Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Alice who had stories to tell. And on tonight's premiere of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
, we got to share in her fairytale.
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She's Not in Wonderland Anymore
The episode starts with a young Alice popping out of the ground and running to her home, yelling for her father. She tries to start explaining to him where she was, but her father is obviously shocked by her appearance. He explains that the little girl has been gone a very long time. We then see her father and another man talking in another room while she eavesdrops, and they believe she is lying. "It was real," she swears, "And I'm going to prove it."
The Knave and the Rabbit
Present day, in the "real world," the next scene shows a man heading into a restaurant after closing during a storm. He is the Knave of Hearts, and he proves to be very important to Alice in this premiere episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. In the restaurant, the floor opens up much the same way it did when little Alice returned to this world, and out comes the White Rabbit, voiced by John Lithgow. The White Rabbit tells the Knave that Alice needs him, and in the next scene we are shown why.
Curiouser and Curiouser
Alice has been brought to a mental hospital, after years of trying to convince her father of the truth about her adventures in Wonderland. She is now denying her tales, as no one has believed her all that time. In a series of flashbacks, we are introduced to another very important person to Alice: Cyrus, a genie. She was on the run in a labyrinth during one of her adventures, and when she shrank to escape her pursuers, she ran into a bottle that happened to be his home. He welcomes her, and back in present day, when questioned about where she really was when she went missing, she explains that she was with a friend, which isn't a lie.
In a flashback, Alice explains to Cyrus that she had to bring something back to her world to finally prove to everyone that what she has told them is true, and she pulls the White Rabbit from her bag. Cyrus asks her what she is risking this endeavor for, and she explains that her father thinks she is insane. Which would explain why he had her put in an asylum. We learn through these flashbacks that during their time together, Alice and Cyrus fell in love, and he even proposed to her in Wonderland. During that particular flashback, they both grasp a glowing red pendant, which appears to be the embodiment of Cyrus' wish-granting ability.
Return to Wonderland
Out of Wonderland, one of the men at the asylum tells Alice that she calls out for Cyrus in her sleep, and we learn that Cyrus died in Wonderland. The man claims that Alice said he was murdered, and we are shown that immediately after the proposal, the Red Queen and her men showed up, fought with Alice and Cyrus, and Cyrus was thrown off a cliff and killed. The men at Bethlem Asylum then try to convince Alice to get a "procedure" done that will make what they think of as her delusions go away, and she signs a form agreeing to it.
Luckily, before the operation, the Knave shows up and tries to convince her to leave. At first she doesn't want to go, but then he tells her the one thing that will make her believe in herself and Wonderland again: Cyrus, he claims, is alive. Together they fight off the guards that show up, meet up with the White Rabbit, and they all race through a marketplace before the Rabbit opens a portal back to Wonderland. The Knave of Hearts is reluctant to go, stating that since she left, he's done terrible things in that land. But she convinces him, and they grab hands before stepping into the portal together.
A Sticky Situation
When they all land in Wonderland, Alice immediately asks about Cyrus' whereabouts. The White Rabbit claims that he heard Cyrus was at the house of the Mad Hatter, and she is determined to find him. But they landed in a marshmallow-like substance, and the Knave, also known as Will, and Alice are sinking fast. The White Rabbit goes to get help, and Will mentions something about s'mores, giving Alice the idea to grab a passing bug and somehow make it breathe fire on the substance so that it toasts and they can climb out and escape. When they get out, they start to argue about what they're doing. Will claims he left Wonderland for very good reasons and that he is not welcome there, but Alice offers to pay him in wishes, stashed away in her boot, to look for Cyrus with her. Will asks why she doesn't just wish Cyrus back, but she explains that wishes are tricky and have strings attached. So he agrees to help her find Cyrus if he can get a wish, one that he will ensure is consequence-free.
The Red Queen Schemes
The White Rabbit does not, in fact, go to get help, but does the opposite and finds the Red Queen instead. As it turns out, he is working for her. The Rabbit asks if Cyrus really is alive, but the Queen doesn't explain and instead tells him he must report to her on everything Alice is doing. Not long after, the Red Queen is up to even more evil-doing when she meets up with another villain, Jafar. We learn that they are after Cyrus' power, and they have a nasty altercation during which Jafar chokes her with his powers. When he stops, she states that they have a deal and that he needs to let her deal with Alice if he wants his wishes, before he departs on a magic carpet.
Speaking of Alice, she and the Knave of Hearts arrive at the Tulgey Woods, where the Mad Hatter's house lies, and they are that much closer to finding Cyrus. They happen upon a Wanted posted for Will, and she asks what he did that was so bad, but he won't tell her. She goes to climb a tree for a better view, and she takes her shoes off to do so. Will takes them and leaves, and when she turns to call for him, she is greeted by the grinning face of the Cheshire Cat in the trees. She is obviously frightened by him, and apparently scared that he will eat her. He stalks her briefly before knocking her over and holding her down, and just when it looks like the end if near for Alice, the Knave of Hearts rescues her. He throws a shrinking mushroom in the Cheshire Cat's mouth, and she is saved. At first she is upset with her for stealing her wishes, but, as she explains, wishes can't be stolen anyway; they have to be granted.
Alice Finds Her Proof
Soon enough, Alice and Will find the Mad Hatter's house, and they meet up with the White Rabbit there. But it is clear that no one is home, and Will doesn't believe Cyrus was ever there. Alice is devastated, and believes that Cyrus really is gone. She goes outside of the house to cry, and there, she finds Cyrus' pendant, which gives her hope that Cyrus is still alive somewhere after all. The Knave is still skeptical, and says they should just leave and make new lives, but Alice refuses, now truly believing that Cyrus is still out there somewhere. He asks her why, as she has no proof, and she quotes a line from earlier in the episode: "When you really love someone, you don't need proof." They decide to go looking for Cyrus together, and their journey begins again.
How Cyrus Survived
In the final scene, we discover that Cyrus is indeed alive, but he is locked in a cage in a dungeon. In yet another flashback, it is revealed that he survived his fall when he landed on none other than Jafar's magic carpet, and back in his present, Jafar enters the room. He apparently imprisoned Cyrus, far away from where Alice, Will and the White Rabbit continue down the road on their quest to find Cyrus as this premiere episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland concludes.
Be sure to catch the next episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland! Thursdays at 8:00 PM on ABC.
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(Image courtesy of ABC)