A good character is a terrible thing to waste. Once Upon a Time could’ve had a lot going for it by letting Aladdin and Jasmine shine in the episode A Wondrous Place. Deniz Akdeniz and Karen David are intensely likable, and they have an entertaining history, along with some chemistry to boot. But Once seems more interested in punishing Jasmine rather than really giving her a good villain or just something to work with. OUAT is at its best when it reminds us how hard it can be to find a happy ending, but here the show takes the simplistic route of telling us everything will be fine as long as we stick to our principles and believe in love.
The last time we saw Jasmine and Aladdin, they had departed Storybrooke to search for Agrabah, which is missing. Not surprisingly, they’re having a hard time finding it. Aladdin is ready to give up, Jasmine not so much, mostly since she feels responsible for the fate of her home. Flashbacks reveal how Jafar used magic and trickery to wipe the city off the map, along with some truly laughable dialogue. It’s pretty out of character, since Once has been pretty good at giving us some really great villains, but here one of Disney’s best is reduced to little more than a buffoon who’s fond of monologuing. The fact that a villain like this was capable of besting Jasmine-another great Disney creation-does her a great disservice.
Luckily, they run into Hook, who’s trying to get back to Emma after being magically sent on his way by Gideon. Hook is single-minded to a fault in his quest to get back to Storybrooke, which is understandable since his would-be fiancée thinks he ran off. Still, you’d think he would care more about the fact that he’s run into not only Aladdin and Jasmine, but also Ariel, once again sans Eric. Are we ever going to see those two together again?
The four of them must inevitably face off against Jafar, but it amounts to little more than even more monologuing and a hilariously botched finale. Really, Jafar seems to put about as much thought into his plans as David. How does this guy keep succeeding? Jasmine learns that she deserves love, has to believe in herself, all that crap that we’ve seen countless times. But since the journey seems pretty easy, it makes it far less satisfying.
Things aren’t much more interesting back in Storybrooke. Emma has taken the liberty of telling David that Hook killed his father, and is once again having trouble opening up to her family and friends about her feelings. At least we get to see Snow White engage in some amusing drunken antics. Also, everyone seems to forget that Regina can very much relate to what Emma’s going through. But once Emma finds out that Hook was forcibly sent on his way, Gideon’s evil plot is revealed. His insidious plan is to…team up with Emma and have her kill the Black Fairy. Truly dastardly.
Looks like we’ll finally explore Rumple’s maternal line further next week. Still looks like Belle won’t get much to do though.
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.