So let me get this straight. The guy who drugs and kidnaps two women isn't a murder suspect? I do not understand this town, these people, or anything else about Once Upon A Time anymore. But I did have a lot of fun watching last night's lunacy. Meet the Mad Hatter who just hates Wonderland — HATES IT!
Jeebus what happened last night? Was last night's episode just another excuse to be super extra double dip dark? Perhaps. This show has done dark before — they smacked the cricket on the head with the heart squeezing Huntsman death scene (second place is tied with the people puppets and Red Riding Hood storyline). But then there are things like the Rose from the Beauty and the Beast story and last night's Mad Hatter episode. On paper it's dark as hell, but when you surround such darkness with CG landscapes and costumes, they lose a lot of their bleakness. Take the big "Off With His Head" moment from Mad Hatter's fairy tale side story. The Queen of Hearts was pretty scary. I adored how they played around with the usual Alice in Wonderland stereotypes, and instead of having her running around screaming "Off With Your Head," they put her in a chair and stick the big end of a gramophone in her mouth. It was super clever. But the they cut off the Mad Hatter's head and it's just dangling there, in front of the Bliss Windows XP desktop. All that CG took away the darkness. Why couldn't Wonderland have been in the forest? Ah well.
Sebastian Stan did a great job playing the Mad Hatter, the character who is cursed with the knowledge of the truth. He is apparently the only person in Storybrooke who remembers his life in fairytale land (at least, the only one who is not directly benefiting from said information). So no wonder he's mad — he knows that this isn't reality. Meanwhile he's stuck in "Someplace Terrible Maine" watching his fairytale daughter grow up with another father. MADNESS!
What's interesting is that this character, whose head was severed from his body and then reattached, and is now trapped trying to make a magical world-jump, so he can return to his fairytale home, is probably the most intelligent person in the whole of Storybrooke. Meanwhile you have Emma, the sheriff who willingly follows a stranger stumbling around in the woods where a human heart was discovered, back to his house. I'm sorry — not a house, a mansion. A massive mansion that can see into the sheriff's office that she's NEVER SEEN BEFORE. Long story short, Emma is kidnapped, along with the recently escaped from prison Snow White, and then the Mad Hatter forces her to make him a hat. Hoping that since Emma is the son of Snow and Charming, and the person who can break the spell, Emma should be able to use her magic to create another portal-hopping top hat. It doesn't work out.
Emma tricks the Mad Hatter, Snow White is saved, and they return right back to the prison before anyone notices that Snow White was gone in the first place. Meanwhile we discover that Robert Carlyle and the Evil Queen were in secret cahoots to trick Snow White — but blast, she didn't get caught and the Mad Hatter didn't (i don't know) turn her into a hat? So back to square one for those two brainiacs.
I can believe that this whole thing was a set up. I can even believe that Emma didn't know who "Jefferson" (the Mad Hatter) was — doing actual police work takes time out of eating lunch in the police station and buying leather jackets. But what I cannot understand is how none of this is being used in Snow White's favor. There is a mysterious man who just drugged and kidnapped two women, held them at gunpoint, and was found stumbling around the very woods where Katherine (the murder victim)'s heart was found. But HE'S NOT A SUSPECT? Hogwersh.
At least one excellent thing came out of this madness. Emma KNOWS that Henry's book of fairy tales is real. (I love that she's always talking about her son now — "Oh my son this," and "My son that," "You must have gotten that crazy theory from my Son" — to total strangers, as if she's lived there forever and been a part of his life for years, IT'S NOT WEIRD). But now Emma HAS to know that there's some sort of truth in this book, everything the crazy guy said was in the book, plus the pictures look like the actual people in the town. Mayhaps it's time for Emma to sit down and read the whole book and figure out who is who and solve all of the crimes right away. Unless this is that weird magic book that changes every week due to new adventures? I don't know — the rules were never set in place. I need the book rules, guys.
Bottom line: Now Emma "knows" (maybe, depending on the book rules). And if Emma "knows" that means it's time for August to award her with one of the many trinkets of man jewelry that adorn his body. Then together August and Emma will trudge out into the garden patch behind Granny's Diner. There they'll bury their fingers in the earth, ripping up the field greens, while Emma mutters "Bad Beanstalk, Bad." FIN.