Grading the Series Finales: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

ouatiw finale

Today, Leah is back to share her thoughts on the finale of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and the series as whole.

Title And They Lived… (1.13)

Written By Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, and Zack Estrin

What Happened? Jafar and Amara finish casting the spell that breaks the laws of magic, which they then both use for various means. Cyrus and Amara head to the Well of Wonders to return the water, while Alice heads off with an army towards Jafar’s castle, prepared to strike. However, their plans are interrupted when Jafar’s new army captures Alice. Jafar threatens to use his magic to change Alice’s past in an attempt to get Alice to reveal Amara’s location, but before he has to use that plan, members of his army arrive with reports of seeing Amara and Cyrus by two red doors, which the love-curse-stricken Anastasia tells Jafar is the Well of Wonders.

While Jafar chases Amara, Will talks to Anastasia and makes her doubt the validity of her love for Jafar enough to get her close enough for him to reach out and kiss her. The kiss is true love’s kiss and thus breaks the spell Anastasia is under. Upon coming back to herself, she immediately helps Will and Alice out of their various confinements.

Jafar interrupts Cyrus and Amara’s attempt to give the water back to the Well of Wonders and kills Amara, which turns her back into the water that gave her life so many years ago. Alice appears—disrupting Jafar for a moment—but he freezes her with his magic before she can really do anything. As Cyrus attempts to put the water back into the well, Jafar takes it for himself, gaining the wrath of the well’s guardian, Nyx, and bringing about his own punishment as a genie. This undoes all of what Jafar’s magic had recently done, and it stopped the effects of Cyrus stealing the water so many years earlier, freeing Cyrus’s brothers and Will from being genies and undoing Jafar’s revival of Anastasia.

Alice and Cyrus arrive with water from Nyx to bring Anastasia back because it was not her time to die. Back in England, the Rabbit marries Alice and Cyrus ,with Alice’s family, Will, and Anastasia all present to witness their happy day. The last scene of the series shows us Alice telling her daughter the stories of Wonderland, while Cyrus brings them more treats for their teatime setup as the Rabbit looks on from afar.

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TV Time: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 1.12

It’s time once again for Leah to take us into the world of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland!

wonderland

Title To Catch a Thief

Favorite Lines
Will: More like a jack-of-all trades, actually.
Alice: But, apparently, master of none.
Will: Watch your tongue, lass, else you’ll lose that as well as your head.
Alice: That’s a bit redundant, don’t you think?
Will: Depends which one you lose first.

“Nobody’s born a monster. We’re made.” (The Jabberwocky)

“I grew up with a very stubborn girl; always felt like they were the best kind.” (Will)

What Happened? Jafar sends Will to retrieve his staff by using possibility of bringing Anastasia back to life as motivation, which initially puts Will at odds with Alice and Cyrus. However, Will and Alice eventually come to an understanding: They can’t give Jafar his staff back, but they will try to find a way to get Anastasia back. The trio ends up with an unexpected ally in the Jabberwocky, who tells them about Amara’s ability to help bring Anastasia back in exchange for helping free her from Jafar. Meanwhile, we see in flashbacks how Will and Alice first met. The flashbacks include Alice stealing Will’s heart back from the Queen of Hearts, as well as Alice and Will’s capture of the Rabbit as proof of Wonderland, which takes place just moments before she discovers Cyrus’s bottle.

My Thoughts What I enjoyed the most about this episode was the way it brought us full circle in our story and the depth it added to Will and Alice’s friendship.

Will and Alice’s friendship has always been one of my favorite parts of the show, and I’m so glad that it is getting attention amidst all the action and romance. In this episode, we discovered how Alice and Will first met, and it was in a fashion that was truly fitting for their characters. Will had been sent by the Queen of Hearts to kill Alice, and they engaged in an entertaining bit of fighting and banter before Alice decided to go get Will’s heart back to end their conflict.

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TV Time: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 1.11

Today the lovely Leah is back with her thoughts on the latest episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland!

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I sincerely apologize to everyone for this review being so late this week. I had a tough week between several character deaths occurring on the shows I’m watching, I had to make a tough decision to stop watching a show that I’ve loved, and it was a busy week for me in general, all of which postponed my writing.

Title Heart of the Matter

What Happened? In flashbacks, we see how Cora influenced a young Anastasia on the eve of her wedding and helped facilitate the events that lead to Will’s removal of his heart. She also taught Anastasia how to use magic, bringing Anastasia more fully under its corrupting power. In present-day, Will’s lack of a heart is getting in the way of Jafar’s spell, and Alice and Cyrus go to Storybrooke to get Will’s heart back before Jafar gets to it first. When Jafar takes the heart from Alice and Cyrus back in Wonderland, he loses his staff to Cyrus, and Cyrus realizes that the staff contains his mother. After putting Will’s heart back in, Jafar has no need of the Red Queen, so he kills her in front of Will after their reunion.

Favorite Lines “I’ll save you some time: water, hairy spiders, being stabbed in the head, and uh, raisins—grapes are fine, but raisins-” (Will)

“I believe he is as much my captive as I am his. We create our own prisons.” (The Sultan)

My Thoughts This episode continued to bring the intensity in our build up to the season finale, and it was full of new information for both the audience and the characters. As a general note, I am really enjoying the way that—since the show has returned—it has felt like they are playing out the final showdown, while also giving it room to breathe. Instead of packing all the most important events into the last episode and making it so fast-paced that there’s no time for more nuanced, quieter moments, we are getting one big event stretched out over a few episodes, and I really appreciate it.

The flashbacks in this episode were a major source of information, and personally I felt grateful that they showed Anastasia’s conflict. Since the midseason finale, I have fully believed that the Anastasia truly does love Will, regretted her past decisions, and wasn’t as cold-hearted as everyone thought she was. This episode showed us that she regretted her choices even before she married the king, and if it weren’t for Cora’s influence, she would likely have run away from the palace and gone back to Will. I love that this show has evolved the Red Queen from a somewhat one-note villain who was a cold, simpering, power-hungry queen into a complex woman who is ambitious, will fiercely stand up to anyone who tries to take her down, and is also able to be loving and compassionate. She is full of complexity, and I enjoy seeing female characters that are given so much depth.

 

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TV Time: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 1.10

It’s time once again to travel down the rabbit hole, as the lovely Leah shares her thoughts on the latest episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland!

ouatiw 1x10

Title Dirty Little Secrets

What Happened? Will and the Red Queen head off to attempt to build an army, and Alice and Cyrus go to find the Well of Wonders. Will and the Red Queen are captured by the Jabberwocky before they can achieve their goal and are brought to Jafar, where the Red Queen is forced by the Jabberwocky to use her three wishes. In flashbacks, we are shown how Cyrus and his brothers became genies when they stole magic water from the Well of Wonders to save their mother’s life.

Favorite Lines “Not me. That’s my house he’s holding now, and frankly I hate it. There’s not a lot of elbowroom, and you know what else there isn’t? A toilet!” (Will)

“You can dispense with the insufferable small talk Jafar, or is this your idea of torture?” (the Red Queen)

My Thoughts This week’s episode was interesting and a bit intense. There were a few things I really enjoyed as well as a few things that disappointed me; “Dirty Little Secrets” will not be my favorite episode of the season, but it also won’t be my least favorite.

In flashbacks we are shown how Cyrus’s actions brought about his and his brothers’ fates. As a quick note—I thought it was fun to see that he and his family had lived in Agrabah, and that they had taken magic from the Well of Wonders, which I’m assuming is a reference to the Disney film Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders, which was where Aladdin found the genie’s lamp. It was a fun way to connect the two genie origin stories for those familiar with the Disney tale.

In these flashbacks it was interesting to see a different side to Cyrus—we have already seen that Cyrus has a bit of a trickster side, but this younger Cyrus was one who was a bit dishonest, greedy, and reckless. He was less patient than the Cyrus in the show’s current timeline and less aware of how actions involving magic can have serious consequences. He did, however, still have that kind heart that we’ve seen at his core.

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TV Time: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 1.09

Fear not, fellow Once Upon a Time in Wonderland fans—the lovely Leah is back with her thoughts on the start of the second half of this season! 

OUAT-in-Wonderland-Nothing-to-Fear-09

Title Nothing to Fear

What Happened? Lizard finds Will’s magic bottle in the river and ends up using some of her wishes to try to gain Will’s attention and affection with devastating consequence. The Red Queen, Cyrus, and Alice team up in their efforts to find Will, but are sidetracked when unhappy constituents who want revenge kidnap the Red Queen. Meanwhile Jafar, now the ruler of the land, seeks out the dangerous Jabberwocky as a tool in finding the genie.

Favorite Lines “The throne is made when the man who sits on it is worthy. Where you sit Jafar, is nothing more than a large chair.” (The Sultan)

“I’ve tried, but word’s gotten out; working for you tends to shorten one’s life expectancy.” (The Caterpillar)

My Thoughts This was a fairly strong returning episode for Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, which was reassuring to see, as it suggests that the show will be able to keep up a high level of quality for its remaining four episodes. I feel like the show balanced each of the three different groups of characters well, cutting between them without making it feel like we were jumping all over the place and also not lingering too long on any one storyline.

We open the episode with Alice, Cyrus, and the Red Queen, who reluctantly team up together to try to find Will. I found it interesting that now that Will’s gone, Alice, who is normally the more optimistic and open-hearted of the group, plays the role of the cynic and constantly questions the Red Queen’s motivations. Cyrus, however, regards her with much more of an open mind. I don’t know if part of Alice’s mistrust is because she doesn’t remember the Red Queen’s confession of her love for Will, or if it’s merely that Alice will never completely trust the Red Queen after she was the one who Alice spent so long believing had killed Cyrus. Either way, I found the new dynamic interesting and a good way to endear us to Cyrus and give more depth to Alice. I’m really looking forward to seeing these three and Will work together over the rest of the season.

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Once Upon A Time in Wonderland: Where Did We Leave Off?

Today at NGN we’re celebrating the return of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland with the return of the lovely Leah and her OUaTiW posts! 

I want to offer you all an apology for abandoning my Once Upon a Time in Wonderland recaps over the past few months. Some things in my life made it so that I was behind on watching the episodes, and then I got so behind I wasn’t able to catch up. I’m back now, though, and plan to be around for recaps through the end of this season.

To prepare for the show’s return, I thought I’d pick three plot points that I feel will have the biggest impact on the second half of Season One and discuss them!

1. The Red Queen Is Anastasia
Possibly the biggest surprise of this season thus far has been the reveal that the Anastasia who broke Will’s heart is also the Red Queen who has been working against Alice all along. It was revealed that Anastasia and Will were once happily in love, dreaming of making a life together even if they had to steal to survive. Their lives were changed when Will and Anastasia snuck into a royal ball, where Anastasia became enamored by the glamorous world of the royalty and nobles. They were both thrown out of the ball when discovered, but not before Anastasia spotted the crown jewels and had an encounter with the king, who was very curious about her. She decided to steal the jewels but was caught in the act by the king, who had a proposal for her: become his queen. She accepted, and when she was presented to the kingdom as the new queen, Will was in the crowd, betrayed and heartbroken.

As we learned at the end of the midseason finale (“Home”), Anastasia’s love for Will has been the motivation for everything she’s done during the season. She has been trying to capture Cyrus and his wishes so that she can use his power to break the laws of magic and somehow get Will back.

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TV Time: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 1.02

Get ready for another trip down the rabbit hole—Leah is back with her latest review of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

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Title Trust Me

What Happened? As we follow Alice and the Knave on their continuing journey to find Cyrus by finding his bottle, Alice sets a trap with the purpose of knowing whom she is up against—something Cyrus once told her is essential to any battle. Meanwhile, the Red Queen and Jafar continue to struggle for dominance in their relationship, and the Red Queen makes a move that puts them on more equal footing.

Favorite Lines
“The one thing you can count on in Wonderland is that you can’t count on anyone.” (Alice)

“Very nice dungeon you have here…I can really see you enjoy dampness. Remind me to tell you the value of keeping pretty things around.” (Red Queen)

“I thought when you truly loved somebody, you didn’t need any proof.”
“You don’t, but it’s still nice to have.”
(The Knave and Alice)

My Thoughts
In my opinion, this episode was a major improvement on last week’s pilot episode. The characters all gained more depth, and the plot gave you just enough information to move the story along while not revealing everything all at once.

I found myself pleasantly surprised by Alice in this episode. While I already liked her from what we saw of her in the pilot, I did not expect the trap she set in this episode. Alice may seem naïve and foolish to the outside observer, but she’s got more to her than that. She showed us in this episode that she also has cleverness and creativeness, and is perhaps not quite what everyone first perceives her to be. She’s an optimist, yes, but she also knows what it is like to feel left behind by a loved one, as she tells us that her father has “moved on” from her. It was nice to see that even someone as persistent and optimistic as Alice sometimes has doubts, and has things in her past that haunt her.

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Pilot Review: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Today at NGN, we welcome back the lovely Leah with her thoughts on the pilot of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland!

OUAT-Wonderland-Title-Card

Title Down the Rabbit Hole

Watch It Live, DVR, or Skip It DVR

What Happened? In the pilot episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, we are introduced to Alice, her situation in a Victorian-era world, and the main plot for the season: Alice’s journey to reunite with her love, Cyrus, while battling the Red Queen and Jafar.

Favorite Line “This is humiliating…I’m gonna die like a bloody s’more.” (The Knave of Hearts)

My Thoughts In my opinion, this was a solid—but not amazing—start for this Once Upon a Time spin-off. It properly introduced us to the main characters, and it set up the basic goal for Alice while she’s in Wonderland (finding Cyrus). I felt this pilot established Alice’s personality pretty well, and gave us a good explanation for why our Alice is so much older than the traditional Alice of Lewis Carroll’s tale: This Alice has been looking for proof of Wonderland to bring to her father for years and somehow just hasn’t quite succeeded. All her talk of the magic of Wonderland along with her multiple disappearances to the land make her father fear that she is losing her mind. He commits her to a psychiatric ward, which is where we find Alice.

For me, the love story between Cyrus and Alice was a tad boring. Their relationship bordered on saccharine at times to the point of annoyance, and that’s saying something, as I’m generally a fan of sappy romances. I think most of the reason I don’t care much about the love story so far is that I feel like we barely know Cyrus. He needs to be developed more into his own character and we need to see more of those two together in scenes that aren’t focused solely on their romance before I’ll really, truly be rooting for their love to succeed. I have faith that the show can make it happen, though, because the crew behind this spin-off has created some beautiful and complicated romances on the main show.

The aspect of the show that most interested me in this pilot was Alice’s friends, especially her relationship with the Knave of Hearts. To be completely honest, I found her banter-laden and complicated relationship with the Knave more interesting than her relationship with Cyrus. The Knave felt like a fully fleshed-out person and had hints at intriguing backstory throughout the episode. He’s also certainly loyal to Alice, but he isn’t going to blindly follow her anywhere. And he’s got a streak of selfishness with some recklessness in him that makes for a very interesting combination. I hope we’ll get to see and learn more about him as the show goes on.

While the pilot didn’t blow me away, I think it definitely has potential, and I’ll continue to see where the story goes as we get further into Alice’s journey.

TV Time: Teen Wolf 3.10

Today it’s time once again for Leah’s recap of the latest episode of Teen Wolf

Title The Overlooked

What Happened? Scott, Stiles, Derek, and Peter are trapped with Jennifer Blake in the evacuated hospital during a bad storm, and they have to deal with trying to save Cora while navigating the struggle between Jennifer and the Alpha Pack, who each have their own agendas. While trapped in an elevator, Jennifer Blake reveals to Derek how she turned into this dark druid. When she escapes the elevator, knocking Derek out before she leaves, she kidnaps Melissa McCall as one of her next sacrifices (guardians). Scott cannot get to his mom in time to save her from Jennifer, and he sees no other option than to join Deucalion in order to get his help in bringing his mother and the sheriff back safely.

Favorite Quotes
“We’ve got a problem. A big problem.” (Peter)

“You know, next time I put my lips to your mouth you better be awake.” (Stiles)

“You know, I actually used to be the one with the plan. Or at least a Plan B. Now, I don’t know; I’m thinking maybe you were right. I mean, we are pretty much useless. Maybe all we really do is find the bodies…I don’t want to find my father’s body.” (Stiles)

“Well if that means I should continue to be profoundly terrified, then don’t worry, I’ve got it covered.” (Melissa McCall)

“We were the overlooked. The emissaries. It was a mistake Deucalion and the Alphas should never have made, because I made an oath of my own. From virgins and warriors, from healers, philosophers, and guardians, to loan me their power so that I could teach these monsters that their monstrous actions would never be overlooked.” (Jennifer Blake, aka Julia Baccari)

My Thoughts I’m going to start off with the bad because I like to keep things positive, but I need to say something about this season of Teen Wolf. While I am enjoying the show, I feel like it has gone a little off the path in a way that has made it less impactful. We are almost all of the way through these first 12 episodes, and yet we have barely had any onscreen development with our main characters or the relationships between them. Most of the development we’ve seen has seemed to happen over the summer—the four months that passed between Season Two and this season.

We’ve had a bit of development for Allison, which has been done well in my opinion, but, other than that, we’ve only had bits and pieces. “Motel California” was possibly the best at showing us character moments, because it gave us time with many of the characters and showed their inner conflicts, while also showing us their relationships with each other. Sure, we’ve seen hints this season that Stiles is cracking under the strain of the events of the past year. We’ve seen Scott wrestling with fears of becoming an Alpha and the responsibilities that could entail, as well as how to deal with fighting the Alphas without doing something he’d regret.

The writers have also added on to the mountain that is Derek Hale’s angst and guilt, multiplying it even further with not only the backstory involving Paige but Derek’s storyline with Jennifer as well—all compounding into one big pile of emotion I like call “Derek’s life is the worst ever; I don’t know how he decides not to just spend all day in bed.” It’s too much; it’s growing to a point where it’s ridiculous rather than horrifying and impactful.

There have been so many missing character moments so far this season. Scott and Allison still haven’t had the relationship talk they meant to have in Episode One. We’ve barely seen how Lydia’s dealing with Jackson being gone other than her getting it on with a few other guys. Derek and Cora haven’t had a proper conversation about the past or about where each of them were during the six years they’ve been apart. We haven’t seen Scott talk to Stiles (or Isaac, potentially his new BFF) about his anxiety over his new Alpha status or how to deal with Deucalion. Most of the episodes and the plot this season are being driven by new characters, and we’re missing out on having moments with our core characters. To me, that is what the crucial missing element has been this season and why, while I am still enjoying this season, I am also disappointed with it.

Now, on to my thoughts for this week!

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TV Time: Teen Wolf 3.09

It’s time once again for Leah to share her thoughts on the latest episode of Teen Wolf!

If you haven’t watched the episode yet, do that before reading! There are some major events in this episode that you do not want spoiled for you; trust me. Then come back and share your thoughts with me!

Title The Girl Who Knew Too Much

What Happened? In this episode, the Darach continues its sacrifices and our group scrambles to figure out its plan in order to stop it before it kills again. Isaac and Allison try to figure out what Chris Argent is up to, and Stiles tries to tell his father the truth about the supernatural beings that inhabit his town. Ultimately, during the school’s memorial for the recent lives lost in Beacon Hills, Jennifer Blake is revealed to be the Darach when she draws Lydia into an empty classroom in order to silence her and also finally gives us a name for Lydia’s powers—banshee. Sheriff Stilinski interrupts the attempt to kill Lydia, but he gets hurt and is taken by Jennifer as she escapes from Scott and Stiles via the classroom window.

Favorite Quotes
“You found a dead body?”
“Not yet.”
“Not yet? What do you mean not yet? Lydia, you’re supposed to call us after you find the dead body.”
“Oh no, I’m not doing that again. You find the dead body from now on.”
“How are we supposed to find the dead body? You’re always the one finding the dead body.”
“Guys…I found the dead body.” (Stiles, Lydia, and Scott)

“I cannot believe that we’ve gotten to the point where a sentence like ‘What if the Darach was an emissary to the Alphas?’ actually makes sense to me.” (Stiles)

“I smell blood.”
“Where? In what direction?”
“I don’t know, I’m not that good at this yet.” (Isaac and Allison)

“I don’t know why I’m the one that keeps finding the bodies. But maybe…if I just stop trying to fight it…I find them before it happens. Maybe with enough time for someone like you to do something about it.”
“You get me the time, and I’ll do something about it. I swear to God, I will.” (Lydia and Scott)

“You’re just like me, Lydia; look like the innocent flower, be the serpent under it.” (Jennifer Blake)

My Thoughts The “sheriff finds out” plot has been one that I’ve been waiting to see happen for a long time, because one of my favorite relationships on the show is between Stiles and his father. The scenes in Season 2 showing the deterioration of that relationship were some of the most painful scenes for me, and I am quite ready for the sheriff to join in on the supernatural-mystery-solving team, especially if he and Melissa McCall work together like they have been lately, because I am very much in favor of them being an awesome parental team helping their boys out. I think this episode showed us just how much their relationship has worsened due to the fallout from the lies Stiles has had to tell his dad to protect him. The emotional climax with Stiles’s line, “Mom would’ve believed me,” just killed me with feelings for the both of them. Hopefully we’ll get a scene in the next few episodes that will deal with the consequences from the sheriff realizing that his son was actually telling him the truth about werewolves, because I feel like the audience still needs some emotional payoff from the sadness in this episode.

On a side note, I feel like the chess scene with Stiles and the sheriff is probably what it is like for non Teen Wolf fans when we try to explain the plot to them. Sorry, everyone who has heard my excited ramblings about the show and wondered What the heck are you talking about?

We can finally put a name to what all of Lydia’s powers add up to! She is a banshee, which explains why we’ve seen her screaming so much in this season and last season. We still don’t know the full extent of her powers, or how her screaming works other than that she screams before a death occurs. What I find interesting is that it appears that Lydia’s scream acts in a similar way to the wolf howl; it gives her a way of calling the pack, as we saw that not only Scott, Ethan, and Aiden heard her scream, but Derek was able to hear Lydia’s scream all the way from the hospital. I’m hoping that we see that Lydia has more powers than just screaming to forewarn of a death and showing up at the place the bodies will be found, or that she at least learns how to gain some control over her powers.

The last major arc in this episode was the reveal that Jennifer Blake, our seemingly innocent English teacher, is the Darach. I knew there was something strange about her! I am quite curious about her past and her motives now, as she clearly knows the Alpha Pack and fears them enough to feel that the sacrifices are a “necessary evil.” That she is clearly being portrayed at the moment as a character who, as Peter would say, “live[s] in shades of gray,” is quite interesting, and I can’t wait to see where they take her character.

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