It would seem that the name of this "Once Upon a Time" two-hour special episode -- "Smash the Mirror" -- would be exactly what our heroes should be trying to do as they chase down Ingrid the Snow Queen. But, as with many things in this universe, it's also the exact thing that could bring doom to the town of Storybrooke.
We start in the past, a long time ago in Arendelle. The Snow Queen is riding a horse. A horse? No teleportation? Oh well. She goes to a cave to hide the Sorcerer's Hat. Later, she rides to the Sorcerer's apprentice to ask for an audience with the Sorcerer. He's not going to let her see him -- even drawing a sword on her -- but asks what she wants anyway. She desires happiness ... and perfect sisters to replace the imperfect ones whom she either killed or was betrayed by. Apparently that's Elsa and Emma.
In present-day Storybrooke, Emma is still hiding out, and a lot of people are looking for her. Of course, it would be her son who would find her first. Henry finds Emma in the forest, and she promptly blasts him. Accidentally, of course, since her powers are still a bit uncontrollable, but she does nonetheless. She actually scares him away -- or is he running to get help? Snow Queen Ingrid arrives just as Emma is regretting her actions, in time to tell Emma that she herself can't run from her problems. Emma runs anyway.
Robin and Regina wake up from a night of merrymaking. Robin still loves her, and despite still being loyal to his frozen wife Marion, wants to be with her. Regina does like Robin, but they seem to understand that their relationship should probably not continue. Regina even tells Robin about the "Once Upon a Time" book, and that she is not meant to have happy endings because some magical author said that's how it has to be. Sad, but then they make out even more.
Emma goes to the only person who she knows is probably safe to be around her: Rumpelstiltskin. He tells her that he can help take away her powers permanently, but that the spell is powerful and has to be done away from the city. She seems desperate, not listening to everything he says, but agrees to meet him later. All spells have a price, especially when dealing with Rumpel. Hasn't she been listening?!?
In past Arendelle, Snow Queen Ingrid deceives Elsa by telling her that Anna was going to use the Sorcerer's Hat to take away her powers. Elsa doesn't believe Ingrid, but goes along with it (a bit) and goes to the basement to find Anna. She releases her from jail after pretending to be mad at her. The sisters are united, and will get evil Ingrid back by hopefully imprisoning her in the urn. They find the urn in a forgotten part of the castle -- where Helga and Ingrid lived -- and prepare to get Ingrid. And despite Elsa seemingly feeling like a bit of a kindred spirit with her aunt Ingrid, they continue on.
Regina finally joins the group (David and Snow, Henry, Elsa) after her kissyface session with Robin and helps with the hunt for Emma. Just as they are about to use her locator spell to find her, Emma calls, mainly to make sure that Henry was OK. She also tells Snow that she's going to get rid of her powers forever. The Charmings don't particularly want that, but also don't seem to be objecting too loudly. Hook knows that if she went to Rumpel, which she did, there'll be some price to pay. Emma is determined, though, especially since she hurt Henry.
And there's the backstab. Rumpel visits the Snow Queen, and after a little bit of small talk, traps her in place with the remains of the urn that was once used to imprison her. He's so devious. She'll be out of commission long enough for him to get Emma's power and mess up her plan, and Emma's life, for good.
So Hook was right, and he's out looking for Emma. He goes to Mr. Gold's shop and realizes that his fears are true, and that Emma came to the crocodile for help. Hook makes a damning phone call, telling Emma that he's been working with Rumpel to get her love, but wants her to not go through with her plan to get rid of her powers. Even the Snow Queen intercepts Emma on the road to tell her not to trust Rumpelstiltskin. Not really a great endorsement, but she's just a ghostly apparition, and can't really stop her, so Emma goes anyway.
Robin has stolen the "Once Upon a Time" book fro Regina. It was a noble theft, though. He wants to find the author, and goes to his buddy Will for help. It would be Will to figure out that to find the author of a magical book, you go to a magical library. Belle's library was at the center of town, underneath the clock tower, and could have some significance.
Back to Arendelle, Anna and Elsa plan on having Anna be the one to trap Snow Queen Ingrid, but Ingrid was ready for that. She makes Anna tell her the story of a Nordic king's mirror, and the spell that he casts to make everyone in his kingdom see the bad in others. The spell of shattered sight. Snow Queen then casts the spell over a helpless Anna, then gives her the urn.
Snow and Regina are talking about Robin Hood as they search for Emma. Snow imparts some wisdom to Regina, dispelling what she considers to be a myth about heroes and villains being destined for their paths. She has a little dark inside of her (killed Regina's mother, remember?) and Regina definitely has a lot of hero mixed in with the evil queen. Their talk is interrupted by a called from Robin. They've found something in the library. So she takes off.
Emma makes it to the place where she's going to meet Rumpel. It looks like a church and has a huge chandelier. Rumpel has already set a trap, opening the Sorcerer's Hat in an adjoining room, and lets the choice be hers to go into that room and remove her powers -- not really telling her what's in there. She asks if he would go in there, and he truthfully replies that he would not, and that he covets power while she, being a hero, would give it up to save others. Even after that cryptic message, she thanks him and prepares to go in as Rumpel leaves. Elsa's on the way. Hook is on the way. Charming and Snow and Henry are all on the way -- but who will reach her?
It's Hook to the rescue! But, no. Rumpel intercepts him, and holds him, while they wait for Emma to be sucked into the hat.
It's Elsa to the rescue! Just as Emma is about to open the door and be sucked into the hat, Elsa talks Emma down -- as Emma did to her when they first met and Elsa almost killed her with her cold powers. Magic is a part of her, and she can control it if she embraces it. Emma does embrace it, then gets control of her light magic powers. Hooray!
From that height to a low in the past of Arendelle. Anna, under the Snow Queen's spell, spouts off nonsense about how Elsa always ignored her and pushed her away their whole lives, and that she's a danger. The spell is twisting Anna's emotions, bringing out the worst. Instead of freezing her, Elsa lets her talk, and even lets her open the urn! So it was Anna who eventually put Elsa in the power-sucking urn after all. Anna snaps out of the spell and is heartbroken that she's done it. Snow Queen doesn't care, she now has one of the perfect sisters she needs to reunite her family.
And with a wave of her hand, she freezes Anna and Kristoff in their tracks. Frozen, as in dead? We'll see, but no one has yet come back from that cold fate.
Emma not getting sucked into the hat did not sit well with Rumpel. Now just because he couldn't get one part of his plan doesn't mean he couldn't enact another part. He needs the heart of someone who knew him before he became Mr. Gold/the Dark One, and Hook just happens to be the only one around who did know him. So he takes Hook's heart. Now Hook has to obey Rumpel, and this will make lots of things super interesting. Hook's mission: find a power source big enough to add to the hat so that Rumpel can somehow use that power to rid himself of the dagger that controls him. So that's Rumpel's ultimate endgame -- that and leaving Storybrooke with his magic intact.
Speaking of endgame, Robin found another page from what looked to be a different "Once Upon a Time" book, but the page showed Robin and Regina kissing in the past -- something that never happened. To the duo, it really just means that there are different outcomes, and that their lives and paths aren't governed by one book. They do have a choice. But we all still want to know who the author is!