Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
gets all parental tonight, as the entire episode deals with a few characters and their relationships with their fathers.
Jafar's Painful Past
The episode opens in Agrabah "many years ago," in a scene depicting Little Jafar standing by his mother's deathbed as she prepares to pass away. She reveals to him then that his real father is the sultan, which I totally guessed a few episodes ago, so not exactly the shocker it's probably meant to be.
She gives him a ring and tells him to go to the palace, that the sultan will know who he is if he shows it to him, and then she promptly dies in front of him. Poor baby Jafar.
So Little Jafar follows his mother's instructions in a bit of an unorthodox way when he steals from a palace guard and is brought before the sultan. His punishment? His hand is to be cut off. But when he shows that hand to the sultan, the ring is on his finger. The sultan asks where he got it, and he recognizes the name of Jafar's mother, Ulima, when Jafar provides it.
But the sultan doesn't welcome Jafar as his long-lost son. Quite the opposite, in fact. He tells him he is not his son by any means, that he already has a son and heir in his child, MIrza. He instead says he will take him in as a serving boy for his family. With no other option, and probably hoping for a change of heart, Little Jafar accepts this offer. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland isn't one for tearful father/son moments, I guess.
The New Plan
In the present, Jafar talks to Alice's father and shows him the White Rabbit to prove to him that all of Alice's fanciful tales were in fact true. He then has the Rabbit open a portal to Wonderland, and brings them all through to the magical world.
You see, Jafar has Alice's father convinced that he's a doctor from Alice's time at the asylum, and he tries to convince him to go and talk to her. But Alice's father feels that their bond is irreparably broken, so Jafar has to come up with a new plan.
So Jafar ties him up, steals his blood, puts it into a potion, and then asks questions of Edwin to figure out how to fool Alice into thinking he is her father once he transforms into the spitting image of him. He says he is going to steal Alice's love, which doesn't bode well for her, then throws her father into a cage in his prison. The guy wastes no time, I'll give him that.
Elsewhere, Alice and Will are trying to figure out a way to get to the floating island they believe Cyrus is being held on. Alice says they just have to get creative, which I feel like she says or thinks quite a lot on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
But the two are in luck, because nearby there's a magical birdbark tree, and the wood of the tree apparently flies or something. I'm honestly not really sure how it works. So Alice's new idea is to build a basket large enough to carry people with some wood, attach some of the birdbark to it so it can fly, and then fly up to the island. Seems legit.
Meanwhile, Jafar is listening in the trees, and he takes his opportunity to drink the potion. He then stumbles out, revealing what Alice thinks is her father. He plays his part, acting all "oh, can you ever forgive me?" and such, and the girl is obviously quite confused.
Jafar-as-Edwin makes up a story about doing research and going through a looking glass to get to Wonderland, and wonders how he can ever make up for being a terrible father to Alice. She's understandably pissed at him for never believing in her and for sticking her in an asylum for her stories that she thinks he now believes, and says that it's too late to save their relationship. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is just batting a thousand with the crappy fathers in this episode, I gotta say.
So Will and Jafar-as-Edwin talk, and Will tells him he thinks Alice will eventually forgive him because she never gives up on people. He thinks that especially if he helps her to find Cyrus, all will be well with the father/daughter duo. Later, Alice and Will talk, and he tells her that he believes she will eventually lighten up on her father because she always does the right thing. That Knave is just full of encouragement tonight, isn't he?
Just then, Jafar-as-Edgar conjures a freaking dragon, and it swoops down to the group. For some reason, when Alice and Will protect themselves with the wood from the basket they're building, they don't die horribly from being burned to bits, and instead are able to run from the beast.
This is of course followed by a near-death experience for Jafar-as-Edwin, during which Alice saves his life somehow by taking one swipe at the dragon with her sword. She cries a little, then asks him if he wants to go with to rescue Cyrus. Jafar-as-Edwin, of course, accepts. Evilly.
And the Award For Worst Father Goes To...
Back in Jafar's past again, we witness one particular incident in which Little Jafar bests Mirza in front of visiting royal guests, which is followed by his half-brother slapping him in the face afterward. When the sultan comes upon them, he encourages Mirza, which super sucks for poor Little Jafar.
After this incident, the sultan comes to Jafar and gives some half-assed reason for why he let Mirza hit him. He then proceeds to try to drown the poor kid in a water basin, and it's honestly a little much for me at 8:00 PM on a Thursday, seeing a father try to drown his kid. Maybe that's just me though.
When it appears Jafar is dead, the sultan has guards wrap him in a rug and take him out with "the refuse," because he is a terrible person. We later find out that Jafar didn't die, because duh, he grows up, or maybe he was resurrected or something if that wind that blew over him meant anything,
Alice Figures It All Out
Alice's father and the other guy in Jafar's dungeon have a heart-to-heart, and the other guy reassures Edwin that there are worse sins a father can commit against their child than Edwin has done to Alice. Is anyone else seeing where they're going with this?
Meanwhile, Alice, Will and Jafar-as-Edwin eat the dragon around a fire, and Alice quickly realizes that the man sitting before her is not her father. Why? As she explains to Will when she pulls him away from the fire to talk, her father always says grace before he eats (he did in the previous scene in Jafar's prison, for instance), and he didn't before he started eating with them.
Since Alice has realized his secret, Jafar turns back into himself, and makes his way back to his palace. Alice and Will are trying to get away from the Impostor!Edwin, only to run into Jafar and the real Edwin floating on Jafar's magic carpet. Alice, who had felt tricked and terrible about it just minutes before, doesn't believe Edwin is really her father this time around either.
Jafar tells Edwin to beg for his life, and magically holds him over the water far below. Edwin gives a tearful speech about not blaming Alice for not knowing it's him, since he sent her away and was terrible about blaming her for her mother's death and stuff. Which, wow. That's really crappy of you, Edwin.
Alice is swayed by this, and Edwin tells her he doesn't ask for her forgiveness. He only wants to give her the one thing he can: hope. He then tells her Cyrus has escaped Jafar's prison, and he is punished for telling her when Jafar drops him, seemingly to his death.
But Alice uses her second wish to wish her father back home, so he is spared. Jafar is not happy with this, and vows that he will have her genie soon enough, one way or another. Ominous.
Afterwards, Alice is pleased because one of the two holes in her life, the situation with her father, has been remedied. And now that she knows Cyrus is truly out there, she can have hope about that too. Girl has a bit of a one-track mind when it comes to that boy, but it seems to work out for her.
More Daddy Issues
After the newest confrontation with Alice, Jafar storms into his prison and demands to speak with the old guy, who is sick of speaking between bars. We then flash back to a reveal that the old guy is in fact Jafar's father, and wow. Most predictable plot twist on this show, and that's saying something.
Jafar tries to get Mirza, who walks in during the flashback, to fight him to save his father, but he tries to run instead like the coward he is, so Jafar kills him. Jafar tells his father he would've died for him, but the guy still won't acknowledge that Jafar is his son. He swears he never wins, but Jafar claims he will one day. Hence why he's locked up in a cage and all.
In present Wonderland, Jafar says when he can change the laws of magic, he will take his father's love and respect instead of waiting for it to be offered. He asks his father if he has any regrets about their relationship, and his father is terrible, so he tells him that he only wishes he had held him under the water longer. Good God, that's awful.
He then says he will take away the one thing that matters most to Jafar, and then attempts to commit suicide by stepping off the ledge into the dark abyss below the cages. I have to say, this show is super dark considering it's called Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
Jafar's carpet catches his father, and he throws him back into his cage. He promises that the real fun is only beginning, and I think I'm supposed to find this foreboding, but mostly I'm just bored.
Also in this episode, the Red Queen appears very briefly, just long enough to call one of her servants a lazy imbecile and to make Jafar mad. She does say that the genie will be back in their hands soon enough, so I guess we know her storyline for the foreseeable future.
Towards the end of the episode, Alice's father wakes up in England after Alice saved him. His...new wife, I believe, tells him he was obviously dreaming when he tries to tell her what happened, but he doesn't appear to be so sure about that. Will we see Edwin in Wonderland again in a future episode, perhaps?
Also, Cyrus lies on a beach the entire episode. So...there's that.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland airs at 8:00 PM Thursdays on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)