Once Upon a Time, Season 2, Episode 5: “The Doctor”
Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
Directed by Paul Edwards
Airs Sundays at 8pm (ET) on ABC
Five episodes into the second season and the ball just keeps on rolling. After a brief introduction we jump back to Storybrooke and find Dr. Whale confronting Charming. We can tell right off that this is going to be the episode to answer one of the burning questions that has been on our minds since season one. Who exactly is Dr. Whale? David Anders, who plays Whale, is finally getting his time in the spotlight. He’s popped up every now and then throughout season one and two, but never really had a centered, focused episode. It’s definitely a highlight to see him branch out more. There’s something very mysterious and downright sinister about the way Anders has portrayed Whale in the past episodes and he doesn’t disappoint here either.
Eventually Whale ends his conversation with Charming and crashes into a session that Regina is having with Archie Hopper. It’s nice to see that Lana Parrilla is being featured more in this episode, after being reduced to at least one or two scenes in the past couple of installments. It’s fun and entertaining to watch her play Regina as the more subtle, caring person as well as the wicked Queen. She knows how to play off the tortured person that Regina was and is because of her mother.
This episode jumps between several different story arcs, two of them which end up connected. The past Enchanted Forest finds Regina recruiting the Mad Hatter to bring a special “wizard” to their world so that she can resurrect her one true love. That love is of course Daniel, the man whose heart her mother had taken last season. The wizard that the Mad Hatter brings is none other than Dr. Whale himself, who has motives of his own.
The Storybrooke arc shows Regina dealing with not using magic, but also a new battle that is unleashed on her. Dr. Whale decides to try and resurrect Daniel once again after finding him in Regina’s mausoleum. He ends up turning him into a monster which gives Regina the opportunity for a heartbreaking goodbye. Again, props have to be given to Parrilla she certainly knows how to round out Regina and actually make us feel sorry for her and everything that she’s been through.
The present Enchanted Forest storyline is the one that seems like filler this time around. It’s there to move the story along, other than the delightful Colin O’Donoghue’s return as Hook, which gives Emma the opportunity to go head to head with him. The story mostly just follows the four as they continue their search for a portal to Storybrooke.
Perhaps the biggest shocker of the night is the revelation of who Dr. Whale actually is. After a little over a season of speculation, it is a very interesting twist on his true identity. Some people are bound to be irate over it, but the writers handled the explanation of why he was in the Enchanted Forest very well. All in all, the writers deliver quite nicely with this episode, carefully handling every situation.
Not too many questions are brought up, other than the fact that Snow, Emma, Aurora and Mulan are going to have to climb up a certain beanstalk if they want to find a way home. Perhaps Emma will finally get to meet her giant after all. “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum!!”