Welcome back, everyone! I am so glad our show is back that I'm tempted to just write a gushy review and go to bed (okay, go watch Revenge and 666 Park Ave. and then go to bed) but while I truly enjoyed "Broken," it left me confused and a little concerned.
Concern set in while I was watching the Season 1 recap episode. During it, the narrator repeatedly refers to Charming as "James." I had to explain this to people (not you people) about a dozen times last season, and will do so here, for the sake of new viewers and readers: James was Charming's twin. James is the now-dead prince who was baby-brokered by Rumpy, reared by King George Charles Widmore, and was killed while battling whoever-that-was. Rumpy then went and got Charming, a shepherd boy, to stand in for his dead princely twin.
We don't know Charming's given name, although post-curse Snow does refer to him as "David" in the season premiere, and David is a fine name for a shepherd king, so maybe the mystery is solved. My point, and I do have one -- it seems to me whoever scripted the recap episode, for probably way more money than I'm getting from Tubey, ought to know the name of one of the main characters, or should at least realize his name isn't James. Do you watch your own shows, ABC? There was an entire episode about this.
We open in New York, on a Mysterious Stranger, played by Michael Raymond-Jones. This imdb.com page makes the actor appear as mysterious as his OUAT character. He seemed familiar though, so I looked a little harder and found this page, which totally ruined my, "Now that's type casting" hook for this paragraph, darn it.
Anyhow, while Mysterious Stranger is struggling to shut a window, he drops his iPod. Will insurance cover that? A pigeon pops by, like they do, and leaves behind a Greetings from Storybrooke postcard on the window sill. The back of the card bears one word: "Broken." And then we don't see MS for the rest of the episode, but it takes me a good while to realize he isn't Prince Phillip (who is played by the far less mysterious Julian Morris), which leads me to the...
Enchanted Forest: This week's fairy tale is a mashup of Sleeping Beauty and Mulan. Mulan (Jamie Chung) and Prince Phillip find Aurora (Sarah Bolger). Phillip kisses her. She wakes. Mulan, madly in love with Phillip, resents the heck out of Sleepy and does not go out of her way to hide it. Then a wraith appears, wearing a tacky yuan medallion. Phillip draws his sword and slashes at the wraith. The medallion falls. The wraith flies off. Phillip picks up the medallion, which marks him as the wraith's prey, but he doesn't let his girlfriends know it. Later, he sneaks off to face the wraith alone, but Mulan and Aurora find him just before the wraith sucks out his soul and kills him. And... I just realized I should have discussed the Storybrooke story first this week, so let's just stick a pin in this moment and move on.
Storybrooke: Everyone remembers their real identities. Emma is not nearly as thrilled as her parents, because she spent 28 years feeling unwanted. At some point, Snow explains they stashed her in the enchanted wardrobe so that she'd have a better life. Emma's a little bitter about that, which is both understandable, because she languished in the foster system, and deliciously hypocritical of her, considering she gave up Henry for adoption, and he ended up in the home of the heartless Evil Queen. Nice characterization, Writers.
Dr. Whale (who is he going to be -- right now, my money's on Peter Pan) leads an angry lynch mob to the Mayoral Manse. Emma, Charming, Snow, Red, Granny and the Dwarfs (henceforth known as the Charming Crew) realize, largely thanks to Henry, that they can't let the mob kill Regina. Henry's desire to do the right thing doesn't surprise me. Basing his plea on the fact that Regina is his mom seems to fly in the face of everything he said about her in the first season, but I don't think this is a continuity error. I think this too is some interesting characterization.
The Charming Crew talks down the angry mob, which is handy because when Regina tries to turn the mob into toads, or whatever, her magic flops. Emma ensconces Regina in the town jail to protect her from everyone, and everyone from her. She and her parents go to find Mr. Gold and I don't know how they don't bump into him in the hallway, because as soon as they exit the jail, he enters. He's got the yuan medallion and marks Regina with it -- as payback for what she did to Belle (and despite his promise to Belle that he wouldn't kill Regina). Later, out in the woods, he does a little Dark One Dagger ritual with the medallion and summons the wraith to Storybrooke.
Emma and her parents finally find Gold at his shop. Emma wants to pop him one for double-crossing her and stealing the potion, but Gold points out that Henry's alive and everyone remembers who they are now, so she ought to be thanking him. Just then, the wraith hits town, and it seems in addition to sucking out its preys' souls, its hobbies include blowing paper through town and making streetlights explode. Okay.
Emma and folks return to the jail and shoo the wraith away right while he's giving Queenie the old Dementors' Kiss. Regina says they can send it back to their world, which she claims no longer exists. I'd give her the benefit of the doubt, but first of all, she is Regina, and secondly, she just retrieved an apple from her world, a day ago. Anyhow, she takes her unlikely saviors back to her office where she pulls out Jefferson's magic hat and plays dumb when Emma brings up his name. When the wraith returns for Queenie's soul (my word, the poor critter must be starving, if he'd eat that festering thing), David wards it off with fire as Regina tries to get the hat to work. Her magic is still on the blink, until Emma grabs her arm. The hat begins to spin. A portal opens up. They drive the wraith into it, who must know Middle Earth's Balrog, because as it plummets, it drags Emma down with him. Snow shouts that she can't lose Emma again and jumps in after her daughter. Ditto Charming, but the portal closes while he's in midair and he does a spectacular face-plant on the floor.
By episode's end, Henry arrives and tells Regina he will have nothing to do with her, until she gets Emma and Snow back. He and Charming return to Snow's flat, where the ever original prince promises, "I will find them. I will always find them."
Meanwhile, back in the Enchanted Forest, at the ruins of Aurora's castle, Aurora and Mulan lay Prince Phillip upon the coffinesque bed where Aurora once lay in state. Mulan explains about the 28 years that have passed and gives Aurora the yuan medallion, safely stored in a satin sack. They're about to set out for the one haven left in their world, when they hear a commotion. Buried beneath a pile of rubble, they find Emma and Snow -- unconscious.
The highlight, for me at least, was when Snow waved off Charming's concern about her one night stand with Dr. Whale, with a mere, "We were cursed." Sister has bigger things to worry about than her unwitting adultery, and Charming, of all people, should understand.
I'm concerned that this episode borked the Maleficent timeline, from the second episode. I'll have to go back and watch it, before I do the recap. See, IRS, my occasional DVD deductions are totally legit.
I'm not crazy about Belle returning to Rumpy because he's a monster, but Fairy Tales are hardly the epitome of political correctness, so I'll try to shrug it off, unless I don't. I'm wondering if the Mysterious Stranger will turn out to be Henry's father, and what his fairy tale connection is. Could he be Baelfire? If so, how come he isn't dead (since Bae's story took place centuries before Belle's)? And just who knew enough to send the pigeon and postcard? Oh wait, maybe Bae will be Peter Pan. Argh. My mind it is all a jumble, so let's put this puppy to bed.
I'll be back with the whole story, in the full recap. In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page and then come on over to the forum, where you will always find us.
Welcome back (again, to those of you who read the recaplet). There's nothing like the beginning of a new TV season. Old resentments (except the seething ones I still hold on Graham's behalf) have mellowed. Old critical thoughts have faded from memory. After a long hot, storyless summer, during which I watched way too much political coverage, it feels so good to be able to escape to a world where I can tell someone's lying just by checking to see if that someone's mouth is open. Oh, wait. Well, you know what I mean. We've waited long enough, so let's get to the story, shall we?
We open in New York City. A Mysterious Stranger (Michael Raymond Jones) passes a hansom cab as he makes his way home on foot and via subway. Lou Reed sings him home with "Charley's Girl," which immediately makes me wonder if he's Henry's bio-father. Before I continue, I want to applaud the set decorators on this show. They do such amazing work. The good folks over at TVLine have done a stellar job at highlighting a baker's dozen items of interest in MS's flat. The one thing they can't identify is the picture hanging to the left of MS's door. Other than the "Cleaners & Hatters" sign, that picture is the item that most intrigues me, because it looks so familiar, yet I cannot place it. When I set up my season pass for this show, I forgot to select the HD channel, so I can't get as close a look as I'd like. Is it a grandfather clock? I feel daft admitting this, but it reminds me of something in from the Land of Make-Believe, on Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. Are there children standing before it? Can anyone help me identify this picture? If you know/see anything else, please tweet me your finds. Thanks!
Anyhow, when MS gets home, it's raining. As he struggles to shut the window, his iPod (or like) plummets several stories to the street below. That's one trick my oldest son (the serial iPod killer) has yet to try -- but only because we live in a two story house. MS's mourning period is interrupted by a carrier pigeon, who coos at MS and leaves him a Storybrooke postcard. On the back is one word, "Broken." Writing the recaplet, I only took the obvious meaning: someone (my money is on Jefferson or possibly August) is informing MS that the Dark Curse has crumbled. But in watching again, I'm beset with the giggles. What if that was a thing -- in real life, you know? I mean the guy destroys his iPod. We watch it tumble to the ground far below. We watch him hang his head in regret. Before he has time to swear or kick something, some smartass bird shows up to mock his loss -- via postcard no less. Now I can't stop imagining this in other scenarios. You're speeding down the interstate and get pulled over by the police. As you're digging out your license and registration, Snarky McBirderson lands on the hood with a postcard that reads, "Busted." You fail Chemistry. The Scornful Snipe's judgment? "Grounded." You're left at the altar, and Disparaging Dove is all, "Forever Alone." I kind of want badinaging birds to be a thing (or at least a sitcom). Title Card.