Has the real world come to Storybrooke?
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Jared S. Gilmore, Meghan Ory, and Robert Carlyle.
Just like that, Once Upon a Time has reverted to telling its vapid, soulless fairytale stories at the expense of the emotional, stirring stories that the audience has come to care for.
Despite the brilliant set up and dramatic situation that the characters in Storybrooke have found themselves in after Hook shot Belle and caused her to lose her memories, as well as the introduction of a mysterious outsider into Storybrooke, what ensues can only be described as a filler episode. It is inevitable within a show that has 22 episodes, and wants to expand its universe as much as Once does, but it is especially frustrating considering the narrative momentum that has been built up since returning from its mid season break. The storylines that the audience are perhaps the most invested in, namely Gold and Belle’s continuing relationship now that Belle has lost her memories, as well as Cora’s attempts to pollute Regina, are put to one side to instead favour upon an entirely unnecessary look back at Dr. Whale’s alter ego Dr. Frankenstein. Too much of the episode is weighed down with exploring present day Dr. Whale’s feelings of inadequacy in the field of science considering his failed attempt to save his brother from death.
This episode is not without its compelling moments and ideas. The conflict that our good fairytale characters have, in risking the life of the outsider (whose name is Greg, in case you were wondering) in order to protect the massive secrets contained within Storybrooke is an interesting one, and one that helps blur the line between villain and hero, even though, ultimately, they decide that they must do everything they can to save Greg’s life, and then focus upon helping him vacate their town. Elsewhere, Cora finally reveals herself to Regina, admitting that she was the one who framed her for killing Archie. Though Regina is initially insistent upon making Cora confess for her part in the scheme (which is ultimately useless considering everybody already knows and was just unable to tell Regina), Cora manages to sweet talk her way back into Regina’s affections, by getting Regina to admit that she only cares about getting Henry back, and not what Snow, Emma and Charming think of her. Cora promises to help Regina get Henry back, and that seems to be that, as far as Regina’s shifting allegiances go.
Belle and Gold’s love story also seems to have come to a tragic end, as true love’s kiss does nothing to break Belle’s amnesia, and she instead responds by screaming at him. Gold’s further tries, by giving her the chipped cup from his palace with a potion contained within it, also fails, and Gold is left completely dispirited. An encounter with Cora, however, is wholly perplexing and intriguing, as she calls him off interfering with her and Regina in exchange for a magical globe that will help find Bae, and kisses him “like [they] used to”. There seems to be some unexplored history between Gold and Cora: more than previously met the eye.
Ultimately, Greg is saved and lives, though he indicates over the phone that he saw more than he let on to Emma, and Gold enlists Emma’s help with tracking down Baelfire once the globe reveals his whereabouts.
- Storybrooke’s citizens debate what they should do about the outsider, Greg, due to the ramifications of the outside world discovering them.
- Cora promises Regina to help get Henry back.
- Gold learns of Bae’s whereabouts, but fails to restore Belle’s memories.
- It was a nice subversion to have true love’s kiss fail when Gold and Belle kissed. Good to know that the show isn’t falling back on easy fixes, but I do hope that there is an ultimate fix to this. Belle is too good of a character to waste.
- I am confused as to how Regina logically thinks that Cora will help her get Henry back. Henry knows that Cora is evil, and anything that Cora does to the Charmings while she’s in league will Regina will also reflect upon her. So ultimately the endgame is flimsy, at best, and Regina has not thought it through very successfully.
- Henry’s musings on the fact that Frankenstein isn’t in the Once Upon a Time book is intriguing, but also fills me with dread. Hopefully whatever characters that the creators decide to introduce to Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest serve something a little bit more entertaining than Dr. Whale’s backstory.
- Frankenstein’s world looks absolutely beautiful: and the scenes with Rumple inserted in glorious colour are simply divine. That’s pretty much the only positive of those aspects of the episode, really.
- In addition to the “Let’s go back to Storybrooke” storyline, there also seems to be the impending danger of discovery added within Storybrooke, so I suppose that will receive a large focus as the season continues.
- Has anybody questioned the accents within the Enchanted Land? I genuinely need more of an understanding of the geography of this realm, because Frankenstein speaks with a British accent despite both his father and brother being American, while Belle is apparently Australian and Rumple Scottish. I’m also fast losing track of the number of characters who are royalty in some way but in slightly different areas. Honestly, some country names really wouldn’t go amiss, if you ask me.
- The exchange in the hospital where David mentioned Whale’s arm being ripped off and reattached by Gold, having restored Daniel to life, and Snow and Emma’s reactions, plus, “How much happened when we were gone?” were delightfully tongue in cheek. Love to see it.
A meandering and frustrating segment, which only serves to set up the next chapter of the story, as Gold is delayed on his quest to find Bae.
You can watch Once Upon a Time Seasons 1 – 7 on Netflix. It is also available on home media and other digital platforms for purchase or rent.