Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 1X09 Discussion

For these discussion posts, I decided that the best option was to completely eliminate the Live Twitter aspect of it. I have trouble tweeting, while watching television shows. I can successfully write grammatically-correct, snarky tweets   during award ceremonies, but not television shows. I’m not a natural multitasker; I can only concentrate on one program at a time

Anyways, my new plan of action is to have Once Upon a Time discussion posts about the previous week’s episode on the day, when the new episodes of each respective series is planned to air. So, that means today will be a snark-ridden post about last week’s episode and Sunday’s post will revolve around the previous week’s episode of Once Upon a Time.

These posts are guaranteed to be filled with spoilers, since these posts are of a discussion based. Tread carefully, and I have even put a page break here to prevent anyone being caught unawares by spoilers!

 Discussion of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 1×09

Last week, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, the lesser known spin-off of Once Upon a Time, returned with minimal fanfare. This show has been receiving fairly low ratings, in comparison with its mightier parent show. Some of the reasons that this show may be getting ignored is that there is an underlying sense that the show is the decaf version of Once Upon a Time. Initially, the show did indeed feel like a pale imitation of the original show with lighter casting, cheaper CGI effects, and a far less expansive story-line.

As the episodes progressed, the show though gained more traction, in terms of developing a tightly plotted story-line.   I was still a bit unsure about how the genie bottle plot-line will work out, though, given the fact that the genie trapped by Jafar (the main villain of this show) is still one of the trouble spots of this show. Alice and the knave of hearts really were the only reason I kept watching the show because their banter and chemistry was very, very entertaining.

Things I continue to love:

Jafar: A True, unadulterated Blend of Villainy with just the right dose of “grey”

In the last season, we started to see more focus being paid to Jafar’s troublesome past, though, and this has granted Jafar much more depth. More importantly, he doesn’t seem ready to forsake his acts of villainy; there will be no sudden character reversals from him. He doesn’t seem to be on a quest towards redemption any-time soon, and it is this villainy mixed with just the right dose of grey morality that makes him a fairly intriguing villain. There are just the right amount of subtle moments, where his villainous acts make sense in the context of a particular scene.

His perfidious acts are always performed without the slightest relapse of remorse. His character never seeks any recourse for his actions, and this is why he is becoming one of the best villians in the Once Upon a Time universe. While, I really love my complex villains in Once Upon a Time, their more redeeming qualities are still a preserved love for certain family members (I’m speaking, of course, of Rumple and Regina). And, it is this empathy for someone outside of themselves that doesn’t quite define them strictly as classic villains in the Disney sense.

   I love that Jafar abhors his father, and that the show did such a fantastic job conveying to us just why Jafar hates him so much (attemped death via strangulation and drowning is a very cruel form of death, indeed). You want to hate Jafar’s father, but Jafar’s father provides assistant to Cyrus (Alice’s true love/kidnapped genie). I highly doubt that Jafar’s father is doing this for any morally superior reasons. It is purely selfish, insofar that providing assistance to Jafar’s enemies is an act of vengeance against Jafar for imprisoning him (I still believe that the portly, little abusive father needs to remain penned in).

The Spike-like snark and bad-assery of the Knave of Hearts

Our favorite character, from the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland universe, has become a bloody genie, and I loved every minute of the most recent episode, where we start to see the unique psychological struggle related with becoming a genie. Supposedly, genies are not quite autonomous. The Knave of Hearts may have free agency, related to being free to  jest and snark. He is still allowed to make his most infamous utterance, Bloody Hell. Someone that has possession of his genie bottle might grow tired of him saying, Bloody Hell, and decide to make a wish that prevents him from saying it. Knowing its popularity though with fans, the creators don’t seem to want to make any character that would have any desire to magically stultify such speech from our good’ ol friend Knave of Hearts.

The most intriguing part of this episode was his interaction with the recently introduced character from the eighth episode of OUATWLizard. The show’s writers brought her back into the show, by having her be the one to find the knave of heart’s genie bottle. Her reluctance, at first, to make any wishes that impede upon the Knave of Hearts belies a certain selfish lust that Lizard has for the Knave of Hearts. The way that her wishes initially begin with her making a more selfless request of allowing the Knave of Hearts to provide beer and merriment to the people of one of the villages of Wonderland shows that she feels positively daunted by the whole notion of someone that she loves being under her metaphorical control.

When the Knave of Hearts encourages her to reveal her most intimate secrets, we see a tragic (almost Opheliac) downturn of her character. Her second wish is much more vain and self-focused; she wants to become more attractive. It was really quite sad to see the spunky, tom-boyish look vanish, when she turns into a much more demure looking princess. As she implores the Knave of Hearts to reciprocate her long-held feelings that she has for him, you can almost see the pain in Knave of Heart’s eyes, knowing that he doesn’t have a heart and will never be able to reciprocate anyone’s feelings in that way. When she says, she wishes that the Knave of Hearts could feel anything for her,she ends up wishing away her life, as the only way for that wish to become manifest is for her to die in order for the Knave of Hearts to feel  a stabbing feeling of regret.

I found the Shakespearean influence of this scene interesting. You had to really think carefully about each character’s idiosyncratic behavior, when thinking carefully about how the wishes work and how they reveal a character’s subconscious wishes. It is interesting to see the way that the three wishes begin with something far more empathetic and super-ego-ish, only to become more desperate, more selfish, more forlorn, and more Id-ish.

Just think: the genies have to watch everyone of their owners slowly undergo this devolution of morality, as they desperately come to the grips with the prospect of owning a genie ( a sentient being in his own right) that can contrive anything for them.

I really cannot wait to see the newest dilemmas that will arise for the Knave of Hearts, now that Anastasia (the Queen of Hearts) has procured his genie bottle.

Now, time for snarky reflection on certain points in the latest episode, 1×09:

The Sheer Sappiness of CyrusXAlice

In this episode, I dreaded the moment that Cyrus would offered his proffered wedding ring, and get down on his knees to make some ridiculously lofty proposal to Alice. I’m glad that Alice still is spunky enough to express her distrust of Anastasia joining their brigade, but her interaction with Cyrus is still ridiculously trite. I was expecting to see more development of Cyrus, but he still rather dull and highly moralistic. First off, he trusts people too easily. He trusts Jafar’s father without complication, and now he is incredulous that Alice (who has been through a lot of shit with Anastasia) is somehow not fully embracing this new change of character for Anastasia (Is Anastasia really less duplicitous before?)

I’m glad that the show did have the maturity to focus much more on the forthcoming battle between Alice and her brigade, versus Jafar and his new employed mistress (he loves emasculating mistresses, like the Jabberwocky).  We will be spared the agony of watching Cyrus and Alice gaze longingly and doe-eyed at each other. More importantly, the show won’t pull a Beauty and the Beast (the dreadful, Harlequin series from the eighties with Linda Hamilton and Ron Pearlman), and spend all the episodes on their static relationship. Can we have a more dynamic relationship? The fact that Alice and Cyrus have opposing opinions on Anastasia (and they both are very different, when it comes to trust issues) shows that they do have divergent perspectives on one another, and I hope this show steers clear of Beauty and the Beast-syndrome, and doesn’t keep making us have blind adulation for a static relationship. Show, rather than dictate to us more reasons, as to why we might believe that Alice and Cyrus really are loves, worthy of the whole “true love” thing.

Finally, Lady Gaga (sans the meat dress) joins the show as the Jabberwocky (just an actress that has a uncanny resemblance to Lady Gaga)! Perhaps, she is the sister of David Bowie’s Labyrinth character:

I love how the Jabberwocky is donning the whole dominatrix, new-age Lady Gaga look without any rotting meat to spare! In the highly cheesy Alice through the Looking Glass adaptation from the eighties, the Jabberwocky was some ridiculously cheap dragon animatronic thing, but now the Jabberwocky has undergone a human transformation, and she is the cross-eyed progeny of Lady Gaga and David Bowie. Lady Jabberwocky Bowie, perhaps! Or, maybe she’ll have an entirely different moniker, once her true name is revealed.

    Interestingly, Lady Jabberwocky has the ability to forcefully penetrate people’s minds with her adept telepathic abilities. She makes poor Jafar suffer Post-Traumatic stress disorder, as she quite literally reminds him of how much torture she can wrought upon those she wishes to manipulate into accomplishing her deeds. I really cannot wait to see more development of her, because she is one formidable bitch! What is her motive in taking sides with Jafar? Who is really the one in control of everything, her or Jafar? Anyways, Lady Jabberwocky is here to stay, and make people revisit their post-traumatic nightmares. 

Enjoy tonight’s episode, and be prepared for a discussion of that episode next week!!

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