Once Upon a Time “The Broken Kingdom” Review (Season 5 Episode 4)

Once Upon a Time "The Broken Kingdom" Season 5 Episode 4 (2)

I have to first admit that it was tough to write a review about Once Upon a Time this week. It felt like not a lot happened and it was all with peripheral characters. I thought from the promos that this season was going to be all about the Dark One. Instead, this week we had another exploration of King Arthur. As I mentioned in my review last week, I’m not impressed with this character or his story arc. My opinion didn’t change after this episode. We got very little time with Emma and even less with Regina. The one bright spot was that the Charming family unit was reaffirmed.

The episode stayed mostly in Camelot, though there were numerous time jumps. I found it very confusing that Lancelot and Snow met up at Granny’s, then I remembered that Granny’s made the jump with the rest of the group. It just makes it especially confusing to have the same characters in the same settings but in different time periods.

We learn that Arthur’s obsession with the Dark One’s knife has been festering for a long time. It’s quickly obvious why Guinevere strayed into the more attentive arms of Lancelot. Arthur’s preoccupation means that he can’t see his wife begging for attention. Arthur’s obsession feels like a similar sickness to that suffered by Emma, as she resists the pull of the dark magic.

Charming knows that Arthur seeks the dagger to complete Excalibur and wants to give it to him, despite Snow’s protestations. Initially, it seems like Charming has done the unforgiveable and gone behind Snow’s back to give Arthur the dagger. That would’ve forever taken Charming out of the hero camp. In the end, Charming and Snow reveal that it’s all been a ruse to learn what Arthur is really up to. His goal is not just to unite the blades, but to also use the dagger to control Emma. It was a huge relief that Charming didn’t go against his family. I’m not sure if it’s a good sign that I actually believed that Charming could sell them out in the first place. I was equally disturbed by the relationship between Arthur and Guinevere. There is something unsettling about the idea of him keeping his wife through magic.

The one upside to the Arthur storyline is that it allowed Joana Metrass to excel. She did a great job of transitioning from warm and loving to cold and calculating. Once again, this is an example of the ladies in the episode outshining the men. I think it’s safe to say that it’s only a matter of time before Gwen learns of Arthur’s misdeeds and ends up back in Lancelot’s arms.

We’re kind of back in a familiar spot with Once Upon a Time. They’re spending too much time on superfluous characters instead of the core group. I care about Regina, Emma, the Charmings, Hook…not Merida or Arthur. The Arthur storyline just feels like filler. It looks like next week we’re finally going to get more face time with Rumple and Dark Swan.