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Once Upon A Time in Wonderland 1×04 “The Serpent” Recap


This week, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland delves into Jafar’s back story, who turns out to have been an orphan working for an unkind man who treated him poorly. Oh, but Jafar was more than just an ordinary orphan, he was the bastard son of the Sultan, and he carried revenge in his heart.

Amara, the local sorceress, was feared by all when she made her way to the market where Jafar worked as a boy. All the townspeople turned from her when she walked down the street, all but Jafar, who stared at her while others bowed their head. He bravely came to her door that night asking Amara to teach him dark magic. When Jafar told her of his origin and thirst for revenge she agreed to teach him. What Amara didn’t realize was what she was truly agreeing to and what kind of man she would create.

Back in the present, in Wonderland, Alice and Will are delving a plan to find Cyrus’ bottle and save Cyrus. Alice, letting her blood-thirsty side come through more and more, states her plan includes killing The Red Queen.

When The Red Queen’s soldiers find Alice and Will and they are being chased through the forest, Will decides its best he and Alice split up. Not a good idea as Will is captured and brought to The Red Queen.

It is then Will is reunited, in a way, with his lost love Anastasia, who we learned in the last episode, is The Red Queen. Jafar goads The Red Queen, asking her why she is keeping Will alive. Will has helped Alice avoid them at every turn and without Will they have a better shot at Alice.

The Red Queen, not wanting to show all her cards or her weakness, concedes to Jafar and agrees to a public be-heading.

Alice is in the place she and Will have agreed to meet, after splitting up, but of course Will isn’t there. Alice runs into an old friend of Will’s, a young women he taught her to steal and they worked with each other for a while, but she states if she could find Will now she would return him to the Caterpillar, who is now after him even more for not returning the Forget me Knot.

With a crowd gathering, Alice goes over to discover a wanted poster with Will’s face on it. Nothing new, except an extra addition to it states he will be executed that very day. Alice can’t have that and she enlists the help of Will’s old friend.

Wow, now Alice has a task of saving both the men in her life.

We flash back again, these flashbacks are getting tedious, to Jafar and this time he is a young man. He has spent years learning dark magic but Amara has one more lesson. He must shed the skin of his old life if he wants to live this new one – to do that he has to let a friend die, whom she has poisoned, to complete a magically spell. The die is cast on Jafar’s life moving forward when he lets the man die.

Now we are at Will’s execution and Alice and Will’s friend are in the crowd. Of course Alice and the woman save Will and they are attempting to escape. Soon the trio is surrounded by not only The Red Queen but Jafar.

When Jafar starts using his powers to strangle Will, Alice sees Will turn to The Red Queen and call her Anastasia. Now she knows who Anastasia is.

Here is where Jafar and The Red Queen learn of Alice’s true weakness. Threats to her will not force her to use one of her three wishes, but she has a heart, and threats to those she cares about will. As Will is having the life choked from him, Alice finally uses a wish, but ever the clever girl, Alice uses it wisely.

“I wish, if Will dies, I die too.” Bam, Alice has just insured the safety of Will and herself. Kill Will, and she dies as well.

Of course Jafar will find a loop hole. He says Alice doesn’t have to be whole to live. He tries tearing her apart but she withstands his punishment and he lets her free.

But sometimes there is a fate worse than death. Prison doesn’t have to be four walls it can be isolation, stripping someone of all their support system. This is what Jafar does, he turns Will to stone, taking away one of Alice’s strongest allies. Alice is alone.

The end of Jafar’s backstory shows how much Jafar learned from Amara. He and Amara have spent years searching for the three genies, which promises unfathomable power, and they are now searching for just one – which happens to be Cyrus. But, Jafar, now a powerful sorcerer, doesn’t want to share the power and slips Amara, who has fallen in love with him and is far too trusting. Who else found it a bit unnerving that Amara had known Jafar since he was a boy and now loved him? Ew.

Jafar uses potion on Amara that strips her of her power and turns her into a serpent, the same serpent that Jafar now carries as a staff.

Now, the good and the bad of the episode, the good was that there was very little Cyrus and the bad was there was not enough Alice.

Cyrus had just a few scenes including tricking the guard into giving him a wish bone and then having the guard find it, assuming he was trying to use it to escape, and snapping the wish bone in two. He tells the old man beside him that it is a myth that when she separate a wish bone you get a wish, instead the two halves, like fated lovers, just long to be together again. Cyrus uses the separated wish bone to find its way together, and their bond is strong enough; he begins cutting the metal at the bottom of his cell.

Alice was relegated to a secondary character which really is a disservice. Sophie Lowe carries the show and so does the Knave character. I just hope they don’t keep Will in stone for long.

The scene with Alice staring at Will encased in stone was so compelling, as she reached out to touch him and pulled her hand back. If she touches Will, in stone, that makes it real. I know the end game is Alice and Cyrus, but there is hardly any chemistry there and the couple is so boring. And I know they are pushing Will and The Red Queen, as this tragic love story, but Will and Alice – WOW, what a combination.