Saturday, October 26, 2013

Once Upon a Time, Season 1, Episode 3: Forget Me Not

Back to a few years ago in the Enchanted Forest – that would be Once Upon a Time’s Enchanted Forest – 3 men are in the road, one of them injured, causing a coach to stop. While suspicious and impatient, one of the guards on the coach helps – while another figure quietly sneaks in and removes a large bag.

Cut later to the man who was screaming in pain, now in a monk’s habit, laughing around a campfire: Friar Tuck, Robin Hood with the rest of the merry men. And among them, newly joined after making the daring robbery, is the Knave of Hearts, Will Scarlet (which explains why Alice keeps calling him Will).

To the present day in Wonderland and Alice takes down one of the Knaves wanted posters which are everywhere: he’s wanted for theft, posturing, imposturing, fraud, gambling, disturbing the peace and public nudity.

Really, you’re going to accuse him of public nudity without a flash back? Unfair, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, very unfair! Though I’m quite impressed with “posturing”

The Caterpillar clearly wants Knave badly – he offers to leave so as not to drag Alice into his trouble but she thinks a thief is the ideal person to find who stole Cyrus’s bottle. Knave has an idea – they need to see who got to the Dandy Lion before they did and stole the bottle – so they need the Forget-Me-Knot. It’s a rope that when twisted forms a frame that, when looked through, shows the past.

In Agrabah, Jaffar is hosting the Red Queen and both of them are taunting Cyrus about finding his note from Alice – the one telling him she’s coming for him despite his warning. They remind us that they need Alice to make 3 wishes then they own the genie – and they intend to force her to wish. Apparently they’re going to force Cyrus to do something to her using an extremely big book.

Back to Wonderland and the Knave knows where the Forget-Me-Knot is, the Caterpillar has it. That is not helpful. But the Knave is confident he has a deal that will get her the Knot – and clear his name. He leads her through a toadstool into the Underland, what he calls “his world.”

But the minute they get down Nazim – and the whole room – moves on him. He owes everyone money… Knave concedes he may need Alice’s help until the Caterpillar speaks and tells them to let him go. The Caterpillar mob boss (yes, he’s a mob boss. Yes that’s awesome) wants the debt Knave owes and refuses his deal of doubling his debt in exchange for the Forget-Me-Knot. Alice realises the Caterpillar doesn’t have the Knot – he’s too greedy to turn down such a deal.

New deal – Caterpillar tells them where the Forget-Me-Knot is, they get it (use it) and then give it to him and the Knave’s debt is erased. Fine – the Knot is in the hands of the Grendal, which is apparently very very bad. But so is doublecrossing the Caterpillar – as the severed, but still living and screaming, head on his desk makes clear.

They set off but Alice is worried – the Forget-Me-Knot is a powerful, dangerous artefact. How much pain would they be causing handing it over to the Caterpillar? The Knave responds by asking her some hard questions – if she could be with Cyrus tomorrow, would she hurt others for it? Alice dodges the question and Knave adds that he’s a thief, it’s how he thinks.

Flashback to the merry men with the Knave/Will declaring himself a thief for life when he joins, but Robin denies they’re thieves; a thief steals for themselves, they steal for their cause which is bigger than them. They steal for Humanity – if you steal for personal gain, the first thing you give up is humanity. Ummm… rather harsh. There are many crimes that make me doubt someone’s humanity, I can’t say theft is among them

Knave has a lead for Robin, a good target. Maleficent’s castle. Robin is really not eager to attack the castle of a powerful sorceress; magic is never worth it. But Knave knows where her stash of gold is – and that Maleficent is away for some time. But when the Knave returns to his home he tells the woman in bed (who I assume is Anastasia and I also guess is the Red Queen) that the Merry Men “bought it” – and soon they’ll be able to get out of there.

Back at Agrabah, Jaffar and the Red Queen are looking for the right monster to force Alice to use her wish (this includes the Sarlac. Yes, the Star Wars Sarlac) before finally settling on the Bandersnatch. It also appears Jaffar is beginning to respect the Red Queen

Back to Knave and Alice and Alice advances on the Grendal’s lair with a sword drawn – Knave asks if she’s going to challenge him to a duel. She’s fought monsters, he’s stolen from them and the best way to do that is never to confront the monster at all. He comes up with a decent, if simple plan and they both end up at the bottom of a pit trap neither of them saw. They wake in the Grendal’s kitchen, he intends to eat them.

Flashback! The Merry men sneak into Maleficent’s castle, but while Robin and co look for the gold, Knave seems to have a different target: a mirror.

They arrive back at their camp complete with the chest of gold. And Maleficent finds them and gives them a warning –keep the gold, she doesn’t care, but the other treasure they took they must return because it will only bring them misery. Robin is not amused that someone ignored him

When he finds out it’s Knave/Will he calls him the only thief among them because he stole for himself. He doesn’t do anything to Knave because he’s sure the consequences of his actions will catch up with him.

Back in the Grendal’s kitchen, they notice that the Grendal is talking to himself. And looking through the Forget-me-Knot. Through the knot there’s a couple, a human couple, in the kitchen, a scene from the past. Alice wonders what the Grendal did to them but Knave has another idea.

He rightly guesses that the Grendal was the man seen through the knot and he lost the woman for whatever reason – and that changed him, saying that the Grendal looks like the Knave feels. He tells the Grendal how unhealthy it is to mope and look at the past and how he needs to move on.

This doesn’t work and dinner is still on which is when Alice asks about Anatasia which Knave a) doesn’t want to talk about and b) thinks it’s a bad time anyway. Alice gets free using a wish – the sharp corners on the gem wishes to cut her ropes, that is.

they rush to leave, even though Knave wants the knot – but when they open the door the Bandersnatch is waiting for them. The Grendal attacks and is easily knocked aside while Alice and Knave run. But Alice has a plan – she and Knave cower behind a chair then hide in a corner. The Bandersnatch rushes into the room and sees them cowering behind the chair in the Forget-Me-Knot. It lunges at them, it’s head going through the noose of the Knot and Alice pulls the rope tight. While she holds it the Grendal attacks again, again being knocked aside and Knave runs in with a blade and stabs the monster. The Bandersnatch disappears to dust.

The Grendal thanks them for saving his life – but the Knot no longer shows his wife since other things have happened since then. He took the Knot from the Red Queen to see his wife again, but she cursed him for stealing from her. Knave reassures him that there’s no crime in doing whatever you have to to be with the one you love (hmmm I’m not entirely running with that)

In Agrabah, Jaffar has a little tantrum and Cyrus laughs. He deliberately looked nervous when they suggested the Bandersnatch because he knew Alice could defeat one.

After Alice and Knave leave with the Knot, Jaffar and the Red Queen visit the Grendal. After they promise him that, if they succeed they may be able to bring back his wife, he tells them about Alice and, news to them, that the Knave is helping her (looks like the White Rabbit wasn’t that frank with the Red Queen). Jaffar then kills the Grendal to reunite him with his wife.

Back on the road, Alice keeps poking Knave’s pain about Anastasia and he keep telling her to keep her nose out. They use the Knot and see that the White Rabbit is working for the Red Queen and he stole the bottle. Alice is shocked and appalled that her friend could betray her.

Jaffar goes to the Caterpillar to find out everything he can about the Knave. While on the road, the Knave has second thoughts about giving the Knot to the Caterpillar considering the damage he can do. He has taken Robin’s message to heart – if he stole the Knot to give it to the Caterpillar, that makes him a thief, stealing something for himself. If he stole the Knot for Alice, that makes him someone with a shred of humanity left.

And technically makes Alice a thief since she stole it for herself? They burn the Knot and we have a flashback

To the Knave riding back to see Anastasia with his prize – and yes, Anastasia is the Red Queen. He gives her the mirror, the looking glass. It opens a portal where Anastasia says there are wonders beyond imagining and they can be whatever they wants to be (Wonderland)

The Caterpillar is a mob boss. I just kinda love that. It’s one of the main things I really love about retelling old fairy tales, old myths etc – twisting them in such completely out there, weird and wonderful ways.

Ok there’s a few messages in this episode I really can’t run with. First of all Robin’s “you’re not a thief if you steal for a cause.” Uh-huh – define “cause”? Especially since this is the Robin Hood of the Enchanted forest and is, therefore, divorced from Prince John, the Sherriff of Nottingham et al. Who is Robin stealing for and why and how? (And “humanity” is a gloriously vague term).

And on to Knave and his basically anything is fair in love and war. Except “anything” covers a whole lot. We see that Knave was pretty much willing to do anything for Anatasia and is now very very heartbroken – but I hope we’re going to see this expanded with Alice. Just how much is Alice willing to do, how much will she tolerate for the sake of reuniting with Cyrus?