Posted by Ashley B at Friday, March 21, 2014 13 Comments
Also, the audience gets to see more of the cocky risk-taker Cyrus was before his bondage as a genie. He swipes another patron's drink and cheekily refuses to pay, starting a scrum among the Caterpillar's guests in order to distract as he casually picks up both his minute girlfriend and the compass. Cyrus swaggers out of the Caterpillar's lair with no one the wiser. The blending of Cyrus's former arrogance and the care brought on by his time as a genie is a pleasant direction for his character to take. With only two episodes left in the season, it would be difficult to finish telling the story had Cyrus completely reverted back to the man he once was. I think Alice's presence and belief in him as well as her acceptance of his past, has helped the former genie make peace with that part of himself and use it to his advantage. I don't think Genie!Cyrus would have had the nerve to hoodwink the Caterpillar in such a manner.
Deciding to get to the root of his frustrations, Jafar releases the Knave from his bottle. Sassy as ever, the Knave of Hearts has no time for Jafar's questions and no answers as to how he is able to resist the spell. The Jabberwocky offers to read his fear and decipher how this is achieved. There is an emphasis put on the monster only being able to read fear, not minds, which I find interesting because this explicitly states that the Jabberwocky has limitations. This may prove to be helpful should Cyrus and Alice have a confrontation with her. The Jabberwocky practically presses her nose up against the Knave, searching his mind. The Knave of Hearts must believe he has nothing left to lose because he continues to ramp up the sarcasm even has his mind is under attack. But the Jabberwocky's expression betrays confusion. She is unable to sort out what is going on inside the Knave. The audience can even hear for the first time what is inside someone's head when the Jabberwocky does her stuff and for the Knave it appears to be nothing but intelligible whispers. Jafar deduces that this is the Red Queen's doing, explaining to the Jaberwocky that she and the Knave have a history together and the sorcerer decided to pay the queen a visit in the dungeons.
It seems that the Red Queen has a visitor during her preparation as Cora Mills (dun dun DUN) swans into the room. Oh, how I have missed the Mother of All Evil. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if there is something that the Once Upon a Time franchise does extremely well, it's a villain. Cora was surprised to receive an invitation to the wedding as she and the Red Queen's future husband don't generally see eye to eye. Perhaps there's one too many monarchs in Wonderland for his taste. Cora refers to the Red Queen's future husband as "the Red King", which is interesting considering their castle is composed of chess pieces that are lily white. If you are familiar with Lewis Carroll lore, you'll know the Red King makes his appearance in the second book, Alice Through the Looking Glass. He is found slumbering by the heroine and the Tweedles in this story speculate that Alice is part of his dream and should he wake, she would go out like a light. Is Once Upon a Time in Wonderland's version of the Red King as significant as this or was he simply named out of convenience?
In present day Wonderland, Cyrus and Alice are in their hidden love nest home base, struggling to get the Lost and Found to work. So far, it has decided to point to nothing in particular. They are interrupted by the Red Queen's loyal Tweedle, bearing the message that they should leave Wonderland while they still have the chance. He also fills them in on the Knave's capture and the release of the Jabberwocky. Cyrus is unfamiliar with the beast, but Alice is struck by this news. So far, only the Red Queen and Alice seem to be familiar with how dangerous the Jabberwocky is. This must be alluding to their shared history in Alice Through the Looking Glass. Despite being in grave danger themselves, Cyrus and Alice choose to attempt a rescue and ask the loyal Tweedle to show them a way into the palace.
Despite the Red Queen's ignorance to the Knave's heart situation, Jafar knows she is still of some use to him a threatens to slit the the Red Queen's throat in from of the Knave of Hearts if he doesn't reveal where he stashed his ticker. Jafar means business, drawing blood as he demands information from the Knave. The Red Queen warns the Knave that Jafar will kill her whether or not he spills his secret (this is the worst kind of foreshadowing) and all this does is to motivate the Knave into relenting, claiming that his heart has done him enough damage, there's no need for it to cause others suffering as well.
We soon find out why the Red Queen remained with her throne as we cut to the next day and the Knave of Hearts, waiting outside the caravan. He hears someone approach, but instead of his love he finds Cora, on the lurk once again. The Queen of Hearts explains that she is there on the Red Queen's behalf, that the Knave's former love has made her decision. Funny, I don't remember that scene Cora, what's your game? It seems that history is set to repeat itself as she informs the Knave of Hearts that love is weakness and tell him her surrogate daughter doesn't need some lovesick fool holding her back. Gotta say, I did giggle when Cora explained to the Knave that "hearts are much more trouble than they are worth". Considering her affinity for removing them, that line is worth a giggle, but if we look closer, Cora is more than likely speaking from experience, having removed her own heart on Once Upon a Time, believing love was holding her back from her ambitions.
In present day Wonderland, Cyrus and Alice arrive at the White Rabbit's home as two palace guards leave. At first they are shocked, only to learn of the Red Queen's plan for the rabbit to gather up reserves for the coming battle against Jafar. Unfortunately, things aren't going so well as most Wonderland residents approached do not seem to keen with helping in La Resistance. Alice offers the White Rabbit a new task. She helped the Knave reclaim his heart, a story I was hoping we'd see but alas I think not, and knows where he hid it. And it wasn't in this realm, but a place called Storybrooke. Cut to Canada, I mean Maine, as the White Rabbit, Cyrus, and Alice emerge from a crater in the ground. I wonder why no one noticed that the next day, but considering the events of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland are supposed to take place during season two of OUaT, they could have just blamed in on a giant attack. Yeah, Storybrooke is weird.
That reason is obviously the Red Queen, who we see in a flashback preparing to meet with the Knave. Only she is stopped by Cora, who once again is twisting others to her whim. Mommie Dearest truly must see a second chance at mentoring a daughter in the Red Queen if she is so intent on manipulating and meddling in the girl's affairs. Cora shows the queen via a mirror enchantment that the Knave is gone, making her believe that he never loved her in the first place. Cora really goes for the gold medal here, not-so-subtly luring the Red Queen closer into her thrall with talk about how special she is and her potential. It's hard to tell, knowing what we know about Cora Mills, if this is a sincere sentiment or if the Mother of All Evil is just pushing the right buttons to draw the Red Queen closer. Whatever the case, it works. We saw from her confrontation with the Jabberwocky that the Red Queen has never felt as if she belonged to anyone, particularly her own mother. Now that Cora is on the scene, giving her the maternal praise she never felt before, the Red Queen easily falls under her sway. It's interesting that Cora praises the Red Queen for choosing ambition, choosing "power over weakness". We know that for the Queen of Hearts, weakness and love are the same thing, so what Cora is essentially saying is that she is proud her new protege is choosing power over love, the same choice her own daughter, Regina, failed to make and the same choice she herself succeeded in making all those years ago.
While Cora's message has some merit, that one should not be made to feel as if they are flawed and unworthy, we see again that the Queen of Hearts's methods, turning ambition into anger, are what skews those she takes under her wing to a dark place. Congratulating her student on her success with magic, Cora offhandedly remarks that the Red Queen need not worry about her king for very much longer. Well, now we know what happened to him. I wonder where this scence falls into the Once Upon a Time timeline, especially in relation to when Captain Hook comes to take the Queen of Hearts out of Wonderland. I feel there is another part of the Red Queen and Cora's story that we are missing here.
Collecting the box containing the heart for himself, the sorcerer turns on his enemies, preparing to get rid of them once and for all. However, his snake staff resists, fighting his whim and refusing to to magic against Cyrus. This reaction is so strong that Jafar himself loses control of his staff and is tossed backwards. Cutting his losses, the sorcerer retreats with the heart box, leaving his signature snake staff in the hands of Cyrus. Alice and the former genie soon discover that the Lost and Found is attracted to the staff, realizing this means that Amara, Cyrus's mother, is somehow trapped inside. They vow to rescue her from this fate.
Well, readers, I am very interested to hear your thoughts on that final scene. I am conflicted. With only two episodes left to go in the season, I find it a little too convenient that the Red Queen could be brought back. True, the motivations of both our villains in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland were to break the laws of magic; to change the past, create love, and hopefully now to bring someone back from the dead, and I have no doubt that Jafar may succeed in his mission. The question is, what will be the price our heroes have to pay for breaking those laws and bringing the Red Queen back to life? While I am rooting for her revival, part of me feels that this may cheapen her death in someway, though the Red Queen's resurrection is definitely a way to motivate the Knave. We'll just have to wait and see.
Cora, oh Cora. She's just as I remembered her, as manipulative and slimy as ever. Her tactics in this episode are very reminiscent of how she won back Regina's alliance in the Once Upon a Time episode "The Cricket Game". Plant the seed of an idea and then let your mark nurture it with their own ideas, causing them to voluntarily come over to your side. So Cora Mills is the original Inception? I feel the Queen of Hearts's portrayal here, while perhaps not a subtle as it was on Once Upon a Time, still points to her desire for greatness for her offspring, or rather in this case, those she took on as surrogate offspring. This warped sense of motherly love is what defines Cora's character and this episode continued to show how at the end of all her scheming and sorcery, Cora Mills wants to give what she never had, a chance at greatness and to live through that.
What started out as a show exploring the idea of whether True Love can conquer all has evolved in to a story of second chances. Jafar's second chance with his father, the Knave of Hearts and the Red Queen trying to start over, Cyrus's attempt to save his mother. Even our core couple, Alice and Cyrus, seem to be working on a second chance after their reunion, learning how to be together after losing each other for so long. What I hope these final two episodes will bring is a blending of these two ideas, that True Love can get a second chance and through that can defeat all obstacles.
Well readers, how did you react to this week's installment? Please tell us in this comments.
Tune in next week to see if the laws of magic can be broken in "To Catch a Thief"!
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