Sunday, January 20, 2013

'Once Upon a Time' Review - 2.12 In the Name of the Brother

        On the newest episode of ABC's Once Upon a Time, Dr. Whale has to mend Hook's wounds and perform surgery on the stranger whose car crashed upon entering Storybrooke; some townspeople think that letting him die would be the best solution to the possibility of him seeing magic; Mr. Gold tries to reunite with a despondent Belle; Cora approaches Regina; and Victor desperately wants to prove to his father that he can bring back the dead.

        Once Upon a Time's second season has been a bit of a mixed bag so far. The first half felt too split and disjointed for any real emotional depths to really succeed throughout its storytelling. However, the first two episodes of 2013 have been the best of the season so far. What made those two outing such successes was because of the emotionally strong arcs happening with the Regina and Mr. Gold characters. The pain in their stories are the most fascinating and engaging elements currently - which is another case of the villains being more entertaining the heroes. Tonight's hour tries to carry over those same thematic themes. However, instead of them being the main focus of the narrative, they have more presence amongst the ensemble mechanics. Even there, they continue to knock it out of the part.
        The main focus of the episode is the ongoing struggle with Dr. Whale and his past life as Dr. Frankenstein. The hour tried overly hard to make his pain on the same level as the struggles of Regina and Gold. But because Whale has been such a minor part of this overall story, it works very less so because the show doesn't really give us a reason to care about what happens to him. When he was on the bridge, I did not care if he jumped and died or if he would live. When he pointed that gun at his brother, I did not care if he pulled the trigger or not. The fundamental issue here is that I don't understand what his primary motivation is for doing whatever he does. With Regina, it's wanting to win back Henry. With Gold, it's wanting to protect Belle and wanting to find his son. With Whale, I guess it's wanting to save his brother's life but that does not give a visceral emotional wallop as much as the material going on around him. The most heartbreaking moment of the episode was when Belle threw the chipping cup across the room. That history has been well built throughout the arc of these two characters and that moment was well earned. Whale's story hasn't had the same amount of buildup and thusly doesn't leave the proceedings with a satisfying taste.

So what did everyone think of the episode? Wouldn't Regina's mausoleum be the first place to check for her? Was Ruby's chat with Whale the most well used the character has been yet? How will Greg shake up the status quo in Storybrooke? Enjoy the first (and most likely not last) nod to Stars Wars? Share your thoughts in the comments.