This will be short and maybe not-so-sweet. Once Broken is Episode 4 in the Broken series and it introduces Carter and his family, then morphs into Carter being incarcerated by the now infamous Vincent who had inflicted his special brand of training on Aaron in the first three episodes.
Carter is not Aaron, he is subservient by nature, is not a rent boy by profession and is truly clueless about what he faces. That subservience allows his training to be accelerated, throwing him into the world of male brothels. He suffers the same conflicts: hating the clients who bring him pleasure, yet a chance encounter with a potential benefactor changes the shape of his experiences. However, having a rescuer doesn’t stop the worst from happening.
Carter’s friend, Joshua, is determined to find him. To do that he enlists the help of Aaron via his website. Sebastion joins in and they all meet to discuss the situation. Aaron is conflicted and excuses himself… And then there be spoilers.
The trinity of Aaron, Sebastion and Eric continues, their relationship complex and puzzling, the motivations murky. Carter’s journey is sufficiently different from Aaron’s that it forms a viable story arc alongside that of Aaron and company. The cliffie is of the uh-oh rather than say what variety.
As with Season One, the conditioning program is similar to, yet different from, what we saw earlier because Carter is a different personality, with reactions and motivations that drive him to confront his situation in interesting ways. And throwing his benefactor, Tristan, into the mix adds an additional element of suspense to the story.
I have one huge, really major quibble. A chapter from book 3, Season One, is repeated in episode 4, word-for-word. That is lazy writing, and it misses an opportunity to recast Carter’s initial experience into a deeper understanding of what drives the people behind the scenes and to expand on Carter as a unique player in this ongoing saga.
This episode is in major need of solid editing (missing words/sentences, repetitious phrases, that repeat chapter). It is marginally less clinical than the first three episodes but still a far cry from erotica. The author choses to explore affect (where one acts counter to what one feels) rather than effect (reactivity), allowing us to approach this with more emotional commitment. 2.0 stars for lazy writing/bad editing, 4.0 stars for keeping me invested in spite of…