The second episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland delves into the backstory of Alice and Cyrus. It also shows almost all the characters are in search of something: Jafar is in search of Cyrus’ bottle, Alice is in search of Cyrus, and the Queen of Hearts is looking for respect.
A couple of characters are also in need of something – the White Rabbit wants to deliver what the Queen of Hearts wants so she will return something to him. The Knave, aka Will? Well most of the time he just wants to be left alone – especially when Alice tries to get him to talk about his complicated past with the fairy Silver Mist and the mysterious Anastasia.
It seems Jafar has been looking for Cyrus and his bottle for some time. He tracks Cyrus to a scarf merchant who is living above his means. After Jafar questions him, the scarf merchant rushes to the back of his home and releases Cyrus from his bottle. He has one last wish and sends Cyrus to a far-away place. This angers Jafar when he realizes with the merchant has done and kills him.
The first time we see Alice she has changed clothes and there is a perfectly good reason – the clothes horse came by and she got new clothes. She forgot to wake the Knave and he is stuck with the same clothes though he would have liked to have a “coffee” horse.
Interwoven in Alice and the Knaves’ quest to retrieve Cyrus’ bottle we are awarded flashbacks to the blossoming romance between Alice and Cyrus. She releases Cyrus from his bottle that Cyrus grants Alice her three wishes – which is cleverly disguised as three rubies which we saw in the first episode.
Cyrus says there are four rules to wishes – he can’t kill anyone, he can’t bring anyone back from the dead, he can’t change the past and he can’t make someone love you. How much does anyone want to bet Jafar wants to bend the rules of magic and have Cyrus break all four rules?
Speaking of Jafar, he is very mean to the Queen of Hearts – though she isn’t the nicest person in the world either. Jafar is bored with the Queen holding court and listening to the peasant’s complaints – so he turns them all to dust. That wasn’t very nice. He tells her she shouldn’t try to earn respect she should take it. That will come back to haunt him.
As Alice and the Knave make their way to find the bottle they leave the White Rabbit behind who goes to report to the Queen. He tells her he knows where the bottle is and promises to deliver – the audience assumes he overheard Alice tell the Knave where it is.
Facing a vast river, Alice decides they will have to take the “ferry” when the Knave admits he can’t swim. As both clap their hands a “fairy” appears and not a ferry. In Wonderland expect the unexpected. Oh, and be careful of old girlfriends who happen to be fairies you are asking for their help. The Knave learns the hard way when the fairy Sliver Mist drops him in the middle of the river and Alice has to lose her ride to fall into the water to save him.
Alice and the Knave find shelter on a small island in the middle of the river. But again, the rock isn’t what it seems – it is a large tortoise. Alice coerces the tortoise, thanks to her sword to his neck, to take them to shore.
Meanwhile Cyrus forgoes his chess game with the old man beside him in his cage and pulls out a magic piece of paper and begins writing on it as the paper is revealed in one of the flashbacks in the episode. Cyrus turns the message into an origami crane and sends it in on a mission to find Alice.
Reaching the spot where the bottle is supposed to be buried, Alice tells the Knave to wait as they see Jafar is already there searching for the bottle. Alice says she wanted to see her enemy and he won’t find the bottle there because she was giving everyone false information – even the Knave. He guesses she didn’t trust him either – but she informs him maybe she does now.
Jafar is enraged to find out the bottle isn’t where he was told it would be. When he goes to question Cyrus the Queen of Hearts arrives. She tells him he gave her great advice earlier in the day and is taking the respect she deserves. It seemed to her theirs wasn’t a true partnership and now it is – Jafar has the genie and she has the bottle.
Alice is shocked to discover the bottle isn’t where she and Cyrus left it. This is when Alice begins to wonder if Cyrus’ feelings for her have changed. Has she been abandoned again? Alice was used to abandonment with her mother dying in childbirth with her and her father seemingly giving up on her as well.
The Knave tries to comfort her and this is when Alice asks again about the mysteries Anastasia and the Knave is still tight-lipped.
The writers will need to curb the sizzling chemistry between Alice and the Knave – everyone loves a bad boy with a heart and he has it in spades. Yes, pun intended. Though Alice and Cyrus’ love is sweet and tender there is something to be said for the smoldering kind of relationship with teasing and understanding Alice and the Knave have.
In the end there are two reveals. First, Alice gets her hope back when the origami crane arrives with Cyrus’ message. Though Cyrus tells Alice to forget him and go home she uses it as proof he still cares and write back to him she is coming for him.
And how did the Queen of Hearts find the genie’s bottle? It was the White Rabbit – he was there when Alice and Cyrus buried it not paying much mind to them at the time. He ran off yelling to his wife that he was late – a foreshadowing to the possible unveiling that the Queen of Hearts is holding the White Rabbits’ wife hostage.