This week on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Rumplestiltskin tried to steer Belle back down memory lane, Whale played doctors, Regina had a mother of a surprise and the Charmings worried what trouble an outsider might cause.
IN THE LAND THAT WAS…. | As Whale struggles with his responsibilities in Storybrooke, we flash back to life at the Frankenstein castle, where father Alphonse makes a fuss over son Gerhardt’s silver cross medal, and gifts him with a timepiece. Victor meanwhile receives a miliary commission that would pull him away from his work, which to date has been subsidized by his dad. Overhearing Victor’s dilemma, Rumple pops up in the lab and introduces himself, expressing an interest in “how you do what you do.” Rumple says that while witchcraft in Victor’s realm is “evil and neglected,” while where he’s from it is strong — yet stops short of restoring life. Rumple dumps a mound of gold on the floor in trade for the doc’s secrets.
Later, Gerhardt catches Victor in the midst of grave-robbing. Spotted by a watchman, Gerhardt winds up shot dead — thus furnishing Victor with a test subject. His first go is a failure, since his bro’s ticker couldn’t take the heat. Rumple has a solution: “I’ll bring you a master of the hat, and he’ll take you to a young woman (Regina) who has what you need — a heart for your brother.” We then get a brief reprise of Whale’s previous flashback (where the pumper provided by Regina helps bring Gerhardt back to life), though the lad is not quite himself. “He’s a monster!” Alphonse roars as Gerhardt freaks over a flame. When Dad berates Victor as a “ghoul” and “disgrace,” Gerhardt intervenes and kills their pop. Gerhardt offers his life to Victor, but his brother refuses to kill him (again). “I’ll still save you,” Victor says. “I’ll find a way.”
IN STORYBROOKE…. | At the accident scene, Belle is frightened by Mr. Gold, whom she last saw wielding magic, while no amount of broken ribs can keep Hook from flirting with the sheriff: “Hello, beautiful!” Looming larger is the matter of the outsider whose car mowed down the pompous pirate. “The outside world just came to Storybrooke,” Emma warns.
At the hospital, Gold gives “true love’s kiss” a try, and while Belle briefly smiles, she winds up terrified. Hook meanwhile is met with questions about Cora’s whereabouts, but he’s more interested in reclaiming his hook — “or,” he asks Emma, “is there another attachment you prefer?” The captain is quite pleased with hurting his foe Rumplestiltskin’s heart, but as Emma points out, “He’s on his feet, he’s immortal, he has magic and you hurt his girl. If I were to pick Dead Guy of the Year, I’d pick you.”
Emma and the Charmings poke around the outsider Greg’s phone and see he’s a regular joe who takes selfies, has a LinkedIn account (poor guy!) and tweets pics of his food. Still, Leroy and others worry that — as seen in Splash and E.T.! — people tend to take apart things they don’t understand. When Whale reports that Greg won’t be up and about anytime soon, Gold declines to repair the stranger (“I owe you nothing, none of you!”) and instead suggests they let him die or risk having tour buses coming down Main Street. The race against time begins when Greg’s cell rings — with the Star Wars theme (thanks, Disney-owned Lucasfilm!) — with a call from “Her”….
Gold runs into Cora, who offers him a globe-type gizmo to help him find his son (aka “the one person in the universe who might love you”) in trade for helping her reconnect with Regina. They seal the deal “like we used to,” with a semi-lingering kiss. (Huh!) Meanwhile at the hospital, Whale is MIA. David notes that the doctor has been “in a rough place” ever since Regina had him bring Daniel back to life (“Daniel?!” Mary Margaret remarks) and his arm got ripped off. “He’s like Frankenstein?” Emma asks. “That’s Whale,” David makes clear. Mary Margaret wonders aloud, “What went on here while we were gone?!” Ha!
Henry tracks down Regina in the crypt — only it’s not the rugrat but Cora in disguise. “I know why you sent me through the looking glass, why you tried to have me killed,” Mom says. “And it’s all right. I love you, I just showed you in the wrong ways.” Anxious to clear her name, Regina takes Cora to “wake up Emma and Henry and the two idiots” and reveal what she’s been up to. Cora hopes, “And then we can start over?” Regina is bearish, but on the drive home (LOL at Cora marveling at the “carriage”) she’s reminded of when Henry made things just for her as his only mother. “Together, we can get him back,” Cora assures….
Following Whale’s boozy scent, Ruby stops the doc from pitching himself into the drink, and they then compare notes about being monsters. Whale alluded to the common mistake people truly make, referring to the monster (and not the scientist) as “Frankenstein.” Ruby counters, “I ate my boyfriend,” then suggests that while Regina thought she was punishing everyone with the dark curse, they actually all have a chance to forget all their past “crap” and start over.
Back At Belle’s bedside, Gold tries to jolt her memories with her own talisman, Chip (aka the chipped teacup, which he has charmed), but it’s all just mumbo-jumbo to her, so she hurls the china against the wall, shattering it — and Rumple’s spirit. Later, after Gold uses the globe and a drop of his blood to locate Bae, he shows up at the Charmings’ — where Emma was taunting her mom about “knowing” Whale (“We were cursed!”) and Henry was acting as Continuity Police by noting that other non-fairytale characters could be living in town. Gold calls in the favor Emma owes him, saying, “We’re leaving to find my son; pack a bag.” For good measure, he warns the others: “If any harm comes to Belle, I’m killing all of you.”
Whale operates on Greg and it’s a success; Emma quizzes the outsider on what he saw, and he says he was too busy texting (Quinn Fabray taught us nothing) when he ran down the guy in the street. Emma lets him off with a “warning,” but later Greg phones “Her” to report, “I was in an accident, and you’re not going to believe what I saw….”
What did you think of “In the Name of the Brother”? Frankenstein backstory aside, a lot happened in Storybrooke, no?