Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, Jared Gilmore, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Meghan Ory
Writer:
 Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz
Director:
 Ralph Hemecker
Network:
 ABC, Sunday nights, 8 p.m.
Original Telecast:
September 30, 2012

I will say “Broken” is an admirable start to the second season of ONCE UPON A TIME. While we haven’t seen Captain Hook yet (in spite of endless network teases), producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have not finished mining the Disney pantheon, as Mulan (Jamie Chung), Prince Phillip (Julian Morris) and Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger) are all in attendance as we head back to Storybrooke, Maine, the town to which the fairy tale characters had been banished upon being cursed by Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parilla).

However, the story starts in New York City as a young man is walking around to his beat up apartment. Now, looking at him, I’m thinking is this the Mad Hatter/Jefferson (Sebastian Stan). Or it could be August/Pinnochio (Eion Bailey – whose name was suspiciously absent from the credits). Or it’s probably Michael Raymond-James playing a Mysterious Man. Funny thing is, these guys have similar short, dark hair and chiseled faces – come to think of it, so does Julian Morris. In short, it would seem good guys on TV these days all look remarkably similar. Feh.

Anyway, said Mysterious Man arrives in his apartment to find a dove on his windowsill that has left a postcard with one word on it: “Broken.” But from there, we move to a barren landscape with two riders galloping toward a castle. Yep, it’s Prince Phillip and a person heavily masked in Asian armor (who is exactly who you think she is). Sure enough, Aurora is sleeping away among the leafless vine branches and is awakened, well, only after Phillip tells his companion, “We won’t tell her everything yet.”

And, finally, we get back to Storybrooke, where everyone is coming awake and remembering who they are, except for Emma (Jennifer Morrison), who’s more than a little nonplussed at the moment. Well, heck. She’s the one who grew up in our modern, magic-less world. Surprise, surprise, she’s a little weirded out to find that her long-lost parents are Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). Of course, Leroy/Grumpy (Lee Aronberg) has to wonder why they’re still in Storybrooke when they should be in their fairy tale world. But, see, there was that purple cloud Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) conjured up to bring the magic back, and another catch that was Regina’s fault.

Gold, however, has more reason than the rest of the townsfolk to be torqued at Regina. He’s been reunited with Belle (Emilie de Ravin), but has found out that Regina has been keeping Belle in an insane asylum all this time – not good for the old anger issues, you know? Belle extracts a promise from Gold that he won’t give in to his anger and kill Regina, which he promises – but you know Rumpelstiltskin and his loopholes. And Regina is pretty much on everyone’s you-know-what list, with the entire town assembling to kill her.

Henry (Jared Gilmore), Emma’s son and Regina’s by adoption, doesn’t want them to kill Regina. Snow White/Mary Margaret and James/Charming/David and oddly enough, Emma, all stand up and agree that this is not who they are and agree to save Regina. Regina, knowing that magic is back decides to rely on her powers, but they aren’t working so well, either.

In the Sleeping Beauty castle, Phillip accidentally unleashes a terrible, dark spirit floating through the air. Hmm. It would appear that producers Kitsis and Horowitz aren’t just going to mine Disney, but Harry Potter’s world, as well. Can you say Dementors? I knew you could. This creature not only looks suspiciously like a Dementor, it also sucks people’s souls out of them, as we find out later. Its prey is marked by a pendant that Phillip just happens to pick up and hold in his hand. Oops.

But guess who has the pendant in Storybrooke? Mr. Gold does, and he does take the precaution of putting on gloves to handle it before he presses it into Regina’s hand, and then goes and unleashes the demen- I mean wraith.

Mary Margaret, despite David’s not so gentle suggestion to leave things alone, insists on talking to Emma, who blurts out that she got to live her life alone without them. Yes, she saved them and they did do the right thing, but she was still alone.  Mary Margaret points out, if they hadn’t sent her away, she’d have been cursed like them. Ah, but Emma would still have been with her parents and which curse was worse?

The wraith comes to town and David, Mary Margaret and Emma fight it off long enough to save Regina for the nonce. In the meantime, Belle is very angry and disgusted with Mr. Gold because while he didn’t break his promise technically, he did set the wraith on Regina. Regina, for her part, figures the only way to get the wraith away from her is to banish it to the fairy tale world – a world that sort of no longer exists because Regina made a point of destroying it with her curse. There is one slight chance. Using Jefferson/The Mad Hatter’s magic hat, Regina should be able to create a portal to that world and send the wraith into oblivion.

It takes some doing – Regina’s magic isn’t all it used to be – but the portal works. A little too well. Emma and Mary Margaret get sucked into it. Even more interesting, Regina’s magic is back. Henry, however, starts to reject her and convinces her that if she really loves him, she’ll get Emma and Mary Margaret back.

In the fairy tale world, the wraith has hunted Phillip down, and promptly sucked his soul. So Aurora lays him out on her old bed and Mulan tells her that the curse, did, indeed thrash things and stopped time for 28 years. There was one small part of the world that was a haven and they have to go there now. However, while looking around at the old castle courtyard, the two find something really interesting under the rubble: Emma and Snow White/Mary Margaret. Mulan says they are why the wraith came to town, which does not bode well for Emma and Snow, but should make for an interesting new season.

AGREE? DISAGREE? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD – COMMENT BELOW

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