Once Upon A Time: Broken Review

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Once Upon A Time is…a lot to cover. That being said, this is going to be covering season 2 of said show. So, if you haven’t seen season 1, then beware of spoilers, because there be lots.

Once Upon A Time comes from writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz of Lost fame, and airs on ABC (Disney’s non cable channel…well one of them). In a nutshell, it follows the lives of your standard Disney characters, with quite a few twists and generally unfilled back story filled in, including the main character being Snow White and Prince Charming’s lost baby. However, it could also be said that it’s Disney’s answer to the decades of complaints that their misogynistic portrayals of women and gender roles throughout their films. This is mainly in reference to the princesses, and in Once Upon A Time’s case, it focuses on revamping perhaps Disney’s most useless princess of all, Snow White. Beyond just her however, Belle, Cinderella, and as of this episode, Aurora/Sleeping Beauty have been revamped to be slightly less useless (except in the case of Belle who was always a badass. She actually hasn’t been done justice just yet.) The only main princess not even mentioned yet has been Ariel, and I think that’ll remain until a higher budget 3rd season. Damn ocean scenes. It also helps that the top billed members of the cast are Ginnifer GoodwinJennifer Morrison, and Lana Parrilla. See? Disney loves women in power roles! And this show has em in spades y’all.

So, with that brief and hardly all encompassing intro, we’ll jump into season 2′s opener, Broken.

Our World

Last I saw him he was a vampire hating serial killer. What’s this boy up to now?

Everyone remembers! With Mr.Gold having loosed magic upon our world, and Emma having lifted the curse (partially anyway), Storybrooke is kind of muddled. Magic is back, but as everyone keeps saying “Magic is different here.” The only one with any firm hold on it seems to be Mr. Gold, as Regina fails to use magic when confronted with an angry mob of townsfolk. The only thing stopping them from burning her at the stake is the joint efforts of Emma, Snow White/Mary Margaret, Prince Charming/David, and Henry, who proclaims that “She’s still my mom.” For her safety, and because she is pretty much a criminal of epic rapport, Emma locks Regina in a cell, and they trot off to find Mr. Gold. Only, he’s waiting around the corner and pops out to confront Regina for having kept Belle hostage all this time. Angry, he marks her with a symbol that will cause a wraith he summoned earlier to track Regina down and suck out her soul. He then runs off to prepare to leave Storybrooke with Belle. Only, he has to face down Emma and her parents first. Having betrayed Emma, Mr. Gold asks for a truce and to be left alone. He then casually mentions that Regina will be dealt with, and the trio runs off to try and stop the wraith. They arrive just in time, and fend it off, but Regina says they must send it to the oblivion that was the Fairytale world to really be rid of it. They attempt to use the mad hatter’s hat to do so, which only works when Emma touches Regina’s arm, activiating the hat’s (or perhaps Regina’s) latent magic. The wraith is sucked in, but manages to take Emma as well, which prompts Snow White to jump in as well. David is stuck here however, and confronts Regina, who causes vines to sprout from the wall to snare him. She threatens, Henry pleads, and Henry and David go off to plan on how to get Emma and Snow back.

Review

About damn time…

Now I’ll be honest. Season 1 was great, despite what I thought was a shaky finale. It seemed Emma accepted the curse and her role in all of it a little too quickly, so I was a little worried that they’d have her just be ecstatic to find her real parents. I was pleased to see that they’re going to drag it out. For at least 2 episodes.

The opener with Renee from True Blood as someone from Fairytale World (which I think is going to be officially dubbed as The Enchanted Forest) who isn’t in Storybrooke is compelling. A little jarring, as I thought I had picked the wrong show on Hulu when it started. But interesting nonetheless. My guess on his identity? The March Hare. But the only reason for that is the ‘Cleaner & Hatter’ sign on his wall. The only other distinguishing feature of his humble (and probably overpriced) apartment is a bunch of bowling trophies and other bowling type things. I’ve read elsewhere that he may be Baelfire, Rumpelstiltskin’s son, but I don’t see anything pointing to that. And while we’re on the topic of who’s who, skeezy Dr. Whale’s Fairytale identiy is called into question by David, and he avoids answering. The only Disney womanizer I can think of off the top of my head is Gaston, but we’ve seen him, so I can’t recall anyone else.

Everything else in this dimension was delightful. The reunions were heartfelt and believable, although I’ll never get used to hearing Snow White being reffered to as Snow. For some reason it hits me weird. Similarly, I’m still not sold completely on Rumpelstiltskin being the beast half of Beauty and The Beast. But that’s probably because it’s my favorite Disney movie, so I’m a little biased. I’ll get over it. Eventually.

Finally, Regina provides endless delight for me. I was never a fan of Snow White, and Maleficent was always my favorite villain, but this brings the Evil Queen up much higher on the list than before. Beyond that Lana Parrilla plays her excelently, no matter if she’s campy dialogue and slinging spells, leading a town hall meeting, or trying to convince Henry that she loves him. She is one of my new favorite people. For that matter the performances in general tend to be pretty strong, though they may edge into campy world a little much for some people. Her interactions with Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin (or “Rumple” as she calls him) hinted at a farther reaching relationship than I had realized before. That’s something that becomes a plot point in the next episode actually…

Fairytale World

Yay! Mulan!

Meanwhile, in Fairytale world, Prince Philip and Mulan have saved Aurora of Sleeping Beauty fame. It’s been 28 years since they first set out, however time has stopped in their world until very recently (presumably since Emma arrived in Storybrooke). Philip and Aurora have little time to be happy however, as the wraith summoned by Mr. Gold bursts forth, attacking Mulan. Philip fends it off, but not before being marked by it. Despite knowing he is doomed, the group attempt to get a move on and escape the wraith. However Philip decides it’s better to sacrifice himself now than endanger the womenfolk, and sneaks off to lure the wraith to him. The girls get wise and Mulan sets after him, with Aurora warm on her heels. They find him and Mulan says that she’ll take on the mark, sacrificing herself for Philip. Turns out Mulan has fallen in love with Philip during their time together, and would rather him live and be happy then see him die. A noble effort, if ineffective, as the wraith descesnds and kills Philip. The girls are crushed, and return him to Aurora’s tomb, where she slept for 28 years. They then hear a stirring where the wraith originally spewed forth from, and find a knowcked out Emma and Snow White/Mary Margaret. Mulan proclaims that they brought the wraith here, and are therefore responsible. Cue credits.

Review

Last season when we saw Maleficent with Sleeping Beauty no more than receiving a casual mention, I was a little pleased. I love Maleficent. And I love Kristen Bauer. It was all lovely. But it was still nice to see Aurora’s debut in the season premiere. Until she opened her mouth. They’ve made her a much more bratty princess than the others they’ve revamped, and I found myself cringing at her. And she had only been there for a few minutes. Yeesh.

Beyond her appearance however, I was excited for Mulan. And I enjoyed her performance, even it was a bit over serious for her character. But it’s been a long 28 years I suppose. Oh and her world was torn apart. I guess that’d mellow me out a bit too. But my biggest gripe with her is that she fell in love with Philip. I thought it was a weak tie in for her character to be invested, when I would have totally believed all of her actions had they merely been fueled for the sake of honor. But no. They made her fall in love with the white boy. Whatevs.

Beyond that, I thought this side of the dimensional barrier was good too. It’s the first time we’ve seen an episode showing the present time in both worlds, and it looks like that’ll continue with Emma and Snow White stuck there for a while. I’m interested to know why that area of fairytale world was spared. My guess is Maleficent, but I may be biased. Plus she’s been trapped under Storybrooke’s library, though we don’t know for how long. Plus she knew of Regina’s plans. So there’s plenty of leeway.

Anywhoozle, over all I think it was a great premiere. It jumped right into the action and asked as many questions as it answered from last season. Delicious.

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