Pun of the week: the Forget-Me-Knot
A key character from Alice’s adventures makes an appearance in this episode.
Jafar and the Red Queen are trying to make Alice use up her wishes so that Cyrus won’t be bound to her anymore by creating situations where she has no choice but to use them. Using Cyrus’ reactions as a guide, the villains finally decide on releasing a Bandersnatch, which takes the form of a wild boar with an incredible sense of smell.
Following the discovery that the bottle has been stolen, the Knave suggests using the Forget-Me-Knot, a rope with a loop that acts as a magic lens with the power to see past events in any viewed area. The problem? It is in the possession of the hookah-smoking Caterpillar, who put out a bounty on his head for not honouring his debt, further illustrating the impact that the Knave has had on Wonderland that we haven’t seen yet. The caterpillar then confides in the two adventurers that the knot has been taken by the Grendel, a monster so terrible that adventurers never returned. The Knave then sees an opportunity to settle the debt: retrieve the knot from the Grendel and give it back to the Caterpillar, who agrees, seeing as whatever outcome occurs benefits him in some way: if the Knave fails to retrieve the knot, the Caterpillar is rid of him once and for all; if the Knave succeeds in bringing the knot back, the Caterpillar can use it for his own gain; if the Knave gets the rope and runs off with it, the Caterpillar will take glee in having his head (still conscious, and a callback to Jefferson’s decapitation in Once Upon a Time) as an ornament.
At this point of seeing the portrayal of a pivotal character I realised that there was a compromise during the show: the mystique, logical arguments and philosophy of Lewis Carrol has been replaced by backstory and action. I don’t really mind the reimagining of the characters, but it is something that made Alice and her adventures what they were.
When Alice and the Knave reach the Grendel’s house (and subsequently captured and tied to be the beast’s next meal), it is revealed that the monster is really just a deformed man who is using the knot to hang onto the past and his deceased lover. The Knave tries to empathise with the Grendel by mentioning his ex-lover Anastasia to no avail. It’s at this point Alice seemingly accomplishes the villains’ plans in getting her to use her wishes; just not in the way they had intended. Alice uses them to cut through the ropes, just in time as the Bandersnatch arrives. After dispatching of the pig the Grendel decides to let go of the past and relinquishes the rope. A while later, Jafar and the Queen stop by for a visit, and after promising to “reunite [the Grendel] with his wife,” the sorcerer kills him, but not before alerting them to the fact that the Knave is accompanying her, causing the Queen to have a small reaction shot, reasons which become apparent with the Knave’s origins.
Alice and her companion return to the site of the stolen bottle and discover the White Rabbit unearthing the vessel, something that we the audience learned in the previous episode. Learning about it beforehand lessened the impact, something that would have better kept concealed until now. I’m guessing the writers were trying to establish the Queen’s power play against Jafar, but that could have been easily done by her presenting it without the Rabbit being included in the scene.
The most interesting part of the episode by far was the flashback. Sean Maguire makes an crossover appearance from Once Upon a Time as Robin Hood accompanied with his Merry Men, stealing from the rich to give to the poor in the Enchanted Forest. Here we discover the petty thief Will Scarlet, the Knave of Hearts’ true identity. After convincing the band of thieves to pillage Maleficent’s castle for gold, he steals a magical artifact with a warning that keeping the artifact will only bring misery. When Robin finds of Will’s treachery, he simply lets him go, as it is “the cruelest thing [he] can do.” He brings the item–a looking glass–back to Anastasia, who is revealed to be the Red Queen. Using the glass, they jump into the magical world of Wonderland. The whole using the looking glass thing makes Anastasia seem like Alice herself,