"White Out" is the second episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by Ron Underwood. It is the sixty-eighth episode of the series overall, and premiered on October 5, 2014.
While desperately trying to find her sister Anna, Elsa is startled by Emma and accidentally traps them both inside an ice cave, with the frozen temperature placing Emma's life in peril. Regina, depressed over her likely breakup with Robin Hood, secludes herself away from the town and Henry, which saddens her son. And with the townspeople considering Mary Margaret their leader, she faces her first leadership task in trying to restart a generator and restore the town’s electricity after Elsa freezes and damages the power lines. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest of the past, Anna tries to teach a meek David to fight Bo Peep, a brutal warlord who is threatening to take his and his mother's farm away if they don’t pay her price.
In a flashback, Anna arrives to Misthaven and knocks on a door of a house. A younger David answers and asks if he can help her. Anna inquires if his name is David, and when he affirms it is, she explains having gotten his name from an old friend of his from Arendelle. David immediately recognizes she is talking about Kristoff and curiously wonders if she knows him as well. A puzzled Anna asks why he thinks it's Kristoff, to which David remarks that Kristoff is the only person he knows from Arendelle. This surprises her, as she notes out loud that it's hard to be on a secret mission when she doesn't have all the facts. David wants to know what the mission is, and Anna answers that she already told him what it was; secret. She says to David that Kristoff said she could trust him, just not with the mission. David accepts this and then asks for her name. He can tell she is lying, to which she explains giving a false name for his safety. David then assumes she must be wanted for a crime, but she reiterate her prior reason for using a false name.
Starting over, Anna asks if she can sleep in his barn for the night. David agrees, and then comments, "Anything for Kristoff's fiancé", leaving Anna looking at him stunned. He gestures to the ring on her finger as to how he figured it out. Anna gives a nervous chuckle. David congratulates her on getting engaged and jokes that he'll likely find out her real name at the wedding. As he gestures her to the back of the farm where the barn is, David's expression turns grim upon hearing approaching horses in the distance. He tells her to get inside before things go bad, but she instead turns to look at who has arrived. A carriage rides up to the house, carrying a woman. Anna asks who that is, and David ominously states it's someone that shouldn't be messed with. As Anna looks at David, he says people call the woman Bo Peep.
Shifting to present-day Storybrooke, inside Mary Margaret's loft, baby Neal coos in the background as his crib shows a hanging mobile of sheep. Mary Margaret, who is cradling her son nearby, prepares to put him down in the crib, as she remarks that she'll see him again in three hours when he has his "midnight shrieking". As she finishes putting Neal to bed, Henry appears at the crib, asking her what babies dream about. David, passing Emma in the opposite direction, says bullfighting, while she says laser tag. Mary Margaret insists that's not true. Henry chuckles and states they are joking. Clearly exhausted, Mary Margaret gives a sigh, remarking that she'll see the humor again when Neal is three and she's had some sleep, before heading for a chair to rest in.
While training him through sword fighting, Anna encourages David to resist becoming Bo Peep's slave and a coward. David then explains to Anna childhood memories of his father's alcoholism and constant disappearing until he overdosed. The next day, David finds Anna missing; Bo Peep has branded her with her shepherd's crook. Bo Peep intimidates David after the deadline for his dues are up; then, using the fighting skills he learned from Anna, David defeats Bo and her guards. David grabs her crook and finds Anna in a barn. He then thanks Anna for helping him fight and encouraging him to live his own life.
Afterwards, Anna asks Ruth about the magic in the land. Ruth tells her of a dangerous wizard who might be able to help her in her quest for magic, and that she will write down the name for her. David then gives Anna his prized horse as a token of his appreciation. Riding away, Anna reads the name aloud, which is revealed to be Rumplestiltskin. After Anna says his name, it is revealed that Rumplestiltskin is watching her through his crystal ball from his castle.
In Storybrooke, While trying to find her sister Anna, Elsa traps the exit from Storybrooke by a giant ice wall which cuts power to the town. Emma Swan, David, and Killian go to investigate the wall, while the townspeople rely on Mary Margaret to lead them, since Regina has isolated herself from everyone — which worries her son Henry. Emma meets Elsa and tries talking to her; but Elsa is soon startled by David and Hook, and she blocks them off by forming a thick ice wall between them, trapping her and Emma.
Elsa then gives Emma an ultimatum: either give her Anna, or stay in the ice cave and risk having Storybrooke frozen over. Emma then realizes that Elsa is not in control of her powers; she begins to relate to her by telling her that she has magic as well. While trying to present her powers (after explaining her history), Emma begins to freeze. Elsa apologizes for trapping her; Emma then falls unconscious.
David and Hook ask Mr. Gold for assistance in saving Emma; it is at Gold's shop that David finds out who Anna is. David and Hook then interrogate Bo Peep, now a butcher and owner of a meat shop called "The Chop Shop." As Bo Peep is about to use her cleaver to chop off David as revenge for defeating her back in their previous lives, Hook clutches on to her hand she was using the cleaver with. Hook finds her crook, and hopes to use it to find Anna. Hook then gets a message from the walkie-talkie that Emma is freezing to death. David then tells Elsa that they have a way of finding Anna. David tells Elsa that despite her being able to survive the cold, she has to live more than she already is: alone. Elsa then finds the strength to control her powers and breach the ice wall. Afterwards, David promises Elsa that they will find Anna, using Bo's crook. Through the crook, they can hear a heartbeat, indicating that although they do not know where Anna is, she is in fact alive.
Elsewhere, Leroy, Happy and Granny constantly nag Mary Margaret to help restart the power, to which she finally tells them to leave her alone, as she is already struggling as a new mother. Despite her anger and stress, she continues to try and fix the power by herself. She manages to restart it by starting up a backup fuel supply line.
Later, Henry knocks on Regina's door. Inside the house, she hears the knock, but stands a short distance away from the door, not answering it. To this, Henry begins shouting from his side of the door, professing that he will not give up on her even if she tries to shut him out. She finally answers the door and embraces her son.
Elsa tries to bring down the ice wall, but to no avail. It is then revealed that another woman with ice magic is in Storybrooke, working at an ice-cream shop.
Regina is sitting in her house when she hears knocking on the door. Despite telling the person to go away, the person breaks in, revealing Mary Margaret. Regina claims that Prince Neal's pushchair through her off and made her forget that Mary Margaret used to be a bandit. After she discovers that Regina didn't cause the blackout, she attempts to get help from Regina. However, Regina claims that because Snow White was the one to cast the second curse, she should become Mayor as that's how it worked for Regina. As Mary Margret goes to leave after Regina attempts to encourage her, Regina asks how Henry is. Mary Margaret reveals that Henry is upset at Regina for distancing herself but Regina claims that it should just be temporary. Mary Margaret tells Regina that temporary can seem like for ever for children before leaving.
"Time Will Tell"
Belle and Mr. Gold enter the shop to discover it has been broken into. Before discussing who could have done it, Henry reveals himself. Belle leaves the room so Henry and Mr. Gold can talk about why Henry is there. Henry claims that he wants his false memories back because Regina is excluding him. Mr. Gold refuses, telling Henry that having both good memories and bad memories are what make a person who they are. He also tells Henry that he has both the blood of the Dark One and the blood of the savior running through him so he shouldn't give up. As Henry goes to leave the shop, Mr. Gold tells him that he needs to pay for the lock to which Henry tells him that it was broken when he got there.
- The title card features the ice wall created by Elsa.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on July 20, 2014.
- The title of this episode is the same name as one of the scores on the Frozen soundtrack.
- In "The Shepherd" and "Heartless", Ruth's farm consists of a simple farmhouse and an animal pen. For this episode, a barn was added to the farmhouse (the barn that Anna sleeps in), even though this episode takes place before "The Shepherd".
- Granny suggests they seek help from Dr. Whale in order to bring the power back to the town. Leroy dismisses this idea by saying, "He's a doctor, not an electrician." Though given that Victor Frankenstein had created machines to harness and redirect electricity in order to resurrect his brother, Granny's suggestion may have had some merit.
- Initially, the show producers had planned on filming the scenes inside the ice cave, in a meat locker, in order to capture the characters' breath on screen. The idea was scrapped when they realized that viewers wouldn't see Elsa's breath since she is not affected by the cold. Instead, the scene was shot inside a studio, where the temperature was 110 degrees Fahrenheit. While Jennifer Morrison pretended to be freezing and shivering, she was actually sweating through her T-shirt.
- The Storybrooke events take place after "A Tale of Two Sisters" and before "Rocky Road". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The Enchanted Forest events take place before "The Apprentice" and "The Shepherd", and after Anna leaves Arendelle for the Enchanted Forest in "A Tale of Two Sisters". The story also takes place several years after Robert's death in "Murder Most Foul", and several years after the Snow Queen and her sisters visit the Enchanted Forest in "The Snow Queen". The story also takes place five years after Gerda perishes at sea in "A Tale of Two Sisters". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- Elsa finds her sister in "Fall".
- Anna left Arendelle in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
- Prince Charming's life as a shepherd is further explored in "The Shepherd" and "Heartless".
- Henry mentions Regina's breakup with Robin Hood, which was prompted when Robin Hood's wife time-traveled back from the past; referring to events in "There's No Place Like Home and "A Tale of Two Sisters".
- The last time Storybrooke lost power was in "Dreamy" when Leroy sabotaged the power lines in an attempt to sell more candles and impress Astrid.
- Recalling Henry's fancy for making up "operation" names for missions, Emma suggests various ones, such as Operation Nightshade or Blackthorn, for their latest investigation of a town blackout. Henry named Operation Cobra in "The Thing You Love Most", Operation Scorpion in "Lady of the Lake" and Operation Praying Mantis in "The Evil Queen". Additionally, before Henry suggested Operation Praying Mantis in "The Evil Queen", Emma used the working title Operation Tiger for that particular mission. Regina called the mission to rescue Henry from Neverland as Operation Henry while Emma later called it Operation Cobra Rescue in "Quite a Common Fairy".
- Emma and Hook have their first date in "The Apprentice".
- Ruth wears a green ring, which she later gives to David in "The Shepherd" as a parting gift for his future wife. She is also wearing the magic pendant that she shows Snow White in "Lady of the Lake". The pendant first appeared in "The Shepherd".
- David tells Anna about the death of his father. The events leading up to his death, and what really happened, is explored in "Murder Most Foul".
- When pushed into fixing the power outage, Mary Margaret maintains that Regina, as mayor, should sort it out. Regina first became mayor in "Welcome to Storybrooke".
- Granny insists, since Mary Margaret cast the last curse, it's her responsibility to restore the town's electricity. Snow White enacted the curse in "A Curious Thing".
- Leroy references how everyone helped reclaim Snow White's kingdom so she could rule, which begun in "Lost Girl" with war being waged in "Lady of the Lake" and ended with their foe's capture and banishment in "The Cricket Game".
- Hook and Emma make references to the snow monster that Elsa unleashed in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
- While looking at the ice wall, David remarks, "So, once again, we can't leave Storybrooke". The first time residents weren't allowed to travel out of town, lest bad things would happen, was for the duration of the first curse from "Pilot" to "A Land Without Magic". The second time, occurring as a direct result of the first curse being broken, was discovered in "We Are Both".
- Elsa informs Emma about finding Anna's pendant in the pawnshop, which happened in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
- Elsa's unfamiliarity with technology, like when she became frightened of David's gun and Emma's walkie-talkie, was present in "A Tale of Two Sisters" when she froze an incoming car and was startled by a passing motorcycle.
- In conversation with Elsa, Emma mentions the enormity of her role as savior, which was first noted by Henry in "Pilot".
- Elsa gets Anna's necklace back in "Fall".
- Mr. Gold, while spending time with his new wife, Belle, expresses annoyance at David and Hook barging into the pawnshop by saying, "It appears the honeymoon is over". He and Belle went on their honeymoon in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
- The information card for Anna's necklace is the same kind of information card that is used for Robert's good luck charm in "The Other Shoe".
- The crystal ball that Rumplestiltskin uses to spy on Anna was brought from Oz by Jefferson in "The Doctor". It is also used to find Snow White in "Snow Drifts", and to spy on the Apprentice in "The Apprentice". It is also used by Neal to locate Emma in "The Heart of the Truest Believer".
- The fact that both Henry and Emma like hot cocoa with cinnamon was established in "The Thing You Love Most".
- The ice wall is brought down in "Heroes and Villains".
- This episode features Elsa and Anna from the Disney movie Frozen.
- Anna goes by the name of Joan. This is a reference to Anna's line, "Hang in there, Joan", during the "Do You Want to Build a Snow Man?" song in Frozen.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features Prince Charming from the Snow White fairytale, Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story, Bo Peep from the nursery rhyme of the same name, Rumplestiltskin from the Rumplestiltskin fairytale, as well as the titular character from the fairytale of "The Snow Queen".
- When Mary Margaret takes out her anger on her friends, she states that she's had eight hours of sleep in the last week, a reference to the second Lost number.
- Granny suggests they seek help from Dr. Whale in order to bring the power back to the town. Leroy dismisses this idea by saying, "He's a doctor, not an electrician." This is a reference to Star Trek and Dr. Leonard McCoy who often retorted back, "I'm a Doctor not a..." when his Captain made an unusual request.
- Anna's note, seen upside-down as she's holding it in her hands while talking to David, is written in Elder Futhark runes. However, the little that can be deciphered reads as gibberish when translated.
- The face piece on the bridles worn by Bo Peep's horses, was previously worn by a horse in New York City in "Broken".
- In the pawnshop, the information card for Anna's pendant says:
- The Dark Palace gazebo from "Bleeding Through", is reused as Bo Peep's gazebo for this episode. The prop/set has been redressed for this episode; most noticeably; King Leopold's coat of arms has been replaced with Bo Peep's crest, which is, fittingly enough, a sheep.
- Neal has a baby mobile decorated with sheep. This is a reference to his father having originally been a shepherd.
- The cloaks worn by Bo Peep's bodyguards, are the same cloaks worn by Tweedledee and Tweedledum on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and Jacob in "The Other Shoe".
- Emma is wearing an Elit leather jacket from Blur Leather. Emma continues to wear the jacket in "Rocky Road", "The Apprentice", "Breaking Glass", "Family Business", "Fall" and "Shattered Sight".
- Belle is wearing a Forever 21 Women's Natural Embroidered Sleeveless Shirt (no longer available).
- Mary Margaret is wearing a Kimchi Blue (Urban Outfitters) Pointelle Open-Front Cardigan over an Altzuarra Chika Embroidered Cotton Shirt (both are no longer available).
- The Snow Queen is wearing a pair of Shellys London Loviri Cut Out Oxford Flats (no longer available).
|Finnish||"Jään vankina"||"Prisoner of Ice"|
|French||"Un Mur de Glace"||"An Ice Wall"|
|German||"Mauern aus Eis"||"Ice Walls"|
|Italian||"Black out"||"Black Out"|
|Portuguese||"Dentro do Gelo"||"Inside the Ice"|