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Once Upon a Time – 4.18 “Sympathy for De Vil” Review

Pleased to meet you Cruella…as Once Upon a Time explored her interesting past with the author, while Emma continued to struggle with her parents’ actions.

In a fictional realm far…far away

In a ‘fictional’ 1920s set London, a young Cruella is being chased by a pair of Dalmatians when she is confronted by her mother; Madeline. She is then taken by her mother and is locked away in the attic. Fast forward to several years later, and a reporter named Isaac shows up looking for a good story (sssh…he’s really the Author, not a reporter). When he asks about Madeline’s three dead husbands she asks him to leave but before he goes he meets Cruella, who promises him a story if he frees her. Isaac of course helps Cruella escape the attic and the two head out for a night on the town that includes dinner and dancing. Cruella reveals to Isaac that the reason she was kept in the attic was to keep the secret that her mother murdered her husbands; to which Isaac then reveals that he was more than just a reporter that he is a recorder of tales with magic ink and quill.  To prove it to Cruella he gives her diamonds and persuasion powers to control all animals. Cruella leaves to tell her mother that she’s leaving and promises to meet up with him later.

Madeline visits him first though and she tells him that Cruella lied, and that it is she who killed the husbands and that she was trying to prevent her from killing others. When Madeline returns home she is murdered by her Dalmatians when Cruella commanded them to kill. Isaac realized his quill was missing and begins to believe Madeline’s story so rushes to Cruella only to find her making her mother’s dogs into a fur coat. A confrontation leads the two to fight over the ink, which is then spilled on Cruella, transforming her. As Cruella is about to kill him, Isaac uses his quill to take away the thing Cruella loves most, her ability to kill.

Some Thoughts

  • Honestly one of my favorite back-stories yet! I loved how it started off with a Cinderella/Tangled feel to it and then ended with one of our first ‘born’ evil villains. Cruella’s happy ending is to be able to murder people again!

Storybrooke

As Cruella heads off to the cabin, she is stopped in her tracks by Maleficent, who questions her about her daughter. As Maleficent transforms into a dragon and is prepared to destroy her, Cruella uses power to put Mal to sleep. Meanwhile Emma is still angry with Mary Margaret and David while they try to figure out what to do about the Author when Regina arrives to inform them about Zelena. She tells them she plans to head to New York but first she has to ‘put’ Rumple in his place which prompts her to see Belle.

Belle reaches out to Gold and he reveals that his heart is not only literally the color of coal, it pretty much is coal, and he will soon lose all ability to love. The two kiss only for Rumple to discover that Belle is being controlled by Regina, who is using Belle’s heart to be sure that Gold does not contact Zelena to warn her about Regina coming.

Cruella visits Isaac and he tells her she doesn’t have the power to kill him (which we don’t know yet but she literally can’t) and Cruella plans to make it happen another way by kidnapping Henry and trying to force Emma and Regina to do her bidding. Gold returns to the cabin, and informs the author he knew all along what the man’s history with Cruella was and that either Emma will kill Cruella or the author himself (if he dies his job gets passed on) so that Emma will be where Gold wants her regardless on the path to darkness.

At the loft Snow and Charming are set to track the author while Emma, Regina, Hook leave to search the woods. Henry escapes from Cruella but Regina and Hook are tricked by Gold to head in opposite directions from Emma so that it is Emma who finds Henry and Cruella; who is threatening to throw Henry off of the cliff. At the same time Snow and Charming confront the Author, where it is finale revealed that Cruella is incapable of killing anyone they leave to tell Emma right away. Unfortunately, they arrive just in time to see Emma use her powers to throw Cruella off the cliff to protect Henry, not knowing he wasn’t really in danger.

Some Thoughts

  • I loved Cruella playing Angry Birds.

Looking Forward/Final Thoughts

  • How did Cruella get her car to our world or was it just a replica?
  • Can I just say how much I loved the ‘ink’ scene where it transformed her into an actual ‘character’ by making her outsides look like her insides. Also fun fact in the novel it was said she was expelled from school for drinking ink.
  • This act doesn’t make Emma a villain (she’s had no problems being violent in previous episodes), the anger and resentment towards her parents and her questions about her own agency (plus she already has a tragic back story) are guiding her on that path but this situation was also manipulated by Rumple he said corrupting her was one of his goals here. Morrison’s ‘make-up’ is meant to express that inner turmoil and conflict but I think some of the general audience might be missing that. My neighbor asked me if Morrison was sick and if she should be worried.
  • Emma also just found out her efforts to save an innocent woman and to do the right thing just backfired on her because she just learned she brought back Zelena… (which by the way bringing her back was a much better solution still than leaving Zelena in the past)
  • I think the scene with Regina was cut to be ambiguous because while Belle offered to help she agreed to it before Regina said what she was doing. Regina would do whatever it takes to save the people she cares about, others are collateral damage.
  • I think it’s also important to remember that this is a non-linear show, one that has already sent characters to the past to alter it.
  • Also won’t darkening the saviour totally blacken Rumple’s heart? And even if he gets freed from the dagger won’t his heart still be as black as coal…except he won’t have the magic to protect him anymore?
  • I really liked Isaac’s explanation of the fictional realms and them being out of time. It certainly helps make things more sense both on the show and when I think of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

‘Sympathy for De Vil ” was directed by Romeo Tirone and written by David.H. Goodman and Jerome Schwartz

 

 

Pleased to meet you Cruella…as Once Upon a Time explored her interesting past with the author, while Emma continued to struggle with her parents’ actions. In a fictional realm far…far away In a ‘fictional’ 1920s set London, a young Cruella is being chased by a pair of Dalmatians when she is confronted by her mother; Madeline. …

Review Overview

Story Arc / Plot
Performances
Special Effects

User Rating: 4.45 ( 1 votes)
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One comment

  1. [“•Emma also just found out her efforts to save an innocent woman and to do the right thing just backfired on her because she just learned she brought back Zelena… (which by the way bringing her back was a much better solution still than leaving Zelena in the past)”]

    And now, Zelena is in Storybrooke. But you still had to make an excuse for Emma’s major fuck up, didn’t you?

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