In fairy land Jefferson (hey that’s a new one, I suppose it’s kind of a fairy tale) is in the woods playing with his daughter, Grace. But when they come home the Queen is at their home – he sends his daughter to hide while he investigates. The Queen wants him to do something for her – something he has stopped doing because it killed his wife. Jefferson is highly reluctant despite the inducements the Queen offers (and the mockery for his poverty) – he’s too loyal to his daughter and won’t abandon her. Oh dear, I sense a kidnapping coming on.
At the market, his daughter wants a toy rabbit – but he can’t afford to buy it. Of course the saleswoman who refuses to sell it is the Queen in disguise rubbing in Jefferson’s poverty and getting at him through his family – even the Magic Mirror disapproves of her actions.
Jefferson makes a home made toy for his daughter’s tea party – and Grace is a very sweet child about the whole thing – but Jefferson is clearly feeling guilty and asks Grace to stay with the neighbours while he goes away for the day. She says all she wants is him – she doesn’t need anything else, but he is insistent.
He takes his box and goes to see the Queen. He’ll do what she wants so long as his daughter wants for nothing. In the box is a top hat which opens a portal to a large room of mirrors, looking glasses (Lewis Carol is a fairy tale now? I suppose it counts) and he and the Queen pass through one into an even stranger world – where they are tiny in a jungle of vast grass blades and a giant caterpillar (most certainly Lewis Carol) they’ve arrived in Wonderland.
Queen Regina vs the Queen of Hearts. Regina has an interesting way of dealing with mazes to claim a box from a crypt at the centre of the maze (it resembles a box where Regina keeps hearts). Of course, the guards show up but are no match for Regina. She opens the box, uses the mushroom and resurrects – her father from the box. The Queen of Hearts had kidnapped her father to gain leverage over her now Regina has her bacjk
But only 2 people can leave because 2 people entered – so Regina imprisons Jefferson so she and her father can leave (I do like how Regina shows real emotion of doing it and clearly is feeling guilty. That’s some quality acting – but she won’t abandon her father). This leaves Jefferson to the mercy of the Queen of Hearts. She has him beheaded but not killed – and makes him tell them about the hat if he wants his body back.
The Queen of Hearts demands he make a hat and make it work. Jefferson starts making hats – lots and lots of hats
In the real world Mary Margaret has become the most soggy fugitive in the history of criminal justice, deciding to flee her prison using one of Regina’s magic keys
Henry has his book and is reading away and assuming that there’s an escape plan for Mary Margaret – which is an utter disaster because if she’s away for her arraignment she is well and truly in trouble. And of course all of this results in lots and lots of compromising information entering Mr. Gold’s hands – I’d be wary of that I would.
Emma goes looking for Mary Margaret and ends up running down Jefferson, and giving him a lift back home with his twisted ankle. His house is huge and he lives in it alone – and gives Emma tea and a map of the forest. And after drinking the tea Emma comes over all dizzy and Jefferson stops limping.
Emma awakes bound and gagged but will not allow something like that stop her – using the shards of her broken teacup to cut her bonds. Nice to see that Emma does not get kidnapped for long. And finds that the telescope in the room is positioned to spy on the Sheriff’s department. And Jefferson is sharpening some scissors. The considerably less awesome Mary Margaret has also been kidnapped and needs rescuing by Emma (y’know Snow wouldn’t have needed rescuing, she would have made him very very sorry by now).
Jefferson has a gun, however, and forces Emma to tie Mary Margaret up again. He believes he’s saved Mary Margaret’s life by stopping her trying to leave since people die when they try to leave Storybrook. Yes, he believes in the curse. He knows the town has been in stasis for 28 years and he knows things only started to change when Emma arrived in town. She calls him insane for believe in magic but he questions how she can deny what she has seen around her. He wants Emma to make his hat work – his magical top hat.
He’s a milliner – a hatter (yes, the Mad Hatter) – and he wants Emma to make a hat like the top hat and use her magic to make it work. He confronts Emma on where stories come from – if they’re not real. He also says there are multiple worlds – not just one world all of which are real and he needs his hat so he can go home. And he wants to go home because like everyone else in Storybrook what he loves has been pulled from him – and he wants to go home to see his daughter Grace. In Storybrook his daughter is Paige and has a different family.
Emma and Jefferson have a very powerful discussion about losing their children, about the stress of it on their mind – and the family both of them have lost in the other realm. And she could have that, maybe, if she started to believe in magic. Except no, she knocks him out and rescues Mary Margaret. In the ensuing fight (where Mary Margaret rediscovers some Snow White fighting skills), Jefferson is knocked out of a high window but his body is missing at the bottom.
In a true failure to comprehend how law enforcement works, Emma says it’s Mary Margaret’s choice whether she stays or go. And how she regards Mary Margaret to be her family – though she changes it to friends, it’s obvious she sees it as family.
They get Mary Margaret back in time. Sick Gold on Regina – though Gold and Regina seem to be plotting together to get Mary Margaret out of the cell. She has struck a deal with Gold – bad bad idea.
Emma borrows Henry’s storybook and sees… Grace and the Mad Hatter Jefferson and recognises them. She then asks to borrow the book. Starting to believe?
This is the first time we’ve seen Emma directly confronted with the curse, truly pressed it on her and argued with her and reasoned with her. It’s the first time that it’s been pushed on her. While it didn’t take maybe this is the first step to the curse finally cracking. C’mon more cracking! And maybe Wonderland is a stretch as a fairy tale, but I think it works and it's a nice twist on the story