Posted by Ashley B at Saturday, March 08, 2014 15 Comments
Tonight's episode opens with a brief recap, re-acclimating viewers to the twists, turns, broken alliances, and new found friends Alice's adventures on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland have brought us. This is a wise move; it refreshes the audience to where our story left off. This episode also benefits from having no flashbacks. Most of our heroes and main players are together in the same place, which limits the jumping around that usually occurs when the story cuts from one set of characters to another, and then to a flashback. Given the long hiatus, this is ideal as it doesn't overload the viewer right off the bat.
And we pick right up where we left off, with the Knave of Sass, I mean Hearts, careening around his newly appointed bottle as it floats downstream, washing ashore at the feet of Elizabeth, or Lizard as her friends call her, last seen helping Alice on her journey, now seen wrapped in the latest towel from Bed Bath and Beyond the Rabbit Hole. She releases the Knave from his tchotchke prison and in her delight to see him alive and no longer the Red Queen's lawn ornament, she wraps him in a hug, losing her towel in the process.
Elsewhere in Wonderland, Alice is snoozing in her and Cyrus's invisible love shack. She is awoken by the former genie and marvels at how their reunion is actually a reality. I'm also surprised that the two lovers are reunited before the end of the series. This isn't a bad thing, but since one of the main themes of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is that True Love conquers all, I hope that this early reunion will provide a chance for the writers to explore what happens after a couple such as Alice and Cyrus, one changed and formed by their individual struggles, will cope now that their main goal is achieved. The two have a heartfelt fairytale moment, only to be interrupted but a grunt of disgust in the corner. It seems the Red Queen has also been camping with the pair and has vocal opinions of their PDA.
Over in the Red Queen's former palace, Jafar is making himself right at home. He's even begun to redecorate the place, bringing his father the sultan up from the dungeons. Jafar's gloat-fest is cut short as daddy issues regarding the sorcerer's worthiness to sit upon the throne are stirred up. Jafar dismisses the prisoner and entertains the company of the Caterpillar instead, who it seems is now on the sorcerer's payroll, having sent all his men to scour the kingdom looking for the missing genie. If having the Godfather of Wonderland working for Jafar isn't enough bad news, the sorcerer forces a very reluctant Caterpillar to reveal a terrifying ally that can help him reach his goals. The monster in question is the Jabberwockey.
which I noted in my review over at GottaWatchIt.com) but I understand the use of a more familiar term for the sake of the general audience that doesn't salivate over the works of Lewis Carroll as I do.
While Jafar is scheming to unleash an ultimate evil to do his bidding, our heroes three are mucking about in the mud, having traced the Knave's bottle to the river. The Red Queen seems to be having the most trouble with the terrain, those scarlet stilettos not doing much good on a practical journey. This is a great bit of physical comedy on Emma Rigby's part. As the group moves down river, Cyrus and Alice take advantage of the Red Queen's falling behind to have a bit of an awkward moment together. I really appreciate this interaction as it reads like a couple in a long distance or online relationship combating with the inevitable awkwardness that comes from finally meeting in person after so long. They both address each others' journey to reunite, though Alice doesn't go into detail or even mention where the Knave of Hearts and the White Rabbit rescued her from. I hope the fact that she was declared insane and committed, yet still insisted that Wonderland was real, is brought up to Cyrus in the future, as Alice's determination is one of her defining qualities.
As the couple decide to address their need to catch up at a later time, they realize the Red Queen hasn't caught up to them. In fact, she has vanished completely. Alice, still distrustful of their alliance, immediately believes they have been ditched and that the queen is off searching for the Knave on her own. Little do they know that the monarch has been captured by her own subjects; poverty-stricken villagers looking for revenge on their neglectful ruler.
Over in the palace, Jafar unwraps his loyal Tweedle's head from its festive box and places it on a pedestal. This forcibly reminds me of the busts in the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World, but before the Tweedle can break out into a rendition of "Grim Grinning Ghosts", the sorcerer entices the disembodied head to reveal the location of the Jabberwockey (it is going to bother me to write that, I can tell) with the promise of a body. I wonder where the other Tweedle, the one loyal to the Red Queen, has gone off to. I hope he makes a return appearance in aid of his mistress and her new allies.
Alice and Cyrus are still wandering around the river bank, searching for signs of the Red Queen. While Alice is keen to forget about their ally and continue the search for the Knave of Hearts, CSI Wonderland kicks into effect as Cyrus finds broken branches and a scrap of cloth, signs of a struggle. He performs some voodoo of his own, a homing spell he learned from his mother, and he and Alice set off in search of the Red Queen. Now that we know Cyrus's mother was well-versed in the magic, I don't think it would be a stretch to theorize that she might be the same person as Jafar's former teacher and lover, the one who helped the villain learn his dark arts. Given the Once Upon a Time franchise's affinity for crazy family trees, this wouldn't be a stretch in my mind.
Confirmed on twitter, what was said was "fiat lux" which is latin for "let there be light". Very nice writers, very nice. As Jafar snoops, a sultry, ethereal voice comes out of the shadows, taunting the sorcerer about his "jabber".
I really enjoyed this type of introduction, the minimalist approach of establishing what this beast is all about. The best horror movies operate under the maxim of "less is more". Let the audience's imagination build your monster, because whatever is in their heads is sure to be far scarier than what the writers could cook up. Also, the fact that the Jabberwockey seems to use a person's own fears is extremely intriguing. The idea that it can get inside your head is an interesting spin on a foe that has traditionally be represented by a hulking beast or dragon. The title of this episode is "Nothing to Fear" and the rest of that saying goes "...but fear itself". Is this a clue to the true nature of the Jabberwockey? I really did get a chill when the Jabberwockey told Jafar that it was "already inside his head".
Over in the poorest village in the land, another couple is struggling with declarations of love. The Knave of Hearts has finally noticed that Lizard has been withdrawn the entire night. He figures out she is love sick over someone, but is oblivious to the fact that he is the object of his friend's desire. Lizard, in one last effort to get the Knave to see her as more than a friend, asks the new-found genie what he wants in a woman. He lists off traits, such as confidence, a sense of adventure, looking killer in a dress, and stresses that above all, when he sees the one he loves, there have to be fireworks. So that is what Lizard wishes for, and as she is magically transformed into a beautiful gown, literal fireworks can be heard booming in the distance. The Knave is excited, though for the wrong reason, and insists they go out and find the man she fancies. Lizard finally has to come clean and admit to the Knave that the man she loves is standing right before her.
Shortly after Lizard expires, the Red Queen, having gone off on her own to search for the bottle and the Knave, comes across her body. She respectfully closes the dead girl's eyes and claims the bottle for her own, reuniting with Cyrus and Alice outside. Alice immediately believes the queen killed the Knave's former master in order to gain the bottle, but the Red Queen hilarious insists "she was dead when I got there!" Cyrus demands the bottle, but the Red Queen deviously rubs the lamp, producing the Knave who recites his "mistress mine" spiel like a chipper lobotomy patient, before reacting to the words coming out of his mouth in disgust. Honestly, the Knave of Hearts as a genie has been one of the most amusing things this episode and his reaction to compulsively saying those saccharine words is one of my favorite things.
The Red Queen is insistent they leave Wonderland since Jafar already has the other two genies and will becoming for the third. Upon hearing this, Cyrus is rocked to his core. The other genies are actually his brothers (so no Sydney Glass then), the three of them cursed at the same time. Cyrus and Alice decide they must stay in Wonderland and save the rest of Cyrus's family, and the Red Queen agrees to help, which means that the Knave of Hearts is along for the ride, her being his mistress and all. The trio, now a quartet, vow that they must stay in Wonderland and save it from the clutches of Jafar.
Well, dear readers, what did you think? I feel as if with each new episode, the story of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is getting richer and richer. I thought I would be disengaged by this episode, since the one proceeding seemed to reset the entire series, but I am more intrigued than ever as to how all this will play out.
The exploration of relationships in the episode was fantastic. They felt very real, from Alice and Cyrus's awkward adjustment period, to Lizard's pining for a man she can never have. Lizard never felt whiny to me or entitled to the Knave's love. She never insisted that he love her and I am extremely pleased she never outright wished for it, though we all know she wanted to. Her death doesn't feel cheapened in that respect, though bringing her back to simply demonstrate how dangerous a genie's magic is was not my favorite.
We have seen so many characters from Lewis Carroll works and I don't know about you, but I do have a few I am rooting to see before the series ends. We know Barbara Hershey will be back as Cora, the Queen of Hearts, a personal favorite, but I'd also like to see the writers' take on the White Knight. Also, what about other Wonderland staples, such as the March Hare? We've seen the Carpenter, but what became of the Walrus? Do you think any of these folks are in Storybrooke?
What did you think of the latest episode, tell us in the comments!
Next week's episode is entitled "Dirty Little Secrets" and I can't wait to see what kind of secrets the Jabberwockey will dig up!
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