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?
Everyone is on a mission in this episode. Alice is off to find Cyrus, Cyrus is hot on Alice’s trail. Will needs to find Alice, thinking she saved him. And while Jafar is gone the Red Queen wants to pull everything onto her side so that she can work alone. The most interesting journey is Alice’s and Will’s. We find out more about Alice’s past and more about how Will has been dealing with his heart break this whole time.
This episode took us back in time to the moment when Alice returned home after she lost Cyrus. This was a year ago, so for a year Alice was stuck inside that asylum, told everyday she was crazy. Alice returned home from Wonderland to discover her dad is remarried and has a young daughter. The daughter looks to be about six, making Alice gone at least six years if not more.
Alice’s father was a bit annoying in this episode. His daughter has been missing for years and now she is home to stay and he doesn’t welcome her home as one would expect. I do understand that he is very hesitant to get close to his daughter again. Alice has been disappearing into and out of Wonderland for a while, her being gone is nothing new for her father.
What baffled me was how cold he was to Alice. He barely gives her a day before he starts threatening her and forcing her to conform to his way of life. He lost his wife, and society forced him to move on and now he is doing the same to Alice. His new wife if the one who is really pulling the strings. Alice’s father can’t mourn, he can’t let his heart ache and he can’t allow anyone else the luxury no one would give to him.
Alice can’t let Cyrus and Wonderland go. She can only stay with her family if she conforms to the standards set by her new mother and society. Get married and have children is the only way for her to be seen as worthwhile in this time. Alice is given a choice, marry or be committed. Alice chooses the insane asylum.
On the surface it appears that she chooses the asylum because she can’t and won’t forget Cyrus. But at a deeper level she chooses the asylum, because she will not let someone else tell her how to live her life. She fights for what she wants, it takes a lot of time to make her begin to abandon her love. This Alice was hear broken, but extremely strong minded and strong willed.
Our present day Alice walks into a forest where a pink smoke cloud quickly makes her forget what she is doing and where she is going. Here we see what weakness Alice has. She has a strong mind and a fighter’s spirit but she also has a wide open heart. This place affects those who have someone to love, someone to miss and a life to live. Alice even forgets who she is inside this place.
Will comes to her rescue. Will is not affected because we learn he doesn’t have his heart. Without a heart he can walk through this place and come out unscathed. He has to remind Alice what she holds dear and true to herself. Her heart is her weakness, her mind has to concentrate on one thing, her love for Cyrus. Once things click together she is a fighter once again.
Will shows us why people push their hearts away and hide them. Having to deal with the pain of losing someone or watching some you love be hurt is too much to bear. That pain will always linger, it never truly leaves us. Will can’t and won’t deal with that pain. He would rather remain distant and hard. Alice on the other hand holds on strongly to her heart, letting it rule her actions. She loves strongly putting herself and others in danger. In the end it is going to be interesting to watch as these two worlds collide. Both are going to have to understand the strong qualities of the others to survive.
“Sometimes the maddest stories are the truest one”- Jafar- Even the stories that seem outlandish hold truth to them. It is the simple, easy to understand stories you should be leery of.
“You should believe in me”- Alice- Here she is talking to her father. Belief is someone comes from a deep love. She can’t understand how she lost her family.
“Sometimes love is not enough”- Red Queen- This is only true if you let it be true, if you let your ambitions and desires cloud true happiness.
Where is Will’s heart?
Where is Cyrus?
What is Jafar going to do with Alice’s father?
When will Alice and Cyrus be reunited?
Does Anastasia still love Will?
How much can true love really do?
This episode focused on less on Alice and more on the Red Queen. At first I really liked her old self, she seemed to truly love Will, for about a minute that is. Her mother was angry because she worked tirelessly to allow her daughter to become something more thane she was and could hope to be. We see this often, parents wanting their kids to be more than they ever were. Her mother wants something great for her daughter, a life full of majesty.
A first Anastasia doesn’t care, she stands up to her mother, proudly proclaiming love is all she needs. She grabs Will’s hand and runs off to a wonderful land full of imagination. Just like any ideal child, she dreams of things working out perfectly; and again that lasts about a minute and a half.
Anastasia we see very quickly he isn’t dumb. She realizes very quickly that love isn’t going to get her food or shelter. She hits the reality wall hard, fast and quickly begins to see her mother’s part. The scene with them at the ball, showed Anastasia and Will’s personalities perfectly. Anastasia spends the small time they are there, trying to fit in. She copies how everyone speaks, not wanting anyone to know she isn’t high born. For her it is all about how she appears, she doesn’t want to stand out.
While Will is the complete opposite. He is there to nick some food and that is all. He isn’t out to impress anyone. He could really careless what they think. Even though they get caught he still sees it as a victory because he stole bread. Simple and easy is what Will is all about, while Anastasia wants so much more.
Anastasia never could shake the last words her mother said to her, “You can’t live on love.” Those words have been echoing in her head since she jumped through the mirror. Will is constantly thinking positively and knowing that something is coming while Anastasia can’t deal with being hungry and homeless any longer. She makes a plan to steal the crown jewels, take them back home, sell them and live in pure splendor with Will. Yet another romantic idea.
Of course she gets caught by the king, but the king isn’t angry. He is utterly fascinated by Anastasia. This bold woman who has diamonds in her eyes, captivates him. He offers her a deal she can’t even fathom passing up, marrying him and becoming queen. I was surprised at how quickly she said yes. She barely thought about it or remembered Will at all. She sees the jewels, sees the crown on her head and that is all she needs.
I thought Will and The Red Queen’s story was going to be complicated. I figured her betrayal was going to involve a very twisted story. I thought she would slowly lose it and leaving Will was going to be her only choice. The true story was much like the queen herself; simple and not complicated. What she wants is clear and she gets it no matter what.
In the present time the queen takes Alice to acquire some magic dust she needs to have the upper hand on Jafar. The catch of the place is that only the pure of heart can get to where the dust it. The queen doesn’t even try to pretend she is someone else. She knows her heart is nowhere close to being pure.
I am really starting to like the Red Queen’s character. I like how she has absolutely no delusions about who she is and what she will do. She doesn’t pretend at all. She is cold and callus and everyone knows it.
She knows what it did to her to get to where she is and she knows that she is never going back. She hurt people and destroyed any real relationships she ever had, she has nothing left. The Red Queen is again purely simple. She wants power and robes, and that will always come first.
Her heart isn’t ice though. She uses some of the dust to bring Will back. She still loves that man. She cant live the life she wants with him but she also won’t let anyone or anything hurt him. He still matters to her, though no one can know. She runs off before Will sees her, keeping her secret of having a heart for just a little bit longer.
“Trick is not to see the bars but what lies beyond them.”- Cyrus- Alice and Cyrus see beyond what is in front of them, allowing them to never truly be prisoners. While the Red Queen will always be in prision because she sees only the surface.
“Drive to be more than you are,”- King- Red Queen always will want more. Being content with who she is, is not an option. She was raised wanting more and she can’t ever shake that idea.
What will the Red Queen do with the dust?
When will Alice find Cyrus and Will?
Who is Jafar going after now?
What does everyone hold over the White Rabbit?
What does the Red Queen want with Cyrus?
This episode gave us back story for Jafar. Jafar at first just seemed like a cold calculating villain. I love these series because of how complicated the back stories become. There isn’t just one simple reason that makes someone turn into a villain. It is always a combination of things and motivations. Jafar starts out seeking revenge and in the process loses all connections to any human side of himself. Both of these shows delves into the intricate nature of human beings and why we end up as we do.
We meet Jafar as a child in this episode. He is an abused orphan who is just struggling to get through each day. A woman shows up at the market place where he works, no one will look at her or let her see them. She strikes complete terror into every heart. Jafar is entranced by her. He can’t look away. Right away we learn something about Jafar, power mesmerizes him. Power doesn’t scare him. He doesn’t shrink away from those that can harm him, he wants to learn about them and figure out how he can become like them.
Jafar goes to Amara and begs for her help. He wants revenge against his father, the sultan, for abandoning his bastard son. Amara sees something in him, a ruthless vengeful spirit. Something she has been searching for, for ages.
Jafar isn’t cold hearted right away though. Even though he is upset and wants magic to get revenge he doesn’t hate the whole world. He doesn’t cast his dark anger on everyone he encounters. That is until Amara drives home a point about dark magic. Quickly Jafar learns what it takes to become a ruthless killer.
As in the original series dark magic isn’t to be used lightly or without second thought. Dark magic requires you to distance yourself from your human side, to cast aside the love and care you have for the people around you. You have to become cold and uncaring. You can’t hold anyone close.
Jafar allows an innocent man to die so he can get what he needs for a certain spell. He hesitates at first, he doesn’t want to kill someone, but Amara points out that if he is to get what he wants he has to make sacrifices which includes hurting people. Again he sees that you can’t let your heart rule in any fashion. To get his revenge and see the sultan at his mercy he has to be willing to do absolutely anything. Jafar learns quickly that to accomplish his goals he has to firmly detach himself from the world. He has to become an island unto himself.
Amara learns how destroying someone, how breaking them into ruthless, survival only, pieces will mean nothing good for you. She believes Jafar loves her but he is only using her. You can’t love, she taught him that. You can’t care or think, even for a second, about anyone else. Once you do it leaves you weak and vulnerable. That’s how he ends up imprisoning Amara in his staff.
Jafar teaches this lesson to Alice in turn. Will gets taken prisoner and Alice rase to rescue him without a second thought. Someone she cares about is in danger, she doesn’t care about anything else. She rescues Will with her cunning abilities, abilities she is going to have to really get in control. She thinks of smart ways out of situations but she doesn’t consider any type of consequences. She thinks about now, but not about later. She can out smart her enemies but she can’t out run them.
Jafar threatens Will’s life making Alice use her first wish. If he dies, she dies. This is clever again, she wishes for something that will keep him alive for a while and not just that moment. Here she thinks a little bit ahead but not fully into the future. Jafar tries to get her to wish again this time to save herself but she won’t do it. She will not give up a wish to save herself.
Alice understands the game they are all playing. They need Alice alive and able to think, they can not just kill her. She won’t use a precious wish to save herself when she knows she isn’t in any real danger. She is tough and won’t do anything for herself only.
Jafar is smart and puts the pieces of her decisions together. Alice won’t use her wishes to save herself but she will use them to save her friends. Alice will not let others get hurt because of her. As Jafar points out, that is her weakness, her heart.
Having a heart is extremely important and I would never say that it is not important. Locking you heart away makes one cold and unfeeling, it break you and you can’t just pick up the pieces and put the puzzle back together again. Alice though has to listen to what Jafar is telling her. She has to stop thinking only with her heart. She is smart, we have seen that often, now she has to combine the two. She is clever and that combined with a strong heart will make her unstoppable. Wearing her heart on her sleeve is going to get everyone she cares about killed. She has to be a little manipulative and cunning. She can save everyone if she thinks and feels together instead of using those two skills separately.
Will is stone now, she has lost her one companion. She is now alone once again. It is going to be interesting to see her work alone. The last time she was alone was in the asylum, and she was a shell of herself back then. Now it is Alice’s true test, can she fight alone? Or does she need that second voice pushing her forward and helping her think?
Alice learns how hard it is to have a true feeling heart something the Red Queen is reminded of in this episode. I thought when Will met up with the queen, he would break and crumple. I saw him wanting to just be with her, trying to remind her of the love they shared. I saw him being weak around her, not a fighter. She took his heart and he never truly got it back.
Their interaction was the complete opposite of that idea. Will was hard and cold towards her. He shouts at her, expressing his anger and disappointment in her actions. He reminds her of who the person she used to be. He calls her Anastasia refusing to let her live outside of her past. She wants him to escape, she plans a whole escape plan. She does not want to kill him but he refuses to run. He refuses to do anything to make her feel better. He won’t give her peace of mind. She made these decision, she got him here and now she has to deal with the consequences.
Will wants her to hurt. He wants to see how far she has fallen. He dares her to kill him. He is angry and done with trying to remember who she once was. She can’t just pretend nothing happened between them or that any of this mess isn’t her fault. She has to live with her decisions and needs her to understand that. He reminds her of all she left behind in her climb to being queen. He reminds her of all the people she stepped on and hurt in that process.
The Red Queen can’t fight Will, she only goes through with the execution because she has no other choice. But it breaks her, gets her in touch with her human side again. This is not going to be the last we see of this side of her. She’s cracking and like Regina (Once Upon a Time), this one love is going to be her anchor to her good side. I foresee the Red Queen having to team up with Alice to save Will. She won’t let him stay stone for long, she wants him alive and well.
Just a small bit on Lizard. I really liked her and I hope she figures more prominently in the coming episodes. She wants to repay Will, she looks up to him. Unlike everyone else in Wonderland she is not out for his head. He saved her and she now wants to repay the favor. I think she is going to be a key player soon. Maybe a new love for Will to move on from Anastasia’s betrayal.
“Nothing more important than honesty,”- Amara and later Jafar- Only true honesty can be trusted. Anyone who is honest with you is someone you can work with.
“You are in prison”- Red Queen- she tells this to Alice about Wonderland. Wonderland is a place that no one has complete control over. It is somewhere where anything can happen and does happen. You can’t be free here
What will Jafar do with the ability to rewrite the laws of magic?
Who is next on Jafar’s list to hurt Alice?
Will the Red Queen and Alice be able to work together?
WIll Lizard become a prominent figure?
How and when are they going to save Will?
How is well is Alice going to be able to work alone?
When and how will she use the last two wishes?
I was very excited about this episode for two major reasons. The first being that they are tying in characters from the original series. Robin Hood plays a big part in this episode, and we learn some things about his character as well as Will, Alice and the Red Queen. I love that we aren’t going to be completely detached from the original series. Sometimes these shows can reference their originals very little, but these worlds are much more intertwined so I hope they continue this trend of tying in different characters.
The other reason I loved this episode was because we got an awesome bit of backstory for Will, the Knave of Hearts. Not only do we learn more about what kind of guy he is, we get a twist that is going to make this series much more interesting.
The episode opened with us being taken to the Enchanted Forest where we find out that Will has joined Robin Hood and his Merry Men. At first I was trying to determine exactly what the point of Will being a Merry Man could mean. We know from stories and legends that Robin Hood steals from the rich to help the poor. Though he technically “steals,” he does it to help people in the end. He is actually a good guy, one with a strong moral compass.
Why is Will with them? Soon we find out exactly what his time with Robin Hood taught him. Will is with the group so that he can get into Maleficent’s castle to steal the looking glass. He is not interested in any of the good him and the Merry Men could do together, he is there for a purely selfish reason and that is all. The total opposite of what Robin Hood and his Merry Men were about.
Robin Hood refuses to let his work be known as thieving. He continuously tells Will that he is not a thief. A thief steals from himself, a thief operates on purely selfish reasons. Thieves don’t win, thieves can’t ever fully get everything they want. They are always, always searching for something more.
Robin Hood tells Will “That when you steal for personal gain the first thing you lose is yourself,” (Robin Hood). These words should hit Will hard, but they don’t until much, much later. The present Will understands these words now. Will has nothing left. He is willing to risk the horrid consequences of wishes gone wrong to get a new life. He has nothing left in the current life. But I don’t think this is the first time he has felt lost and hopeless.
Will stole the looking glass to take him and Anastasia (who is actually the Red Queen) to a new start. Here we had Will looking for a new life for the first time. Why? What happened to these two’s lives before? Why did they want to go to Wonderland, a place where anything is possible? Anastasia knew where they were going, it was her idea. I feel like she had some ulterior motive from the very beginning. I think she was just using Will. But why is Will so willing to follow her? What was so wrong with his life that he was willing to go into a completely new world to get a different one? What life does Will ultimately want?
Robin Hood also makes another interesting statement during the debate about going into Maleficent’s castle. He dests magic. He sees absolutely nothing good coming from using magic in any way. Now I wonder where we are going to see why this is. Is it going to be in this series or are we setting up something for the other series? Robin Hood I feel is going to play a bigger part in the original series so I think this point will be better explained in Once Upon a Time.
While we are learning more about Will, the present Will and Alice are on a mission. They want to find the forget me knot to see into the past and find out who stole Cyrus’s bottle. They find out from the caterpillar that the Grendel has the knot. They need to steal it back from him, a very dangerous task.
While this interaction is a way to show more of Will’s broken heart and that he needs to move on, we see another side of Alice. The Red Queen and Jafar need Alice to use her wishes. That way Jafar can get control of the bottle and Cyrus to somehow rewrite the laws of magic. They believe that putting her in danger will make her desperate enough to use her wishes.
What they don’t seem to understand is that Cyrus has taught Alice well. Alice was a scared girl when she met Cyrus. Cyrus taught her how to be strong. Not only can she physically fight but she is smart and resourceful. When they are tied up in the Grendel’s home she uses the rough edges of her wishes to free herself. When the Bandersnatch attacks she remembers how to defeat it with trickery. Alice is not going to be easy to manipulate. Cyrus taught her well, Jafar and the Red Queen are going to have to get creative to get what they want.
Alice might be strong and resourceful but betrayal still hurts her. She watches as the bottle is dug up by the White Rabbit, someone she trusted. Alice knows trusting people in Wonderland is dangerous yet she still holds a few people close. I think if Jafar and The Red Queen really want to hit Alice hard they are going to have to have someone close to her betray her, like Will? Physical attacks don’t phase her, she knows how to fight for herself. Cyrus taught her well. To really break Alice she has to feel isolated and alone, like she did in the asylum.
After Alice sees that she can’t trust the White Rabbit anymore her and Will go to take the forget me knot back to the caterpillar. Alice is hesitant because she knows the caterpillar is going to to use it to hurt more people. At first Will doesn’t care, he just wants his name cleared, one less person out for his head; but that changes after their ordeal.
Will doesn’t want to be a pawn or a thief anymore. He wants to be redeemed. He knows he screwed up. He finally understands Robin Hood’s words. He tells Alice that if he returns the forget me knot to the caterpillar he stole it for himself but if he doesn’t he stole it for Alice. This is a simple thought but a powerful turn for him. He wants to show that he still has some humanity left, he isn’t just a mindless thief who doesn’t care about anyone. All Will really wants is to redeem himself, to get his life back to something that will him proud.
This episode ends with Alice bent on find The Red Queen and confronting her. Will wants to get away from his past but will he be able to do that when he has to confront his past love? Anastasia hurt him, she completely shattered him. Now he is going to have to fight her. Can he do that? Who’s side is he going to choose in the end? Does their love from the past actually mean anything? Making Anastasia the Red Queen really opened a whole new area of story lines for Will, making him an extremely important character.
“What if you can get what you want if someone else gets hurt? (paraphrased)- Will- Alice is out to rescue Cyrus but what will she have to do to accomplish this task?
“Power is knowing what other people don’t”- Will- how much power does Will actually have then?
“Know what you’re up against”- Alice- she knows she has to know her surroundings, her enemies and her friends.
“There is no crime in doing something for a loved one”- Will- He is very resolute on this. What did he do for Anastasia?
Why did Will want a new life?
What was Anastasia’s actual motive for going to Wonderland?
Who’s side will, Will choose in the end?
Can Will face the Red Queen?
How much of the other enchanted forest land will come into play here?
What part does true love play in this show? How powerful is it?
What did the Red Queen do to Will?
What kind of life does Will actually want?
This episode centered on what I think is going to be another major theme of the show, hope and trust. We see a majority of the characters having to deal with who can be trusted and who can’t be trusted. As well as struggling to hold onto hope in this land that has turned dark on them.
Alice states near the end of the episode that “One thing you can count on in Wonderland is that you can’t count on anyone.” (Alice). Everyone in this place is out for themselves, they want to persevere and will manipulate and backstab just about anyone to get control. You have to become a guarded person, someone who doesn’t extend a hand easily, to be able to survive in this place and time.
We see this well in the Red Queen. I still don’t know what her agenda is but she knows how to play her part very well. She is very aloof and uncaring, or at least she appears to be. She tells the peasants that their problems, “bore” her. She knows she has a responsibility to her realm, something that comes with the territory of her title. She finds it tedious but she won’t back down easily from her responsibilities. She knows being queen means she has to do the mundane tasks to maintain her right as ruler.
Jafar scares her, or at least it would seems he does. He freezes her and makes sure she understands that he is in control. He holds all the power and she is jut a pawn to him. He uses his power to try to scare her, and for a moment it seems like it works. Again we see the fear flit through the queen’s eyes. Jafar DOES scare her in some way. He has power she doesn’t and will never possess. He can destroy her if he wants to.
The queen has to figure out a how to get the upper-hand back. She might be pushed to the ground but it doesn’t last long. The queen is not someone who enjoys lying in the dirt and will not stay there. She just needs a way to pull herself back to her feet. It takes her a moment but she figures it out in the end.
The White Rabbit gets her the genie bottle. Just like that she has back her control. She has something Jafar needs and she is not just going to hand it over because he says to. She will remain in possession of the bottle until she gets what she wants, whatever that might be. She might not have a physical power, she can’t stop time or turn people into dust but she has something just as powerful, her brain. She is smart, she understands the situation and what leverage will do for her. She knows how to hold onto what will keep her alive and out of Jafar’s hands. This battle is going to come down to her intuition and mental prowess versus Jafar’s physical powers.
Jafar wants the bottle and Cyrus to rewrite the laws of magic. We learn from Cyrus that there are four rules to magic and wish making. No one can be killed, you can’t change the past, you can’t raise the dead and you can’t make anyone fall in love with anyone else. These are pretty standard rules for magic. The question becomes why does Jafar want to change them? Does he want to change them all or just a few of them? Will this give him unstoppable power in some way?
These rules are going to play a prominent role in episodes to come. Wonderland is a land of the impossible the idea is that there are no rules. No one here wants to be held down and fighting these rules is going to be a main part of that. These are restrictions keeping people down and under someone else’s control.
We saw in this episode how Cyrus and Alice fell for each other. Alice was a lost child until she met Cyrus. She wanted proof of Wonderland, so she could earn her father’s love back. She wants to find a place to belong but she doesn’t know how. She feels lost and confused until she meets Cyrus. Cyrus helps her find a new, stronger side to herself.
Cyrus teaches her how to fight. It is because of him that she isn’t some distressed damsel who needs others to save her. Cyrus awakens her strong side, the fighter in her. It is good that he did too because she is going to have to hold onto that side if she is going to save the love of her life.
Alice isn’t perfect though, like all good protagonists she is flawed. She still has the human weakness of doubt inside her. When she sees the bottle is gone she immediately breaks. She believes Cyrus has moved on from her, she is sure she is on a fools errand. She sits wallowing in her sorrow, afraid she has lost him yet again. Alice is like many of us, assuming the worst right off the bat.
It takes a moment, some wise words from Will and a note for her to come back to herself. Will is an interesting character. He is with Alice for a wish, a wish he plans on using to give himself a new start. In this episode we see a little more of why he needs this new beginning. The fairy we meet holds a grudge against him, a minor one considering everyone else who is out to get him.
Whatever Will did, he did it to many. He is wanted by the whole of Wonderland. Yet he sticks by Alice’s side and truly wants to help her. He tries his hardest to not let her give up on Cyrus and the love they share. We see that he understands her predicament. He has a lost love, Anastasia. Whatever happened between them, broke him. He doesn’t believe in love for himself but he does for others. He continuously tires to hold Alice back from the edge, he doesn’t want to see her give up.
Is it because at one time he gave up? Did he leave his love and break her heart, whatever they had too much for him to deal with? Will has made some major mistakes but he doesn’t want others to follow him. He didn’t believe, he didn’t trust in love. He gave up and now he is a broken man. If he does get this wish it won’t fix everything, it will only be a bandaid. Will needs to find the hope that Alice has, so that he can move forward and not remain in the past.
In the end Alice gets what she needs to continue her search. She keeps saying love doesn’t need proof but she ends up eating her words in this episode. She says that it is nice to have. She is just like any of us, at our lowest moment, when we have no belief left we need something to bring us back. Proof isn’t a bad thing, it is a tool we need to keep moving forward.
She gets a note from Cyrus telling her to run and save herself. The last thing he wants is for something to happen to her. She sees the words and hope reignites inside of her. He is alive and still loves her and that is all she needs. I found it interesting that she doesn’t even entertain the idea of running. She tells him she is coming and just like that is back on her steady feet. She shows no fear or doubt. She wants Cyrus and now that she is sure he is alive she has all she needs. She is going to have to hold onto this moment if she is going to succeed. Her fighter’s heart is going to take a beating but in the end it will win.
“To make the impossible, possible, you much have some truly unholy desires”- Jafar- rewriting the laws of magic is going to take a dark heart. You can’t turn the whole world around without having no fear of what you could do the people in it.
“Wishes come with a cost….Bigger the wish the bigger the consequence”- Cyrus- Will really needs to heed this warning.
“What everyone wants, what they don’t have”- Cyrus- everyone is constantly searching beyond what they have. See what you have and realize how great that is.
“Don’t make the good guys pay for the bad guys mistakes”-Will- he knows he has messed up his life but he won’t let that hurt Alice. He knows there might be no hope for him but he won’t let everyone be destroyed because of his mistakes.
“In Wonderland you have to be creative”- Alice- this is a world that thrives off the un-probable and the impossible. A hard closed mind will never succeed here.
-What laws does Jafar want to change?
What is Will’s full story?
Who is Anastasia?
What did he do to her?
Why does the caterpillar want him?
Is there any significance to Cyrus’s paper rose turning real?
Does true love conquer all here?
What is the Red Queen holding over the White Rabbit?
What is the time line?
What does the Red Queen want?
There are two reasons I decided to watch Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, the first being because it is a spin off of Once Upon a Time. The writing of the original show, the way it wraps all the stories together and has such intriguing characters made me want to see where they would go with an idea like Wonderland.
I also decided to watch the show because it is Wonderland. Alice in Wonderland is a very eccentric, outlandish, trippy kind of story. The numerous movies show just how crazy this story can get. So many different characters from some of the farthest reaching areas of the imagination. You really have to let the rational side of your mind turn off and let your full imagination take over to really appreciate the story. If you question too much you ruin the best parts of the story.
Alice in Wonderland is wild and fun but it is also much more than a kids story. It isn’t as innocent as it seems. It can be much darker and more twisted than other fairytales (though more like the modern versions than the original versions). I think this show is really going to dive into the darker sides of this story.
When the show opened we had Alice returning home, as a child, from her first trip to Wonderland. She has been gone for a good long while and no one believes a word she says about where she had been. Her father is very reluctant to consider her actually crazy, he wants to see his daughter as just a child who let her imagination run away with her. He tries to hold onto her as long as he can but finally he gives up and commits her.
A lice is an intriguing character. She persists in her belief of this land she found by accident. She continues to hunt for proof of Wonderland. She goes there multiple times, constantly trying to return home with something to show she isn’t insane. She does not give up easily, that is until she lose Cyrus, the love of her life. Just as in many fairytales, she loses all hope when she loses love. She is committed and left to wallow in her sorrow and despair. A scenario that would dampen anyones life and imagination.
At first I thought the time period of the story was much further in the past then the present day. (Though from the costumes and look I still think it is, but not sure how to connect that to Will being in present day Storybrook). The asylum is so dark and barbaric, the methods ancient and cold. The doctors are cold and could careless about Alice or her recovery. They just want to break her and destroy her. No one in that place wanted to actually hep her. I don’t know much about mental health facilities but I am pretty sure most are not like this. They want to help or in some way assist their patients live better lives.
I think it is an interesting choice to place Alice in a place like this. This is what her life is like if she gives into how she is supposed to live. This is what life will be like if she walks away from her love and a life full of imagination. Without Wonderland and without all the adventures that comes with it, she will live in a cruel, hard and cold world. This is the world without stories, imagination and fun. This is the world when you give up and don’t keep believing and living.
We see Alice break but she is not broken. It only takes a few words to bring back her fighting side. WIll, the Knave of Hearts, tells her Cyrus is alive and she is once again a strong woman on a mission. She fights well and with vigor, defeating the orderlies/guards with little effort. She isn’t a broken child or a dead hearted woman. She just needs that small flame of hope to keep herself alive and moving. I like this aspect of her, she just needs something to hold onto, no matter how small it may seem. I feel like this is going to be a theme in this show, fighting even when everything seems to be against you.
She is rescued by the Knave of Hearts, a character we know very little about right now. He is sarcastic and obviously some type of rebel/criminal. We first meet him in Storybrooke, after the curse is broken. (I am making that assumption because he knows who he is and can go in and out of the town.) He wants to live here to build a life here. He knows what this place is and knows he can move forward here.
In the cafe he did something that really intrigued me. He poured a cup of coffee, put some money on the counter, looked around and took the money back. What was that? Why did he “pay” then quickly retract the action?
To me this is a telling aspect of his character. He is the Knave of Hearts, at one time he worked with Queen of Hearts. He was on the wrong side, which I am sure caused him to do somethings he now regrets. To me this pretend paying was a way for him to hold onto the responsible side of himself. There was no one there to see him taking the coffee without paying but he did the action for his own conscious. He is striving not to live the life he lived in his past. Something we know is always very difficult to do.
He rescues Alice and multiple times says how much he does not want to have anything to do with Wonderland. He is a wanted man there, life is not good for him. Yet he still follows her, still decides to join her on this hunt. I know he says he wants the wish, the ability to erase everything but I think there is more to it than that.
There has to be a deeper connection between these two. Alice mentions helping him get his heart back, so he does owe her some type of debt. How deep does this debt and his feelings of payment go? He hesitates only slightly when he decides to go on this journey to find Cyrus. He just wants a new life, he wants out of whatever trouble he is in. This adventure is only going to complicate that issue, he won’t get out of this place without encountering his past and his past actions. I know he wants the wish but I think he feels a deeper connection to Alice than that. He wants to help her, he feels like he has to help her for some reason.
The villain of this story is of course the Red Queen. We instantly know she is evil when she “kills,” Cyrus. She has no emotion when she does it, acting like it was just some accident. She appears heartless. But she does feel something and that is fear.
I love that Jafar is the real villain of the show. Yet again the creators of the show are going to intertwine stories, pull from different worlds and interact a variety of characters. I love that Jafar scares the Queen. She knows she has leverage, Jafar doesn’t know the land like she does, but she is still terrified by him. She isn’t a flawless evil ruler, she is just as much a pawn as the White Rabbit. She is not in control and it will be interesting to watch her struggle to come to terms with that.
When Alice is almost eaten by the Cheshire Cat, he says something very interesting to her. “I’m strange, you’re strange, together we ware strangers.” I think this is a telling line for what this land is like now. It isn’t the Wonderland Alice once knew. This place is a dark now, everyone is more twisted and strange. It isn’t the vibrant colorful land like the Disney movies. Something or someone is twisting and turning this land. This place is breaking and I believe it is going to come down to Alice to fix it.
Alice going to have to come terms with this new world. It is not the place she once left behind, because of a broken heart. She is going to have to hold onto that fighter side of herself if she is going to get out of this place alive and whole.
I am excited to see where this series is going to go. At the heart it is a love story but it is a love story set in one of the most imaginative unstable worlds ever created. There are so many places to go and so many characters to meet and work with and around. I hope they use this story and related stories to their full potential.
“Strangers in a most strange land,”- Cyrus- another time this idea of strangers being part of a strange land comes up. A theme I am sure will be explored more.
“Nothing is impossible in Wonderland,”- guard guy- the rules of this world are that there are no rules
“Power can be fleeting”- Jafar- a lesson the queen is going to have to learn
“When you really love someone you don’t need proof you can feel it”- Alice- her motto and a theme that will be the center of this show or at least this season
How many times did Alice visit Wonderland?
How did she help Will, the Knave of Hearts?
What are the implications of the doctor seeing the White Rabbit?
What is the time period/time line?
Will there be any real world effects from that moment?
What is Will’s story? What has he done?
What does the Red Queen want with Alice?
What is her end game?
Why does Jafar want Cyrus?
What has happened to Wonderland?