Once Upon A Time in Wonderland wrapped up this week, ending its 13-episode run with class and closure, as it was announced the series would not be given a second season by ABC.
Sometimes a short-run series is just enough, and in the case of Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, this was the case. The series had promise, and found a true star in Sophie Lowe as Alice. But the series had issues with casting and characters, including the total lack of chemistry between Lowe and Peter Gadiot, who played Cyrus – the genie who Alice loves and returns to Wonderland to save.
For me, I had no investment in Alice and Cyrus’ love story. I saw Cyrus as a boring and contrived character. Maybe the writers kept Alice and Cyrus apart for too long, as she spent most of the first half of the episodes going on a quest to save him with her friend Will Scarlett aka The Knave of Hearts.
And therein was the problem. Lowe had amazing chemistry with Michael Socha, who played Will. They had the majority of screen time together and fans could see both had the same type of loyal soul but would also do what needed to be done to solve a problem. I enjoyed seeing them feed off each other on screen and when Alice was finally reunited with Cyrus, I longed for him to just go away.
The series finale wrapped up the storyline of Jafar wanting to bend the laws of magic, bringing Cyrus back to life and – oh yeah – The Red Queen was dead, as well. Jafar had his moment, changing the laws of magic and bringing The Red Queen back to life and using magic to make him love her, all to torture Will – who had reunited with The Red Queen before her death in the previous episode.
The culmination of the episode all came down to Alice using her wits, as Cyrus stood by with his mouth agape. His mother, Amara, sacrificed herself to the Well of Wonders to lift the curse and Alice tricked Jafar into stealing water from the well, the same fate that led to Cyrus being turned into a genie. Jafar was subsequently turned into a genie.
Setting the laws of magic back to its original law-abiding forms also caused The Red Queen to expire again. Cyrus, however, got permission to use the Well of Wonders water to save her.
All is well with the world of Wonderland and Alice and Cyrus return to England, reunite with her family, and get married. In attendance at the wedding are Will, The Red Queen, The White Rabbit, and The White Rabbit’s wife. Alice also reunites with her father.
My major question, with Cyrus returning to England with Alice, is what will he do for employment? He was a beggar boy in his original life and then a genie. Does he have skills for gainful employment or will he just live off Alice’s father’s money? Maybe he will live off the money from Alice’s novel as the series closes with Alice reading from a book she wrote, about her adventures in Wonderland, to her young daughter.
All in all, Once Upon A Time in Wonderland was a series with great promise that just missed the mark. It also suffered from poor casting, in Gadiot, and never really sold the epic love story between Alice and Cyrus.