After last week’s so-so effort (decent storyline stretched beyond its capacity), I was interested to see how the show would move forward now that a Stranger (Ethan Embry) has car-crashed his way into Storybrooke.
Let’s bitch it out…
This week’s episode of Once Upon A Time reverses the trend we saw last week, wherein the events occurring in Storybrooke are far more interesting than our flashbacks. We return to the black and white world of David Anders’ Dr Frankenstein (first glimpsed in 2×05 ‘The Doctor’). Unfortunately can be summed up by the following equation: events from ‘The Doctor’ + Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – anything interesting = what we learn about the good doctor So basically if you’re like Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and you don’t know anything about the source text, then congratulations because the story of the “monster” – ie: Victor’s brother, Gerhardt (Chad Michael Collins) – an abomination and killing people – and Victor’s mean-spirited father, Alphonse (Gregory Itzin) – must have been super awesome and informative. For the rest of us: zzzzzzz
Storybrooke is much more interesting as everyone and their dog (sorry Red!) freak-out because a stranger has infiltrated town and may have witnessed Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) performing magic. It could be a gong show if this Stranger lives to tell the tale, but that’s only if he’s allowed to live. There’s a very interesting moral quandary at work here…that is almost immediately resolved by Charming (Josh Dallas). Heaven forbid the show tackle some “adult” themes. Charming decides that the man should live (begging the question: who put him in charge anyways?). Unfortunately Frankenstein has run off, abandoning his early 90s pager (???) to hit the wharf (this season’s most popular new set!) and have a crisis of conscience.
Okay, so in hindsight the Dr. Whale stuff is admittedly not that interesting (I find myself distractedly surveying the curly wisps of hair that peek out from Anders’ head whenever we get a head-on shot of him).
This leaves the worry-wart crew of Emma, Charming, Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Grumpy (Lee Arenberg) and Red (Meghan Ory) to fret about the implications of the “real world” finding out about their special little town. The dilemma is interesting since a) the Stranger has already made it across the town lines and no one seems to be wondering how that happened and b) only Emma has actually left Storybrooke, so their fears are based solely on Grumpy’s familiarity with classic films about misunderstood freakshows like Splash and E.T.
It’s all very amusing and silly, but entertaining enough, especially since it seems that Rumple and Emma are leaving on a journey to find Baelfire. This means that the remaining idiot residents of Storybrooke are left to fend for themselves with a Stranger who has already lied about seeing magic and is blabbing about it to his wife/girlfriend/beard, the affectionately named “Her” (because the writers are too tired from spinning revisionist fairytales to give a voice-actress a name?).
Whatever. I, for one, can’t wait to see Emma and Rumple stuck in a car, fighting over the radio station, eating Cheezies and playing “I Spy” to pass the time. Bring on the road trip!
- Cora (Barbara Hershey) makes a kissy-truce with Rumple: she gives him an awesome blood globe thingermabob to find his son in exchange for Regina (Lana Parrilla). I expected the interactions between mother and daughter to crackle with a bit more intensity, so it’s disappointing that Regina so easily falls for her mother’s isolationist mumbo-jumbo talk
- Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) gets to rattle off a few one-liners and double-entendres to Emma when she visits him in the hospital. So, since this is a real hospital, are they going to give him a legitimate prosthetic? There’s something unhygienic about a hook for a hand that likely scares children (remember there are enough of them in town to fill a school bus! We just don’t know who they are…except for those damn homeless orphans. Ugh)
- Belle (Emilie De Ravin) doesn’t remember Rumple and ultimately breaks Chip. I’m sure some people were all like “nooooooo!” but if you think about it, her reaction makes total sense. If you had amnesia and a crazy guy told you to focus on a cup because it’s magic, you would totally wig out and do anything you could to get him out of the room, too. Also, I don’t care about this storyline. Give Claire a twig baby and send her back to the island, already
- Love how Snow says that her nerves can’t handle waiting to hear if the Stranger lives or dies despite the fact that it’s clearly only been a few minutes.
- Also, how did Whale dump his pager in the clothes bin in front of everyone without a single person noticing?
- Umm…why can Red suddenly run like a vampire from True Blood?
- Is it any surprise that Henry (Jared Gilmore) knows more about the Frankenstein legend than Emma? Moving on. More interesting is Henry’s inquiry about who else is running around town if people from other realms were affected by the curse. Please let it be Freddy Krueger or some other mass murderer! Can you imagine a Criminal Minds/Once Upon A Time crossover? Amazing!
- Finally, is the corporate synergy between Disney and Star Wars already commencing? The Stranger’s ringtone is the theme to George Lucas’ space opera, so can we expect a certain cast of famous characters to appear on the show in the future? Geeks can only dream
- Snow (when Charming explains Whale brought back Daniel and had his arm ripped off): “What went on while we were gone?!”
- Red (sympathizing with Whale): “You’re Frankenstein. And I’m a werewolf. I ate my boyfriend…Regina thought she was punishing us by erasing who we were, but I think she underestimated how much crap we wanted to forget.”
- Emma (when Charming and Snow want to question the Stranger): “In a normal town the Sheriff goes in and asks a few questions. She doesn’t bring her parents in with her.”
- Emma (when the stranger asks when he can live): “We don’t want to keep you.”
Once Upon A Time is taking a three week break. It returns Sunday, Feb 10 at 8pm EST on ABC