Once Upon A Time 2.01 “Broken” TV REVIEW(opens in new tab)
Writer: Jane Espenson
Director: Dean White
VERDICT A solid second episode, penned with an amazing eye for detail by Jane Espenson. The bible for this show has to be the size of an aircraft carrier, with so many storylines to keep going in not one but two universes – the writing team must lie awake at night worrying about contradicting something! Tying the plot strands together, as happens here, must be really tough, but it's achieved with aplomb... although – one sequence with Regina threatening the townsfolk aside – it's not the most action-heavy plot.
This is because this episode explores a fascinating piece of backstory: we see Regina rejecting her mother's evil magical ways before meeting with Rumpelstiltskin and realising that they are her only option... and the same thing happens in Storyville, too, as she sees young Henry looking at her with the same fear and hatred she used to reserve for her mum. What goes around comes around, eh? Thankfully Regina backs down and returns Henry to his family, although we doubt that her sudden change of heart will be the herald of her turning full-on good guy. Either way, Lana Parrilla delivers a fantastic performance yet again, both as young and old Regina, and Barbara Hershey as Cora is deliciously wicked.
The aftermath of the spell being lifted is this episode's B-story, with the residents of Storyville discovering that they're unable to leave the town's boundary without losing their memories and becoming ordinary residents again. This news really annoys Rumpel, who smashes up his shop as a result – where was he planning to go, exactly? Somewhere with a Starbucks?
The only thing that doesn't quite work is the supposedly uplifting speech delivered by David at the end to keep the townsfolk from leaving Storybrooke; it's probably supposed to be rousing, but it comes over as a little drab and hackneyed. Oh well.
MY BRAIN HURTS! The residents of the Enchanted Forest not only have their old memories back but have also retained their Storyville memories. As David explains to Henry, he didn't know anything about the Mad Hatter when he was Charming, but he does remember reading Alice In Wonderland in Storybrooke. Okay, so there's magic involved, but surely two sets of memories like this would send some people insane? You'd go bonkers trying to sort them out, wouldn't you? We don't envy these guys...(opens in new tab)
PARENTING 101 Hey Regina: anyone with even a modicum of common sense must know that threatening a town full of people, locking your son up in your house and trapping him in magical tree branches when he tries to escape will not make him love you . It's bullying and kidnapping, pure and simple, and no amount of magically-created cakes will make that change. So why does it take her an entire episode to realise this? She's an evil Queen, yes, but she's not stupid.(opens in new tab)
LOOKY LIKEY Bailee Madison returns to play young Snow; she looks so much like Ginnifer Goodwin that we're convinced they're secretly sisters.(opens in new tab)
APPLE REFERENCE OF THE WEEK Apples are all over the place in this show. The first act of magic Regina performs cures the apple tree in her garden, turning its fruit from black to red.(opens in new tab)
IS IT JUST US, OR…? When David walks into Mr Gold’s store, Rumpel grumbles, “It appears when I bought that 'closed' sign I was throwing my money awa.” Did anyone else yell at their telly, “So why didn't you lock the door, then?”(opens in new tab)
STAN THE MAN The twitchy Mad Hatter pops up in this episode, although don't get used to seeing him – actor Sebastian Stan soon heads off to film Captain America 2 and won't get much screentime this year. However, the Once Upon A Time spin-off, Wonderland, may still feature him; his role is still uncast as we write this...
THIS WEEK'S OPENING CREDITS IMAGE... Tree branches wriggling like creepy tentacles. Oooh!
Regina: “I will not listen to childcare lectures from a man who put his daughter in a box and shipped her to Maine.”
Dr Whale [about the fairies, who lived as nuns in Storybrooke]: “Are the nuns still nuns? Can they, you know, date? Don't say it's me asking.”
New episodes of Once Upon A Time air in the UK on Channel 5, Sundays, 9pm