Once Upon a Time in Wonderland- Episode 7- Bad Blood (Spoilers)
One thing the original series is very good at is telling parallel stories. The original series tell one story or gives a characters backstory and they pair the present day part of the story with it. This is a very simple storytelling tool but a very effective one. We get backstory while we learn more about a character or get a better understanding of what is coming for a character if they don’t handle the present situation the right way.
We learn precisely why Jafar hates his father in this episode. His mother died and was certain that if he went to the Sultan (his real father) he will be welcomed with open arms. The Sultan does not have anywhere close to the same sentiments. He will not allow Jafar to consider him as a father, he is allowed to be a servant boy, but nothing else.
Young Jafar was very idealistic. The boy refuses to accept that his father will not love him. He refuses to give up on gaining the love he so desperately desires. He tires to impress his father with knowledge about the kingdom that the prince doesn’t know. He doe not get love or respect, he gets beaten for his efforts. This moment Jafar learns a very important lesson.
The Sultan says words that will forever live inside his head, “True power comes from fear,” (Sultan). This is the exact mantra of every dictatorship. Only through fear can one control a large group of people. Fear will give you power, if only the ones you are controlling give into that fear. The fear of death or injury is always a good controlling mechanism.
Jafar isn’t controlled that way. He refuses to give in, it just strengths his anger and his resolve to get his revenge. The Sultan drowns Jafar, solidifying his fate and Jafar’s attitude in the way he acts and rules.
Jafar is his father, he rules with fear and anger. He has his father prisoner hoping to one day force him to love him. Love can’t be forced. No matter how much fear and anger you use, you will not ever gain true love. Jafar let his childhood destroy him.
Jafar could have walked away from his time with the Sultan in two ways; either he could have decided to be the opposite of his father. He could work hard, fall in love and have a true family, always driven not to hurt anyone who loves him. Or he could do, as he has done, and become cold and hard. He has no ability to care or really love. He rules through fear and manipulation, always having to be in control. This way of thought, and action will never get him what he really wants, love and respect.
The parallel to this is Alice’s story with her own father. Alice encounters her father, who is really Jafar, and she is extremely upset and wants to be nowhere close to this man. She is hurt, she has not let go of the resentment she has harbored since her father made her choose the mental institution. Her heart was broken and she can’t just give it back to this man.
Alice is strong, we know that. This moment showed us yet again that Alice isn’t a child. She has taken what has gone in her past and let it strengthen her. She wont’ let this man back in, won’t let him have forgiveness because he abandoned her. She will not forget that.
As Will says Alice will help those who need it because she does the right thing. But you have to earn it, she will save you but she will not give up her heart so easily. She needs to see that her father truly loves her, and won’t abandon her. Alice needs people close to her that believe in her.
When Alice encounters her real father he does say exactly what she needs to here. He does not want her forgiveness or mercy. He wants her to save Cyrus not him. He knows he was wrong and he knows he can’t just walk back into her life and have everything he wants. He understands that none of it was Alice’s fault.
Here we see the difference in these two stories. Alice understands and accepts her father’s weaknesses. She accept he is human and makes mistakes. She accepts the love he has for her and she embraces it, losing a wish in the process, but filling a void in her heart.
Jafar refuses to try to fill his void. He will not accept who his father really is, he won’t get past the anger and hurt that he holds so close to his heart. He wants love but he can only get it by force. Alice accepts what is in front of her while Jafar never will.
“What good is love and respect if it has to be stolen?”-Sultan- Jafar will force his father to respect him but it will never be real. There will be no satisfaction from this action, it will not fill Jafar’s heart.
What are the Red Queen’s plans?
Will Alice’s father go insane now?
What will the reunion of Cyrus and Alice be like?
Can Jafar be saved?
What will he do with his father?
Why did the Sultan back and root for Cyrus?
Does the Sultan have any regrets?