Once Upon a Time Review: Who Is the Monster?

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"The Doctor" finally revealed the identity of Dr. Whale. Dr. Frankenstein, I presume, but did that make Daniel Frankenstein's monster? Well, not exactly.

The more I found out about Regina's past, the more sympathy I felt for her. A young, heartbroken Regina was only looking for the power to bring her lost love back to her. An impossible task to be sure, as even Rumplestiltskin said in this Once Upon a Time quote...

 Magic can do much but not that. Dead is dead. | permalink

But it's a goal anyone who has loved and lost could understand. Unfortunately it all went horribly wrong.

The bad boys of the Fairy Tale World certainly played a young Regina and crushed whatever hope she once had of reuniting with Daniel. I always knew Rumplestiltskin had an evil streak and I believed Whale did as well, but I suddenly didn't feel nearly as bad for Jefferson as I once had. Apparently he was no innocent victim in this game wits, power and magic, as he played a major role in setting up an innocent Regina. As they say, Karma's a bitch.

Even though she'd lost Daniel and the boys treated her badly, that didn't mean Regina had to turn to the dark side. That was a choice she made. The question now becomes: Can she still choose to turn back?

Enchanted Forest Massacre

In Storybrooke, I took it as a good sign that Regina was asking Archie for help. That's a huge step for her. She obviously cares very deeply for Henry. Will it be enough?

Henry and Charming at the stable were too darn cute. I loved how Henry kept asking the horse if he was ready to ride. Sometimes, in the middle of all of this magic, it's easy to forget that Henry's just a normal kid.

Perhaps Regina's true curse was that she couldn't let go. If she had mourned Daniel from the beginning, she wouldn't have had to lose him again and again. Will she be able to take Daniel's advice to love again now that she knows that he's really gone?

Finally, we get to the Fairy Tale World of the present as Emma, Snow, Mulan and Aurora wandered back to the compound only to find everyone dead. Okay, not quite everyone.

Thank goodness we've got our cynical, suspicious, kick-ass Emma back. It felt like we'd lost her for a few episodes but she's obviously found her footing in this new world. It was good to see she wasn't buying Hook's poor innocent act at all. 

A couple of side notes:

  • Charming punching Whale for sleeping with Mary Margaret/Snow was awesome, mostly because it's something David never would have done.
  • Aurora's whining has become really annoying but I suppose someone has to do it.
  • So, the vault of hearts was Cora's, not Regina's. Of course that didn't stop Regina from using them.
  • Hook and Emma had definite chemistry but I don't know that I want to see her hook up with the bad boy of the high seas.

So who was the real monster? The evil, or the ones who created it?

Get ready for next week. That beanstalk looks like it's going to be one Hell of a climb.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (178 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


Does anyone else find the Henry/David moments as grossly cheese as I do? I really want them to stop. "We Are Both" has some really great moments for the two of them, and present day Storybrooke in general has been far superior to present day Enchanted Forest, but we got to get something going with Henry because he's just annoying filler right now.
That being said, mad props to the writers for his episode. Weaving to different mythologies together was enough to may be geeking out all over this episode, especially since I recently read Frankenstein. The identity of Dr. Whale has been bugging me since Season 1 and I think he got a pretty good storyline. Now, we just to figure out where the heck August is.
Final note: Didn't Rumple say that Jefferson's hat could only travel to magical realms? How did Victor get to the Enchanted Forest? Is his science considered our world's "magic?" Something to think about...
Until next week... (8.5/10)


Just want to give a shout out to all of the fans who believed this show to be some kind of Disney character off-shoot: Start Thinking Outside of the Box! If you haven't read any interviews by the creators, you're in for a shock. From the beginning, they have been clear that their intent was to explore many different worlds - fairytales, myths, legends, fantasy, science fiction. It's IMAGINATION that is their playground; not the Disney vault. BTW, anyone else catch Rumple's reference to Dorothy's ruby slippers? Don't get mad at me. This is not a spoiler. Henry's book had a picture of the flying monkeys in the very first episode of the series.


Well done! Our family thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I don't see how people can call it "filler" when you have the backstory of how Regina & Jefferson met, and how she was manipulated into becoming the person she is today. Karma is indeed a bitch, and Rumple, Jefferson & Victor got/are getting a taste of it. Victor could have probably revived Daniel. But, having Regina & Daniel together would not fit their end game. In conspiring to deny their love, Rumple & Victor continue to be separated from the people they want so hard to find. The weakness of Enchanted Forest Present (EFP) continues to be the presence of Mulan & Aurora. They bring nothing to that world that is unique, nor do they possess any skills that aid in the quest to return to Storybrooke. They simply walk next to Emma & Snow, who do all the heavy deduction & work. Meh. Please...get rid of them, or have them bring something to the party other than whining & a cool warrior outfit.


Excellent episode. I enjoyed the little things. When I first saw Whale in FTL I was wondering why he was so pale. Then at the end when he went back to his land and his land was in black and white, brillant.
Secondly I enjoyed the references to Pirates of the Caribbean. The magical compass? And Hook calling himself a blacksmith first?
I, too, had my doubts about bringing in Frankenstein, but they made it work beautifully. I'm enjoying Regina's backstory more than I thought I would too.


@ Van, your theory is kind of what I meant by horror science being like magik. Exposition might be annoying but it is helpful. Maybe hatter saying that there is magik on whales world. A reference to a count who drinks blood and lives forever who is even worse than the dark one would have been a nice set up for next halloween. I guess whales dimension is the horror dimension. I hope we might see a science fantasy dimension some day. Maybe a certain submarine captain. Another question, we know regina kidnapped certain people, but did she kidnap all her enemies from different dimensions or did whale come back to the enchanted forrest to continue his work? Oh and the final shot of dr whale bringing the monster to life was a great flashback. He should have shouted, its alive.


I am glad we finally know why some people was brought to storybrooke and some not. I hated Rumple for what he did to Regina and now he gets mad because she is becoming better than him. I love the Emma and Hook scenes but I don't want them together and how did Snow end up with Hook hand. I cannot wait to see the giant next week. You can always expect a pirate to know where something is. Then do everybody need a reason to go to Storybrooke.


I feel like this episode was almost like a filler. Maybe that's a bit harsh, but it definitely did not move the plot forward very much. It gave us a backstory to Regina after the massive Rumple flashback. But it didn't teach us any more than we already knew about Regina: she was innocent, betrayed by her mother and tutored by Rumple. Although Hatter and Rumple aided her transformation, it was still her choice to become evil. My other beef with this episode is that it felt like Hook was re-introduced. It would have been nice if they spent less time with a BS-ing Hook and more time delving into the beanstalk story. I am, however, still enjoying the Darming/Henry relationship. It's a nice way to bring normalcy and innocence into the show, especially with the abundance of angst and tragedy.


@John I think that Frankenstein's world is a magic world, regardless of what he says. I mean, reviving a death corpse with surgery and electricity is pretty much not something that can be done in our* world, so at least there has to be some sort of low magic: not enough the be developed in the forms of spells, but enough to alter physical and biological laws in occasion and manifest some supernatural phenomena. Not all worlds have the same "amounts" or magic, nor does it present on the same form ("Magic works/is different here")So maybe the hat just needs a minimal amount to make the connection. Storybrook (before season 2) was pretty much a world without magic. *Storybrooke, who pretty much is our world, now has magic, so would the ressurrection have worked before Gold's ploy?


i also liked the chemistry between hook and emma


I wonder if regina found out how rump & jefferson tricked her and that is why she got her revenge on them both later on. I love the irony rump & hatter created their own monster. Although rumps goal was always creating someone to release the curse. I am a bit confused by hatter. He can only travel to magical worlds? If so how can he travel to frankensteins world that has no magic just science like earth. Is hatter lieing to rump so he can protect his business deal with rump or is horror science like magik?
The juxtaposition of the healthy way charming mentoring henry on being a knight and evil way rump mentors regina was nice. So far the least interesting part of the series this year is present day fairytale land. Emma & snow are just not as interesting so far as regina rump & charming. well the show has done a great job changing the dynamics of the series (like emma vs queen) without us longing for the way things were in season 1.

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Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 5 Quotes

Stopping magic is a lot harder than starting.


Regina: It's just that magic is the way I've always gotten everything.
Archie: It sounds like it's also the way you've lost everything.