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Once Upon a Time recap: The Doctor

A Halloween-themed episode reveals Dr. Whale’s true identity — and no, he isn’t Monstro from Pinocchio

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Once Upon A Time
Jack Rowand/ABC

Once Upon a Time

TV Show
Fantasy, Drama
run date:
Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla
Current Status:
In Season

Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are powerful wizards indeed. There’s no other way to explain how they timed tonight’s episode of Once to coincide with Frankenstorm Sandy. Did the showrunners see the snowicane’s advent in a crystal ball, or did tea leaves reveal that it would hit on October 28? Or wait — did the terrible twosome actually cause the storm? Think about it: The entire east coast is buckling down for major flooding and winds strong enough to make a cow fly. But California, where Kitsis and Horowitz live, remains bone dry. We’re onto you, Eddie and H-Bomb.

Maybe it’s best not to anger the all-powerful sorcerers. Instead, let’s talk about their televised creation: “The Doctor,” which revealed that Dr. Whale was once known as Dr. Horrible — I mean, Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Though I know that not all of Once‘s “fairy land” characters actually hail from folklore — like Frankenstein, Pinocchio and The Mad Hatter are both inventions of 19th century novelists — I’ve still got mixed feelings about bringing Mary Shelley’s classic into OUAT‘s potent public domain stew. If any and all stories are fair game, where will the show’s writers draw the line? Will future episodes feature Emma befriending Elizabeth Bennet and Jo March, then trying to reunite Romeo and Juliet? It just seems like expanding the show’s world beyond fairy tales and Disney properties — like Captain Hook — has the potential to turn Once into a giant, fanfiction-y mess.

But hey, I’m not Kitsis or Horowitz — I can’t see the future. I can, however, see how tonight’s opening scene recalls the end of “A Girl Worth Fighting For.” Emma, Snow, Aurora, and Mulan are chattering as they return from Snow’s abandoned castle. Their conversation stops short when they discover that the safe haven isn’t so safe anymore. Cora has torn out the heart of every villager, leaving their sanctuary dead and ravaged. There’s only one survivor: a one-handed man who knows how to pull off the Adam Lambert look.

Mulan recognizes the guy as Henry Gale a blacksmith who lost an extremity in an ogre attack. But Emma and her sporadic internal lie detector are suspicious. She convinces the gal gang to tie him to a tree and leave him for the ogres — and in order to avoid becoming Shrek’s lunch, their captive admit that he’s really Captain Hook. Hook explains that Cora is planning to use the wardrobe’s remains to open a portal to Storybrooke. First, though, she must engage in a magical scavenger hunt — and Hook is willing to lead the ladies to an object she seeks in exchange for his life. Exposition must bore ogres, since they never appear to rip the gang limb from limb.

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Regina takes the next step toward kicking her magic addiction: starting therapy. Unfortunately, her first session with Jiminy Human is interrupted by an irate Dr. Whale, who has just discovered that the curse didn’t destroy every other world after all. He demands that the Queen send him back to his own land, so that he can be reunited with his brother. (Think the brother’s name is Moby?)

NEXT: Avert your eyes, unicorn lovers!