Once Upon A Time in Wonderland opened with a promising first episode. It featured a fierce Alice who was driven by a mission that she wasn’t going to let stop her. Alice’s drive was fueled by her desire to reunite with her true love Cyrus. Beside Alice was the Knave of Hearts who was helping her on her journey. There were ups and there were downs, but the ride was enjoyable if not at times utterly unbearable. The saving grace of the show wasn’t the story, but the characters that drove the narrative forward.
As I mentioned, the characters were a high point of the show. Alice was a bit of a stale character in the sense that she was not dynamic. Her entire journey didn’t cause her to change, she didn’t lose anything, she just conquered what came before her. Many times, her wit made her attempts to thwart the evil people in her life exciting, but her lack of change and stubbornness was a downfall of the character. Which is a shame because she had tremendous potential and just didn’t live up to that.
Thankfully, we did see more growth from some of the other characters particularly The Knave and Anastasia. In fact, Anastasia’s arc was probably the most compelling character arc on the show. It was revealed that the entire reason she paired up with Jafar is to gain the magic necessary to restore her love between her and will. Seeing her go from a young girl in love, to being enticed by power, only to later desire for the love she threw away was great. Sure, she could be nasty when she wanted to, but she was doing it to restore something she lost. Every action Will took was driven by the same loss of love. He removed his heart to not feel the pain. It was great learning that at the end they fought for each other and found love again. Their reunion was far more powerful than the incessant persistence of Alice and Cyrus. Mainly because for Will and Anastasia, it was a struggle, and it wasn’t certain. For a while they just weren’t on the same page. For Cyrus and Alice there was never any doubt and that can become boring.
Jafar was a depiction of pure evil. While it was refreshing to see someone being bad just because that is what they desired was nice. So often characters are given complex backstories and sympathy is attempted to be built. Jafar was not that case. Yes, there were moments that indicated that he was not always so easy. We saw his backstory and what made him so rotten, but there was never any indication that anything could save him. I quite enjoyed that. Even the Jabberwocky feared him at a point. I only wish that we had learned more about Jafar and his path of darkness. It would have made him feel less like a caricature like he did at times.
One of the worst things about Once Upon A Time in Wonderland was the terrible graphics. So often some of the CGI was just so jarring it took you out of the story. There is nothing worse than being engrossed in what’s going on only to walk down the yellow brick road and not be able to take your eyes off how awful the background looks. It was one of the major detriments and it was clear that they chose to change this as the series progressed. Early in the season CGI was very prevalent, but either they realized it wasn’t working or the budget ran out, but the amount of CGI dramatically decreased in the last 5 episodes.
What Comes Next
Unfortunately for Once Upon A Time in Wonderland it will not be continuing onward. The ending nicely wrapped up Alice and Cyrus’ story. In fact the entire ending to the story just felt right. On a positive note, Will will be moving from Wonderland to Once Upon A Time. Considering we already know Will lives in Storybrook it isn’t a very far stretch. Maybe we will see Anastasia too as we know they are now together. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing more of Will as he was one of my favorite characters.
Did you enjoy the season?