Broken Review | Once Upon a Time Season 2, Episode 1

Mr. Gold comes up with a creative way to get revenge on Regina, and new characters Aurora, Phillip and Mulan fight against a wraith in the Enchanted Forest.

Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Jared S. Gilmore, Meghan Ory, and Robert Carlyle

Season 2
Episode 1: Broken


In New York City, another stranger receives a postcard delivered by a dove. The postcard simply reads “Broken”, while the picture upon it is of Storybrooke.

In Storybrooke itself, the newly liberated fairytale characters embrace and celebrate being back together. Nobody is more content than Snow and Charming, who are relieved to finally have their daughter, Emma, in their lives, even though Emma is significantly more cagey over the experience, and doesn’t want to talk about it. A mob of townspeople descend upon Regina’s mansion, keen to gain revenge for the curse that she enacted upon them, but they are stopped by Emma. They place Regina in jail for her own protection. Gold had promised Belle that he wouldn’t kill Regina in revenge for Belle being locked up as a prisoner in Storybrooke’s asylum for 28 years, but he still marks her with a wraith’s talisman, and uses his Dark One dagger to summon a wraith, which will consume Regina’s soul. When Belle learns that Gold has actively deceived her, even though he protests that he himself is not killing Regina, she leaves him. When the wraith attacks, Snow manages to fend it off using alcohol and a lighter to create a flamethrower. Though David tries to suggest that they leave Regina to her fate, Emma has made a promise to Henry to protect Regina, as she is still Henry’s mother. They concoct a plan to use Jefferson’s hat to relocate the wraith to the Enchanted Forest where it cannot hurt anybody, as they believe that the Enchanted Forest was destroyed when the Dark Curse was cast. The plan succeeds, but only when Emma helps Regina to activate the magic hat. The portal created not only takes the wraith into oblivion, but also Emma, causing Snow to willingly jump in after her. The portal shuts before David can follow either of them, and he takes care of Henry, who tells Regina that he wants nothing to do with her until she brings Emma and Snow back to Storybrooke again. Elsewhere, Belle returns to Gold, telling him that she’s come back because he is still a monster.

The Enchanted Forest

Prince Phillip awakens Princess Aurora from her cursed sleep with true love’s kiss, before the pair, and their companion Mulan are attacked by a wraith. They manage to drive it off, but Phillip picks up the fallen talisman, marking him with the wraith’s mark. Once the group make camp, Phillip sneaks off so that the wraith doesn’t harm the others. Mulan and Aurora work out that he is missing, and pursue him. Though Mulan offers to take the mark from Phillip so that he and Aurora can be together, Phillip willingly gives himself to the wraith, his final words as his soul is sucked from his body being “I love you”.

It is then revealed by the company that they are in the Enchanted Forest after the curse. Mulan explains to Aurora that while she was asleep, everybody was frozen in time for 28 years until time resumed, which enabled her and Phillip to continue on their quest to find her. Mulan also reveals that the Dark Curse affected other areas of the Enchanted Forest, but for some reason, the area they were in was protected. As a result of the curse, the land is now ravaged and dangerous, and a safe haven has been established out of the survivors of the curse. Before the pair can make their way there, however, they discover Snow and Emma unconscious under some debris, and attribute the wraith’s arrival to them.

In Short

  • Gold targets Regina with a wraith’s mark as revenge for Regina’s capture of Belle.
  • They rid Storybrooke of the wraith by using Jefferson’s hat, but Emma and Snow get sucked through the portal as well.
  • The wraith menaces Aurora, Phillip and Mulan, and kills Phillip in part of the Enchanted Forest that was unaffected by the Dark Curse for unknown reasons.
  • Emma and Snow have arrived in the Enchanted Forest.


  • Let’s play Where’s Raphael Sbarge this week? Oh my god, guys, we don’t have to anymore! He’s not in the regular cast! Finally, somebody in payroll cottoned on to his money making schemes. Blessed be.
  • Speaking of the regular cast, two more cast members have been added: Emilie de Ravin as Belle, and Meghan Ory as Red Riding Hood, which is brilliant news for me as I adore both of their characters and can’t wait to see some more from them.
  • Speaking of new characters, Aurora and Mulan have also been introduced, and I already adore them. Aurora is plucky and independent, while Mulan has the physicality and strength to back up her adventurous spirit, though can be quite abrasive. I’m not entirely sure if I’m fond of the whole rivalry that went down this week with Aurora assuming that Mulan must be in love with Phillip – I mean, they are literally the only three people we know of existing in this area at this time, and yet they’re still managing to fight about a boy. Boring.
  • Speaking of frustrations, I am irritated by the direction that Belle’s storyline took in this episode. I am all for Belle and Rumple/Gold sticking together, but the whole concept that she must stay with him because he is still evil is such a damaging impression to give. It is not Belle’s duty to “fix” Gold just because she loves him. Sure, it would be nice if they could be together in a healthy way, but Gold has shown time and time again that power matters to him more than anything else, so ultimately I feel like Belle is just setting herself up for failure and more heartbreak and hurt. The whole concept of changing a person is hideously romanticised and I am not here for that, regardless of how much they love each other.
  • We were back with a bang at the beginning of season 2! What a way to introduce magic to Storybrooke – with a malevolent wraith spiralling around? It’s also adding so much more danger to those moments in the show because, unlike with the flashbacks we normally get treated to, now we genuinely have no idea which characters are going to make it through those scenarios.
  • It was interesting that Regina didn’t have her magic back initially until Emma touched her and turned Jefferson’s hat with her, so I wonder whether Emma gave her a magical boost somehow, as she didn’t seem to have any struggle holding David back with vines, nor did she seem surprised that this happened either.
  • I am intrigued by Dr Whale. We haven’t seen any Storybrooke flashbacks about him, but he’s clearly quite vindictive, and Charming doesn’t recognise him either. I fear that he might be malevolent in some way.
  • I loved the format of this episode, having two concurrent storylines but them not being flashbacks was so refreshing. The format of a flashback and current storyline in each episode is sometimes draining, so it was nice to see this slightly switched up, and I hope that the show has the confidence to do this more often, as it can get a little bit stale. Now that Emma and Snow are in the Enchanted Forest, I hope that we can continue to explore the two locations without leaning too much on flashbacks: I feel like we know enough about our established characters, for the most part, and don’t need to have much more exposition on that front.
  • It’s so frustrating that there can’t even just be a moment of grace within this show. While I am excited to see what happens moving forwards, and how Emma and Snow are going to find their way back from the Enchanted Forest, it’s really irritating that there couldn’t have been one episode where everybody was just back together and happy before something else happens that disrupts everything.
  • I really enjoyed the reunion between Snow, Charming and Emma. It was thoroughly realistic for how Emma is feeling. While Snow and Charming just want to jump straight into them being families – since they have been expecting this and building up to this throughout their cursed existence – Emma is understandably more cautious, and cannot conjure up a familial connection out of nowhere. From her point of view, Mary Margaret and David were just her friends mere moments ago, and now she has to completely reconceptualise them into being her parents, not to mention the fact that Emma has been dealing with the emotional ramifications of their abandonment her entire life. Just because they are now here, and her growing up away from them wasn’t in fact because they didn’t want her doesn’t erase that story of hurt and loss that she has felt while growing up. Explaining the situation doesn’t reverse that trauma, so I liked the way that Emma was sort of shut off to that conversation and didn’t want to engage with it.
  • The plus side of Emma and Snow being relocated to the Enchanted Forest together does give them ample time to reconcile these multiple personas and move forwards together. It’s also interesting pairing Henry with David, two characters we have barely seen interact, and it will be interesting to see how David will cope without Snow/Mary Margaret around, especially with a town to rebuild. At least having Snow out of the way will somewhat distill the animosity between her and Regina as the town moves forwards. It might have been interesting for it to have been Emma and David who had gone through to the Enchanted Forest together, as they are two characters we haven’t seen interact terribly much in Storybrooke, so it would be nice to see their familial relationship be invested in a bit more moving forwards.
  • Henry’s having a bit of a whiplash of emotions in this episode, which is somewhat frustrating. I love the fact that he still displays affection towards Regina and, even though he has spent most of the last season complaining that she is the Evil Queen, he ultimately doesn’t want her to die because he is his mum, even with Emma in the picture also. This was a refreshing change, and definitely complicated matters, particularly for our heroes. It would be entirely out of character for Snow and Charming to punish Regina (even though she definitely deserves some sort of punishment) but the Henry of it all makes it more difficult, and forces the characters to actively confront these tricky situations. It would be nice to see more of Regina being parental towards Henry, like we saw in the previous season finale. However, Henry’s abrupt change at the end of the episode, and the assumption of the worst in Regina was quite a change, back to last season’s personality, and I find that a bit jarring and frustrating.
  • I am intrigued by who this mysterious new stranger is. I say new stranger because we had the exact same situation with August before, in the last season. That postcard is significant. I assume that the message saying “Broken” means that the curse is broken. As for who sent it, the only valid assumption I have is August. The chief reason for that being that he is the only inhabitant of Storybrooke, other than Emma, who might have connections in the greater world, thus enabling him to have met this person. As for the identity of this man? Absolutely no idea, but I’d guess that he is connected to August or connected to Emma, since both of them have actually had lives away from the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke. I’m not sure what the situation with August is, however, because he wasn’t in this episode at all, despite being turned into a puppet during the first season finale. I was anxious to see if the curse breaking, and magic returning, might have meant a resurrection, but he is no longer on the main cast list, so it doesn’t look entirely promising. If it’s at least referenced, however, I will at least have a sense of closure okay?!
  • I genuinely have no idea what to even expect of the next episode. Presumably, Emma and Snow will discover the sanctuary of the survivors in the Enchanted Forest, and potentially the present dangers that are still there. Within Storybrooke, it’s anybody’s guess, but now that Regina has her magic back, she might be attempting to find further ways to make other people’s lives miserable, unless she takes Henry seriously and at his word and is attempting to get Snow and Emma back.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jenny says:

    I’m about 4 season s ahead of you Mark – thoroughly enjoying reading your first impressions and predictions on how the series will develop


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