Finally after all the allusions from Henry's book, we get an Alice in Wonderland episode! The guy who plays the Mad Hatter was good at acting very tortured and 'mad' from grief, but I must admit I didn't enjoy this episode as much as I thought I would. For one thing, I am sick of Emma still being so skeptical (thought I don't really blame her) and there was minimal story line progression other than 1.) we confirm the presence of other parallel worlds and 2.) Regina and Mr. Gold are behind all of MMarg's misery - big surprise there :P Thankfully, the next episode, which reveals the reason Regina hates Snow, is much more exciting.
I am now just 2 episodes behind *pantpant* - not counting the 3 I can't do since they're not up on Hulu anymore >_> - but I am glad Season 1 is almost over. Also I'm pained to think that there will likely be a Season 2; while I've enjoyed the ride thus far, I am already sick of many of the main characters.... There is not enough Charming-Snow, way too much David-MMarg, too much Henry (sorry keed), Emma is a bit compared to all other eccentrics in town... *sigh* I definitely will not be recapping Season 2.
Episode 17: Hat Trick
We pick right where we left off and confirm that MMarg did indeed use Regina's skeleton key to escape jail.
We then jump straight to Henry reading a book with a picture of a girl (Alice?). He congratulates Emma on her "genius plan" though he is quickly taken aback with Mr. Gold asks what the plan was. Turns out Henry thought Emma broke MMarg out of jail on purpose - to the horror of both Emma and Mr. Gold when they see her empty cell.
If MMarg fails to show up for the arraignment tomorrow at 8am, she becomes a fugitive. Though she is putting her job at risk, Emma vows to find MMarg before anyone notices she is missing. Henry, though disappointed she won't let him help, reminds her somewhat unhelpfully that MMarg can't leave town before he is hauled home.
While Emma is driving through the woods looking for MMarg, she almost hits a shadowy figure. She gets out in a panic to help him up. He recognizes her as the sheriff and Emma lies she's out looking for a lost dog, Spot. When she sees him limping away (he says he twisted his ankle), she offers to drive him home. He then introduces himself as "Jefferson" and we see that as soon as Emma's back is turned, he has no trouble standing on his ankle at all....
The same man flees through the woods and hides behind the tree. He peers out fearfully....
...then we hear a sweet voice pipping, "Papa, I found you!" Turns out dad and daughter, Grace, were just playing hide-&-seek :) Though he cuts the game short so that they can hunt for mushrooms to sell at the market tomorrow, we can see they have a very close, loving relationship.
At home they see the Queen's carriage out front. Though he tells his daughter that he doesn't know the Queen, we know otherwise since he tells his daughter to hide in the woods while he figures out what she's doing here.
Turns out that they definitely know each other and that there is no love lost between them. TEQ remarks that poverty doesn't suit him and asks why he gave up his job - what kind of life could he provide for his daughter living like this? Interestingly enough, she calls him "Jefferson" - which means that he is the only character in the series do far who has the same name in both worlds. She then asks him for a favor saying she needs his "special skills" to get somewhere. She wants to get back something that was taken from her. In return, she will see to it that his daughter wants for nothing. Despite his poverty, he refuses, saying that Grace lost her mother because of his job and he can't have her lose a father too. "You don't abandon family." TEQ gives in rather readily, though she does add rather meaningfully that he quite right that one should never abandon family. When she leaves, we see she left a note detailing the job nonetheless.
We arrive at Jefferson's mansion and Emma marvels at how huge his house is. He must have lots of family. He corrects her sadly saying that he lives in this vast house alone.
For her kindness, he gives her tea to warm up for her search and shows her one of the maps from his collection. As Emma marvels over his map, she begins to feel dizzy. As she passes out she beleatly realizes that Jefferson has lost his limp and that he is the one who drugged her tea.
In town, Grace is charmed by a stuffed white rabbit and begs her Papa to buy it. However, the old gypsy woman demands one silver when all he has are eight coppers. "It's the economy, you understand." (bwahha) Grace, sweet as ever, tells his father she doesn't need it and leads him away.
The gypsy woman watches them leave then limps back to her wagon where a familiar face scolds her being so cruel to the child - she could have at least given her a toy. Nice to know love doesn't totally blind you to her cruelty >_>
"Where's the fun in that?"
And we see the gypsy was TEQ in disguise all along :P
Emma wakens to find herself tied up. However, she quickly frees herself by breaking the mug of tea and using the broken pieces to cut off her bindings.
As she investigates the windows for a way out, she notices a telescope and peeks through it. She sees that the telescope gives her a clear sight-line straight into the sheriff's office. Her desire to escape is quickly replaced by a desire to know why he was spying on her and she sneaks out into the hallway instead.
There she spies Jefferson creepily sharpening a pair of scissors.
Back in fairy tale land, he gives his daughter a handmade imitation of the rabbit she wanted. He apologizes that it's not the same, though she says she loves it anyway. She cheerfully serves tea to the bunny and Mr. Tortoise (allusion to the Mock Turtle). As he watches her play with her worn out toys, he seems to make up his mind about something asks her to stay with their neighbors for the rest of the day. She immediately realizes that this is something for the Queen and begs him not to go. He replies he must do this last job to be able to give her everything she wants. She cries that all she needs is him. When he is not swayed, she makes him promise to come back for their tea party. He promises and watches her run to her neighbors, who seem quite loving....rather like a family.
He then goes to his wooden chest and pulls out a battered hat box.
Emma sneaks into another room when Jefferson checks the hallway for some noise. To her shock, she sees MMarg tied up behind her. She quickly frees her and MMarg tells her that she was in the woods when a someone attacked her and brought her here. She admits that she escaped using a key she found in her cell and both wonder who could have left it there.
They both sneak out into the hallway and to their dismay, Jefferson is waiting for them holding a gun. He casually remarks that Emma has found "Spot." Emma claims backup is on its way but he calls her bluff, saying that Emma wouldn't have told anyone where she for the same reason she lied about looking for "Spot." Left with no choice, Emma ties MMarg back up.
When she asks why he was spying on her, he smirks and says it because he needs her to do something for him.
|Whoever designs the queen's attire deserves an award.|
Jefferson arrives at the palace bearing his mysterious hat box. He extracts the promise from the Queen that if he does this last task for her that his daughter will "want for nothing. The Queen is all too eager to agree if you ask me. He then opens the box and pulls out the Mad Hatter's trademark top hat.
He places the hat on the floor and spins it: dark clouds coalesce and as the camera pulls back we see that the hat has grown to gigantic proportions - a portal. Wearily, Jefferson tells her to go ahead but the Queen, so charming when she wants to be, tells him she wants to jump together.
Emma swears that if Jefferson hurts MMarg that she will kill him. He says that contrary to her opinion, he brought her here to save her life. After all, Emma of all people should know what happens when people try to leave Storybrooke. He goes on to talk about the Curse that keeps everyone except Emma trapped in the town. He displays intimate knowledge of not only the Curse, but also Henry's book (a name he initially associates as the Queen's father).
He tells her she's here because he has been trapped in this house for 20 years, but ever since she came to town, the clock started moving and things started changing. She's "special." When she calls him crazy, he replies by saying she's the crazy one for not believing in magic when it's right in front of her.
He forces her to sit and tells her that she is the only one who can "make it work" as Emma stares at a half finished hat.
|Hmmm....door to the far left - Mulan? Seems Asian-y.|
Jefferson takes TEQ to a mirror-like door (aka Through the Looking Glass) and reminds her to stay close to him as the same number of people that entered must exit - no more no less. It's the hat's rule, not his.
|Clearly they are so happy to be there.|
On the other side, we get our first glimpse of wonderland, right down to the birds chirping in the background.
"Who are you?"
Eyeing the many hats and tea set, Emma surmises Jefferson thinks he's the Mad Hatter. She tells him that Alice in Wonderland is a fictional story to which Jefferson retorts that a fairy tale story from a book is no less true than a "story" you read in a history book. It all came from somewhere.
Emma: That's the thing, Jefferson. This is it - the real world.
Jefferson: A real world. How arrogant are you to think yours is the only one? There are infinite more. You have to open your mind. They touch one another, pressing up in a long line of lands. Each just as real as the last. Some have magic, some don't. And some need magic. Like this one. And that's where you come in.
He tells her she nor her friend is leaving till she makes a hat and gets it to work. Defeated by all the crazy, Emma begins to work on making a hat. When she asks him what will happen after she finishes the hat, he wearily replies that he will finally be able to go home.
We get a glimpse of the Queen of Heart's infamous maze. When Jefferson refuses to proceed but TEQ coldly reminds him that he needs her to to exit Wonderland, surely he won't let his fear of the Queen of Hearts stop him from returning to his daughter?
Jefferson: Do you know what she does to people who cross her?"
TEQ: "Better than most."
Sighing, he warns her to stay away from the walls, which drag in anyone who gets too close.
Jefferson: Stay away from the walls.
TEQ: The walls should stay away from me.
And in a move that will surely piss off the Queen of Hearts, TEQ blasts a fireball straight to the center of the maze.
At the center is a little structure that looks quite similar to the father Henry's sarcophagus and is filled with familiar gold boxes. Good lord, does every queen collect hearts/souls around here!? TEQ eagerly extracts a specific gold box.
On their way out, they are attacked by soldiers but they get away easily be throwing them into the blood thirsty walls. On their way out, to Jefferson's horror, she stops and plucks a piece of a mushroom.
She drops it in the box and black smoke flows out of the box....
....oh ho ho. It's Henry! Apparently the QoH's always saw her as a threat, so she stole her father to gain leverage. Now she got him back.
This sucks for Jefferson because only two entered the mirror and only two can leave. That's why she didn't tell him that the thing she lost was her father; she intended to leave Jefferson behind all along. Even when he pleads with her for the sake of his daughter, she passionately tells him that if he truly cared for her, he would have never left in the first place. In any case, he was right - you don't abandon family. TEQ promptly binds his feet to ground and takes her father through, trapping him in Wonderland. He doesn't resist when the soldiers catch up to him.
Jefferson is led through a crowd of creepy courtesans, all masked like their queen.
Eerily enough, not only is she veiled, the QoH speaks through a speaking tube, in a low, rather damaged sounding voice. I wonder if she was burned/scarred in some way by TEQ. Maybe she is so disfigured she makes everyone cover their faces as well? Anyway, when she asks how Jefferson got to her land, he says he'll tell her if she lets him go. For his impertinence, he gets his head chopped off.
To everyone's surprise (including science's), he is still alive even detached from his body. To get his body back, he needs to tell her how he got here (geez, that takes blackmail to a whole new level...). He quickly confesses that he came via the Hat, which Regina now took from him. When they demand he make a new hat, he insists that he can't, "A hat without magic is just a hat!"
Meanwhile, Emma has finished her hat but it doesn't seem to be doing what it should. She tried to persuade him to give it up, after all, what more does he need more than this beautiful home? He angrily tells her because of the Curse, everything he loves has been taken from him.
In despair, he shows her someone else he watches though his telescope - his daughter, Grace. In this world, her name is Paige. He watches her everyday, happy with her new family. She doesn't remember him though and that is his curse - to have all these riches and not being able to share them with her. Furthermore, unlike her, he remembers everything:
"It's hard enough to live in a land where you don't belong, but knowing it - holding conflicting realities in your head... will drive you mad."
He can't bear to inflict the pain of a shattered reality, which is why he stays away and why he needs to go back to his world - the one world they can be together and she remembers him. Emma sympathizes with his pain of losing a child and it seems that Jefferson has finally broken through, as she tearfully says that perhaps she needs to just open her eyes more. She offers to do what she can with the hat. Hurray! (FINALLY!)
BUT as soon as his back is turned she grabs his telescope and clobbers him with it! arghhhhh...still a skeptic. Of course. She rushes back to MMarg mumbling "Crazy son of a bitch."
Unfortunately, he wasn't knocked out and he barrels in wearing his new top hat. There's a tussle for the gun and we get a clear view of the scar around his neck. He points the gun at Emma's head murmuring, "Off with his head" as Emma stares at the scar around his neck.
Then in a shocking show of Snow White-esque baddassery, MMarg whacks him with a croquet mallet and shoves him out the window! We hear a whoosh and no thud....
....and when the girls look out the window, there is no body, just a hat. Seems like the hat was working after all!
Seeing no sign of his body anywhere, they take the hat and find Emma's car parked behind the house. MMarg seems reluctant to go back and is surprised when Emma suddenly tosses her the car keys. She tells her that while she doesn't want her to run, MMarg needs to choose to go back with her. Emma wants MMarg to trust her to get her out of this because she is family to her now. Moved, MMarg hands back the keys. In the distance, the bell tolls.
Regina swans in after triumphantly eyeing the empty Sheriff parking spot, so she is clearly shocked when she sees MMarg sitting contently in her jail cell.
Our suspicions are confirmed when she pulls Mr. Gold aside and demands to know what MMarg is doing back. It turns out they were in the cahoots together all along! Mr. Gold is the one who said MMarg would use the key to escape and not come back. He didn't anticipate her coming back, however, and remarks that Emma is clearly more resourceful than he thought. In any case, MMarg is still a suspect for murder so Regina will still get what she wants. She hisses that she'd better, that's the only reason she made another deal with him in the first place.
Emma meets up with Henry before school to let him know that she found MMarg. When Paige says hello to Henry (seems like she has a crush on him), Emma suddenly asks to see his fairy tale book. She flips through the pages and judging from her face, it seems that she recognizes Jefferson in the pictures.
Though if you ask me, the drawings...kind of suck :P
|That's a lot of hats....|
And we cut to Jefferson who is now definitely the Mad Hatter, drowning in a sea of hats crazily mumbling, "Get it to work, just get it to work. Get it to work!"
The last shot we get is an expression of disbelief and dare I say....reluctant acceptance? flicking across Emma's face.
I am intrigued to know 1.) Which world Jefferson ended up in when he fell through the hat and 2.) Why the Queen of Hearts is covered up and speaks in such a weird voice. I don't have much to say about this episode - it was ok and the daughter-father relationship was sweet. I enjoy the anecdotes of the fairy tale world a heck of a lot more than the Storybrooke world that's for sure.
Anyway, the next episode is all about Regina and finally explains why she despises Snow so much. It was cool seeing Regina without all that makeup too, she looked so innocent ^_^