*All of our episode recaps contain spoilers*
The majority of this week’s episode takes place in Camelot, switching between Arthur’s childhood and his reign as King. Back before Arthur was in power, Camelot was a village known as the ‘broken kingdom’, without a fancy castle yet still with the tree Merlin is trapped inside. A young Arthur shows a young Guinevere the landmark, explaining that one day he will turn Camelot into a kingdom and rule over it with her by his side. Despite the bullies, stable boy Arthur is determined to fulfil his destiny and become King.
Once again we are shown the scene where Arthur pulls Excalibur from the stone, only this time we also get to see what happens next. Arthur returns to his village to share the news, but only pulls the sword out of its scabbard far enough for the villagers to see it, not enough to reveal it is incomplete. Ever since then Arthur has been looking for the Dark One’s dagger, desperate to reunite it with the sword, evidently ruining his marriage in the process.
A Marriage On The Rocks
In a flashback to five years ago, it’s Guinevere’s birthday but Arthur seems to have completely forgotten this, consumed by his search for the dagger. A disappointed Guinevere heads out to the party alone, soon to be joined by Lancelot who wishes her a happy birthday and asks her to dance. Still oblivious to the fact it is his wife’s birthday, Arthur finally shows up blabbering about the dagger and the fact that he may have found a way to retrieve it.
Fed up of her husband’s behaviour Guinevere decides to put an end to things once and for all and wants to find the dagger on her own. She thinks Arthur has miscalculated its location and with Merlin’s gauntlet in tow she’s pretty sure she’ll be able to find it and in turn get her husband back. Lancelot catches her about to set out on the quest and of course, being a noble knight, volunteers to join her. The pair find their way to the Dark One’s vault, unlock the door and follow the staircase underground, where they are attacked by something that resembles the Black Smoke from LOST(!). When Lancelot is captured Guinevere steps in to save his life, then kisses him only to quickly step back and proclaim it a mistake.
Getting straight back to the quest, they continue to follow the gauntlet until they reach a door leading to the dagger. When Guinevere reaches out for it the pair run into another set back; Rumple (the Dark One at the time). Although he is unwilling to hand over the dagger, he offers up an alternative in the form of a small bottle of enchanted sand he claims will solve Guinevere’s problem by making the sword appear whole. Despite Lancelot’s doubts, Guinevere accepts the trade understanding that if she can make Arthur believe his quest is complete her marriage will be saved.
The Sands of Avalon
When she arrives back from her quest Arthur is none too pleased to have seen her outside his window with Lancelot. When she confesses that they went to retrieve the dagger, at first he is unsure but upon hearing that her quest was successful he is eager to get his hands on the dagger and ‘prove Merlin wrong’. Guinevere reveals that although she was unable to get the real dagger, she has the sand instead, choosing to be honest with him as she doesn’t want him back if it isn’t real. Stating he will do whatever it takes to fix things Arthur grabs hold of the bottle of sand and uses it on his wife, making her believe that everything is okay and erasing her memories of their troubles. Not satisfied simply with getting her back, he also throws sand out the window, over his kingdom, creating the castle and Camelot exterior we, and our favourite characters, have become familiar with over the past few weeks. I guess we now know what Lancelot meant when he told Snow ‘Camelot is not what it seems’.
This week Snow and David were struggling with some trust issues of their own after David found out about Excalibur being broken (‘Camelot’s greatest secret’). With Snow keen to trust Lancelot and David still inclined to believe that Arthur is telling the truth, the pair bicker over whether they should let the King in on Emma’s secret and hand over the Dark One’s dagger allowing him to reunite it with Excalibur.
In the end David does reveal the truth about Emma, as well as Lancelot still being alive, and offers up the dagger to the royal couple, only to discover it is no longer in it’s box. But don’t worry, it’s all part of the couple’s plan – a test of their new ‘friends’ if you will. Over at Granny’s, Snow presents the real dagger to Lancelot, who has been hiding out there, and asks for his assistance in making sure the dangerous object stays hidden.
The pair decide to revisit the vault of the Dark One and along the way Snow tries to figure out what happened between Lancelot and Guinevere. When they arrive Snow is quick to realise she has seen the place before, in a vision where she witnessed a younger version of her own daughter rip out her heart and is left wondering the true meaning behind this. Lancelot believes that he should be the one to retrieve the dagger from it’s home, but when Arthur shows up his true colours are revealed as he holds a sword to Snow’s throat, threatening her. Without any options left, Snow hands over the dagger and Arthur tries to use it command Emma to reunite it with Excalibur, planning to then use the sword to ‘snuff out the darkness’. To his surprise it doesn’t work, and Snow shows her sassy side, exclaiming the dagger is not real, it was all part of the Charming’s plan.
Over at granny’s Snow, David and Lancelot have Arthur captured and Excalibur in their possession. David thinks they will be able to use the sword to help Emma. When deciding who should make the final decision, Lancelot claims that Guinevere is the true leader of Camelot. Right on cue she shows up, along with a whole host of Arthur’s loyal knights and frees her husband from his handcuffs, telling Lancelot that she loves Arthur. Straight away Lancelot knows that Arthur must have used the sand to trick Guinevere into believing this, but she takes Excalibur away from Lancelot and orders that he be locked up. In his new cell he meets a fellow ‘criminal’ and another of Arthur’s enemies; Merida.
With Lancelot out of the picture Arthur and Guinevere use a little more of the enchanted sand, this time on the Charmings. Under the influence of the sand, David and Snow assure Regina that they can trust Arthur and that making Excalibur whole again is their best chance to help save Emma from the darkness.
Over in the world of the Dark One, Emma is still having trouble with that pesky voice-in-her-head Rumple, this time haunted by whispers too. Following the sound, Emma comes across the sought-after dagger inscribed with her name, explaining the whispers that were calling out to her. As it turns out Regina had hidden the dagger away and cast a spell on it for good measure, stopping Emma from using it without having to use her dark magic too.
Feeling weak from the darkness Emma is looking rather zombie-like so in an attempt to help her recover, Henry and Hook decide she needs to get away from the castle and Henry knows the perfect place. The trio trek to a stable, one that happens to belong to the family of Henry’s new friend Violet.
Once they are alone Hook decides it’s time to find out what is really going on with Emma, and finally she lets him in on the secret and reveals all about the Rumple voice and visions. Of course, Hook wants to help her and knowing that being at sea helped him to conquer his own demons, suggests that they go for a horse ride. As it happens the horse is pretty afraid of Emma, clearly sensing her dark powers and leading Rumple-voice to exclaim ‘I guess the pony is smarter than the pirate’. As the pair ride off Emma is sadly still seeing Rumple there, although Hook promises he will never stop fighting for their relationship. After a little while, the horseriding seems to be working. As the pair stop in a field of flowers, Hook asks ‘what don’t you see?’, to which Emma replies ‘Rumplestiltskin. He’s gone’. This begs the question that if Hook’s plan was such a success, what happened between now and then to make Emma as dark as she is in the present day?
The Secret Weapon
Speaking of present day Storybrooke, this week’s episode ended once again with Emma hanging out in the room with Excalibur and the dagger. Whilst he tries to talk her out of it and get her to set him free, she explains to the recently awoken Rumple (the real one this time!) that he is the only one who will be able to get her the sword. Despite this Rumple isn’t convinced, stating that he can’t be the hero she wants, and that’s when we see Emma’s ‘secret weapon’. Tied to the bonnet of her famous yellow Beetle is Merida, who Emma plans to use to turn Rumple into the hero she needs. Once again we see Emma rip out Merida’s heart, this time using it to ensure she follows her orders; to make a cowardly Rumple brave.
What did you think of ‘The Broken Kingdom’?