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The premiere opens with Alice as a little girl. She has returned through the rabbit hole and found her tea table deserted and showing signs of being untouched for months. She runs home to tell her father about the adventures she had in Wonderland and he is surprised to see her alive. Everyone thought she was dead and they don’t know what to think when she begins spouting “lies” about magic mushrooms, talking rabbits, and soldiers made of playing cards.
Determined to bring back proof of Wonderland’s existence, she travels several times back to Wonderland. On the last trip to Wonderland, she captured the white rabbit as irrefutable proof of magic and fled into the Queen’s maze. Upon eating a mushroom and shrinking, Alice finds refuge in the bottle of a genie. Cyrus, the genie of the bottle, welcomes her and gives her three wishes.
Alice frees the genie and travels to different worlds with him. At the Boiling Sea, Cyrus tries to propose to Alice and Alice accepts before he can even get out the words. However, the Red Queen and her soldiers try to capture them both. When her guards are defeated, the Red Queen pushes Cyrus off a cliff using magic. Alice watches him fall before he disappears into the steam of the Boiling Sea.
Alice is devastated by the loss of her true love and returns home to her own world completely hysterical. Her father, unable to console her, has her committed to an asylum, where she is treated unsuccessfully for one year. Before a panel of doctors, Alice tries to convince them that she made the whole thing up, but she still cries out for Cyrus in her sleep. She agrees to a painful lobotomy in order to forget Cyrus and start over.
Before the surgery, the Knave of Hearts storms into Alice’s padded cell. She refuses to escape with him until he tells her that Cyrus survived. In traditional “Once Upon a Time” fashion, Alice fights her way past the hospital attendees with ninja-like moves. They meet the white rabbit in the hallway and he is able to create a portal to take them back to Wonderland. Alice convinces the Knave of Hearts to help her because she recovered his heart for him when they were last in Wonderland (his backstory is one of the next episodes). She also promises to pay him with the three wishes from Cyrus that she never used.
They track Cyrus to the Tulgey Woods and the Mad Hatter’s old house. Alice and the Knave find the house empty, but Alice finds a magic necklace that Cyrus used to wear. Convinced that he’s alive, Alice vows to find him, saying “When you really love someone, you don’t need proof. You can feel it.” However, all is not as it appears. The white rabbit is working for the Red Queen. The Red Queen is working with Jafar because they want the genie’s bottle and they want Alice to use all her wishes. Cyrus was saved from the Boiling Sea because he landed on a magic carpet and is being held prisoner by Jafar.
The premiere was definitely lacking in connections between the Alice in Wonderland and Aladdin stories, but has enough intriguing story line possibilities that I am waiting eagerly for more episodes. The final verdict on this show will come later on. The show has already promised episodes on the Knave’s backstory and the Red Queen’s backstory, so the best is yet to come!