Sunday, September 30, 2012

Once Upon a Time Post Mortem - Broken

Once upon a time…IS BACK!

When we last saw our heroes and dastardly villains, the curse had been broken, Henry saved and Snow reunited with her Prince Charming. Thanks to Jefferson (the ever sexy Sebastian Stan), Belle was also released from her asylum prison and went straight to Mr. Gold as her savior bid her.  Furious and delighted, Gold took the potion of pure love harvested from Snow White and Charming and dropped it into the well released magic into the world…

Or did he?

All true love breaks a curse

Spoilers below this line

Flash Forward to the second season premiere, Broken…after a long summer of wondering what will happen next, the episode opens in New York City with a mysterious man crossing Central Park West to return to his apartment. A room filled with anachronisms and a storm blowing in and a window that will not shut. A bird arrives carrying a post card from Storybrooke with one word upon it:  Broken.

Who is this mysterious man?

Is it Balefire? Or is it—as I think—Peter Pan himself. Peter Pan lived in Neverland, the boy who would not grow up. He was roughly around the age of 11 to 13. 28 years after the curse, not allowed into Storybrooke (remember, Neverland) what would deny Peter his happily ever after, but being trapped in the human world to grow up and live his life. Because in Storybrooke—he wouldn't have aged.

So keep this in mind, because we don't see the Mysterious Man again in this episode.

In Fairytale Land

I will note here that the episode took on the dual storytelling settings of fairytale land and Storybrooke as in every episode, yet the parallels were not immediately apparent.  We see Prince Phillip cutting through the thorns to reach Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). He turns to tell a masked and armored Mulan (Squee!) that they will not tell her everything right away. Mulan agrees.

The prince kisses his princess and awakes her from her spell locked sleep and they are delighted to once again be in each other's arms.  But a rumble and explosion and a scream make their joy short-lived. A wraith appears and attacks Mulan. Phillip rushes to her aid, slicing an amulet from the wraith's neck and the beast flees.

He picks up the amulet and it burns him, but he says nothing, tucking it into his pouch for safekeeping. Unwilling to stay in the cursed castle long, Phillip and Mulan hurry Aurora along to travel to their 'safe haven.'  Worried about the Wraith, they decide to camp for the night and avoid encountering it in the dark. Mulan warns that the creature is afraid of the light. Phillip sets up a tent for Aurora and kisses her tenderly before leaving to 'gather firewood.' Though it is clear from the mark on his hand (which he keeps hidden) that he wants to get away from Aurora to protect her.

Mulan and Aurora go after him after a little cattiness when Aurora realizes that Mulan cares for the prince, though the warrior dismisses it as they have journeyed long and hard together and she is only loyal.

Sadly, when they catch up to Phillip, he lets the wraith take his soul to protect them and he looks over his shoulder and says "I love you" but does he mean Aurora or Mulan or both?

But Back In Storybrooke

Reunions fill the air as Snow and Charming see Ruby and Granny and then all the dwarves and finally Emma. The tears in Charming's and Snow's eyes as they hold their daughter again after so long is so poignant—but more so is Emma's discomfort.  After twenty-eight years of being an orphan, on her own in the world, she has her parents again:

And they're heroes, a prince and a princess who sacrificed her to save everyone. It's hard not to admire and hate them in the same breath. Kudos to Jennifer Morrison for delivering all of that. Even better is the moment Snow pushes because she wants this conversation and yes, she knows they talked but, not about things she should ever have confided in her daughter like one night stands.

Charming whips his head around, "one night stand?"
Snow waves him off. "Whale."
Charming gapes. "Whale?"
Snow gives him an impatient look. "We were cursed. That's neither here nor there."
(and yes I know this isn't in the order happened in the episode!)

I died laughing and that moment of levity is desperately needed because the whole town is heading off to take down Regina, whipped into a frenzy by Dr. Whale and Henry begs Emma to save her because she is still his mom, too.  Snow and Charming aren't so charitable but when Emma agrees, they go to back their daughter up.

Hmm, is Dr. Whale also Dr. Frankenstein? Arrogant, a miracle worker, and he's leading a mob to burn the 'monster'?  Things that make you go hmmmmmm.

Charming faces down Whale and the townspeople back off. Emma arrests Regina (for her own protection) and dumps her in jail. Magic is back, but it isn't working right.  Regina is also touched that Henry asked Emma to save her.

Guess who's not so thrilled?

Mr. Gold and Belle were fabulous together, he kissed her and held her, but he hasn't forgotten what Regina did. He asked her if Regina did take her and what happened? Horrified to realize Regina kept her locked away in a dark room for twenty-eight years under his nose, you can practically smell the desire for revenge on him—and so can Belle. She asks for his promise that he won't kill Regina. She doesn't want him to be consumed by hate, not after waiting to be with him again for so long.  He promises and ushers her back to his shop to clean up and change.

He also fetches the Wraith's amulet and his Rumplestiltskin dagger. He pays a call on Regina in the jail and scowls at her for keeping Belle prisoner to kill at the Wicked Queen's whim and then drops the amulet into her hand and marks her. Regina looks worried and well she should, because then Rumple summons the wraith to take Regina's soul—a fate worse than death.

Back at his shop, the Charming family arrives to challenge him. Gold smiles, he delivered on his promises: Henry was saved, the curse broken and Emma reunited with her parents. When the wraith blows out all the lights on its way through town to take the Queen, Gold tells them that their problems will soon be over. But this little champion band rushes back to save the Queen because that's what Henry wanted.

Belle reveals she overheard and devastated that Gold didn't keep his promise, she leaves. He tells her he's sorry—and it's a genuine moment—but Belle walks out anyway.

It takes the combined efforts of Charming and Snow to drive the wraith off (loved the lighter and the aerosol spray).  They take Regina back to her house and she reveals Jefferson's hat. They don't have much time—she also tells them that their world doesn't exist anymore. The curse destroyed it so if they send the wraith there, they will send it to oblivion.

But nothing they do gets the hat to work until Emma touches Regina's arm. Charming is tossed aside by the wraith and it rushes Regina. Emma knocks her out of the way, but the wraith drags Emma through the portal and Snow refuses to be separated from her daughter again and plunges after—so does Charming, but the portal closes.

Furious, Charming attacks the Queen, but she slams him to a wall (guess her magic works when she's pissed, does that make her Queen Hulk?) and she begins to strangle him with vines. Henry stops her from killing him and he's devastated that his adopted mother really is the Wicked Queen (after all he knew her to be, reality is a lot harsher than the fantasy).  Charming takes Henry with him and Henry tells her if she ever wants to see him again, she'll find Emma and Snow and bring them home.

At Snow and Emma's apartment, Henry stares forlorn at the photo of Emma. Snow and Charming tells him he will find them. He will always find them. As he always found Snow before.

Yes, I had a tear in that moment.

At Gold's shop, Belle returns and is moved to find that Rumple kept the chipped cup all those years and he tells her it is the most precious thing he has. She tells him she will stay even when he says it is better she go—because without her, he will truly become a beast.

Off to Fairytale Land

Aurora and Mulan take Phillip back to the castle and lay him out on the bed she slept on all those years. Mulan tells her that they have all been frozen, trapped by some curse that ravaged the land save for this one small corner. The survivors have formed a haven and they need to go there—but then Mulan hears movement and walks over to peel back some wreckage—where she finds Emma and Snow unconscious.

Uh oh.

And the adventure continues…

Welcome to season two where everything has changed. The curse is broken, but Snow and Charming are in two different worlds and Emma has returned to the land where she was born—but it is a broken land as Storybrooke is broken. Magic doesn't work right and danger is everywhere…and it could take us all season to reunite the Charming family, for Snow and Emma to overcome their separation, and can Aurora rescue her prince after he sacrificed himself to save her?  

What survivors are there in the Safe Haven?  Who is the Mysterious Man?  Was Pinocchio restored? With Snow back to herself, can Emma handle just how much of a badass her mom can be?  And what about their memories? They remember both lives—will they be able to handle that?

So many questions.

Personally, I can't wait to take this journey with them.


  1. Another idle thought on the episode - fairytale land is cracked so have all those who were behind ended up in a Shrek like world such as when Farquad pushed them all out