"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.
*: Only in archive footage
- The title card features Merlin's tower.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on August 11, 2015.
- Sarah Hayward, who plays the Villager, also plays the Villager in the episode "Operation Mongoose Part 1", and Townsperson #1 in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episode "Trust Me".
- The middlemist flower shares its name with the rose-like flower known as middlemist red. It is the rarest flower in the world, and it is believed there are only two middlemist reds left in the world; one in the Duke of Devonshire's conservatory at Chiswick, West London, and another in Waitangi, New Zealand. The middlemist flower originates from China, and was first brought overseas in 1804 by John Middlemist, from Shepherd's Bush, west London, who gave it to Kew Gardens.
- The waterfall in the pocket dimension inside the vault is liquid darkness.
- The words "gemini" and "cancer", the third and fourth astrological signs in the zodiac, are written on the wall inside Merlin's tower.
- The Storybrooke events take place after "Siege Perilous" and before "Dreamcatcher". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- 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, three years before the casting of the Dark Curse 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".
- 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 exact 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".
- Violet's horse is named Nicodemus, a reference to a Christian saint mentioned in the Gospel of John, who is most notable for assisting in the burial of Jesus.
- 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
- This episode is a rendition of the Arthurian Legend, with King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Sir Kay, and Percival.
- This episode also features Rumplestiltskin from the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale, Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story, Robin Hood from the ballad and Hank's daughter from the novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
- Rumplestiltskin offers Guinevere a vial of sand from Avalon, the legendary island from the Arthurian legend.
- The sands can be used to make Excalibur seem whole again. In the legend, the island of Avalon is where Exalibur was forged.
- The scroll that Arthur translates, is called the Carmarthen Scroll. In some versions of the legend, Carmarthen is supposed to be the place where Merlin was born. Merlin is also said to have made a prophecy regarding Merlin's Oak, a famous oak tree that once stood in the town.
- The Carmarthen Scroll, 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.)
- The Storybrooke Wishing Well prop doubles as the well in Arthur's village.
- When Arthur is translating the Carmarthen Scroll, a drawing of the Dark One's Dagger is lying on the table. Years later, the same drawing is lying in front of him on the Round Table as Arthur is talking to David.
- The blue dress Guinevere wears for the scene where Arthur becomes king, is the same dress that Milah wore when Rumplestiltskin returned home in "Manhattan".
- The outfit Guinevere wears for her birthday celebration is the same outfit that Rapunzel wore in "The Tower".
- The doublet worn by Lancelot on Guinevere's birthday is the same garment worn by the Sheriff of Nottingham in "Mother".
- The outfit Guinevere wears for the quest for the dagger is the same outfit that Jack wore in "Tiny".
- Emma is wearing a pair of Prada Women's Black Pointed Toe 'Vitello Lux' Ankle Zip Leather Booties (no longer available). She wears the same boots in the next episode, "Dreamcatcher".
|Finnish||"Rikkinäinen valtakunta"||"The Broken Kingdom"|
|French||"Le Royaume Brisé"||"The Broken Kingdom"|
|Italian||"Il regno spezzato"||"The Broken Kingdom"|
|Polish||"Rozbite królestwo"||"The Broken Kingdom"|