ABC spun a Once Upon a Time in Wonderland tale on Thursday, but was this trip down the rabbit hole worth taking?
Before you chime in with your snappy judgements, here’s a brief refresher on the premiere: Alice (played by a charming Sophie Lowe) is from Victorian England, but finds herself in Wonderland at a young age. After repeated visits to the magical place, her dad has her locked up in an insane asylum where the doctors try to convince her everything she saw and did is all her head. She’s inclined to give in to them and their new memory-wiping treatment because the genie who captured her heart, Cyrus (Peter Gadiot), was killed by the Red Queen (Hollyoaks‘ Emma Rigby), leaving Alice in agony.
Or was he? The Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha of the UK’s Being Human), who’s been hanging out in Storybrooke, breaks into the asylum to tell Alice that Cyrus was spotted by the White Rabbit (voiced by John Lithgow).
Through a portal provided by the fuzzy creature, the Knave and Alice travel back to Wonderland and end up in a mallow marsh. (Mmm, s’mores.) The Rabbit reveals that it was actually a door mouse who said he saw Cyrus at the Mad Hatter’s house, so they head there even though the Knave is reluctant to stay in Wonderland, being a wanted man. Alice gives him some incentive to help her: She’ll pay him in wishes. (Side note: How fun are those two? For a pilot, this cast sure has gelled quickly.) Along the way, he almost steals them, but ends up coming back and rescuing her from the hungry Cheshire Cat (voiced by The Cape‘s Keith David).
Elsewhere, the surprisingly duplicitous Rabbit meets up with the Red Queen, who’s using his ears to keep tabs on Alice. She’s also got another less-intimidated ally: Jafar (Lost‘s Naveen Andrews). What they want can’t be accomplished until they have the genie’s bottle and Alice has made all her wishes. But first they’ll have to survive each other. Jafar almost chokes the Red Queen before she announces that he needs her — this is her world, so only she knows Alice’s exact whereabouts — and sends him off on his “raggedy carpet.”
Meanwhile, Alice and the Knave don’t find Cyrus at the house — he’s actually being kept locked up by Jafar — but she does happen upon his necklace, which is more than enough proof for her that her true love is alive.
Now it’s time for you to weigh in on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Grade the premiere below and then hit the comments with your thoughts!Follow @VladaGelman