Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for Once Upon a Time. Read at your own risk.
Although the first three episodes of this season spent a great deal of time flipping back and forth between present-day Storybrooke and Camelot, “The Broken Kingdom” took place almost entirely in the Enchanted Forest. We finally got a bit more backstory concerning King Arthur’s obsession with reuniting Excalibur and the Dark One’s dagger, learned more about the King’s infamous love triangle with Guinevere and Lancelot, and saw Snow and Charming argue, reconcile, and continue fighting for their daughter. While we didn’t see much of the Storybrooke regulars this week, there was still a ton to digest. So, let’s get right to it.
Remember a few weeks ago when I teased that one of our favorite couples was going to be put to the test while they were in Camelot? Well, I can finally tell you that the statement was in reference to Snow and Charming. Sure, they’ve had their fair share of rough patches, but now that their daughter is in danger, emotions are running high. When Lancelot resurfaced last week and warned Snow that Arthur was up to no good, while Charming was off on a bro-venture with the King, we knew this week was going to be tough for the worried parents.
Early on in the episode, Arthur confided in his new best buddy (and newest member of the Round Table) that Excalibur was incomplete, and the only way to make it whole was to reunite it with the dagger. With the knowledge that Emma is the Dark One in mind, the King played on David’s emotions, telling him that they would be able to vanquish her darkness if they made the sword whole again. Later on, after he saw his daughter in pain, Charming suggested Arthur’s plan to Snow, who instead of agreeing, warned him that Lancelot told her not to trust the Machiavellian monarch.
Speaking of Lancelot, we learned quite a bit about his relationship with Guinevere. Since he pulled the sword from the stone and realized that it was incomplete, Arthur spent the majority of his reign concealing the truth, and obsessing over finding the dagger. During that time, however, he neglected his wife, which prompted her to turn to Lancelot for comfort and use Merlin’s gauntlet to go after the dagger herself. When she told the knight of her plan, he accompanied her to the Dark One’s vault, nearly lost his life to the darkness within, shared a kiss with the Queen, and tried to swipe the dagger from its resting place.
But, just when they thought they were home free, Rumple showed up and offered the duo the Sand of Avalon–which was supposed to fix anything that was broken–to make the sword appear whole. Guinevere figured that getting her husband back was worth tricking him, so she took Rumple’s deal, much to Lancelot’s dismay. But when she returned to Camelot and saw how crazy Arthur was over the dagger and his jealousy of Lancelot, she informed him of her plan to trick him, in hopes that he’d drop his quest and focus on his marriage instead. Fixated on the dagger, Arthur used the magic sand on Guin to make her stay by his side and love him, essentially “fixing” their relationship. So, it appears the only reason she’s still supporting him, is because she’s been enchanted to do so.
With the reasoning behind Arthur’s obsession with the dagger a bit clearer now, his intentions with Charming make a lot more sense. He knows that getting close to the Dark One’s father is the best way to complete the sword. Although Snow was hesitant about handing the dagger over to the King, Charming saw it as his only option to help his daughter, and decided to go behind his wife’s back and take it to Arthur anyways. But what he didn’t realize was that Snow was two steps ahead of him, and had already taken the dagger to Lancelot.
After asking him to help her hide it in a safe place, Lancelot led Snow to the Dark One’s vault. However, just as they were about to stow the dagger, Arthur showed up behind them and demanded that they hand it over. After doing so, Snow revealed that it was a fake, and that she had planned it all with Charming. Though they managed to get the King back to Granny’s, their win was short-lived because Guinevere and Arthur’s guards showed up as soon as they arrived. Guinevere ordered the guards to lock Lancelot in the dungeon–where Merida is–and used some of the special sand to change the couple’s mind about Arthur, which prompted the pair to tell Regina that making the sword whole was the only way to save Emma.
As for Emma, she spent the episode fighting off her Dark One urges. After nearly stealing the dagger at the beginning of the episode, she fell ill, so Hook and Henry to took her to Violet’s farm for rest. While Henry was busy on a horseback riding date, Hook and Emma went on a date of their own. In short, they rode out to a beautiful meadow of flowers and made out. It was nice to see Emma take a short vacation from her battle with her inner darkness, even if it was brief.
The romantic scene didn’t last long and, before we knew it, we were back in present day Storybrooke, where Emma has Rumple–whom she woke up last week with the intention of finding a way to pull the sword from the stone–tied up. Apparently, her plan is to “sharpen” him, by ripping out Merida’s heart and forcing her to show him how to be Brave. Cheap movie references aside, I’m really glad to see Merida again, and am excited to see how she’ll factor into both Camelot and Storybrooke.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you happy to see Merida? Let us know in the comments below.