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Well, "Heart of the Matter"... and two good episodes in a row. Wish they had saved some of this quality for earlier in the season. Perhaps the show would have gotten better ratings. Or not.

First, they remembered that this is an action show. Occasionally. Underland is still the least impressive part of the show, and I wish they would do something with the costuming. It's more Mad Max then Mad Hatter.

Have you seen my co-pilot Amelia?

Is anyone else tired of the Caterpillar, or is that just me?

Anyhoo, I'm still not entirely clear why the Knave has to have his heart for Jafar's spell to work. Or why someone losing their heart means they have no fear. Presumably Michael Socha is trying to convey heartlessness and lack of emotion, but it still comes across as boredom.

Also, Barbara Hershey's presence seems to be more because of fanwank. Of a "We have to explore the connection between the Queen of Hearts from OUaT and our new show, and Barbara Hershey needs a new pool in the backyard." Maybe I missed something (likely), but who and where is the King of Hearts? Is there a King of Hearts? Why does the Red King seem to have some kind of authority or involvement with Cora? And why doesn't the Red King wear red?

Why am I here? Mama needs a new closet of shoes.

And why does Cora care so much about Anastasia? Just to get the daughter she never had with Regina? It's kind of weird since Cora treated Regina the way that Anastasia's mother treated Anastasia. It just seemed that Cora was invested in Anastasia so much because... well, they could get Barbara Hershey.

Okay, that's the end of the weak sauce. I liked that Alice and Cyrus were proactive this week, and we didn't have to hear them whine much about their personal problems. The White Rabbit served a useful purpose, although wasn't he supposed to portal around Wonderland? Why were soldiers meeting at his house?

The Storybrooke "cameo" was cute, as was Cyrus and Alice coping with modern technology. Although it's too bad they couldn't pay a little less for Barbara Hershey and a little more for one of the Storybrooke regulars. Even just a dwarf or two. You also kind of wonder when this is all taking place vis a vis the OUaT storyline. Was the Knave in Storybrooke at the same time that Zelena was doing whatever she was doing during the missing year? Did she notice the White Rabbit portaling in?

Was that a flying monkey? Great, Storybrooke gets the Wicked Witch, #4 on AFI's Greatest Movie Villains circa 2003, and we get Jafar. Jafar. And they wonder why we suck in the ratings...

Jafar and the Jabberwocky were suitably evil, although Peta Sergeant seemed kind of subdued this week. but still bringing her A game, sniffing out fears. The fact that she can only read fears, not thoughts, makes her a little less omnipotent. Although a bit of odd editing: the Jabberwocky senses Alice and then... commercial break, and Alice and Cyrus have escaped. When did they have time to get out through the escape tunnel?

The flashbacks answered how the Red Queen gained magic, a question I've asked a time or two. We again get the message that anger = power = magic. So apparently all you have to do to learn magic is... have someone that got mad and learned magic, teach you how to get mad and learn magic? Bootstrap logic at its finest. The winter break might have hurt this a bit since it's difficult to recall why Anastasia is so peeved. The confrontation between Anastasia and her mother could have used a "previously on" clip at the beginning.

The show really shined in the last few scenes. The confrontation between Cyrus and Jafar was nicely done, with the characters figuring things out about Amara in about the amount of time you'd figure they work out what was going on.

And the end helped kicked it up a bit because we got some real tragedy. First we got "the kiss" and the golden light show and the twirly camera. The lovers reunited.

And they lived happily after ever...
And then knife to the back.

I donate my lips to science! Or the fire department to catch people jumping out of tall buildings!

Lips aside, I actually didn't mind Emma Rigby too much in this one. She was over the top one or twice, and her cry face is lousy. But Ms. Rigby did some good emoting most of the time.

So these two scenes helped kicked it up a couple of notches. Judging from the previews, I like how the death gives the Knave a motive for working against Alice to get the laws of magic changed. It's a neat plot twist that will hopefully make the last two episodes a big event, leading into what sounds like a major Alice/Jafar showdown in the (season? series?) finale.

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

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