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Once Upon a Time in Wonderland - 1.01 - Review / Recap (It wasn't that bad!)

A couple of months ago, I had the chance to watch the 19 minute pilot presentation of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. So I went into this show under the impression that I was already aware of what the first half of the episode would be like. Boy did I get a surprise?

The episode started with a loud explosion. A hole appears in the ground and out pops a young Alice. She runs back to her home excited to tell her father about the adventures she has had. When she arrives, her father informs her that she had been gone for a long time and everyone thought she was dead. He decides to call a doctor in to help Alice because he believes that these adventures were all in her head. We end this flashback with Alice promising herself that she will find proof that it was all real. None of this was in the 19 minute presentation.

We cut to a shot of a familiar clock tower. Present day. We are in Storybrooke. This must be where the 19 minute pilot presentation started - correct? Nope, it has been changed. We see the Knave of Hearts walking down the middle of the street as a Emma Swan swerves to avoid hitting him (Shouldn't she be in Neverland if it is present day? Should have kept the original opening which explained that all of this was happening during Once Upon a Time's season 2 premiere titled 'Broken'). We see Grumpy walk out of Granny's Diner with Ashley Boyd locking up beside him. The Knave (who we later learn his real name is William) knocks into Ashley pick pocketing the keys from her. Grumpy tells him that they're closed and a storm is coming so he is best to get to some shelter. The two walk away leaving William standing in front of the diner. Goodbye Ashely, god knows when we will see you again....

William unlocks the door and makes himself a coffee. Suddenly the ground starts to shake as a White Rabbit pops out of a portal. He tells William that they need to go rescue Alice as she is in danger. William is hesitant to go at first but after some convincing agrees to help.

We are then shown an older Alice being lead through an asylum. She is taken into a room to be interviewed by the same doctor that her father spoke with all those years ago. For the next 10 or so minutes we switch between him reminding Alice about what she claims happened in Wonderland and flasbacks showing what actually happened.

In the flashbacks, Alice is being chased by the Red Queen's guards. She eats some mushroom and shrinks. A genie bottle happens to be lying on the ground so Alice crawls inside to hide. This bottle belongs to Cyrus - A genie from Agrabah. She tells Alice that she can stay hiding in there for as long as she likes. The two get talking. Alice reveals that the reason she has returned to Wonderland was to get proof for her father that it is real. Out of her bag, she pulls a talking march hare. Cyrus tells her that if her father really loved her, he wouldn't need proof.

The next flashback reveals Alice and Cyrus up on a cliff together. Below is a boiling red sea. If anyone was to fall in, there is no way that they could survive. It has been months since our last flashback. Alice and Cyrus are in love. Cyrus gets on one knee and proposes to Alice whom immediately accepts. This makes Cyrus a little angry because he had a speech planned out but Alice was too quick to accept the offer for him to say it. Suddenly the Red Queen and her army appear up the top of the cliff (This scene has also been re-shot because in the pilot presentation, she was wearing different clothes). A fight breaks out which eventually ends with the queen using her powers to throw Cyrus off the cliff presumably to his death.

Back in the asylum, the doctor tells Alice that there is a new procedure to help her forget Wonderland and ease her pain. She agrees to have it done and signs a contract.

The next morning, the doctor is in a lab preparing everything. The cell of Alice's door opens. However it is not guards coming to get her. It is William. He tells her that he has taken care of the guards but they need to move quick. Alice refuses to leave because she believes that he isn't real. The guards appear and try to drag William. He
calls out to her to let her know that Cyrus is alive. This motivates Alice. She takes down all the guards around her and the two escape. They meet up with the White Rabbit in some sort of corridor. The doctor appears and tries to stop her leaving until he sees the talking White Rabbit. He is then Speechless. Alice asks him if he's seeing things because if he is, there's a procedure for it. The trio then run off into a street (more guards are looking for them).

They into some alley and become trapped. Alice makes the rabbit open up a portal on the wall. The guards appear closer. William is hesitant to return to Wonderland because he didn't leave on good terms. Alice tells him that the only way that he can escape the guards is to jump into the portal - so they do. (This all took place down in the asylums basement in the presentation).

The portal opens right above the mellow marsh (a pond full of - well - mellow marsh).
They slowly walk towards the Rabbit who landed safely on the dock. Alice asks the Rabbit where he saw Cyrus, who then reveals that he never actually saw him but the door mouse apparently saw him at the hatters old place. William is furious that the Rabbit lied to him about seeing Cyrus himself. Throughout this conversation, Alice and William sink into the marsh and find themselves stuck. The rabbit runs to find help. William panics that he is about to die like a s'more. This gives Alice the idea to grab a dragonfly (they breath fire in Wonderland) to cook the mellow marsh. They grab onto the cooked part and pull themselves out.

William plans to leave Alice because he wishes to exit Wonderland now. He doesn't see the point in sticking around when Cyrus probably isn't even alive. Alice convinces him to stay and take her to the Hatters house. If he does this, she will give him one of her three wishes that she has saved. Wishes are little red diamonds. William asks why she doesn't just wish Cyrus back. Alice tells him that it is too dangerous.

Meanwhile, the White Rabbit has ran into the Red Queen. It is revealed to us that he is a double agent and works for her. She tells him to keep an eye on Alice and report back to her with everything she does.

Jafar arrives at the Red Queen's castle. He requests to know where Alice is. The Red Queen tells him that she has arrived back in Wonderland and is looking for her genie. Jafar tells the queen that they can not get what they want until they have Cyrus's bottle and Alice has made all of her wishes. Jafar believes that The Red Queen has fulfilled her job and starts to strangle her with his powers. The Queen then tells her that only she knows the entire land and is the only one that knows where to locate Alice. She promises to get the wishes and tells Jafar to go away. He gets back on his magic carpet and flys back to his castle.

Alice and William find themselves walking around the Tulgey woods. There is a wanted poster with Williams face on it on a tree. Alice asks him what he did when she left Wonderland. He refuses to answer. Alice then decides to climb a tree to look for the Hatters house. She takes off her shoes which have the wishes hidden in their soles and leaves them at the bottom with the tree with William. William takes off with them.

Above the trees, Alice can see the Hatters place and notes that it isn't that far. Suddenly a purple cat appears. The Chesire Cat. Only this one isn't the friendly one that we know from all the stories. It has red eyes and is 5x the size of Alice. He chases her and tries to kill her. The Red Queen apparently told him that she would be the tastiest meal he would ever eat. Alice falls from the tree with Chesire jumping down after her. Just as he pounces to eat her, William reappears and throws a piece of mushroom into his mouth, making him shrink. Alice is annoyed that he took off with the wishes but eventually forgives him for saving her life. He tells her that he can't steal a wish, they must be granted.

The two arrive at the hatters house. The lights are on. Alice runs in only to find the place empty. The rabbit reappears. William is now convinced that Cyrus is dead and wishes to return to Storybrooke. Just as Alice starts to give up hope, she finds a necklace that belonged to Cyrus on the lawn outside. She is convinced that if it survived the boiling sea, so did he. William still wants to go home, but decides to stay when Alice asks if he will come with her to find him.

We then cut to a shot of Cyrus. He is in a massive cage. A flashback then reveals that Jafar was on a ledge towards the bottom of the cliff when the Red Queen pushed him off. He used his magic carpet to save him at the last second. Jafar is now keeping him prisoner. The final shot of the episode reveals Alice, William and the Rabbit walking along a pathway starting out their adventure.

Now for my thoughts.

I enjoyed the 19 minute pilot presentation when I first say it. However upon watching it back in the full episode, it felt slow. Although that could have been because I had already seen it and I was waiting for some new footage. Once Alice returned to Wonderland, I felt as if things really picked up.

There was some really bad CGI, although that was to be expected on a show that relpies on CGI for almost everything. Hopefully things will improve as the series moves along. I am happy that the White Rabbit looked real.

I don't really care for the Red Queen that much as a villain. Jafar makes her seem like a pussy cat (although I guess after seeing Cheisure, I can't say that anymore can I?). Naveen Andrews is perfect. I believe him as the true villain. He scared me quite a bit!

Overall, I am addicted to Once Upon a Time and was expecting a lot from this show. The verdict? It met my expectations. I can't wait to see what comes next! I'll definitely be tuning in every week (and I hope that everyone else does too.... the show needs the ratings at the moment!).

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