Once Upon A Time: The Broken Kingdom Review

Once Upon A Time has some relationship issues in this week's episode. Here's our review...

Once Upon A Time Season 5 Episode 4

This week, we spent almost an entire hour with tertiary characters whose mangled origin stories made having any vested interest in their lives close to impossible. I speak, of course, of Once Upon a Time‘s take on King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Merlin (who is, at this point, still stuck in a tree – either that, or Arthur is completely insane – I’m not ruling that one out either). That said, it was good to see Goodwin jump back into the ol’ acting saddle, even if it did seem like she was doing her best impression of Lana Parrilla. Fingers crossed that lady and Emma were relegated yet again to the periphery because there’s going to be a major episode featuring them in the coming weeks.

Once Upon a Time can’t do romance — not well, anyway. They are great, great, great at identifying chemistry and writing Moonlighting-esque banter that has you rooting for couples. Exhibit all of Hook and Emma’s courtship. They are also good at presenting long-standing couples in deeply committed relationships with each other. But what they can’t ever seem to do is show how one can, in time, become another. This is why it’s impossible for us to become involved in the B story this week – Hook trying to keep Emma from straying to the dark side. In order for us to buy it, we also have to buy them as a couple, and frankly, for all the strength they keep talking about, and their passion for each other, which they also keep talking about, I feel like I’m missing something.

At this point I should be reconciled to the way in which the show deconstructs our favorite fairy tales, stories, and legends. I mean, if I can make it through what they did to Robin Hood, I should be able to make it through anything, right? But man, this Arthur stuff straight RANKLES, man! Arthur being Indiana Jones-levels of obsessed with finding the shattered half of Excalibur, going zany evil and throwing sand into Guinevere’s eyes, along with anyone else who doesn’t share his vision? It’s just SILLY. While it’s refreshing and cool to be presented with a powerful incarnation of Guinevere (instead of a wet noodle in the center of a love triangle), they immediately zap her of any power courtesy of Gold’s red dust. The show is so scared of anything that might be perceived as being outre – LET Guinevere cheat on Lancelot! It’s a complicated story! One we’d watch! But this is, lest we forget, the show that dance around Mulan’s love of Sleeping Beauty with its fingers stuck in its ears.

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I won’t get into the timeline or we’ll be here all night. But, suffice to say, if the “five years in the past” flashbacks are accurate, that means that while the town of Storybrooke was in its frozen for 30 years state, Gold was unaffected and continued to make impossible trips back and forth between worlds. I am not wrong. These sort of annoying inconsistencies add up, and would be easy enough to either explain away or keep better track of — surely there’s a spare whiteboard in the writer’s room, right?

Best Moment With Emma’s Red Leather Jacket: 

Not featured. This week was all about Snow’s lackluster bejeweled headband. Did someone go shoplifting at the mall again, Goodwin? Hmmmm?

Best Death and/or Maiming:

I don’t know, I find Merida to be deeply annoying and watching her get her heart torn out while strapped to a VW bug was quite satisfying if I’m being honest. 

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2 out of 5