Alice and Cyrus discover alarming information involving prisoners Jafar has under his control and changes their priorities. Meanwhile, the Red Queen is in critical danger and no one can help her except the Knave by surrendering information to Jafar that he's been desperately seeking. In flashback, Anastasia is about to marry the King and strikes up a friendship with Cora that directly impacts Will. Cora also confronts Will resulting with him asking her for a shocking demand.
- The title card features the serpent staff.
- ABC's press release for this episode misnames it as "Heart of the Day".
- Jafar uses two incantations to try to take control over the Genie Lamps:
- "Incipio. Tres genies in utres. Ego te coniungere. Da mihi virtutem!" which is Latin for "Begin. Three genies in bottles. I join you. Give me power!" [Note that there is no word for "genie" in Latin, so this word is plain English.]
- When it does not work, he tries "Magicae res tres. Vult totam!" which means "Three magic things. He wants all!" However, that does not work either.
- Co-star Chad Riley, who plays Jafar's guard, also plays Black Knight #2 in the Once Upon a Time episode "Child of the Moon".
- The Wonderland flashbacks occur after "We Are Both" and "Heart of Stone" and before "Queen of Hearts".
- The Storybrooke flashbacks take place at an unspecified time, sometime after "Lady of the Lake". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- In "We Are Both" and "Lady of the Lake", there's a hole in the road between Granny's Diner and Standard Clocks, from the Wraith's attack (not the same hole as the rabbit hole that the White Rabbit makes in front of the entrance to the clock tower). By the time of "The Doctor", the hole has been repaired, meaning that this episode takes place either between "Lady of the Lake" and "The Doctor", or after "The Doctor": In "Heart of the Matter, the area in front of Granny's can be glimpsed in the background when Alice and her friends visit Storybrooke, and the hole is gone.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features Alice, the Caterpillar, Knave of Hearts, the Queen of Hearts, and the White Rabbit from the Alice in Wonderland story, the Red Queen, the Jabberwocky, Tweedledee, and Tweedledum from the story's sequel as well as the genie, the evil sorcerer and the Sultan from the Aladdin story.
- Jafar's book of spells contains:
- A long Latin excerpt from Ars grammatica by Aelius Donatus, a fourth century Roman grammarian and teacher of rhetoric. The excerpt is from his first Ars grammatica, known as Ars Minor, which is a brief overview of the eight parts of speech. The text in the spell book is from the section De praepositione, "about preposition".
- An upside-down version of an illustration from Key of Solomon, an old grimoire (textbook of magic) incorrectly attributed to King Solomon. This particular illustration is from one of the earliest manuscript of the grimoire, entitled The Clavicle of Solomon, revealed by Ptolomy the Grecian, written in English and Latin and dated 1572. The text "Jesus Salvator" (Jesus the Savior) connects the eight-pointed cross with Jesus Christ.
- Around the illustration, there are characters from the reconstruction of the mysterious Emerald Tablet, which is one of the pillars of Western alchemy. It has been translated by many people over the centuries, and is said to be inscribed with the secrets of the universe. One interpretation suggests that the text describes seven stages of alchemical transformation—calcination, dissolution, separation, conjunction, fermentation, distillation and coagulation.
- The opposite page contains an illustration by the sixteenth century Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi book History of Monsters (Monstrorum historia cum Paralipomenis historiae omnium animalium), published posthumously in 1642. The illustration, known as "Monstrum cornutum, and alatum aliudmale", shows a winged monster without arms, with animal ears and face.
- As Jafar turns the pages, he stops at an incantation:
Tres genies in utres
Ego te coniungere
Da mihi virtutem
Magicae res tres
Three genies* in bottles
Give me power
Three magic things
He wants all
- *Note that the word "genie" is plain English
- This is the same incantation that Jafar uses to take control of the Genie Bottles, However, he does not say the last stanza.
- On the opposite page, characters from the Emerald Tablet can be seen on the right side of the page. Note that many of them are upside-down and/or mirror-inverted.
- Another page shows the Tree of Life from Kabbalah. This symbol represents, as a series of divine emanations, God's creation, the nature of revealed divinity, the human soul, and the spiritual path of ascent by man.
- When Jafar tries to take control of the genie bottles, after he tries the second incantation, you can see a fourth genie bottle on the table, next to the other three.
|French||"Le Cœur du Sujet"||"The Heart of the Subject"|
|German||"Das Herz Aller Dinge"||"The Heart of All Things"|
|Italian||"Il nocciolo della questione"||"Heart of the Matter"|