A Look Back at Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

By: Cynthia Ayala

With the series finale bringing this spin-off to a close, lets take a look back at this series.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland brought viewers another story to be told, taking it away from the original timeline.  Looking at Lewis Carroll’s most favorite look, viewer are following Alice through her adventures in Wonderland.  This show also brought fans of Once a new Queen of Hearts (played by Emma Rigby) and Jafar (played by Naveen Andrews).

Overall, I would personally have to say this series was much better than Once Upon a Time this season.  The Neverland story was excessively convoluted, slow paced and boring at the same time.  Once Upon a Time brought us something fresh and a great small, tight nit cast that developed their each individual stories.

Sophie Lowe and Michael Socha as Alice and the Knave

Alice (played by Sophie Lowe) is a girl with a strong will, and it helps that the actress was just as charming. While her onscreen romance with Cyrus (played by Peter Gdiot), the genie, wasn’t all that believable, the drive her character exuded sucked viewer in.  Viewers wanted to root for her, viewers wanted her to get her lost love back who was taken from her, who was thought to be dead.  Sophie Lowe was the perfect actress for this part, taking the character and making the character her own.  She truly did become Alice.  The charisma from the character is not the only point that hooked people in.  Alice is also a skilled fighter and a thief, much like Snow White.  Nevertheless, that was probably where the problem was that alienated some viewers.  Her character back story mimicked Snow White’s a little too much.  The Queen of Hearts hunts Alice and, much like Snow White, Alice is a skilled fighter and thief.  While they are very basic attributes, viewers already see that story in Once Upon a Time.  Still, this season I much preferred Wonderland to Neverland.

Michael Socha as the Knave and Emily Rigby as the Red Queen in the mid-season finale
Michael Socha as the Knave and Emily Rigby as the Red Queen in the mid-season finale

Michael Socha, who is famous for playing Tom McNair in the British version of Being Human, was remarkable.  As a fan of him, I was ecstatic that I would get to see him once a week.  Socha is a very talented actor and played the best Knave of Hearts.  As the Knave of Hearts, the series opened with him in Storybrooke, being sucked back into Wonderland hoping to help Alice find Cyrus again since it’s been revealed that he is not dead like Alice believed.

Through the series, we were able to see his character evolution.  We see that he was actually Will Scarlet from Robin Hood’s gang of merry men.  He stole for his love, which was revealed to be the Red Queen, also known as Anastasia.  Cora took out his heart to help save him from heartbreak he suffered when Anastasia left him to become Queen.  At the mid-season finale, we saw him become the new genie in the bottle to allow Alice and Cyrus to be together without the curse of being a genie hovering over them.  Overall, he was a great part of this show, from facial expressions to body language; he really has captured the quirkiness of his character.

Emily Rigby as the Red Queen
Emily Rigby as the Red Queen

One of the earlier problems with this show was the part around the Red Queen.  Once Upon a Time established Cora a the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland but in this show, Emma Rigby played a new Red Queen, a girl formerly known as Anastasia.  Emma Rigby wasn’t the most impressive actress and her pouting face was a bit of a turn off.  As the season progressed though as we were shown her true depth behind the evilness within her.  The more she smiled and cried, we were able to see more of her character.

When the writers finally cleaned up the mess, bringing back Cora as her mentor that was brilliant.  It was a smooth clean up that cleaned up the story and flushed out many details.  It coincided with the characters development and background.  But it’s easy to understand why this character would make a lot of viewers raise their eyebrows.  She wasn’t perfect, and neither was the actress.  That doesn’t change how much she grew through the season, but it would have been nice to see her story develop in another season.

Naveen Andrews as the villain Jafar
Naveen Andrews as the villain Jafar

Now, one of the brilliant aspects of this show was separating it from the Enchanted Forest and building a whole new universe, tying Wonderland and Agrabah.  That leaves the worlds separate so that fans don’t get so overwhelmed by the shows.  Naveen Andrews from Lost, took up the role of Jafar and much of the show explored much of his realm and his past, inspiring sympathy from the viewers.  The way he was treated is it any wonder why he turned evil?

But then again, that brings about another problem from the fans of Disney.  Where is Aladdin? Where’s Jasmine and Abu?  Those are classic characters in the Agrabah universe, essential characters.  While the original show has done a fairly decent time bringing these characters to life as well as their stories, but here is was lacking, which was a bitter disappointment.

As upset as I am about the shows cancellation, the way the story was progressing, I don’t see how it could have evolved anymore.  Hopefully fans will get to see these characters in Once Upon a Time because these characters and actors did not get enough time to shine.

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