Wonderland’s finale was predictable and cheesy, but it served the series well in tying up loose ends and bringing the stories together in a satisfying way.
It didn’t rely too much on a massive confrontation or an epic battle, instead making use of the clever shifts of power and mind games that were with the series from the start, as well as the themes that were so important during this limited run of episodes.
Obviously love is the biggest of those themes, and it carried most of the episode through to Alice and Cyrus’ wedding in the end. It wasn’t just about them, though. Amara sacrificed herself for her sons, Will used his feelings for Ana to pull her out of her hallucination, and of course, Jafar used love in a more malicious and cruel way to pay his father back for how he treated him as a boy.
I was initially hesitant with what Jafar wanted to change the rules of magic for. Did he really go to all that trouble just to win over his father? His goals were, in fact a lot bigger than that though in the end his quest for power failed him when he played right into Alice’s hands.
Alice was a wonderful protagonist throughout these 13 episodes, and I never felt like her wit and bravery were contrived in any way. Sophie Lowe always portrayed her well, and lit up the screen whenever she was around. For me, she was always a huge draw of Wonderland, especially when certain other characters like Jafar fell flat. I’m glad she got her happy ending with Cyrus, even if he was as dull as mud, but more importantly, I’m happy that she and Will were able to preserve their friendship.
I think he was definitely the strongest character in the series. I liked him instantly, and without Will I think the absurdity of what was happening would have been a little bit too much to handle, especially in a world where talking caterpillars and genies are commonplace.
I said a few reviews back that I think the importance of Ana’s death wouldn’t have been lost if she was resurrected, and I stick with that theory when the series closed with her back at Will’s side. Though she started out as one of the weakest aspects of Wonderland, her transformation quickly became one of the highlights, and I’m glad that we got to see that journey play out to the end.
And it looks like it will be the end for the majority of the characters in Wonderland. Alice and Cyrus’ ending suggests that they won’t be quick to jump into anything that might be happening in Storybrooke anytime soon, even if it looks like Will just might be.
Looking back on the show now, I can see where Wonderland’s appeal may have paled in comparison with its mother series. What drew me to Once Upon a Time nearly three years ago was the modern twist on these fairytales. We weren’t just seeing these characters reborn; they were being re-imagined into the present day.
Wonderland didn’t have that, or a similar gimmick that sold it as something equally as interesting. What I liked a lot about the premiere was that it felt a little darker than Once ever did. Focusing so heavily on Wonderland itself meant the show lost a sense of reality that grounded the stories of the Enchanted Forest.
Regardless, I do think Wonderland worked well as a typical fantasy adventure. It had its flaws, but in the end it became a well written tale that serves as a nice addition to the Once universe, even if the time discrepancies between Storybrooke and Victorian England could have used a little more explanation.
4 out of 5 talking rabbits
I loved that final shot of the rabbit watching Alice’s family.
It was great to see Alice re-united with her father.
The Jabberwocky turned out to be completely irrelevant, didn't she?
He Said, She Said
Edwin: “I want to thank you for proving to me that it was real."
Rabbit: “Many people have come and gone from Wonderland, but only the most special ones ever discover what it’s truly about.”
Alice: “Finding love?”
Rabbit: “Finding yourself.”
Originally posted at PandaTV.