What do you get when you cross a Bandersnatch, Forget Me Not, and Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men? This week’s episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, of course! Wonderland’s Season 1, Episode 3: “Forget Me Not” delved into the backstory of Alice’s (Sophie Lowe) right-hand man and sarcastic confidante, the Knave (Michael Socha), and boy was it worth the wait! Because it turns out his ex-girlfriend, the Anastasia who broke his heart, is none other than the villainous Red Queen (Emma Rigby)...
The Enchanted Forest — Flashback
So many revelations in this week’s flashbacks to the Knave’s past! First of all, you know how Alice has been calling the Knave “Will” in moments of extreme emotion? Well, that’s because the Knave is none other than Will Scarlet, famous both inside and outside of the Wonderland universe as a member of Robin Hood’s band. Yep, our Will is a thief! Oh wait, did we say “thief”? We meant “Merry Man,” because, according to Robin Hood’s logic, one is only a thief if he steals for himself. Otherwise, he is doing humanity’s bidding.
Wonderland goes quasi-crossover with the flashbacks as, not only are they set in Once Upon a Time’s Enchanted Forest (where the Knave is apparently from), but feature Maleficent, who has popped up as a villain in both dragon and woman form on OUAT. Newly-inducted into the Merry Men, Will persuades Robin to steal gold from Maleficent's castle. Robin agrees, as long as no one takes anything of the magical variety — which, of course, has been the Knave’s plan all along. He sneaks back to a shack in the woods, where he tells Anastasia (aka the love of his life) that everything is going according to plan. Well, he tells Anastasia’s shoulder, because Wonderland is not ready to reveal the identity of this mystery woman just yet!
The pillaging of Maleficent’s castle goes surprisingly well. The Merry Men get their gold — enough to keep the surrounding villages fed for a good long while — and the Knave gets the object he is looking for: the Looking Glass. That is, until Maleficent’s omniscient voice thunders into the Merry Men’s camp and tells them that, though they can keep the gold, they must return the magical item they have taken. Busted! The Knave plays dumb, then makes a break for it while the men are sleeping. Well, everyone but Robin Hood, who apparently never sleeps. Earning his badge as “Nicest Guy Ever,” Robin tells the Knave that he won’t try to stop him, but warns him, “You will meet the fate you’ve earned. The fate you deserve.” If this was an attempt at reverse psychology, it doesn’t work.
The Knave brings the Looking Glass to Anastasia, who turns out to be… the Red Queen! And this is Red as we’ve never seen her before, all sweet and flower crown-wearing. This truly is an alternate universe! The Knave and Red are adorably in love together, discussing how they will use the Looking Glass to leave the Enchanted Forest to go to a place where they can become anyone they wish. (Ah, we’re beginning to see Red’s ambitious streak…) They open the portal and prepare to jump through. Red tells the Knave, “As long as I’m with you, I’m ready for anything.” Riiight.
Wonderland — Present Day
Alice is nothing if not a glorious schemer, and we love her neverending supply of plans designed to get her one step closer to rescuing Cyrus (Peter Gadiot)! This week’s plan: retrieve the Forget Me Not, a knotted loop of magical rope that can grant holders a glimpse into the past. Alice wants “the not” so she can find out who dug up Cyrus’s bottle, effectively ruining her master plan in last week’s episode. (No one messes with Alice’s plans.)
Word on the street is that “the not” is in the possession of the Caterpillar, the hookah-smoking gangster we’ve been hearing so much about. The Knave is in debt big time to the Caterpillar, who has put out a bounty on his head. So, the Caterpillar’s lair, aka The Underland? Probably not the place the Knave should be sticking his shapely nose into. But Alice has a plan, and it must be enacted! Plus, the Knave is the danger-seeking type.
The Caterpillar totally has a Jabba the Hutt thing going on with a bulbous facade, grimy entourage, and creative forms of punishment for those who don’t pay their debts. (For Jabba, it was carbonite. For Caterpillar, it’s keeping his debtors’ screaming heads on easily-reached platters.) It turns out the Caterpillar doesn’t even have “the not,” but he knows where it is, and he wants it for himself. The Knave makes a deal with the Caterpillar: He will bring “the not” back in exchange for his debt cleared. So, the Knave and Alice set out for Grendel’s house, where “the not” is currently located.
Elsewhere in Wonderland, Jafar (Naveen Andrews) and the Red Queen are having a grand old time trying to decide what monster to set on Alice. Their logic: If she’s frightened enough, she will use one of her wishes. And, when all three wishes are gone, Cyrus (and, more importantly, his next three wishes) will be theirs (or, more likely, Jafar’s, judging by their current power dynamic). Using Cyrus’s reactions to the various creatures in their Monster Books of Monsters as a metric, they eventually decide on the Bandersnatch, a fearsome creature Alice faced when she was a child and has been nightmare-inducingly afraid of ever since. Pshaw. Alice isn’t afraid of anything!
Alice and the Knave make it to Grendel’s house where they intend to steal “the not,” preferably without the home’s occupant noticing. Unfortunately, they don’t notice the covered trap they promptly fall into. When they awaken, they are tied up on the floor of Grendel’s house while the badly deformed man boils a pot of water nearby. That he intends to cook them in. The Grendel is a sad creature, grown angry and merciless since the loss of his wife. He uses “the not” to watch himself and the woman he loved together years ago. It is quite tragic.
The Knave tries to convince Alice to use one of her wishes to get them out of the bind, but she refuses. (Smart girl!) The Knave tries to talk their way out of the situation, bonding with the Grendel over lost love: “Losing someone you truly love, it can change you,” says the Knave. It almost works, but the Grendel’s hungry, man!
Clever Alice resorts to Plan B, aka literally using the rough-edged gem of a wish to cut through the knots binding her. They are almost through the door (with the Grendel in hot, axe-throwing pursuit), when they realize the large, toothy Bandersnatch is barrelling towards the house. So, staying inside it is, then! The Bandersnatch smashes through the door, and Alice and the Knave manage to defeat it with the one-two punch of trickery and teamwork, i.e. Alice fools the Bandersnatch into noosing itself on the “forget-me-not,” then the Knave stabs it, saving not only themselves, but the Grendel. Grateful, the Grendel gives “the not” to them. He tells them that he stole it from the Red Queen who punished him by turning him into the deformed man he is today.
The Knave and Alice thanks the Grendel, and promptly hightail it out of there before his stomach starts rumbling again. Their plan: use “the knot” to find out who dug up the bottle. Then, give it to the Caterpillar to clear the Knave’s debt. All in a day’s work! Phase one of the plan is successfully completed, with Alice feeling the keen sting of betrayal when she discovers that it was the White Rabbit who dug up the bottle and gave it to the Red Queen. Luckily, she’s got a friend of strong moral fiber in the Knave, who decides to burn “the not” rather than give it to the Caterpillar, who he awesomely describes as “not exactly Wonderland’s chief humanitarian.” They have a moment in which the Knave throws off his previously self-proclaimed label of “thief” in exchange for “hopefully, someone with a shred of humanity” (which we think is a bit wordy). Alice tells him that there is “no ‘hopefully’ about it,” and they start braiding their friendship bracelets — which, they will hopefully be wearing in next week’s glorious installment.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Sound off below, and catch Once Upon a Time in Wonderland on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.