We thought Alice’s father was bad, but he doesn’t hold a candle to the terribleness of Jafar’s dear old dad. In this week’s episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, we learn just how awful the Sultan is, see Alice’s father take a field trip to Wonderland, and watch Alice use her second wish. (Yikes! That means there’s only one left.) Here’s what went down in Season 1, Episode 7’s “Bad Blood.”
Agrabah, Many Years Ago — Father of the Year
No wonder Jafar is such a grump! Not only did his father disown him, but he full-on drowned him just so he wouldn’t have to deal with his bastard son. And Jafar was the kind of orphan any parent would want to take in: kind, clever, and eager to please. Not cool, Sultan. Not cool.
Jafar’s relationship with his father begins when his mother dies. While on her death bed, she tells her son the truth about his parentage: His father isn’t really dead. He’s actually the Sultan, living in opulence in the palace across town. But it’s not all bunk beds and Playstations. The Sultan tells Jafar he can stay — but as a servant boy. And he should never, ever address him as “father.” As far as Jafar should be concerned, that word doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, Jafar can’t seem to remember not to utter the “f” word. He does so in the presence of visiting dignitaries, and the Sultan’s “real” son, Mirza. Mirza gives Jafar a couple of whips to teach him a lesson. The Sultan looks on.
Later, the Sultan comes to “apologize.” He tells Jafar that, sometimes, parents have to do unsavory things to teach their children important lessons. Then, he proceeds to drown Jafar in the nearby water bowl. Father of the year, people! Jafar’s body is taken out with the rest of the “refuse,” but is somehow magically resurrected — but angrier. Years later, the Jafar we know and love (to hate) storms into the palace. He confronts his father who is revealed to be the prisoner Jafar still holds in his Tower of Terror back in Wonderland. Not very surprising, but still emotionally interesting. Jafar gives Mirza the chance to fight him for the life of his father, but Mirza decides to make a break for it instead — so Jafar kills him.
The Sultan is not cool with this, furious at Jafar for killing his son. “He wouldn’t even fight for you,” Jafar tells the Sultan, “but i would have died for you, father.” The Sultan still refuses to acknowledge Jafar as his son. Sadness!
Present-day Wonderland — Pretender
In present-day Wonderland, Alice and the Knave are still making their way to Jafar’s floating island (home of Jafar’s Tower of Terror) to rescue Cyrus. Unbeknownst to them, Cyrus rescued himself last episode, an impressive escape that ended with Cyrus jumping off said floating island and into the water below. Fate TBD.
Alice hatches a plan to build a basket out of a Birdbark Tree. As you may know, Birdbark has floating properties, and Alice plans to use the basket to fly up to the floating island. The Knave is skeptical, but he agrees to help Alice construct the basket. He’s pretty much the best best friend ever. Why can’t this be the Alice & Will: Friendship is Magic show?
Probably because Jafar has hatched a plan of his own! He has brought Alice’s father, Edwin, back from Victorian London to use as emotional collateral against Alice. Edwin is out of his element, frightened of this world he has been pulled into and distraught that he never believed his daughter’s tales of it. He tells Jafar that he doesn’t think Alice will try to save him, as he was kind of a horrible father. There was that time he left her to rot in an insane asylum, see. Jafar decides to do a little undercover work. He draws some of Edwin’s blood, whips up some Polyjuice Potion, and turns himself into a likeness of Alice’s father. Phase one: complete.
Jafar-as-Edwin stumbles into Alice and Knave’s Birdbark Basket Workshop, and Alice is understandably shocked to see her father. Jafar-as-Edwin apologizes to Alice profusely — we suppose he knows exactly what to say as it’s what he has wanted to hear from his father all of these years. But Alice isn’t having any of it: “Father, you never treated me like a daughter, you treated me like an obligation.” We love how Alice stands up for herself here! She even makes a metaphor about a creaky step.
In an attempt to get Alice to admit her feelings for her father, Jafar-as-Edwin unleashes a dragon on the group and manages to put himself smack-dab in danger. Rather than lose her father, Alice fearlessly slays the dragon — because girl power. Jafar-as-Edwin apologizes again, throwing in a mention to Alice’s dead mother for backup, and Alice relents. She asks him if he wants to come with them. Jafar-as-Edwin: Yep.
Meanwhile, in Jafar’s Tower of Terror, the real Edwin is having dinner in the cage next to the Sultan. He makes sure to pray before eating his soup, and the two men discuss religion — because what else are you going to talk about when hanging 24/7 in a massive cage? Eventually, the convo turns to talk of the Sultan’s ex-cage neighbor, i.e. Cyrus, and the boys realize that they both know/know of Alice. They compare notes on being terrible fathers without going into any deets, but we viewers know the Sultan totally has the edge. The Sultan tells Edwin that Cyrus has escaped. Edwin, who is apparently Team Cyrus, is pretty psyched to hear this news.
Back in Alice’s Camp, the gang is eating the dragon that Alice so recently slaid. The Knave makes pleasant dinner conversation with Jafar-as-Edwin, “Have you ever eaten something that’s tried to kill you before?” But Alice, rudely, suggests that she and Will step away from the fire to go check on their Birdbark Basket. Once out of Jafar’s earshot, Alice tells Will that Jafar-as-Edwin is not her father. What gave it away? He didn’t pray before eating his dinner. It’s always something! They make a break for it…
It doesn’t take Jafar long to notice that his dinner companions have let their dragon go cold. He retrieves his staff from the woods, and goes to find the emotional collateral he is now sure will work on Alice: The real Edwin. Jafar dangles Edwin in front of the coast of the floating island and tells Edwin to beg Alice for his life. Only her wish will save him. Edwin apologizes for being a terrible father, telling Alice that he won’t ask for anything from her — not even his life — as he has already taken so much. Instead, he will give her something: Hope! Before Jafar lets him fall, he tells Alice that Cyrus has escaped. But Alice won’t let her father die. She uses her second wish to send him back home. The truly tragic thing is, while Alice believes she finally has a father who believes in her, Edwin is convinced the entire experience was just a dream. And you were making such progress, Edwin! Don’t worry. You’re still beating the Sultan in the race for Worst Dad Ever.
Jafar flies off on his magic carpet, convinced that he will soon have Cyrus for himself. After all, Alice has just one more wish before he is returned back to his bottle to serve a new owner. He heads into the Tower of Terror to have a heart-to-heart with the old man. The Sultan gets Jafar to release him from his cage so they can have the chat without bars between them, and we finally learn why Jafar wants to change the rules of magic: so he can make his father love him. This is actually really, really, really sad. And, as evil as Jafar has been, we can’t help thinking his father is worse after this episode. Even after all this time, the Sultan won’t even claim Jafar as his son. Jafar asks the Sultan if he has any regrets concerning their relationship. Just one: “My only regret, Jafar, is that i didn’t hold you under the water longer.” Isn’t that the worst?
The Sultan tries to kill himself by falling off a ledge — not to escape a life of imprisonment, but because he thinks it will hurt Jafar. But Jafar has the magic carpet waiting to catch him. “Get back in your cage, father,” Jafar commands. Someone give this guy a hug! But watch out he doesn’t turn you into a serpent staff. That happens.
Thankfully, the episode ends on a decidedly higher note when we realize that Cyrus survived the jump he took last episode. Huzzah! It seems he has spent this ep catching some Z’s on a beach somewhere. Is Cyrus drowsy from his slumber? Nope! He opens his eyes, utters Alice’s name, then gets back to their mission of finding one another. You could have hit snooze once, Cyrus. We wouldn’t have told anyone.
- Jafar’s mother’s misguided words: “He is your blood. He will not turn you away.”
- The White Rabbit doesn’t like being carried in bags: “If you’re just going to show me off, was the bag really necessary?”
- Alice’s father feeling contrite: “I never believed in her. I don’t see why she’d ever believe in me.”
- The Knave rifles through his pockets: “Dice, a dollar bill, keys to Granny’s — she’s going to be right pissed about that.”
- Jafar outlines his plan to Alice’s father: “Come now, Edwin. I think it’s obvious that you don’t have time to win back Alice’s love. So I’m gonna have to steal it..”
- The Sultan is the worst: “You will not use that word. I am not your father, and you are not my son.”
- The Knave is hesitant concerning Alice’s plan: “If i say no, do I get to stay here on the ground?”
- The Knave describes his relationship with Alice: “We’re mates. Good mates.”
- The Knave describes Alice’s relationship to everyone: “Alice doesn’t give up on people. Not even if they deserve it.”
- Alice has done some calculations: “It’s physics, Knave.”
- Alice is on to Jafar-as-Edwin: “I don’t know who that man is, but he’s not my father.”
- Jafar on using Alice’s loved ones: “I’ll get a new trick when it stops working.”
- The Sultan is quotable...but we still don’t like him: “What good is love or respect if it has to be stolen?”
What did you think of tonight's episode? Hit the comments and let us know!