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Once Upon a Time: The Broken Kingdom

“Stop trying to mend that sword or your marriage, and your kingdom, will be broken forever.”

‘The Broken Kingdom’ is full of contrived events and forced character beats. There’s very little about Arthur and Guinevere’s past that felt organic, and while the story itself is interesting, the execution of this week’s flashbacks left a lot to be desired.

Bringing Lancelot back into the fold, however flimsy the reasons for it are, was a good decision on the writers’ part. He adds a bit of familiarity to Arthur and Guinevere’s history that, to us seasoned Once viewers, is full of new faces and unknown dynamics. I even like the idea that Guinevere fell for Lancelot when Arthur was too preoccupied with fulfilling his duty to make Camelot a true kingdom.

Unfortunately, the whole thing felt rushed and awkward. Lancelot and Guinevere falling for one another happened too quickly and Arthur’s descent into madness was difficult to comprehend. I think that the history itself sounds good on paper, but this episode really missed the mark in terms of execution and selling the events to the audience.

I liked that we didn’t see much of present day Storybrooke this week, though. Keeping the episode locked into the six weeks previous scenes and Arthur and Guinevere’s flashbacks was clearly a better option than trying to cram in development in the present day just for the sake of it. That being said, I am anxious to head back to it next week to see how Emma’s plan to use Rumple and Merida works out (yay for obligatory Disney references!).


I love that Guinevere fought off the Darkness with fire. If it was as easy as that, why didn’t team Charming think of it?

How long did Emma have Merida chained to the front of her bug? Since she got back? Did she feed her? How did she pee?

If Arthur and Guinevere grew up together, why is her accent still so strong when she’s an adult?

He Said, She Said

Guinevere: “Stop trying to mend that sword or your marriage, and your kingdom, will be broken forever.”
Arthur: “And what if I can’t?”
Guinevere: “Then I’ll follow my heart.”

Emma: “You see, there’s a guy I know – you wouldn’t like him, he’s a real coward – but for me to get what I want, that needs to change. I need you to make him just like you. I need you to make him Brave (tm).”

I think there’s a lot more that can be done with the Dark Swan arc, but the Camelot dribble is causing it to lose its way. If the show can start to sell the inclusion of these characters a bit better, and use them in a more streamlined way, then we can start to enjoy their part in the Dark Swan saga. Until that happens, I will continue to roll my eyes every time Arthur mentions rebuilding Camelot in a tiny village in Maine.

2 out of 5 fake daggers

Originally posted at PandaTV.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, I thought this was SO boring. I don't really care for these characters, and the whole Guinevere forced by magic to stay with Arthur is just so distateful; this show's relationship with rape storylines that they don't seem to understand are rape is awful (I mean, the whole Evil Queen/Huntsman, and the Zelena/Robin bit, too, and now this? UGH).

    They need to get back on track. Honestly, this season was supossed to be all about the Dark Swan, and we've barely seen her! They should be giving us more about the Charmings, Regina and Henry and how they're dealing with the whole darkness thing, something more raw and emotional. I'm honestly not interested in Arthur's path to madness, or his bro-dates with Charming, Jesus. I mean, has there even been a scene with Snow and Emma talking about her darkness or something a little bit more interesting?

    Anyway, I did notice that the flowers Arthur gives Guinevere are also present when Regina is with Robin and later in the field with Hook and Emma. Is this clever foreshadowing for bad times for these couples? Or just coincidence?

    Also, the Lancelot/Guinevere scene with the darkness was a perfect paralell to Emma and Regina in the season 4 finale. Was that intentional?


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