Will Scarlet and Anastasia pass into Wonderland only to discover it isn't what they imagined; the Red Queen gains her royal status.Will Scarlet and Anastasia pass into Wonderland only to discover it isn't what they imagined; the Red Queen gains her royal status.Will Scarlet and Anastasia pass into Wonderland only to discover it isn't what they imagined; the Red Queen gains her royal status.
"Heart of Stone" didn't leave me cold or stone-hearted. While it is overall towards being one of the weaker episodes of 'Once Upon a Time in Wonderland', "Heart of Stone" was one of the ones to fall into the a lot better than expected category. It wasn't a great episode or one that blew my mind, and Jafar goes backwards as a character, but Red Queen's character development and her being a properly interesting character for the first time was great and much needed.
Could "Heart of Stone" have been better? Sure. Saying that the effects are less than special is being far too kind, this was always a flaw for the show and never improved and while this episode was not the worst case (nothing here is Bandersnatch-looking level) it isn't an exception. Some of the dialogue seemed on the stiff and cheesy side, especially for Jafar.
Speaking of Jafar, his and White Rabbit's subplot is very predictable (so was Scarlet and Anastasia's, but that was at least charming and well played) and it was like the vast improvement seen in Naveen Andrews' acting in "The Serpent" didn't happen.
On the other point of view, the character development for Red Queen was hugely appreciated and worked really well, especially in her and Alice's subplot (by far the best of the subplots). She was very cartoonish in the previous episodes but for the first time here (and one of the few times properly in the show overall) one sees emotional complexity to her and much more than a stock villain. Emma Rigby's acting improves significantly also, here she plays the character (and Anastasia) as a lot more than the fixed pouting over-actor she was before and has some deeply felt moments as Anastasia. Sophie Lowe is again very strong as Alice, who was very well written throughout the show, and the conflict between the two saw "Heart of Stone" at its best. The Will and Anastasia subplot, while predictable, doesn't try to do too much without going too far the other way and gives both characters a lot of depth.
Would have liked more wit in the writing and a little more tension, but did like that there was more serious conflict and emotion here. The line quoted in the review summary is quite profound and true to life. John Lithgow always worked very well as White Rabbit and does here too, just about saving his subplot with Jafar from being unwatchable. Other than the effects, it's well designed and scored. The opening still enchants. Did appreciate the relative simplicity of the storytelling and that there was less of an over-stuffed feel compared to other episodes, which made things easier to follow and more investable emotionally.
All in all, not great but well done. 7/10.
- Apr 12, 2021