The first season finale of "Once Upon a Time" was a fantastic episode with a great cliffhanger ending. So the Season 2 premiere, "Broken," was expected to excel on all counts. Unfortunately, an odd sleeping beauty subplot leaves the episode feeling disjointed and disappointing. The episode just seemed off the mark from its usual excitement and cohesive storyline. The twist at the end, however, may change things for the next episode.
The worst part: The magical world subplot
The story portrayed in the magical world is typically a story that has something to do with what is going on in the cursed world, helping to explain why each character is behaving as they are or explaining who they are in the fairytale. In this episode, none of the characters are people we have seen before, and the story is slow-moving and weak. Unfortunately, the episode starts off in the magical world, bringing down the entire episode.
The best part: Snow and Charming realize that Emma Swan is their daughter
It would have been nice to see a bit more of Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming's (Josh Dallas) interaction with Emma (Jennifer Morrison) after learning that she is their daughter... and nearly the same age as they are! The short interaction in the episode is both weird and humorous, especially when Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) calls Charming "Grandpa!"
The somewhat interesting part: Gold tries to destroy Regina
Gold (Robert Carlyle) attempting to destroy Regina (Lana Parrilla) was the main plot of the episode. It was solid but only deserved to be a subplot. Last season, this would have been a side dish to a larger story.
When everyone realizes that magic has not actually been restored to Storybrooke, they lock the evil queen (Regina) in jail. Everyone wants her dead except Henry, who still sees her as a mother. Henry makes Emma promise to protect Regina.
Gold decides to give Regina a "fate worse than death," by using a special medallion to mark her for "soul-sucking" then siccing a wraith on her to do the job. It doesn't quite work out the way he had planned. This actually works in Gold's favor, since Belle (Emilie de Ravin) wouldn't have been able to forgive him had he succeeded. Emma and her parents save Regina by sending the wraith off using fire.
The surprise ending
Emma and her parents help Regina send the wraith back to the magical world by using Hatter's hat to create a portal between the two worlds. Unfortunately, Emma's foot gets caught in the edge of the swirling portal, and she is sucked into the magical world! Snow jumps in after her. Then, in a leap of faith, Charming jumps into the portal, as well, only to have it close up just before he hits the ground, adding a humorously "charming" and goofy quality to the poor prince.
It gets serious right away, though, when Regina and Charming threaten to kill each other. Henry walks in just as Regina is in the process of killing Charming using magic. Charming decides to have Henry stay with him until Regina can figure out how to bring back his Snow and Emma.
Although this episode was disappointing, the idea of Snow and Emma crossing over through the portal could make the alternate world more interesting to watch. Seeing Emma try to deal with strange magical things she has never encountered may renew excitement and fascination in the world of magic.