Who’s Who on Once Upon a Time: Dr. Whale

Some have guessed that Dr. Whale is the Big Bad Wolf but I’m guessing that he’s actually Pinocchio.  Yes, Whale leered a bit at Ruby aka Little Red Riding Hood but so far it seems that most of the characters’ names hint at their real identities:  Blanchard=White, Gold=Rumpelstiltskin, Hopper=Cricket, Ruby=Red . . . if we stretch, Nolan could indicate No Land which hints at Charming’s farm troubles.

Pinocchio lied; Dr. Whale lied to Mary Margaret.  The Nolan’s house has some artwork which seemed Pinocchio-esque to me and Dr. Whale’s collaboration with the Mayor is one reason David is currently with Kathryn instead of Mary Margaret.  Finally, Pinocchio became a real boy after an encounter with a whale.

What do you think?

image courtesy of wikipedia


32 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Sami H said,

    I think he is somebody wealthy, dr=$ whale=$(at the casinos anyway)

  2. 2

    Melissa said,

    I thought Hopper’s best friend (drawing a blank) was Pinocchio. He was in the episode where Dr. Hopper was revealed as Jiminy Cricket. I’m still debating Dr. Whale, but I love that actor. I’ll have to think on it further, but I believe he is diabolical since that actor always plays diabolical characters.

  3. 3

    lightheartedlibrarian said,

    I thought Gepetto was Hopper’s best friend? His StoryBrooke name is Marco, I think? If that episode is still on my tv, we’ll have to watch it again.

  4. 4

    anneris31 said,

    Interesting theory. I never made the connection about the look he gave Ruby.

    Personally, I think he might be King Triton for no reason other than the fact that his name is sea-related.

    • 5

      lightheartedlibrarian said,

      Hmmm … I hadn’t thought of Triton. I also hadn’t considered that the Queen might be upset about someone other than a lover—that’s definitely something to think about.

      Hiatuses totally suck! The only good thing about them is that I tend to rewatch the earlier episodes and spot things I’d missed before.

  5. 6

    wendy said,

    He could be pinocchio because of the whale ordeal or because pinocchio tells a “whale of a story” and his nose grows…dont know of any other whale stories so its gotta b him and hes the evil queens “puppet” for reasons unknown, dr. “whale” is too weird a name for it not to mean something….LUV THE SHOW, ESP. RUMPLE!!

  6. 7

    lightheartedlibrarian said,

    I’m still inclined to think he’s Pinocchio but having rewatched several episodes this weekend, I’m doubting myself a bit. Pinocchio was still a boy when the Queen’s curse hit everyone—is it possible that the curse altered his age? It did revert Jiminy Cricket to his human form.

    LOVE this show. Robert Carlyle is amazing as Rumpelstiltskin!!!

  7. 8

    […] of the television with my hot chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon, I found myself questioning my earlier theory about Dr. Whale:  I still think he fits the character of Pinocchio well; however, the Marathon Weekend reminded me […]

  8. 9

    I’m leaning towards Pinocchio, too. Dr. Whale, to me, seems to be a big boy and not a grown-up man (in terms of relationships with women), and that reminds me of Pinocchio’s desire to be a real boy.

    Well, Dr. Whale’s playboy persona makes him a possible candidate for Peter Pan, too, but I’m going with Pinocchio because we already have Geppetto and Jiminy Cricket.

    Also, Pinocchio in the story was swallowed by a whale. And also a liar.

  9. 10

    anneelliot said,

    I’m still leaning toward Big Bad Wolf, personally. While the leer at Red could be coincidental, until recently I wasn’t sure of the spelling of his name. I thought it could be ‘Wail’ = ‘Howl’ = ‘Wolf’. I don’t think it’s beyond the writers to conveniently spell it Whale to make you think of Monstro and throw the viewers off the scent. Lord knows they’ve really pulled some serious twists the last two weeks with double- and even triple-casting characters, such as Glass and Gold. (Don’t want to spoil anyone by being more clear about that.) Without more time around Dr. Whale, we can’t be sure, but I lean heavily toward wolf. He’s got ‘bad’ and ‘wolfish’ down big time.

  10. 11

    lightheartedlibrarian said,


  11. 12

    I’m a bit late to the discussion, but this is the best one about Dr Whale I have stumbled upon on my search, so I thought I might share my two cents.

    I spend too much time dwelling on these things, but I don’t think he has anything to do with Monstro or Pinocchio at all, simply because I believe there are already enough characters from that tale shown (awesome reasoning right here).

    And going by his name, a giant whale would simply be to easy, though it is quite clear a name in Storybrooke has something to do with the fairytale counterpart. My first thought was Moby Dick or rather Ahab, but that tale doesn’t qualify as a classic fairytale and I highly doubt that direction.

    Thinking about the ocean in general, the only story I can come up with is The Little Mermaid. Other sories featuring fish and water are just way to unknown outside of Europe/Germany for casual fans to make any connections with, I think (like “The Fisherman and His Wife” or “Die Wassernixe”, not sure if it’s also called “The Mermaid” in english, sorry). I don’t want to offend anyone, so if this is untrue please tell me and I’ll take everything back!

    Okay, back to the Little Mermaid – Dr Whale would be the Prince. In the original fairytale the mermaid fell in love with him and tried to get him to return her feelings, but although the Prince cares for her, he ends up loving and getting married to a princess from a neighbooring kingdom, leaving the mermaid to die. Andersen is not really known for his happy endings and thus the curse would be silly for this one, but Once Upon a Time doesn’t exactly stay true to the source matertial. Recalling Disney, Prince Eric was decieved by the Sea Witch and almost married her, but in the end true love won. Clearly one can imagine the outcome of that with Reginas curse in mind, which might show in Dr Whale being loyal to her and maybe oogling Ruby on his date with Mary as a hint towards him falling in love with the wrong girl (but that’s kinda stretching it)

    I don’t want to say I’m right or my theory is correct, but if some mute girl shows up in Dr Whales care I’d be most happy!
    Excuse my ramblings, I just enjoy all these speculations floating around. 😀

    • 13

      pnick said,

      I think this is the most plausible theory I have read yet.

      In doing some quick on-line research I discovered the word “Whale” actually has both Norse and German roots. So I did a quick glance over a list of fairytales from both. Of course the German search brought me to the Grimm’s fairytales and first fairytale mentioned was the frog prince. This got me thinking. In the non-disney versions of this story it isn’t the kiss that awakens the prince from his spell it is the ability to sleep on a princesses pillow that awakens the spell. Combining the arrogant attributes of the frog prince in the Disney version with the idea of sleeping with a princess this could work with Dr. Whale. I think it is a stretch but I do think they could make it work.

      In the Norse fairytales there is a story about a giant and a prince that would fit what we already know of Dr. Whale but since it is less known I do not think this would work.

      I can’t wait for Season 2 now that the curse is broken.

  12. 14

    lightheartedlibrarian said,

    Thanks for joining the discussion! I hope the show gives us more clues soon . . .

  13. 15

    Arjay said,

    I don’t think Dr. Whale would be a well-known character. Usually on OUAT, what characters did or were like in the fairy tale world is reflected in their real world lives. There is a Grimm tale titled ‘Dr. Knowall’ in which a peasant becomes rich by acting like a doctor and recieves a rich reward for uncovering stolen money even though he knew nothing about it. Dr. Whale may be tight with Regina because he may know of the curse or he may have made comments in such a way as to make Regina think he knows about it, much in the same way as in the Dr. Knowall story. I believe Whale as a real world doctor would also be a fairy tale doctor/apothecary/alchemist. His character is purposely being avoided and may be major player, possibly sinister in nature. We already know Regina has a nurse keeping an eye on Belle.

    • 16

      lightheartedlibrarian said,

      Interesting! I wasn’t aware of Dr. Knowall – the only fairy tale “doctor” I could think of was Doc.

  14. 17

    Lucy said,

    I know this was posted forever ago, but now that we know Dr. Whale isn’t the big bad wolf or pinnochio, now I’m dying to know who hw is! I would think he would be a legendary lecher, but when I really think about it, the only person he really leers at is Ruby. So who the heck is he??? I really want to know, I can’t believe I’ll have to wait months!

  15. 19

    laurissajewelry said,

    After reading this and some other articles, I have to say I love every idea and cant wait to find out. I foresee several OUAT fans including myself slapping their foreheads when we all find out.

    I keep thinking about the last several minutes of the finale, and he’s sitting in the hospital looking very sullen. Leads me personally to wonder if he could be the adult Peter Pan, being adult would make sense since he was a child for who knows how many years. The oogling of Ruby could simply be a guy who happened to see a nice piece of ***, she was bent over after all.

    I think he could easily be from peter pan, sleeping beauty, the little mermaid, the sword in the stone, robin hood, the princess and the pea, the frog prince, thumbelina, pocohontas, he could even be from rupunzel. I think OUAT will do a goldilocks story as well as the elves and the shoe maker. Dr. Whale could be anyone from any story.

  16. 20

    OK i am going with the theory that Dr Whale is (a slightly revisionist version of) Prince Eric.
    Number 1, the name. Obvious. Yeah he could also be Monstro, Ahab, or perhaps even King Triton. (Triton would be my 2nd choice.)
    However, number 2…
    The fact that he’s ogling Ruby/Red Riding Hood. First off…the red streaks. The red reminds him of something…Dr Whale might not be able to remember what it is! Considering the curse, it would not be a shock. In the Enchanted Wood (and Ocean too, including Atlantica) his one true love was Ariel, the youngest daughter of Triton. He initially confused Ursula (in her human form as the sultry Vanessa) for the woman who won his heart.
    Maybe Ruby is unwittingly playing the part of Vanessa/Ursula?
    Although if he’s King Triton that may play into why he might not get along well with Regina.

  17. 22

    Joel said,

    I think the big bad wolf. The wolf in little red riding hood and the wolf in the three little pigs are different wolves. We know red is the wolf in her story and I believe Dr. Whale is the big bad wolf. If you google “whale wolf” you will see that whales are believed to be evolved from a hoofed wolf like creature.

  18. 26

    pnick said,

    I am wondering what other’s think about this theory I read somewhere else now that we know Hook is coming to season 2. The theory is that Dr. Whale is actually captain hook. I am not sure what I think about this and would love to process this possibility with you all…

  19. 27

    Mindy said,

    It can’t be Pinocchio because Pinocchio was revealed in the first season. He spoke to Emma and David, and was slowly turning into wood, remember? His Storybrooke alias is August Wayne Booth. Here’s his wiki page: http://onceuponatime.wikia.com/wiki/August_Booth

    • 28

      lightheartedlibrarian said,

      Hi Mindy,

      Pinocchio was my theory when I posted this–well before August rode into town on his motorcycle. I know now that Dr. Whale is actually Dr. Frankenstein–I don’t like it it but c’est la vie. Do you think Whale is also The Wizard of Oz?


  20. 29

    Mindy said,

    Also, according to the wiki, Dr. Whale is Victor Frankenstein, which makes sense, considering his preoccupation with bringing people back from the dead, and using other people’s body parts to do it. http://onceuponatime.wikia.com/wiki/Dr._Whale

    • 30

      lightheartedlibrarian said,

      Before the Frankenstein episode, when did we see this preoccupation? The only preoccupation of Whale’s that I noticed was his interest in women, particularly Ruby.

  21. 31

    Mindy said,

    It also makes sense for him to be Frankenstein because it’s mentioned that he isn’t from the same land that the other characters are from. “Frankenstein” isn’t a fairy tale, so it would make sense he’s not from fairy tale land.

    • 32

      lightheartedlibrarian said,

      Hmmm . . . I’ve been okay with the writers taking us into Wonderland and Never Never Land but I’m still not fond of the choice to bring in Frankenstein. Ah, well.

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