Once Upon A Time: “The Broken Kingdom” (S5Ep4)

I might need some reassurance here. It is still 2015, right? It is still season five of Once Upon A Time, right? I didn’t some how get transported back to 2011 when Once Upon A Time was a good fantasy show that re-imagined fairly tale characters in cool way and made Prince Charming and Snow White interesting, did I? I seriously enjoyed this episode and in like the way the masses are supposed to. I wasn’t enjoying it because of unintentional queer subtext, I actually enjoyed Snowing (Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas) in this episode.

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Now that my shock is out of the way, let us get into this episode. Despite its season one elements, this episode still had all the good old OUAT problems. This week’s list included vague timeline distinctions, incredibly powerful magically objects we will never hear of again, a bit too much humanization for its villain, Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and tragically little Regina (Lana Parrilla).

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So in Camelot many years ago, a young Arthur is telling a young Guinevere about the prophecy he got from Merlin, who was already in that tree, that he will reunite the broken kingdom of Camelot and become king. He is super sweet in this scene and then bullied by some older kids.

We then jump to the scene from the first episode of the season. He finds the sword, lies to the kingdom about it being whole and makes plans to Guinevere (Joana Metrass) to find it and reunite it so the prophecy will come true. Arthur (Liam Garrigan) starts becoming obsessed with finding the dagger and pushes Guinevere away and closer to Lancelot (Sinqua Walls). It seemed like a lot of humanization for two characters the show made into the villains last week.

Back in present day Camelot, I guess that is how I am going to word that, Arthur tells Charming about the sword not being whole and that the Dark One dagger will complete it and destroy the darkness. Elsewhere in the castle, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is being drawn to the Dark One dagger. She is being taunted by Hallucination-Rumple (Robert Carlyle) that she can break the protect spell and take it for herself. She tells him no but also accidentally shoots a spell at Hook. She then goes catatonic for a bit, I’m not sure. She ends up surrounded by all the worried good guys and then leaves for a quite place with Hook and Henry (Jared Gilmore).

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Charming and Snow get in a fight over what they want to do. Charming wants to trust Arthur and give him the dagger. Snow says they can’t trust him because Lancelot said he was a bad guy.

Five year ago in Camelot, Guinevere and Lancelot team up to go find the Dark One dagger to complete the sword so they can get their king/best friend/husband back. Guinevere uses that magically gauntlet that leads you to the person you love’s greatest weakness, which is a magical item repeat. It leads them to the portal Emma came to Camelot in that has the Dark One vault below it. They get to the dagger but not before Lancelot gets attacked by the Dark One goo and Guinevere saves him in a very similar to Emma saving Regina type of way. Of course, they got to kiss afterward.

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They are met by Rumple when they get to the dagger. He says he can’t give it to them but he trades the gauntlet for magic sand that makes something broken appear whole. Once they get back Lancelot decides to leave Camelot because of their kiss. Guinevere tries to fix the sword but decides she doesn’t want to fake it and wants Arthur to choice his marriage and the kingdom. He doesn’t though and uses the sand on her and then on the Kingdom. OK, that was a good twist. Guinevere isn’t actually a bad guy and Arthur just got worse.
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Back in present day Camelot, Charming tries to give the dagger to Arthur but finds it missing the box because Snow took it and is meeting Lancelot over at Granny’s. Snow and Lancelot head to the vault to hide the dagger so Emma can’t get to it. Arthur catches up to them in the vault. Snow hands over the dagger to him and he tries to call Emma, but it is the fake dagger and then Charming appears because their double crossing each other was faked! And the banter between them was actually good again and they are being all right parents.

They capture Arthur and take him to the diner to try to find out what to do with him. Just as they and Lancelot are planning to make Guinevere the leader of Camelot, she appears as the diner is surrounded. She has Lancelot arrested and uses the sand on Snow and Charming.

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They get back to Regina and tell her they were wrong about Arthur. They can trust him and giving him the real dagger is the best way to help Emma. Luckily, Regina seems to be finding this switch slightly skeptical. Lancelot is thrown into the dungeon and quickly befriends Merida (Amy Manson), who is in the neighboring cell.

Emma’s story line in Camelot was a stupid thing about Hook being able to help her get Hallucination-Rumple out of her head because he has defeated demons too. What demons, you Disney pirate? Her story line in Storybrooke is stupid too but actually important to the plot. She has Rumple tied up because she is going to make him, instead of I don’t know REGINA, the hero to remove the sword from the stone. But, she needs to make him brave first. Luckily, she has just the person for the job tied to her bug.

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So yeah, it still had its problems. But, it made Snowing interesting again and made me care about Lancelot and Guinevere more. The Camelot story line just got a lot more interesting with multiple people being cursed. Hopefully, the show can stay this good for a least a few episodes.

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12 Things I hope to see in Once Upon A Time 5A

Because we are getting close to the season premiere of my favorite hot-mess of childhood nostalgia and subtext, Once Upon A Time, I decided I would do another things I hope to see post. I did one of these before 4B started and a follow up on how it did, which was terribly. So let’s try this again, shall we? Season 5A starts in 12 days, so here are 12 things I hope to see when it returns.

1. Ruby!

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It is actually going to happen this time! We are actually going to get Ruby (Meghan Ory) back. Ruby randomly disappeared during season three, because Meghan Ory got cast in a now cancelled NBC show. The show never wrote her off and continued to mention her like she had just gone on vacation for a while, which is impossible because I’m pretty sure people can’t leave Storybrooke and return without the assistance of magic. I’m assuming the show is just going to have her randomly reappear with no explanation and I am fine with that. I’m just glad she is going to be back.

2. A consistent season long story arch 

ONCE UPON A TIME - "Operation Mongoose, Part 1 and Part 2" - The Author proves to be a formidable wild card and forges an alliance with Gold. Emma, her parents, Hook and Regina scramble to stop them, but when Gold and the Author turn the tables on heroes and villains alike, the prospect of any happy outcome appears worlds away. Henry discovers he has big shoes to fill as he steps up to save his family before the story's final page is turned. It's a race to the finish, and everything culminates with a shocking twist that will leave the residents of Storybrooke reeling, in the captivating two-part season finale of "Once Upon a Time," SUNDAY, MAY 10 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jack Rowand) JENNIFER MORRISON

You know what would be fun? A story line that actually lasted longer than a half season and appeared in every episode. This show has followed a simple formula since the second season. The new characters are introduced in the first episode. Usually in episode two or three we meet the big bad. The middle episodes fumble around and give us some un-needed backstory. There is one great episode devoted to Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison)’s dynamic. One terrible episode devoted to back story we don’t need. In episode 11, the plot returns. And then in the last two, everyone bands together, somebody falls through a portal or is cursed, the big bad is defeated and everyone celebrates at Granny’s.

It would probably be too much of a challenge for the writers, but if it would take all of season five for the hero gang to find Merlin or an alternative Dark One that would be cool. Devote less time to introducing new characters, slow things down and give more time to Regina, Snowing (Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas) and Henry (Jared Gilmore) dealing with the aftermath of Emma becoming the Dark One.

3. Diversity 

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Yeah, this is a repeat request but it is still needed after last season wrote off the only non-white Queen of Darkness (Merrin Dugny) first and aged up Lily from a Latina teenager (Nicole Munioz) to a white adult (Agnes Burkner). I don’t know if I want to have any hope in the show after that, but the Camelot story line might hold some promise. The show has cast Portuguese actress, Joana Metrass to play Guinevere. Also, Lancelot (Sinqua Walls) will be returning. I’m guessing that means he will only be in Camelot flashbacks because he was killed before we even meet him in season two. And again, I exclude Regina from the show’s diversity points. Yes, Lana Parrilla is Porto Rican but we have been given no indication that Regina is supposed to be.

4. A justification for the love interests

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Now, maybe I am just being blinded by my fancy for every gay ship on this show, but why am I supposed to be invested in the straight ones? I feel like the only two canon relationships we have gotten to see much of is Snow and Charming and Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin). Snowing is boring as hell now and I am over the cuteness of them. Rumbelle used to be cute but now I feel like it has gotten almost abusive because of how manipulative and horrible Rumple has been.

I have never seen the appeal of Emma and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue). She is our goofy, lovable idiot hero who is always trying to do the right thing no matter how dangerous it is. I have never liked Hook. Actually, I liked him in the alternate reality in season four when he was a sensitive, wimpy hero. But, regular Hook? No, he just seems too cocky and entitled and just wrong for Emma. As for Regina and Robin Hood (Sean Maguire), is there a reason they are together beyond the story book saying Regina’s true love has a lion tattoo? I bet lots of people have lion tattoos and at least one of them has to be less bland than Robin Hood.

5. More Grown Ass Man Jared Gilmore

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My opinion’s on Snow and Henry have completely flip-flopped. I used to find Snow awesome and badass and interesting and I found Henry annoying and lame and just wished he would get off the screen. I credit my hatred of Snow to the writing and Henry now being my third favorite character to Grown Ass Man Jared Gilmore. Despite about five seconds supposedly passing between the end of season three and the start of season four, Jared Gilmore went from a child to a grown ass man. With his foot of height, he also gained a lot of acting ability and familial chemistry with Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla. I hope to see some more of it.

6. Integration of new characters

ONCE UPON A TIME - Saturday, August 15, 6-7pm, Stage 23 - "Once Upon a Time: An Evening with Snow White & the Evil Queen" - "Once Upon a Time's" savior has gone dark! As Emma Swan transitions into her role as the Dark One, join the resident fairy tale characters as they cope with Emma's new role and begin the search for Merlin. This is a journey that will take our heroes from the Enchanted Forest to Camelot and along the way bring many surprises, including Merida from "Brave," as "Once Upon a Time" introduces its first Pixar character. Join co-creators and executive producers Edward Kitsis ("Lost") and Adam Horowitz ("Lost") along with series stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla as they discuss the upcoming season of unexpected twists, evolving characters, new adventures and new rivalries. This panel is sure to bring some surprises you don't want to miss and an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming season premiere! The Q&A with this fairy tale team will be moderated by D23's Jeffrey Epstein. "Once Upon a Time" returns for its fifth season on Sunday, September 27 at 8pm ET/PT on ABC. (ABC/Jack Rowand) AMY MANSON

Camelot is going to be our flashback kingdom for the season. The show has already established that Camelot is part of the same realm as the Enchanted Forest. Lancelot was a friend of Snow and Charming’s while they were trying to win their kingdom back from Regina. So, I’m not sure how the show is going to integrate them with the existing characters. Probably with a continuity or timeline fail. Also, Merida from Brave, our first Disney/Pixar addition, is running around. Is she is Camelot too?

7. A less fucked up handling of Zelena’s story line

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I saw that at Comic-Con A&E compared Zelena to Hannibal Lector in terms of her unpredictability. Haha, no. There is a difference between an manipulative, intelligent psychopath and whatever Regina, monologue obsessed crazy Zelena is. I really wish she just would have stayed dead, but now that she is around — and a season regular — could we please make her story line less fucked up. She killed Robin’s wife, impersonated her, essentially raped him, got pregnant and now he is supposed to stay with her? Now, that is Hannibal Lector level messed up. But, god forbidden anybody is queer.

8. No magic infertility cure 

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Regina making herself infertility to piss off Cora might be my least favorite thing to come out of season four. It was not needed. It gave a really messed up self-harm message. And nothing is more cliched than a strong female character’s big weakness being infertility. But now that it is here, I hope the show sticks with it. As I have seen a lot of fans say, the show shouldn’t create a magic cure for what I assume they introduced as a relatable aspect of Regina’s character. Also, the show did that cure already with Snow in season two and Regina is clearly cool with adopting.

9. Less focus on Snowing 

ONCE UPON A TIME - "Lily" - Emma's potential for darkness is looming over everyone, but when Emma realizes Maleficent's daughter Lily is in fact her closest friend from her foster care days, she resolves to find Lily and reunite her with her mother. Regina joins forces with Emma and together they set out to track down Lily and to warn Robin about Zelena. However, neither of them is prepared for the harsh realities they'll encounter in the outside world. Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Gold faces a crisis involving Belle. In a foster care flashback, things are looking up for young Emma with her new family until Lily's appearance threatens to destabilize everything, on "Once Upon a Time," SUNDAY, APRIL 26 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jack Rowand) JOSH DALLAS, GINNIFER GOODWIN

Last post I asked for something cool for them. It didn’t happen and I’m beginning to think it never will again. So, let’s just not focus on them so much. This show has enough characters to support itself without the horrible parent, idiot duo.

10. Continuity

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Continuity seems like a lot to ask from this show. It has no idea what time line’s are, with Aurora popping up about 10 years in the past about the same age as she is now and everything in the Frozen time lines happening “a long time ago.”  But, if the show could try to have some in this season I would be pleased. Make a few references to last season, have Emma and Henry tease someone about the alternate realty or make comparisons between Emma becoming the Dark One and when Rumple did. Just something to make it seem like each half season, isn’t its own self-contained mess.

And of course:

11. LGBTQ representation

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I think I have made this clear already, but I would really like to see some LGBTQ representation on this show. This show acknowledged the existence of homosexuality in season four in 2014 and I got excited about it. That is how bad this show is at it, despite there being a ship name for any same-sex pairing you can think of. The show may have written off Ice Swan, Sleeping Warrior, Little Beauty and Fairy Queen but Ruby is coming back so Red Beauty and Red Snow are too. Dragon Queen, Hooking, Runaway Swan and Snow Queen are still running around. Plus, the reason I still watch this show, SwanQueen.

12. Mulan 

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It is not going to happen but I had to include her. She is one of my favorite Disney characters from my childhood and the show made her badass and queer. She supposedly joined the Merry Man after Aurora and Phillip’s cockblock baby stopped her from confessing her love to Aurora. I just hope she is off defending some random hot chick where ever she is.