Well, first the bad news. The teaser at the end of tonight's "To Catch a Thief" announced that next week would be the series finale. So everyone brace yourselves. It does look like they had enough warning (or always expected it would be cancelled) to craft something resembling a proper ending. So presumably we'll get some resolution of the major issues.

So on to tonight's episode. I can't help but think that, intentionally or not, they're following the model of Sleepy Hollow where they have a definite 13-part storyline. The reduced episode count storyline means that most episode have had a minimum of padding. There haven't really been any "filler" episodes. I wouldn't compare it to Sleepy Hollow as far as the writing quality. But the producers have kept things moving along.

Tonight was a good example of that. In fact, it might have been a bit too rushed. The flashbacks didn't seem to serve a great deal of purpose as far as the main narrative: they just filled us in on some backstory. A kind of "Well, you should know this stuff we set up before we lose our chance to tell you" attitude. Michael Socha still continues to act as if losing a heart doesn't affect his character's emotions in the flashback. And there seemed an odd jump from Cora taking Will's heart, to Will becoming her unwilling servant. It's not that I didn't see it coming as much as you wonder why she bothered. Did she really need another soldier? Just order him to stay away from Anastasia forever and ever, amen.

I would have rather seen them explore one or two outstanding issues tonight in more depth. Like how did Amara get out of the staff? And why did Cyrus suddenly decide that going to the Well of Wonders wasn't the best idea? And what exactly was their plan? Cyrus gets to the lamp, Amara somehow frees herself, the Knave distracts the guards so Alice can get the old prisoner out of his cell... although how he's going to help them stop Jafar, who knows? Hopefully they'll explain some of this next week.

Help you do... what?
Heck if I know--we're making it up as we go along. Maybe your other son the astrophysicist could think of something.

The Knave also seemed to come back pretty quickly from his feeling that Alice and Cyrus--the selfish sods--weren't going to let him have his love story because they got theirs. And... he's right. There was a certain meta-ness to them acknowledging what some people on here and elsewhere have pointed out: Alice is kind of a selfish git.

Still, I wish they had spent a little more time developing him getting over it. But we got Alice as a bit more sympathetic character. And they gave her a fight scene, which is one of the reasons I like the OUaT: Wonderland concept--an action adventure epic--more than its parent--a soap opera involving fairy tales, both real and allegorical. Sometimes you just want to see a fantasy swordfight or a magical throwdown.

I also liked the magical battle between Amara and Jafar. I don't like Zuleikha Robinson in the part, though: she's full of awkward little smiles and grimaces that throw me off when I watch her. She probably gives the most... modern-day? performance on the show.

Snakes--why did it have to be snakes?

I still continue to like Naveen Andrews, who seems to have become a bit more subtle/subdued as the series has progressed. I liked the way he conveyed the reason he summoned the genies from the lamps without the character (and writers) spelling it out. Andrews conveyed why Jafar did it: to determine the family resemblance. He also has some cute lines, like the "Lying bastard" - "Half right" bit. The actor has always been a class act on Lost and Sinbad, so it's nice to see him actually get to do acting here.

Emma Rigby got to have a nap this weekend. John Lithgow was MIA yet again (only in eight episodes out of thirteen total). Peter Gadiot really didn't do much.

Peta Sergeant seemed a bit subdued again this week. I do like the physical element she brings to the Jabberwocky.

Overall, I'm kind of curious to see how they wrap it up. Jafar has to bring back Cyrus and the Red Queen, make the Red Queen fall in love with him, presumably subdue Amara so she doesn't turn against him, deal with his father, deal with the Jabberwocky (Peta Sergeant isn't credited in the ABC press release), all while Alice finds a way to defeat him now that he's holding all the cards. Nyx, Mrs. Rabbit, and Edwin are all in it as well, along with an army of darkness (tm). That's a lot of stuff to cram into an hour. So everyone stick around for the big (series :( ) finale.
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