You know how -- a lot of times -- I nearly turn the recaplet into a recap? This isn't going to be one of those times, because my first impression was that neither you nor I should spend excess time on "In the Name of the Brother." Take heart (not in an Enchanted way), though, sometimes I soften between the recaplet and recap. This time, that I softened right in the middle of writing the recaplet, so if it seems disjointed, well, it matches my brain.
"In the Name of the Brother" is the last episode before a three-week break, I'm tempted to accept it as a set-up. I typically use a different scale when considering set-ups, because like pilots, these episodes are the load bearing walls of our fictional universe. I'm having a hard time filing "In the Name of the Brother" in that category though, because... well, because I pay attention to the show. Save a few predictable developments, which take all of two minutes to unfold, precious little of "In the Name of the Brother," seems to matter a whit. I'm more preoccupied with speculation fodder based on character names than with actual on-screen events. I don't want to embiggen her head, but seeing as this episode flows from the pen of the perfectly cromulent Jane Espenson, I keep telling myself I must be blind to the enchanted forest on account of the (less enchanting) trees.
In the fictional past which occurs both before and after the flashback events of "The Doctor," a red-caped Rumpy makes his way to Viktor Frankenstein's black and white world. In return for his help in punking Regina, Rumpy offers the doctor a pile of gold and the promise of a sturdy, magical heart. The flashback visuals are fun. At first they make me think of the film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz -- in the sense that magic brings color to a drab world. As the hour progresses though, the black and white/color play makes me wish I was watching Schindler's List, because the flashback events are not only predictable, but they strike me as a largely unimportant expansion of what we already know of Whale's backstory.
In Once Upon A Time's Bowdlerization of Frankenstein canon, Viktor plays second fiddle to brother Gerhardt (Chad Michael Collins). Yes, the brother's name is Gerhardt (which means spear-hard or spear-brave), rather than either Ernest or William. Is there a reason for that? Given the episode title (and that wordsmith Jane is the writer), I can't help but wonder. While Papa Frankenstein (Gregory Itzin) gives Gerhardt his grandfather's pocket watch, he gives Viktor a military commission so he'll stop monkeying around in his lab. Toward that end, Papa also stops funding Viktor's tomfoolery. I'd love to berate Papa, except someone certainly should cut off Viktor's funding, and possibly his fingers. Of course, without his fingers, he'd be unable to smudge his eyeliner into that smoky-eyed look he's sporting in the flashbacks. Wait. That settles it. Off with his hands!
Gerhardt is shot while Viktor is grave-robbing. Viktor tries his "science" to restore his brother's life, but the electricity fries his heart. After Viktor works with Rumpy and Jefferson (see "The Doctor") he returns with an enchanted heart and reanimates Gerhardt's corpse. Gerhardt is a monster. Papa freaks. Gerhardt beats him (possibly to death, I have to go back and watch that, again). Gerhardt also attacks his brother, but then has a moment approaching clarity, says his first word ("Viktor") and restrains himself. Viktor is going to shoot Gerhardt and put him out of everyone's misery, but can't bring himself to pull the trigger, not even when Gerhardt grabs the barrel of the gun and puts it to his own forehead.
In Storybrooke, the action picks up right where we left off at the end of "The Outsider." Rumpy heals Belle's gunshot wound, but can't restore her memories, not even later on -- with a kiss. Perhaps it isn't true love, after all. Maybe Grumpy should give it a try, since Nova is nowhere to be found (and doesn't ever seem to be on the Dwarf's mind), but I digress. Later, Rumpy brings Belle the chipped cup, and she smashes it. Jane Espenson, did Cora (or Regina, or Rumpy) rip out your heart? You made Belle smash Chip! I really wish I knew your middle name, because you deserve to be called by three names right now, Miss Jane.
Anyhoodle, Hook has broken ribs and Rumpy wants to kill him, but Charming reminds him to think of Belle. Since Belle can't remember Rumpy, or even herself, her opinions aren't the best bait -- at least not until Emma reminds the imp that murder doesn't make a great first impression. Oh and the Stranger? He's so hurt that he's rushed by ambulance to the hospital.
Dr. Whale (Frankenstein) doesn't want to operate on the Stranger (Ethan Embry). This brother's name is Greg Mendel. I think the show spells it Mendell, but since they don't give a rat's patootie about changing the spelling of names, why should I? Besides, once again, my mind returns to the episode title, and I'm hoping those of you who didn't automatically think of Gregor Mendel will type it into your Magical Google Machines, and start speculating, but I digress, yet again.
Whale isn't refusing to operate because he is drunk and therefore unfit to perform (which he is), just because he's having personal issues. And really, none of the townies are completely thrilled with saving the outsider's life. Rumpy refuses to magically heal the man because he knows Mendel saw him preparing to rain magical fire on Hook. Emma serves as the town conscience and reminds them they have to save Mendel's life and worry about what he saw after.
Whale disappears from the hospital. Using her wolf-sense, Red follows his boozy scent and has a heart-to-heart with him about how Storybrooke isn't a curse for monsters like them, so much as it is a second chance. Confidence restored, Whale returns to the hospital, operates on Mendel and saves his life -- without slicing his hepatic artery. Since Snow knows Whale was hitting the sauce, and announces it to everyone who is anyone, does it not strike you as strange that no one objects to him performing surgery? Storybrooke Hospital needs Jack Shephard, stat.
Mendel recovers. Emma questions him to determine what he saw before the crash. The Stranger lies, so of course Emma's super power fails her, and she believes that he saw nothing. The whole scene makes me cringe on her behalf. Expect a good tantrum in the full recap. I mean forget the lie detection business -- her interrogation skills are non-existent. By episode's end, Mendel is on the phone, telling someone that she'll never believe what he saw. I know just how he feels.
In other news, Cora gets to Regina before Emma or Henry can. Let the manipulation begin. And in other-other news, Cora gives Hook a magical globe -- supposedly as a peace offering. In return, she wants him to let her get Regina back, and to let them live. Calling him Master, Cora shakes Rumpy's hand, but then asks to seal their deal with a kiss, "Like we used to." Oh boy! On top of the globe is a spindle (well, more of a spike, but how can I not call it a spindle?). Once Rumpy is alone with it, he pricks his finger on it, lets the blood drip down onto the globe and is able to locate Baelfire's general location. He finds Emma and calls in his favor. She needs to help him find Bae.
I'll be back with the full recap, later this week. In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page and then come on over to the forum, where we're cultivating plants, until we achieve a pea fit to lay beneath the mattress of a princess. Oh and if you can figure out the origin of my headline and its connection to this episode, I'll give you a gold star on Twitter.
A few readers got gold stars on Twitter for figuring out (and yes, probably via the Magical Google Machine) the origin of my headline, "I Will Sing My Maker's Praises" and its connection to this episode. Paul Gerhardt was a 17th Century German pastor and hymnist. Spellcheck says hymnist isn't a word, but spellcheck is wrong. Hymnodist would also be appropriate, but hymnist is fine. A better known Gerhardt work is "O Sacred Head Now Wounded." Since "In the Name of the Brother" features Frankenstein's past and in it, Viktor's brother is renamed Gerhardt, and SPOILER Viktor "operates" on Gerhardt, "I Will Sing My Maker's Praises" seems more appropriate. The Magical Google Machine says writer Jane Espenson grew up in Ames, Iowa. Just for giggles, I ask it about Lutheran Churches in Ames. The place is crawling with them. Back in Springfield, wherever that is, Lisa Simpson nods, knowingly. Thanks for playing! Now let's go on with our show.
We open where we left off, last week Right after Hook shoots Belle and the impact sends her across the town line and into amnesia, a supposed outsider (played by Ethan Embry) has careens down the road. He narrowly avoids Rumpy and Belle, and sends Hook flying ass over teakettle. As Hook writhes alone in well-deserved pain, Belle is freaking out. She has just been shot. She doesn't know where she is. She doesn't know Rumpy. She doesn't even recognize her own name.
Just as Emma, Charming and Snow arrive on the scene, Rumpy magically heals Belle's gunshot wound. Her shoulder feels better, but the poor girl is more frightened than ever. As Emma calls in the accident to her imaginary staff, Rumpy tells Snow and Charming about Belle.
Emma wanders over to Hook, who despite his pain, is still on the make. He tries to smile but it's more of a wince. "Hey beautiful." When Emma bends down to check out his injuries, Hook says, "Here I didn't think you'd NOTICE..." She diagnoses him with broken ribs when he screams out. Hook says, "That must be why it hurts when I laugh," because he's new to the series, and doesn't understand that I get to make the lame jokes. He's pretty banged up, but not too hurt to gloat. "Did you see his face? His own true love, gone in an instant."