Posted by Ashley B at Friday, November 15, 2013 0 Comments
This week opens right where episode 1x03 left off, with the Knave and the Queen, or should I say Anastasia and Will Scarlet, about to leap into the portal formed by the magic mirror stolen from Maleficent. But before the pair can begin their journey, their cottage is crashed by the haughtiest-looking dame this side of Louise Fletcher. It's Anastasia's mother, and damn right you better believe she followed them to their cottage. Mommy Dearest proceeds to question if her daughter intends to run off with Will Scarlet, a loser her in book.
Present day Wonderland and we find the Red Queen at the edge of a deep and decidedly pointy chasm. She sticks a stiletto over the ravine and almost falls into the gap. Recovering her composure, the queen looks almost contemplative. The audience will soon find out that this locale holds more significance that we initially think, though the Red Queen testing the waters is interesting. I know it's a form of exposition as to her limits regarding the up-coming task, but one has to wonder how many times the Red Queen tested herself in this way, hoping the outcome would be different.
Alice reminds the Red Queen that she's gotten a glimpse into the monarch's past, wondering aloud if the Knave too was just a means to an end, but the queen ignores the question, instead criticizing the fact that Alice only looks to the past. This is actually very true of Alice. She dwells on her lost love, the entire reason she is back in Wonderland, and her inability to let past events go not only damaged her relationship with her father, but landed her in a bedlam asylum for who knows how long. I hope we see more of both that father/daughter relationship and her time in the nut house in future episodes. The item the Red Queen needs is actually magic that will grant her protection from Jafar after she pulls away from his influence and this magic comes in the form of dust. Can you say fairies? Has anyone seen a certain blue one lurking about lately? The Red Queen can't get the dust herself because it's a suicide mission, but knows Alice will be willing to risk her life and more to be reunited with her genie. Jafar's tower is well hidden and unfortunately the Red Queen is the only chance Alice has at finding it.
In a flashback, we see Will and Anastasia, foraging for food in the woods. They are not well off at all, contemplating making a meal out of fish bones, before Will suggests they chow down on a giant mushroom, only to be stopped by Anastasia, who reminds him that those are the mushrooms that make you grow larger. Obviously sometime has passed for these two to realize the dangers of some of Wonderland's more recognizable flora and yet they are still struggling. Wonderland doesn't seem to be much in the way of the land of opportunity, though I would love to see a flashback as to how these two realized the mushrooms had that effect. I can only imagine a giant Will Scarlet bellowing "bloody hell" as his head brushes the treetops. Anastasia quips that a change is size won't do as they can barely fit in the wagon they reside in, causing Will to worry that he's not providing enough for her. This reminds me of a couple being forced to live out of their car, and while she reassures him that it's all they need, one can't help but feel that Anastasia is saying the words to convince herself, rather than her partner.
In the present a very different carriage speeds off through the woods, carrying Alice and the Red Queen to their mysterious destination. Alice inquires about the dust and learns it is at "The Great Divide", a place she remarks holds great darkness. The queen counters with one of my favorite lines of the series so far, that "there's darkness everywhere when the sun goes down". So much meaning is so few words, this line serves to highlight that there is the potential for darkness everywhere, especially for those who's sun has set, those who have lost hope or given in to more evil intentions.
Back at Cyrus's Birdcage of Bondage, he continues to cut through the iron bottom of his prison, quizzing his fellow prisoner on the layout of Jafar's lair. The prison mate mentions that there aren't many guards to be seen inside the tower, meaning they must all be on patrol outside. The prison mate goes on to mention that others have tried what Cyrus is attempting and none have succeeded. Could he mean the other genies captured by Jafar? Or perhaps this is a red herring? I'm not firmly convinced that this other prisoner is to be trusted, even if he is the sultan, We don't know his relationship with Jafar after all. The prisoner laments that he had a life once outside of his bondage, but that's all gone now. Cyrus, ever the optimist, tells him that now it's time to make a new one. If the genie is to be free, so shall the prisoner and with one final cut, breaks the bottom out from his cage. Cyrus the Cooler King is about to enact his Great Escape.
Back at the birdcages, Cyrus waits for a guard to complete his rounds, before swinging his cage Pirates of the Caribbean-style closer and closer to the ledge where Jafar does most his taunting. At the apex of one of his swings, the genie drops down through the hole and pulls a move that would make McKayla Maroney proud, just barely managing to catch the edge of the ledge. The guard returns, no doubt to investigate the noise brought on by these gymnastic shenanigans and Cyrus's prison mate distracts the guard long enough for the genie to appear behind him and lay the smack down of True Love, sending him over the edge to the pit below. Gold medals in boxing and gymnastics, well done Cyrus.
Flashback and we see Will Scarlet and Anastasia crashing the White House State dinner, I mean the ball. Will fidgets in his fine clothes, saying they don't belong with such a crowd, where Anastasia disagrees, telling her love that if they believe they do, they will blend right in. She seems more at home in such grand surrounds and I wonder if this is partially due to her mother's influence. Here we also see a conflict growing between the pair. Anastasia obviously relishes and longs for this kind of environment, showcasing the kind of ambition that would make a Slytherin proud, while Will is just happy there is food on the table and he is with the one he loves. Clearly a Hufflepuff. Speaking of food, Anastasia chooses to mingle with the upper crust, while Will sets out to find a crust more to his liking at the buffet.
Back at the ravine, Alice and the Red Queen still haven't sorted out the best method of getting across. Alice, suspicious, asks how will she know this isn't an elaborate trap, with the Red Queen simply tricking her into falling into the gap, where the queen replies that if that was her intention, she'd simply push Alice. God Alice, didn't you watch the pilot, you'd think you'd remember the same thing happening to your boyfriend. It's about this time that Alice has her once an episode Moment of Cleverness, that spark that causes all the pieces to fit into place for our hero. She realizes the words cast in the plaque are indeed a riddle and figures that what is required of her is an actual leap of faith. Alice, after a moment's hesitation, much to the Red Queen's annoyance, understand that she must use the faith she has for the purest thing in her heart, her love of Cyrus. She tells the Red Queen that when two people love each other, they can accomplish anything and the queen laments that if only this were true. She obviously speaks from personal experience.
Back in present day Wonderland, Cyrus throws the keys for the cell to his prison mate, who successfully catches, then drops them. He let the keys fall on purpose as a way of making certain he didn't slow Cyrus down. The prisoner is confident, almost sure, that Jafar will not kill him for the role he played in the genie's escape and urges Cyrus to leave immediately since the guards will be back any moment. Reluctantly, the genie leaves the other captive and begins his trek out of the tower. Again, I am suspicious and intrigued at what the mystery prisoner's relationship is with a dark sorcerer like Jafar. Are we still thinking he is the sultan, or perhaps someone else?
Over on the other side of Wonderland, Alice is still at the bottom of the cave when suddenly the audience is treated to various creepy children's echo-y voices calling out for Alice. Our hero demands that the source of the ghoulish cacophony show themselves, but I'd rather they didn't as ghost children are on my top ten list of Supernatural Things Not to Engage, Taunt, or Otherwise Mess With. Unfortunately, the source of our troubles reveals itself as an ill-kempt version of young Alice sporting the Voice of Legion, looking like it would be more at home with American McGee's Alice instead of Kitsis and Horowitz's.
The Alice-creature begins to stomp its foot, not out of petulance, but to help Alice get what she wants, a chance to kill the Red Queen. Up above ground, the Red Queen can indeed feel each tremor and was perhaps standing too close to the edge of the ravine, since a well placed stomp sends her toppling over the edge and into the cave below. Now that the Red Queen has joined the party, the Alice-creature orders her older self to kill the queen. She's in both of their heads and if Alice succeeds in killing the queen, the creature will tell our hero where Cyrus is. The Red Queen tries to magic the figure away, but it doesn't work.
One last flashback, where we see Bandit Anastasia, creeping about the throne room while Will waits outside under a balcony to receive the goods. Anastasia deftly picks the lock, having apparently learned many skills from her boyfriend, and begins to clean out the royal jewelry box. She stops for a moment to admire a tiara, the same one she has worn throughout the episode in present day Wonderland. Her admiration for all things shiny is brought to a grinding halt by the king. He inquires as to why Anastasia is stealing his riches, to which she replies that she needs them more than he does. The king goes on about the have and the have-nots and how this is the way of things, though it doesn't have to be because there is something special about Anastasia. She seems to be living a life that she wasn't meant for and he wants to take her hand in marriage. Ah, so the king was being flirty at the ball, though for some reason their age gap, a thing that usually doesn't bother me, seems a bit skeezy here.
Back a top the ravine, the Red Queen asks Alice to hand over the dust, but Alice refuses, asking first to be told of Cyrus's location. However, the Red Queen betrays Alice and uses her magic to snatch the pouch right off Alice's belt. When and how did the Red Queen learn magic in the first place? Perhaps she had private tutoring from the Queen of Hearts, oh how I would love to see a scene like that. The Red Queen has no qualms about her lie to Alice, reminding the girl that only one of them is pure of heart. Alice counters that she gave the Red Queen her life, but the queen doesn't agree, stating that everything in her life she had to take, just like the dust. The queen turns on her crimson heel and leaves and we see that Alice has once again displayed her trademark forethought, two steps ahead of everyone else as opens her hand, revealing a bit of the magic dust she saved for herself.
Back in the courtyard, the Red Queen removes the Knave's blanket of bird poop protection and for a moment I wonder if she will attempt to use True Love's Kiss to break the spell. But no, she pulls out the pouch of dust, showering the Knave with the magical powder. It seems her intention all along was not to protect herself from Jafar, but save her love, for who can doubt now that the Red Queen is still in love with the Knave of Hearts. As the curse lifts, the queen departs, sneaking away before the Knave can see who released him as he collapses to the ground, struggling to recover. At the edge of a valley, Alice uses her own bit of dust to show her the location and path to Jafar's tower. She vows to Cyrus that she is coming for him and across the valley, Cyrus finally escapes his dungeon, blinking in the sunlight and echoing Alice's vow.
There you have it, another excellent installment of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. I enjoyed it, not only because the Red Queen and Knave of Heart's joint back stories were a treat, but for the many questions it raised in the mind of the audience. What does the Red Queen want with Cyrus's wishes? We know Jafar wants to rewrite the laws of magic, but how will this help the queen? What made Jafar approach her for an alliance in the first place.
Who is the other prisoner in Jafar's tower? I really do think that perhaps it's the sultan, Jafar's father, being held captive as a form of revenge for the wrongs he inflicted on the sorcerer. What information does this man hold that Jafar desires so badly? Is it the identity of Jafar's mother? If so, then who is this woman and why does her identity need to be kept a secret?
And finally, if the White Rabbit is indeed off the fetch Alice's father with Jafar, how will his sudden exposure to Wonderland, a realm he has for so long dismissed as a childhood fantasy, change his relationship with his daughter? Will Alice's father be forced to believe or will he be kept in the dark about Wonderland at large?
Also, a bit of personal house keeping. I will be out of town at a convention next week and unable to cover Once Upon a Time in Wonderland's sixth episode, "Who's Alice". I encourage you to keep an eye out for Darth Locke's review next week and I will be back in action for episode seven!
Well, dear readers, what did you think of this most recent episode?
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