For a show like "Once Upon A Time" that's often a string of delightful nonsense involving time travel, fairies getting sucked into hats, and villains whose master plans involve turning their niece and daughter into their sisters, it's nice to know they can still nail the most important emotional relationship from "Frozen."
Spoilers for the November 30 episode of "Once Upon A Time" past this point!
That's not to say there wasn't plenty of nonsense before we got there. Over in Arendelle, Anna (Elizabeth Lail) and Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster) are unfrozen after the Snow Queen's (Elizabeth Mitchell) attack a few episodes back, only to discover Hans (Tyler Jacob Moore) and his brothers have taken over the kingdom, using a loophole called, "there are no laws."
On the run, and trying to free Elsa (Georgina Haig) from the magic urn Snow Queen trapped her in, they track down Black Beard (Charles Maisure), because pirates are easier to deal with than wizards according to Anna. So they decide to buy a wishing star from Hook's former rival, instead of confronting Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle).
Seriously, this show is ridiculous.
Anyway, Hans beats them there, and along with a traitorous Blackbeard, drops Anna and Kristoff in a trunk to the bottom of the ocean... In the exact same spot Anna and Elsa's parents drowned years earlier.
Cue slight welling of tears.
As Anna and Kristoff's trunk starts to fill with water, Anna, tears pouring down her face, starts to recite her marriage vows: she won't die without marrying Kristoff. He refuses, saying they'll get out of this, and holds her tight.
Is that... No, must just be some mirror dust in our eyes.
Back in Storybrooke, and intercut with this sequence, Elsa and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) have tracked Anna to the beach using Anna's suspiciously star-like necklace. Grief-stricken at losing her sister, Elsa wishes she could be here right now... And just like that, a portal opens in the water, and out pops the trunk with Anna and Kristoff.
Turns out, Anna's necklace was a wishing star, and Elsa's pure heart saved her sister at the last possible moment. The two sisters embrace and...
No, you're crying! Shut up!
Why is this sequence possibly the best thing "Once" has ever done? It's because the cheeseball earnestness that's often the show's undoing felt surprisingly earned here. After an entire half season of separation, an act of true love between the sisters brought them back together.
That's the other part of it, that "Once" also effectively channeled the most important scene in "Frozen," and made it work. All credit to the actresses, as well as writer Jane Espenson and director Mario Van Peebles, who elevated everyone's games here.
Oh, and then a note in a bottle, also whisked from the wreckage of Anna and Elsa's parents' ship appears. That's the note from Elsa's Mom telling her they will always love her, written moments before she died. That there's an emotional time bomb if we ever saw one.
And now that we've seen nearly everything "Frozen" has to offer, can we PLEASE have Olaf? Thanks.