Once Upon a Time 2.01: Broken

It say says a lot about the show runners behind Once Upon a Time that they’ve taken what seemed like something that would span the entire length of the show, and ditched it after just one season. It says even more that they’re able to use that as a stepping stone for bigger and better things. Broken was all about kicking things up a notch; it was intense, exciting, cohesive and one of the greatest episodes the show has put out so far. Season 2 is looking good, people.

The cold open aside (which I’ll discuss further on), Broken picked up seconds from where the finale let up. The curse was broken, and magic had been unleashed on the town. There was that initial state of confusion, which we saw partially in A Land Without Magic, but more importantly, there were the reunions we’d been waiting a whole year for, and they were perfect; cheesy, sure, but incredibly moving and all kinds of intense.

Naturally the most important of these was the big family reunion between Snow, Charming and Emma, whose headmost reaction was her standard blow it off approach. You can’t blame her really, if I’d found out all the things she had in such a short space of time I’d want multiple bottles of wine to dull the shock, maybe a few sterilizers, too. Then there’s the fact that she’s still burdened with all those childhood abandonment issues; her parents may have let her go with good reason, but they still let her go, and that’s enough to still sting all these years later. The premiere had a lot of moving parts, but the most prominent one was this story, and it’s what carried the episode straight through to Snow’s sacrifice in the final few seconds.

We already saw Rumple reunite with Belle, so this episode moved right past the honeymoon phase, and right into what makes them work as a couple. Belle’s shock at his hostility and rage makes sense; his love for her fell second behind his vengeance. But then she remembered just why she fell in love with him, he needs her, and she needs him. I’ve said it before, but I’m really happy Emilie’s been made a regular. There’s a lot of ground the show can cover with this sort of relationship, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much Belle’s constant presence changes Rumple.

One relationship that didn’t stand the test of love here was Regina and Henry’s, a relationship I’m actually surprised to see carry so much weight. Regina faced aggression and animosity from every corner this week, but the only time when it actually got to her was when it came from Henry. If there’s anything that this episode has proven about her character, it’s that she really does have a lot of love for Henry. Whether or not it comes from a good place I don’t know, but it’s a nice place for her to start out this season.

Now we move on to the flashier stuff. I wasn’t sure that this episode could handle everything it had crammed into it, without feeling bloated and slow, but Broken was really methodical and organized. It didn’t feel like an excuse to mow us over with exposition and crazy twists. The episode’s open suggests and much broader scope than I perceived there to be, with knowledge of the curse extending beyond Storybrooke and into the real world. I wonder how Renee fits into all of this...

If you’ve read some of my other reviews, you’ll know I prefer new characters to get a slower introduction, instead of being forced in on top of us, but in this instance, I think I’ll let it go. Sure, I struggled with the amount of screen-time that Mulan and co. got over our Storybrooke faves, but the show gave them a lot of dimension, and obviously where the episode ended brought things together, and gave their lengthy scenes a real purpose.

It’s hard to tell whether or not the show will stick with this fun shake up in its narrative for the rest of the season, my guess is they’ll keep it up for a while before mellowing out with a few good flashbacks, and I’m OK with that. Going into this premiere there were a number of things I wanted out of it, and Broken lived up on every front, and then some.

So, where do we go from here? Will Snow and Emma be trapped for the rest of the season? Will Henry ever forgive Regina? Can Regina even begin to earn back his love? And when will Snow get those losers back for calling her a Harlot? We’ll find out soon!



I loved Henry’s little “Grandpa?” moment. So cute, and really well timed.

Rumple kept Belle’s chipped tea cup all this time, which was sweet.

The curse didn’t affect all of the Enchanted Forest, which was how Philip, Mulan and Aurora managed to avoid it.

Does magic change the whole world, or just Storybrooke?

The Wraith was kind of creepy, right? I’m glad to see the show really embrace its dark side; hopefully it’ll run with it for the rest of the season.

Who the hell is Dr. Whale?

I wonder how Mulan really feels about Philip. I assume there’s more to the story than she let on.

Was it Emma who helped bring Regina’s magic back? She seemed all tapped out until they made physical contact.

Pretty Little Liars fans might recognize Julian Morris (He plays Wren on the show) who showed up as Prince Philip, here. He’s one of my biggest TV crushes, so it’s nice to see him elsewhere.

He Said, She Said

Emma: “Of all the scenarios that I concocted, my parents being...I just need a little time, that’s all.”

Jiminy: “Dr. Whale’s whipped everyone into a frenzy, they’re going to Regina’s house. They’re gonna kill her.”
Grumpy: “Great, let’s watch.”

Regina: “You think you’re some heroic prince? Please, you’re nothing but the son of a shepherd."

Rumple: “You must leave, because despite what you hope, I’m still a monster.”
Belle: “Don’t you see? That’s exactly the reason I have to stay.”

Regina: “Henry, I’m sorry.”
Henry: “No you’re not. You really are the evil queen.”

Also posted at Billie Doux.


  1. Hellooo Panda,

    I just realized that I'm the one who got you into this show and you ended up love it even more than me! I'm so glad! But watch out because I'm starting to love it again after last year's final few episodes and this very strong premiere!

    All in all, really enjoyed your review. We agree on pretty much everything except Emilie De Ravin whom I really hate for some reason. I just can't put my finger on it! Oh well, I have a feeling this is going to be one heck of a season so I'm looking forward to discussing it with you!

    By the way, I really am wondering how long Emma and Snow mommy are going to stay trapped in fairytale land? Do you think the show is brave enough to leave them there for the whole season? While that could be kind of cool, I do want them to interact withe everyone is Storybrooke so I hope it's only for a few episodes.

    And Regina is finally going to be multidimensional this year! Finally!

  2. haha, I actually had plans to watch it when I heard about it, but was just waiting a while. I guess I got into it when I saw everyone gushing about it, yourself included ;)

    I doubt they'll stay put for the season, but I'd like to see them explore that part of the universe with present day characters just for fun for a while.

  3. Great review, though I myself was a little disappointed by the premiere. I just really don't like it when things are turned upside-down in an instant and then there isn't time to deal with it. It was a huge letdown for me that everyone remembered their true selves and then the plot moved on instantly. I also wasn't a fan of everyone getting steamrolled by the new characters of the Wraith, Sleeping Beauty, Prince Philip, and Mulan (though I'm thrilled that OUaT just became a fraction less white).

    But I do applaud the very interesting choice that the writers made for this season, that the curse would be broken but everyone still be stuck in Storybrooke and keep their memories from "this" world as well. I think that's awesome because it still keeps our "real world" relevant and everything that happened in it from last season still *matters*. How clever is it that they managed to solve their biggest conflict from episode 1 and still have so much remain?

  4. I disagree. If it were to spend too much time on the fallout, we'd be left with something slow moving, and i know that a lot of people attributed that as one of the first season's biggest faults, though personally I didn't see that a lot of the time.

    And I didn't think the newbies "steamrolled" the older ones, either. At first I did think that was where it was going, but when the episode finished, it all made sense.

    Thank you for reading. It's always interesting to hear some differing opinions.