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ONCE UPON A TIME Review: Magic Can’t Fix a “Broken Kingdom”

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 8 years ago

ONCE UPON A TIME Review: Magic Can’t Fix a “Broken Kingdom”

By Meredith Loftus

The Camelot plot continues to thicken with “Broken Kingdom.” The curtain has been drawn back, and we are now beginning to see this kingdom for what it truly is. Camelot may be the place of romance, but it also the kingdom of shady business. Is there anyone there we can trust now that we know how Arthur gained the trust of his kingdom? The themes of trust continue to be at the forefront, while the motivations behind certain power plays are beginning to come to the light. Normally this uncertainty would be unsettling, but in fact this makes this arc all the more compelling.

It’s been a little while since the show put focus on Snow and Charming as partners working together; now that their daughter is the new Dark One, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. As parents, Snow and Charming are trying to figure out this new situation. They both want to save their daughter from the darkness as soon as possible, but their opinions on who they should trust create tension between them. At first glance, it really appeared that Charming was willing to put his trust in Arthur, a monarch he just met, over his true love with whom he shares a heart. Snow calls him out on his need for validation as a hero, while Charming questions Lancelot’s trust and Snow’s lack of answers. It’s never easy to see spouses quarrel and to watch Snow appear to go behind her husband’s back made audiences worried. However, they both know where their priorities lie and it’s with Emma and her well-being. They tricked both Arthur and Lancelot in order to determine who they should really trust. Arthur failed that test. Trust can’t be created with some magic sand from Avalon or bribed with a knighthood; it comes from a place of mutual respect and is reinforced by a history of following through for one another. Snow White and Prince Charming not only set the standard for true love on Once Upon A Time but also are a prime example of excellent teamwork built on trust. Couples may disagree on issues, but the ones that last are the ones that are willing to put aside their differences for the sake of the other, and their family. Their hearts physically and metaphorically beat as one.

The Eye of the Storm

While Arthur and Guinevere have a relationship that has turned into manipulation, Emma and Hook’s relationship has grown to a deeper level of faith in their love for one another. Since the beginning of Once Upon A Time Emma Swan has had difficulty trusting people around her. Scarred by past betrayals and a tough upbringing, she built up walls around her heart to protect herself from future hurt. While in many ways it succeeded, it prevented her from opening her heart to a family, a home, and love. As the show has progressed, her walls have slowly begun to come down. In the first two seasons, this was mainly due to Henry and her parents. In recent seasons, the majority of this growth was due to Hook. As their relationship progressed, he has helped her let down her guard and gained her trust, even to the point of telling him she loves him and entrusting him with her heart. He remained patient with her every step of the way, winning her heart because of her choice, not manipulation. He earned it. This in turn has created one of the most beautiful love stories on the show.

This week we’re reminded how love is strength and helps us face our toughest battles. In Camelot, Emma continues to struggle with war that is waging in her. Darkness bears a heavy toll on her, and it’s starting to look easier just to give in. Hook has experienced his own demons and darkness and understands the burden on Emma. He takes Emma away from the castle to fight the darkness in a different way. Together, he helps her clear her head by just riding off together and letting the adrenaline of riding keep the darkness at bay. He asks her to put her faith in him and their future together, to trust him with her heart, and to fight this war together because he will never stop fighting for them. By focusing on being in the moment with him, the darkness is temporarily kept away, which gives this couple the chance to enjoy a quiet moment together, blissfully in love. The war is far from over, and Hook has no memory of this precious moment in present-day Storybrooke. That doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Emma is in full Dark Swan mode yet we see her tenderly holding on to the pink rose that Hook gave her. She is still holding on to that sweet time; the real Emma is still in there, constantly fighting with the darkness. Even though his memories have not been restored yet, her pirate’s promise still holds true: he will never stop fighting for them and their future together, white picket fence and all.


Worth Mentioning

  • Hands down the most adorable scene was Henry talking with Emma and Hook about Violet, and then Emma and Hook proceeding to spy on the young couple together. Emma was the overprotective mother and Hook looked like a proud father. I couldn’t have asked for a cuter scene!
  • In the season premiere, we found out that Dark Ones take on hobbies to take the place of sleeping. Rumple’s hobby was spinning straw into gold. Now Emma has taken up the hobby of making dreamcatchers. Perhaps she thinks that it will keep the Darkness’s voice outside her head.
  • Now that we saw how the Rumple got the gauntlet from Guinevere, the real question is will this gauntlet be used again in this season. If so, who will use it?
  • Quote of the episode belongs to Regina when talking about Snow and Charming: “They will outlive cockroaches.” Speaking of Regina, I wonder how long it will take for her and Robin to realize Arthur’s manipulation over Snow and Charming.
  • Anyone else wondering what Zelena doing when left to her own devices, since Regina was busy working with Snow and Charming in this episode? I’m sure she’s up to her own wicked schemes.
  • Emma still managed to rip out Merida’s heart but not to crush it. It’s going to be very interesting how this brave heroine will do Dark Swan’s bidding while it contradicts her character as a hero.
  • The use of the pink roses throughout the episode was a great symbol of pure and delicate love. The episode started with Arthur giving Guinevere a pink rose at the height of their love for one another. Lancelot uses those pink roses as a gift to Guinevere to remind her of that love. At the end of episode, Hook gives Emma a pink rose and they share a quiet moment at the current high point of their relationship, and Dark Swan holding on to that symbol.
  • It was revealed that Merlin has been stuck in that tree long before Arthur became king. In fact, Merlin communicated with Arthur while in the tree. What I want to know is how Merlin got in there in the first place and how he was able to interact with a young Emma in our realm!
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