This episode picks up exactly where the previous one left off. In the aftermath of the car crash, the town discovers that an outsider (Ethan Embry) has indeed accidentally found Storybrooke. They debate how to handle the intruder, suspecting he may have seen Hook and Rumple’s magical battle.
Dr. Whale (David Anders) is called upon to save the injured stranger, but he struggles with the demons of his past –- namely his muddled attempts to bring the dead to life.
It was Victor’s obsession with his scientific endeavor that led to his beloved brother being accidentally killed. When Victor is finally successful in resurrecting Gerhardt (Chad Michael Collins), he discovers that his brother is now monstrous and vows to keep fighting to right the wrong.
Red (Meghan Ory) convinces Whale to overcome his past and save the stranger. However, this might turn out to be a bad idea since the man apparently did indeed see “something” on that road.
Meanwhile, Cora (Barbara Hershey) manages to worm her way back into Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) life by pointing out the harsh reality (that she partially created herself) that as long as Henry’s biological family is around, Regina will never really get her son back. Mommy promises to help Regina fix that problem.
And poor Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) discovers that Belle (Emilie de Ravin) really doesn’t remember him and he can’t change that. So instead, he sets off to find his son.
Cora offers him what is essentially a bribe to keep him out of her way — a magical way to locate Baelfire. Rumple insists that Emma comes with him on his journey outside Storybrooke.
There were a few nice little touches in this episode. Regina and Cora stopped in front of “The Rabbit Hole” as Cora manipulated her daughter down a figurative rabbit hole. The series made fun use of Disney’s newly-acquired Star Wars property. And Dr. Whale made good reference to the fact that many people mistakenly think Frankenstein was the name of the monster.
The trick of inserting Rumplestiltskin (and his foreign gold) as the sole source of color in Frankenstein’s world was ingenious.
Speaking of Rumple, Belle’s reactions to his overtures were great. She was genuinely freaked out, as anyone would be if they woke to a stranger trying True Love’s Kiss on them. Good work from Emilie de Ravin.
“I ate my boyfriend.” Red finally got something to do again. And her conversation with Whale about the things they’ve done in the past brought an interesting new angle to the Curse’s effects and victims.
And next episode? Road trip!
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Given that the episode was largely about Dr. Whale’s backstory, it was surprising how little excitement that part generated. Much more interesting things were afoot in modern-day Storybrooke, robbing poor Victor of his moment.
Even considering that Regina is in a vulnerable state right now, she was manipulated by her mother pretty easily. Given her history with her mother, she should have been a little harder to reel in.
Glossing over the driver’s confession that he hit a group of pedestrians while busy texting-and-driving against state law? Way to look highly suspicious there, Sheriff Swan.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
“In the Name of the Brother” was directed by Milan Cheylov. It was written by Jane Espenson.
“Once Upon a Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.