It was co-written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, while being directed by Ralph Hemecker.
A wraith is shown hovering in the forest.
In the Fairytale World
In the fairy-tale world, Prince Phillip awakens Princess Aurora from a magical, year-long sleep with true love's kiss. But they and Phillip's traveling companion, the female warrior, Mulan, are soon attacked by a wraith, a soul-sucking monster. Unbeknownst to the women, Phillip is "marked" by the wraith's talisman as they drive it off, so the wraith will now follow him relentlessly. After they make camp, Phillip leaves the two women so they will not be harmed when he is attacked. When Aurora notices his absence, Mulan realizes what has happened and goes to pursue him while Aurora insists on following. Aurora then accuses Mulan of being in love with Phillip, but Mulan denies this. They find Phillip and Mulan offers to take on the mark so that Phillip and Aurora can be together, but Phillip refuses and succumbs to the wraith's attack. Aurora and Mulan lay Phillip in the palace where Aurora was sleeping.
In Storybrooke, Emma prevents a mob of townspeople, led by Dr. Whale, from attacking Regina, who is still powerless despite the fact that magic is now present in Storybrooke, and instead takes her to jail. There, Mr. Gold uses the wraith's talisman to mark her. He then uses the talisman and his dagger to summon the wraith. Gold had promised Belle that he would not kill Regina, which technically he has not since a wraith consumes souls, and she walked out on him after learning what he had done. Emma had also promised Henry that she would prevent Regina from being killed, so she, Mary Margaret, and David join forces with Regina and use Jefferson's hat to banish the wraith to the fairytale world. Regina informs the others that the fairytale world was destroyed by the curse, so this will have the effect of banishing the wraith to an oblivion. They succeed, but the wraith pulls Emma into the portal as well and Mary Margaret follows, unwilling to abandon her child again. David takes charge of Henry, who tells Regina that he will never speak to her again if she does not bring Mary Margaret and Emma back to Storybrooke. Belle returns to Gold who tries to send her away and explains that he is still a monster, but she responds that she must stay with him for that very reason.
The final scene of the episode reveals a twist: the story-line of Aurora, Phillip, and Mulan is not a flashback, but rather takes place in a part of the fairytale world whose inhabitants were—for an unknown reason—not removed by the Evil Queen's curse. After resting Phillip's body on the bier in the palace where Aurora was awakened, Mulan explains to Aurora that they were frozen in time for 28 years until time resumed, allowing Phillip and Mulan to complete their quest. But the land has been ravaged by the effects of the curse and the survivors had gathered in a safe haven. Before Mulan and Aurora can begin to travel there, they discover Mary Margaret and Emma, unconscious under some debris, and Mulan blames them for the wraith's arrival, which is partly true.
"Broken" was co-written by co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, while being directed by V veteran Ralph Hemecker. With the curse broken in the first season finale, the writers felt that they could now go farther with each of the characters. In an attempt to instill a "whole different vibe" into the series, they envisioned a larger ambition than the previous season. Horowitz explained, "We have been allowed to do more at the start of the [season]. Without addressing the budget, everybody at the studio is on board with this as a big-canvas show… A lot of it actually is the learning-curve aspect of season 1, where we figured out what we can do and how to do it well. We learned how to maximize our bang for our buck. The biggest key is time. If we can figure out our stories far enough in advance, the more time our effects team and department heads will have."
First season recurring actresses Emilie de Ravin (Belle) and Meghan Ory (Red Riding Hood/Ruby) became members of this season's main cast. Two additional actresses who joined the recurring cast were Sarah Bolger as Aurora and Jamie Chung as Mulan, who both made their debuts during this episode.
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