Once Upon a Time in Wonderland series premiere recap: A Whole New World

In which we fall down the rabbit hole -- and land in a romantic, action-packed Once Upon a Time spinoff
Ep. 01 | Aired Oct 10, 2013

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER This Alice is all grown up. Also, she's a ninja, or something.

Jeff Weddell/ABC

A new, fantastic point of view! No one to tell us no, or where to go, or that it's crazy to mash together Aladdin and Alice in Wonderland!

That's the basic idea behind Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, ABC's new Once Upon a Time spinoff. Originally, Wonderland was planned to be a "limited series" lasting 13 episodes -- stoking speculation that the Once team might be planning an anthology series that would take place in a different magical realm every season. (Once Upon a Time in Black and White Steampunk Gothic Horror Land, anyone?)

But in June, ABC decided to order extra installments of Wonderland -- and if all goes well, Wonderland could potentially return for a second season next fall. (The story that began in tonight's pilot, though, should be all wrapped up by Wonderland's series/season finale: "This is not meant to be a 22-episode season," series co-creator Adam Horowitz told EW's James Hibberd this summer. "Whatever it ends up being, we’ll have told a complete story, with a beginning, middle and end.")

Translation: We're going to be spending a lot of time with these people. Perhaps it's best, then, to simply begin with a rundown of Wonderland's major players -- starting, of course, with:

Alice
Evidently, young Alice's adventures in Wonderland happened much as they do in, well, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Our story begins with Alice as a little girl, racing home after falling down the rabbit hole and eager to tell her father all about her travels. Unfortunately, neither her father nor his glorious mustache is amused; after she disappeared, he thought she was dead. Victorian living, everyone!

Father of Alice also isn't too pleased when he hears Alice's tall tales. Luckily, he has apparently watched Return to Oz -- which is why the next time we see Alice, she's aged at least 10 years and is sitting in a dreary insane asylum, being questioned by three stern psychiatrists in white coats. One of them -- let's just call him Dr. Evil -- seems especially put out by her tales of Wonderland. Throughout Alice's interview with Evil and a series of flashbacks, we learn that our heroine returned to the fantasy land as a young lady looking for proof of its existence to bring back home. During this later visit, Alice had a chance encounter that would change her life forever, with:

Cyrus
Meet the Westley to Alice's Buttercup, the Richard Burton to her Elizabeth Taylor, the Gnomeo to her Juliet: Hot genie Cyrus, trapped within a magical lamp. Within moments of their first encounter, sparks fly; the genie even subtly finds a way to ask whether Alice is single. ("Proof for... your husband?" Cyrus, you dog!) Soon enough, Alice has freed Cyrus from his plush prison, and the two begin hopping between worlds having fabulous adventures -- ones we'll certainly learn more about in future flashbacks, though they're only referenced here. Their exploits come to a screeching halt, however, when the couple has an unfortunate encounter with:

NEXT: The Queen of Hearts! Wait, wrong show.

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