Once Upon A Time in Wonderland Episode 1×08 Home TVAD Award Revealed
Reaching Breaking Point
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I LOVE EMMA RIGBY!! The Red Queen is one of the best characters in the show and mixing her in with Michael Socha as Will Scarlet is fantastic. The Once Upon A Time in Wonderland Episode 1×08 Home TVAD Award was not difficult to choose this week, we saw such a journey for the Red Queen/Anastasia that I had to give it to Emma Rigby. Capturing Cyrus and the betrayal of a Tweedle set off the endgame for the Red Queen, she knew it was only a matter of time before Jafar would realize the bottle was fake and it was time to protect herself from his revenge. She has given up all hope of Jafar keeping his end of the deal and granting her wish so she retrieved Cyrus and the bottle before going to find Alice and Will. All this time being chased by a very angry and powerful Jafar; the Red Queen may be clever but her magic is not match for Jafar.
“I knew you had a secret wish”… By the Red Queen going after Cyrus first it gave us a real look into her character; her determination and drive in this episode was fueled by her desire to escape Jafar rather than previously when it was driven by her desire to get what she wanted, completely changing the focus of the character. This was apparent in Emma’s performance through the wide-eyed look she had throughout most of the episode, giving her a frightened quality that the Red Queen rarely possessed. The Red Queen isn’t one to wear her heart on her sleeve and we see flashes of defensiveness when Cyrus touches on topics that she wants to keep to herself.
Cyrus: Being a genie, I’ve learned how to read people, to know what they’ll wish for before they ask
Red Queen: I wish for you to shut up.
As the episode goes on and the pressure is mounting, we see her emotions come closer to the surface. Inside the caravan, Emma presents a touching performance as her eyes travel over her collection from the past before grabbing the bottle and taking a last look over those precious items. These scenes told us a lot about the character and Emma’s performance really made the audience feel for her, we started to see a little girl who has got in way over her head.
Emotional Rollercoaster… How about those last 10 minutes? It started off contained, the Red Queen we all know and love but when she realised it wasn’t going to be as easy as walking in and getting them to take her out of Wonderland with them, we began to see the flares of anger once again.
“What more do you want me to do? I brought you your bloody genie”
We had another huge shift of character when Alice asked why she did all of this and she drops the Queen act completely, confessing rather timidly as Anastasia “I thought he could get me what I want”. This was much more powerful than if she had have deflected or lied, she has tried that already in this episode and had enough of it. This choice gave Emma a lot further to build emotionally throughout the rest of the scene. She really opens up her character before Michael Socha, showing vulnerability in a way that we haven’t seen before, Anastasia’s confession spilling from her as she desperately hopes for his acceptance and then the crushing blow a it is rejected. “You’ll never have me”. Then we see another shift as they become aware of the oncoming storm and the Red Queen resurfaces, bargaining once again so she can get out of Wonderland and away from Jafar.
When is seems like she isn’t going to succeed she breaks completely, begging them to trust her, knowing that they are her only way out of Wonderland “Please, I’m telling the truth” from that moment we no longer see a bold Queen who is in control but a terrified young woman. The last few moments by Will’s side prove her honesty and the few shots we see of her are heart-wrenching as she hopes and prays that he will survive before devastation at the prospect that he is gone forever. Emma’s wide, searching eyes made us feel that we could see right into her.
I feel like my words are inadequate to describe just how powerful Emma Rigby’s performance was in this episode but the proof is in the audience’s response. Emma’s performance was such that as a viewer you really felt for her character throughout the episode. They say that behind every villain is a tortured soul and this episode exposed hers; now in the aftermath of the episode, one question moves to the front: will Anastasia ever get her wish?