Once Upon a Time Review: Betrayal Is The Word

by Luciana / October 19, 2015

According to the Merrian-Webster Dictionary, the verb to betray means: to give information about (a person, group, country, etc.) to an enemy; to hurt (someone who trusts you, such as a friend or relative) by not giving help or by doing something morally wrong; to show (something, such as a feeling or desire) without wanting or trying to.

It seems that last night’s Once Upon a Time managed to cover every single definition of the word, as betrayal was the main theme that permeated the entire episode. With the exception of the Hook and Emma scenes, every single moment in “The Broken Kingdom” showed some kind of betrayal or deceit, as it told us the story of how Arthur came to be the king of Camelot. It also showed how the legendary king is an obsessed, selfish and evil bastard, whose sole purpose in life is to make Excalibur whole again.

We first meet Arthur as a young boy, telling his friend Guinevere that a wizard named Merlin, who was stuck in a tree, came to him and prophecized that he would be the King of Camelot one day, by taking Excalibur out of the stone. He vows to himself at that moment that he will fulfill that prophecy and make young Guinevere his queen. Except young Arthur is nothing but an orphaned stable boy and the other kids make sure he knows that.

But he grows up and he does find Excalibur and take it out of the stone, becoming the rightful king of Camelot and yada, yada, yada. We all know how the story goes, but in Once Upon a Time, Excalibur is broken and the obsession with making the sword whole again by finding the Dark One’s dagger, becomes his only goal. He starts neglecting his wife, his kingdom, and his marriage is in shambles when Guinevere has had enough. She decides to go looking for the damn dagger herself, in a last ditch attempt to save her marriage and save Arthur from himself.

Lancelot goes with her, after giving her a sweet birthday gift, and long dormant feelings come to the surface when he nearly dies in the Dark One’s vault. They share a kiss, but vow to never again speak of it. They do find the dagger, but our dear old Rumplestiltskin catches them before they can even try to take it. Rumple -being Rumple – offers them a deal. He wouldn’t give them the dagger (for obvious reasons), but he could offer something else: a way to make Excalibur look whole. Lancelot is wary, of course, but Guinevere takes the deal and gives him Merlin’s gauntlet in return – the object that had led them to the Dark One’s vault in the first place. Rumplestiltskin gives her a vial with the Sand of Avalon, saying that it could fix anything that was broken.

So she returns to Camelot with Lancelot and Arthur sees them together, looking quite cozy as she says goodbye to the knight. He has a fleeting moment of jealousy and confronts her when she returns to their house. Camelot is still a very much broken kingdom and the sumptuous castle is still nowhere to be seen. Guinevere tells Arthur that she went looking for the dagger to try and end this madness once and for all, but when she tells him she found it, the guy loses it. She is on the verge of throwing a pinch of the the sand on the sword to fix Excalibur, but gives up on the last second.

Arthur is nearly attacking her, yelling at her about the dagger and that she is hiding it from him, and she tells him the truth, but then also says that she wouldn’t do it anymore because she’s had enough and is leaving. Arthur, being the obsessed bastard he is, takes the Sand of Avalon from her and throws it on her, making her comply with his wishes. So there, evil, manipulative son of a bitch. God, I hate his guts.

Fast forward five years and that’s when our Storybrooke gang arrives in Camelot to try and save Emma. Our favorite Savior is nearly losing it with Rumplestiltskin taunting her inside her head, so Killian and Henry take her to a place out in the woods so she can be somewhere quiet and get better. Turns out Henry knows the place because Violet took him there and it belongs to her family. The scene that unfolds after that is probably my favorite of the entire episode because Henry is so cute and embarrassed when Killian teases him about his crush, and Emma just looks at him like he’s grown a second head and realizes her little boy is growing up, and the whole thing is just so adorable and sweet. I swear my cheeks were hurting from smiling so much.

And then Killian makes it his mission to make Emma feel better when she confides in him about Rumplestiltskin being in her head. So after Henry leaves with Violet, they steal borrow a horse and go for a ride at top speed, successfully distracting Emma from her own predicament and making Rumple disappear from her head. He is definitely the one that can save her from herself and I can’t wait to see how that is going to unfold.

That leads us to the other plot in this episode, which was the Charmings’ elaborate hoax to make Arthur show his true colors. I have to say they totally had me fooled because I thought David was a raving lunatic for 80% of the episode, telling Arthur everything about Emma and how they had the dagger and I swear my mind was stuck in a “what the hell” mode for most of the episode. Then Snow teams up with Lancelot to try to hide the dagger, only to be revealed that it was a fake and she was just trying to lure Arthur into revealing how psychotic he really is.

Except the tables were turned and Arthur reveals that he has been making great use of the Sand of Avalon, putting everyone under his spell, making his every wish a reality. That was how he built Camelot and that is how he is going to get the real dagger – who was with Regina this whole time – from the Charmings and use it to make Excalibur whole. This is probably what really happened that made Emma fully embrace the Darkness and become the Dark Swan, with everyone going against her because of the spell. Also, Lancelot was taken to prison and meets Merida there, which just begs the question of why the hell is she locked up in the first place?!

Back to present time Storybrooke, Rumplestiltskin is awake from his coma and insists that he is not the hero Emma says he is and that he can’t pull Excalibur from the stone. But our Dark Swan has an ace up her sleeve and that is Merida, who she brought back to Storybrooke with them and tied her to her bug. The Scot has a feisty mouth on her and gives Emma a piece of her mind, before the Dark One rips her heart out and bids her to help her with Rumplestiltskin.

She needs to make him brave like Merida.

20-something Brazilian journalist. Crazy about TV. Love Castle, Fringe, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Once Upon a Time and countless other shows. Lost is the best show of all time. Period. @lucianamangas