It’s hard to slow down and savor life (or love) when you have the likes of Peter Pan, the Wicked Witch and evil snowmen coming after you. And yet Once Upon a Time‘s Emma will endeavor to do just that as Season 4 of the ABC series continues this Sunday at 8/7c.
TVLine spoke with Jennifer Morrison about Emma’s adventures in dating, a certain swashbuckler’s extreme makeover, having an ice time with Queen Elsa, smoothing things over with Regina and other hot topics.
TVLINE | So, tell me about the premiere screening in L.A. What was it like seeing it all up on the big screen — the snow monster, the trolls, the epic “Beauty and the Beast” dance…?
We had such a good time. We’ve never had a premiere like that before, so we were all just really excited that ABC was doing this special event. It’s the first time any of us have ever seen the show on a screen that big, so that was really fun. And to all be there together was nice. It felt like we all had a little vacation together.
TVLINE | I didn’t think they were going to have the Frozen stuff look so much like the movie, but that was the exact same snow monster, the exact same troll….
As far as I understand it from what I’ve seen so far — and obviously [series creators] Eddy [Kitsis] and Adam [Horowitz] could answer in more detail — anything that was established in the film will be as close as possible to what it was in the film. And everything beyond that in terms of filling in the blanks of story that wasn’t there, will be our version of it.
TVLINE | How does it feel seeing Emma busting out her magic?
That is so funny…. It’s always interesting to see what comes of it after all of the effects are put in and it’s all cut together. Because in the moment, obviously…
TVLINE | You’re in the middle of a forest just holding your palms up.
Exactly. So, in the moment magic looks very different from once the editors and the CGI guys get their hands on it. They’re really wonderful about giving us sketches in advance and things like that to show us a sense of what it will look like, but it’s still always a mystery until you actually see it.
TVLINE | From the promo, it looks like Emma and Elsa find themselves in a bit of a predicament this week, trapped in an ice cave. What happens, and does it ultimately present a bonding experience for the two of them?
The crisis in the ice cave, combined with the many similarities that they share, makes Elsa and Emma fast friends. Emma realizes quite quickly that Elsa is misunderstood and is just trying to get her sister back and get her powers under control.
TVLINE | Which brings us back to Emma’s own magic.
Elsa is definitely helpful in terms of Emma starting to figure out ways to focus her power, control her power and try to use it as effectively as possible.
TVLINE | What did you think of the decision to have Emma feel guilty over the whole Regina/Marian situation versus selflessly diving into her own new romance?
I think it’s accurate for her to feel really guilty about that. All of us have spent a lot of time together now, the whole little team of us, and Regina’s come so far. And if there’s any person who would understand wanting to redeem mistakes in life, it would be Emma. She’s made different kind of mistakes than Regina, but she’s made mistakes, and I think that there are similarities between them that Emma relates to. Emma doesn’t want to see her lose the thing that she’s worked for and the parts of her that have been redeemed.
TVLINE | Adam and Eddy said there will be an Emma/Regina-centric episode, kind of a deep dive into the status of their dynamic.
Yeah, yeah…. There’s an episode where they definitely start to talk about it. I don’t know if “talking” is really what’s happening, but they start dealing with how complicated the situation is, basically. They definitely start addressing the fact that Regina’s frustrated and feels betrayed, and Emma’s continuing to hold her stance that she’s not going to apologize for saving a life but she’s also trying to figure out how she could help in the situation. So there is a whole episode where they really start to… I don’t know quite how to articulate it. Because it’s not like they “duke it out,” and it’s not like they talk it out, but they start dealing with it.
TVLINE | And as a result, Hook and Emma might be taking it slow?
Yeah, I think so. There’s a lot to figure out. And we’re trying to figure out if we can be together in midst of snow monsters and creatures chasing us and an evil Snow Queen in town…. Trying to figure out complicated dating issues in the midst of crazy chaos makes for some really funny things, some very serious things, some very heartbreaking moments, some very exciting moments. It really definitely turns dating into a true adventure.
TVLINE | In the premiere, Emma reassured him, “Be patient.” But it’s been a while since the show has had anything close to a love scene. Might Emma and Hook eventually end that dry spell?
I hope so. That’s about all I can say.
TVLINE | What role, if any, does Emma play in Hook’s makeover? Is it something she initiates? Something she helps out with?
Oh, he does that all on his own. He is very fashionable, that Captain Hook.
TVLINE | Does Emma have a reaction?
TVLINE | Are there any Emma-centric flashbacks coming up that you know of?
Yes. There are some scenes where we jump back and see some stuff when she was younger [and again played by Abby Ross]. There is also a bit of a curveball in some of the flashbacks that I didn’t see coming that is definitely going to add a layer of suspense to how all of the puzzle pieces fit together.
TVLINE | What is the state of Emma’s relationship with her parents these days?
I think it’s really good. She’s just still trying to figure out how to be a daughter. But everything is always amidst crisis. I think she’s so happy to see her parents be able to have a newborn where they actually get to participate in its life and its upbringing. But I also think she is trying to figure out how to be more vulnerable, how to be more communicative and how to participate in their lives — not just as a friend but also as their child.
TVLINE | Do you have any theories on who wrote the storybook, the author Regina’s now out to find and strong-arm?
I genuinely don’t know, but I think it’s a really smart curveball. And It’s such an interesting concept of like, “It’s the writer’s fault,” if you know what I mean. But when we were watching the episode on the big screen, it occurred to me that maybe it had something to do with the Sorcerer’s Apprentice? But I don’t know. I literally am just saying that as an audience member that doesn’t have any answers.
TVLINE | And lastly, what can you say about Elizabeth Mitchell’s role as the Snow Queen?
She’s wonderful. I’ve always been a fan of her work, I think she’s such an extraordinary actress. I was really, really personally excited when she was joining the cast, because she’s someone I’ve always wanted to work with. I’m not allowed to say much about that character, but what I didn’t realize – and I just discovered this today on Wikipedia, as I was posting my Movie of the Week – is that Frozen was loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen story. So, I’m going to read that fairy tale now that I’m intrigued by that. But I don’t know what that means in terms of how much of that was written into Frozen in the first place and how much Eddy and Adam have spun on its head in creating their own twist on the way she’s going to cause problems for all of us.