Once Upon A Time In Wonderland episode 8 review: Home

Review Kylie Peters 13 Dec 2013 - 07:13

Ambiguous wishes and genie revelations in the Once Upon A Time In Wonderland mid-season finale. Here's Kylie's review...

This review contains spoilers.

1.8 Home

The winter finale of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is a lot like a regular episode until the last ten minutes or so. In the end, a lot happens and the plot takes huge steps forward, but it doesn’t have quite the stakes or emotional impact I would hope to see in a finale. Also, pretty much the entire episode makes no sense whatsoever.

In flashbacks, we see lots of sugary-sweet Alice/Cyrus scenes (with a mortal wound thrown in there for good measure) and learn that Cyrus sacrificed a compass from his mother to get a magical desert love tent—I mean, home—for him and Alice. There’s a bit of conflict thrown in: the aforementioned mortal wound, the aforementioned compass which is apparently supposed to make us feel bad for Cyrus (it doesn’t), and Cyrus almost deciding to leave Alice because that is what’s “good for her,” which as we all know is a perfectly good reason for ditching people you care about in TV land. All of this feels artificial.

In the present, Alice and the Knave reconcile with the White Rabbit and free his captive family—who are in an abandoned cart, not under guard, apparently trapped under a bed sheet. But that’s okay, it doesn’t have to make sense because Whoopi Goldberg voices the White Rabbit’s wife. Alice, the Knave, and the White Rabbit head to the love tent to look for Cyrus.

Cyrus escaped Jafar but is captured by the Red Queen, who has his bottle. For a guy who wants his freedom so bad, Cyrus sure sucks at avoiding getting caught by baddies. Luckily the Red Queen is in good-girl mode this week, and after getting Cyrus to confess where Alice is, she takes him to see her. Meanwhile, Jafar send the Smoke Monster to go shoot lightning bolts at the Red Queen.

Alice and Cyrus’ reunion is cute enough, but after all the build-up it comes with little drama or fanfare. She’s hanging out in their love tent, she sees him walking toward it, and she runs out to greet him. Nothing really exciting happens to get us to this point, and at least in the first two minutes or so of the reunion, there is no real urgency to the situation.

Probably the biggest problem of the episode is the Red Queen’s emotional state. She has been rather inconsistent ever since we learned she is the Knave’s old flame Anastasia, but here it is worse than ever before. She reverts to full-on Anastasia mode with seemingly no provocation. If she wanted the genie so that she could get the Knave’s love back, then what was with all the head-chopping and villainous monologuing? If she regrets becoming the Red Queen, why does she still act like her? If she is doing a bad thing as a means to an end, shouldn’t she go about it in a more remorseful way? I love morally ambiguous characters (case in point, witness the Regina fangirling in my Once Upon a Time reviews), but the Red Queen simply is not convincing.

Close second for the biggest problem of the episode is the sheer stupidity of these people and their wishes. I told you that “If the Knave dies than I die too” wish was a bad idea. I must be a genius or something. Oh wait, no—that was just a really dumbass wish.

So the Knave gets hit by the Smoke Monster and starts dying, and Alice, naturally, joins him. The Knave then decides to save Alice from her dumbass wish by making his own wish to “end Alice’s suffering,” which everybody knows is a euphemism for dying. Aaaargh! Why are you all so dumb?!

Luckily, this idiotically vague wish does not understand euphemisms. It actually does save Alice’s life. It also frees Cyrus, since Cyrus being a genie causes Alice suffering. Apparently Alice will live in a state of eternal bliss from now on, and she will have lots of magic mushrooms and her farts will smell like roses. Except not really, because she immediately begins to suffer again when she learns that the Knave has disappeared.

This is the big plot twist of the episode: Cyrus is no longer a genie, but now the Knave is. I am not sure how this happened, unless having him be a genie somehow ends Alice’s suffering. That’s a stretch though, since Cyrus being a genie was so terrible and I don’t know why she’d wish that fate on her mate the Knave.

The episode is infinitely mock-able. But despite making little sense, it’s worth a mention that it did hold my interest. That interest came partially from the effort to figure out wtf was going on and partially from laughing at it, but there was some genuine interest, too. I’ve come to care about some of the characters (mostly Knave), and some long-developing plot points came to the forefront. It’s not entirely bad as fluff entertainment. You just have to be okay with random plot developments and deus ex machina.

I’m having a hard time confirming this, but I’ve heard through the grapevine (not literal) that there are supposed to be five more episodes in the series, starting in March. But for the past two months folks have been predicting the show’s cancellation, many saying it would come after the winter finale.

After that cliffhanger, I’d like to see the show continue long enough to wrap up nicely. This show doesn’t need a second, season, though. The Once staff should focus on creating a tight, fast-paced, and ideally sense-making ending to leave viewers with good memories of the show’s run. Here’s hoping we won’t be getting any bad news about Once Upon a Time in Wonderland over the next few weeks.

Read Kylie's review of episode six, Who's Alice?, here.

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I have no idea what show you're watching. The Red Queen has been perfectly consistent, much more so than Regina (really, how is she, a mass murderer, manipulator, and rapist "morally ambiguous"? She may delusionally think she's done no wrong, but that doesn't make her morally ambiguous, just lacking self-awareness, which at least the Red Queen doesn't suffer from.)

She didn't just want Will's love back, she wanted to change the past so that she never lost it in the first place, so that she never became the Red Queen. That is why she did all the head-chopping and villainous monologuing: because she knew achieving her endgame would wipe all that out of history anyway.

And she has ALWAYS gone about it in a remorseful way, you can see it in her eyes constantly like when the Grendel was killed or when Alice was tortured by Jafar or when Alice seemingly died falling down the chasm. Behind her stiff royal facade, she's sad about doing evil, even if it is a means to an end to reverse it all.

The show is not perfect (Sayid controlling the smoke monster) but it's been more interesting than the Neverland arc over on OUAT. I hope ABC lets them have a proper finale.

I loved your review, I though it was witty and pointed out some really great weaknesses in the plot. I did, however, want to answer why the knave became the genie. I'm not an expert (clearly, since genies don't exist) but it's basically the theme of conserving matter. When you burn a log, you have ashes. When you et an apple, your body gets calories and you make waste. When a genie is freed, one must take his place. You can't jus leave a big power void like that in the universe. If you watch Aladdin, or read any type of fantasy novels, this is typically the case. I totally sound like a nerd right, BUT I just wanted to put it out there, in case you were honestly interested. lol.

The episode was perfectly sensible as far as I was concerned. Its a fantasy after all, and there's no reason at all why it has to be logical as well.

Seeing as how it's a "winter finale" and not a SEASON finale, I'm sure there are more episodes taped already and they'll finish the season. But this show will be cancelled - the ratings are awful because the show kinda sucks. Is it the worst? Not at all, but it's really blah - especially in comparison to OUAT's open season.

If some people want to accept an Aladdin character in Wonderland - fine, but to me it's absurd they didn't give the traditional villain the first season as the villain - even Regina had the first couple of seasons as the main villain in OUAT, and they stuck with fairytale/Disney characters in OUAT - they didn't bring in Jar Jar Binks/Yoda or something.
If anything Jafar could of been a villain on OUAT, but in Wonderland it's just absurd.

This series really could of been amazing with limitless amount of potential, but sadly fell extremely flat, and in TV-World they don't give series time to build. If the ratings are THIS bad, the show gets canned.

I think the writers really messed up with this, and I'm actually really ticked at them. They spent so much time trying to be "different" that they morphed Wonderland TOO much. We expected it to be different, but what we were given was absurd, and the two million drop in views proves that most agree with me.

I dont know what any of you are watching, I've enjoyed the series at face value, I dont look further into it, looking for inconsistancies and the average child watching it wouldnt either, its a fantasy and fantasies generally dont make logical sense. I have sat on the edge of my seat wanting more each week. I enjoyed cross over characters such as Jafar and I am eager to see the series finale. The only thing I can say is that it isnt a show that should have another season and I look forward to all the storylines being wrapped up.

Of course someone has to take a freed genie, but I'm curious as to why KNAVE and not someone else, like the Red Queen. As pointed out in the review, Alice's suffering commences once again when she learns Knave is gone, and if it had been the Red Queen instead, I'm sure she would have suffered less (or not at all). The only reason why it would make sense that Knave is the new genie is because he was the one who made the last wish. Is it supposed to be the consequence of his wish?

I totally agree the red queen had nothing leading or showing that she was going to act the way she did the the 8th episode. I mean in the freaking Hanging episode where Will was about to be hung, she literally had no plan to save him!!!! She was going to just keep her precious priss attitude and do nothing to help, till Alice came along. If she really loved him, and the whole point was to get him back why would she do that....

Also yea the Alice and Cyrus scene, I wasn't in that desperate feeling where I was ecstatic that they got back together, both of them didn't have that omg we have both been fighting for our lives to get back to each other, I freaking love you.

The only reason I'm going to keep watching is because they added such a big twist with the knave being the genie, and we finally get to see the episode how Cyrus became the genie

Also yesterday was the last day of filming and all the actors have gone home already. They all know there's no real plan of a second season and are starting new projects

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