Today the lovely Leah is back with her thoughts on the latest episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland!
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.
In this episode, we also built on the previous mentions of Will no longer having his heart, as he stashed it in Storybrooke before he took Alice to Wonderland. One of my favorite parts of the episode was watching Alice and Cyrus learn about modern technology and try to figure out what things were in Will’s previous home. It was a nice moment of levity in an episode that had some intense and emotional scenes.
During Alice and Cyrus’s confrontation with Jafar, Cyrus and Jafar trade objects: Jafar ends up with Will’s heart, but Cyrus ends up with Jafar’s serpent staff. I really enjoyed seeing Jafar so baffled and slightly panicked, and the idea that the staff can’t (or won’t) work against someone of Amara’s own blood is intriguing. I was wondering how Cyrus was going to discover that his mother was the serpent staff because this discovery was probably always going to be difficult to orchestrate, seeing as the staff doesn’t look like Amara nor can she really speak through it, but I think the show managed to do so in a way that was somewhat believable with the use of the compass and Cyrus’s knowledge of his mother’s love of serpents. I’m really interested to see how they free her and what Amara will say and do when she can finally be herself again.
The last major event in this episode was the replacement of Will’s heart and the stabbing and killing of Anastasia. While like Will and Anastasia together, I do think that their reunion seemed a bit fast. This seems to imply that Will’s lack of a heart was the only thing keeping them from being together since their midseason finale reunion. I would have preferred if they had—instead of kissing—simply interlocked their hands or brushed fingers and gave each other a happy look, perhaps. However, I’m guessing the writers had them kiss because it made the subsequent killing of Anastasia more dramatic and impactful. I am still not convinced that she is going to stay dead, so I hope that in the upcoming episodes they find a way to bring Anastasia back.