Monday, March 26, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 17)

Once Upon A Time continued to move all the story lines along well last week. This week's episode is entitled "Hat Trick".

In the land of Fairytales, we learn the story of the Mad Hatter and how he has been charged with a secret mission by Queen Regina to steal a prize from the ruling regent of Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts.

In Storybrooke, Emma searches for Mary Margaret who has gone missing from the jail cell at the end of the last episode. However, she gets sidetracked when she herself is kidnapped by a man with an obsession for hats and questionable sanity.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Once upon a time there was a man named Jefferson who had a daughter named Grace. They spent time searching the woods for mushrooms and having tea parties. But the arrival of Queen Regina at his home is cause for alarm. He has hung up his hat, but she needs him to help her get to Wonderland to retrieve something that belongs to her. He says no.

In town, Grace sees a stuffed white rabbit she would like. Jefferson does not have enough. The old hag who runs the toy cart will not drop the price. The old hag turns out to be Regina in disguise. Jefferson returns home, makes a toy rabbit for Grace but realizes he can't provide always for her. He sends her off with the neighbors while he agrees to visit the Queen.

Taking out his hat, he makes room and spins it. A vortex opens for the two to jump through. Once at the bottom, they face a variety of doors. Jefferson indicates which one goes to Wonderland - but the rule is the same number that enter must be the same number to leave.

Wonderland, of course, is an amazing place. They run by the Caterpillar (played by Roger Daltrey) who asks "who are you? who who? who who?" (what a great bit there!). They come upon the Queen of Hearts' hedge maze with walls that can kill. Regina decides to take the direct approach and blasts a clear path to the center. Once there, they find a vault similar to Regina's. Does the Queen of Hearts also collect hearts? Regina takes a box, and the guards chase them. They get back to the portal where Regina opens the box and puts a piece of mushroom inside. Magic happens and her father Henry grows to normal size. It seems the Q of H took him as leverage against Regina. The two flee, leaving Jefferson to face the wrath of the regent of Wonderland.

The Queen of Hearts behead Jefferson. He lives without a body. The Queen tells him to make a new hat if he ever wants to return home to see his daughter again. It ends with him madly trying to make hats that will work, but none do.

In Storybrooke, Mary-Margaret is on the run. Emma goes after her as she needs to be back by the morning for her arraignment. Driving down the road, Emma nearly runs down a man. She offers him a ride home, taking him to his huge place. The man offers her some tea in thanks, but the tea is drugged. Emma falls unconscious.

When she awakes, she is bound and gagged. Resourceful, she frees herself. Jefferson is sharpening his scissors, so she slips into another room to hide. That is where she finds Mary-Margaret bound and gagged. The two try to escape but Jefferson blocks there escape with a gun. He forces Emma to tie her friend back up.

Next, he wants Emma to make him a new magic hat. You see, he knows about the curse and the two worlds, needing a new hat to get him home. He knows Emma brought magic to Storybrooke and figures she can get him home to his world. He wants to take Grace (now called Paige) with him so they can be together again.

Emma appears to believe him, relating to the lost child and parent scenario. That is, until he turns his back. She then clocks Jefferson with a telescope. She runs to free Mary-Margaret but Jefferson is not out. He crashes into the room, there is a tussle where we get to see the scar all around his neck (previously covered by a scarf). Mary-Margaret whacks him with a croquet mallet then kicks him out the window (instinctively using her old Fairytale land skills). When the gals go outside, there is no sign of Jefferson's body - just his hat. Emma throws it in her car and offers Mary the keys. She can flee if she wants but Emma considers her "family" and will do whatever it takes to clear her the right way.

Regina shows up at the jail and finds Mary-Margaret back in her cell. Mr. Gold shoos her off then follows her out to the hall. Regina demands to know what is going on. He promised her that Mary would be gone. Gold said she was - she took the key he left for her and fled, but she returned. Regina says they had a deal. (What the heck is going on here? Whose side is Gold on? Most likely, whatever one works best for him!)

Emma checks in with Henry at the school and recognizes Paige. She asks to see Henry's book and notices the pages about the Mad Hatter. His appearance is exactly that of Jefferson. She even notes the scar. She maybe is starting to believe after all?

I really enjoyed this episode. Lots of weird tension, lots of new twists with another person (Jefferson/Hatter) in the know. The special effects in the Fairytale worlds worked very well. And the end shocker of Gold working with Regina, his sworn rival. This show keeps me on my toes and I love it.

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