Once Upon a Time "In the Name of the Brother" Review: Multi-dimensional Storytelling, Literally

By Lily Sparks

Jan 21, 2013

Once Upon a Time S02E12: In the Name of the Brother

So! Last night a person from the real world infiltrated Storybrooke, and let’s address him right up front because long after the episode was over, he’s what I’m still thinking about, with his sneaky “You’ll never believe what I saw!” phone call, for two reasons:

1. The Charmings were worried that if the outsider saw Rumple throwing magic, he’d be “driving a tour bus” up and down Storybrooke’s main drag. Um, no, that is not a fun day for the whole family, dipshits—in this day and age the revelation that a community of Mainers was launching Street Fighter fireballs at each other would more likely actuate a SWAT drop-in, a Hasmat-level quarantine, or just some quick-and-clean carpet bombing.

2. Hey Emma, remember how your superpower was being able to tell when someone was lying? Guess it’s not just all-powerful genies who can fool you, it’s quite literally everyone except Regina.

I could rant about the idea of black-and-white films being a different world but I said everything I care to say about that (and the entire Frankenstein storyline) the first time around when the show originally introduced the black-and-white dimension in October. I wasn’t as enraged with it coming back last night, because it wasn’t the same shocking sense of something I love being irretrievably marred, much like the second time you, say, scratch the finish on a new cellphone is not as annoying as the first time. However, three new points about black-and-white world:

1. Could you spend gold-colored coins in a black-and-white world or would it freak everyone out, Pleasantville-style?

2. Persian Carpets look so freaking gorgeous in black and white. Do they sell them like that?! Holy hell I need one.

3. Frankenstein’s pops was a delight. He’s the worst actor I’ve seen on television, including the extras who appeared on Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job who were hired off Craigslist and cherry-picked for their awkwardness.

I can understand Frankenstein being hurt because his dad gave Frankenstein's little brother a nice watch for Christmas and then only gave Frankenstein a crumpled-up US Magazine he found in a public bathroom, but it was still pretty cray that he ran out on a surgery to reflect on his backstory when a patient was fighting for his life on the operating table.

These fairy-tale characters are such jerks. Thank goodness Ruby went and counseled him “monster to monster.” Which was actually pretty adorbs and maybe she heard good things about his sex steeze after Snow’s one-night stand with him back when they were all cursed? Who knows.

The actually heartbreaking moment was Emilie de Ravin simply SLAYING the audience as amnesiac Belle. She seemed so genuinely afraid of Rumple and totally creeped out that it really drove home what Rumple had lost. An intelligent young woman who honestly loves a much older pawnshop owner while looking like Emilie de Ravin? Good luck hooking another one of those on Match.com, Rumple, or whatever the fairy-tale equivalent of that is, I guess going down to a brook and playing a hornpipe or whatever. The fact that at one point it had been meaningful to talk about a chipped cup, but that telling her to “focus” on a dirty old dish made him now seem like a raving maniac, underlined how nuts the premise is and how isolated these characters really are in a genuinely touching way. Also CREEPSTER move kissing her when you know she’s lost her memory, Rumple, geez. Obviously creepster.

He did get some action later from Cora, which was sort of interesting. He taught her everything she knows, are we supposed to do the fortune-cookie thing and slap “in bed” on the end of that statement? Did curly toed boots get knocked? Is Regina possibly Rumplestiltskin’s daughter??! Is there anything I would put past this show? No. Logic, emotional justice and common decency are not restraints on the OUAT writers’ need to fabricate plot twists, and like most fairy tales, the overall narrative is swiftly boiling down into a horror story that's predicated on the darkest impulses of sibling rivalry and childhood abandonment being acted on with impunity.

I do love that natty blood globe, though. Hot stuff, art department. Where in the world is Bae?! And speaking of where in the world, they really opened it up last night about there being countless other dimensions (“Wow, if black-and-white films are a world, what the hell other inappropriate fictional characters can be dragged into this Irish stew of Disney properties?” —Henry, more or less), so do you think Carmen San Diego will pop up in Storybrooke next? She could come from a land based on early-'90s educational PC games. There would be an Oregon Trail in her world too, where everyone was going at a grueling pace and blowing all their money on bullets to shoot squirrels. Also how soon until Star Wars characters get dragged in and will that be the day you throw your TV into the ocean and move to a cabin in the woods to mourn?

Regina had a pretty sweet thing going on in her heart barn/crypt. The interior was like the most upscale Forever 21 I’ve ever seen. Who would bother mooning over a petulant 8- to 14-year-old when you could play dress up all day in a magic crystal sitting room? How the hell old is Henry again? That kid looks sweet sixteen and I’m pretty sure he’s shaving. Whatever, you can’t pressure child actors to stay little, it does things to them, Danny Bonaduce things to them, so let’s all never speak of it again.

I also didn’t buy that Regina bought into Cora’s offer of a reconciliation. As long as she’s known her mother, her mother has been a zombie-summoning, true-love slaughtering, crazy-ass bitch. Of course, the idea that Regina’s well aware of that and she’s just excited to have her mom be her hype man and back her up while she takes down the whole town is entirely possible as well.

Unfortunately it looks like the next episode (three weeks from now, LOL) is about a regular-size giant.

So yeah, we’ll be waiting another few weeks before the small seeds of a good episode that were scattered last night can blossom onto our screens, and we know the really good stuff won’t take root until the season finale. But that’s okay. This show is so damn crazy that I’ve made the complete cycle from loving it, to questioning it, to hating it, to kind of being like “You do you!” to maybe just straight-up loving it again.


1. Do you think Dr. Frankenstein is a generous lover?

2. Regina and Cora: Will they wreak a mother daughter duet of destruction upon Storybrooke?

3. Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

4. Did you catch the Star Wars theme playing? Did it break your heart or are you hoping that some Storybrooke cashier reveals herself as Princess Leia?

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  • Dandelion_Wine Feb 14, 2013

    I think you missed the point on the creepy kiss. Rumple was testing true love's kiss. And it failed. Now THAT'S sad. OUAT is getting to be too much like a soap opera for me. But I'll keep watching as long as Regina keeps wearing sexy outfits!! 1. That's some sorta freaky thing you got going on there Lily 2. There will be destruction but I think it'll be Cora's demise in the end. 3. She's a nurse at the local veterinary clinic 4. AWE.SOME. it would break my heart to see anyone come forward as a Star Wars character. Unless they did some actual cameo w/ Carrie Fischer or Hamill or Ford or... Anyone but that loser who played Anakin

  • googlehoop Feb 03, 2013

    I'm glad you're "loving it again" Lily, although it can be hard to tell. Still there are some helpful insights here in addition to all the catty comments.

    As for the plot...I can't wait to see the road trip, it's sad to see Bell as an amnesiac (although she did a great acting job), and what is the deal with the outsider? And who is manipulating whom when it comes to Regina and Cora? I can't be sure. Also, Frankenstein's backstory isn't my favourite either, but they did tie it in/explain it, and maybe if they include other worlds in future episodes, they will be more interesting.

  • willowmartina Jan 30, 2013

    I know this might get me killed... but I really have nothing against the show. Sure, it has it's functionality questioned from time to time, but what show doesn't? I love reading your reviews, they make me laugh. I love the way you look at the show and give me the perspective I don't have. Yet.... no matter what has happened in the show, I have loved every episode. Except for this one.... but that's mainly because I hate the fact that Belle broke chip. Xl
    Anyway, being harsh on a FICTIONAL tv SHOW is not going to help you enjoy it. It just takes away the fun of it. At least, that's how I look at it. Thanks for the great review, and I can't wait for the next episode.

  • Dracomom Jan 26, 2013

    Nobody asked the one question I kept wondering - who is "HER"? I'm assuming that each incoming call has its own ringtone (fairly common nowadays), so could the theme be a clue? If she turns out to be Glinda or Elphaba or even a reincarnated Maleficient, the "Her" makes more sense. Or whomever August's ally in the "real world" was.

    If Belle reverted to her "asylum" persona, her inability to trust Rumple (or anyone else)makes total sense. Just not to him (Robert Carlyle played this so well) - he didn't hang out with the hospital escapee long enough to realize how little she knew. He was too busy trying to bring magic back to talk much to the poor girl! If he'd handled this more like that first day, he'd have accomplished more, I think. Echo of creepy "David-Kathryn" kiss scene in Season 1. Is it possible that Regina wanted to take Rumple's true love away from him, because if she can't have her True Love neither can anyone else?

    Regina actually looks more like Bae than August or Neal, so she could be Rumple's kid. If Cora didn't tell Rumple she was expecting before she married Henry, it sets up an interesting dynamic. Or has the return of so much FTL magic reinforced Rumple's vow when Bae disappeared- that he would love nothing else until he found his son?

    Seriously, Regina's lair is sooo much more palatial than expected that I'm guessing she found a pocket universe on sale someplace. The mother-daughter reunion suggested to me one reason Regina would want to adopt a boy- no wardrobe competition! But I doubt Regina is as ready to be the "good" daughter as she wants Cora to believe. "Keep your friends close- and your enemies closer!"

    My guess about the black-and-white universe is that it suggests the early movie era. Or maybe the gaslight era? (Maybe we can look forward to Nosferatu or Theda Bara?) The spliced-in bits of color screamed "Wizard of Oz" to me.

    If Viktor were educated in England, as many German lads were in the Victorian era (even the early 20th century, which made spying for both sides in WWI so much easier) it would account for the British accent- maybe even for his father's interest in sending him into the army ("Let's make a good Prussian out of this Brit-loving wuss!")

  • dunlee Jan 25, 2013

    LILy just to clarify, you don't do Scandal reviews anymore?

  • TomBarfield Jan 27, 2013

    She seems to have stopped Revenge Recaps too *sad face*

  • Crabtreeacres Jan 26, 2013

    Dammit I've been looking for her scandal recaps since the new year!!!!!!

  • ionee24 Jan 24, 2013

    I think the black & white world of Frankenstein was meant to contrast with Ruby's bright Red, its like she brings color into his life same as the red taints the grey of his existance. Red also stands for blood, which is what werewolves spill when killing somebody, killings Vickor vowed to stop in the name of the brother. His brother

  • Kerkesh Jan 24, 2013

    I know, we'll see the Green giant next. come on!

  • ptkitty Jan 23, 2013

    Start Wars... heh, I don't think that would surprise me anymore, as lately searching the net, I found NCIS lovers finding a connection between Han's "I know" to the Ziva's "I know" and I think nothing will get to me now... (albeit I do adore NCIS's crew ;-P). So, what really would give me a heart attack would be Walter Bishop marching in to study the case of Rumpel... ;->

  • JakeGrissom Jan 23, 2013

    The only complaint you made that I see as a real issue is the whole "her superpower being able to tell people are lying" and yet there are numerous plot points where that should factor in and it fails to appear. I thought the Star Wars ringtone was a hilarious instance of Disney showing off a little bit, but yeah, I really hope there's not too much more non-fairytale folk going to show up, I thought the Frakenstein thing was a bit of a stretch in the first place (As was Mulan, just a bit, seeing as she wasn't really from a fairytale either.) I still love the show though! I just hope it stays centered more on characters from traditional Disney & fairytale stories, because that's what drew me to the show in the first place.

  • JakeGrissom Jan 23, 2013

    And yes, Emilie de Ravin gave a fantastic performance in this episode. Loved her on what I did see of "Lost," I think we'll continue to see her do well!

  • mnemesis Jan 23, 2013

    I must admit I wasn't convinced by the episode and I have a question for you: how many people live in storybrooke? Sometimes it feels like the town is small with only two restaurants, a small school, etc. and last night the hospital was quite hyuge for a "small town" but only had one doctor that could operate.... I have the same interrogations as you do about their knowledge of movies and so on... it's getting harder to focus on the story with all this functionning details calling for answers !
    1. the flashbacks showed us a wounded man with a heart but a stubborn one... hard to believe he could be a generous lover! I trust HOOK is a much qualified lover !!
    2. Regina seemed to be so alone in her cage... maybe in such moments of despair you need something to hold on to even if it's your evil mom. I guess that Regina will try to use her to clear her name and try to get a life back but with Emma being gone she is left to face people who have grudges against her. My guess is thta she will try and fail, than get a "I told you so " from her mom and the two will forge plans to bring everyone down.
    3.Don't know her!
    4. How could someone miss the star wars theme? I truly hope that none of these characters are part of OUAT... that would be way TOO much to accept...

    And Lily.... no more revenge recap ? WHY???

  • ptkitty Jan 23, 2013

    I also recall them mentioning "hospitals" sometime back... o_O' Consistency? No big issue, apparently.. ;->

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