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"The Broken Kingdom"

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This article focuses on the Season Five episode. For the Season Five episode with a similar name, see "Broken Heart". For the Season Two episode, see "Broken". For the locations known as "The Broken Kingdom", see Camelot or the Underworld.

They call Camelot "The Broken Kingdom" because we have no king, and we never will.
Kay to Arthur and Guinevere

"The Broken Kingdom" is the fourth episode of Season Five of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz, and directed by Alrick Riley. It is the ninety-second episode of the series overall, and premiered on October 18, 2015.


After receiving a cryptic warning from Lancelot about Arthur’s intentions, Mary Margaret realizes Arthur may be the heroes’ biggest threat, but when she is unable to convince David of the danger, she takes matters into her own hands. Meanwhile, Hook’s unwavering love for Emma provides a glimmer of hope in her struggle against the unrelenting voice of Rumplestiltskin. In a Camelot flashback, Guinevere senses that Arthur is losing his way, consumed by his obsession with making Excalibur whole, so she sets out with Lancelot on her own quest into the heart of darkness. In Storybrooke, Dark Emma unleashes a secret weapon in the next phase of her plan to find the brave soul she needs to draw Excalibur from the stone.[2]




Guest Starring



*: Only in archive footage


Production Notes

Event Chronology

  • The opening scene at Camelot takes place after "Nimue", and several hundred years before the scenes with young Arthur and Guinevere. (For more details, see the Camelot timeline)
  • The Camelot scene with young Arthur and Guinevere, takes place hundreds of years after the opening scene, and several years before the opening of "The Dark Swan".
  • The Camelot scene where King Arthur shows Excalibur to his subjects, takes place shortly after the opening scene of "The Dark Swan".
  • The Camelot flashback scenes focusing on the hunt for the Dark One's Dagger, take place 33 years before the events with the group from Storybrooke,[8] three years before the casting of the Dark Curse[8] and after the scene where Arthur shows Excalibur to his subjects.
  • The Camelot events with the group from Storybrooke take place after "Siege Perilous" and before "Dreamcatcher". The episode places these event five years after the scenes focusing on the hunt for the dagger, meaning the time period is from the point of view of Camelot people and does not include the Dark Curse's duration.
  • The Enchanted Forest flashback scenes at the Vault of the Dark One take place immediately before "Heroes and Villains". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
  • The Enchanted Forest flashback scenes at Granny's Diner take place after "The Dark Swan" and before "Dreamcatcher".

Episode Connections

  • Young Arthur shows young Guinevere a tree that contains a powerful sorcerer, which was first established in "The Price".
  • Arthur tells Guinevere of Merlin's prophecy, which was mentioned in "The Dark Swan".
  • The story behind the middlemist flower is explored in "Nimue".
  • The scene of Arthur pulling out the sword from the stone is from "The Dark Swan".
  • Arthur mentions that David is now part of the Round Table, which was established in "Siege Perilous".
  • Arthur's discovery of the Dark One's Dagger was mentioned in "The Price".
  • Emma first saw Rumplestiltskin's manifestation in "The Dark Swan".
  • Mary Margaret tells David that they cannot trust Arthur, something Lancelot told her in "Siege Perilous".
  • David recalls that Cora said Lancelot was dead, which was mentioned in Lady of the Lake.
  • Mary Margaret recalls Lancelot marrying her and David, which occurred in "Lady of the Lake".
  • Mary Margaret asks why David had to become a member of the Knights of the Round Table, which occurred in "Siege Perilous".
  • David tells Arthur that the Darkness is threatening his daughter Emma, which first began in "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
  • Guinevere uses a Magic Gauntlet to find the true location of the dagger, which was first seen in "Heroes and Villains".
  • Guinevere and Lancelot travel to the Vault of the Dark One, which was first seen in "Quiet Minds".
  • The Darkness attacks Lancelot, a dark force first seen in "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
  • Henry first met Violet in "The Price".
  • Rumplestiltskin says that he knows what happens when a woman's heart is torn between duty and desire, and adds that it never ends well; a reference to Milah's story from "The Crocodile".
  • Rumplestiltskin makes a deal with Guinevere, by trading a vial of enchanted sand from the Isle of Avalon in exchange for the gauntlet. His journey to Camelot and acquisition of the gauntlet was mentioned in "Heroes and Villains".
  • Mary Margaret and Lancelot travel to the Vault of the Dark One and emerge through a magical door to a jungle, where Mary Margaret recalls her vision of Emma ripping out her heart. This was first seen in "Best Laid Plans".
  • When Arthur gets his hands on the (fake) dagger, he expresses his desire to become "the greatest king in all the realms". Sir Kay says the same thing in "The Dark Swan".
  • Arthur uses the Sands of Avalon to build the castle of Camelot, first seen in "The Dark Swan".
  • The horse that Hook "borrows" is scared of the Dark One. Violet's horse reacts in the same way in "Dreamcatcher".
  • David and Mary Margaret are freed from the effects of the Sands of Avalon in "Dreamcatcher".
  • Emma kidnapped Gold in "Siege Perilous".
  • Emma and Merida recall their first encounter, which first occurred in "The Dark Swan".
  • The tunnel where Emma unchains Merida is the same tunnel where Emma and Sidney Glass talked about how to beat Regina in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".
  • Emma's plan to make Mr. Gold pull Excalibur from the stone succeeds in "The Bear and the Bow".
  • Merida is freed from captivity, and gets her heart back, in "The Bear and the Bow".



  • This episode features Merida from Brave. Emma orders her to make Mr. Gold "brave", a not so subtle reference to the movie.

Fairytales and Folklore

Props Notes

  • The Carmarthen Scroll,[10] which Arthur struggles to translate, is written in Welsh. For example, the words "Bydd yr haul", under the illustration of the sun, means "the sun will". (Note that a lot of the text is too faded to read.)

Set Dressing

Costume Notes

Filming Locations

International Titles



  2. 2.0 2.1
  5. File:504IWasWondering.png
  6. File:504ThrowingTheSand.png
  8. 8.0 8.1
  10. File:504StarEyeAndSun.png
  11. File:209AboutToChannelMagic.png
  12. File:504NoLongerTheBrokenKingdom.png
  13. File:504PicksUpExcaluibur.png
  14. File:504DefeatTheDarkness.png
  15. File:504NoLongerTheBrokenKingdom2.png
  16. File:214InjureYourself.png
  17. File:504GuinevereSad.png
  18. File:314DidntWork.png
  19. File:504Shortly.png
  20. File:420Well.png
  21. File:611ManInAllTheLands.png
  22. File:504TakingTheDagger.png
  23. File:213ThenAFight.png
  24. File:504RipsHeartOut.png
  26. File:505BetterWay.png
  28. File:IGlee j buckley-504.png

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