaining that he's too knackered. Mary Margaret then thinks to herself and realizes that he didn't really break out of jail - which confuses him - and comes to the conclusion that her husband let him go so that she'd have a little victory; do a little tracking, put a criminal back behind bars and feel good about herself; she bets that Will didn't even do anything very serious. He confers that he got drunk and broke into a library, and she laughs at the prospect of a "boozey bookworm", adding that, "This is David. This is so David." She tells the thief that he's allowed to admit the whole thing is an elaborate hoax, and he wonders what would happen if he did admit it. She offers to pardon him, but he doesn't believe that the sheriff's wife has that kind of power, at which she says that she's also the Mayor. Immediately, Will admits, "He did it," and Mary Margaret exclaims that she knew it, happy with herself.
Like a film come true.
Emma and Regina come across Elsa's icy staircase in the woods and the former comes to the conclusion that the Ice Queen was there, at which Regina sarcastically tells her to please continue pointing out the obvious. Emma then says that "obviously" they're not going to step on it until they know that it's safe, but Regina says that of course it is, stepping on it anyway. "Hey!" Emma exclaims, and a perfectly stable Regina retorts, "You were saying?" The blonde says she doesn't know why she even bothers and, as she ascends the stairs, Regina says that that makes "two of us", ordering her to hurry up because she'd like to get to that Snow Queen before it's actually winter. Emma begins following her up the stairs, but as a cold breeze blows over them, the savior hypothesizes that something isn't right. Regina suggests that her "sparkly-blue-dressed friend" is closer than they think, but Emma denies it, saying for sure that this is not Elsa. Suddenly, the wind grows intensely strong and the two women find themselves compelled to fall on their knees; Emma exclaims through the overtly harsh weather that it's the Snow Queen and that she must have found them, and Regina utters to herself, "Sidney..." Confused, Emma asks what Sidney has to do with any of this, but Regina says nothing. The blonde then grabs her arm and begs for her to talk, wanting to know what it is she's not telling her.
The truth comes out regarding Lily.
A young Emma is seen sleeping on the couch with Lily in flashback, covered by a blanket. The only noise being made is the fuzz of the television, but suddenly the sound of the door is heard. Emma wakes up immediately and sees a flashlight turn on down the hallway, quickly waking Lily and warning her that there's someone in the house, so they need to go. A disoriented Lily looks unsure of what's going on, before having the flashlight shone directly in her face. "Lilith?" a man's voice is heard calling out - the same man who chased them in the car - and Emma quickly grabs a large candlestick from the mantle, telling Lily to run while she takes care of this. Lily stands behind the defensive blonde, who tells the man that he's not taking them anywhere, refusing to go back into the system. The man addresses Lily as "sweetheart" and asks her what kind of nonsense she's been telling Emma, who turns to her tearful best friend, confused. She asks her what's going on, wanting to know who the man really is, but Lily remains silent. The man urges her to tell the truth, adding, "I'm your father. And you're coming home with me, you're mother's worried sick." A stunned Emma turns to Lily, and now both of them are tearful. "Your father...?" Emma utters, "You have a family?!" Lily doesn't know what to tell her, and Emma continues in saying, "I thought you were like me..." The blonde is utterly disgusted.
Sidney has a new Queen.
"You lied to me!" Emma exclaims, back on the bridge with Regina, "You said you didn't have a clue where Sidney was! He was in your mirror the whole time?!" "Maybe I did, so what?! I don't have to tell you everything I'm doing!" Regina bites back, retrieving her compact and opening it up to reveal the face of Sidney, who says that he doesn't either. She realizes that he led them there and is working for the Snow Queen, calling him a traitor, but he points out who's talking, suggesting that maybe "your majesty" take a look in the mirror. He adds that, as Regina contemplates what she's done, she should know that the Snow Queen has a present for her that he says is well-deserved. He disappears from the compact, leaving Regina with nothing but her own reflection, and she calls out for Sidney, completely enraged. Emma then calls Regina's name, but the former Mayor tells her to save her moral judgment. Emma then tells her to look, and it becomes apparent to both of them that the staircase is being destroyed from the bottom up. They quickly get to their feet and begin running to the top, only just managing to make it by both leaping onto the land.
I want to break free!
Back over in the snowy woodland clearing from earlier, Elsa remains on her knees and shackled to the ground via the chains of ice attached to her wrists. She struggles for freedom, scared of what's to come, but - as the Snow Queen explained - her fear only makes the chains grow stronger. Knowing this, Elsa closes her eyes and tries to steady her deep breathing, uttering to herself, "I'm not afraid... I'm not afraid..." With one last heavy breath, the Ice Queen pulls hard on the chains and they disappear, creating a blue flash, accompanied by the sound of smashing, that briefly emanates upward. Elsa looks at her wrists, free, and begins smiling. She then puts her hands by her sides, determined.
Big whoop, want to fight about it?
At the cliff edge, Emma and Regina are seen getting to their feet and dusting themselves off with the former asking the latter if she's okay. Regina doesn't respond, having seen something ahead, and Emma again says her name, wondering what it is that's the matter. Regina points out that they have a bigger problem than what they've just been through, and Emma turns to see the giant Ice Warrior (the "snowman" earlier referred to by the Snow Queen) just up ahead, blocking their path. He turns to them, his eyes glowing blue, and stomps his enormous foot. He then bangs his axe hard against his shield, ready for a fight.
Emma turns her back on friendship.
The young Emma watches as Lily's father talks with a policeman outside the mansion she and Lily were squatting in. Lily herself then repeatedly calls to Emma from within the passenger seat of her father's car, wanting to get her attention. After much hesitation, Emma turns to face her and begins to slowly approach while she tells her not to worry about her dad, for he is just angry that she used his Visa. She then writes something down on the notepad in her hand, and tells Emma to come and find her when this blows over so that they can run away together. Finishing, she tears the paper - presumably bearing her home address - from the notepad and hands it to Emma, but all Emma can say is that Lily tricked her. Lily tries apologizing, knowing she lied about her family, but assures the blonde that everything else she said was true; she hates her home and feels invisible there; she's just like Emma - an orphan - only she was adopted, but the place she lives isn't her home. She then reminds Emma that she promised to be friends forever no matter what, urging her to take the paper, but she doesn't; she just walks away, licking her thumb and using it to smudge the star shape drawn on by someone who used to be her friend. A crying Lily calls out for Emma, but she goes ignored, and Emma steps willfully into the car that is to take her back into foster care.
Emma and Regina defeat the Ice Warrior together.
Emma and Regina remain faced with a ferocious Ice Warrior, who stomps his way towards them. Regina remains frozen to the spot whilst Emma runs round to the other side of a tree as part of some sort of battle coordination plan. The two ladies give each other a slight nod, proving this to be the case, and Regina proceeds to summon a large fireball in her hand and throw it at their adversary. He stumbles back, and then turns to Emma, who summons light magic in her palms. She throws a big burst of it at him and he flies back into a tree as a result, his arm and axe smashing. Emma then runs over to Regina's side, watching as the Warrior regrows his limb, and the weapon with it, and points out that that's a problem. Regina agrees that it's not helpful, and so the blonde suggests that they try again... together. The Ice Warrior moves towards them in a feral manner as Regina begins to emanate a red light from her hands, and Emma, white. They then focus their respective magics in two separate beams, hitting the monster simultaneously and forcing him backwards. He tries blocking their attack with his shield, which is now on fire, but the two ladies continue to focus their energies together and, eventually, the Ice Warrior is reduced to nothing but a large puddle of water.
The Snow Queen takes Regina's mirror.
"I think we did it," Emma says proudly, but said moment of pride is interrupted by the Snow Queen; "What a welcome visit, ladies," she tells them, much to their shock and horror. She then thanks them for bringing her what she needed, and uses her ice magic to transport Regina's compact mirror into her own hand. Regina orders her to give her back her mirror, but the Snow Queen refuses, holding up a hand and strangling the former Mayor with magic to shut her up. When Emma tries protesting, she too gets choked, but from behind them Elsa sends the Snow Queen hurtling back with a powerful blast of ice magic. Emma and Regina are freed while Elsa approaches her supposed aunt, goading her into a fight. The Snow Queen ascends to her feet in a robotic manner, commending Elsa on having escaped and seeming genuinely impressed; she comments that she's losing her fear and that there's hope for her yet, but Regina cuts in by suggesting that they finish this now.
Regina tells Emma off some more.
"No need," says the Snow Queen, "I have what I want." With that, she disappears in a white flurry of snowy smoke, and Elsa asks the other two if they're both okay. Emma says that they are now, thanks to her, and goes on to angrily ask Regina why she didn't tell her about Sidney. Regina exclaims that, despite what the savior might wish, they two of them are not partners; she didn't ask her to tag along. Emma points out that she did and, had Regina told her the truth, she could have saved them some trouble. "Tell you what?!" Regina yells in a rage, "That I threw Sidney in a mirror to help me kill Marian but I changed my mind?! What's the point?! You never would've believed me... I know you too well, Swan. Stop trying to get me to forgive you because it'll never happen!" Elsa begs them to stop, saying that they need to mend their differences if Storybrooke is to stand a chance, but Regina laughs, telling her that they never will for one simple reason: she doesn't want to. She starts walking away, but then decides to vanish via her own purple flurry of smoke, leaving the two blondes alone in the woods.
Sidney is granted his freedom.
In her icy lair, the Snow Queen is seen staring at her reflection in Regina's compact mirror as she tells Sidney, who stands behind her in human form, that he's free as promised. He thanks his new Queen, asking what it is she wishes him to do first, but she assures him that she wishes nothing from him, much to his confusion. He vocalizes the fact that he doesn't understand, reminding her of the deal, but she tells him that it wasn't him that she wanted. She then turns around and sits elegantly on her chair, adding that she was after the mirror all along. She says that Sidney, more than anyone, should understand a mirror's importance; "Mirrors reflect our mood, our desire, our essence. They are a temporary receptacle for some tiny fraction of our soul." Sidney points out that she has other mirrors, and she confirms that she has many, hundreds even, but none as important as the one in her hand. She then explains that Sidney's former home should do quite nicely for what she wants to do because the person that trapped him inside imbued it with much dark magic. Intrigued, Sidney asks just what it is she's planning, and she explains that she wants to get what has been denied to her for too long; what she deserves. "What's that?" Sidney begs to know, to which she replies, "That's between me and, well... my reflection."
The Snow Queen completes her mirror.
An awkward silence ensues and so the Snow Queen waves her hand and causes the secret entrance of her lair to open, thus signalling that it's time for Sidney to leave. He bows, thus bidding her goodbye, and she tells him to enjoy his freedom. He then turns from her, beginning to leave, but as he takes a step forward she is suddenly standing right in front of him, absent from her chair. "A word of advice," she tells him, "Get a warm coat... it's going to get a bit cooler around here." He tries to smile, nodding, and finally vacates, cautiously. Now alone, the Snow Queen clutches Regina's mirror tightly and approaches a table-like structure made of ice. She then opens the compact and waves her hand, causing it to crack into a very specific shape. Waving her hand much more broadly, she causes a much larger, circular mirror to appear atop the table; it is all cracked and misshapen, presumably because it's made up of fragments of much smaller mirrors, but there is a single shard missing... one the exact shape and size of the shard now carved out of Regina's mirror. To herself, the Snow Queen says that she's so close, and that soon she will have what she wants. She then removes the shard from Regina's mirror and holds it out in her palm, allowing it to fill float over and fill the gap in her own, thus completing it. With that, all the cracks disappear and the Snow Queen can see her own reflection clearly as she approaches the mirror and finishes her earlier sentence: "A family that loves me." She smiles, slightly.
Elsa gives Emma some advice.
Emma and Elsa are seen making their way back through the woods. The latter apologizes for having taken off, explaining that the Snow Queen tricked her by making it seem like Anna was there so that she'd end up chasing her, but Emma understands, assuring the Ice Queen that she'd do the same thing. Elsa then asks why Emma let Regina just walk away and Emma reminds her of what Regina said, pointing out that the former Queen and Mayor wants nothing to do with her. Elsa suggests that she don't give up on her so soon, but Emma says that it's like she said: once you screw someone over, there's no going back. Elsa doesn't believe that, going on to say that if there's one thing her sister taught her, it's that one shouldn't give up on people; if someone's important to you, don't give up on them... even if they say hurtful things or send a giant snow monster to chase you away. Emma laughs, and the two blondes continue their way home.
Regina learns that she and Emma are friends.
Down in her vault, Regina stares at the large wall mirror that used to contain Sidney when, through it, she notices Emma enter. Annoyed and frustrated, she begs to know what it is she has to do to get the blonde to leave her alone, telling her to go away. Emma states that she's an idiot, and Regina agrees, but Emma explains that she's an idiot because she's been down this road before. "Irritating me? Yes, you have!" Regina exclaims, but Emma says that that's not it, explaining further that, when she was a kid, someone came into her life for a while and she thought they were going to be best friends, but this girl lied to her and Emma pushed her away because of that lie and the girl asked her to forgive her but Emma never did; it took some time but she realized that that was a mistake and she regretted the decision but, by then, it was too late - the damage was already done. She adds that she doesn't want to make the same mistake again with Regina, pointing out that, living in Storybrooke, she's got her son and her parents and she loves them, but they can't always understand her because they don't know what it feels like to be rejected and misunderstood; not the way she and Regina do, and somehow that makes them... unique, or maybe even special. She pauses before going on to say that she wasn't looking for Regina to assuage her guilt... she was just looking for her to be her friend. Regina looks touched, asking if the savior really thought they were friends, and Emma confirms it with a, "Crazy, right?" before adding that she thought it could be that it was possible and she's not going to stop trying even if Regina still does want to kill her. As the blonde leaves, Regina stops her by addressing her as Emma and telling her to wait, saying that she doesn't want to kill her. "See?" Emma says happily, "That's a start."
Mary Margaret learns the truth.
Mary Margaret lies in bed next to baby Neal as David reenters the apartment, greeting his wife and approaching she and the child. As he does so, she grabs him by the shirt and pulls him into a passionate kiss, telling him that she loves him. He says that he loves her too, placing his jacket down on the bed and asking her how Neal is, wondering if he survived an hour with Belle. He kneels down next to the bed to be at his son's side and Mary Margaret assures him that Belle was wonderful, having taken great care of him. She then whispers that she "caught the thief", and David, entranced by his baby, wonders what she's talking about. She adds that she tracked down Will Scarlet and David becomes surprised, telling her that that's amazing. He asks where the thief is, wondering if he's back in his cell, but Snow says she pardoned him, to her husband's shock. She tells him that it's okay and that Will admitted the whole thing; told her about how David let him escape so that she could track him. "He told you that?" the prince asks, confused, but Mary Margaret tells him not to be mad, for Will tried to keep his secret but, really, he's a terrible liar; not to mention, she is familiar with his tricks (see "Lost Girl"). He nods, and she tells him that his plan worked because she feels more like herself again, but then he laughs. She wonders what it is that's so funny, and David tells her that he couldn't be happier that she enjoyed herself today, but... he had nothing to do with it. She says that of course he did, but he assures her otherwise, leading her to realize that Will really did escape and she really did pardon him. She looks stunned, asking what they do now, but David says that all they can do is hope he doesn't pass out in another library. He then adds, "Look, if the outcome of his escape is that you found that part of yourself again... I'd say he earned that pardon." Again, Mary Margaret kisses her husband.
Emma sits behind her desk at the Sheriff's Station, looking pensive. Soon, she grabs a set of keys and uses them to open a locked cupboard, taking out a white cardboard box and placing it on the ground next to her. As she stares at it, someone is heard entering, and Captain Hook soon taps his namesake hook against the door-frame of her office, alerting her of his presence. He greets her and she smiles, briefly, leading him to point out that she seems vexed, like she could use a drink. With that, he offers her his flask of rum and she takes it and drinks from it. He sees the box beside her and wonders what it is, and, as Emma passes his flask back to him, she explains that it's what's left of her childhood. "May I have the honor?" he asks, and after some initial hesitation, Emma brings the box atop the desk. She removes the lid and takes out an even smaller box, passing it to him. He asks if she's okay, and she says she thinks so, and he opens it. He smiles at the sight, taking out her old pair of glasses and rifling through various pieces of jewelry. He then spots a small photograph and picks it up, only to discover that it's of she and Neal (see "Tallahassee") and he stares at it somewhat angrily.
Seeing this, Emma appears awkward, but Hook soon looks up at her and passes it off with a smile, placing the picture back into the box and watching as the blonde continues going through the larger white one. She takes out her baby blanket to find the same video camera that she and Lily were seen playing with in flashback. She then looks to the small television screen elsewhere in the station and begins approaching it with the camera in tow. Hook wonders where she's going, and the blonde is next seen placing the video from the camera into the Betamax machine and playing it on the TV. She sits on the desk next to Hook and explains that she hasn't watched this since she recorded it but some things happened today that made her think about the past. "Reflective today, are we?" Hook asks, taking her hand in his and urging her to show him, for he'd love to know more about her beginnings. Comforted, she uses the remote control to play the video and we see on the screen the same recording Emma and Lily were earlier seen making together, of them smiling and laughing and pulling funny faces.
...and some forgotten ones, too.
Hook asks who "that lass" is, and Emma explains that she's an old friend. As she looks like she's about to cry, the pirate wraps and arm around her to comfort her some more, and then the video ends and begins to play new footage. "Hey, look what the new girl brought with her!" a boy in foster care is heard exclaiming as he plays with Emma's camera. Hook wonders where this is taking place, but Emma doesn't really remember, saying that it's probably just her next foster home and the child robbed the camera from her possessions without her knowing. However, Emma herself is then seen on the recording, telling the boy to give it back, and Emma of the present says that she doesn't remember any of this. Suddenly, the Snow Queen appears on the tape, dressed in normal clothes and telling the boy, Kevin, to give the camera back to Emma. Hook and Emma are absolutely stunned and, in the tape, the Snow Queen tells the blonde that they respect property in this house, going to retrieve the camera from Kevin. As she does so, Emma pauses the screen on her smile, shocked to discover that Storybrooke's newest villain was once her foster mother.
David hits on Belle.
As baby Neal's sheep mobile hangs over his crib, Belle can be seen recounting the Charmings' instructions back to them, including the fact that their contact numbers are on the fridge and if anything happens she's to call Mary Margaret first, then David, then Emma, then Dr. Whale, and then emergency services. Snow nods as all this is said, but then thinks that maybe she and David should reconsider going out, which Belle protests to, assuring that it's going to be fine. David tells his wife that he thinks Belle's got it down and that they should be going, but Mary Margaret suddenly exclaims, "Diapers!" and proceeds to go re-check Neal's. Belle laughs as she goes to do this, as does David, who proceeds to ask the babysitter how married life is; he stops himself, wondering if they're now family, and Belle ponders this, pointing out that she is Henry's step-grandmother and baby Neal is Emma's brother so... She loses her train of thought and simply decides to reply that married life's wonderful. Mary Margaret is tampering with Neal all the while, and David furthers the conversation by suggesting that maybe Neal will have a playmate soon. Neal then begins to cry, thanks to his mother, and Mary Margaret feigns distress as she lifts him out of his crib and exclaims that she thinks they're going to have to reschedule because he is impossible to settle back down when he gets like this. David thinks that they should give Belle a shot and Mary Margaret finally concedes, handing her son over to the babysitter and allowing her to start comforting him by saying, "We are gonna have such a lovely evening together. I even brought some of my favorite books to read to you." As she heads over to the bed with the baby in tow, David asks Mary Margaret if she was just trying to sabotage their date. "No!... Maybe; I'm just nervous about leaving him," she admits, "Between the curse and the Wicked Witch, we don't exactly have the best track record with our babies." David assures that Neal's going to be fine, adding that they need this time away; she needs it. He asks if she's ready for their evening stroll, but she remains uncertain, despite nodding. One last fleeting glance of Neal in Belle's arms.
Emma is ruded by Lily's dad.
Young Emma watches from by the entrance of the house she and Lily broke into as Lily's father talks to one of the cops and Lily herself sits in her father's car looking ashamed. She then approaches the father, addressing him as "sir", and says that she's sorry; however, he retorts that he doesn't believe that for a second. She insists that it's the truth, but he squares up to her and insists in turn that the truth is that she took advantage of an innocent girl, and his credit card, and she's nothing but a pathetic street rat. "You don't know me," she defends, now very angry - and understandably so - and he tells her that he doesn't intend to know her, ordering that she stay the hell away from his daughter. He walks away, and Emma is summoned by Lily in the car. After much hesitation, Emma turns to face her and begins to slowly approach while she tells her not to worry about her dad, for he is just angry that she used his Visa. She then writes something down on the notepad in her hand, and tells Emma to come and find her when this blows over so that they can run away together. Finishing, she tears the paper - presumably bearing her home address - from the notepad and hands it to Emma, but all Emma can say is that Lily tricked her. Lily tries apologizing, knowing she lied about her family, but assures the blonde that everything else she said was true; she hates her home and feels invisible there; she's just like Emma - an orphan - only she was adopted, but the place she lives isn't her home. She then reminds Emma that she promised to be friends forever no matter what, urging her to take the paper, but she doesn't; she just walks away, licking her thumb and using it to smudge the star shape drawn on by someone who used to be her friend. A crying Lily calls out for Emma, but she goes ignored, and Emma steps willfully into the car that is to take her back into foster care.
- The title card of this episode features the ice staircase that Elsa creates, amidst a snowstorm.
- Although credited, Jared S. Gilmore (Henry Mills) and Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin) are absent from this episode.
- The Previously on... segment features footage from a scene deleted from the episode "The Apprentice" (Regina discussing Robin Hood's commitment to his wife with Mary Margaret), that therefore never actually aired prior to this episode.
- In this episode, David makes reference to Asgard, the home planet of Marvel superhero Thor; furthermore, Josh Dallas appeared in the 2011 Thor film as Fendral, an Asgard native.
- Also, Lily makes reference to Harry Potter; since this episode's flashbacks are set in 1998, and the first book only came out in 1998 in the US, this reference is based solely on that.
- The fact that it was published on September 1 also places the flashbacks after that date.
- Brands features in this episode include Pop-Tarts and PlayStation; the game that Emma and Lily can be seen playing in the latter is San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing.
- The title of this episode was revealed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on August 23, 2014.
This outing would be the lowest rated episode so far in the fourth season, as it posted a 2.3/6 among 18-49s with 6.61 million viewers tuning in.
- In a review from Entertainment Weekly, Hilary Busis notes that "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!"
- Seat 42F had a mixed but positive take on the episode: "ONCE UPON A TIME is having a rough fall, better than last spring’s batch, but lacking the cohesiveness and the rich layers of the previous autumn’s Neverland arc. “Breaking Glass” does much to get the show back on track, but unfortunately, in doing so, it has to stray from some established bits in recent weeks. Here’s hoping ONCE figures out what it needs to do and sticks with it in time to salvage this story."
- TV Fanatic gave the episode 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ "TV Ratings Sunday: 'Once Upon A Time' Down, 'Resurrection' & 'Revenge' Hit Lows, Football Beats World Series" from TV By The Numbers/Zap2It (October 27, 2014)
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time recap: 'Breaking Glass'", by Hilary Busis, Entertainment Weekly (October 26, 2014)
- ↑ "ONCE UPON A TIME Recap Season 4 Episode 5 Breaking Glass" from Seat 42F (October 26, 2014)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 5 Review: Breaking Glass from TV Fanatic (October 26, 2014)