Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
8.2/10
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The Broken Kingdom 

In Rumplestiltskin return, Emma takes her chance at the taking of Excalibur, while King Arthur's real identity is revealed.

Director:

Alrick Riley

Writers:

Edward Kitsis (created by), Adam Horowitz (created by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Mary Margaret Blanchard
Jennifer Morrison ... Emma Swan
Lana Parrilla ... Regina Mills
Josh Dallas ... David Nolan
Emilie de Ravin ... Belle French (credit only)
Colin O'Donoghue ... Captain Killian 'Hook' Jones
Jared Gilmore ... Henry Mills (as Jared S. Gilmore)
Rebecca Mader ... Zelena (credit only)
Sean Maguire ... Robin Hood
Robert Carlyle ... Rumplestiltskin / Mr. Gold
Liam Garrigan ... King Arthur
Amy Manson ... Merida
Sinqua Walls ... Sir Lancelot
Dalila Bela ... Young Guinevere
Andrew Jenkins ... Sir Percival
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Storyline

In Rumplestiltskin return, Emma takes her chance at the taking of Excalibur, while King Arthur's real identity is revealed.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 October 2015 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kitsis/Horowitz,ABC Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dalia Bela portrays young Guinevere. She is the sister of Raphael Alejandro who also appears in Once Upon A Time as Roland. See more »

Goofs

Near the end Hook is seen picking a rose out of the grass. Roses are shrubbery. They don't grow like tulips stem straight out of the ground. See more »

Quotes

Robin Hood: You're going to wear out the masonry if you keep pacing. I'm sure David and Mary Margaret are fine.
Regina Mills: You think I'm worried about them? Those two can outlive a cockroach. I want to know how their test went. I get antsy when I don't know who I should hate.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Broken relationships
2 July 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When 'Once Upon a Time' first started it was highly addictive and made the most of a truly great and creative premise. Really loved the idea of turning familiar fairy tales on their heads and putting own interpretations on them and the show early on clearly had clearly had a ball. Watched it without fail every time it came on and it was often a highlight of the week. Which was why it was sad when it ran out of ideas and lost its magic in the later seasons.

Season 5 had a lot to live up to after Season 4 being as impressive as it was. As far as Season 4's episodes go, they were all decent to brilliant with the only small dip being "Family Business" (though "Heart of Gold" was uneven) and the best being the "Smash the Mirror" two parter, "Best Laid Plans", "Mother" and the first part of "Operation Mongoose". So was expecting a good deal from Season 5 and "The Dark Swan" didn't disappoint at all. "The Price" was very nearly as great.

"The Broken Kingdom", like "Siege Perilous", is good still but a bit of a let down after the season's strong start. There are a lot of great things but there were a few things that could have been significantly better. It is not as focused, consistently compelling or emotional as other episodes and the plotting with Mary Margaret and David is too exposition heavy, generally the writing and pace could have been tighter, and doesn't add much as it should have done.

Also find that Merida is neither likeable or interesting, and the same goes with the subplot featuring her which felt like set up that doesn't go very far.

The Camelot arc however is already attention grabbing and shows potential and the characters introduced at the start of the season are already intriguing, particularly Arthur. The old existing characters generally have not lost what made them so great and interesting, and are generally true to character. The most striking assets are the interesting spin on Arthur himself, showing an arrogance and villainy that is a far cry from the nobility that the character is usually portrayed as, his villainy and that answers are provided that propel things forward and like pieces are being set up and put into place, especially with Arthur and Rumplestiltskin. Arthur and Guinevere's broken relationship is compellingly done and Lancelot is great fun. Likewise with the chemistry for Emma and Hook, they are so amusing and charming together.

Lots of evidence of forward momentum and character development advancing. Camelot is wonderfully presented yet again, both grand and mysterious and the story on the most part is absorbing and balanced with assurance and coherence on the whole.

All the acting is strong, especially from Liam Garrigan bringing a dark charisma, authority and arrogance. The portrayal of Guinevere is moving and dignified and Colin O'Donoghue, Jennifer Morrison and Robert Carlyle do very well too. Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas make the most of their material, which has been stronger in other episodes.

Furthermore, "The Broken Kingdom" is a very handsomely mounted episode visually, the settings and costumes are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie cutter. It is photographed beautifully too. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable theme tune.

Writing has the right balance of humour, pathos, mystery and intrigue, little corn or cheesiness here. It could have been tighter though. This aspect has come on such a long way since when 'Once Upon a Time' first started, much more complexity and nuance.

In conclusion, good but not great. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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