Saturday, March 29, 2014

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Season 1, Episode 12: To Catch a Thief

Anastasia seems to be actually dead. They killed Anastasia… Jafar put her body in a glass coffin and uses it to torment the newly feeling Knave who rages and grieves. Jafar offers some hope – to bring Anastasia back (while his father tries to talk sense and comfort to the Knave)

Anyway, this calls for a flashback – when the Knave was working for the Queen of Hearts with a squad of her soldiers to hunt down and kill a terrible, brutal murderer. Or so she says – it turns out to be Alice who the Knave stumbles upon on his own. They banter for a little while – the Knave is good at that, before she escapes (well, before she stops pointing a sword at him anyway).

Back to the present Cyrus and Alice argue over what to do with the staff. Cyrus wants to take it to the well, extract the water, free his brothers and make good with the Guardian while Alice wants to free Amara so she and Cyrus can have some quality time before doing the above. Cyrus gets his way – and the Knave shows up, apparently having “escaped”.  He has a message – they can bring Anastasia back to life. But they have to let Jafar win

Rules of magic – you can’t bring back the dead. Unless you change the laws of magic – which involves the genie ritual.

Flashback time again – and the Knave again trying and failing to capture/kill Alice (he’s trapped in a net. He has a dagger – cut the net?). He realises that Alice is probably telling the truth but doesn’t really have any choice in the matter because his donated heart means he is compelled to obey. Alice plans to get his heart back because she’s such a good person.

To the present and for Jafar to win he needs his stick back. He begs them, but they won’t give up the staff to help Jafar. They can’t give Jafar that kind of power. He agrees with them – says they’re talking sense – and agrees to go with them to the well, clearly looking at the staff and planning to steal it.

Back to Jafar and the Jabberwock is still hanging around waiting for him to give her the vorpal blade and she uses his fears to dump a load of exposition on us about the need for 2 sorcerers, the staff, Amara, etc. He threatens and intimidates her in return (why does she fall for this? We’ve seen her bring him to collapse before…)

And when they’re all in bed, Will steals the staff. When Cyrus tries to stop him, Will punches him.

We have a flashback of Alice stealing the Knave’s heart from the Red Queen’s ridiculously rigid guards, before we’re back to the present and Alice wakes up to find the Knave and the staff gone. They use the Lost and Found to follow. This proves surprisingly easy because the Knave gets lost. They think they catch him – but they split up and Will ambushes Alice, disarms her – but then his guilt makes him explain – because he loves Anastasia. He has an excellent line “your problem is you think your love story is the only one worth fighting for.” Yes. Yes. Yes.

Then Alice falls off a cliff into a river. So of course Knave follows her, jumping off while wearing naked blades. Because that makes sense.

Jafar, meanwhile, gets out the two other bottle he has and, for the first time, summons the genies – Cyrus’s brothers – to ask them about Amara. They, of course, deny all knowledge – but Jafar really wanted to see what they looked like.

Apparently he saved her – though we have no idea how he managed it because we didn’t see it. Especially since saving her involved him miraculously learning how to swim. But she does concede he has a point and how he followed her around helping her find Cyrus – but also that they will work together

Flashback to her returning Will’s heart to him and discovering how anyone holding his heart can make him do anything, which allows for some fun to begin with – before using it to bind him on the quest to find proof for her father that Wonderland is real

Back to the present and the gang is all together again and the Knave making his awkward not-apologies-but-meant to Cyrus. A sudden silence alerts Alice that the Jabberwock is near. She wants a deal, in between accepting she is a monster but was made that way, not born, she tells them she’s not team Jafar any more. If they all drive Jafar out then no-one in the realm will have so much to fear and so she won’t have anything to eat and will leave anyway. They refuse because the Jabberwock can’t help them bring back Anastasia – but she says Amara can.

Flashback again and after some conversation and bonding, Alice realises she’s being pretty monstrous using the Knave’s heart to force him to help her. Of course that doesn’t stop the Knave willingly helping

To the present and Alice and Knave sneak in the back way while the Jabberwock delivers Cyrus to Jafar as a prisoner. She presents it as a trade for the vorpal blade – and Jafar questions a defiant Cyrus. But the Jabberwock lies for Cyrus when he tells Jafar that the staff and the Knave are long gone

Of course the Knave can be summoned with his bottle. Jafar continues to be mocking and demeaning of the Jabberwock which is just bemusing – he used to be scared of her.

The plan continues – while the Knave creates a distraction for the guards, Alice frees Jafar’s father. The Knave is saved from the guards by Jafar summoning him back to his bottle. He starts to throttle and torment the Knave to make him talk and tell him where the staff is – and Amara appears. In the flesh.

MAGICAL DUEL TIME! A pretty awesome one at that

 While that’s happening, Alice fights off a half dozen of the guards with some pretty awesome sword skills (impressing Jafar’s father) and leading to another flashback of how Alice found Cyrus’s bottle when she and the Knave found proof for Alice’s father (the rabbit). Before they split up with the Knave distracting the guards.

In the present, while the sorcerers fight, Cyrus frees himself and steals the bottles – but Jafar stabs him with a shard of glass. Running to them, Alice collapses, feeling Cyrus’s pain. With Cyrus dying, Jafar points out the only way Amara can save her son is to continue the spell they initially planned.

Alice runs to them – to find Amara and Jafar working on the spell.

“your problem is you think your love story is the only one worth fighting for.”

Perfect, not just for this episode or this series but for so much of what is wrong with so many shows and their blinkered focus on the protagonist to the exclusion of all else.

Unfortunately, the Jabberwock making a deal didn’t make much sense to me. When Jafar freed the Jabberwock we saw it didn’t just take the vorpal sword to stop her – it took and army. We also saw her nearly bring him down with his fears just to prove a point – just by walking around him. And we’ve seen her move super fast/teleport. If she wants the vorpal sword is there a particular reason she can’t just take it from her?

And in Wonderland, with all its terrifying wonders, I really doubt Jafar is the only thing to fear.

I don’t get Jafar’s treatment of her – from the beginning of releasing her he was terrified and highly respectful of her abilities. But now he treats her the same way he used to treat Anastasia – and like her (despite the magic she had), the Jabberwock impotently takes it.