Now it feels like a spin off. Yes, they had the cameos in the pilot, but that's pretty much all they were. And yes, I know we'd been to Wonderland on Once Upon a Time. But now it feels a bit more like they aren't running another story but are actually part of the same universe.
And why is that? Because the Knave of Hearts is Will Scarlett, one of Robin Hood's Merry Men. We got a flashback with his story set mostly in
, which also means
we got Robin Hood and Maleficent. Enchanted
Our story in
starts "a few
years ago" and centered on a time when Will had just joined Robin Hood's
men. But he joined them with his own agenda
in mind. We wanted to rob Maleficent's
castle. As soon as he was
"in," he brought up the suggestion.
And when he finally talked Robin into it, Robin told his men to only
take the gold they were going to steal.
While Maleficent was not at home when they robbed her (smart on their
part), if they took any magic, she'd come after them. Enchanted
Well, Will didn't listen since he was after a mirror, and sure enough Maleficent's voice shows up at the Merry Men's camp that night threatening whoever stole magic from her. While Will doesn't confess, Robin figures it out pretty quickly, but Will still gets away with it.
And goes home to the love of his life Anastasia. They want the mirror to use to get to another land. Specifically, Wonderland. Yes, the mirror is a portal, which fits with Through the Looking Glass, although that didn't take Alice to Wonderland, at least not in the novels (the movies just throw elements together much of the time).
The mirror works, and they jump through to end the flashback.
Meanwhile, in modern day Wonderland, Alice and the Knave are still stunned to realize that Cyrus' bottle is gone. But the Knave suggests they get a magic rope that will show them the last thing to happen at that location. This will give them the person who stole the bottle. Just one problem. The rope is held by the Caterpillar - the person who has put the price on Knave's head.
Still, they journey to his mushroom and go inside to Underland. There, Knave and Caterpillar make a deal. If Knave gets the rope and brings it back, Caterpillar will forget his debt. The only problem is the rope is currently held by a monster who loves to eat people. Knave and Alice set off, but they are quickly captured by the Monster.
However, Jafar and the Red Queen are working on their own plot to get
to use her wishes. They are going to
send a beast after Alice. They use Cyrus to figure out one that Alice is afraid of and
send it after her.
This Beast shows up at Monster's house just as Alice and Knave have gotten free from the ropes binding them. They use the Beast's lack of good eyesight and the rope of trick it, and eventually Knave kills it. However, in doing that, they ruin what Monster was using the rope for. He had it set to show the last moments he had with his wife before he was turned into a Monster and she was killed by Red Queen. Because they saved his life and he has no more use for the rope, he gives it to them and frees them.
Jafar and Queen know that the beast is dead but
Alice didn't use a wish. So they set out to find out what
happened. Monster tells them, and then
they kill him - keeping a promise to reunite him with his wife.
Meanwhile, Alice and Knave have returned to the hole and the magic works so they see that it was the White Rabbit who dug up the bottle and gave it to the Red Queen.
Alice is shocked and upset to learn that he is
not a friend. And even though it means
he's still in danger, Knave decides to burn the rope instead of give it to
Caterpillar, thereby keeping Caterpillar from gaining more power.
Obviously, the big question is what happened to Anastasia. We clearly saw both her and Will/Knave jump into the portal at the end of the flashback, but Knave was hinting that something happened to her in Wonderland. I'm sure we'll get that in further flashbacks.
There is definitely a sense of danger here that is greater than on the original show. The exception was when Cora was in Storybrooke last season, but even still, Jafar and Red Queen seem to be the most powerful and scariest villains we've dealt with to date.
Next week the show is off for Halloween, but I look forward to seeing where it goes next in two weeks.