Halloween is upon us and it's the time of year when mysterious happenings occur and the dead rise up to greet us once again. Is it the Thriller from Michael Jackson? No, it's the strange, wonderful, and tragic characters of Once Upon A Time who have come to haunt us – and each other.
In the past of the Enchanted Forest, Regina (Lana Parrilla) is attempting to master magic under Rumplestiltskin's (Robert Carlyle) guidance. Unfortunately for her, this means having to learn the fine art of apathy and killing without remorse in order to maintain complete control over people and events - at least according to Rumple. But Regina cannot commit to killing innocents, so Rumple sends her away in disgust.
Regina in present-day Storybrooke, however, is on Archie's (Raphael Sbarge) couch, soaking in his advice about her current situation with Henry (Jared Gilmore). Dr. Whale (David Anders) interrupts and Regina finds she can't finish the session. Her dead beau, whom she apparently has kept on ice (magically speaking) is on her mind; so much so that she looks out of her car window and believes she's caught a glimpse of him. Rushing to her mausoleum where his body was stowed she discovers he's gone. But to where?
In the past, Rumple informs Regina that “dead is dead” and even he doesn't have the power to bring back her beloved Daniel (Noah Bean). Regina is heartbroken and ready to give up, but Jefferson (Sebastian Stan), who had been in the room doing business with Rumple, offers her the chance remedy that disappointment by offering the services a “wizard” who has the power to bring back the dead. She is only too eager to attempt to bring him back and gives Jefferson a Royal passport to roam the kingdom freely.
The Doctor, as he likes to be called, examines Daniel and states that his “condition is ideal” and that the chances for resurrecting her true love are fairly good. The Doctor insists he needs a strong enough heart to survive the procedure and believes that the Enchanted Forest has magic hearts that are strong enough for just this sort of operation. Regina, Dr. Frankenstein, and Jefferson make their way to Cora's (Barbara Hershey) secret vault for a beating heart which will assist in the attempted resurrection of Daniel. Unfortunately for Regina the whole thing is a setup; meant to crush her love and bring out the evil Queen that Rumple knows resides within her. The Doctor informs her that the operation was a failure and, as expected, Regina turns her anger inward and goes back to Rumple, ready now to become his full-fledged apprentice.
Flashing to present Storybrook, Dr. Whale's office is trashed and his arm has been ripped from his body. Regina storms through the office and finds Dr.Whale under a mess of instruments and gurneys, demanding to know where Daniel is. Whale tells her that Daniel made this mess and has escaped. “He's alive?” yells Regina. Dr. Whale emphatically states, “He's a monster!” Shades of Boris Karloff!
In present Storybrook, Henry is cleaning out the horse stables, trying to get to know his new horse in preparation for knighthood. Unfortunately, the monster/Daniel is going back to the last place he was before his death: the stables where Cora killed him. In a rampage, he grabs Henry and starts to choke him. Regina and David (Josh Dallas) stop him from hurting Henry and Regina begs David not to kill Daniel.
It's here that we get a quasi-remake of The Bride of Frankenstein as well. In a role reversal, Regina is the one being rejected, rather than the monster from his bride in the original film, when Daniel starts choking her. She whispers "I love you," snapping him from his Frankensteindom for a bit. He is hurting from the heart transplant and wants to die. In another nod to the film, we hear him tell her to "Go and live," just like in the final frames of the classic film.
Regina is heartbroken for a second time and releases Daniel by using magic on him and allowing him to rest in death. No body is left. No magic can bring him back. She is left with only memories and an empty heart to move on from. Regina heads back to see Archie willingly to finish the counseling she'd abandoned.
This episode also sees Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) back again, this time in the smaller b-story in the Enchanted Forest's present. Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Aurora (Sarah Bolger), and Mulan (Jamie Chung) return to the safe haven only to discover the captain under a pile of dead refugees; all of whom have had their hearts ripped out a la Cora.
Hook insists he only survived because he played dead. Fortunately, Emma isn't buying his story and ties him to tree to get him to talk. After a bit of coaxing, Hook relents and in exchange for not being left behind with the ogres, offers to point the way to another possible portal back to Storybrooke. The only catch is that he gets to go through the portal with them when the time comes, suggesting that he's more interested in his revenge on Rumple than on who helps him get there. The final shot from the Enchanted Forest reveals a beanstalk stretching to the sky.
In the closing minutes of the episode, Dr.Whale stumps into Rumple's shop begging him to reattach his torn arm. In a twist of irony, magic does indeed do the job and Rumple reattaches the limb. One final, quick flashback shows Dr. Victor Frankenstein attempting to resurrect his dead brother on a dark and stormy night. The operation, it appears, is a success, so the question now becomes, who is Victor's brother? Will we see him in Storybrooke or some other realm? Meanwhile, for you trivia buffs out there, the director of the 1931 Frankenstein was a man named James Whale.
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC. Get a look at next week's episode, "