Review: Once Upon A Time – Broken


By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

Oh, ye reader of this Once Upon a Time recap, be forewarned! Should you choose to delve into this recap and unlock the secrets of the second season premiere episode, “Broken,” it is a foregone conclusion that all magic will be lost should you decide to watch it fresh on your own. So, should you still choose to travel down the yellow brick road into a world of fantasy and wonder while knowing what lies ahead, please, dear reader, venture forth. . . in other words, SPOILERS BELOW!

We open on a horse and buggy, apparently in the fairytale land, but oh wait no, we’re just in Central Park in NYC. And we follow a man down the subway, up into his small apartment, where he drops his phone out of his window as he tries to close it. At that time, a dove flies by; leaving a postcard that says “broken” with a picture saying, “Greetings from Storybrooke”. The true identity of this man who somehow escaped Storybrooke is yet to be known.

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, after joyously greeting their friends once again, Snow and Charming are overjoyed to finally meet Emma with the knowledge that she is their daughter.  But as happy as they are, Emma is less so.  Despite intellectually understanding that they sent her away to save her from the curse, she can’t help but feel abandoned and needs time to come to terms with this new family dynamic.  Henry seems to have less trouble, jokingly calling Charming “grandpa.”

Dr. Whale (Who???), still upset from what Regina did to everyone with the curse, whipped some townspeople into a frenzy and descended on Regina’s house for some payback.  Henry begged his family to step in to defend Regina, insisting that as terrible as she is, she’s still his mother.  The Charming family stepped in, diffused the mob and locked Regina up in the town jail.  But she’s incredibly confused because her former telekinetic powers aren’t coming back to her, despite the big purple cloud that rolled through the town.

Mr. Gold, after reuniting with Belle at the end of the season one finale, is understandably upset that Regina hid Belle from him all this time.  He wants the Queen to pay, but Belle appeals to his kinder nature and asks him not to give in to his hate.  He takes her back to his shop and then goes to pay Regina a visit, marking her with a special medallion that is intended to sic a wraith on her.  He intends for her to have her soul sucked out.  This, of course, did not sit well with Belle when she learned what he had done.  Despite his apologies, she ran out on him, only to return later because she had nowhere else to go.  In an act of self-sacrifice, Mr. Gold asked Belle to leave, convinced that he cannot be the man that she wants him to be, but she believes that is the reason she needs to stay.

Back in a part of the fairy tale land that was never touched by the original curse, Phillip bends down to kiss a sleeping princess, who happens to be Princess Aurora, while an armor-clad warrior patrols the area, making sure everything is okay. Once Aurora is awakened, she and Prince Phillip have their reunion, a Dementor… wait, no, that’s Harry Potter. A soul-sucking wraith appears to take the soul of one of the trio. Phillip decides to help fight off this wraith with the warrior, who happens to be Mulan. After a brief escape from the wraith, and learning they’ve all been sleeping / frozen in time for twenty-eight years, Phillip decides that one of them will have to be sacrificed in order to get the wraith away. Being the noble Prince he is, he runs off, taking the wraith with him, eventually making a stand and allowing the wraith to take his soul to dispose of it and save his true love, Aurora.

Back in Storybrooke, a wraith arrives and goes after Regina, who is locked in jail, but Charming, Snow and Emma are there to save the day as heroes. After the Charming family (sans Henry) save Regina from the wraith attack, they decided to help her banish the wraith for good.  Her plan was to open a portal to the fairytale world and banish the wraith there.  But the plan went to hell when Emma and Snow accidentally got sucked into the portal themselves.  On the other side, Mulan and Aurora saw their new guests and are convinced that they’re evil beings brought to their world by the wraith.  In Storybrooke, Henry is horrified to learn that his mother and grandmother have disappeared and he insists that Regina figure out a way to get them back.  Until then, he’s going home with Charming.

Overall, “Broken” was a gripping and wonderfully plotted hour. None of the scenes felt extraneous and although there was definitely a lot of plot and set-up to get through in forty-two minutes, the story was paced well and fluid despite jumping around. The scene where Snow and Emma are sucked into the portal looked awful and was by far my least favorite part of the entire episode, but it was brief and can be forgiven. I think Horowitz and Kitsis have pointed the show in a compelling direction with plenty of new mysteries to unravel, and I’m eager to see how magic affects our world.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


  1. AmyOctober 2nd, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Great review! I thought the wraith was poorly done but am wiling to overlook that because the rest of the episode was fabulous.

  2. DannyOctober 2nd, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    1. Is it possible that the wraith/dementor were the same one in both worlds?
    2. I thought the magic hat gave you options/doors that you go through to choose what world you want to enter, so why didn’t that happen?
    3. What, no mention of Snow’s one night stand with Whale? Seriously? That was so funny!
    “You had a one night stand?” “We were cursed!” Ahem, Mr. Unnecessarily Offended, you were fake married to whats her face for a long time. I’d call that a more than one night stand.
    4. Anyone else not get wtf Mulan has to do with Sleeping Beauty? All of this is super Disney-esque anyway. Even the fairly world costumes look a lot like their Disney counterparts, which is probably not how they were meant to look in the world of the Grimm bros. Not super important, but it still kinda bugs me that the show does this. Where’s the authenticity! (Okay a lot of these stories initially had way worse things in them that are not appropriate for family friendly television so I guess my complaint is not all that grounded, but whatever)
    5.5. Rump’s son perhaps? Proably not, but perhaps? I just really want to see him.
    6. Seriously Belle? Why? Whyyyyy? He’s evillllllll.
    7. Does all of the magic come from Emma seeing as when she touched Regina she magically got some magic?
    8. Does anyone else find it confusing that all of the characters flip flop on what they refer to each other as? Charming called Snow White “Snow” to her face but called her “Mary Margaret” to Henry and other people be flip flopping too.
    9. I am way too invested in this hence my long rant of questions.
    10. The promo that came on after the show! AHHHHH!!!!

  3. PeavesOctober 3rd, 2012 at 8:35 am

    About Wraith./Dementor there’s also Shakespeare’s ID’s who are similar…

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