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Once Upon a Time: Hat Trick

Written by Tricia Long on Tuesday, March 27 2012 and posted in Reviews

This show has a serious hat obsession.

Once Upon a Time: Hat Trick

So, wow, guys. I really don't have a lot to say about this episode, which is why this is posting so late in the day. High hopes, especially for the guest appearance of Roger Daltrey, were mostly dashed in the first fifteen minutes of "Hat Trick," but the magic of Wonderland and the sympathetic character of Jefferson nearly saved it. Nearly.

We pick up right where we left off last week: Mary Margaret has escaped from the jail, courtesy of a skeleton key (get it?) and fled into the woods. Emma follows her and nearly runs over a man walking in the road. The man, named Jefferson, invites her back to his house. He makes her tea, and when she starts to feel woozy we know he has drugged it. Why? Because he's the Mad Hatter, motherfuckers. The eyeliner should have tipped you off.

But how does one become mad? Time for a little origin story. Jefferson was just a retired whatever, mourning the loss of his wife (who I'm guessing was named Alice) as he tries to raise his daughter, Grace. But he has a checkered past: the Queen visits and asks him a favor, offering gold and comfort for his daughter. He initially refuses, but after failing to purchase a stuffed white rabbit for his daughter due to poverty, he goes to the Queen's castle and offers his services.

Actually, make that service. You see, he only has one trick, and it's with a magic hat that acts as a trans-dimensional gateway that in all honesty is way cooler than the Stargate because it also doubles as a whimsical fashion statement. Inside the hat, the Queen and Jefferson go through the looking glass to Wonderland. They breeze past a hookah-smoking caterpillar with Roger Daltrey's face and penchant for The Who lyrics that have become played out due to the fact they double as the intro to one of the CSIs. I honestly can't keep them straight and am very nearly done with the episode at this point because... really? You made him a big selling point? And I was wondering why he didn't appear in more of the commercials.

Back in Storybrooke Emma tries to escape from Jefferson, who is creepily sharpening his scissors. Instead, she finds Mary Margaret tied up. After freeing her, they are caught by Jefferson because they are as stealthy as a mole in a sunlit room. It transpires that Jefferson does not want to hurt them – he wants Emma's help to make a hat, because she brought the magic back to Storybrooke by making the clocks move. You see, Jefferson remembers that he is the Mad Hatter (hence the fact that he did not change his name between the worlds) and he wants to get back to that life and his daughter.

There's some quasi-philosophical/metaphysical talk about other worlds and the value of belief before Emma starts turning on her acting face. She finds that Jefferson has been spying on her, as well as his daughter. In this life, Grace does not know him. His curse is that now he lives in a swanky house and cannot share his riches with her. Emma pretends to listen until his back is turned before clobbering him with a telescope. I wonder when Eeyore will show up so I have an appropriate expression for how I feel at this moment – I just checked and it is a Disney-owned property.

In Wonderland, Regina and Jefferson venture to the maze that you might recognize from your nightmares or Kingdom Hearts. I swear the Queen of Hearts is one crazy bitch. At the center of the maze, which they cheat their way to with magic, the queen extracts a heart from an incredibly familiar mausoleum. The heart belongs to her father (hope you weren't wondering how it got there and what Regina did to piss of the Queen of Hearts, because that sure as hell doesn't get answered) who she brings back to life with a magic mushroom. The drug metaphors just write themselves.

Due to the rules of the Hat, only Regina and her father can return to the fairy tale version of the real world. Jefferson is left in Wonderland to be questioned by the shrouded Queen of Hearts, and also beheaded but not killed by her. I'm pretty sure they blew the entire CGI budget on just this episode.

Emma springs Mary Margaret again and they try to flee, but end up fighting with Jefferson. They sling him out a window with his magic hat, but when they look out the window to survey their handiwork there is no body- only the hat. There's hope for Kathryn yet, because it would seem that no one can leave Storybrooke without dying.

Outside, Emma discovers her VW Beetle and offers the keys to Mary Margaret. She wants her to stay, but she also wouldn't blame her for running away. They have a heart to heart and it's all very touching but oh my god can we just get to next week so I can find out what Snow did to piss off Regina so much? Long story short, Mary Margaret is returned to jail in the knick of time and Emma is starting to believe in the curse stuff.

I'm so over this show right now. Please let something truly awesome happen next week that is not R-stilts related. You can't bring that all down on him – he is but one man.

Next week: Regina rides a horse! Snow is a child! The trial, maybe? Seriously, we are dragging here people.

Written or Contributed by: Tricia Long

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