Once Upon A Time 2.01 “Broken” TV REVIEW
Director: Ralph Hemecker
Writers: Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz
THE ONE WHERE The curse is broken and Emma is finally reunited with her parents. Plus, there are some unwelcome visitors and a few new introductions, including Sleeping Beauty and Mulan.
VERDICT So, the curse is broken and magic has come to Storybrooke – but the magic’s different here. The episode opens with an unfamiliar man in modern day New York finding a postcard (delivered via pigeo post) from Storybrooke with the word “broken” written on it. Who this man is remains a mystery, as he doesn’t appear in the episode again, but it’s an intriguing start to the season.
Back in Storybrooke everyone is doing their whole “I remember you!” hugs shtick, which goes on for a cringey few moments. The smiles seem forced even now, so who knows what’ll happen by the time they’ve all been around each other for a few more episodes. As Snow and Prince Charming realise that Emma is their daughter, they expect everything to be hunky dory. But life isn’t a fairy tale in real life and Emma still seems to have a problem with the whole “abandonment” thing.
With the residents of Storybrooke blaming Regina for their woes, Dr Whale (who refuses to reveal his fairy tale identity) leads an angry mob to the Evil Queen’s door. But of course, the sweet innocence of Henry enables Snow, Prince Charming and Emma to stop the murderous gang. It’s striking that the only person that will save Regina is Henry despite how she’s treated him in the past.
Meanwhile, Rumpelstiltskin/Mr Gold is pissed that Regina kept Belle locked away for 28 years. Understandably, his first thought is to seek revenge and kill Regina despite Belle pleading with him not to. It’s that age-old tale of a good woman wanting to change a troubled man, so it’ll be interesting to see how this relationship plays out. Let’s hope Belle doesn’t stop Rumpelstiltskin having his wickedly fun too early on, as his evil persona is one of the things that keeps the episode interesting.
Promising Belle that he won’t kill Regina, Rumpel twists her words and summons a very Harry-Potter-Dementor-style baddie, here called a Wraith (but it’s fooling no-one) complete with fraying black cape and deathy vibe to kill her for him. It should be super scary (and the FX are good) but instead, it’s a lazy attempt at a monster that we’ve all seen before. Saying that, the whole show is about characters we’re all familiar with from elsewhere.
Whilst Storybrooke is erupting into a frenzy of ticked-off fairy talers who may or may not want Regina dead, the usual parallel story in the enchanted land is taking place. Usually, these are pretty tasty storylines, but unfortunately this week’s offering is a little bland, if not a little annoying. Is Once Upon A Time intentionally making its princesses annoying or desperately trying to make them more interesting (but failing to do so)? Either way, this week’s Sleeping Beauty is mighty irritating. Luckily we also have the seriously awesome Mulan. It’s about time a true kick-ass heroine was introduced to Once Upon A Time and Mulan is the perfect choice. It’s going to be fun with her around.
Unfortunately, after Prince Phillip rescues Sleeping Beauty, he’s marked by a soul sucking wraith and gives his life to protect both Beauty and Mulan. The moment he leans back and says, “I love you,” it’s not quite clear who he is actually saying it to – do we detect some friction ahead between his two girls?
As Emma, Snow and Prince Charming save Regina from the wraith in our world, Regina reveals that the only way to deal with it (because you can’t kill what’s already dead… yeah, that old chestnut) is to banish it to another dimension. Jefferson’s hat is the only portal to other lands, and it turns out Regina had it all along. The hat doesn’t seem to work but thanks to a touch from Emma (interesting) the hat aptly sucks in the soul sucker but not without taking Emma and Snow with it. They all end up in the enchanted forest – yep, the wraith is both storylines is the same wraith. Nice touch.
But Mulan doesn’t seem too pleased to see Emma, claiming she’s the one who caused the devastation of fantasy land.
Overall, “Broken” is a promising introduction to season two. If Rumpel can stay evil for a few more episodes, Mulan gets plenty of screen time and the writers lay off the wholesome family values just a touch, season two might just be great.
ANGRY EXTRA Who is she? We don’t know but BOY SHE’S ANGRY!
BEST OPPORTUNITY FOR A CATFIGHT Aurora accuses Mulan of falling in love with Prince Phillip. FIGHT! FIGHT! FI…oh.
MOST LIKELY TO GET ON YOUR NERVES Ginnifer Goodwin’s sickly sweet Snow side (now it’s allowed free reign in out world) – it might get a little too manic dream pixie girl. That could just be the hair though.
Regina: “What’s that?”
Mr Gold: “The one thing no one can escape – destiny. And I promise; yours is particularly unpleasant.”
Snow: “You’re my daughter and… I want to talk to you. I know that we have talked, but we didn’t know that we were talking. We talked about things that we probably shouldn’t even have talked about. One night stands and the like…”
Charming: “One night stands?”
Charming: (horrified) “Whale!?”
Snow: "We were cursed. That is neither here nor there…"
Once Upon A Time will air in the UK in the new year