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Television / Recaps PopWrapped | Television

Take A Trip "Down The Rabbit Hole" With Once Upon A Time In Wonderland

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


10/11/2013 10:21 am
PopWrapped | Television
Take A Trip
Media Courtesy of ABC

Stephanie Coats

Staff Writer

Greetings my fellows Wonders! (Or whatever Once Upon a Time in Wonderland fans are calling themselves. OUAT fans are Oncers so just a suggestion.) Now that the spinoff has finally premiered it’s time to see if it lived up the hype. Let’s take a trip to Wonderland… We open on an abandoned tea party. A hole suddenly bursts from the ground and a little girl in blue and white dress climbs out of it. She looks around happily and with a sigh of delight says, “Home.” She tears off running over the hills and through the woods before arriving at a manor home yelling for her father. He opens the door, looking stunned to say the least. See Alice was gone a very long time and her dear Papa thought she was dead. While she’s more interested in telling him all about where she’s been and what’s she done, he’s more concerned that little Alice has gone to the crazy place. In fact, he starts having a talk with a doctor about her mental health, but Alice, who overhears, is determined to prove she’s not a liar. Flash forward to present day (ish). We pan in to a familiar clock tower. Hello Storybrooke. A young man (Michael Socha) strides through town and is nearly run over by a Yellow Volkswagen Bug. Then he bumps into Grumpy and Ella who are leaving Granny’s Diner. The man pickpockets the door keys and lets himself in to have a cup of coffee while he waits. The diner vibrates and a hole explodes in the floor (this seems to be a theme on this show). The White Rabbit (voiced by John Lithgow) pops out and helpfully identifies the man as The Knave of Hearts. The Knave isn’t sure what to make of the Rabbit’s appearance or his insistence that  “We’re not late for something. We’re late for someone.” That being Alice, of course. The Knave puts on his unconvinced face for the first, but certainly not last time in this episode. We jump to a gritty asylum where grown up Alice (Sophie Lowe) is being interrogated by a panel of doctors including the one from when she was a young girl. He’s summarizing Alice’s “miraculous, strange and terrifying adventures” in Wonderland: food and drink that changes your height, smoking caterpillars, talking rabbits and such. Turns out little Alice made multiple journeys to Wonderland, each one making her father more and more concerned. He finally broke down and asked Bald Doctor for help. Flashback to Wonderland. Alice dashes through the Red Queen’s maze and suddenly shrinks thanks to a bit of mushroom she nibbled on. Back to Bald Doctor. Alice says her Wonderland tales were all made up but he’s not convinced. Either her stories as a child were a performance or her denial of them now as a lady is. “Which is the real performance?” he asks. “The little girl was a fool,” Alice replies. “[The lady] knows what really happened.” Wonderland. To escape the now gigantic guards Alice hides in a bottle. She’s greeted by a beautiful young man (so that’s where they’re all hiding!). She threatens him with her Drink Me potion which will make her big again and destroy his home but he very willingly welcomes her. Can’t meet many young, pretty women trapped in a bottle I suppose. Asylum. Bald Doctor wants to know where Alice was if she wasn’t in Wonderland. With a friend, she says. You know…a “friend.” Genie in a bottle Cyrus (Peter Gaidot) and Alice discuss their homes of Agrabah and England, respectively. She’s on her way back with proof that Wonderland is real: the White Rabbit, whom she pulls out of her bag. Cyrus likes her spunk and wants to know if she’s doing all this for her husband. She assures him that’s not the case not. He’s delighted to hear that, so delighted in fact that he gives her three wishes. Bald Doctor asks if she “wishes” to be released from the facility. “I don’t wish for anything,” she spits back. Touchy word apparently. He reminds her that she said she fell in love with Cyrus during their adventures together and asks if she’s willing to admit that was made up as well. Tears start to build in Alice’s eyes. In Wonderland, Cyrus and Alice stand on the cliff of the Burning Sea and profess their burning love for each other. Cyrus goes to propose but he barely makes it one knee before she says yes, yes, a thousand times yes. “But I had a whole speech prepared…” he stutters back. They kiss happily while his magic genie necklace glows red with their love. They’re interrupted by the sound of boots approaching. Bald Doctor says Alice just created a fantasy world where all her childhood dreams of being brave, loved, beautiful and important came true. She insists that she doesn’t believe in that world anymore. Because… On the Burning Sea cliff, the Red Queen (Emma Rigby) sics her guards on the lovers who fight back, and quite effectively too. Alice knows how to handle a blade but still needs Cyrus to save her when the guards grab her. With a casual flick of her wrist, the Red Queen sends Cyrus plummeting into the sea amidst Alice’s screams. Back in our world, Bald Doctor is offering Alice a procedure that can make her forget everything. Alice, who has apparently never seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, signs the consent form. In her cell before her big lobotomy day she whispers for Cyrus. While in a different room, Bald Doctor (who really looks like a mad scientist now) preps a crank and other nasty instruments to use on her brain. He orders the guards to fetch her but it’s the Knave of Hearts who comes for her first. She is displeased to see him, having just decided to give up on Wonderland but he wants her to come along. He finally gets her to cooperate by telling her Cyrus is alive. With renewed purpose in her life, Alice absolutely destroys the guards with some sweet combat moves, grabs her shoes and meets up with the Rabbit. Bald Doctor comes upon them but pauses when he sees said Rabbit. “Seeing things Doctor,” Alice smirks. “I hear there’s a procedure for that.” The Knave, Alice, and Rabbit run outside the hospital and made a sloppy getaway that leads them to a dead-end. But never fear! The Rabbit creates a portal that they all jump through. So many portals on Once Upon a Time shows lately. Back from commercial, Alice and the Knave are still falling. They finally land in the Mallow Marsh. The Knave reads my mind when he says, “Because a pond made out of dessert topping makes perfect sense.” Rabbit ticks everyone off when he says that his information on Cyrus’ whereabouts: his dead or alive state, is sketchy at best. Supposedly the genie was seen at the Mad Hatter’s abandoned home. But Alice and the Knave have bigger problems because they’re sinking. “I’m going to die like a bloody s’more,” he exclaims. Once Alice learns what a s’more is exactly she snatches an actually-a-dragon dragonfly and uses it to toast the ‘mallow. When the mallow’s done flaming, she and Cyrus climb aboard. How are they able to hoist themselves out of the sticky pond suddenly? Unclear. The Knave is peeved that the Rabbit had unreliable facts so he’s ready to say farewell…until Alice offers him payment in the form of a wish, which are shaped like red diamonds and kept in the heel of her boot. The Knave eagerly agrees and they decide to trust the Rabbit’s shoddy tips. Speaking of Mr. Timekeeper, he’s currently being stopped by the Red Queen and her guards. Looks like he has double-crossed sweet Alice. Back from commercial we get confirmation that the Rabbit is indeed working for the Red Queen. He thought he just needed to get the girl to Wonderland but now the Queen wants him to report everything Alice does. Currently, that’s not listening to any sound advice. “Aren’t you worried this is all a trap?” the Knave asks. Nope, because love is the most important thing ever. Duh. Seriously, that’s basically her answer. In the Red Queen’s castle, which is awesomely themed like chess pieces, she meets a shadowy figure that turns out to be…Jafar (Naveen Andrews). They are in cahoots to do…something, but whatever that is cannot be accomplished without the genie’s bottle and Alice’s wishes. What can be done though is killing the Red Queen, who has apparently met her usefulness quota for Jafar. He force chokes her to near death before agreeing that he needs her to keep an eye on things in Wonderland since it is kind of her turf.  “Why don’t you get on the raggedy carpet of yours and fly away?” she sneers. With one last glower he surfs away on the magic carpet. Alice and the Knave wander through the forest and he finds a Wanted posted of himself. Alice is more interested in climbing the tree to look for the Hatter’s house. She removes her wish-containing-boots to scale the tree and the Knave snatches up the shoes almost immediately. From above she spots the house but the Knave, whom she (and therefore I) now calls Will, doesn’t answer. More problematic is the pair of red eyes and smile that appear next to her. I cringe in terror as The Cheshire Cat manifests. Commercial. We return with Alice trying the “good kitty” routine to no effect. Cheshire is ready to eat her up and they engage in a pretty one sided battle until Will decides to reappear in the nick of time. He shrinks the Cat to kitten size with a piece of a Wonderland mushroom. Alice thanks him, saying, “You were...” “Brave? Daring?” he interrupts helpfully. “Stealing my wishes!” she exclaims. “Oh that…” Alice reminds him that he can’t steal a wish; they have to be granted. He sheepishly hands them back claiming he already knew that. They find the Hatter’s house and Alice runs towards it with glee in search of Cyrus who is, of course, nowhere to be found. The Rabbit suddenly reappears to offer no help and Alice is devastated to accept that Cyrus is really gone. But then she finds his glowing necklace of love in the grass outside and her hope is renewed. Will is rightfully skeptical about this miraculous coincidence but Alice is sure it’s a sign. Why? Because love, you guys. Love. And what do you know she’s right! Cyrus is alive! He’s just trapped in a cage. Turns out when the Red Queen magicked him over that cliff, Jafar caught him on his magic carpet and is now keeping him prisoner in a cloud tower or something. Far below, Alice and Will wander down a cartoonish yellow brick road on their search for the genie. Comments. Alice tells the guards she wasn’t helping the Knave break her out of her asylum cell. His reply: “It’s true. If she was the last bit helpful we’d be gone by now.” How did Will remove the sticky marshmallow from his clothes so quickly? Jafar pulls a Regina and snarls an awesome line. “Threats are for people who are unprepared to act.” So wishes are unpredictable in Wonderland. Oh just say it! “All magic comes with a price.” The Knave of Hearts tells a heartbroken Alice to start her life again and “meet somebody else…” I wonder who he means *wink, wink* My roommate about the ending scene: “Why are they in a Nintendo game?” As pilots go, Wonderland’s was decent. It was intriguing and beautiful to behold at times but also moved incredibly fast. So many jump cuts all over the place, especially at the beginning, made it difficult to follow the story, and that’s coming from someone who had already seen the first 15 minutes before tonight. Now I’ll admit that I’m most likely to keep watching this show because a) Will is pretty funny, b) Cyrus is pretty, and c) I love everything Once Upon a Time. Still I cannot help feeling that Wonderland is an attempt to appeal to the tween and teen audience that are perhaps not plugged into Once Upon a Time proper. The star crossed lovers theme central to this show plays very much to that younger demographic and I feel pretty justified, at least at this point, in saying that Wonderland is a Twilight-y version of Once Upon a Time. This is not a terrible tactic but one I’m certainly not fond of and may need some tweaking later on to keep older viewers around. I am not one to give up too easily on a show that’s a spinoff of a show that I desperately love so I’ll be hanging around to see if Alice and Will spark together and whether Aladdin will swoop in to take back his magic carpet. How about you?


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