All right, so I was wrong: Elizabeth Mitchell is not playing Elsa’s birth mother after all. (Provided the Snow Queen is telling the truth about who she is, anyway.) Tonight’s episode does, however, reveal the true identity of Mitchell’s super top-secret character: She says that she’s Elsa and Anna’s aunt, their mother’s sister. And because we still don’t know her proper name, I’m gonna go ahead and start calling her Queen Frostine.
Like Elsa and Anna, Frostine and her sister, Queen Idun, are a blonde and a redhead, respectively. Like Elsa and Anna, they seem to have had a particularly close relationship, although one can bring snowmen to life and the other can only befriend them. And like Elsa and Anna, it appears that ice magic may have driven a wedge between the two: In the night’s second big revelation, Frostine tells Elsa that Anna trapped her own sister within that magical urn. Considering the flavor of Frostine’s motives (read: ulterior), it’s no stretch to guess that she may have put her niece in the urn—and that Frostine’s own sister, the now-dead Idun, may have trapped her own sister within that same object years ago.
And so Once continues to play its favorite game: Families Are Complicated, Y’all! A new baddie who’s secretly related to one of our heroes is hardly uncharted territory, but at least Mitchell’s presence is livening up the Frozen arc. And while I’m still not sure that Once has done enough to justify devoting this much time to characters from a movie that was released less than a year ago, season 4’s third episode did at least have a little more time to spare for the folks who have been around since the pre-“Let It Go” days. (Though we still don’t know what the deal is with that damn Fantasia hat.)
The fairybacks, however, are still a Fro-zone. Tonight’s center on Elsa and Kristoff—specifically, what happens to them after Anna leaves for
Myst Mist Haven. They’ve heard no word from the plucky redhead, which is worrisome—and even worse, they’ve just learned that an army is amassing in the Southern Mountains. Its leader: Evil Prince Hans’ Muttonchops, which doubles as the name of my pick for the next Kentucky Derby.
Hans, you may recall, is the stealth antagonist of the movie Frozen. In the film, he wins over our hearts by sweeping Anna off her feet and finishing her sandwiches; shortly before its climax, he reveals that he’s been planning all along to marry Anna, kill her queenly sister, and take over Arendelle for himself. (Er… spoilers? I guess?) Though that scheme ultimately got foiled, in Onceworld, he’s plotting to seize the kingdom once more—and again, his plan rests on first neutralizing Elsa. This time, he intends to use a MacGuffin with which we’re already familiar: the silver urn that will, eventually, end up in the vault where Rumpelstiltskin stores his various gadgets, gizmos, whosits, and whatsits. (You want thingamabobs? Sorry, dearie, he’s fresh out.)
The Antifreeze Urn, wouldn’tcha know, just so happens to be chilling (sorry) in the Caves of Contrivance, a short journey from Elsa’s castle. So she and Kristoff head off to fetch it, bonding a little bit along the way. (It’s important to know that despite OUAT‘s weird vendetta against adoption and the foster care system, Kristoff, a human who was literally raised by trolls, seems pretty well-adjusted.)
NEXT: Down here at the pawn shop/It’s a nifty way to shop