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Recap / Tangled: The Series S1E16 "Queen for a Day"

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She thinks she’s got this...
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...while he tries to make his father proud.
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When her parents go away for two days, Corona is left to Rapunzel, but then she has to contend with a destructive snow blizzard. She hears of a legend that this catastrophic weather has to do with an ancient curse, and could mean the end of Corona. Frederic and Arianna get stuck in the snow storm and are in danger, leaving Eugene to form a search party and save them.

Meanwhile, the black spiked rocks are still multiplying and Varian must find a way to deal with them before they destroy all of Corona, while his father opposes him investigating it further. He reaches out to Rapunzel for help, but this happens at the worst time possible as she has to deal with the decision of whether to evacuate Corona or not.


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This episode provides examples of:

  • Arc Symbol: The various symbols that Quirin shows to the audience, just before being frozen.
  • Art Shift: Xaviar’s story of the legend of Zhan Tiri is presented as 2D photo illustrations.
  • All Myths Are True: Xavier the Blacksmith says that all legends have a bit of the truth in them.
  • An Aesop:
    • Being a leader means making difficult decisions, but it’s worth it.
    • Everyone has their own issues to deal with, but just because they can't help you at the moment, it doesn't necessarily mean they don't want to. Varian unfortunately fails to understand this.
    • The issues of someone else may be more important than your own.
  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: When Big Nose is about to sneeze, Eugene puts his finger under his nose to successfully stop him from sneezing. But, in this case the sneeze that follows comes from Hook Foot.
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  • Book-Ends: The special starts and ends in Old Corona.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The blizzard is destroyed, Rapunzel saves her family and everyone arrives home safe, but Rapunzel still doubts her duties as future queen, while Varian is devastated over the imprisonment of his father.
  • Braving the Blizzard: Eugene when he, Strongbow and the Snuggly Duckling thugs set off into the deadly blizzard to find Frederic and Arianna and rescue them, even if it means providing risk for themselves.
  • Break the Cutie: Rapunzel when her duties as queen are not what she expected, and Varian, when his dad is frozen inside a crystal block, swears revenge on the people of Corona who turned down his pleas for help.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: This episode marks the point where the series shifts from a Slice of Life to a more story-heavy show.
  • Cliffhanger: The episode ends as Varian plans to free his father someday, while at the same time, swears revenge on those who turned their backs on him, setting him up as the Arc Villain for the remainder of the season.
  • Continuity Nod: The arc centered around the mystery of the rock spires continues in this episode. Rapunzel has come no closer to solving it.
  • A Crack in the Ice: Just as the King and Queen are in their carriage, the ice bridge below them cracks, and they plummet a hundred feet below.
  • Crystal Prison: Quirin is frozen in one near the end, as a result of the black rocks.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: When Lance refuses to traverse a small ledge, he tells Eugene he'd sooner find a horse before anyone gets him to go on that ledge. Immediate cut to Max leading the way.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to most episodes, this special has much higher stakes. However, the Foregone Conclusion that Rapunzel's parents, Eugene, and Pascal must survive eases things a bit. Of course, there's the fact Varian is taking a much darker path.
  • Dark Reprise: Varian's "Let Me Make You Proud" returns in a more somber reprise at the end, with its ending hinting at a Face–Heel Turn.
  • Death Glare/Kubrick Stare/Traitor Shot: The last shot of the episode is Varian, after the Dark Reprise of his song, with his forehead lowered and looking directly into the camera with a rather displeased expression and his Face Framed in Shadow, when he is next to the encased form of his father.
  • Descent into Darkness Song: Varian's song, which was originally chipper at wanting to have his dad see him for what he really is, ultimately descends into a more sinister tone during the Dark Reprise.
  • Disney Death: Pascal nearly sacrifices himself when helping Rapunzel activate the Demanitus Device to stop the storm, but he manages to survive.
  • Dramatic Irony: While Varian is trudging through the blizzard while singing his "I Want" Song, the audience already knows he’s too late, as Quirin is shown being engulfed in the amber right before the song even begins.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Rapunzel and the gang manage to stop the blizzard and free her parents, saving Corona. In a subversion, while Rapunzel earns her happy ending along with all of Corona, only Varian doesn’t earn his.
  • Endless Winter: The blizzard that came was the result of an ancient, unworldly curse that was cast by an evil wizard named Zhan Tiri. According to legend, the blizzard would strike when Corona is at its weakest, and will last until the whole kingdom is destroyed.
  • Eureka Moment: Rapunzel when she remembers the Demanitus Device from the legend and decides to use it to stop the blizzard.
  • Extra-Long Episode: This episode runs, at 44 minutes, for more than twice as long as the normal 22-minutes-episodes; this is due to the special serving as one of the "tentpole films" of the season, much like Before Ever After and Secret of the Sun Drop.
  • Foil: This special effectively demonstrates that Rapunzel and Varian go through very similar struggles, wanting to be the best at what they do, trying to make everyone (especially their parents) proud of them, but the way they deal with things makes them foils to each other; Rapunzel takes risks, but only with foresight, and is willing to listen to others, while Varian doesn't look before he leaps and is too stubborn to take other people's advice.
  • Foregone Conclusion: As high as the stakes are this episode, Rapunzel's parents, Eugene and Pascal have to survive as they make it to Rapunzel's wedding in Tangled Ever After.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Quirin hints at several things that will come in the future, from the tattoos on his bodies to writing a note before being completely encased in the crystals.
    • While most of the main cast wear winter wardrobe of various bright color schemes (Rapunzel’s is pink and red, Eugene’s is shades of green and teal, Cassandra’s are beige and brown), Varian’s is predominately colorless, mostly grey and black, and its hood almost completely obscures his head when worn up. Also, the scarf he wears is red, which in some cultures, is considered bad luck. This is a subtle bit of foreshadowing to him being rejected by the castle, ignoring Quirin’s advice and undergoing a Start of Darkness.
    • Among the citizens, Varian is the only one who does not evacuate the island, instead going right to his cottage unnoticed to find his father frozen in amber in his absence. This is a clue that he only cares about himself.
    • When we first met Varian, the inside of his lab is a vibrant brown; when he accidentally traps Quirin in the amber, it is a very dark blue hue, which gives viewers a Mood Lighting hint toward his vengeance.
  • For Want of a Nail: Had not Varian tried to get rid of the rock spires himself, then the conflict he experiences wouldn’t have occurred in the first place.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In the last shot after Varian delivers his Wham Line, he gives a Death Glare to the camera while lit as a shadow by the ceiling light, almost as if he’s staring at the audience.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: Rapunzel promises Varian she’ll help him, but her promise is suddenly brought to the test when he barges in on her during the blizzard, begging for her help back in Old Corona. Rapunzel, knowing that she never breaks a promise, is forced to break it as she’s too focused on trying to stop Zhan Tiri’s blizzard curse and her own parents are missing, which is even worse than Varian’s problem. Of course, he isn’t happy about it, but she sticks with her choice.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Quirin gets frozen inside a crystal block, causing Varian to completely snap, going from geeky and smart to complete fury. When Cassandra described him as “dangerous” and “not good” in “What The Hair?!”, turns out she wasn’t completely off the mark.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Pascal risks his life by jumping into the gears of the Demanitus Device to remove a stone jamming some of them, getting injured in the process. Fortunately, he survives.
  • "I Am" Song: Rapunzel has "I've Got This", showing how she can handle herself being queen but it spirals out of control.
  • "I Want" Song: Varian has one, “Let Me Make You Proud”, as he is rejecting over his father’s judgment of his character and wants him to see him for what he really is.
  • Idiot Ball: Rapunzel has no possible reason not to go check on Varian and his father immediately after the snowstorm crisis is over and her parents return. The next episode explains that she's still coming down from the stressful day, but she could still send someone else to do it if she's not able to.
  • Incredibly Long Note: Hit by Varian in an impressively high key at the end of his "I Want" Song.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The special starts as a regular Slice of Life comedy as Rapunzel tries to adjust to being a substitute queen while her parents are away. Then when the blizzard hits, it becomes darker.
    • The ending scene appears to be soft as Eugene cheers Rapunzel up after the events and she thanks him...then it changes to Varian, still brokenhearted over his now-frozen father and vows revenge on those who let him down.
    • Played straight with Varian’s "I Want" Song; while initially gloomy and subjective with a few hints of optimism, the reprise starts out as such, but suddenly becomes rather furious and coldhearted sounding as he delivers his Wham Line.
    • Averted by the ending credits. After the dramatic and chilling ending, rather than cutting to the usual happy pop music for the credits, a more somber theme plays.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rapunzel felt this way after she was forced to turn her back on Varian because of the state of emergency Corona is in.
  • The Needs of the Many: Nigel argues that there is too much at stake to take care of Varian's problem with the black rocks encasing his father (which only she can deal with due to their connection with her), and if she leaves now, it will be at the cost of her and the entire Kingdom's safety.
  • Never My Fault: Varian blames Rapunzel and the entire Kingdom for letting him down, but really, he brought it on himself by tampering with the spikes.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: As much as the trailers and DVD descriptions would tell, this special is not much of a lighthearted comedy for families, and it all goes downhill throughout the second half, becoming the darkest installment in the series to date. Varian's scenes are almost completely excluded, and the scene where he is unfairly ejected from the castle plays it out like he’s kicked out of spite, when in the actual film, Rapunzel is unable to come to his aide as she’s too focused on trying to save Corona and he is taken out as a result as she watches sadly.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Rapunzel’s suggestions for the townsfolk during “I’ve Got This” turn out to be less than effective.
    • Varian wouldn't be in the mess he was in if he had just taken his father's advice and not tampered with the rocks.
    • Frederic and Arianna putting Rapunzel, who has no knowledge of ruling the kingdom in the first place, in charge while they go away, is what causes Corona to be at its weakest, thus initiating Zhan Tiri's Endless Winter.
    • Rapunzel is forced to turn her back on Varian because of the blizzard getting even worse; because of this, Varian turns against her and swears vengeance.
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Rapunzel destroys the blizzard with the Demanitus Device, Eugene rescues Frederic and Arianna and Rapunzel reunites with them, but Varian's father is frozen in amber and since Rapunzel couldn't come to his aid, he vows revenge.
  • P.O.V. Cam: The shot of Varian standing under the ceiling light and framed in shadow is from Rudiger's perspective, looking up at him with real fear from under a bench in the previous shot.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Varian lets one out when Rapunzel says she cannot come to his aid because of the blizzard. He lets out another when he returns to his cottage to find Quirin encased in amber as a result of his failed attempt to stop the rocks.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • As Rapunzel is singing “I’ve Got This”, she quickly solves three of the townsfolk’s problems, but by the next verse, the same people return with more problems caused by her solutions.
    • Because Corona is in a state of emergency, Rapunzel is forced to tell Varian she cannot help him now. Had she left, her own parents would still be in danger and it could be at risk losing them.
    • Varian is the only citizen who did not bother to evacuate the island, instead going straight for home to find his father frozen.
    • And when all of this is over with, Varian's is the only problem that wasn't solved, thus leading to his Start of Darkness.
  • Rule of Three: During "I've Got This", Rapunzel encounters three of the townsfolk with issues of their own. She comes up with solutions for each of them, but they end up causing bigger problems.
  • Say My Name: Varian repeatedly shouts Rapunzel’s name in anguish as he is ejected from the castle after Rapunzel is forced to refuse his help.
  • Snow Means Death: Since the whole special takes place in a blizzard, there's a high chance someone is going to die, and it looks like the King and Queen will either die from the fall, or freeze to death. Thankfully, they survive.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: What seems like a lighthearted ending for all Tangled fans gets more disheartening when we see that Reality Ensues and Rapunzel is still left with doubts and regrets over the events of the special, even questioning whether or not she wants to become queen for real one day. Then it suddenly turns into Nightmare Fuel when Varian, still devastated at his father's magical imprisonment, vows revenge on Corona.
  • Tearful Smile: Pascal gives one to Rapunzel just before he jumps into the Demanitus Device to remove the stone jamming the gears, possibly sacrificing himself in return. Later Rapunzel has one herself when Pascal emerges, alive and well, though injured from the job.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • After Hook Foot sneezes and causes an avalanche, Eugene's reaction is nothing more than subdued disappointment.
    • While Varian is delivering his Wham Line, his pet raccoon Ruddiger backs away under a table in complete fear, knowing what's happening isn't gonna be good.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer spoils the climax with the Demanitus Device activating and ending the blizzard.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The main plot of the show is Rapunzel stepping in as queen while her parents are away and tries to save the kingdom from a blizzard. The subplot is Varian discovering the black rocks and trying to make his father proud, but it goes out of control.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: Though Never Trust a Trailer and Wham Episode play a big part in this.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Frederic and Arianna leaving Rapunzel in charge while they go away causes her to make more problems out of her suggestions for the townsfolk. It also eventually causes Corona to be at its weakest state thus initiating Zhan Tiri's blizzard curse. Also, Rapunzel being forced to turn her back on Varian is what causes him to have a Start of Darkness.
  • Weather-Control Machine: The Demanitus Device can change the direction of the wind to divert the blizzard away from Corona.
  • Wham Episode: The kingdom of Corona is nearly destroyed, Frederic, Arianna, Eugene and Pascal all nearly die, Varian experiences his Start of Darkness, and Rapunzel is so shaken by the day's events that she begins to seriously question if she even wants to be queen.
  • Wham Line:
    • Rapunzel realizes there's still hope to stop the blizzard:
    If [my dad] were here, he would tell me to...follow my heart.
    "And I swear right now, that no matter what comes of me, anybody that stands or has stood in my path, they're going to pay! They...will...pay."
  • Wham Shot:
    • The snowstorm increasing after the "snow day", showing something is not quite right.
    • Varian returning home to see Quirin frozen in amber from the failed experiment.
  • When Life Gives You Lemons...: After Rapunzel’s first day as acting queen, Eugene tries to cheer her up by using this expression, which Rapunzel doesn’t get at first since she can think of many other uses for lemons (pie, soften hair, clean tough stains, juggling, etc.) and isn’t a fan of lemonade. When it begins to snow, Rapunzel (who had never enjoyed snow outdoors) cheerfully proclaims she is enjoying life’s lemons.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: When Varian makes it to Corona castle and begs Rapunzel for his help, Rapunzel is unable to because she’s too focused on trying to stop the blizzard and save her parents. This prompts the guards to forcefully eject Varian from the castle and by the time he returns home, it’s too late.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Eugene’s words to Rapunzel following the blizzard, knowing being queen is a long way away and no matter what happens, he’ll be with her.

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