This is a show about excellent faces.
Hurray, this episode was good! No caveats good! I only really rolled my eyes once. Because Jafar is still a mess. Naveen Andrews: Great! Jafar: …not so much (to be fair, I have the same feelings about Rumplestiltskin. Possibly I just don’t like smarmy manipulative bastard type characters. It’s a theory). Anyway, Jafar is a mess and Jafar-and-Red are still gross and induce eyerolls. But I do hope we get to see more of Agrabah soon. If Jafar gets a meaty backstory maybe he’ll win me over. My daughter thinks he’s secretly Aladdin because he has Carpet. Is Carpet his portal? Can we just skip to Jasmine, please, please, please? Well, point being seeing more of Jafar’s story should make him more likable.
For the record I’m not sold on Cyrus, either. Yawn. But! Overall, I enjoyed this episode (Subtitle: Everybody Gets a Name).
We start (a few years ago…also for the record: the Once timeline makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. At all. Is this after Regina choked on meeting her Pixie-Dust-Lion? But before Marian? And how long was the Knave in Wonderland before Alice? And the Robin & Marian & Rumple &Belle plot is after Baelfire went to England but Alice escaped from England just a few days ago and yet her childhood is 1865 and The Darlings lived in 1904 and meanwhile the Kanve was living in 2013 Storybrooke at the same time and…I think it’s best we just don’t try to understand. Moving on) in the Enchanted Forest with Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Their newest recruit is our Knave of Hearts, before he received the title. His real name is Will Scarlet.
Will comes with a plan to steal gold from Maleficent, who Robin has avoided until now because magic is tricksy and he doesn’t like it (innnnnteresting considering he’s Regina’s new love interest). But Will says they can get in and out with just the money. Robin agrees because he sees himself in Will and wants him to make good choices and believes that the way we learn to make good choices is by gaining the trust of our fellows and superiors. Okay, that’s my headcanon. Robin agrees because Reasons (aka the plot requires it).
The plan works wonderfully, they break in and steal enough gold to feed a village. Only one catch: per Maleficent’s creepy voice projection someone has taken a magical artifact, too. Robin intercepts Will leaving the camp and rightly infers it was him.
Robin’s disappointed face.
Will: What are you gonna do about it?
Robin: Nothing. Magic comes with a price, and stolen magic an even higher one. I’m going to let you pay it.
Will: Whatever, Prince of Thieves.
Robin: I rob from the rich to give to the poor in the name of Humanity. You take things for yourself. You’re the only thief here.
Will: Ugh, it’s like I’m stuck in a morality play or a nursery tale. Oh, wait.
Will bounces with his treasure: a looking glass aka portal to Wonderland. He gives it to his lady love, Anastasia, who is also, of course, She Who Will Be The Red Queen. But right now she looks like Rapunzel and Will looks like Flynn Ryder and there is no way that is not intentional.
Anastasia’s and Will’s youthful excitement faces.
But also, what if she is the nicer of Cinderella’s step-sisters and the reason she ends up ruling in Wonderlnd is she’s bitter about Cindy’s rise to fortune and glory while Anastasia fell into poverty? What if!
In present day Wonderland, our Knave Will points Alice in the direction of a magic noose that can allow them to see the past (okay it’s not exactly a noose but seriously, Wonderland is screwed up) called the Forget Me Not. They go to Jabba the Caterpillar, lord of Underland, to whom Will owes a fortune because he is Han Solo. Also, Underland is inside the mushroom and Alice comments it is bigger on the inside and the writers are such geeks and I love it.
Jabba’s “There will be no bargain” face.
Anyway, Alice figures out that Jabba doesn’t have the Forget Me Not because she is a Jedi. But he knows where it is and agrees to a new deal: he’ll tell them where the rope window is – and forgive Will’s debt – if they bring it back to him. Alice and Will accept and are off to the Grendel. On the way they discuss morality.
Alice: Maybe giving the worst mob boss in Wonderland a super magical item isn’t the best idea.
Will: If you had to trade someone else’s happiness for yours with your genie, would you?
Alice: That’s not the situation.
Will: You’re evading.
Meanwhile Jafar and Red are feasting in the dungeon because they are kinky. Really they just want to taunt the genie into helping them trick Alice into using a Wish. They pull out their copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and start discussing their options (including the Sarlac, see the writers are such geeks and I love it). Cyrus puts on his best Jon Snow (I know nothing!) face but Team Creepers notice his twitchy eyes at the mention of the Bandersnatch. So they send it after Alice.
Anastasia’s and Jafar’s “Better than you” faces.
Alice and Will arrive at the Grendel’s cabin in the woods, come up with a plan, and fall into a hole before they can put it in motion. They wake up bound in the kitchen. Grendy is preparing to eat them and chatting with a pretty girl on the other side of the rope window. But she’s not talking back because she’s not really there. For once the Knave figures something out before Alice – Grendy is watching his younger and less gruesome self with his lost love – and he tries to bond with the heartbroken Grendel. It doesn’t work, but it’s not for want of trying and I like that it happened.
Okay, this isn’t cute.
But Will’s “Do you think I resemble a Winchester?” face is!
Alice uses the sharp edge of her Wish crystal to cut her and Will free but before they can escape the Grendel the Bandersnatch arrives. Battle ensues! The cabin is destroyed! Alice traps the Bandersnatch with the rope! Will kills the beast! The day is saved! Grendy looks through the rope window but only sees his living room being destroyed because Alice and Will used it to trap the beast. So he gives it to them.
When the Bandersnatch is killed his mate freaks out and Anastasia gets excited. But Jafar fumes because he would know if the Wish was used. Cyrus grins in his cage because he taught Alice all about the Bandersnatch.
Cyrus’s “10 points to Hufflepuff” face.
Team Creepers appear in Grendy’s house and make empty promises about getting his dead wife back for him. Grendy believes them because he had lost his only connection to his dead wife and had nothing left to lose. He tells them about his visitors. The Queen pouts and Jafar blasts Grendy.
Alice and Will return to the Dandy Lion and use the rope window to discover who took the bottle: the Rabbit, on orders of the Queen. The Knave pouts and Alice blasts the Rabbit. With words. They head off to give Jabba the rope. And discuss morality some more (are you noticing a theme?).
Will: Maybe you were right about the Caterpillar and the rope.
Alice: What changed your mind?
Will: I don’t want to be a thief thief.
Alice: I don’t understand that reference, but I approve.
Will: burns the rope
Alice: P.S. Who’s Anastasia?
Will: Sod off.
Alice: You’re evading.
They’re heading off to The Red Queen’s castle so I’m sure she’ll find out soon.
Will’s “You make me want to be good” face.