Saturday, March 8, 2014

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Season 1, Episode 9: Nothing to Fear

After some terribly unspecific wishing last episode, Will, the Knave is now the genie in a bottle that is now hurtling down a river much to his annoyance. The bottle comes to rest on the bank and is picked up by Elizabeth – Lizard.

Will tries to leave to check on Alice and Anastasia – but is dragged back to Elizabeth when he gets too far from the bottle. He checks his pocket and he has 3 gems; wishes to give to Elizabeth and then recite the whole genie spiel. He’s a genie and Elizabeth is his master.

Alice and Cyrus are all being lovey dovey until Anastasia interrupts them. She and Alice snarl for a bit but Anastasia is not impressed by Alice completely forgetting that Will is in trouble. Alice doesn’t want to work with Anastasia but Cyrus can see Anastasia’s rather obvious love for Will – and, besides, her magic will be more than a little helpful

Over to the palace, Jafar has claimed the throne of Wonderland and mocks his caged father to look at his throne. His father, who is rather good at snark, hits back that a throne is made by someone worthy sitting on it – Jafar is just sat on a large chair. Jafar hits back at how his dad could be worthy since he tried to kill his own son, but daddy is a master at this and returns the rejoined “if only I had succeeded, the world would be a better place.”

Game, set, match to daddy there, methinks.

Removing his dad from the throne room since he can’t match his cutting wit, Jafar turns to the Caterpillar, his new fawning minion who he has given the task of finding the bottle. A task he and his many men have failed. He offers another option – a powerful, unstoppable magical beastie: the Jabberwocky! Get me my vorpal sword!

The Caterpillar doesn’t really want him to summon it. But Jafar asks his beheaded Tweedle (Tweedledee) to guide him to it – Tweedledee is also not enthused with the idea of releasing and unstoppable monster. But Jafar gives him a new body and also thinks threatening to unleash the Jabberwocky will make all of Wonderland rally against Alice.

He goes to the Jaberwocky’s prison and kills the guard who won’t be intimidated into standing aside – he’s not fighting to save the beast, but to save Jafar from it. There’s some nice foreshadowing here. He breaks into the prison full of bodies and hears a woman’s voice – the Jabberwocky, who enters into his head and threatens to open the door there, where people keep all their worst fears hidden and sealed.

Alice and Anastasia are still sniping at each other (mainly Alice) and Alice avoids telling Cyrus about the whole mental institution thing and how Anastasia is totally hashing their reunion. But when she disappears they worry about what she could be up to

She’s actually been kidnapped by a group of very disgruntled villagers who did not approve of her brutal, carless reign and are now ready to show her the violence inherent in the system. They drag her away and she begs, telling them she knows what it’s like to be poor and desperate – that doesn’t impress them since if she knew she should have listened to them begging her for help. And now they can feed her to the creatures that ravage their village.

Cyrus does a spell to find Anastasia (though Alice thinks they should leave her), he isn’t a genie but he still knows the magic his mother taught him. They find her tied to a stake and surrounded by angry villagers and Alice questions again why they’re trying to save her.

Anastasia protests she’s worth more alive for ransom than dead, she’s a queen after all. But when the villager asks her who would pay to save her life, she can’t name anyone. Which is when Cyrus steps up with a fluffy speech of goodness and human decency. No-one’s impressed. Alice draws her sword against the crowd…

And we cut to all three of them being tired to a post waiting for the beasts to eat – Anastasia thanks them for caring though. Beasties appear – the Moonrats. The monsters focus on light so they quickly kick over the fires – and throw away Alice’s glowing necklace, giving them chance to run… though Alice isn’t happy about losing it

In a village, Elizabeth asks Will why he’s even hurrying back to Alice and Cyrus – he went with them to reunite them, they’re reunited. Job done, he doesn’t even know they’re looking for him. Time to take some down time and use one of her wishes – though she’s disappointed when he tells her can’t make anyone fall in love. Instead she says she’ll wish for something he wants. Will is duly suspicious of wishing so wishes for something simple – beers for everyone!

That makes him extremely popular – free booze tends to. But when he notices Elizabeth lurking away from the party he rightly guesses she has a crush on someone. He fails to realise who though, even when she asks what he looks for in a girl. When he lists the traits she wishes to be all of them… It also, rather tragically, interprets “I hear fireworks go off in my head when I see her” to actual fireworks. He thinks she can now show off to all the guys, still massively missing the point. She keeps dropping really unsubtle hints he doesn’t get until she outright tells him that he’s the man she’s after.

In the woods Alice is angsting because now she and Cyrus are finally together and it feels like they can never be together because another mission gets in the way – when they see fireworks. Anastasia is confused, the area is far too poor for such luxuries and Alice realises it’s a wish. They arrive and Anastasia goes searching while Cyrus and Alice take a time out to propose marriage.

In the village Elizabeth and Will are all sad – and Elizabeth wishes he could feel something for her, anything. Oops, such silly words to a genie. With the third wish, Will is dragged back into his bottle and Elizabeth dies – so he will feel sorrow and grief. Ouch, now that’s an evil wish

Anastasia finds Elizabeth’s body – and seems quite upset by it; until she sees the bottle. Which she takes to Alice and Cyrus in a rather stunning display of honesty – but they don’t believe she found Elizabeth dead. She doesn’t hand over the bottle – she rubs it. And Will appears. Will isn’t thrilled he has to make the “mistress mine” speech to her. Everyone’s all unhappy but Anastasia focuses on the simple fact they need to get out of Wonderland (her being mistress is just insurance) and while Will would rather be with the “homicidal maniac with the snake stick” but she warns them about Jafar’s quest for 3 genies, ultimate power and how he already has 2. Cyrus is upset – after hearing Anastasia describe the bottles of the other 2 he has, Cyrus realises Jafar has his brothers.

Which means, to Alice and Cyrus, they have to stay because “happily ever after” must be for all of Wonderland. That’s a tall order from the girl who was worried they’d never see an end to the quests. Will assumes Anastasia won’t be joining them since she always looks for the easiest way out, the easiest way to get what she wants – and with a genie and the wishes she’s set up. But Anastasia, with excellent emotion, says she’s staying – because the people of Wonderland deserve better than what she gave them. Especially since it’s 4 vs 1

Except, in the Jabberwock cage, the Jabberwock agrees to help Jafar. He frees her (wait, that's the Jabberwock? Oh dear...) from where she’s impaled on a sword which he decides to keep hold of since she wants to dispose of it (the vorpal sword that goes snicker snack, I assume). So she plays with his terror of water after his father tried to drown him, leaving him gasping and helpless.

Ok, now I can believe in her being a terrifying monster, kinda. And Jafar seems a lot less sure about releasing it. To be honest when she was a disembodied voice, she was scary. Now? Someone got lost on their way to a glam-rock convention and got mugged by some drunken make up artists. 

Well they’re back and have a new group dynamic… and I’m kind of not 100% happy. Cyrus and Alice being plucky and hopeful separately are just… a bit wet when together. Cyrus is almost comically twee and Alice is just so mopey. And I get her worry, I do – the idea that the missions just keep going and they can never live the life they’ve always wanted – but the Knave has been with her for so long, helping her and she’s resenting the quest to find him after, what, 2 nights? It doesn’t look good on her.

I could have grown to like Elizabeth – but she’s another character defined by her love interest – and now dead. Anastasia is always the more interesting character –  especially if they push her trying to make up for being a bad queen over her trying to win Will’s heart – that will be a really fascinating storyline.