Sebastian Stan (Jefferson/The Mad Hatter) comes to Storybrooke as the Mad Hatter who seems to be aware that this world is not all that it seems. There is a small cameo by Roger Daltrey (The Caterpillar) but we’ll get to that later. For now, let’s all take a trip through the looking glass and into Wonderland for this week’s Once Upon A Time episode, “Hat Trick”.
Our story begins with a panicked Emma (Jennifer Morrison) who is searching for an escaped Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin, Snow White’s counterpart). If you recall from last week’s episode, Heart of Darkness, a key to her cell room door was placed in Mary Margaret’s bed and at the end of the episode Mary Margaret’s cell was empty.
Read the Heart of Darkness recap
Emma almost runs over a man while driving through fog and rain to find Mary Margaret and has to swerve to avoid hitting him. He falls into the bushes and comes up with a limp. Emma insists on taking him home and they arrive at his palatial estate. He fixes her a cup of tea that isn’t quite what it seems. In a drugged haze, Emma notices that this mysterious stranger no longer has a limp and that she is in very big trouble.
Back in Fairytaleland, it seems that the only thing that the Mad Hatter is mad about in this world is his daughter, Grace (Alissa Skovbye, Paige’s counterpart). If you’ve been following OUAT regularly then you know that the bond between parent and child is a reoccurring theme and almost always the parent ends up doing something desperate for their kid. Rumpelstiltskin and Baelfire. Emma and Henry. Over and over again.
See Desperate Souls recap
In this story the Hatter is living a meager but happy life with his daughter. That is until the Evil Queen (Lana Parilla, Regina’s counterpart) shows up. Grace knows that this is trouble. After the Queen leaves, Grace begs her father not to do whatever it is that the Queen asks and he halfheartedly listens which brings us to our second reoccurring theme. The kids are smarter than the parents and automatically know what the moral choice is.
The Hatter is dissuaded otherwise, on a trip to the market where he can’t even afford to by his daughter a stuffed rabbit. (Ha, ha writers. We get it. Alice in Wonderland. White Rabbits. Cute.) An old hag refuses to haggle with the Hatter and sends him away. That old hag turned out to be the Evil Queen. Of course you knew that. If you watched the episode and you saw her makeup, you could tell it was her from the moment she opened her mouth. The fake teeth gave it away.
Downtrodden and angry, the Hatter decides to help Regina leading us to the third reoccurring theme: the stupid and desperate parent ignores the kid’s good advice and does the evil deed anyway expecting something good to come from something evil because it makes so much sense.
Its seems that the Evil Queen wants the Hatter to take her back into Wonderland to retrieve something that the Queen of Hearts has stolen from her but she doesn’t elaborate. The devil is in the details.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma is in a pickle. She’s bound and gagged on Jefferson’s couch. She manages get free using shards from the teacup she broke. In her hurry to find an exit, she finds out a couple of things: (1) Jefferson has been watching her in her office from a telescope, (2) he’s sharpening scissors so that can’t be good and (3) Mary Margaret is gagged and bound to a chair in another room. (Don’t get on Mary Margaret’s side just yet. She ran away. Jefferson just caught her while she was on the lam).
Emma sets Mary Margaret free and they try to escape and then Jefferson catches them two seconds later and she has to tie Mary Margaret back up.
Hatter in Wonderland
Back in Fairytaleland, The Hatter has brought the infamous top hat to the Queen’s palace. He sets it on the floor and gives it a spin. It creates a purple whirlwind that they both jump into. They land safely into a room of doors. The Hatter leads her to the door that looks like a mirror: the looking glass. Before they enter the door, he cautions her. He tells her that the same amount of people that enter the hat must also exit the hat. Hat rules. You already know that this rule is going to be the Hatter’s undoing.
They step through the looking glass and enter Wonderland. The Caterpillar, who has a face like Roger Daltrey and his trademark circular sunglasses, greets them. Yes people, that’s the big cameo that they advertised in last week’s credits. You don’t see him anywhere else the entire episode. He has one line: Who are you? (Again writers, very cute. The Who. Who are you? We get it.) The rest of the 5 seconds that he’s on screen he smokes a hookah and blows smoke rings into Regina and the Hatter’s face. Sorry, Who fans. I know you’re disappointed. Everyone else is too.
The Queen and The Hatter make their way through the Queen of Heart’s grassy labyrinth and retrieve a box, the same type of box that held the heart of the ill-fated Sherriff Graham (Jamie Dornan, The Huntsman’s counterpart) . As they are leaving, the Queen of Hearts guards attack them. They chase the Evil Queen and The Hatter through the maze but are defeated due in part to the Evil Queen’s superior magical skills.
Read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter review
Before they exit through the looking glass, Regina takes a piece of mushroom and puts it inside the box. Remember, this is Wonderland. One side of the mushroom will make you grow taller and the other side will make you grow smaller. Guess which side Regina picked?
Out springs Henry (Tony Perez), Regina’s father. They quickly exit Wonderland through the looking glass leaving the poor Hatter trapped in Wonderland and his daughter waiting for him in Fairytaleland. Ironically, The Evil Queen reunited with her father by separating another father from his daughter. One can only assume, that this all took place long before she killed her father in “The Thing You Love Most”. Otherwise, the mushroom has powers that we don’t know about in this version of Wonderland.
The guards take the Hatter away to face the Queen of Hearts. She wins the award for best costume of the episode although the Evil Queen’s feather laden gown is a close second. It’s a red dress with a red veil that obscures her face. She communicates through a horn that gives out commands to the Knave of Hearts (Paul McGillion), which he then barks to the Hatter.
She orders, “Off with his head,” and the Hatter becomes bodiless but he’s still alive. They tell him that they will reattach his head but he must make a new hat so that he can leave Wonderland. The problem is that he has no magic.
Trapped in Wonderland, the task of making a magical hat has driven him mad. He now sits in a room filled from floor to ceiling with failed hats endlessly working on the next one.
Going back to where you belong
Back in Storybrooke, Jefferson has given Emma the same task that the Queen of Hearts gave him. His logic is that Emma’s magic because things started changing the moment she entered Storybrooke. So if she could use her magic to make him a new hat then he could go back to Fairytaleland and be with his daughter.
Unfortunately, in this world he can only see his daughter by viewing her through a telescope. She has two new parents, no idea who her real dad is and is blissfully unaware that she’s really from Fairytaleland. Jefferson’s curse is that he does remember.
Emma is so moved by his desperate admission that she agrees to finish the hat that she’s already started. Satisfied that he has finally gotten the world’s biggest skeptic to believe, he turns to get the hat. As he does, Emma picks up the telescope and knocks him down. She runs into the other room and frees Mary Margaret.
Jefferson barrels into the room wearing the hat that Emma made and a fight between him, Emma and Mary Margaret ensues. His Hugh Hefner-style scarf is ripped from his neck in the process revealing the scar from when the Queen of Hearts chopped his head off. The scuffle continues and Mary Margaret hits him with a polo mallet and kicks him out the window. He and the hat go flying but only the hat lands. Jefferson is nowhere to be found. Guess he got back to Fairytaleland after all.
Mary Margaret goes back to jail after Emma convinces her. She greets an unhappy and surprised Regina. It turns out Mr. Gold is playing both sides as Mary Margaret’s lawyer and Regina’s secret ally. He put the key in the cell.
Emma in the meantime is visiting with her son, Henry. Paige, Jefferson’s daughter says hi to them and Emma inquires who that is. Intrigued by the coincidence, Emma asks to see Henry’s book. She looks through the Alice in Wonderland story and then asks Henry if she can borrow the book. A pleasantly surprised Henry, happily agrees. The End.
Come back next week for a brand new Once Upon A Time recap where we find out what made Regina become the Evil Queen. It’s sure to be a good one. Lana Parrilla centric episodes never disappoint.
Best Line of the Episode:
“You know what the problem is with this world? Everyone wants a magical solution for their problems and everyone refuses to believe in magic.” – Jefferson
Theme Line of the Episode:
“You don’t abandon family” – Jefferson and The Evil Queen
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