After spending all week being prepared to hate this revelation and twist to the story, I must say I didn’t mind as much as I thought I would. It was one little explanation that made it completely work for me.
Of course, if they hadn’t spoiled it last week, the shocks might have been much better tonight. It’s obvious we weren’t supposed to know who or what Dr. Whale is.
We have three stories to look at tonight, so enough with the preamble. Let’s get to it.
Let’s start back in the Enchanted Forest of old.
Regina is working her apprenticeship under Rumplestiltskin. She’s learn to immobilize creatures (in this case a unicorn), but she can’t bring herself to pull out its heart. She doesn’t want to go down that road. That’s when Rumple draws out the truth behind her desire to use magic. She has Daniel, her fiancee, aka the Stable Boy, under a preservation spell, and she wants to use magic to bring him back to life. (Okay, so how’d he get under this preservation spell in the first place unless she could do a little magic back when Cora killed him? Plot hole or am I just over thinking things or forgetting something?) But Rumple tells her that there is no way to bring him back with magic.
Enter Jefferson. He’s returned with an item for Rumple and overheard their conversation. He says he knows someone more powerful that might be able to bring Daniel back to life. Naturally, Regina is interested.
Enter Dr. Whale. Jefferson brings him to the Enchanted Forest from another land via the magic hat, and Dr. Whale asks to look at the patient. He is impressed that Daniel is so well preserved. “It’s like he just died.” But then Dr. Whale explains that he needs a magic heart, something that he understands they can create in this land. Regina still finds the idea disgusting, but she shows him Cora’s collection of hearts.
They chose one at random and use it to try to bring Daniel back to life, but it fails. The heart just wasn’t strong enough. A distraught Regina breaks down in tears and goes back to Rumple. He has a new apprentice, but to show she is ready to learn more, she rips out this new person’s heart and then crushes it. And smiling Rumple welcomes her back.
And did you notice? Early in the episode, Regina had her hair down in a braid like she’s always done in the very early episodes about her character. But in her final scene in Enchanted Forest, she had it up in the way she has done when playing the part of the Evil Queen. Not that we needed any more proof after the heart ripping out thing, but it’s obvious she’s now gone completely dark.
But then a funny thing happens. On the way to return Dr. Whale to his world, he and Jefferson run in to Rumple. He’s quite happy with the results of their work. Dr. Whale, for his part, was paid with one of the magic hearts to attempt to bring his brother back. Rumple tries to warn him that whatever he is trying to do has a price, but Dr. Whale won’t listen. After all, he’s got science on his side, and it is more powerful than magic. Rumple tells him some day he will change his mind, but Dr. Whale returns to his own world certain he is right.
Meanwhile, in Storybrooke….
It is time for Henry to learn to ride a horse, and Charming has bought (rented? Sure sounded like bought to me) one for him. But Henry is dismayed to learn he will have to take care of it for a while before he begins to actually ride.
Meanwhile, Dr. Whale has learned that they were lied to and all the realms they came from were not totally destroyed. He’s immediately determined to get back to his own and try to bring his brother back. Charming, for his part, punches Dr. Whale good for sleeping with his wife before he confirms the news. (And speaking of Kathryn (which Dr. Whale did), will we get to see her again? I’d love to see what she’s up to now that the curse has been broken?)
Regina, for her part, has gone two days without using magic. But it’s been way too hard for her, so she goes to see Dr. Archibald. As she is talking about things, she confesses that she’s brought the still preserved body of Daniel with her to her family mausoleum. When Dr. Archibald starts to tell her to let the past go, she gets upset and storms out.
However, driving through the town that night in the middle of a storm, she thinks she sees Daniel across the street, but she blinks and he is gone. She rushes to the mausoleum where she finds out that Daniel’s body is gone.
The next stop is the hospital where she finds Dr. Whale injured in a private lab. Before she gets him situated in the hospital proper, he tells her that he did it. It worked. Naturally, she thinks that mean Daniel is alive, but Charming (who shows up when he hears about the accident) isn’t so happy about that idea, especially when Regina says where she thinks Daniel is going – the stable.
As in where we left Henry. Sure enough, he’s there brushing his horse when all the horses start to freak out and his horse runs out of the stall. In walks Daniel, who is confused and disoriented. Henry tries to reach out to him, literally, and gets choked for his efforts. It connected with Daniel’s last memory of Cora ripping out his heart. Fortunately, Charming and Regina show up and rescued Henry. Charming locks Daniel is the stall, and Regina pleads to be able to talk to Daniel and help him.
Regina must have won at some point because the next scene is her opening the door with no one else around. Daniel at first attacks her as well, but then he recognizes her. He is obviously in pain and pleads with Regina to let him go, but she says she can’t because she still loves him. “Love again,” he says. Then he staggers away a few steps. With a growl, he lunges toward Regina. She reaches up to defend herself, and where their hands touch, it glows purple. Then, as Regina weeps, Daniel dissolves.
A still crying Regina goes back to Dr. Archibald asking for more help and confessing that she just used magic. He invites her into his office.
So how about a stop in Enchanted Forest Present.
Emma, Snow, Aurora, and Mulan are just returning to their camp still arguing about what to tell everyone about Cora killing Lancelot. They discover, however, that everyone in the camp is dead. At first they think it’s an ogre, but then Snow recognizes it as the work of Cora. She’s ripped the hearts out of everyone. Well, almost everyone. There’s one person left – Captain Hook. He’s been in the camp for a couple of months as a blacksmith.
Hook spins a story about Cora attacking the camp and he playing dead to avoid being killed, too, but Emma doesn’t buy it. Instead, she ties Hook to a tree and whistles for an ogre. As we hear crashing in the jungle, Hook spills the beans – Cora has the ashes from the wardrobe, which still have magic in them. He was working with Cora to get to Storybrooke. He even gives up his real identity, which impresses Emma and Snow. And he promises to help them get a magic compass they would also need to get home if they will let him go. Emma, using her power of telling when people are lying to her, releases him.
And true enough, he starts leading them to the compass. Snow is worried it is a trap and Cora is waiting on the other end, but Emma is already aware it might be. She figures if they are aware they might be walking into a trap, they might get the jump on Cora and Hook.
As this part of the episode ends, Hook has led them to…a giant beanstalk. A giant at the top has possession of the compass they need.
But we still have two more scenes that reveal the identity of Dr. Whale (just in case you haven’t already guessed). The first of these takes place in Storybrooke. In the aftermath of Daniel coming back to life and destroying the lab, Dr. Whale lost his arm (I must have missed that in his earlier Storybrooke scenes). He takes it to Mr. Gold, who says he can reattach it for a price. As Dr. Whale confesses that he needs magic, Mr. Gold waves his hand and Dr. Whale’s arm is reattached. Dr. Whale thanks him, and Mr. Gold says, “You’re welcome, Victor.” He also asks about his brother. We find out that Dr. Whale did bring him back once, and it didn’t turn out so well.
The final scene of the night was shot in black and white. I loved that detail; I thought it was wonderful. Dr. Whale has returned to his home in the middle of an electric storm. Yes, this is the scene where he brings his brother back. As we see an arm move under the sheet, Dr. Whale’s assistant calls out, “You did it, Dr. Frankenstein.”
As I said, if you were paying any attention at all to the preview or the episode in general, it was obvious who Dr. Whale was before the big reveals at the end. But that’s a minor complaint.
I was so worried they were going to make Dr. Whale yet another resident of the Enchanted Forest, but they didn’t do that at all. Instead, he’s from another parallel world. Since we’ve already established parallel worlds (like Wonderland last season and Never Land last week), I’m okay with that. The fact that Regina was able to pluck Dr. Whale out of his world to include in the curse is certainly interesting. Of course, it’s what she did to Jefferson as well. And it opens up the possibility of including any character they want by throwing them in a parallel world. As long as they don’t go too far with that, it’s fine by me.
I’m not sure we got much more for the overall story from the episode. We did see Regina’s final slip to evil, which was interesting. And in Storybrooke, she is really trying to give up her magic. I actually like her so much right now, something I never thought I would say last year.
So, with nothing else to talk about, let’s talk about Rumple and his quest for his son. I’m still bothered by just how long he’s been searching for a way to get to our world and reunite with him. Is there any way the son’s not already very old or dead? I’ve got two theories to run by you.
First, could it be that his son was sent to the not so distant past in our world? Remember, Rumple wrote the curse and Regina enacted it. Maybe he put a time twist in it that placed them in such a time period that he could find his son.
Second, could the stranger at the beginning of the season premier (who we still haven’t seen again) be Rumple’s son? Or possibly grandson? Might that be how he is worked into the story? I’m still wondering if that is Henry’s father. If so, Henry’s got Regina on one side and Rumple on the other. Poor kid, he’s got evil from both of his grandparents/great-grandparents.
I can’t take credit for the second theory. I was discussing the show with a friend last week, and he came up with the idea. I like it.
So, what did you think of this twist and the big reveal on Dr. Whale? Any thing I missed in this episode? Any theories you want to spin out for us to discuss? Hit up the comments and let us know.