Well, "Dirty Little Secrets" was actually pretty good. I'm going to give the credit to co-writer Adam Nussdorf, whose primary work has been on Tron Uprising. The other writer, Rina Mimoun, did "Trust Me", episode 2, which was so-so.

As far as the plot, Peta Sergeant gets to shine in three creepy scenes. First, she terrorizes some poor schmuck villager, wrapping it up with scaring him to death. Then we confirm that Lizard is dead (sorry, Lauren McKnight fans). Then the Jabberwocky returns to Jafar with her new acquisitions and he confirms that the Red Queen was the last face that Lizard saw.

The eyes have it?
Eye Dream of Genie?
When Lizard Eyes Are Smiling?
I spy with my two severed eyes something that starts with a B?

Meanwhile, our four heroes are arguing among themselves and decide to split up. It's a bit hard to believe the Queen really believes she can get an army together given last week, but oh well. This sets off some soul-searching for Cyrus, as we find out in flashback that he's somewhat responsible for his mother being hurt in a fire. He and his two brothers (is Canada running out of Arabic actors yet?) set out for the Well of Wonders to get some miracle water, and run into the runner-up in the creepy-woman competition, Leah Gibson.

I am the Nyx who says Ni! So bring me some water. Nice looking water, not too expensive. And bring it to me with... a herring!

In any case, Cyrus and his brothers ignore her warning, they cure her mother (revealed to be Amara, now doing an impersonation of a staff for Jafar), and end up cursed to be genies. The Guardian, Nyx, drops some warning about how Cyrus doesn't understand why what happened to him happened to him and tells him to find some 100-year-old water and bring it back so she'll lift the curse. Road trip to Agrabah!

I'm still having trouble with Cyrus being supposedly Middle Eastern, especially since his brothers are, but oh well. Peter Gadiot is actually of Dutch-Mexican descent.

Meanwhile, the Jabberwocky easily captures the Red Queen in the second of two good scenes for Peta Sergeant. One wonders why, if it was so easy, Jafar needed the Jabberwocky. But oh well.

We then get the third good Peta Sergeant scene, where she psychologically torments the Queen into using her wishes. Emma Rigby doesn't really sell it (and Jafar spent some time stripping off her makeup before waking her up?), but Peta Sergeant does, so good for her. Jafar gets his third lamp and prepares to get the power to make Daddy love him. But we've got three episodes to go, and judging from the previews it sounds like he needs the Knave's heart to do his hoodoo that he do. So it's not over until it's over.

What is it with Michael Socha looking so bored half the time?

Wake me when my paycheck gets here.

The wish magic is, as usual, really vague and its non-use makes the characters out to be kinda stupid. So the Knave has to tell the Red Queen to wish Jafar out of Wonderland? Can't she figure that out on her own? And that's really a so-so wish anyway. "I wish Jafar and all of his allies are banished from Wonderland forever" seems a lot better. But again... why wait?

Jafar took over your castle and vowed to wipe you out. No wish.
You need an army to take back Wonderland. No wish.
You hear the Jabberwocky has been unleashed by your mortal enemy. No wish.
Jafar captures you and leaves you ungagged. No wish.
The Knave finally tells you, hey, make a wish, and then you wish.

Oh, I don't think I've mentioned it, but Naveen Andrews does a workman job of playing the bad guy. The character still goes back and forth between pantomime and "I must get my father's love!" emotional angst, but he's the best of the live-action actors.

It seems like the writer Nussdorf (presumably) put a bit more thought into the script. We get a somewhat Lewis Carroll-esque encounter with a White Knight and a variation on the classic Knights and Knaves riddle. (See also the "Riddle of the Osirians" in "The Pyramids of Mars." They even put in larger mushrooms in the forest scenes and a few bricks.

Bricks! They budgeted for bricks!

I'm still kind of annoyed with Sophie Lowe, who they really aren't giving her much to do except alternate between being loving and being whiny. John Lithgow makes his usual minimal appearance although he's given a nice Carroll-esque bit about time. And again, I really don't buy Emma Rigby whiplashing back and forth to "Now I want to save the kingdom and be the queen the people need." Part of it is the script, which has her doing the reverse heel-turn pretty quickly. But part of it is that the actress just doesn't sell it. The female guest stars are really better than the main female stars.

I may be undergoing extreme psychological torture, but my lips never looked better! Or bigger!

So overall I thought this episode was an improvement. They made a little effort to give us a bit more of Wonderland, the reason for Cyrus' geniehood was cloaked in some ominous foreshadowing, and Peta Sergeant and Leah Gibson brought their A game.

But that's my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
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