Tonight’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episode, smartly titled ”Forget Me Not”, delves into the Knave of Hearts’s backstory while weaving in characters from other well-known stories. We’ve heard the old “backstory” and “weaving in characters from other stories” description for the OUAT franchise over and over. It should get old. But it simply does not.
Alice and Will, the Knave of Hearts, continue to search for Cyrus by trying to discover who dug up the genie’s bottle. Will knows of a magic string which makes a loop that can show you the past. Naturally this string is not just lying around; it’s in the Caterpillar’s possession. Will makes a deal with the Iggy Pop-voiced Caterpillar: if Cat tells him where the Knot is, Will will bring it back to him and his previous debt will be forgiven. (Caterpillar is channeling his inner Jobba the Hut.) The Knot is currently deep in the woods in the house of the Grendel who is not a scaly cave-monster, but instead an angry disfigured man. Alice and Will end up being captured and witness Grendel using the Knot to watch a beautiful young lady and a handsome man who are clearly in love. While Alice uses the wishes to get free of the ropes, by cutting through the cords with the sharp edges (diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but wish-gems will do in a pinch), and Will uses his powers of observation to get in Grendel’s head. Will can tell that Grendel is secretly heart broken because Will is himself heartbroken.
While Alice and Will plot a way to get the Knot and escape from Grendel, Cyrus is stuck listening to Jafar and the Red Queen plot a way to get Alice to use her wishes. The queen has a book of all the monsters in Wonderland (Where can we get a copy???). She and Jafar settle on using a Bandersnatch to find Alice since they have intercepted Alice’s “I’m coming for you” note so they can give the beast her scent. Cyrus’s look of terror when they mention the Bandersnatch confirms in their mind the decision.
Back at Grendel’s house, Alice and Will manage to get past Grendel. Just as they get to the front door something worse is waiting for them: the Bandersnatch. The beast eventually knocks down the door, sees the pair, and lunges. Only what it saw was the reflection in the Knot. Alice tightens the rope and Will stabs the creature who instantly dissolves. Back at the abode of Jafar, the Bandersnatch’s mate lets out a howl that lets him know that its mate is dead. Jafar is disappointed that Alice wasn’t forced to use a wish like he planned. This is part of Cyrus’s plan and Jafar isn’t happy. (Foiled again, Big Guy.) Jafar and Red Queen make a trip to Grendel to see what went wrong. Grendel used to be the handsome man we saw in the Knot until the evil Queen killed his wife and ruined his life. Jafar offers him the opportunity to be reunited with his wife if Grendel will tell them how Alice beat the Bandersnatch without using a wish. Grendel tells Jafar that Will is working with Alice. Jafar precedes to keep his word and kill Grendel.
Big Spoiler alert at the end of the next paragraph.
The heart of the story revolves around the Knave of Hearts’s past. We learned that he joined Robin Hood’s band, but not for the same honorable reasons that most Merry Men do. When the group raids Maleficent’s castle for money for the poor, Will steals a magic mirror on the sly. Later Maleficent tracks the band down in the forest and threatens them. She doesn’t care about the mere trinkets: she only wants the magical item back. Her foreboding voice shakes the trees and all the Merry Men, though we never see the Evil One. (Makes her all the more scary, does it not?) Robin confronts Will because he knew he was a true thief. Robin tells him it’s no worth it, even if it is for a woman (it’s always for a woman). Will runs home to his mysterious Anastasia who turns out to be none other than (we all saw this coming but it’s still a cool moment) the Red Queen! Will throws the magic mirror on the floor and it becomes a portal to a land “filled with magic and wonders beyond imagination” according to Anastasia. They kiss, hold hands, and jump.
And we’re left wondering how Will’s sweet Anastasia could become the Red Queen. We’ll just have to keep watching to find out. Got us again, OUATIW. Got us again.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland will be back in two weeks.