Monday, May 12, 2014

OUAT Season 3 Finale: Hello Elsa? (+ SPOILERY-FINALE-SPOILERS! - all hidden under the jump, I promise)

OK, I'll admit it. I actually quite enjoyed the season 3 finale for OUAT. After a fairly "meh" reaction the whole of the first half of this season, it's been getting better and better and I found this one to be pretty solid overall. (Either I'm finally giving in to the show or this episode was actually better written than average.) After seeing the characters wandering around the jungles of Neverland for the 1st half of season 3 (for some reason it just fell a bit flat for me, despite the themes etc happening, which should have made for awesome) I've been enjoying, more than not, how the Oz-factor amped things for OUAT. The writing didn't have me cringing like it had been and there were enough Oz and other fairy tale references that weren't trumpeted so obviously to give the whole show more depth. (Yay!)

So, the finale: after complaining that I just didn't care about Snow & Charming anymore, (in fact, they had become downright boring and irritating) this episode put all the love back on track in a nice version of a replay-with-a-twist. Whomever mapped this episode out did a great job of keeping it true to OUAT's history but managed to inject new life into it, and without using the same already-seen-too-many-times scenes. Yay!
In fact, because of the subtleties and gently stretching a storyline we'd already gotten used to as an adaptation of the Snow White story, this felt more like an authentic fairy tale effort than things have a in a while.

The geeky references were also nicely done, with some nods to the Disney universe as well... also, is this the first overt use of Mickey Mouse and references to Disney films? (Don't worry - haven't spoiled anything.) I think there may have been another film reference or two somewhere in episodes past but the idea that OUAT characters sit down and watch Disney movies kinda twists your brain a little.

So it shouldn't be too much of a shock to anyone who's been watching OUAT that a full-on Frozen reference appeared in Storybrooke last night. That's not what I'm counting as spoilery. Everything about it though - the how's and why's and questions - should probably be considered spoilers so I'm hiding them under the jump...
✒ Click the "Read More" link below for spoilery discussion on the finale 
✒ ✒ Click the "Read more" link below for MANY more fairy tale like images with animals c/- Dash Kond ✒ ✒ - See more at:
✒ ✒ Click the "Read more" link below for MANY more fairy tale like images with animals c/- Dash Kond ✒ ✒ - See more at:
✒ ✒ Click the "Read more" link below for MANY more fairy tale like images with animals c/- Dash Kond ✒ ✒ - See more at:

I'll get to the Frozen reveal in a bit, but first, favorite things we saw:
  • Meghan Ory return in both Wolf & Red form, showing her badassness, and that she could be quite a formidable character.. perhaps something to keep in mind should the team need extra help again in season 4... (Not a fan of the way she disappeared so quickly from the rest of the finale though.)
  • Neal! I think this character just got better and better; more noble and more attractive. Although I knew it was unlikely because of the fan-swooning over Hook, I really wished Neal and Emma had ended up together, even if it was only short lived (as in Neal had to die). He just 'brings it' on screen.
  • The Princess Bride-like reference in the costumes for Emma and Hook: Emma's in the classic plain red dress (albeit a little poof-ier than the classic, but it works) and standing with her is the dread pirate Roberts, I mean Killian. I think they may even have used the line "As you wish" somewhere in there...
  • Emma's geek showing: Her Marty McFly reference and "I'm Princess.... Leia". Ha! Plus all the Disney nods that reference made as well.
  • Snow White falling in love with Charming and Emma watching it all, made it more solid in a way, especially when things went wrong and their first meeting was interrupted (by Emma. Kids - sheesh!). Even though they borrowed a lot of that "disrupting the timeline" stuff it was well applied. Nicely written, nicely shot. 
  • The Evil Queen's jeweled ensemble - wow. One of THE best costumes we have seen. In fact, all the costumes for this whole finale were better than average (except I think they could have been a little more creative with the very last costume we saw, even if the beading was beautiful, it felt like not-the-best cosplay). Although Belle's wedding er, 'ensemble' wasn't what I would have chosen, if they were going to go that route (which clearly they did) they did a nice job of it. (Personally I wanted her more pretty, or at least more adventure-Belle and less dowdy, but maybe that's just my girly side showing through. I guess I have one after all! ;)

  • The Belle vows that included: "..sometimes the best teacup is chipped...". Admittedly, I was not looking forward to this wedding scene and I honestly expected more creativity with it (I don't mean "foof" I mean just smarter, lovelier, something in the library, or the clock tower or something referencing a rose.. something!) but although I wasn't on board at the beginning, it ended up being touching and despite his deception, you got the feeling Rumple really did love Belle. #thereshopeforthemyet

Least favorite things:

  • Breaking Regina's heart. Again. I dearly hope we see some unexpected development in her character as a result of this, rather than defaulting to the dark side. In the meantime, the Marian reveal makes you want to give Tink a good, hard shake... Sadly, I find myself hoping Marian is evil... #ugh
  • CAPTAINSWAN fans, avert your eyes: I'm about to commit heresy: The CaptainSwan ship finally arrives. And I was so bored by it! (Sorry, but I was.) I wish they'd played up more of the Princess Bride thing. That could have made it a lot more fun and made it feel a lot more like destiny. They even had some of the elements in place. Unfortunately, after having seen Neal earlier in the finale (and him saving Emma again in passing on his lock-picking knowledge) it just seemed a bit.. lazy. Especially after the Hook/Neal dynamic and Emma being so strong previously. I hope they 'Princess Bride' the rest of the relationship to make it more interesting because right now... #yawn

So on to the Frozen reveal.

Although we're not surprised it's happened, it is much sooner than expected. Perhaps it's a scramble-attempt to draw back fans who had no patience for the Neverland slump. Although possibly the best villain to date - Zelena - really revitalized the show, I know they're still not quite as high on the ratings scale as they were pre the Peter-Pan-is-baddie plot line. it's also possible that they felt a Frozen scenario wouldn't work very well in the Spring/Summer season next year so pushed it up to the Fall/Winter one for the start of season 4.

I also can't, for the life of me, find who played the Elsa-looking character or how she was referred to in the episode script. (Got info? Do share!)

I'm pretty sure the Elsa-teaser started earlier than the very end though. Remember the adoption scene? (From memory it was actually the very first scene of the finale dual episode.) With the little girl that got adopted, wearing blue? That is, wearing ELSA BLUE? Yeah, I think that was her, and that's going to come back to Emma (who was watching so unhappily) in season 4 too.

Because, note that she (Elsa) was hidden away in the vault of things too dark and powerful, too volatile for Rumple to deal with? That's not likely to be a gentle character. And then the question would be, how did she go from being an "I love Mickey Mouse" girl to getting locked away by Rumple?

Frozen Anna and Elsa by c-dra
And then there's the vagary with exactly who this is. It seems to be obviously Elsa but that could just as easily be a red herring. Remember the part in the movie where the frozen Anna turned human? Well, we saw a frozen person become human at the end here as well, except it looked like Elsa (complete with costume), at least, it did from the back. Who's to say that's not actually Anna with a frozen heart who will need a bit of love to thaw her? She is Elsa's sister and, being genetically related, there's a chance she has some latent ice magic as well - perhaps some that doesn't manifest until she's been frozen...

And then there's the Elsa braid being on the wrong side. Why so important? Because history shows Oncers (ie. OUAT fans) notice those sorts of things. and either that's a gigantic mistake on the part of the costume people/writers OR it's a big clue.

Of course, it could just as easily be Elsa who's heart froze when she believed her sister died and she turned to the dark side. Elsa was, after all, originally intended to be a villain in the Disney movie but that seemed too harsh and the idea of sisters and family love resonated better for the family movie. However, OUAT is not as interested in looking after the kiddie demographic and isn't afraid to show a little darkness leaking through so evil-Elsa is a big possibility too. It might just be a problem for all those people who've adopted Elsa as a role-model/icon of embracing one's individuality and finding freedom.

Possibilities, possibilities. I do know they're going to need to tread carefully to twist the Anna/Elsa story. It's still pretty new and people are still getting to know Elsa and falling in love with her. Making her an outright villain might not be a good move on the part of the Frozen fandom. We'll just have to wait and see what they do. (Until Fall. We have to wait until FALL. *headdesk*)

And now that I've led you round that merry-go-round, here's the TV Guide scoop on theOUAT season 3 finale: pressed executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz for the scoop: 
Introducing Elsa was a great surprise! She's not really a villain in Frozen, though I have to imagine that she'd be pretty pissed after being locked up in that vault. What can you tell us about her and have you cast her? Adam Horowitz: We have not cast her. We haven't started that process yet. As for her being a villain, the thing we loved so much about that movie, among a million other things, was that Elsa was misunderstood.
Edward Kitsis: She was never a villain. She was only thought to be. For us, that's powerful.
Horowitz: We truly want to honor the character that everybody has fallen in love with so quickly. When you see how our interpretation of her and what we do with her, you will see that's exactly what we're trying to do.
Is there a possibility to see Anna, Olaf and others from the Frozen world? Horowitz: We would be very disappointed if Elsa was the only one from that world that you saw. Who else may appear, we're not ready to tell you just yet.
You can read the whole interview HERE.

Questions we now have:

Wouldn't it be interesting if Swan got a little icy? ;)
  • Who plays Elsa? (Casting is still up in the air, even after the finale aired.)
  • Is it really Anna with a frozen heart who becomes the snow queen here? 
  • As in, perhaps Kristen Bell, who we know was very interested in being part of anything Frozen happening on OUAT, is switching it up and playing a very cold Anna?
  • Can we expect Jack Frost to appear and get on board with this popular fan 'ship? (There is a chance ABC won't do this because Dreamworks used a Jack Frost character but there would be a lot to play with!)
  • If they have to make a curse reference or a troll reference, are they going to use Rumpelstiltskin?
  • Will they do a bit of research and pull in some world wide snow queen/ice queen folklore to give it some teeth? (That would make a whole lot of people REALLY happy.)
  • Are we going to see Olaf? Are we going to see him as more than an ice-cream shape homage on a cone?
  • Will Olaf make a Frosty the Snowman crossover appearance for a Christmas episode?
  • Is Rumple ALSO Hans? (I mean, he did lock Elsa away...)
  • Or is Hook "Princess Emma-Leia's" Han Solo (Hans-olo?) and gets "frozen"? (Star Wars in carbonite/OUAT in ice)
  • Will Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning play Elsa and Anna? (Because that would be awesome.) Alright, the odds of this are pretty much zero but I'm going to just say "you can see it, can't you"? They even fit their real life personalities to an extent...

Well, we can now clear up some of those questions: the creators are saying it's definitely Elsa we saw (I left the questions to stretch your brain a little). Here are some excerpts from another scoop at the Hollywood Reporter on it being Elsa and Frozen vs Snow Queen:
Was that the Snow Queen, or Frozen’s Elsa, in the final moments?Adam Horowitz: That was Elsa. 
So you’ll base the character on Frozen and not the original fairy tale?Horowitz: We are dealing with the world of Frozen. We are honored to be allowed to do it. We loved the movie. We fell in love with it when it came out last year like everyone did, and we want to do our best to do it justice.
Eddy Kitsis: [What] we loved so much about the character of Elsa was that she was considered a villain but she never really was. She was misunderstood. That, on our show, speaks to us so strongly, that it was a toy we had to play with. It’s funny because I see lots of people [saying] “Oh! Did Disney ask them to do this?” It’s quite the opposite. It’s actually quite hard to get these characters on the show. It’s not like you get a call from Mickey Mouse saying, “I want you to sell mermaids this week.” It’s the opposite. It’s very hard to get these. We were very honored that Disney allowed us to take this toy off the shelf and let us play with it. 
Will Disney have substantial input in how she’s incorporated into the show or will you have free rein?Horowitz: The process I’m guessing it will be similar to how it’s been with all these characters. In many ways, it’s like using Snow White, using a character from Frozen -- it’s just a hundred-year difference. Our scripts and our ideas get vetted by the studio and the network and Disney’s brand management people, and I’m sure that process will continue. 
When should we first expect to see her in season four?Horowitz: I would expect it to be very, very early.
Kitsis: I would hope that it’s in the premiere.
I've left out a lot so if you want it all, go read HERE.

Still, so many possibilities, so many questions. Of course, knowing the writers haven't figured it all out for themselves yet means they're being deliberately vague... Such a fun playground for those guys to work in.

I'll admit I'm disappointed that they're sticking closely to the Disney world of Frozen, mainly because I believe the tales surrounding Snow Queens and Ice Maidens would work really well if incorporated into the character and story lines. Unfortunately, in ways like this, I really think it shows that they're not doing they're research outside of the Disney canon or certain movies (MGMs Wizard of Oz).

Still, we have fairy tales on TV! I am not complaining about that, even if I'd love to see some things done differently, and I most certainly do not want it to disappear any time soon! Keep 'em coming and keep people talking about fairy tales!

What are your thoughts?
What are your questions?
What are you going to do until the new season starts?


  1. I know this sounds unlikely but I would like to see OUAT feature some characters from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. (Or maybe some characters from "The Tales of Beedle the Bard). What do you think?

    1. That definitely has potential and the fandoms would go nuts, although it also has a big chance of backfiring too, the ways the writers mix up the characters' story lines and motivations. If I were JK I wouldn't be keen on them messing with my world - although perhaps in limited form, like allusions to it, owl mail, a mention of Dobby without seeing him, it might be OK. Then Warners would negotiate with them how much they could stretch things (like Disney already do with Horowitz & Kitsis). That would likely be the bigger problem though. This is ultimately a Disney property and Harry Potter is Warner Bros so chances are, as you said, unlikely. Still, have you seen the "if Disney did Harry Potter" fan arts? They're pretty intriguing so it's clear the potential - and audience - are definitely there. In the meantime we can speculate (and people can write fan fiction if they like...) ;) Maybe there will be interest in it after the new HP Magical Creatures film is done...

  2. Actually, to have made Elsa the villain in Diseny's Frozen would have made sense (although I also understand why they chose not to go that direction). At one point as I was watching I found myself thinking the movie was maybe a backstory of how the Snow Queen became the Snow Queen-misunderstood powers and being banned from society will harden you. But ultimately I'm glad we got a message about familial love and the power of sacrifice and I'm sure the movie would have been way less popular with an evil Elsa

    1. I thought the same (about it possibly being the backstory of the Snow Queen). I expected the whole thing to be resolved before the end of the movie, of course, but it didn't really go deep into into it to make it that either. I know it's because Anna was made to be the protagonist in their eyes and things with Elsa essentially changed at the last minute when Let It Go was written. That one song/expression, changed her whole character, ultimately unbalancing the movie actually, because she's the interesting one with the conflict and the changes. Anna is pretty much the same character beginning to end. cute, spunky but the same. The potential for Elsa to be perceived as bad (if not outright bad at some point)is definitely there (it was most of the Disney script versions too). They just need to balance that, seemingly obvious, exploration, against how fans will react to having their beloved (and finally free) Elsa made a villain. Looks like they're not going there though, at least not outright. (Probably misunderstood, rather than actually evil.) I'm kind of worried it's going to be too safe actually - neither the full Elsa exploration or Snow Queen character exploration. I guess we'll see...

  3. I had heard that technically Elsa hasn't been cast as of yet and that it was just a model playing Elsa for those shots.

    1. Yep - that's correct. (See the note in the questions section, "casting is still up in the air, even after finale airs" and why people are voting for Elle & Dakota to play the sisters.)

  4. BTW if they do a Christmas special do you think it may involve Ebenezer Scrooge? And if so, do you think he would be shown to have a tragic past involving Elsa and/or Anna, and/or maybe Olaf?