Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Season 1 Review “Bad Blood”

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Episode 7 Bad Blood (6)

This week’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland was all about Jafar. We learn that he turns to his life of villainy after being callously rejected by his father, the Sultan. Jafar is denied the love and acceptance he craves because he is a bastard. Is this enough to excuse his present evilness?

The overarching theme of the episode is the complicated relationship between fathers and their children. Running parallel to Jafar’s story is Alice’s. As shown in previous episodes, Alice was essentially abandoned by her father when he refused to believe her tales about Wonderland and let her be committed to an asylum. His betrayal is profoundly damaging to Alice and appears to be something that she will never be able to overcome. That’s until her father appears in Wonderland. Well, a version of her father.

Jafar adopts the guise of Alice’s father in order to manipulate her into using her remaining wishes. Alice seems to know from the start that something isn’t right. Her father is too conciliatory. When he fails to say grace before their meal, her suspicions are confirmed and she’s knows he’s an imposter.

I liked way the Jafar and Alice stories ran parallel to one another. It brought another layer to Jafar’s ruse. Alice’s words to Jafar/her father, describing her pain at being neglected has to hit home for him. As we learn, all Jafar wants is his father to acknowledge him as his son. On some level, Alice wants a similar recognition. She’s outside of her father’s new family and needs to know that she is still his daughter.

Jafar’s story seems to be part of a current trend to humanize villains. It’s as if psychotherapy has infiltrated fairy tales and wants to uncover what drives a person to become a monster. This can be intriguing sometimes and can create richer characters. However, it also kills the archetype of an evildoer. This makes it harder to demonize the character that is demonic. When you look at Jafar now, don’t you think of the poor kid who was rejected and murdered by his father? This makes it harder to root for his downfall.

Evil Jafar is frustrated in his plans and decides to take more drastic steps. He dangles Alice’s father before her, over the churning sea. Alice’s father begs her not to use her wish to save him and gives a truly tragic speech. He confesses that he blamed Alice for her mother’s death and wanted to push her away. It was quite harsh. At the same time, it also gave both a sense of closure. Alice has all of her fears acknowledged by him, but also finally understands how much her father loves her. When Jafar lets Alice’s father fall towards the rocks below, Alice doesn’t hesitate to use her wish to save him.

Jafar thinks he has scored a victory. It’s actually the opposite. As Alice explains to the Knave, she doesn’t regret using the wishes because each has given her something infinitely more valuable – she saved the Knave, her friend, and she saved her father.

This was a stronger episode than previous because it spent more time on the characters and less time on the ridiculous chase for Cyrus. We learn that the man in the cage is Jafar’s father. This was pretty obvious since we first met him. This is one problem that keeps popping up; they set us up for “big reveals” that aren’t revealing at all.

It looks like next week the search for Cyrus will finally be over. I’m not sure where they’ll go from there since the season so far has been one note.

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