In a recent interview, Once Upon a Time writer Jane Espenson hinted that the mysterious stranger who arrived to town at the end of Season 2, Episode 11: “The Outsider”, Greg Mendell (Ethan Embry), could be connected to “father of modern genetics” Gregor Mendel. It’s not like OUAT to use a straight-up historical figure as a character, so we theorized about what this Mendel connection could mean for Storybrooke’s newest visitor. Here are four of our best guesses:
1. The Princess and the Pea. Gregor Mendel (the scientist) is best known for the strides he made in the basic principles of heredity through his work with pea plants. Pea plants! You see where we’re going with this? This possibility is made more intriguing based on the calls Greg’s phone kept receiving from a mysterious “Her” while he was in surgery. Could another princess be coming to Storybrooke?
2. Baelfire. Pretty much any new male character of a certain age who pops up in Storybrooke is an automatic candidate in the “Are You Rumplestiltskin’s Long Lost Son?” contest. So far, no one has won. This potentiality is more interesting considering Rumple (Robert Carlyle) couldn’t be bothered to lift a finger when Greg lay dying in the Storybrooke hospital. He’s going to feel pretty bad if the stranger he refused to save was actually the son he has crossed worlds to find. And as much as we are looking forward to see the motley crew of Rumple, Emma (Jennifer Morrison), and Henry (Jared Gilmore) venture out into the “real” world in Season 3, Episode 14: “Manhattan” to find Baelfire, it would be poetically justified if he were actually in Storybrooke the entire time they are searching.
3. A Connection to Frankenstein’s World. OUAT did something pretty interesting and controversial this season in revealing that Dr. Whale (David Anders) is actually Dr. Frankenstein, bringing a character from the literary horror world rather than the world of classic (or Disney-fied) fairy tales into the fold. Dr. Frankenstein is from a land where science rules over magic, a place where a Gregor Mendel-inspired character would fit right in. If Greg’s character does have a connection to Gregor Mendel, it would be interesting to see if he has any insight into Emma’s newfound magical powers - abilities she seems to owe to True Love genetics more than anything else.
4. Peter Pan. Ok, fine. The OUAT Powers-That-Be have stated that Peter Pan will be a character, but not this season, but we can’t help but consider one of Greg’s first actions upon entering Storybrooke: hitting Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) with his car. Could the “accident” have been more than just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time? And could the “Her” on the phone have been Pan’s pal Wendy?
What do you think of the mysterious Greg Mendell? Is there a Gregor Mendel connection and, if so, what is it? Post your theories in the comment section below!
Catch the next episode of Once Upon a Time on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.