Once Upon a Time Recap: Alive and Kicking

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.

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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?)

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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?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Anna says:

    The whole episode was a disappointment for me. However, it did what it needed to do, open the story up to non-fairytale characters. It’s a shame it was executed so poorly. Anders and Stan were great, of course.

    As for Hook, I think there is so much potential for his character. They made O’Donoghue a regular for a reason. After watching how his character and Emma were with each other, that had to be a reason. I’m kind of excited for that, but we’ll see.

    I think they really need to embrace post-FTL storylines. Mulan and Aurora are in desperate need of being fleshed out. I know we’re only five episodes in, but Mulan is the most frustratingly annoying character to me, which is a shame. I get that she’s supposed to be a warrior, but there really doesn’t seem to be much more to her than that.

  2. Elyse says:

    Charming punching Dr Whale in the face was definitely my favorite scene. but really… FRANKENSTEIN?!

  3. Michelle says:

    I really l

  4. Kacem says:

    Honestly, i felt like this OUAT episode could have been better, and i gotta say, i agree with anyone who says that they could’ve teased more in the promos without revealing Whale’s true identity, since when you watch the episode, you just keep waiting for the moment someone is gonna call his the F-name !

    About the lots of characters/lots of realms thing, you need to keep track and history has shown that OUAT is a show for people who research and keep track of everything, details and replies is the dialogues are gold mines for spoiler seekers, the crystal ball that Jefferson brings to Rumple obviously belongs to the Wicked Witch of the West OR her sister since she is the one who owns the ruby slippers and i wouldn’t be surprised if they drop something like ‘Jefferson made a hurricane out of his hat and that made the house fly and collapse on the East witch and killing her off’.


    1. Cora being the “Queen of Hearts” makes no doubt after this episode, and again, they’ve given away the deets with the vault refence AND episode 9 being titled “Queen of hearts”, i bet all i got they are gonna adress Cora’s life in Wonderland and how she abducted Henri (Regina’s father) which lead Regina to come back and take him. Why didn’t Cora keep Regina in Wonderland in the “Hat Trick” episode : remember Regina was never found by the guards and escaped leaving Jefferson alone.

    The question remains how Cora and Hook know each other ? Did they know each other from the (not-so)Safe Haven ? Or did one of them travel to one others realm ?

    2. Whale being the Doctor and the Wiz of Oz, i highly doubt it, however, he could be (his assistant looked sooo much like a tiny man) and came to the FTL to return a favor to Rumple aka killing off the East witch (but that’s me making another show).

  5. Frank Eee says:

    Should of followed my instinct and left this show at season’s end ….To many characters, stories, the jumbled timeline–!, etc… I found the amnesic Storybrooke setting more compelling a ground to tell these character’s story….now the show seems a mess, no clear focus.

  6. Ana says:

    Am I the only one who’s shipping Emma and Hook?? Poor Emma, it’s been too long since she had someone in her life, the last one was the Huntsman ):

    • Templar says:

      Good grief! I’d rather see her with August and he’s not even real. Given a choice, I’d opt for Jefferson, since Grace and Henry would complete a nice family unit. There’s always the chance that Bael will factor in, too.

    • Nelly says:

      No please!!! Emma is going to have way too many love interest this season and they are starting to get into Mary Sue territory.
      Hook needs to stay a villain.

  7. Lucy says:

    The only good thing of episode was Regina. Period.

  8. Montie says:

    I liked that the whole scene at the end with Victor resurrecting his brother was in black and white (except for the heart). It’s a call back to the old B&W Frankenstein movie.

  9. PG says:

    For me the best characters are Rumple (the best, better than Regina), Belle and in this second season Cora. I want to see Ariel the Little Mermaid. I hope in a great Ariel like Belle. Please I want to see Ariel.

  10. Tine says:

    I’m sorry, but I’ve been watching old episodes of Alias, so I gotta do this

    That is all.

  11. My says:

    Not my favorite episode, and I don’t like the inclusion of Dr Frankenstein. However, I do think it was a great touch that the ending scene was filmed in black and white, and had the eerie feel of the old movies. Nice.

  12. janet says:

    Frankenstein is NOT from a fairy tale or Disney movie like all the other characters are … Frankenstein is THE Gothic novel of all times and one of the first science fiction novels ever written and has no place on OUAT with bloody Mulan!
    This episode was AWFUL … And what does Frankenstein hv2do w/The Wizrd of Oz references?
    Frankenstorm on TV and outside my window!

    • Templar says:

      The only common ground I can find between Frankenstein and the Wizard is that they are both mere mortals, that they are educated men Dr. frankenstein and Professor Marvel, and when The Wizard was behind the curtain he had a lot of thunder and lightning going on, not unlike the Dr.

  13. GingerSnap says:

    Season 1 had a story arc which led to Emma “saving” the characters from Storybrooke/FTL, which she could only do when she chose to believe. We are on a new story arc, with Hook and Whale/Frankenstein and Victor/Oz and Jack and The Bean Stalk and Peter Pan. All winding together to fill in on Emma’s past,& who Henry’s father is. It’s a lot of characters, but they all have a connection to Rumplestiltskin and Regina. The season’s arc seems to be dedicated to determining if Rump and Regina are redeemable. Can the good that exists within them be overcome by love and connection with human caring? Or will it twist to a new evil in Season 3?
    That’s a lot of exposition and a lot pieces to pull together, but I’m willing to wait it out. So last night’s episode was a little slow, but there is more to come. The charm of this show is it’s message about hope and faith. That’s a story that’s worth waiting for.

  14. Matt says:

    Knowing he’s Frankenstein means that Frankenstein slept with Snow White…

  15. wednesday says:

    Now that Rumple has his magic back, why couldn’t he fix Jefferson’s hat? I mean he re-attached Whale’s arm! Couldn’t he fix the hat so Jefferson could try to get Snow and Emma back?

  16. mike says:

    I was totally expecting him to be The Wizard of Oz :/

  17. Lizinsydney says:

    If Whale is Dr Frankenstein and it was hinted at that he could be Wizard of Oz by Jefferson, could his brother be Tin Man who needs a heart? Could Whale have been interested in Ruby scientifically because he knew there was something different about her or sensed the werewolf in her (especially if familiar with monstrous creatures in his world)?

  18. Mely says:

    This episode was nice for David Anders, since it has been intensely annoying trying to figure out who he was all this time. Other than that, though, it seems like a placeholder episode, like they just wanted to keep us waiting a little longer while nothing continued to happen. Coming from someone who lives for character development, I still state with all my heart, “Quit with the character backstories and give us some PLOT.” It is getting frustrating to only see the main characters for 2 seconds per episode.

    Reunite Charming/James/David/UnknownGivenBirthName and MaryMargaret/SnowWhite as soon as possible! MaryMargaret/SnowWhite even said in this episode that she had about 5 minutes with her husband before they were ripped apart again. I mean, seriously.

    Also, “Dreamy” is absolutely the dumbest episode.

    That all being said, this is my favorite show EVAR.

  19. Nico says:

    Well there goes my hope that OUAT was gonna add Noah Bean to the cast permanently, I guess. Too bad. But it’s a show about magic, maybe they can add another twist to Daniel’s story at a later point.

  20. joseph says:

    I am amazed by the variety of responses!
    I am also, I realize, very lucky for having missed the spoilerific promos. I got to experience the episode unfolding as it was written.
    I was favorably impressed by the simultaneous multiple plot lines – I can see how anyone who LOVED how S1 went wouldn’t like it, but I was really disappointed in most of S1 and I love that they have ratcheted up the multi-ness of the show. I feel my mind racing to keep up with everyone and everything. I feel like it’s not re-explaining every little point over and over like most of S1 was doing. I feel like the stakes are real, the possibilities are huge, and even though some stuff is obvious, I finally have pretty much no idea where the show is going. I finally feel like anything could happen in every episode.

    I loved how many things have a “finally!” tag attached lately: Emma being smart and using her lie detector power. Vastly different worlds colliding. Interesting art direction. Lana P showing some real acting that makes her frankly ridiculous Evil Queen character arc make a BIT of believable sense. Charming being awesome and even funny. Bobby Draper finally getting an arc that has potential (though he should really be making more sarcastic Star Wars-ian remarks, especially now that Disney bought Lucasfilm). Nice little eerie moments like listening to the fire.

    I mean, it’s all dumb and unbelievable. So little of it stands up to real scrutiny. And yet when done right, it’s so much fun, and it follows its own logic (not really very consistently, but sometimes). Like Lost, it’s a nice audiovisual vacation. And I’m finally starting to enjoy my hangout time with the characters, which was definitely one department where Lost shone and OUAT has often sputtered.

    I also really liked “Dreamy”, and I think most of the people who didn’t are taking the show too seriously and ought to relax and have fun with it when fun is there for the having!