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Heart of the Matter
Season 1, Episode 11
Airdate March 20, 2014
Written by Jenny Kao & Katie Wech
Directed by David Boyd
Episode Guide
Dirty Little Secrets
To Catch a Thief

"Heart of the Matter" is the eleventh episode of the Once Upon a Time spin-off series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Written by Jenny Kao and Katie Wech and directed by David Boyd, it premiered on ABC in the United States on March 20, 2014.

In this episode, Anastasia's past involving Cora, the Queen of Hearts is revealed, including a secret of Will's while in present day Wonderland, Alice and Cyrus makes an unexpected trip to Storybrooke to procure an item of great importance as Jafar's plan to break the laws of magic inches closer.


Opening Sequence

Jafar's serpent staff is shown in the forest.

In the characters' past

Anastasia, the soon-to-be Red Queen of Wonderland is introduced to her servants Tweedledee and Tweedledum at the castle. During a conversation with them, the Queen of Hearts, Cora, who is shocked to have been invited to the Red King's wedding, pays them an unexpected visit to meet the new Queen. Cora offers to teach Anastasia magic to make life as a royal easier at the castle, but Anastasia declines the offer as the Red King frowns on the usage of magic which separates the royals and their servants. While not pleased with Anastasia's answer, Cora leaves her offer open. As the wedding day approaches, Will Scarlet secretly visits Anastasia, hoping that Anastasia is duping the King into marrying her just to steal his jewels. As Anastasia retaliates, Cora eavesdrops on their conversation and alerts the guards to the room, not before Will leaves. Cora pays Will a visit and listen to his concern regarding not being able to fully move on from Anastasia. Will asks Cora to remove his heart so that he can never feel any form of emotion. Upon doing so, Cora keeps his heart and later shows Anastasia that Will has decided to move on and no longer loves her. Cora then proceeds to teach a now-heartbroken Anastasia magic.

In Wonderland

Alice and Cyrus is alerted by Tweedledum to escape Wonderland under Anastasia's orders upon the Jabberwocky's freedom. However, as they wouldn't want to give up on Will, they head into the castle via a tunnel to save both Will and Anastasia. Meanwhile, Jafar, unable to change the laws of magic due to Will's genie bottle, uses the Jabberwocky on Anastasia to find out the problem. As the Jabberwocky uses her magic to creep into Anastasia's memories, she accidentally reads Alice's mind, who is in the dungeon with Cyrus. Knowing what was the problem, she escapes the dungeon with Cyrus and seeks the White Rabbit's help to locate Will's heart. Using the portal, they head to Storybrooke. Once retrieving Will's heart, the trio returns to Wonderland and is ambushed by Jafar who steals it, but before losing his staff to them. Alice and Cyrus realize that the staff is Cyrus' mother. Jafar returns Will's heart and in order to make sure the heart was functioning properly, he kills Anastasia in-front of Will, who is in a fit upon Anastasia's death.

In Storybrooke

Via the portal, Alice, Cyrus, and the White Rabbit arrives in the main street and heads to Will's home to find his heart. Once inside, they find a drawing of Anastasia and realize the heart is hidden in the wall behind the drawing. Using some darts, they uncover a box with Will's heart and returns to Wonderland.


Jenny Kao & Katie Wech were the writers for the episode, while David Boyd was its director.



The episode was watched by 3.51 million American viewers, and received an 18-49 rating/share of 0.8/3, roughly the same demo as the previous episode but up in the total viewers number. The show placed fifth in its timeslot and twelfth for the night.

Critical reception

Christine Orlando of TV Fanatic gave the episode a 4.5 out of 5, signaling positive reviews.

Ashley B. of Spoiler TV gave the episode a positive review. She said:

I'm not saying [the last five minutes] were bad, they were actually extremely well done and quite the wham ending to this episode which I enjoyed, but wow, talk about your emotional roller coaster. The writers have a story to tell and it certainly isn't over yet, but when they pull stunts like this, you can't help but to sit and stare at your television and reflect on how attached you've grown to your favorite characters. Aside from having my heart ripped from my chest, it's good to see Cora back on our screens. Still as manipulative and cunning as ever, the Queen of Hearts cranked her pageant mom routine up to eleven in this episode.


  • The Knave of Hearts says that his deepest fears are water, hairy spiders, being stabbed in the head, and raisins.


Knave of Hearts: What are you doing?
The Jabberwocky: Listening.
Knave of Hearts: To what?
The Jabberwocky: You.
Knave of Hearts: Oh.
The Jabberwocky: Your deepest fears.
Knave of Hearts: I'll save you some time. Water, hairy spiders, being stabbed in the head, and, uh, raisins. Grapes are fine, but raisins, no thank you.
Will Scarlet: Have you forgotten all the good times we had? Making wine from wildflowers? Naming the stars to fall asleep at night?
Anastasia: You named them all "Anastasia".
Will Scarlet: It's the most beautiful name I know.
Alice: [when first seeing Storybrooke] Curiouser and curiouser.
The White Rabbit: Come on. The Knave's place is this way. You'll know it by the smell.
Alice: It's quite a step up from the Knave's wagon. There's so many nice things.
The White Rabbit: I have a feeling most of it fell off a truck.
Alice: Well, how did it get in here, then?
The White Rabbit: No, it's a figure of... never mind.
Cora: Should you choose to learn a touch of magic, I could teach you. And what the King doesn't know won't hurt him.
Red Queen: I appreciate the offer... but I hardly think keeping secrets is the best way to begin a marriage.
Cora: But it's a wonderful way to begin a friendship.
Old Prisoner: What is that?
Red Queen: Magic.
Old Prisoner: I've never seen magic do that.
Red Queen: In the wrong hands, you'd be surprised what magic can do.