Anyone who wasn't still standing in line to see "The Hunger Games" on Sunday night got the chance to trip through Wonderland on this week’s "Once Upon a Time."
Looking for the escaped Mary Margaret, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) stumbles on Storybrooke's very own version of the Mad Hatter. Except he's not really 'mad' -- he just remembers his former life all too well.
As Jefferson (Sebastian Stan) in the fairytale world, he was keeper of the magic hat's secret gateway into Wonderland. Then he was tragically double-crossed by the Evil Queen (Lana Parilla) while retrieving her father from Wonderland. Stranded in Wonderland, separated from his beloved daughter, he's left to the whims of the enigmatic Queen of Hearts.
Sadly, being trapped now in Storybrooke with full knowledge of what's happened -- and within spitting distance of his unaware daughter -- is driving him ... well, a little bonkers. Desperate to find the magic he needs to get home, he kidnaps Emma and Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) in order to force Emma to fix his magic hat. She is, he believes, the magic in Storybrooke.
As Emma and Mary Margaret escape his clutches, he disappears from the "real world" and reappears somewhere else, still furiously trying to make his magic hat work. And now completely mad.
And Emma starts to wonder if he really was right about the world of magic.
Sebastian Stan hit just the right notes as Jefferson, the not-so-Mad Hatter. The idea that he was cursed to remember puts Storybrooke's situation in a new light.
Wonderland itself, as could only be appropriate, was wacky and wonderful. The visual style used was a marked contrast to the more "realistic" way that the fairytale kingdoms have been portrayed, which worked beautifully.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK
The story was entirely too short, leaving Wonderland much too quickly after entering it. Jefferson's tale also seemed unfinished when the story rushed to a conclusion. Hopefully this isn't the last we’ll be seeing of him or of Wonderland, because it was much more interesting than some other things in the fairytale world.
Once again, with the fairytale part of the stories bouncing around in time, it’s hard to know when things occur, which can confuse even astute viewers.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
"Hat Trick' was written by Vladimir Cvetko and David H. Goodman. It was directed by Ralph Hemecker.
"Once Upon a Time" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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