Broken. So many things in Storybrooke are broken; some for better, some for worse as the Once Upon a Time season two premiere, aptly called "Broken" comes to a close. But just as things break, other things come together. Lives begin to heal, but new conflicts arise as the game board is reset for season two.
What is broken? The curse, of course, has been shattered by Emma's (Jennifer Morrison) love for her son Henry (Jared Gilmore). And that can only be a good thing. But the breaking of the curse is incomplete as Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) pours the contents of a potion into the town well in last season's finale. Intended to restore things that are lost, the potion restores magic to the fairytale characters, returning to Gold, Rumplestiltskin's powers. But the magic is also broken, and doesn't work for Regina (Lana Parrilla)—or at least not well. The Blue Fairy is also unable to yield her good magic; wands and fairy dust do not exist in Storybrooke. After all, this isn't Fairytale Land!
On the other hand, one thing not broken is Rumplestiltskin's dagger. The curse now broken, Rumple has at his disposal all the powers he had accumulated when becoming the Dark One. Who knows what talismans and trinkets lurk in Gold's shop, just waiting for him to use them? But Gold's most precious possession is a small chipped tea cup, a remembrance of his lost love Belle (Emilie de Ravin), long believed dead.
Now restored to him after she being held captive throughout time by Regina, and freed by Jefferson (the Mad Hatter) in revenge against her, Rumple promises not to murder the Evil Queen. But it's a promise that's broken (albeit indirectly) as Rumple finds a loophole in his promise, and rather than killing her with his own hand, the sorcerer unleashes a soul-sucking wraith targeted at Regina. (And raise your hand if you had a moment of Stargate Universe deja vu to hear Robert Carlyle say "Destiny?")
When Belle discovers Rumple's deception, she is furious with him, realizing that he will never change. Yet, she eventually reasons, her presence may mitigate his darkest instincts. But he surprises her, recognizing within the danger within himself, and begs her to leave the monster that he is. It is a moment of self-sacrifice for the grand manipulator, sending away someone for whom he has pined though the millenia. And it is a true mark of her love for him that she insists on staying. And who just loved that gorgeous moment between the in the forest, and their long-awaited kiss? There was such incredible tenderness there (sigh). Okay, I admit it; I'm a Rumbelle shipper. But I'm in good company, right?