Monday, October 29, 2012

Once Upon a Time Post Mortem - The Doctor

No, not Doctor Who (although, I admit a traveling Time Lord in Storybrooke would be hysterical…but I digress…). But before I dive into the episode, can I just experience some sympathy for David Anders, he has played many an amputee—from Sark on Alias to the recently deceased John Gilbert on The Vampire Diaries (ouch the fingers), but this time he lost his whole arm—had it ripped right off.  Can I have a small "ow" of sympathy for him? Okay, now onto our episode.

Dead is Dead

Or is it? After being mostly absent for two episodes, Regina's character—and most of all her heart—was front and center in tonight's tale. We knew Rumple tempted her with magic to banish her mother through the Looking Glass, but he also became the master to her apprentice. The lesson with the unicorn heart actually scared my daughter—she sat there, fingers at her mouth chanting "don't hurt the Unicorn, don't do it." 
Way to go with the tension writers!  Because it really did offer us an intriguing sideways look at Regina's character and how driven by her grief she is. Not only did it spur her hatred for Snow, land her in a loveless marriage and encourage her to use magic to banish her mother—it also drove her to learn everything she could to bring back Daniel from the dead.

Unfortunately, as Rumple tried to tell her: Magic can do anything, except that. Dead is dead. She kept Daniel safe with a preservation spell (and yes my heart broke for her).  The more I learned about the twisty, Gordian knot of a road she traveled to becoming the Wicked Queen, the more sympathetic to her I became.
As in earlier episodes, Regina is trying to keep her promise to Henry to not do magic and not let magic seduce her. She goes to see Doctor Hopper and talks to him. He eerily echoes the advice Rumple gave her all those years ago: "she has to let go of the past."  Clinging to the memory of Daniel and the loss of her love has warped everything she's touched. If she wants to move on—she has to let go.

Jefferson's Back

In the flashbacks to Regina's learning days with Rumple, we're treated to a young, devil-may-care Jefferson who hops through the worlds gathering hard to procure items. I'm assuming this is before the birth of his daughter.  When Regina refuses to take the life of an innocent animal, Rumple tells her he can't teach her anymore. But he still pokes to find out what she really wants magic for—when she reveals her desire to bring Daniel back, Jefferson tells her of a man he knows who can do just that.

He offers to make the introduction if the Queen will give him a writ of free passage in her Kingdom. It was kind of cute that Regina didn't realize she could. When she agrees, he introduces her to the "wizard" who prefers to be called "Doctor."  David Anders looked good in that double breasted trench coat, but I could have lived without the eyeliner.

He evaluates Daniel's body and believes he is a perfect candidate—but he needs a heart. That is the final ingredient (and apparently how Jefferson lured him from his world to the Enchanted Forest). Regina refuses to take a heart for it, but she knows where to get one and takes them to her mother's vault. Of course the Queen of Hearts had an entire vault of them.  She has no idea who the hearts belong too, but they use one.

The Doctor puts on a dog and pony show but it proves not to work. He confesses the heart wasn't strong enough and there is nothing that can be done. Regina is heart broken again. She mourns the loss of Daniel and later shows up in all black (mourning colors, yes?) and rips out the heart of Rumple's new student. She's ready and he's delighted.

Later he congratulates Jefferson and the Doctor for their work and they give the Doctor the heart he needs for his experiment. Jefferson then returns him to his world and yes, he is indeed Victor Frankenstein and we get the "It's Alive!" scene at the end.

After Jefferson's participation in the deception, I feel less bad for what Regina did to him later.

Storybrooke Present

Dr. Whale finds Charming to ask him if the worlds are still there and Charming greets him with a slug to the jaw for sleeping with his wife. When Whale looks perplexed, Charming points out that Whale slept with Snow and Whale decries it with he didn't know they were all under the curse (it's definitely the new "we were on a break.")  Charming brushes it off and then tells Whale, yes he knows they are there and he will get them back.

Whale rushes off to confront Regina and demands she send him back to his world. But she can't and after Hopper throws him out, the Doctor finds Regina's vault and Daniel's preserved body and uses both to revive him. Daniel promptly rips off his arm and wanders off. Regina finds the Doctor in the bowels of the hospital and gets him help.

She rushes off to look for Daniel and tells Charming. They realize he likely went to the last thing he could remember—like David did when he woke up—and they head to the stables. Which is good because Daniel has Henry by the throat. They get Henry away and Charming is ready to kill Daniel but Regina begs him to let her try and get through to him.

To his credit, Charming doesn't like it but allows her to try. When Daniel is throttling her, she tells him she loves him and he comes back to himself and begs her to let him go—he's not really himself and the monster in him soon surges back up.

Regina freezes him in a trap spell and erases him from Storybrooke with a wave of her hand—sobbing brokenheartedly.  She later returns to Hopper and confesses she did magic.

Damn—I know she still has a mean streak, but I am officially rooting for Regina to get a happy ending now, because that hurt—A LOT.

Meanwhile, Doctor Frankenstein brings his severed arm to Rumple and asks him to reattach it—Rumple only asks that he admits that he needs magic since he so decried it all those years ago. The Doctor does and voila, he gets his arm back.

Meanwhile in the Damaged Forest…

It looks like Cora wiped out all the folks in the Haven and took their hearts except for one survivor that our four erstwhile princesses find. (Yes, four, cause technically Emma is a princess).  Of course the survivor is Killian "Hook" Jones. Emma doesn't buy his story and it looks like her lie detector is in full force. She finally forces a confession out of him when she ties him to a tree and whistles for the ogres. He admits his identity and tells them of his plan with Cora. She has the dust from the wardrobe and needs a compass to find the right world.

Luckily, he knows where it is. So he offers to lead them to it if they agree to take him to Storybrooke, too. He also admits that he wants to kill Rumple.  The princesses take him up on his offer, but Emma, Snow and Mulan remain wary—Aurora just whines.  And can someone please get her out of the dress and into a pair of pants? There were some corpses just go harvest clothes.

I liked the chemistry between Hook and Emma, but here's hoping she doesn't fall for the bad boy (even if she likes them).  And could the magic compass actually be Jack Sparrow's? Will it lead them to Oz where they land on a witch and have to steal her shoes?

Yes, I went there.

Overall—TOP NOTCH episode. Once Upon a Time never fails to deliver.  My only quibble is that Charming left Henry at the stables alone—with  no presumption that the kid had any idea what to do with a horse and sure enough, when his horse startles, Henry hits a wall and could have been trampled.  Parenting 101 – supervision IS required.

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