I think one of the things I like most about this show is being able to see how the writers tie all of the different fairy tale stories together. This latest episode’s theme is a take on Alice in Wonderland. Or more specifically, the Mad Hatter. A few things were revealed this week, but of course, with those revelations came more questions. The writers like to keep us guessing, which is all fine and good. But with the season wrapping up here pretty soon, I’m hoping we get a little more to chew on before going into the hiatus. It would be a damn shame if ABC didn’t renew this series for a second season, but I think we viewers are safe from that heartbreak.
This week picks up with Mary Margaret hauling ass through the forest making her get away. Emma shows up at the station and Henry is there giving her kudos on her master plan. She doesn’t know what he’s talking about until she walks in and sees MM’s cell empty. Henry was under the impression that it was part of the plan, but Emma says no. Mr. Gold advises against Emma going after her, but if MM doesn’t make her arraignment, she’s in even deeper trouble that what she’s already in.
Emma jumps in her Beetle and heads out to find MM, but ends up almost running over a guy whose taking a leisurely stroll through the forest. She stops to check on him and notices that he’s walking with a limp so she offers him a lift back to his house….which turns out to be a mansion. He tells her his name is Jefferson and he invites her in for tea. She agrees but finds herself a bit woozy after drinking it. She knows he drugged her, but can’t do anything about it since she passed out cold.
In Fairytale land, Jefferson plays hide and seek in the woods with his daughter Grace. They head back to their modest cottage to find the Queen’s carriage parked out front. Jefferson, yes he has the same name in both worlds, sends Grace to hide while he finds out what the Queen wants. It turns out that she wants his to help her by using his special skills, but he refuses saying that he lost his wife because of his former profession and he doesn’t want to lose his daughter too. Regina tells him that if he does this for her, she’ll set the both of them up for life, but Jefferson still declines her offer.
Later on, Jefferson and Grace stroll through the market place and Grace sets her sights on a stuffed white rabbit. Jefferson tries to buy it but doesn’t have enough money. The crotchety old hag won’t budge on the price (turns out it’s Regina in disguise) and Jefferson leaves with Grace feeling defeated. Once they get back home, he send Grace to the neighbors so that he can go do Regina’s bidding.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma wakes up to find that she’s been bound and gagged. She’s a quick thinker however and managed to smash her teacup and cut herself loose. She’s sees Jefferson in another room standing all menacing like while sharpening a pair of scissors. She ducks into another room only to find Mary Margaret gagged and bound to a chair. She cuts MM loose and as the two try to escape, Jefferson shows up, but this time he’s packing heat. He tells Emma to secure MM again and that he has a task he needs her to complete.
In FTL, Jefferson arrives at the Queen’s castle and makes her promise that if he does what she wants, Grace will want for nothing. She agrees, so he removes his top hat from the box and spins it on the floor. It opens a purple vortex which both of them jump into. They land in a room of doors that reminded me of The Nightmare Before Christmas.
In Storybrooke, Jefferson takes Emma to a room that has shelves filled with hats. He tells her that he captured MM because he knows about the curse and because no one can leave Storybrooke, so actually he was saving her. He tells her that he’s been stuck in that house for 28 years and it wasn’t until she showed up that things started to change. Emma puts it together that he thinks he’s the Mad Hatter and thinks that he’s pretty much insane, but he tells her that he knows she’s special and she can work her magic to get his hat to work.
In FTL, Regina and Jefferson go through one of the doorways, but it’s actually the looking-glass. They arrive in Wonderland, where Regina is hell-bent on getting something back that the Queen of Hearts stole from her. They come across the Caterpillar (who was voiced by Roger Daltry but you wouldn’t know it because all he said was “Who are you”…which is kind of funny if you think about it….but still….I was a tad disappointed by his lack of presence.) Anyway, they come upon a hedge maze and Jefferson tells her to stay away from the walls because they will basically eat what touches them. Regina sends a burst of fire through the hedges creating a straight shot to where they need to go.
What she seeks is housed in what looks an awful like her heart vault but she grabs the box she needs and they head back to the looking-glass. The guards try to stop them but Regina does her Evil Queen thing and they make it out of the maze. Right before they make their way back through the portal, Regina grabs a piece of mushroom and opens the box. She does her thing and her father, Henry, appears. I guess the Queen of Hearts shrunk him or something but the mushroom made his full size again. The problem is that since two people came through the looking-glass, only two people can go back. And Regina, being the bitch that she is, tells Jefferson that if he really loved his daughter, he wouldn’t have left her. So now Jefferson is stuck in Wonderland and gets captured by the guards.
Jefferson is brought before the mysterious Queen of Hearts, but refuses to tell her how he was able to enter Wonderland. This doesn’t please the Queen so she says those famous words “off with his head”. The guard complies and cuts off Jefferson’s head. But it’s Wonderland so it doesn’t kill him. The Knave tells Jefferson that he can be reunited with his body, just as soon as he makes another portal. Jefferson agrees, but when we see him again, he’s gone completely bonkers and is surrounded by hats.
Emma, instead of getting to work on the hat, tries to talk to Jefferson. She tries to tell him that the stories in Henry’s book are just that….stories. But he tells her that there are more worlds out there and some contain magic and some don’t. He finally tells her that he just wants to be reunited with his daughter. He has her look through a telescope that shows Grace with another family. In Storybrooke she’s Paige and her family is, I assume, the neighbors that she went to stay with in FTL when Jefferson headed to see Regina. He tells Emma that he’s had to watch her, but can’t tell her the truth. But if he can get back to FTL, he’ll be able to be reunited with her. Emma begins to soften a bit and it seems like she’s beginning to believe. She tells Jefferson that if all of this is true, that means MM is her mother and she wants nothing more than to believe it. However, when he turns his back on her she clocks him with the telescope calling him a crazy son of a bitch.
Emma grabs his gun and runs in to free Mary Margaret. Jefferson however, runs in, decked out in his fightin’ hat. Fisticuffs ensue and just when things could go really bad, MM channels her inner Snow and clocks him with a croquet mallet and then kicks him out the window. But when MM and Emma look out the window, all they see is his hat. Jefferson is nowhere to be found.
The two run out to find Emma’s car and when they do, Emma gives the keys to MM and tells her to run if she wants. She says that she wants MM to trust that she’ll get her out of her predicament and that MM is the only family she’s even known.
Regina shows up to the station with a smug look on her face that quickly turns to shock, then disappointment when she sees MM in her cell reading the morning paper. Mr. Gold tells Regina that his client isn’t accepting any visitors just then and sends her packing. He follows her into the hall way and she demands to know what happened. Mr. Gold told Regina that MM would for sure take the bait of the key and run off, but there she sits. He tells Regina that even though MM didn’t run off, Regina will still get the results she wants. I can’t help but think that he’s got something else up his sleeve other than just helping Regina out.
Later on Emma sits with Henry outside of his school and notices as Paige walks past. She asks Henry for his book and begins to flip through it. She asks him if she can borrow it and Henry agrees thinking maybe she’s finally coming around. Perhaps Emma is finally starting to believe.
Next week we finally get to see just why Regina hates Snow White so much. I’m really looking forward to that. I hope they make some headway with this whole MM thing too.
I think Emma’s inability to really make any headway with the curse is due to her skepticism. She doesn’t truly believe in the curse, therefore, she can’t break it. So far she’s only really said anything about the curse to appease Henry. Maybe now, things will really start to happen.
Tags: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parilla, Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time 1.17, Once Upon a Time Episode 17, Once Upon a Time Hat Trick, Once Upon a Time recap, Robert Carlyle, Sebastian Stan