This week's episode "A Heart of Stone" was directed by Paul Edwards (Lost, Once Upon A Time, Fringe, Sleepy Hollow) and written by Katie Wech (The Secret Circle).
Other things that happen in present Wonderland deal with scenes leading to Cyrus' escape and Jafar inquires after The White Rabbit about other people Alices loves. Cyrus' scenes gave the viewers a little more insight into the man that resides in the other cage. The man also has something [unknown] Jafar wants, but when Cyrus also tries to help him escape, he literally throws away the key and refuses to leave. Jafar's careful discussion scenes quickly turn into torture/interrogation scenes. The White Rabbit keeps stalling, until Jafar forcefully removes one the White Rabbit's feet!! Ultimately the Rabbit tells Jafar there is another Alice loves, but not in Wonderland. Jafar tells the rabbit to start digging his hole, as they presumably set out to find this other person.
When Alice awakes at the bottom she is confronted with skeleton remains of other not so lucky contenders and a child version of herself! The child Alice attempts to make adult Alice admit that her dreams of saving Cyrus are also about revenge, as Alice almost says as much to Queen when traveling by carriage. Child Alice then begins to stomp her feet in anger, which causes the Red Queen to also fall from the edge of the cliff down into the pit where the two Alices reside. Again child Alice pushes Alice to kill The Red Queen, insisting this is the only way. Alice begins to swell with anger and takes out her sword and moves to cut off the Red Queen's head, but intentionally misses. Child Alice reveals that adult Alice has passed the test, as it proves that Alice is pure of heart. Child Alice dissolves into magic in the form of WHITE dust and Alice begins to collect it in a red pouch.
Back at the top of the ravine Alice begins the exchange and hands The Red Queen the pouch of dust, but the Red Queen, reminding Alice that she is not of pure of heart, refuses to complete the deal and leaves Alice behind. Both characters show some more of their true colors in their separate final scenes, as Alice was smart enough to save some dust for herself, which reveals The Tower, where now Cyrus stands at the top of it's steps.
The Red Queen humbly without taking any credit uses some of her dust to free will from Jafar's magic that has turned him into stone.
All of these scenes were nicely contrasted by a back story of Ana/The Red Queen's and Will Scarlet/The Knaves early days in Wonderland, where they continue to live as thieves in poverty, despite their expectations that Wonderland would be Wonderful.
They set out to go to ball given by a King in hopes to steal some food, but immediately the King finds himself intrigued with Ana and her capacity to be allusive, while the guards discover Will and the two are quickly thereafter taken out onto the street. Will is excited because he was able to pinch some food, but it's clear Ana is still longing for another kind of life. Remembering what other seemingly wealthy women of the court were discussing at the ball, Ana insists to Will that they steal the crown jewels, go back to fairy tale land, sell the jewels, and start their lives over.
Some Additional Thoughts
A Means To An End
One theme the series touches on, which made a more apparent introduction in this episode is the idea of using others as a means to end. Wonderland is a place that coveys all kinds of "game playing" and thus looks at ways in which any of it's players may set out and get what they want, but the catch on something like this, is not only the idea that what any one person may want may different from any other, but that some might also burn bridges and not only use another to get what they want, but guarantee that nothing can take their hard work away, as then everyone could become an additional expense to anyone else's endgame and is ultimately expendable upon changing circumstances.
Divide and Conquer
Who Are You Really?
Two people seem to be left a bit of a mystery for the viewers thus far. The old man next to Cyrus and the person Jafar sets out to find in order to provoke Alice to use her wishes. Some speculation on my behalf is that man in the other cage is either Jafar's father The Sultan, a spin on the Disney character Eiago, or Jasmine's father--another Sultan. I also think that like Alice this man could be holding out on wishes. (we don't know the story behind how Zamara and Jafar get there first two Genies). This leads me then to speculate that the person Jafar is looking for is none other than Alice's father. My main reason being, beyond that we know that this is def one person the White Rabbit would know of, is that this would be a great choice for Alice's story, since it is her father's approval that she once sought and who's faith in Alice had failed.
Once Upon A Time Factor:
Each review I will bring this section to mention things like crossovers, riffs, similar themes, contrasts, and tie-backs, which may also span into Bad Robot works as well, since OUAT already clearly references them. I watch a lot of TV with mythology however, and if any of you see something I missed, then please share with us in the comments below!
We're Still Walking on Snow White
There were a bunch allusions to Once Upon A Time's Snow White/Mary Margret in this episode.
One parallel comes with Alice proving to be pure of heart, where in OUAT Snow White is also seen as a having pure heart since she is deemed "The Fairest in the Land".
Additionally I think it's no coincidence that when the child version of Alice dissolved into magical dust; that the color of the dust was snow white. It suggests that Alice is in a Snow White-esque role.
But it's also interesting to think about these things in relation that there is also another Grimm story about yet another (poorer) Snow White and her sister Rose-Red and the fact that Lewis Carroll's Wonderland novels also feature a White Queen...
In Once Upon A Time Snow's best friend has been Red/Ruby. In OUAT in Wonderland no White Queen has officially appeared in any capacity, but if we look to Anastasia's transformation into The Red Queen, we see someone who went from wearing white and light pinks to somebody wearing bold reds (although touches of white remain mixed in her wardrobe).
Just out of speculation I could see the idea being that Anastasia will end the series as The White Queen.
Going back to the magic in the form of dust, is there also a similarity with fairy dust and/or Pixi dust, as it seems all dust would be magical and perhaps Wonderland is getting more specific with dust in relation to the mythology. The scene where Alice uses it to expose Jafar's Tower is similar when Tinkerbelle used pixi dust to find Regina's new true love Robin Hood, which we know Will has a direct connection to.
Note: The Tower is also the name of a place in Revolution and is a reference to Stephen King's The Dark Tower series.
The Queen and I (Cora, Regina, Ana, Ana's Unnamed Mother)
Ana and Regina - love poor men
Cora and Ana's mother expectations for daughters to marry well.
Cora resolves Regina's love interest, Ana's mother does not.
Cora and Ana both become Queens in Wonderland and both have an association with the color Red.
Cora and Ana both marry kings, but Cora is treated badly by the court and is the one who makes a marriage proposal and Ana, who is not even known by the court at first, is treated justly and it's the King that makes the proposal to her.
Cora and Ana could not kill their love interests. (Henry Sr./Will Scarlet)
It's hard to say where exactly Cora fits into all of this, if she is there in Wonderland during the time of flashback, but I think not, but we do know that there is a story in which Alice helps the Knave get his heart back, suggesting that Cora is the one that took his heart.
Smoke and Mirrors (Astral Projection, Visions, Hallucinations, Dreams)
In this episode Alice is confronted with a child version of herself, or perhaps 2 child versions of herself, as the first child Alice seems a bit demonic compared to the child Alice who morphs into dust after adult Alice passed the test.
The idea of having to confront oneself or people important to oneself is common in Bad Robot works, whether it be Sydney Bristow in a dream state (Alias"Conscience"), Desmond Hume seeing visions of alternate versions of Charlie Pace from other time lines (Lost "Catch 22" ), Boone Carlyle imaging Shannon dying while on "wacky paste" (LOST"Hearts and Minds") , Miles Matheson imagining confronting Sebastian Monroe while deprived of oxygen walking through a subway tunnel (Revolution "Kasmir"), or a polymorphic being is able to astral project into other people, do all of these kinds of things tend to test and/or motivate the characters.(various situations via Smoke Monster LOST)
Once Upon A Time definitely takes a page from LOST's smoke monster with Neverland's shadows also able to morph/astral project into other people. Most notably this discovery was made by Regina showing Rumpelstiltskin that Belle was not Belle.
Note: Belle and young Alice share blue and white dress aesthetic and Belle dreams of adventure the way Alice once had.
Skeletons in the Closet
The scene when Alice first wakes up from falling of the edge and sees skeletal human remains is similar to a scenes in LOST where Jack and Desmond must uncork and then later recork the cork in the cavern of The HEART of the Island. The scene might also be alluded to on Once Upon A Time ("Tallahassee", "Tiny") where Hook and Emma come across the remains of Jack the Giant Killer, whom we know has been to Wonderland and has slayed a Jabberwocky! Lost featured a few other skeleton remian scenes as well, such as Roger Linus, Adam and Eve (Mother and MIB), and The Dharma Purge-Pit.
Where's the Rabbit's Foot?
Although Wonderland character The White Rabbit is often referenced in Bad Robot works, often pertaining to chasing after the truth in relation to fear of the unknown, does LOST also expand on Rabbit reference with several "the lucky rabbit's foot" amulets often in the form of key chains, but where the Rabbit's Foot reference is really exploited is in the film Mission Impossible: III. The whole film centers around an unknown piece of technology known only as "The Rabbit's Foot". It is the ultimate MacGuffin, as the technology or weapon is never explained, but is the source of all of Ethan Hunt's problems, as the villain, Owen Davian, is willing to do a lot of deplorable things to get his hands on it.
Note: Ilana on LOST tells Sayid that he should get a lucky Rabbit's foot before getting on aboard Ajira flight 316 ("He's Our You"). Naveen Andrews and Zuleikha Robinson are playing together again on Once Upon A Time in Wonderland. ("The Serpent")
So what did you guys think of "Heart of Stone?". Who do you think Jafar went to find? Do you think we'll meet The White Queen or will Alice or Ana become The White Queen? Where do you think Lizrard went? Do you want to see Cora make an appearance soon? Let us know in the comments below!!!