There's something wrong in the world when a rabbit has a nicer flat than you do.

Since staff is no longer with us...

This week's mid-season finale arrived and in fairness, I'll have to admit a) I didn't see it coming, and b) I'm not seeing where they're going. So two points for the surprise element.

But let's save the spoilers for a little later. This episode reset several things. The Queen and Jafar are no longer reluctant allies. Alice found Cyrus. All three wishes have been used. The Red Queen has changed sides. The Rabbit is no longer suspected of being a traitor.

My main problem (others may vary) is that I still don't care about any of these people. They're all perfectly adequate archetypes, But I still don't have a lot of involvement with them. Alice is the plucky adventurous type. Cyrus is a very bland genie. The Knave is a generic rogue. The Queen is evil but only because she's looking for love and not finding it. The flashbacks aren't really making me feel for them. Yes, Jafar had a cruddy childhood. And it turned him evil. But that's it, end of story. The rich tapestry of OUaT or Lost just isn't here.

And tonight's flashbacks didn't even try for that. We just got more declaration of Alice's and Cyrus' undying love (does anyone else find them a boring couple?), another week's work for Iggy Pop, and voice work for Whoopi Goldberg which might have been stunt casting if they had actually played it up. And it tried to mislead us by hinting Cyrus was going to have the Caterpillar make him disappear.



The Color Purplish

As I noted above, I have to give them credit for moving things along. Breaking up the Two Evils' alliance after eight episode. The season is still relatively young, but at least the Knave didn't immediately fall into the Red Queen's arms when she declared her undying love for him.



Take me, baby, or leave me - Guess I'm leaving, I'm gone!

I noted above that Michael Socha plays a generic lovelorn rogue with a heart of gold. I wonder if he's just not that interested in the show, or if he is actually playing a guy with no heart.



Phoning it in, or playing a guy with no heart? Only his casting agent knows for sure.

It's hard to say much more about the episode. They did a few surprising things, I didn't find the characters that engaging, the story moved from A to B to C. One gets the impression they intended this as a series finale if it had to be.

So that leaves the future. The Knave is the new genie, and maybe it's late, but I can't think what that means. Do Alice and Cyrus get hold of him eventually and let him out, but don't make any wishes on him? Does he drift from person to person, granting wishes to different people each week (a magical The Millionaire)? None of it sounds that interesting, but at least I'll have something to look forward to when the show returns March 6.

Alice's "suffering" is over, but what does that mean for her future with Cyrus? And does she really want to travel with the Red Queen?

But that's just my opinion - I could be wrong. What do you think?
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yes they are a boring couple
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I enjoyed the attempted reset that they tried to do (and while I was totally agreeing with Lily on the fact that there was nothing for us to root for with Alice and Cyrus, I am tempted to wonder if instead of showing some early stage idealism of their relationship, we could have gotten a glimpse of Cyrus the human and the vague sense he might not be as good of a guy as Alice thinks Cyrus the genie is). I have this thought that a cross over might be occurring soon when Hook, Emma and whatever Henry's name is now begin their journey back to the FTL and I am kind of hoping Hook identifies him as either a) a member of an enemy pirate group who the Jolly Roger feared or b) a crew member of his that went missing at some point. Then we might have some interesting interactions as I cannot see any iteration of Emma actually getting long with Alice or Anastasia but probably a little more Alice.

The biggest thing I saw a potential for...other than Jafar's spell and the rabbit hole, in the last little stretch, there was very little horrible CGI. Even Will was sort of in something that looked much more realistic.

I loved Michael Socha as Tom on Being Human (and kind of love that I can totally understand everything he says as Will) but you did get the sense he was waiting for something when he wasn't directly interacting with Alice.

I do question Will being made the genie if his wish was to end Alice's suffering, I mean, it would seem it would make more sense that Anastasia be made the genie as supposed to entraping Alice's best friend. But, it wasn't the first illogical thing I encountered at the conclusion of fantasy things this week (I have this author I like and she has a new series and I am confounded by a few points but trying to bite my tongue because it was only the first book).
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Good review! You completely neglected to mention the most awesomest and whacked out scene: Jafar finding the head of one of the Tweedle boys in the box. That one had me literally LOL.

Between the lame CGI and the meh characters, the show is just a bit more than blah for me. But I watch it just because it's OUAT lite.

There were two things that bugged me in particular this episode:

1) How was Alice's third wish able to go to the Knave to use? Was it because Cyrus was able to manipulate Alice in her state of stupor to cede it over? Somehow didn't catch that in my tired, late-at-night-viewing state.

2) With Jafar's approach storm cloud, why would they have all been standing out in the open field? Seems going into the invisible yurt would have been the most rational action to take, even if it would't have completely been spared the wrath of the storm. But seems to me if the shelter is magical it would provide some protection against magic.

I can't quite imagine how the second half of the season will go with the Knave becoming a genie, but of course our reformed Red Queen and gang will have to go out on a rescue mission. Although it will be likely Alice will end up suffering as a result of this which means the Knave's wish will have been rather meaningless.
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1) Alice agreed to give it to the Knave earlier in the series, so presumably they could transfer wishes as long as both parties agreed. Note that Cyrus had to get Alice to confirm she was transferring the wish, before he could give it to the Knave.

Of course, why they didn't transfer it as soon as she made the second wish, when the third one rightfully belonged to the Knave, who knows?
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I thought this was the best episode so far. But I agree Alice and Cyrus don't really get me involved. I am not at all invested in their love story. I also am bored by Jafar. To me he brings no feeling of darkness or malice even when doing something terrible like cutting off Rabbit's paw. The Knave is my fav character and I was a bit confused by his total lack of reaction to The Red Queen's declaration of love but then I remembered, as he told Alice, Will never put his heart back in so he is indeed heartless.

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"Since staff is no longer with us..."

dare i ask what that means?
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Lily, who was doing staff reviews of Wonderland, stopped as of last week's episode. I didn't see a point in doing reviews as long as she was, but now that she isn't...
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oh wonder why she stopped, hope nothing bad happened, yeah i was just noticing the slightly different format you used, its all good as long as there is a review :)
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She's writing other reviews, so I suppose Lily dropped it either due to lack of time, lack of interest, or lack of readership.
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maybe lack or readership, unfortunately im not sure how long this show will last, i enjoy it, dont get me wrong, but the cgi work is killing it really, i just do not understand how its run by the same people as OUAT, and they have such bad cgi? i love the reviews on my shows, i wish all of my shows got reviews, because a lot of times the reviewer points out something i have missed
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I think a lot of your points are valade. So far after 8 episodes I'm still not feeling anything. Take last week for example. Alice's father is about to be killed and yet I didn't care. I have watched show's that interduce a charter for one episode (Doctor Who - The Doctor's Wife) and start crying my eyes you but OUAT Wonderland I just don't care that there about to kill a charter off.

Honestly I think the biggest problem it that they have to menny story lines going on in a single episode without really developing any of the charters enough.


Let's take Alice for example. Why haven't they shown any of her adventures as a child. Or the story of how she met the Knave and then the one about how she saved his life.


If they wanted us to really feel something for the charters they why not give us a proper backstory.

They could also do from bringing some of the charters that we have grown attached to in OUAT like the queen of harts and the Hatter. As both OUAT and OUAT Wonderland use flash backer there's no reason not to expand on these other storylines. Well giving these actors something to do as we have these huge worlds but 99% of the gust cast is underused.


But that is just my opinion.
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They haven't shown the Hatter because Sebastian hasn't been available and they didn't want to recast the character. I would have been one of the many pissed off people if they had.

I agree that the flashbacks haven't been used as effectively as possible, but there are certain things we don't necessarily need to see. Some Alice/Knave backstory might be effective, but I don't know that a lot of Alice's childhood adventures are necessarily that important at this point.
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Well, we're getting a proper backstory on Jafar. But he's not a character that needs a proper backstory.

The flashbacks on OUaT show us that Regina and Rumplestiltskin were shaped by fate, and are trying to overcome their upbringings and past experiences to become better people.

The flashbacks for Jafar just show us why he became an evil person. It's like the Star Wars prequels. They show us why Darth Vader is an evil SOB, but a) they don't really set up his eventual last-minute death's bed repentance in Return of the Jedi, and b) we already know how Darth Vader will turn out before seeing how he became Darth Vader.

I don't care why Jafar is evil, and his role in the show is not one that so far requires us to know why he's evil.

As far as backstory on Alice's adventures as a child, I imagine they're saving that for future episodes. But again, what are those flashbacks going to tell us about modern-day Alice? What do we need to know about Alice's history that sheds light on the current character? Not much, as far as I can tell. Do we need a flashback showing us, say, how Alice and the White Rabbit became friends?

Those can be entertaining and well-written flashbacks. But for character development, the ones so far haven't done much of anything.

On Lost and OUaT, the flashbacks (usually) serve a purpose for character development. On Wonderland... not really.
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great mid season finale, OUAT Wonderland is nice and steady!! plus improving (CGI still needs work ) and how can anyone not care about Alice plus the last couple of episode white rabbit and The Red Queen!! the Characters not engaging would have to disagree on that point big time!! Knave wont be the Genie for long Cyrus knew want happen and IMO he has a plan!!! the only bad thing waiting till March
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And I don't mean to be harsh on the show. But as I've noted before, and may do an article on in the next three months, Wonderland is a throwback show in many ways. It's a throwback to the 90s syndicated action-adventure shows, and a lot of the stuff prior to that.

Alice is not a deep troubled/tragic character. Sure she's got a few problems, but she's not an Emma or a Snow from OUat (and Jafar is no Regina or Rumplestiltskin).

So I care about Alice in the sense that we care about Jim Kirk or Hercules, as people that we want to see win and don't want to get hurt.

But Wonderland compared to a lot of modern television is like comparing Hercules to Xena. Herc was a nice straightforward hero. Yes, he lost his wife and family, but notice how quickly they glossed over that when they went to series. The show wasn't about his bad decisions, or the tragic things in his life.

Xena, on the other hand, was a tragic protagonist seeking redemption. Emma on OUaT isn't necessarily a very nice character. She abandoned her son, she doesn't want her parents in her life (or is conflicted about it).

Alice is... a hero. She hasn't made bad personal decisions in her life, she has no regrets over what she's done.

That's what I mean when I say they're archetypes, but not characters we care about as being people like us, with personal issues and problems to overcome.
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You nailed it. This is the problem that I have. Any issues we've really seen Alice have are tied to her daddy issues. I like having a more complex hero. At the end of the day, Alice doesn't regret her decisions and operates with a single minded focus which is what leads to her being boring.
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Why should we care about Alice? A better question is, other then the fact that she's the designated heroine, what reason have the producers and writers given us to care about Alice?

She's got a great life of adventure, she has Xena-like fighting ability, she's got a hot genie as a boyfriend, she has loyal friends. And at least until the mid-season finale, her enemies couldn't kill her without losing control of the genie. Sure, her dad thinks she's insane but she's got the British Columbia forest and four mushrooms (not to mention an invisible tent with a bathtub!) to retreat to if things get too tough for her at home.
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you are comparing Alice to Xena that is a weak comparison if Alice was even close to Xena , Jafar the Red Queen would not be an issue throwing Herc into the mix makes no sense due to the fact that Herc was very straight forward!! I never said that Alice was troubled or tragic but she was in a mental hospital for telling the truth, how can you not have feeling over that, plus being separated from Cyrus until the mid season her father being a dick, sorry these are thing that u care about!!! Alice is not a mother so why would compare Snow/Mary Margaret, Emma or E Queen/Regina that makes no sense now will disagree on this point Jafar and Rumplestikin are pretty much the same with one exception Rumple/Mr Gold as Bella, now as for Alice prowess I would compare her to the potential Slayers until the Slayers refine their skills then Alice would have no chance!!
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And that's why IMO the Knave is a more interesting character. He's greedy, he emotionally crippled himself by literally hiding away his heart. Those are internal issues that hurt him and that he has to struggle to overcome

Dealing with the Caterpillar's hunters is an interesting adventure for the Knave. Having to deal with the consequences of his own personality flaws makes him an interesting character.
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The problem is that Alice is... well, perfect. She has outside problems, but she doesn't have any inside issues.

If she questioned her sense of reality, it would be her problem. And for about five minutes in the first episode, she did. But her father questions her sense of reality, so that's his problem.

She's impetuous and has trouble trusting the Red Queen. But those are presented as good things. Now if those directly lead to someone getting hurt, and they cause Alice to reconsider her approach and her attitudes, then I would care.

I don't expect Alice to be crippled by self-doubt and angst. But she's effectively flawless. It's hard to care about a flawless person.
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I was only comparing her fighting abilities to Xena. If you look down thread a bit, you'll see that I pointed out that Alice is closer to Hercules than Xena.

As far as the mental hospital, we had about 5 minutes of Alice crying in front of the psychiatric board, who were pretty much chipping away at what she knew was real. Then the Knave showed up, she had confirmation, and all of her self-doubt disappeared and hasn't come back since. If Alice doesn't care about her sense of reality slipping away, why should we?

And her father isn't a dick anymore. (Well, he is, but Alice doesn't know he's reverted.) But again, it's not like Alice spent a lot of time thinking about it once she returned to Wonderland. If Jafar hadn't brought Edwin to Wonderland, there's no indication Alice would have given her father a second thought.

Rumplestiltskin is a villain trying to be good and find love. Jafar is just a villain.
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This review was not objective. har, har. Just klidding. Nice work.
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I sure as heck hope not! :)
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Hope it wasn't objective, that is.
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Well, I think I do find Alice amd Cyrus boring, maybe now that they're together more often I'll maybe learn to respect their existence?
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So far they've been a perfect couple, with their only argument being about whether they love each other enough. *yawn*
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I know right? I really don't know how they're going to jazz that up...
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what was alice's second wish? wasn't her first wish the one that tied her to the knave. if the knave's wish was alice's third, what was the second one?
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In the preceding episode "Bad Blood," to send her father home safe when Jafar dropped him into the ocean.
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I want to love this show. Hell, I would settle for really liking this show. But it's just so hard for the exact reason that you just stated - I don't care enough about the characters.

This was a stronger episode than some of what we've gotten recently if only because it really started moving things along. I'm glad we have Alice and Cyrus together and we're seemingly done with the evil "alliance". Those were definitely dragging the show down.

It seems like this whole "reset button" idea is going to be a theme on both home slice and Wonderland OUaT so I'm a bit curious to see what they'll do going forward.
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I don't really see Jafar carrying the show as main villain, though.

And that goes back to my review. Jafar just isn't that interesting. He's got an unhappy childhood, sure. And it made him a villain. And he has daddy issues. Got it. But unless they do some kind of heel-turn and we find out he has a hidden agenda for changing the laws of magic (say, against an even bigger threat), he lacks the subtlety of a Regina, a Rumplestiltskin/Gold, or even a Pan.

Jafar's like the Greg/Tamara of OUaT:W. ;) Jafar's evil... well, just because.
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Oh I completely agree, but I can't see either of the potential villains carrying the show as a main villain. But I was so sick of the same old song and dance routine that they had going on every episode.
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Now, I'll grant, if they could surprise me with the mid-season finale, they could surprise me with Jafar. More power to them if they can. But they'd better put some work into it.
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Thanks for the review.

I don't get one thing about Alice's wish. When she made her wish, I was of the ones that found it a clever one because it was the only way she could guarantee the Knave's survival. However, isn't one of the rules of genie magic that genies can't kill? This wish shouldn't ever have been applied. If this wish is valid then I could make another conditional wish e.g. "I wish x dies if I eat this apple" and then the only thing I would have to do would be to take a bite and (s)he would die.

About the episode, I'm glad they put the red queen with the good guys because it was obvious that Jafar didn't really want to cooperate with her and there would be no excuse for him not killing her. The whole show's story is weak but the main plot kinda makes sense. I wonder however if she tried to apologise before going for the change-the-rules-of-magic plan.
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Well, one problem is that as noted, there's always a price. If you wished that X died if you ate that apple, you'd probably choke to death and die. ;)

So I don't mind something like we saw here, where you can use a genie's wish to kill someone... if you're willing to trade your own life to do it.

Although that raises the question: if a genie can't kill, can the price of a wish kill?
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I really wanted to like this spinoff...but yeah, at this point I just don't know why they bothered. At least it is providing jobs??
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I still consider it better than a lot of stuff on TV.

But other then this week's plot twists, it seems to get less imaginative with each episode. We've gone from the Cheshire Cat and the Jabberwocky, to a dragon and a stormcloud.
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" playing a guy with no heart."
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