This week on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the doctor was very much in, as we finally got backstory on Storybrooke’s mysterious Dr. Whale (played by David Anders). Elsewhere, Rumplestiltskin created a monster and Captain Hook offered Emma the sky.
IN THE FAIRYTALE LAND THAT WAS…. | Rumplestiltskin is trying to teach Regina magic, but damn if she doesn’t stop short of crushing the heart of a pretty unicorn. “I can’t — it’s innocent,” she protested. “Nothing is innocent,” Rumple argued. In the midst of assuring Regina that “dead is dead” and no amount of learned magic can revive her stable boy fiance Daniel, the rascally imp is visited by Jefferson (have they ever called him the Mad Hatter…?), who comes bearing a crystal ball, as requested. Rumple needs the “slippers,” though, to get to where “she” is — in a realm with no magic (and Jefferson’s hat only offers transport between magical worlds). In private, Jefferson tells Regina he has heard of a “wizard” who can do what she wants, resurrecting the dead.
Jefferson takes Regina to this “wizard,” who prefers to be called “Dr.” He tests Daniel’s magically preserved (yet truly dead) body, and say it’s an ideal candidate for his “experimental” procedure. He just needs a “strong heart,” so Regina lets him have his pick from Cora’s vault. That night, the doctor goes to work his non-magic on Daniel, but claims it failed. Devastated, Regina returns to Rumple’s tutelage ready to do what’s necessary — starting off by plucking the heart out of his new Regina Lite protegé. Later, we see that Rumple was in cahoots with the doctor (to whom he trades the strong heart for the “monster” he’s gotten in Regina) and Jefferson (who uses his hat to get the doctor home).
IN STORYBROOKE…. | Whale tells David he has heard that they’re looking into creating a new portal, and that perhaps all the other realms still exist — including where his brother is. Whale barges in on Regina’s “Magic Anonymous” sesh with Archie to demand she send him back to his brother, since her curse only transported the living to Storybrooke. Regina claims she can’t help, that she only brought along who she wanted — including, we then learn, Daniel, who’s been preserved with a spell. Driving home in the rain, Regina sees Daniel roaming about, then finds his glass coffin empty. She goes searching for Whale, who is on his lab floor with his arm ripped off. Regina and David deduce that resurrected Daniel went to the stables (the site of his last fairytale land encounter with Regina), where Henry happens to be.
Daniel puts a scare into the boy, but Regina stops him before he can do harm. David is ready to “put down” the “monster,” but Regina insists she can talk to him. She gets as far as pulling the real Daniel only long enough for him to urge her to “stop the pain,” let him go and “love again.” Before he can turn on and kill her, she freezes and destroys her fiance, then says a sad goodbye.
While Regina confesses to Archie that she dabbled in magic, Whale shows up at Mr. Gold’s to get his arm reattached. Gold first makes him admit, “I need magic,” and poof — Whale is no longer a member of TV’s ever-growing amputee club. “Always a pleasure doing business with you, Victor,” Gold says… and we cut to the world where the “wizard”/doctor came from, as he delivers the strong heart to his laboratory assistant. They use the magical ticker to jolt the doc’s dead brother back to life. “It’s alive,” the scientist declares. “It’s magic, Dr. Frankenstein,” says the assistant. “No,” Victor counters. “It’s science.” (P.S. How coinky-dinky that we get a stormy tale of Dr. Frankenstein just as the “Frankenstorm” is hitting us here on the East Coast?)
IN THE FAIRYTALE LAND THAT IS…. | Emma, Snow, Mulan and Aurora (who really needs to lighten up) return to their safe haven only to find it destroyed — not by ogres but by Cora, and save for one mysterious rake of a survivor, who ultimately reveals himself to the ladies as Killian Jones aka Captain Hook. He divulges Cora’s plan — for him to get scoop from them on the portal back to Storybrooke. (And why does he want to go to there? “To exact revenge on the man who took my hand — Rumplestiltskin.”) He leads the women to a towering beanstalk, at the top of which resides an enchanted compass needed to use with any new portal. “It’s not the climb you have to worry about,” he says. “It’s the giant at the top.” (Cue next week’s guest star, Jorge Garcia. Dude.)
What did you think of Once‘s riff on Frankenstein? Will you allow it? Were you starting to groan that they were going to only hint at the doctor’s identity all hour and never drop the “F”-word?