The curse of “Shattered Sight” is running rampant, causing the residents of Storybrooke to turn against each other. Exempt from the curse are Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Elsa (Georgina Haig), courtesy of The Snow Queen/Ingrid, and Anna (Elizabeth Lail) who was cursed once before by it so is immune.
It is a serious curse with plenty of the residents attacking each other physically and verbally, but the way Anna handled it provided a bit of brevity to the seriousness. With Emma and Elsa in search of the Snow Queen, poor Anna is not only left to babysit baby Neal but also the snippy Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), David (Josh Dallas), and Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster).
Anna is appalled at their behavior and keeps telling herself it is the curse talking when they say mean things to her and to each other. Her positive, breezy attitude really takes a hit during her babysitting duties.
Elsa and Emma find the Snow Queen and learn the yellow ribbons put on them keeps the duo from hurting her. Their plan is to kill her to end the curse. Emma decides the only way to get the ribbons off is to combat the love used to put them on with hate. So, Emma and Elsa seek out Regina (Lana Parrilla), who has turned back to her Evil Queen ways thanks to the curse.
The flashback portion of the episode looks at Emma as a young girl when she lands at the foster home run by Ingrid. Emma and Ingrid bond and soon Emma is overjoyed when Ingrid informs her she wants to adopt her. After Ingrid witnesses what she believes the burgeoning beginnings of Emma’s magic, she tells Emma of her underlying magical abilities.
To try and show Emma her magic, Ingrid guides them into the path of an oncoming car and tells Emma to stop the car. Almost hit by the car, Emma runs off in fear, saying her impending adoption was too good to be true and leaves Ingrid in the middle of the street yelling for her.
Emma and Elsa’s plans to enrage Regina works and when she uses her powers, they raise their hands and the magic hits the ribbons. When the ribbons fall off their wrists, they know they are able to face the Snow Queen and use their magic on her.
Regina is looking for Emma but when she finds Mary Margaret and David, she says they will do. She plans to steal baby Neal. When Anna tries to stop her, Regina waves her hand toward Anna and Kristoff and tells them to go back to where they belong.
The audience is assuming Anna and Kristoff are headed back to Arendelle. But they just go back to the beach and the trunk they arrived in. When Kristoff says he just wants to go back home and says he will swim there if he has to, Anna hits him on the head with a bottle she found on the beach to stop him.
The bottle smashes and Emma finds a letter inside. It is the letter her mother wrote to herself and Elsa when her ship was sinking. Anna reads the letter and exclaims she has to find Emma and Elsa.
In the Snow Queen’s lair, Emma and Elsa are set to confront the Snow Queen. When they hesitate, the Snow Queen says they can’t do it. She says she has memories she stole from Elsa and Emma that will help them remember they loved her.
In the last part of the flashback, we see the Snow Queen arriving in Storybrooke in 2001, set to wait on Emma. Then in 2011 Emma walks into the Snow Queen’s ice cream shop and is shocked to see her former foster mother Ingrid who steals her memories of her.
As Emma and Elsa square off against the Snow Queen, Anna rushes in and says they have to listen to her. She reads her mother’s letter, telling her daughters she was wrong to try and rid Elsa of her powers and then tells them of her sisters, including about Ingrid and her powers.
In the end, the Snow Queen reclaims her heart and realizes all the destruction she has caused. She realizes what she must do to end the curse — she must sacrifice herself. The Snow Queen returns Emma and Elsa’s memories to them and ends the curse.
It is a happy moment for the residents of Storybrooke who are released from the curse.
But what of Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle)? He’s still enacting his plan to use the Sorcerer’s Hat to release his bond to the dagger. And that is what seems to be at the heart of the winter finale coming up next week.