Once Upon A Time season 2 episode 5 review: The Doctor

Review Kylie Peters
29 Oct 2012 - 09:03

This week's episode is a Halloween-themed affair - but why? Here's Kylie's review...

What do you get when you take eight fairy tale characters, three time periods, two worlds, and a world-jumping hat, toss it in a blender with a handful of chopped horror film and Halloween special, and hit “puree”?

I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to drink it.

The biggest mystery of “The Doctor” (no relation to the lovable Time Lord) is why the episode even exists. Halloween episodes work for sitcoms and kids’ programs, and occasionally for shows that mix their overarching plot with monster-of-the-week elements (thinking Buffy and the season 2 episode “Halloween”).

Once Upon A Time is none of those. It’s trying to tell a coherent extended story, and horror never had any place in that story before now. It’s like the producers said “Hey, we have magic, Halloween is sort of magical, it’s perfect!” and didn’t even consider whether holiday-themed episodes had any place in their story structure.

Confusing and unnecessary are the best words to describe it. Past Regina wants to resurrect her lover Daniel (which she’s never shown any interest in attempting before) and has preserved his body with magic (but didn’t she learn magic well after he was killed?). Rumple gets in the way of the attempt, but in Storybrooke, Dr. Whale aka Dr. Frankenstein decides to go ahead and resurrect him now because he thinks it will make Regina send them back to the Enchanted Forest (I thought everyone was already clear on the fact that she doesn’t know how to do that). Frankendaniel has some vague struggles with his inner Hulk and Regina cries a lot and then dusts him.

The whole thing is pointless. The writers should have listened to Rumple when he told Regina that dead is dead. Plus, Regina’s conversion from naïve girl to evil queen just got hella confusing. So she was good…but then Snow caused Daniel’s death and she got pissed…but then she shoved her mom in a mirror and got good again…and then she tried to resurrect her boyfriend and it didn’t work…and then she got evil for real. Or are there a few hundred other snap conversions in there that we haven’t seen yet?

Despite all these issues, the idea of having someone from our world (or a literary version of our world, anyway) brought into the Enchanted Forest of the past is interesting. There’s been a major increase in world-jumping this season, and that opens the doors to all kinds of new scenarios we couldn’t get from the basic Enchanted Forest/past-Storybrooke/present structure of last season.

Jefferson’s involvement in this episode was surprising. It offered a glimpse further into his past, before he got long hair and a kid and gave up his hat tricks. He’s teamed up with Rumple, allegedly for payment, although it would be surprising if there’s more to it than that. What I’d really like to know is where he got that hat.

Meanwhile in Present Enchanted Forest, Emma, Snow, and the still-useless Mulan and Aurora discover a suspicious sexy man under a bunch of dead bodies. Yes ladies, it’s Hook—sans guyliner, which is an improvement. Plus he gets tied up, if you’re into that kind of thing. My friend Lauren is convinced that Emma and Hook are going to get together, because obviously healthy lasting relationships begin with one party tying the other to a tree.

Next week it’s up the beanstalk to get an autograph from Jorge Garcia—I mean, to get a magic compass from a giant. There’s also Emma in hipster glasses and possibly some info about her past, which could be interesting considering all the hints they’ve dropped about her criminal record. It would be great if Henry’s father came into the picture; rumor has it we’ll learn his identity this season.

Until then, hope your Halloween is better than this episode!

Read Kylie's review of the previous episode, Crocodile, here.

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