Sarlacc. Yup, that is pretty much best word to start this review off. They referenced the Sarlacc from Star Wars. I rolled my eyes at first when I heard this, but I will admit, it was kind of amusing to hear, and the scene of Alice and Will in Underland was very reminiscent of Jabba’s Palace, I was half expecting the Caterpillar to bust out the Jabba there. If you really think about, there is some sense there, after all the show airs on ABC, which is owned by Disney, which also owns Star Wars. Could be they are putting in some little nods into their new show to help promote another franchise. But that is just speculation on my part, could have just been something the writers threw in for fun. Moving on
We got a lot of Will in this episode and had a decent look into his past. I will say I was very surprised to see that the Knave of Hearts was in fact Will Scarlett. This was an unexpected twist, but it was interesting and did a good job of helping to tie this show in with its parent show. Will’s time with Robin and the Merry Men (playing at venue near you soon, check the tour dates) was brief but interesting. Throughout the episode we had Alice constantly referring to Will as thief, and we Robin saying that Will, like him and his men, aren’t. This all boils down to motive. Robin claims that by not stealing for themselves they are not in fact thieves, but rather acting with the best interests of humanity in mind. I found this to be an interesting concept because it boils down to the question, what makes someone a hero or a villain? At the end, when Will cuts ties with Robin over his stealing of a magic item from Maleficent’s palace (another nice little tie in to the parent show) and their argument about the definition of thief. It was a nice look into the character of Will, he is a man that has is own code, and will follow it because he believes that is what is right, and he sticks to this code despite the price that he will have to pay for the magic he stole. Like I said in my review of the first episode. Will is still the most interesting character thus far, and his ties to Robin, the Enchanted Forest, and the Red Queen are only serving to make him that much more interesting.
Through these flashbacks we also saw that the woman he loved, Anastasia, was none other than the Red Queen. Did not see that coming, honestly did not. Right outta left field for me. But I liked it. I earlier commented that the Red Queen seemed to be nothing more than a stock villain, and while my opinion on that hasn’t changed to much since then, we are at the very least seeing that there is more to her just waiting to be revealed, and I eagerly wait to see what that will be.
For being the title character, Alice did shockingly little in this episode, she just seemed to be around because the story is about her quest. I didn’t mind this too much. It was nice to see the main character take a step out of the spot light so that her little known companion had a chance to shine. What we did get of her was good. She showcased her smarts and ingenuity in using her wishes to cut the ropes and tricking the Bandersnatch with the magic rope, and how her relationship with Cyrus is strong enough that they are able to help each other despite being separated and having no contact with each other.
However there is one thing about this episode that I flat out hated, and that was Grendal. I love the story of Beowulf, and seeing the monster from that so drastically changed was infuriating for me. I am fully aware that when something is being adapted from one form of media to another there will be changes, but this was a flat out butchering of a fantastic fantasy monster. They could have just referred to him as a monster, or giving him a random name. It would have provided mystery to the villain, what is this monster we have to deal with for the Caterpillar, and could have opened up the chance to use the REAL Grendal at a later time in either this show or Once Upon a Time. Honestly, seeing what they did here was almost enough to make me turn of the TV in disgust.
The CGI used for the scenery in this episode continue to be unimpressive and downright painful at some points. But that is pretty much what I have come to expect from this show thus far, so constantly complaining about it will just be a waste of time.
We started to see the development of the villains plot in this episode. Throw a situation at Alice to make her use a wish. Overall not a bad plan given that they need Alice to burn through those fancy little wishes of hers, but at same time very underwhelming. I would expect something more nefarious from these two instead of just throwing out names of monsters and basing there choices on a captures genies reactions. C’mon, these guys are supposed to be the big baddies! The bad guys are supposed to be the most interesting part of a show and they are letting me down. They have a lot of potential here to be great villains, and it is only the third episode so I am willing to cut them some slack so far, but they better get their acts together soon and break out some hardcore villainy soon.
The biggest part of this episode in my mind was Alice and Will discovering that the Rabbit is working for the Queen. I fully expected that to be a bigger reveal later in the season, possible serving as the mid season finale. I don’t think the early reveal is bad, as it could very well lead into a subplot of saving the Rabbits family so that he is fully on their side. Guess we’ll have to see.
Overall, underwhelming episode. Learning more about Will was nice and his background with the Red Queen, but I honestly found myself bored through most of the show. I hope this won’t become the normal for the series.