"A Wondrous Place" is the fifteenth episode of Season Six of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Jane Espenson & Jerome Schwartz, and directed by Steve Pearlman. It is the one hundred and twenty-sixth episode of the series overall, and premiered on April 2, 2017.
When Hook finds himself trapped in another realm along with the Nautilus and her crew, he races to return to Emma before Gideon can execute the rest of his plan. In Storybrooke, Regina and Snow take Emma out to get her mind off Hook’s disappearance. And in a flashback to Agrabah, Jasmine befriends Ariel, and together they set out to locate Prince Eric as the threat from Jafar intensifies.
"Many years ago" in Agrabah, the Sultan, looks for suitors for his daughter. Jafar answers the request, except he has an ultimatum: if Jasmine rejects his hand in marriage, sunset will destroy Agrabah. Later on, while chasing down a thief, Jasmine runs into Ariel, who is looking for Prince Eric. Believing that finding Eric will bring his army to protect Agrabah from Jafar, Jasmine and Ariel team up and track down Eric on Jasmine's magic carpet, only to discover that Prince Eric was Jafar in disguise. Ariel suggests that Jasmine use a vial of powder she stole from Jafar to defeat him. Jafar uses his magic to send Ariel and the vial back to the sea.
Before sunset, Jasmine agreed to marry Jafar, in exchange for sparing the lives of her people. She hands him the ring. Jafar reveals that he never wanted to rule Agrabah since its people had always scorned him. He wanted the ring, which contained the magic jewel that powered Agrabah's protection spell. He then uses it to cast a curse to make Agrabah disappear, "out of human reach".
On land, Jasmine and Aladdin search for Agrabah. Jasmine finds a ring in her pocket after she had wished to find Agrabah. They later continue the journey on the boat, when they come across the Kraken, and Hook saves them. It turns out that the Nautilus compass can lead them to a person whose heart is filled with revenge. This gives Hook an idea to help track down Jafar, who might still have the ability to help him return to Storybrooke. Unfortunately, the Kraken critically damaged the Nautilus. Jasmine uses her second wish to send them to Jafar's pinpointed location, Hangman Island.
After they part ways with Nemo and Liam, Hook, Aladdin, and Jasmine encounter Ariel, who had a lamp that contains Jafar, who is now a genie. When Jasmine summons Jafar, it only ends up freeing him, since he found a way to break his genie curse while imprisoned, before going on to knock out the others with magic. Jafar no longer wants anything from Jasmine, the only vengeance on those responsible for his imprisonment (Cyrus and Alice). Jafar goes on to mock each of them, calling Aladdin "battle-broken" and "weeping". At Jasmine's insistence, he tells her what happened to her kingdom, but only because the answer amused him - Agrabah was trapped inside the ring that she just wished up. Jafar then mocks Jasmine's past failure and inability to save her people, before demanding that Jasmine give him the ring. Jasmine turns Jafar into a walking staff using the magic powder, much to Jafar's shock. With true love's kiss, Jasmine breaks Aladdin's genie curse. This causes Agrabah to re-materialize from the ring. Later, Ariel gives Hook a seashell that can allow him to call Emma across realms. Hook reaches Emma, vowing that he never meant to leave her and that he'll find a way to return to her.
In the present day, Emma tells David about Hook having killed Robert. David is upset over this and about Hook's reluctance to confess himself. Emma tells David that he left on the Nautilus after they broke up over this issue, as Leroy saw earlier. Later, Regina suggests to Snow and Emma that they enjoy ladies' night at a new bar called "Aesop's Tables," but a heartbroken Emma passes. At home, Emma accepts that Hook won't come back and gathers his things with Henry when she gets a phone call about a bar fight. As she arrives, Emma discovers that Regina and Snow tricked her into joining them. Regina encourages Emma to open up about her heartbreak while a drunk Snow challenges a group of Vikings to a knife-throwing contest. Aesop, the bar's owner, meets a crying Emma. Aesop tells Emma about a heartbreaking of an artist and his wife, then gives her a napkin to wipe her tears away. At home, Emma makes to put away Hook's belongings, when she noticed a seashell calling out her name, discovering that it was Hook telling her that he'll return to her. After Emma loses the signal, she hears Aesop's voice and she looks up, only to discover that Aesop was Gideon, who needed Emma's tears to blackmail her. With her tears, Gideon can prevent Hook from using any portals to return to Storybrooke, unless she helps him kill the Black Fairy.
The Once Upon a Time Wiki encourages users to rewrite the summary in their own words.
- The title card features a flying carpet in the woods.
- The title of this episode was revealed by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on December 12, 2016.
- This episode is named after a lyric from the song "A Whole New World" from the Disney film Aladdin, which ends with "A thrilling chase / A wondrous place / For you and me". The song is sung by Aladdin and Jasmine.
- REUSED FOOTAGE: The establishing shot of Storybrooke early in the episode, where the leaves are blown across Main Street, is the exact same shot that was used to show the empty streets of Storybrooke the morning after Hook's death in the Season Five episode "Swan Song", but with a lighter color hue. The shot was recycled once again for the opening shot of the Season Seven episode "Beauty", with an even lighter color hue.
- For the exterior scenes in Agrabah, a couple of dump trucks worth of sand were dumped into a green screen space right before the Season Six Christmas break, enough to cover the whole surface by about 1–2 feet. Unfortunately, thanks to Vancouver's rainy climate, the sand was wet, and they couldn't shoot a desert scene on wet sand. To solve the problem, the crew brought in industrial fans that ran 24 hours a day over the Christmas break so that the sand would be dry by the time they got back from the holidays to shoot the scenes in January.
- Director Steve Pearlman came up with the name for the bar that Emma, Mary Margaret and Regina visit, Æsop's Tables.
- Llamas were used in this episode instead of camels, because it would have cost 20,000 dollars to import them. The production team originally wanted to have camels appear on-screen in Agrabah, but there are no camels to be found in Vancouver, where Once Upon a Time was filmed, and they would have had to ship them from Los Angeles.
- During filming of this episode, greensperson Sarah McCulloch nicknamed Deniz Akdeniz, Ali Baba.
- The Agrabah flashbacks take place after "The Savior" and the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episode "Trust Me", after "Ariel". (For more details, see the Agrabah timeline)
- The Storybrooke events take place after "Page 23" and before "Mother's Little Helper". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The Enchanted Forest events take place after "Broken Heart" and before "Mother's Little Helper".
- The present Agrabah events take place before "The Final Battle Part 2".
- Hook is reunited with Emma in "Awake". He returns to Storybrooke in the same episode.
- Hook proposed to Emma in "Ill-Boding Patterns" and she broke off their engagement in "Page 23".
- It was revealed that Hook killed Robert in "Murder Most Foul".
- David forgives Hook in "Awake".
- The reason for Hook's unexpected departure on the Nautilus is shown in "Page 23".
- Aladdin and Jasmine wished to find Agrabah in "Wish You Were Here".
- Hook's chest of belongings is the same chest that he brought with him from the Jolly Roger in "Strange Case".
- When Mary Margaret confronts the men who were trying to leave the bar without paying, Regina says, "Do you ever not tattle?", a reference to how Snow White told Cora about Regina's relationship with Daniel in "The Stable Boy".
- How Ariel and Prince Eric ended up on Hangman's Island is shown in "The Jolly Roger".
- Hook previously met Ariel in "The Jolly Roger" and again in "Poor Unfortunate Soul".
- Ariel's home features a collection of corkscrews and forks. Ariel learned what a fork is in when she attended the Under the Sea Celebration with Snow White in "Ariel. She learned what a corkscrew is when she explored Mr. Gold's pawnshop with Belle in "Dark Hollow".
- Emma says to "Æsop" that Hook always said he (Hook) was a survivor. Hook said these words to Emma in "Rocky Road" and "Heroes and Villains".
- How Jafar easily breaks the genie spell is due to him studying about genies a lot with the Genie Wisdom Book, as shown in several episodes in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episodes "The Serpent", "Dirty Little Secrets", "Heart of the Matter" and "To Catch a Thief".
- Jafar says that the people of Agrabah call him a "bastard". The reason for this is explained in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episodes "The Serpent" and "Bad Blood", where Jafar is revealed to be the illegitimate son of a sultan.
- How Jafar was transformed into a genie is shown in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland finale "And They Lived...".
- Belle previously tried to use a "shell phone" to communicate with Hook in "Strange Case".
- Tears were previously used for magical purposes in "Second Star to the Right" and "Dreamcatcher".
- This episode is a rendition of Aladdin, with Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar, the sultan, the flying carpet, and two allusions to the genie. The episode also introduces new characters from the film: Prince Achmed and the Street Vendor, who is based on Farouk.
- The ring that the Sultan names the "greatest crown jewel" in Agrabah, is similar in appearance and importance to the mystic blue diamond in the animated film.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode is a rendition of the "Aladdin" story, with the Sultan, the princess, the magician, and Aladdin.
- This episode features the ugly duckling from the titular fairytale, Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story, Captain Nemo, his first mate, the Nautilus and the giant squid from the Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea story, and the little mermaid and the prince from "The Little Mermaid" fairytale.
- Prince Achmed is based on Prince Ahmed from "The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou".
- Jasmine says that Ariel's story is "like something out of Scheherazade", a reference to the famous storyteller from One Thousand and One Nights.
- Æsop's Tables, the new bar that Emma, Mary Margaret and Regina visit, is a pun on "Aesop's Fables". Gideon poses as Aesop while he is pretending to be the bartender.
- HIDDEN DETAILS: The banners outside the tent where "Prince Eric" is staying feature a sea-wyvern, a legendary creature with a dragon's head and wings, a reptilian body, two legs, and a fish tail. It is the sea-dwelling variant of the dragon-like creature known as a wyvern.
- REUSED PROPS: The Sultan's meeting table is the same prop that was used for the Round Table in the first half of Season Five. The chairs are also the same.
- While they were shooting the scene inside the Agrabahn capital palace, Oded Fehr accidentally dropped the transformation powder, spilling red powder on the green-screen floor.
- HIDDEN DETAILS: When Emma goes through Hook's things, the items she packs up include his rum bottle from previous episodes, his spyglass from the Season Three episode "The Jolly Roger", and the conch shell which Hook later uses to contact her.
- PAUSE AND READ: Hook's navigation map (seen upside-down) mentions a body of water called the Gulf of Fortune.
- REUSED PROPS: Jafar's Genie bottle has the same design as Cyrus' and Will Scarlet's bottle from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, even though Nyx imprisoned Jafar in a different bottle when she cursed him in the series finale "And They Lived...".
- REUSED PROPS: The knife Mary Margaret takes from the head viking and throws at the dartboard is the same prop Prince Charming uses to kill a Black Knight in the Season One episode "Snow Falls". The prop is also used by Emma Swan during her time in the Enchanted Forest after the first Dark Curse is broken in the Season Two episodes "Lady of the Lake", "The Doctor", "Tallahassee", "Child of the Moon", "Into the Deep" and "Queen of Hearts".
- REUSED PROPS: A small ship painting seen behind the bar at Æsop's Tables also appears in Emma's room at the inn in the Season One episode "The Thing You Love Most" and the room where Sheriff Graham meets Regina in the Season One episode "The Price of Gold", but with a different frame. It can also be seen in Edwin's home in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episodes "Down the Rabbit Hole" and "Who's Alice". It was later reused in Henry's apartment in the Season Seven episodes "Hyperion Heights", "A Pirate's Life" and "The Girl in the Tower", with the same frame that was used in the bar.
- REUSED PROPS: There is a vintage brass peacock fan fireplace screen at Æsop's Tables. The same fan appears in Jefferson's living room in the Season One episode "Hat Trick".
- REUSED ILLUSTRATION: The banners outside the tent where "Prince Eric" is staying feature a similar design as King Arthur's coat of arms from the first half of Season Five: A yellow crown and a sea-wyvern against a red background.
- HIDDEN DETAILS: Eric and Ariel's cottage is full of ocean-themed decorations, including a dolphin-shaped corkscrew, a ship's rudder, glass floats, seashells of various sizes, a ship in a bottle, dried starfish and a box decorated with seashells.
- The genie pants Deniz Akdeniz wore for this episode had to be fitted with an electric heating device due to the cold weather they experienced during filming. Colin O'Donoghue asked if they could do the same with his costume, but his jeans were too tight-fitting to fit a heating device underneath and the actor got quite cold.
- BRAND INFO: Regina is wearing a Lanvin Leopard Jacquard Sleeveless Sheath Dress (no longer available).
- HIDDEN DETAILS: The chain on Ariel's necklace is reminiscent of seaweed, while the pendant is blue like the ocean; a reference to Ariel being a mermaid.
- The scene with Aladdin and Jasmine rowing on the lake was actually filmed on dry land inside a studio. The water and the surrounding forest was added digitally in post-production.
- The scenes at Æsop's Tables were filmed on a television set built at The Bridge Studios.
- Belcarra Regional Park in Vancouver doubles as Hangman's Island for this episode, both for the forest scenes and the scene on the sandy beach. For the scenes outside Ariel's cottage, a cabin set was built in the forest at the park.
- The scene with Jasmine and Ariel on the flying carpet was filmed on a green-screen set at The Bridge Studios.
- The scenes at the caravan site outside the Capital of Agrabah was filmed on a green screen stage filled with sand.
- The Agrabah scene where Hook calls Emma on the "shell phone" was filmed on a green-screen set at The Bridge Studios.
|French||"L'Exil du Cœur"||"The Exile of the Heart"|
|German||"Auf der Suche nach Agrabah"||"Looking for Agrabah"|
|Italian||"Un posto meraviglioso"||"A Wondrous Place"|