[This is review for Once Upon a Time in Wonderland season 1, episode 6. It contains SPOILERS.]
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland gives us a glimpse into Alice’s past in this week’s episode, entitled ‘Who’s Alice?’ The story is a sprawling one, following each of our favorite characters on their separate quests.
“Learning to Forget,” would have been another possible title for this episode, as we discover more about Alice’s past. Only a year ago, our young heroine emerges from the rabbit hole to discover she’s inherited a new family. Her father (Edwin) has remarried (Sarah), and with that marriage comes a new daughter (Milly). Alice is newly heartbroken over the loss of Cyrus at the hands of the Red Queen, but to her father she seems deranged and unstable. Seeing Alice back at home was a welcomed departure from Wonderland, if only for brief moments throughout the episode. If the Once Upon a Time Franchise is known for anything, it would be for its in-depth character studies through the use of flashbacks.
Creators/executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz come from the school of J.J. Abrams hit series, Lost. Since the show’s conclusion, many series have used this (flashback) device to not only further develop characters, but as a mode where two stories can be told at once. Wonderland has been critiqued for its cheap-looking special effects and unoriginal storytelling, but it should never be chastised for its lack of character study. ‘Who’s Alice?’ is a perfect example of this school of thought, as we see Alice forgetting who she is in theWonderland garden, while fighting to remember what’s she’s lost back in England.
The moments between the Knave of Hearts and Alice where some of the best this season. Knave teaches her a lesson that forgetting your problems is not true happiness, which is ironic, due to the fact that he has yet to put his heart back in his chest. The question still left to be answered is – where did Knave put his heart? After his realization that Anastasia freed him, could there still be love in his heart for her, if only he would put it back in? Even with Wonderland’s deep exploration into the minds of its characters, some motivations still remain unclear.
While Jafar intends to change the laws of magic and rule the known world, the Red Queen’s desires aren’t as obvious as some would suspect. Her affections towards Knave ground her to reality, and even when she appears power hungry, what’s left for her to possess? She has Wonderland, and unlike Jafar, Anastasia does not seem like the type of villain who desires to destroy everything. What will she do with the power of a genie?
Speaking of genies, Cyrus has been the least developed and most irrelevant character in Wonderland. Besides his good looks, charm, and cosmic power, we don’t know much about him. Cyrus feels too much like a character straight out of a Disney animated classic, like Sleeping Beauty. While there’s nothing wrong with a prince-charming-like character, he needs more of a back-story for anyone to become invested in his fate. Hopefully, in the weeks to come, Cyrus’ tale will be told in epic fashion. Keep watching to find out.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland continues with ‘Bad Blood’ on Thursday Dec. 5, @8pm on ABC. Watch a preview below.