Saturday, February 2, 2013

Once Upon a Time 2.12: "In the Name of the Brother"

“Regina thought she was punishing us by erasing who we were. But I think she underestimated how much crap we wanted to forget.”

This particular episode of “Once Upon a Time” was kind of a disappointment. I was really excited to learn that we were going to spend some more time in Frankenstein’s world, but what we learned wasn’t really all that surprising. It looked really cool, but the plot was so cliché that no amount of old horror movie awesomeness could save it. The Storybrooke plot was kind of intriguing, but I’ve never really found Storybrooke to be all that interesting in general. To me, the best episodes of “Once Upon a Time” have an interesting Enchanted Forest/flashback plot that provides a creative take on a classic fairy tale. The Storybrooke plots are just something to be endured to see the cool stuff going on in the flashbacks, really. Beyond being clichéd, the flashback sequences didn’t even really fill in that much more backstory. I think that’s been a theme with the flashbacks overall this season, which I think means they might have to transition from flashbacks to flash-something-elses really soon.

This episode starts pretty much right where the last one left off, with the big accident at the town line. Multiple people are hurt (Hook, Belle, and the driver of the random car), but they’re all still alive. The car that caused the accident has Pennsylvania plates, and nobody recognizes the driver. Meanwhile, without really thinking, Rumpelstiltskin runs over to Belle and uses magic to heal her wounds. This would later sort of come back to bite him, although I don’t think we’re going to see the true consequences right away. Anyway, everyone is taken to the hospital, and that’s when Emma, Snow, and Charming start trying to scheme about what to do next. Emma has the cell phone of the mysterious stranger and has figured out that his name is Greg, and given the wide variety of Pennsylvania area codes in his phone, he does indeed appear to legitimately be from the good old Commonwealth. It’s a little unrealistic for someone to have the spread of area codes in his phone that Greg does, though, even if they are all from PA. It’s a big state – Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are about six hours apart.

Anyway, Greg’s phone rings, and it appears to be a woman designated in caller ID just as “Her.” Clearly somebody back home is wondering where he is. This makes Emma and crew a little jittery, because it means that more random people could potentially find their way to Storybrooke and realize that things are a little odd in the town. Rumpelstiltskin makes this even worse when he mentions that Greg saw him throw magic to heal Belle. Greg’s injuries are critical, and Rumpelstiltskin thinks they should just let him die so he doesn’t talk. The Charmings are too self-righteous to go this route, though, and they really want Dr. Whale to do surgery and try to save Greg. Dr. Whale, however, looks rather nervous, and Ruby smells alcohol on his breath. Because that will end well.

Flashbacks to the old time horror movie world sort-of help to explain why Dr. Whale is kind of losing it. He and his brother, Gerhardt, kind of had a Boromir/Faramir thing going on. Their father loved Gerhardt and basked in the glow off all his military accomplishments, but he thought his older son was kind of a loser. Dr. Frankenstein (aka Dr. Whale) is a scientist instead of a soldier, and his passion is trying to find out a way to bring people back to life. In a total failure of an effort to be a good dad, his father buys him a military commission. Dr. Frankenstein has absolutely no interest in following his father and brother’s footsteps. Rumpelstiltskin appears to Dr. Frankeinstein at just the right time, and he makes him an offer he can’t refuse. He’s going to bankroll his research Now with funding again, Dr. Frankenstein goes back to work with relish. Only going back to work means digging up a grave. Gerhardt finds him in the middle of a grave robbing attempt, and just as he’s giving his brother a talking to, some guards approach them. Gerhardt tries to get the guards to stand down, but he just gets shot and killed for his trouble.

So Frankenstein makes the brilliant decision to continue his experiments on his brother’s body, and that really pisses off his dad (and understandably so, even if his dad’s an ass). Frankenstein’s early reanimation attempts don’t work, mostly because Gerhardt’s heart couldn’t take the electricity and completely burned up. As we know from earlier this season, though, Frankenstein was eventually able to procure a stronger, Enchanted Forest heart, and his father is thrilled when Frankenstein says he has successfully reanimated Gerhardt. The elder Frankenstein is not so thrilled, however, when he sees the actual condition of his younger son. Gerhard shuffles and grunts and seems afraid of everything. If you know the “Frankenstein” story, you can pretty much picture this, just without the neck bolts. He starts yelling at Frankenstein, and when Gerhardt sees his reanimator being yelled at, he kills his father. Later, Gerhardt begs his brother to end his life, but Frankenstein can’t bring himself to go through with it.

There’s a small Regina plot going on in Storybrooke that I might as well get through now before wrapping up all the hospital shenanigans. Cora confronts Rumpelstiltskin at his shop and offers him a crystal ball-like device that will help him find Bae in exchange for a promise that he won’t interfere with her attempts to get Regina back. Then she turns herself into Henry and finds Regina where she’s hiding out under the family mausoleum. Regina lets “Henry” in of course, and she’s understandably pissed off to find that it’s actually Cora. She wants to haul Cora right into town and have her tell everyone how Regina was framed for Archie’s death. Cora seems to agree with this, but she obviously has a bigger scheme in mind. And I don’t think the rest of the town is really going to care much anyway, since they have the whole Greg ordeal on their plate at the moment.

Anyway, the Charmings are anxious for Greg’s surgery to be done so they can figure out how much magical oddness he saw, but the surgery seems to be taking a long time. It turns out that the reason for the delay is that Dr. Whale up and ran off. Ruby ends up using her super wolf smelling powers to find him sitting on a dock, and they have a chat that gives Dr. Whale the courage to go back to the operating room. The surgery on Greg is successful, and once he is conscious again, Emma goes in to talk to him. He just seems nervous because he was texting when he got into the accident, and he assures Emma that he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. After Emma leaves the room, though, he calls “Her” and basically does a “you won’t believe what happened to me.” Emma and the Charmings aren’t going to be able to worry about that right away, though. Belle, with her amnesia, hates Rumpelstiltskin now, to an almost irrational degree, so all he’s got left is the prospect of finding Bae. He uses the crystal ball device, and then he calls in the favor Emma owes him. They’re going to go off in search of Bae. And leave the town unprotected while strangers are starting to appear. Because that will end well.

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