All summer we waited for magic, and tonight, it finally came. But like Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) said, "Magic is different here, dearie."
Once Upon a Time, ABC's breakout hit which enchanted viewers with new twists on classic fairy-tale characters, returned for its second season with "Broken." And like the season-one finale, it was a total game changer and left us scraping the remnants of our jaws off the floor.
So fire up the yellow Buggy, it's time to go back to Storybrooke...
(Bitter)Sweet Reunions: Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Red (Meghan Ory), Snow and her dwarves, all the fairy-tale characters' reunions were sweet, but the one we were waiting for, the one between savior Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and her parents, Snow and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), was well worth the wait. I mean, did you see Charming's single perfect tear?
But then they finally talk, something Snow had been pushing for all episode and something Emma seems to dread (or needs "a glass of wine and several bottles" to get through). When she points out that Emma doesn't seem too happy about being reunited, Emma reveals that she still resents them for abandoning 28 years ago.
Road to Redemption: Though the townspeople want to kill Regina (Lana Parrilla), Emma promises to protect her because Henry (Jared Gilmore) pleads "she's still my mom." (Ugh, kid? Make up your mind.) Thanks to one seriously pissed off Rumple, Regina is targeted by the one thing no one can escape: destiny. Or, you know, a Dementor from Harry Potter Wraith aka soul-sucker. Once you wear the mark, it won't stop until it damns you for all eternity. Total Buzzkill Bob. To save her, they break out Jefferson's (Sebastian Stan) hat and intend to send the Wraith to a place that no longer exists, as Regina says Fairy-Tale Land was destroyed by the curse.
During the fight with the Wraith, Emma pushes Regina out of harm's way, only to fall into the portal herself. Unwilling to lose her daughter again, Snow jumps in after her. Charming attempts to follow, but is too late as the portal closes. When Charming tries to find out where they are, Regina fights back and almost kills him before a horrified Henry walks in. He refuses to see Regina until she saves his mama and grandmother and is going to stay with grandpa Charming until she does. (Side note: How freakin' cute was it when Henry called David grandpa?!)
Parallel Universes: In Fairy-Tale Land, we are introduced to Prince Phillip (Pretty Little Liar's Julian Morris) and Mulan (Jamie Chung), who team up to rescue Phillip's beloved Aurora (Sara Bolger). (Anyone else get major Snow and Charming vibes when he used true love's kiss to save her? Memories!) The trio embarks on a journey to safety, but we soon learn Phillip is marked by the Wraith and is going to sacrifice himself to save the two princesses. Twist alert: Mulan is in love with him, too! (Was he in love with her as well? Discuss!)
After tracking down Phillip, Mulan and Aurora helplessly watch as his soul is sucked out by the Wraith and he dies. While this was sad and everything, we couldn't help but wonder what the heck these three had to do with our beloved Storybrooke folks.
Turns out we were truly foolish to doubt OUAT's writing team as this wasn't a flashback to Fairy-Tale Land; it's Fairy-Tale Land in modern day after the curse has been lifted! Yes, this corner of the magical world somehow survived, and it's exactly where Mary Margaret and Emma find themselves at episode's end! Chills, y'all! (Now the countdown until a scene where Prince Charming shouts, "We have to go back!" as a nod to Lost's infamous bearded Jack begins!)
Toying With Words: Though he makes a promise to his beloved Belle (Emilie De Ravin) not to kill Regina, Rumplestiltskin never promises not to unleash something into the world that would do the job for him (see: Wraith). "You toy with words, like you do people," Belle accuses before running out when Rumple turns cruel. ("What, in the hour you've known me?" Below the corset, Rumps.) Fret not, Belle and Rumple fans, as she returns later and says she has to stay, to fight off his dark side and prevent him from becoming the "monster" he thinks he is.
A New Puzzle: A big mystery in season two is going to be Doctor Whale's (David Anders) fairy-tale identity. David didn't seem to recognize him (You're not my prince," Whale says), nor did anyone else, and Whale wasn't spilling. Who do you think he is? Also, how great was Charming's reaction to Snow's one-night stand with Whale? "We were cursed," is her excuse. Hey, it's true.
What did you think of Once's season two premiere? How long do you think Mary Margaret and Emma will be in Fairy-Tale Land? Any fairy-tale characters you're hoping they run into? Sound off in the comments!