Reality and myth begin to merge as the fairytale characters awaken from Evil Queen Regina's broken curse and remember who they were. But to their dismay, they aren't transported back to fairytale land. To make matters worse, Rumplestiltskin (a.k.a. Mr. Gold), in an effort to gain the upper hand in his power struggle with Regina, has introduced magic into the town. In fairytales magic has its place, but in our world it can have unfathomable consequences. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land, Prince Phillip awakens his sleeping beauty, Aurora, but discovers that he and his traveling companion, Mulan, will soon have to face a deadly foe.
Who is this man?
We are treated to the sight of a chariot horse being pet by his owner/driver, on some street. An unidentified gentleman is seen walking past the horse and its owner, wearing a suit and carrying a backpack, listening to some music on his earplugs whilst walking. He crosses the street, and soon afterwards he is seen walking along a sidewalk, and the doves on the sidewalk all fly far from reach as he passes. The man is then seen crossing a road, and later he's seen at an underground train station. Immediately afterwards, he is seen riding the subway, handling his cell phone. The man then gets out of the subway station and heads to his apartment building. He lets himself in, enters the elevators, goes up and then enters his small apartment.
Some lights flicker on and off as he closes the door - lights of thunder. He looks out the window to see that it is now pouring outside. The man puts down his backpack, carelessly, and looks none too pleased to see the rain. He walks up to the window to close it down, but it is jammed. Cell phone still in tow, he tries to force the window down, but is unfortunate enough to drop his cell phone into the emergency staircase instead. He looks down as his cell phone falls to the ground below and he gets frustrated. A white pigeon then shows up on his window pane, with a postcard connected to its paw. The pigeon walks around to rid itself of the card, and then flies away. The man looks somewhat surprised. He then picks up the card and a single world is written in black on the back of it: "Broken". This word appears to trigger something within the man. He turns the card around to find that it features the message "Greetings from Storybrooke Maine", on top of a drawing of the small town's clock tower.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Prince Phillip reunites with his beloved sleeping beauty.
We are treated to a moving panoramic view of the land that constitutes what is left of the fairytale world. The land is now more arid and barren, and seemingly deserted of people, if not for the two horsemen riding their steeds across the dry land and towards a castle in the distance. Shortly afterwards, the horsemen have arrived to the castle. Prince Phillip, a valiant knight, is one of them. He and his companion make their way to the central external hall of the castle, wherein lies a gazebo in the middle, covered with brambles. Inside the gazebo, lies a sleeping beauty, rested on an open coffin. The prince cuts through the thorns to get to the princess, and marvels at the sight of her. He positions himself next to the coffin, while his traveling mate nears them as well. Prince Phillip leans down and brings his face closer to the beauty, but then turns to his companion and says that, if this should work, if the curse should be lifted, they mustn't tell her everything. The other knight nods affirmatively, without saying a word, and Phillip finally kisses his beloved princess on the lips. As he does so, waves of magic are spread through the air, and thus the curse is lifted. The princess, Aurora, opens her eyes and gasps for air. She notices the man beside her and says "Phillip?". Aurora, playfully, reminds him that she told him not to come after her, to which he chuckles. He then moves in closer again and they kiss passionately. The other knight walks down the steps, seemingly saddened by something. The princess then sits up and asks how long she's been asleep. She then notices the damaged state of the castle, with its dry aspect and brambles surrounding it, and asks what happened. The prince tells her that it doesn't matter, the worst part is over. "Now that we're together we'll restore this castle." He goes on to comfort her by saying that their kingdom will be as they always dreamed it would. The princess, further alarmed, asks where everyone is, and why the castle needs to be rebuilt. He tells her that it's a long story and she needs rest, to which she replies that she's had her fill of rest. She tries to get off from the coffin, and he assists her. Phillip tells her that their people have gathered in a new safe haven, and the two of them must join them there. Aurora asks if the safe haven is to keep them secure from Maleficent, but he tells her Maleficent can no longer harm them. "First she goes after my mother, then me. Forgive me if I'm still a bit wary." "Don't be.", he tells her, "There are new dangers now. But nothing we can't handle." She smiles and they kiss again, and the camera pans away from them to show us the deteriorated castle.
Good friends share a hug.
In Storybrooke, Maine, the cloud of purple smoke is still present in the streets and in the air, covering the entire area. Mary Margaret Blanchard and David Nolan, the reunited lovers who now remember their past as Snow White and Prince Charming, are still in each other's arms, confused regarding the mist around them. Mary Margaret asks what is happening, and David tells her "Let's find out." They then make their way down the road, holding hands, and come across Ruby (Red Riding Hood) and Granny, who are lost in a tight embrace. "Snow?", Red calls out to her friend, moved, and the two best friends hug each other, while Granny gives Charming a special hug of her own. They then exchange hugging partners, with Snow tackling Granny and Red hugging Charming. Snow is then addressed by "Your highness", and she is excited to see before her very eyes the seven dwarfs, reunited, and taking a bow. They all engage in a group hug. When they break it off, Grumpy asks if the curse has been broken, and Charming replies that it appears so. Charming and Grumpy then shake hands while Red asks what they do now, and Snow says, "Now... now I find my daughter." Behind her a familiar voice is heard saying, "So it's true."
The Charming family reunites, at last.
Snow turns around to find Emma standing there, on the road. Snow and Charming are overwhelmed with emotion as they look at their daughter. Snow reaches out her hands to feel Emma's face. She then moves in closer and holds her child next to her, tearfully so, saying, with utter contentment and relief, "You found us..." Emma is unsure of how to react, but she maintains herself, in the embrace of her mother. David moves in closer too and holds her, caressing the back of her head with tears falling down his cheeks. Everyone else watches emotionally at this reunion. The Charming family is therefore finally reunited... and the moment is interrupted by the word "Grampa?", uttered by young Henry, who had been standing there all the while. Mary Margaret starts laughing, and David, putting one hand over Henry's shoulder, says "Yeah, kid. I suppose so." He then pushes him closer in a tender move, and Henry says "She did it. She saved you." Emma looks rather conflicted. Snow adds that she saved them all. Emma still doesn't know how to react, and Grumpy asks why they're still in Storybrooke. Charming tells him that that's an excellent question. Sneezy sneezes, as per usual, and then asks what the smoke was. Doc asks who did that. They keep repeating questions, and they are interrupted by one short answer: "Magic." The line comes from the Mother Superior, who joins them, and says that magic is there, she can feel it. Snow reaches out her hands and the nun takes them in hers and smiles at her. The curious Henry says "Magic? In Storybrooke?", and the nun nods positively. "You're the Blue Fairy...", he says, "Do something magical." "It's not quite that simple, Henry.", she says, "No wand... no fairy dust. Matters are complicated now." Grumpy suggests that they go to the person responsible for everything: the Queen. The other dwarfs nod affirmatively. However, Emma tells them to hold on, because it wasn't Regina's doing.
"I will not let this stand!"
Elsewhere, in the woods of Storybrooke, the person responsible for bringing magic into the town, Mr. Gold, is still by the well where he dropped the love potion. He addresses his companion as "My darling Belle...", and asks that she tell him what happened to her. Belle claims that she was abducted, and he realizes instantly that she was taken by Regina. Belle nods affirmatively and goes on to say that the Queen locked her away until her curse, and she's been in the asylum ever since. "For 28 years?...", Mr. Gold says, angrily. "All these years... you've been here. Alive." Belle asks if that's why he wanted magic back - for revenge. He says that it wasn't, but it might come in handy. Belle, upset by this, tells him 'no'. He says that he can't and won't let this stand, and she urges him to promise her that he won't give in to his hate and kill Regina. He is reluctant to do this. "Promise me... and we can be together.", she says. He is deeply moved, and caresses her cheek, almost tearing up, and gives her his promise. They then kiss, passionately. Once they break off the kiss, she rests her head in his chest and hugs him, smiling with relief and comfort. He, however, is none too settled...
Dr. Hopper urges the group to stop the angry mob.
Meanwhile, down on the streets of Storybrooke, the group consisting of Snow White, Prince Charming, the seven dwarves, Emma and Henry, Reul Ghorm, Red and Granny walk down the road. Mary Margaret asks her daughter if she has any questions that she'd like to ask, and Emma says that her only questions are for Mr. Gold: why did he double-cross her, and what did he do to the town? Mary Margaret asks if they should talk about 'it' first, and Emma asks "What?". "Us...", Mary Margaret says, "Your life... everything?". Emma suggests that they get to that later, over a glass of wine... or several bottles. David tells her that he knows it's a lot to take in, and his lover adds that they don't want to push it, but they have been waiting for this moment for a very long time. Emma turns back to them and says that she has as well, and the whole group stops. Emma says that she's thought about this moment her entire life, imagining who they might be, but she starts to say that out of all the possible scenarios she concocted, she never imagined her parents would turn out be Snow White and Prince Charming. She claims that she needs a little time, and David notices something in front of them: Dr. Whale and several members of the population of Storybrooke are running through the streets, in an apparent angry rally. Dr. Archie Hopper comes towards Emma's group and requests their help, saying that Dr. Whale has whipped everyone into a frenzy, and they're going to Regina's house to kill her. Grumpy says "Great, let's watch.", and Henry seems alarmed by this. Archie tells them they cannot stoop to her level, because no matter what she did and what she's done, killing her is wrong. Henry tells them he's right, and says "Please. She's still my mom." Emma feels sorry for the child, and turns to her parents to say that they have to stop the angry mob. Charming tells them that if the Blue Fairy is right and magic is there, Regina could have her powers back, which means the mob could be marching into a slaughter. The group then rushes over to the Mayor's house, and the camera pans away to show us the clock tower.
Meet the Wraith.
Back in the fairytale world, we are again treated to the sight of the deteriorated castle where Aurora slept for many years. Outside of the gazebo where the prince and princess share their happiness over being reunited, the knight that accompanied Phillip walks around, and seems to notice something odd. The knight goes up some steps and kneels down to feel a crack in the floor. Phillip's companion than unsheathes their sword, and the earth seems to tremble. A dark creature then comes bursting through the paved floor and flying into the air, throwing the knight into the air as well. In the gazebo, the prince and princess are alarmed, and Phillip rushes past the knight on the floor to go up against the creature, a horrible ghost-like monster that hovers in the air, with bony claws, red eyes, and a pendant around its neck. With a swing from his sword, Phillip is able to rip the pendant apart from its wearer, and the creature, rid of the jewel, flies away and disappears from sight. Aurora positions herself behind her savior, and he then kneels down to pick up the pendant. The princess asks what it was, to which the prince replies "Something bad." He then looks at the pendant in his hand.
Something looks familiar...
Inside Mr. Gold's pawn shop, we are treated to the sight of the chipped cup as the camera moves upwards to show us Mr. Gold and Belle as they enter the store. He tells her to wait there because he is going to find her something to wear, for she has spent enough time in those rags. She thanks him as he goes, and he enters a compartment in the shop in which he keeps all sorts of items, including clothing articles. He then reaches for a cabinet, unlocks it, puts on gloves and removes a golden box that contains the pendant that the aforementioned dark creature had on. He takes the pendant in his hands and we can admire it through a magnifying glass, along with the mark it has engraved on one of its sides.
Here. She. Is. Not.
The door to the house of Mayor Regina Mills is shown, and Dr. Whale starts pounding on it and telling the Mayor to open up, or they're coming in. The angry mob is now spread on the front yard of the house, and Regina opens the door, with a smile on her face. She asks the doctor, rather nonchalantly, "Can I help you?", and he tells her that her smirk isn't going to last forever, because she took everything from then and now... "What?", she asks, interrupting him, before adding "Now you're gonna kill me?". He says "Eventually. But first you need to suffer." Regina starts pushing him back and telling him that listening to him has been suffering enough. "That's right. You wanted to see your queen?", she says, before she makes a dramatic movement with her hands and prepares for a show. "Well, my dears... Here. She. Is." Regina points her hands at them and the members of the crowd crouch with fear, only to realize that nothing has happened. Regina is as surprised as they are. They recompose themselves and a voice comments that Regina is powerless. The Mayor is then pinned against a pillar by Dr. Whale, who asks, sarcastically, where they were. Emma shows up and makes her way through the crowd, and tells Whale to let her go. The doctor asks why he should listen to her, and Emma reminds him that she is still the sheriff. David and Mary Margaret show up as well, and Charming tells the crowd that Emma saved all of them, and Mary Margaret points out that no matter what Regina did, it does not justify this. Emma tells Whale that they are not murderers here, and the doctor replies that they are not from this world, and Emma says they're in it now. David gets to Whale and tells him they're done, but the doctor tells him to back off: "You're not my prince." David asks Whale who he is, and the man replies with "That's my business." David tells him that his own business is making sure that their town doesn't go to hell, so whether or not he's Whale's prince isn't the issue: they have a lot to figure out, and this isn't the way to do it. Mary Margaret puts herself in front of the house and tells the people that Regina's death won't provide any answers. "She needs to be locked up", the teacher says, "For her safety, and more importantly for ours." Regina gives everyone a look of derision, accompanied by a wicked smile.
Gold pays Regina a visit, with an agenda in mind.
Shortly afterwards, Regina is locked up behind bars at the local sheriff's station, and she turns to David and says "So I'm a prisoner now?". David asks her why they didn't go back, since the curse is broken. Regina tells him there's nothing to go back to: the land they lived in is gone. Mary Margaret tells her husband that they should get to Gold. The entire Charming family then leaves the station, leaving an infuriated Regina behind. She tries to break the lock open using the power of magic, but seems unable to conjure up anything. Mr. Gold then appears, suddenly, having been hiding in the station all along, and surprises her by saying, "Magic is different here... dearie." Regina tells him she noticed, with a look of despise on her face, and she then assumes that this is all his doing. Regina asks him to get to the point and tell her what he wants, and then asks if he's there to 'finish the job'. Gold denies this, claiming to have made a promise to someone that he wouldn't kill her. Regina asks who could elicit that from him, and he says, "Belle." Regina is surprised, but recuperates fast. "She's alive?", she asks, to which Gold replies that she is a dreadful liar. Regina tells him that she could have killed Belle, but she didn't. Gold moves in closer to the bars and tells her that she did much worse than that, for she kept Belle alive so that she could kill her when it better suited Regina. "A fate worse than death", Gold comments. "Which, incidentally, is exactly what I've got in store for you." Gold then rapidly grabs her arm through the bars and pushes it out. He then proceeds to take out the pendant with his gloved hand and puts it over Regina's open palm. Regina seems to recognize the object, and Gold affirms that it is the one thing no one can escape: destiny. He then promises to her that this is particularly unpleasant, and he finally lets go of her hand. Regina looks frightened and livid, and Gold revels in her pain. Regina looks at her hand.
Aurora meets Phillip's traveling companion.
Back in the fairytale land, Prince Phillip looks at the same pendant in his hand. He holds hands with Aurora as they look at the wrecked floor that the creature emerged from, and he then puts the pendant in his belt. The knight that traveled with him tells the couple that the creature they saw was a Qui Shen, which they might know as a Wraith. Aurora, with a hint of attitude, ask who this is, and the knight says "A friend", before removing their helmet to reveal that there's a woman underneath the armor: Mulan. "You're... a girl.", Aurora says, surprised. "Woman.", Mulan replies. She then introduces herself, and Phillip comments that in Aurora's absence, Mulan helped him like no other, as they fought many battles together. "With a woman.", Aurora says, clearly none too happy. Mulan tells them that now they have another battle coming up, for the Qui Shen is one of the most dangerous creatures of the known lands: a soul-sucker. "According to legend, it marks its victims and removes their souls, damning them for all eternity." The three of them then hear what appear to be voices, and Mulan tells them that those are the sounds of the souls it has trapped trying to escape, but adds that fortune favored them since they all avoided the mark. Now they must begin their journey. Phillip turns to Aurora and says they'll be safe with their people, and gives her a kiss on the cheek... and then notices that his hand features the burning mark of the pendant. He closes his palm when Aurora turns to look at it, and she asks him what is the matter. He tells her everything is fine.
Gold summons the Wraith.
Back in the real world, Mr. Gold enters the woods yet again, bringing with him both the pendant of the Wraith and the dagger with his original name, 'Rumplestiltskin', engraved on it. He lifts up the hand that carries them both and lets the jewel slide through his fingers and fall down on the ground. He then lifts up the dagger further and says "The Dark One... summons thee." This said, he kneels down and stabs the ground. Immediately afterwards, in her cell, Regina, who had been lying on the bed, sits up with a loud gasp. She looks at her hand to find the mark being burned into it. She gasps with fear as she gazes at it. Back in the woods, the essence of the Wraith starts emanating from the pendant on the ground, and the creature appears wholly before Gold and flies away.
Emma is none too anxious to talk to her mom and dad.
Henry is seen inside Ruby's car, as Emma apparently trusted her friend to take care of him while she and her parents sort things out. The waitress drives off with the young man, and Snow White looks anxious about something. Charming tells her not to push it, and Emma approaches them and asks if they're ready. Snow tells her daughter that they need to talk, and Emma is reluctant to. Snow insists, saying that Gold can wait but she can't, because Emma is her daughter and she wants to talk to her. Snow remembers that they have talked before, but they didn't know that they were 'talking', and they even talked about things they probably shouldn't have talked about, such as one-night stands. This last part catches Charming's attention, and Snow tells him it was Dr. Whale, which doesn't sit too well with him. Snow excuses herself by saying that they were cursed. She then turns her attention back to Emma and reminds her that they didn't know they were mother and daughter, and now they do. This said, she begs Emma to 'talk'. Emma acquiesces, and asks what her mother wants to talk about. Snow points out that even though they're finally together, she can't help but feel that Emma isn't happy about it. Emma tells them that she is, but adds that, no matter what the circumstances, for 28 years she only knew one thing: that her parents sent her away. Snow tells her that they did so to give Emma her best chance, and the blonde acknowledges that they did it for everyone, because they're heroic, but it doesn't change the fact that, for her entire life, she's been alone. Snow says that if they hadn't sent her away, she'd have been cursed too. And Emma replies that they would have been together... "Which curse is worse?". Snow and Charming are affected by this. Emma tells them to go find Gold. She walks past her parents and they are left speechless. Charming then holds his wife's hand in his.
Mulan tells her group that they should camp for the night.
In the fairytale land, Mulan is seen riding her horse through the woods, followed by Prince Phillip on his horse, with Aurora sitting behind him. Mulan stops and tells them that they should camp there tonight, for the Wraith only appears when light is absent, which is why it ran when it first appeared – light is its adversary. Aurora asks why she wants to stop at that time, and Mulan tells her that the Wraith is looking for a mark, something alive, and their best bet is to be still until night passes. Phillip tells his princess that Mulan is right, they have to rest there.
Phillip makes up for lost time.
Some time later, Phillip has set up a tent of sorts under which Aurora can rest. He tells his lover that she should sleep, and Aurora tells him that she can't. He suggests that she relax and sleep will come, and Aurora tells him she won't sleep, not after what she went through. Phillip doesn't respond, and so she takes his hand and asks what is wrong. Phillip smiles and says he just missed her so much, to which she smiles back and says that now he doesn't have to. Phillip tells her that he is going to find wood to make a fire, and he should be back in five minutes. He then kisses her passionately, and she jokingly asks him if that's a "see-you-in-five-minutes" kiss. He chuckles and answers that he's making up for lost time. "I love you." "I love you too." He leaves, and she just smiles. But as he goes, a tear falls down his face.
Emma confronts Mr. Gold.
Mr. Gold pours himself some hot water for his tea, and the door to the pawn shop is opened by an irate Emma Swan, who barges in, followed by her parents, looking for some answers. Emma doesn't say a word as she positions herself in front of Gold, and the man asks her what he can do for her. Emma tells him to tell them what he did, and Gold tells her to be more specific, which aggravates the Charmings. David tells him that he knows all too well what they mean, and Mary Margaret reminds Gold that he double-crossed Emma and took the love potion from her, and David adds that he did something to the town. "And worst of all you risked Henry's life.", Emma says. Gold says, sarcastically, that that is quite a litany of grievances, and Emma retorts that maybe she doesn't need answers, she just needs to punch him in the face. Gold chuckles and goes on to answer their questions with some of his own. He asks if Henry survived. Emma replies affirmatively, albeit still angry at him. He asks if the curse is broken. Emma lets out that it is, without saying a word. Gold then asks how long she's been searching for her parents. "Looks like you reunited.", he answers his own question. "Seems like rather a punch in the face, I deserve a thank you." "Twist my words all you want.", Emma asks, "What was the purple haze that you brought?" Gold replies that it was magic; Mary Margaret asks "Why?", and he says "Not telling." This said, the earth trembles, catching them all off-guard. A destructive sound is heard and car alarms are set off. Emma asks what that was, and her parents rush to the door. Outside they hear a loud roar, and they realize that the town is now submerged in darkness and litter is being tossed around by the wind. Some lights from lamp posts explode, and Gold replies that it is his gift to them: "That... is gonna take care of Regina." The earth quakes some more, and more lights explode. Further roaring is heard, and Mary Margaret urges Emma to come. David tells his daughter that they need to go take care of this. Emma tells Gold, angrily but calmly, that they're not done, and Gold says that he knows that, because Emma still owes him a favor. Emma gives him an irate smile and leaves, along with the Charmings.
Belle is hurt by Gold's actions and words.
Gold then turns around to learn that Belle had been listening to them behind the curtains that lead to the back of the store. The frustrated young woman tells him that he lied to her, and Gold replies that he kept his word: he will not kill Regina. Belle is almost brought to tears by this reply, and tells him that he toys with words the way he does with people. "You're still a man who makes wrong choices. I thought you'd changed." Gold asks her, sarcastically, if she thought this in the hour she's known him, and Belle is incredibly hurt by this. She then walks past him, and he regrets what he just said, and starts calling out her name and apologizing, to no avail. She stops at the door, but then leaves anyway, closing it behind her.
Aurora is left alone in the woods.
In the woods of the fairytale land, Aurora is seen sitting and waiting patiently under the tent that was set up for her, while Mulan tries to make a fire by rubbing stones together. A loud roar is heard and her attention is caught, as is Aurora's. The princess gets up from her spot and Mulan resumes trying to make the fire. Aurora asks where Phillip is, and Mulan replies that she thought he was in the tent with the princess. Aurora tells her that Phillip said he was making a fire; Mulan says that she herself is making the fire, to which Aurora replies, with some attitude, that she can see that. Mulan gets up, looks around and points out that Phillip left, because the horses are gone. Aurora asks why he would leave, and Mulan says "Because he was marked." Mulan then picks up some items of hers and guards them, and Aurora asks her what she's doing. The female knight tells her that she's going after him, and adds Phillip sacrificed himself for Aurora. "For both of us!", Aurora says, "We have to get him." Mulan, walking away, tells the princess that she is going alone, because she will only slow her down. Aurora says that she won't slow her down, and tries to follow after her, but not before picking up her long scarf, which does in fact slow her down. Aurora tries to rush after Mulan, telling her to wait, but is unable to find her, and is therefore left alone in the woods calling out for Mulan.
The Wraith starts sucking Regina's soul.
The Wraith is seen flying out into the darkness over the streets of Storybrooke. Inside the sheriff's station, the ceiling lights start to go out, and Regina, inside her cell, sitting on the bed and looking at her marked hand, becomes alarmed. She asks who is there, and the lights go out completely. The Wraith appears out of nowhere and its eyes light up as it reaches its claw towards the bars of the cell. With one thrusting motion of the claw, the door to the cell is ripped from it and thrown into the back of the station. Regina gets up and positions herself in front of the Wraith, filled with horror, and the creature points the claw at her again and hits her with a magic white beam as that slowly consumes Regina's soul. The Mayor is left powerless, but then David shows up and hits the Wraith on its back with a chair, distracting the creature, that is forced to throw the chair away. The Wraith then charges at David, throwing him to the back of the station, and a terrified Emma is left not knowing what to do. The Wraith then hurls a desk in David's direction. Mary Margaret gets out of the way in time, and so does David, who is able to jump into the corridor before the desk hits the wall he was leaning against. The Wraith turns his attention back to Regina and resumes sucking her soul, but Mary Margaret, holding up a lighter and a spray can, fires at the creature, burning it and chasing it away. The Wraith breaks through the glass of a high window and leaves the station. Regina gasps for air as she recomposes herself, and Emma comes to her aid. She asks what that thing was, and Regina answers that it was a Wraith, a soul-sucker. Mary Margaret starts to ask if she killed it, and Regina answers negatively, claiming that it's regenerating and will be back, because it doesn't stop until it kills its prey. "Me", she says as she shows them her hand.
David isn't too keen on helping Regina.
Emma asks how they kill it, and Regina says there's no way, because you can't kill something that is already dead. "Then we have a problem", Emma says, to which David replies, "No, we don't. Regina does." The Mayor is surprised by this. Emma and Mary Margaret are as well. Emma asks her father if he wants to let Regina die, and he asks why not, because when the Wraith goes away at least they'll be safe. Regina tells him that's quite the example he's setting for his daughter, and David comes closer to her and says that she doesn't get to judge them. Regina asks where he thinks the Wraith came from, and answers her own question with "Gold." Emma reminds David that she made a promise to Henry: "She's not dying." Regina's attention is caught by this remark. Mary Margaret is moved, and then turns to her arch-nemesis and asks what she suggests, since the creature can't be killed. Regina suggests that they send it somewhere where it can't hurt anyone.
Everyone gets ready for the challenge coming up.
Shortly afterwards, Regina puts the box that contains Jefferson's hat on top of a table in her office. She then asks Emma, who is next to her, if Henry really asked her to protect Regina, and Emma answers positively. Regina smiles and then takes out of the top hat. "The hat...", Emma says, "You had it all along." Regina asks what she means, and Emma answers that it's Jefferson's hat. Regina looks at her for a short while and then asks who Jefferson is. David and Mary Margaret then enter the Mayor's office holding up a few broomsticks which David claims will pass as torches. He says they're old-fashioned, but so is he. Mary Margaret asks how the hat works.
The gang waits for the thing to arrive...
The group then enters the main hall of the Mayor's office, and Regina, carrying the top hat, tells them that it will open a portal to their land, and all they have to do is send the Wraith in there. Regina crouches down and puts the hat on the floor; Mary Margaret says that she doesn't understand, since Regina told them that their land was gone. Regina tells her that it is, but sending the creature to a place that no longer exists is banishing it to oblivion. Regina tries spinning the hat and then the lights start flickering, as noises start coming from the outside. Through the glass of the main doors one can see objects flying around with the force of the wind. David lifts up a flaming broom, and Emma tries to rush Regina, who says that she's trying. The group becomes alarmed when the noises get louder, and then the two doors are opened suddenly and a roar is heard. The fire is put out in David and Emma's broomsticks, and the group looks on with terror.
The ladies hear something...
In the woods, Mulan lifts up her flaming torch as she feels the ground underneath her, to see if it's been trampled on recently, and she quickly unsheathes her sword when something approaches her from behind. It turns out to be Aurora, riding a steed. The princess claims to have found one of the horses, and Mulan looks impressed. Aurora parks the horse and says she's coming with Mulan, and then gets off her ride. Mulan tells her she needs to stay there, because of the danger, and Aurora says that she wasn't asking for her permission. Mulan tells her that Prince Phillip left to protect her, so even if she doesn't believe in his methods, she's going to honor his wish and keep Aurora safe. "Everything he does he does for you, and now he's gonna die for you." She comments that Phillip is going to sacrifice himself, something she thinks Aurora doesn't understand. Mulan turns away and starts walking, but Aurora tells her that she's not gonna let Phillip face the Wraith alone. "He won't", Mulan says, "But with all due respect, your Highness... Phillip's best chance is me." Mulan turns her face back to her front, and Aurora says "You love him." Mulan asks "What?", and Aurora repeats that she loves Phillip. Mulan tells her that she owes him much, they fought many battles side by side, and nothing more. Aurora tells her companion that she can deny it all she wants, but the princess knows love when she sees it. Mulan tells her she's wrong, and their attention is caught by a loud roaring sound. Aurora says, meekly, "Phillip..."
David tries to keep the Wraith away.
Back in Storybrooke, the Wraith makes its way into the main hall of the Mayor's office, looking around for Regina. David, carrying his flaming torch made out of a broomstick, makes his way to the creature. Mary Margaret picks up a bottle of liquor and hurries Regina, who claims that she is trying to get the top hat to work. David tries to hit the Wraith with the broom, and the creature almost hits him with its claw. Mary Margaret starts pouring some liquor on the rails of the dual fence of the hall, and she then calls out for David. He closes the fence and sets it ablaze with his flaming broom; he then tells Regina to hurry. She keeps spinning the hat to no avail, and David lunges at the Wraith some more.
"I love you."
In the fairytale land, in a clearing in the woods, at night, Prince Phillip waves his flaming torch in the air and calls out for the Wraith, teasing it to come. He looks around, hoping to find the beast, but all he can see are Aurora and Mulan arriving on the horse. Phillip tells them to stay back, and Aurora asks him what he's doing. He says that she knows what he's doing, and she begs him to let them help him fight. Phillip urges them to go, because the creature will find him. Another loud roaring noise is heard, and Phillip tells them that he's been marked and it's too late for him, and that therefore there is no other way. Mulan tells him that there is: she asks him to give her the talisman so she can mark herself and he can live. Phillip replies that this is his choice, to save the both of them. Aurora, tearfully, tells him that she doesn't want to live without him, and Phillip says that neither does him. The Wraith then appears, coming down from the sky. He tells the two women to keep each other safe, and Aurora reacts with terror. As the creature comes closer to the ground, Phillip appears to give up, lowering his torch. He turns his head back, lowly, and says "I love you." The two women look at him. He then throws his torch onto the ground and the Wraith proceeds to absorb his soul. Aurora shouts, horrified, and so does Mulan, screaming his name. The two women stare in terror as the darkened creature continues sucking the brave prince's soul, and when it's done, Phillip's lifeless body falls to the ground. The pendant is dropped from his hand onto the grass and the creature re-enters it, disappearing inside the jewel. The two afflicted women kneel down next to the prince and cry.
Emma gets sucked into the portal.
Inside the main office, back in Storybrooke, David continues to try and keep the Wraith away from Regina, repeatedly lunging at him with the flaming broomstick, while the fire on the fence behind him grows taller. Regina tells her company that the top hat isn't working, and Emma asks what the problem is. Regina tells her "Magic. It's different here." David rushes them further, and Emma crouches down and touches Regina. The Mayor then spins the hat once more and it finally works, as it begins to spin on its own and a funnel of purple smoke emanates from it and grows taller. Regina is surprised by the effect of Emma's touch, and the two of them are forced to back away as the portal hole of the ground grows larger in diameter. The Wraith throws David away, finally, and it then lunges itself at Regina. David warns them that the beast is coming, and Emma pushes Regina out of the way. The Wraith is then sucked into the portal, along with its soul-sucking ray, that manages to grab a hold of Emma's leg and pushes her into the hole with it. David and Mary Margaret both scream "No!", and the teacher says that she is not losing her daughter again, and David gets up and says "Neither am I!". Mary Margaret immediately jumps into the portal, and Regina gets up. David leaps over the burnt fence and onto the portal, but it dissipates under him, and he falls on the hat on the solid floor. Both Regina and David are surprised with what just happened.
The new friends are mournful.
We are treated to a large view of Aurora's palace. Inside, Prince Phillip's lifeless body is now lying on the bier that once held the sleeping beauty. By his side stand Mulan and Aurora, the latter caressing him. Aurora tells Mulan that this palace was to be their home, and they were to spend eternity there. Mulan asks how she wound up there in her cursed state, and the princess answers that Mulan isn't the only one who knows about sacrifice. Mulan nods as though she understands, and she then proceeds to insert the Wraith's pendant into a small pouch. She closes the pouch and hands it to Aurora, claiming that she should have it. Aurora takes it and thanks her, and Mulan gives her a comforting pat on the arm.
The Evil Queen prepares to kill Prince Charming, at last.
Back in Storybrooke, David is shaken when he realizes that he has ruined the magic hat by falling on top of it. He turns to the surprised Regina, livid, and asks where Mary Margaret and Emma are. Regina says she has no idea, and David walks up against her and asks if they're dead. Regina, maintaining a stern posture, tells him that the lands are all gone, and he repeats the question, more angrily this time, and with a tearful face. She repeats that she doesn't know, and David tells the Mayor that he should had killed her himself. Regina puts one hand over his chest and asks him what is stopping him. She then forces him against the wall of the office and the decorative branches of the wallpaper become real branches that trap David against the wall, including one that squeezes his neck and makes him lose his breath. Regina then teases him, saying that he is nothing but the son of a shepherd. She revels in his misery and tells him that she should have killed him when she had the chance, but now... now she can. "Mom?!", a familiar voice is heard saying.
Regina tries to comfort her son.
Regina is stopped by the sound of her son Henry, who has just arrived, accompanied by Ruby. Regina turns to him, with a genuine look of sorrow on her face, and asks him what he is doing there. Henry asks her what she's doing, and she comes closer to him and tells the child that he is safe now. The branches then vanish, turning back into mere decorative wallpaper, and David is thus set free. He falls to the floor and gasps for air, and Ruby rushes to his aid, while Regina tries to comfort a concerned Henry. Henry starts asking where his mother and grandmother are, and Regina tells him that they're gone, that they fell through a portal. Regina tells her son that she is sorry, and he tells her that she's not. "You really are the Evil Queen." Regina looks at him with a sad glare. He tells her he doesn't want to see her again, and Regina begs him not to say that, looking hurt. She then touches his chin and says that she loves him, and he asks her to prove it by getting Emma and Mary Margaret back. "And until then, leave me, leave everyone alone." Regina asks him where he will go, and the kid doesn't reply, until David recomposes himself and says "With me." David walks past Regina, taking Henry with him, and Ruby follows them. Regina is left standing alone in the office, brokenhearted.
Belle is touched when she learns that Rumple held on to a keepsake of hers.
Inside his pawn shop, Rumplestiltskin is seen spinning his wheel again, and then Belle shows up and greets him. He greets her back, surprised to see her, and she tells him that she went for a long walk. Gold says that he thought she didn't want to see him, and Belle replies that she didn't, but then she was worried. Gold tells her that the beast is gone and that Regina still lives, and Belle asks if this means that he didn't get what he wanted. He tells her that that remains to be seen. Belle's attention is then caught by something familiar. She proceeds to pick up the cup that she once chipped, and realizes that he kept it all this time. Belle becomes emotional, and Gold gets up from his seat and takes it from her hands, saying that there are many things in his shop, but the cup is the only thing he truly cherishes. Rumple then tells her that she must leave. Belle is confused, and he explains that she must leave because, despite what she hopes, he is still a monster. Belle smiles and puts her hands on his shoulders, saying "Don't you see? That's exactly the reason I have to stay."
David promises Henry that he will find his mother and grandmother.
We see a framed picture of Emma and Mary Margaret sitting on the counter of their apartment. The door is opened by David, and Henry lets himself in, while his grandfather turns on the light. The young man takes off his backpack and crosses his arms over the counter, chin on top of them, looking longingly at the picture of his mother and grandmother. David notices this and tells him not to worry, because the two of them are alive. Henry asks him how he knows that, and David says that he has faith. He then crouches down before the kid and tells him, "I will find them. I will always find them."
A frank conversation.
Back in the fairytale world, Aurora lies her head over Phillip's chest, and Mulan approaches her from behind and tells her that they should leave that place, for it is not safe there. Aurora tells her that the Wraith is gone, and Mulan tells her that there is more, and she needs to know everything. She goes on to say that much has changed in their land since she went to sleep, and Aurora states that it was less than a year, but Mulan says that that was only the case in a manner of speaking, because as she slept and Phillip and Mulan looked for her, something worse happened. Aurora asks what it was. "Are you familiar with Regina the Queen?", Mulan asks, and Aurora answers affirmatively. "She cast a curse on this land.", Mulan says, "A terrible, terrible curse. It ripped everyone away to another world." "But...", Aurora replies, "We're still here." Mulan nods affirmatively and says that the corner of the land that they're on was untouched, but nobody knows why. Something saved them, and for 28 years they were frozen. "And then... time started again." Aurora looks at her with confusion, and Mulan goes on to say that curse's power weakened, and she and Phillip were able to resume their journey. "We found you... but the land is ravaged with dangers more fearsome then you can imagine. For those of us who remained... we found a safe haven. We must go there now." The two women then hear a noise coming from the external hall from which the beast previously emerged, and they become somewhat alarmed. They get to the place from which the creature came, and look at the wrecked floor. Mulan tells Aurora to stay back because something is in there, under the rubble, and the princess asks what it brought.
Welcome to the fairytale land...
Mulan grabs a hold of a large piece of the pavement and tosses it aside, as the princess asks her what she sees. The knight and princess then look at the floor and Aurora asks "Mulan, what is that?". "That... that is what brought the Wraith here. That's what killed our prince." In front of them, lying on the floor, amongst the rubble, are Emma Swan and Mary Margaret Blanchard, both apparently knocked out. However, Emma starts regaining conscience...
- The title card of this episode features a Wraith.
- With this episode, Eion Bailey (August W. Booth/Pinocchio) and Raphael Sbarge (Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket) are no longer series regulars, whereas former guest stars Emilie de Ravin (Belle) and Meghan Ory (Ruby/Red Riding Hood) join the main cast.
- This is the first episode in which the Storybrooke events take place in flashbacks and the Enchanted Forest events take place in the present day.
- The song playing in the teaser while the mysterious man walks around the city he lives in is "Charley's Girl", by Lou Reed.
- This episode was written by series creators/executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, marking their 8th writing credit with the series. It was the 3rd episode directed by Ralph Hemecker.
This episode was watched by approximately 11.36 million viewers in its U.S. debut, garnering a 3.9/10 share in the key demographic (viewers 18-49). 
- Hillary Busis, recapper/reviewer for Entertainment Weekly, was positively critical of this episode, comparing it to the first season in a positive light, writing "Yes, OUAT is back in a big way. The stakes are higher, the special effects are more special, and the issues that plagued last season -- repetitive plot lines, Storybrooke never being nearly as interesting as Fairy Land -- have largely been dealt with. Sure, there are still a few flies in the love potion; the show seems to change the rules of how magic works whenever it's convenient, and characterization can still be more than a little inconsistent. (Wait, so Henry really does love Regina? Since... when?) Regardless, the Once that returned tonight is a stronger, better show than it was in season 1, and I'm very excited to see where things go from here." The episode was received with general enthusiasm and acclaim by the fans commenting at EW. 
- Amy Ratcliffe, editor for IGN.com, gave this episode a rating of 8.5 (meaning 'Great'), saying "The Once Upon a Time premiere brought change to Storybrooke, and change is just what the series needs."  Ally Johnson of Blast Magazine was also positively critical of the episode, calling it "a good start to the season".  "Wow. Just wow. After a hiatus that felt like a lifetime (or 28 years, heheh), Once Upon a Time is back, and what a way to return!" started out the review by Selina Wilken of Hypable.com. 
- Kayleigh Roberts of Screencrave.com gave the episode a 9/10 rating, saying "Season two of Once Upon a Time is promising to be better than the first. The decision to completely flip the concept and break the curse so early is proving to be a fantastic move. Plus, the twist with Emma and Snow being stuck in Fairytale Land is a welcomed surprise."  Barbara Barnett of BlogCritics.org said "The season is off to a good start, and I'm looking forward to a great year of Once Upon a Time." 
- The overall appreciation by the fans of the series and contributors of this wiki was overwhelmingly positive.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
Gallery of videos used as sneak peeks.
- ↑ Sunday, September 30, 2012 Final Ratings, TV by the Numbers.
- ↑ "'Once Upon a Time' season premiere recap: You Gotta Have Wraiths", by Hillary Brusis, EW.com.
- ↑ Once Upon a Time: "Broken" Review, by Amy Ratcliffe, IGN.com.
- ↑ "“Once Upon a Time” – Broken season premiere review", by Ally Johnson, BlastMagazine.com.
- ↑ "‘Once Upon a Time’ 2×01 ‘Broken’ review: Girl power to the nth degree", by Selina Wilkne, Hypable.com.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time: Broken: Episode 1 Season 2 – TV Review", by Kayleigh Roberts, Screencrave.com.
- ↑ TV "Review: Once Upon a Time - "Broken"" (page 3), by Barbara Barnett, BlogCritics.org.