I'm surprised at the lack of enthusiasim over this episode thus far. Sure it wasn't earth-shattering, but it was a well constructed episode, with great character and some really beautiful dialogue and acting.
Some will say that the pacing was too slow, and that the Dr. Whale exposition should have been placed earlier in the season. But I disagree. I thought it was extremely astute of the show headliners to place it now, during an episode that focuses heavily on parental/children relationships - an ongoing theme this season to be sure, but this was the long anticipated Cora/Regina reunion episode! Why is it so appropriate? Because the main theme of Frankenstein (the book) is the influence parents have on their children, and especially the devastating cost of abandoning one's child (the Monster in the tale stands as Frankenstein's child). Frankenstein's father really was an insensitive man, who drove his son away by his actions. Of course, the monster wasn't his brother, but for the purpose of the show, it worked well.
However in contrast, we now have a definite lead on Bae's whereabouts. Although... is it just me, or did the blood globe seem to indicate that Bae is in Maine??? And... Cora and Rumple kissing wasn't such a shock to me, as I am certain she was the "Miller's Daughter" in the original tale and that they had a romantic connection.
I like that the show is not afraid to give the characters hard choices. Deciding whether or not to let the stranger die and save Storybrooke was not a place I thought they'd be willing to go... and it looks like there will be a price for making the moral choice.
Cora's reunion with Regina was so frustrating... part of me thinks she is sincere in saying she loves Regina, she has afterall been very steadfast with that line throughout the season. Still, she clearly does not yet understand what it means to really love, selflessly, and that is going to be scary to watch...
Fun glimpse into Regina's secret room. I liked seeing that she had carried her fantastical wardrobe over, as well as the beautiful jeweled apple tree.
I'm also thrilled that they've given Ruby more to do this season. She's a supporting character, but she manages to have good bits or full scenes in every episode. This week of course we got to see her show off superspeed, and then 'monster bonding' with Frankenstein. And who loved how everyone *cough*Emma*cough* reacted to meeting another kind of fictional character?
Looks like there is a lot to look forwards to in the coming weeks, and there seem to be more surprises this season than last... hurrah for that!