We all go a little mad sometimes, Oncelers — especially if we’re among the chosen few who know that the so-called “real world” isn’t the only world that’s real. The show’s mythology took a few bunny hops forward in tonight’s episode, which revealed that hats don’t just have the power to transform an outfit into an event: They can also provide a portal into different lands. This one, obviously, transports travelers to the Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss.
But I digress. As our story begins, Mary Margaret is on the move. Henry is under the impression that Emma has set her free — but Emma doesn’t know how her roommate/mother escaped her cell. Though Gold advises against it, the sheriff runs to her adorable yellow Beetle and hits the road, hoping to catch MM before she can completely screw up her innocence plea. Instead, she ends up nearly killing a guy who’s taking an evening stroll. His name is Jefferson, and like all the strangers Emma encounters in Storybrooke, he’s a very good looking dude. More like The Mad Hotter, amiright? (You may recognize Sebastian Stan, the actor who plays Jefferson, from his attractive turns in Captain America and Gossip Girl.)
After apologizing profusely, Emma offers to give Jefferson a lift home. She drops him off at an enormous mansion, address 316 — that’s downright Oceanic, almost! Emma must have been absent the day of her elementary school’s Stranger Danger assembly. She follows Jeff inside and accepts a cup of tea from him. But soon after sipping, the sheriff starts feeling woozy. “Who are you?” she asks accusingly, right before passing out on his couch.
Good question. Like Regina, Jefferson has the same name in both Storybrooke and Fairy Land. But in the interest of keeping things from getting too confusing, I’ll refer to the Jefferson we see in Fairybacks as the Hatter. Anyway: The Hatter lives in an idyllic woodland cottage with his adorable daughter Grace. Though the two of them make a meager living selling mushrooms, the Hatter used to have a decidedly more colorful occupation. We get hints of this when Regina appears at his home, saying that she’d like him to help her out by getting up to his old tricks. The Hatter tells Regina that he’s not interested; he lost his wife because of his work, and he doesn’t want Grace to lose her father as well. He doesn’t budge even when Regina promises to reward him handsomely. Come on — like things could get any more handsome for this guy.
Eventually, though, money talks. When walking through a marketplace, Grace becomes smitten with a stuffed white rabbit. (Hello, March Hare!) Unfortunately, the Hatter doesn’t have enough cash to buy it for her. By the time they get home, he decides it would be worth it to help Regina after all — and, after sending Grace to stay with some neighbors, he grabs a giant hatbox and heads to Regina’s CGI Castle of Evil.
NEXT: That old hat magic