Once Upon A Time “Sympathy For The De Vil” Review (Season 4 Episode 19)

VICTORIA SMURFIT

On this week’s Once Upon a Time, we got the backstory of Cruella De Vil. Unlike the other villains, she doesn’t have a sentimental backstory. She is rotten to the core and always has been. This must be an intentional device by the writers to make the ending of the episode palatable. After all, if the savior takes out a woman who was victimized her entire life, that wouldn’t bode well for her chance at redemption.

Sometimes I wonder how Disney signs off on some of the decisions on the show. It was unsettling when they allowed Gus Gus to be killed a couple seasons ago. When I went to watch the Cinderella movie recently and they had cute little Gus Gus mouse running around, I kept thinking, “Once Upon a Time killed you.” This week, I was unhappy with the new twist on the Dalmatians. Making them into vicious killer dogs was Disney canon sacrilege. I understand that the show likes to do surprising things, but that’s just too much.

Back in some other time in some other realm, Cruella is an unhappy child who grows into an unhappy adolescent. That is, I think she’s supposed to be adolescent. They have Victoria Smurfit play the part of younger Cruella, even though she’s in her 40s. I thought this was an odd choice considering they didn’t do the same thing with young Ursula. She encounters the Author and proceeds to hoodwink him. He gives her the power to control animals, which allows her to send the Dalmatians to kill her mother.

In Storybrooke, Cruella comes up with a scheme to kidnap Henry. She makes the mistake of contacting Regina and Emma, neither of whom are going to stand for such antics. Emma goes after Cruella while Regina comes up with a plan to use Belle to trick Gold. Regina learns that Gold has set the whole situation in motion because he’s counting on Emma killing Cruella. Then her transformation to the dark side will be complete. You know that something is coming for Emma because they make her look super sickly the entire episode. They’re visually preparing us for the disappearance of sunshiny Emma.

Regina’s plan works out perfectly. Gold reveals his blackened heart to Belle and Regina takes it from him. She now has the upper hand and it looks like his happy ending isn’t coming any time soon. The Evil Queen would’ve crushed the heart, but Regina simply walks away with it. That’s progress for her. Now she just has to figure out a way to get Robin away from Zelena.

Maleficent knows that her daughter is alive and is determined to find her. It looks like next week, her wish will come true. It’ll be interesting to see what the dynamic is between Emma and Lilly. By killing Cruella, Emma has taken a huge step towards villain status. Will Emma going dark conversely have Lilly turn good? Do they have to exist as opposites?