"Once Upon a Time" The Doctor (TV Episode 2012) Poster

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Not a step up from the previous four episodes, but still another good episode
The Doctor didn't live up to the first four episodes of season 2, but it's still another good episode. Yes, it did have too much stuff going on, just like in Lady of the Lake, and only two performances were a disappointment. Noah Bean, who did a fine job in the first season in episode 18 "The Stable Boy", was a bit bland and Sarah Bolger is still very stale even though Aurora hasn't been a terrible character so far (I wish the writing for her could've been stronger).

However, everything else was fine. The storyline continues to be well-written especially the one between Regina and Rumpelstiltskin. It expanded on those two characters and went deeper into their emotions and we even get a glimpse of Dr. Whale's true identity. Also, Emma and Snow's relationship continues to be interesting in their subplot. The script is till strong and continues to blend the reality and fantasy parallels really well. Mark Isham continues to make more great music, this time creating intensity, suspense, and emotion to the scenes revolving around Regina, Rumpelstiltskin, and Dr. Whale. And the performances continue to be solid with Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle, David Anders, and Colin O'Donaghue delivering each of their own solid lines.

Overall, not a masterpiece, but still another good episode of the season season.
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danajs2420 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A black unicorn? Not buying it. Hopefully getting more responsibilities for Henry like his horse will keep him off the screen more and more. The naive queen in the flashbacks is getting quite annoying, and it seems like they're trying to slow down the plot as much as they can with her mulish behavior towards Rumpel's teaching. Not a huge fan of the actor playing Victor, just rubs me the wrong way. I have a feeling Hook will be a fun character in the show, kind of like a Han Solo type character but with a mission. The queen seems to be getting softer, not using magic, helping others, crying about Daniel (who looks much older despite his stasis spell). I'm looking forward to more with the enchanted forest group, as I feel that Hook is gonna be a new interest for Emma.
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Once Upon a Time- The Doctor
tbmforclasstsar31 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm honestly starting to wonder if I shouldn't just approach this show the same way I approach, say, American Horror Story; that is, simply allow the ridiculousness of it all to become the main source of entertainment. After all, half the fun of watching a show like Once Upon a Time is getting to see the spin creators put on familiar fairy tales, isn't it? Unfortunately though, unlike American Horror Story, I tend to expect a bit more from this show (then again, maybe I shouldn't be too quick to speak; so far AHS's sophomore season is shaping up to be pretty interesting). So, when "The Doctor" decides to devote nearly its entire hour to Dr. Whale (David Anders), a seemingly minor character (he only appeared in a total of six season one episodes), whose Enchanted Forest counterpart is—get this—Dr. Frankenstein (though the constant references to him as "The Wizard" had me wondering "Of Oz?"), I can't help but feel there may be cause for concern.

I mean, I get it; it's Halloween, and this show's got to prove that it can be just as fun and spooky as every other show airing this week, but the last time I checked, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein wasn't a fairytale—or did I just miss something? I suppose it is an interesting interpretation of the tale, and it's somewhat fun to see the show toying with multiple versions of fantasy, but, for the most part, I couldn't help but find it, well, weird.

And not within the context of the actual show, necessarily—in the fairytale flashback this week, Victor Frankenstein teams up with Rumplestiltskin and the Mad Hatter to "trick" Regina into turning herself over to the dark side completely. Convinced by Rumplestiltskin and pretending to fail to revive Regina's stable boy Daniel, Frankenstein manages to get Regina to give up hope of reuniting with her lover, pushing her over the edge into full-on evil queen mode. Dr. Whale, on the other hand, doesn't fail in the Storybrooke plot line (admittedly, the weakest of the three). Attempting to win over Regina in the hopes she'll use magic to transport him back to his world (which is apparently not the Enchanted Forest, but a black-and-white-Frankenstein-castle-world) so that he may reunite with his Frankenstein monster brother, he manages to bring Daniel back to life (a Daniel whose body was apparently kept in Regina's mausoleum vault this whole time), but he doesn't do so without hitting a bit of a snag. Stealing an unidentified heart to do the job, Whale manages to only bring back a monstrous version of Daniel, one who terrorizes Henry and fails to make a real breakthrough, forcing Regina to get rid of him for good. Admittedly, the one nice thing that did result from Storybrooke this week was definite closure on the Regina/Daniel plot line; quite the accomplishment for this show, I must say.

Meanwhile, genuine narrative progress was made in the Enchanted Forest plot. After Emma, Snow, Mulan, and Aurora encounter Captain Hook, learn of his plan to join forces with Cora to get into Storybrooke, and almost make him ogre food, the girls agree to trust him when he says he'll team up with them instead, so long as he can still enact his revenge on Rumplestiltskin; all they have to do is climb a giant beanstalk (cue next week's guest star, Lost's Jorge Garcia) to get to much-needed resources before Cora does. While I definitely enjoyed a step forward in Emma and Snow's journey (as well as getting to see Colin O'Donoghue again), what I most appreciated about this week's scenes was how naturally the writers managed to weave Captain Hook into the central narrative, establishing him as a potentially important figure, rather than just dropping him as a character after only one episode—something we all know they've been guilty of before.

To read the rest of the review (IMDb form too short) visit: http://custodianfilmcritic.com/once-upon-a-time-7-5-the-doctor/
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The Doctor
TheLittleSongbird15 January 2018
When 'Once Upon a Time' first started it was highly addictive and made the most of a truly great and creative premise. Really loved the idea of turning familiar fairy tales on their heads and putting own interpretations on them and the show early on clearly had clearly had a ball. Watched it without fail every time it came on and it was often a highlight of the week. Which was why it was sad when it ran out of ideas and lost its magic in the later seasons.

Season 1 was a solid season, with most of the episodes very good to outstanding. Season 2 showed enormous promise from the get go, with everything feeling more settled, expanding on old characters and plot lines and introducing new ones with richer content. This has not changed with its fifth episode "The Doctor".

Maybe it is a little over-stuffed, with a lot going on in a short space of time, and Sarah Bolger and Noah Bean in comparison to the rest of the actors are somewhat bland as characters that so far have not been much better.

There is a huge amount to enjoy though. The story is hugely engaging with a lot of great ideas. The standouts being the story between Regina and Rumpelstiltskin, a great example of expanding on show favourite characters and exploring deeper into their emotions (especially Regina in an episode largely centred around her) and Dr Whale's true identity, didn't see that one coming. Am still liking what the season is doing with Emma and Snow's relationship and their subplot here is interesting too.

Apart from two, the acting is strong here in "The Doctor". The standouts are show favourites Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle, while David Anders is wonderfully creepy and Colin O'Donaghue proves that Hook is one of the best new characters up to this point.

As to be expected, "The Doctor" is a very handsomely mounted episode, with settings and costumes that are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie-cutter. It is photographed beautifully and there were some make-up that suited the characters perfectly and pretty good effects work. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable main theme.

Humour, mysterious intrigue, charm and pathos are beautifully balanced, any signs of corniness that crept in here and there in the previous season are nowhere in sight here. The parallel and now merging of the two alternate worlds is as ever seamlessly done.

In summation, very good episode. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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