"Once Upon A Time" Recap: "Hat Trick"
The episode began with Emma making the discovery that Mary Margaret had gone missing from her cell and was making a run for it. With the arraignment the next morning, Emma has only until then to get Mary Margaret back before Regina discovers she is missing.
Back in our alternate reality we are introduced to the character of Jefferson, “The Mad Hatter”. He is portrayed as a poor man who loves his young daughter Grace very much and apparently lost his wife because of his former, shall we say, line of work. On a side note, this may just be me but if he is the Mad Hatter and in the episode he and his daughter have tea with a stuffed white rabbit, “Wonderland” is involved, etc. I totally thought his daughter’s name would have been Alice.
Anyway, the queen approaches Jefferson and asks him for his help. She wants him to go on one last mission with her to retrieve something important that was taken from her. In exchange she will make sure he and his daughter are always taken care of.
After a cruel trick in the marketplace where the queen disguises herself as an ugly street vendor and really rubs Jefferson’s poverty in his face, Jefferson agrees. After sending his daughter off to stay with the neighbors and promising to return, he goes to see the queen with a mysterious object in a box.
The object in the box is revealed to be a hat, more specifically the style of top hat we associate with our traditional vision of the Mad Hatter.
He and the evil queen, (whose first name is revealed to be the same as it is in Storybrooke, Regina), jump into the hat that takes them into “Wonderland”. Here Jefferson gives us a valuable piece of information: the same amount of people who leave must be the same amount of people who enter. The queen and Jefferson journey into “Wonderland” and into the Queen of Hearts' territory to retrieve what was stolen from Regina.
After evading the Queen of Hearts' guards Regina opens the box she retrieved and her father, Henry, appears. Jefferson then realizes that this is why Regina hadn’t told him what the object was, two entered “Wonderland” so only two can exit. Regina traps Jefferson in “Wonderland” so she and her father can escape. Jefferson is brought before the Queen of Hearts and, upon learning that he entered “Wonderland” through the magic of a hat, is forced to keep making hats until he can get another to work the same way. In our last view of him in this world he is in a room surrounded my thousands of hats and has clearly gone crazy from making so many.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma is driving down the road by the woods at night searching for Mary Margaret when she hits a man on the road. The man is Jefferson, (yes, same name), and when Emma sees that he is limping because of the run-in she offers to drive him home. When they arrive at Jefferson’s lavish home he offers her some tea. When Emma drinks it she begins to stagger and gets dizzy and notices Jefferson’s limp is gone before she passes out on the couch.
When she wakes up she has been tied up, but crushes the teacup on the ground where she dropped it and uses a shard of the cup to cut herself loose. Upon tip-toeing through the house she finds Mary Margaret tied to a chair in another room. Emma frees Mary Margaret but before the two can escape Jefferson finds them and, at gunpoint, forces Emma to tie Mary Margaret back up and follow him.
In the adjacent room Jefferson reveals that he, like Regina and Mr. Gold, (Rumplestiltskin), is aware of the truth about Storyebrooke and everyone in it. He tries very hard to convince Emma of the truth and that she has magic and that is why things have been changing since she got here.
Jefferson shows Emma a telescope and, looking through it, Emma sees Grace. Jefferson tries to explain who he is to Emma and that the girl living happily across the way may be known as Paige here, but it’s his daughter Grace. This is why, Jefferson states, he needs Emma to make a hat that works so that he can go home.
Creepy as future Jefferson is, we know he is telling the truth and feel bad for him, especially after seeing what actually happened to him in the past. Emma, of course, thinks he is nuts. Why wouldn’t she, the guy kidnapped her and is trying to force her to make a magic hat so he can return to an alternate reality. So when Jefferson turns his head, she clocks him with the telescope and takes his gun.
Emma races to free Mary Margaret but before the two can get out Jefferson remerges and attacks. After a fight, Jefferson has Emma cornered at gun point when Mary Margaret strikes him from behind and then karate kicks him out the window.
When the girls look out the window, and later go investigate the spot he should’ve fallen to, all that is left is his top hat, seated upright. This leaves us to suspect that maybe he actually got sucked back through the hat by magic. At least one would hope so.
Emma gives Mary Margaret the choice to keep running, but in the end Mary Margaret chooses to go back after Emma expresses she believes in Mary Margaret the same way Mary Margaret has believed in her.
The episode ends with Regina showing up to the sheriff’s station, disappointed to find Mary Margaret in her cell. It is revealed that Mr. Gold planted the key for Mary Margaret as part of a deal with Regina. Ugh, he is such a flip-flopper. Just last week he offered to help Mary Margaret and Emma because he has a personal stake in their future and now he is helping Regina. Maybe he recognizes that Emma and Regina are both powerful and wants them to destroy each other? That’s my best guess at the moment anyways. You really wonder what this guy’s master plan is. The preview for the next episode at the end of this one does, however, look like it will provide a different, but long-awaited, answer. It seems we may actually learn what Snow White did to make the queen hate her in the first place.
Contact staff reporter G. Culbertson here