Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 19 – TV Review
Could it be? A villain on this show might finally exist without having some convoluted, Freudian excuse of a background?
TL;DR Cruella is just a stone cold psychopath; the Author fell in love with her in the past; Emma kills Cruella when she takes Henry hostage; Regina leverages Belle to keep Gold from interfering with her rescue mission of Robin; Emma refuses to forgive her parents for that whole baby murder-ish thing.
God, what a prude. Baby murder is what the cool kids do. Didn’t you know?
The major Storybrooke plot this episode follows Cruella as she goes into damage control now that the Author is in town. It turns out that they know each other, and he in particular knows a vital secret about her. Cruella kidnaps Henry and holds him hostage, demanding that Emma and Regina kill the Author to ensure Henry’s safe return. Emma ends up finding Cruella and Henry in the woods, and when Cruella threatens to shoot Henry, Emma pushes her off a cliff to her death. Thus, she is now tainted with evil. What Emma didn’t know, and what Cruella was so desperately trying to conceal, was that the Author had written a clause preventing Cruella from actually being able to ever kill anyone. Oops. Meanwhile, Regina defies Gold and takes out Belle’s heart to use her to lure Gold out. She promises she’ll crush Belle’s heart if Gold tries to warn Zelena that she’s coming to save Robin. And the flashbacks take us to Cruella’s youth in a fictional version of London. She is locked in an attic by her dog-training, supposedly unloving mother. When she’s a bit older, the Author, real name Isaac, meets her and falls in love with her. He writes her some animal control magic powers to escape her mother, but uh oh, Cruella is actually a three-time murdering (her mother had two subsequent, ill-fated husbands) psychopath, who adds her mum to her kill count. Isaac writes the no-kill clause to stop her from ever doing it again.
This is why you don’t fall in love with fictional characters, people. Elijah, we can never be.
I’m not surprised that Cruella’s focus episode was more entertaining than most of this season. She’s always been my favourite of the Villainess Triumvirate. And after the utter shitpile of last week, anything would have been an improvement.
And Cruella is a villain we can really believe in. She just likes to kill people and dress fabulously.
And isn’t that what we all really want?
Why I hate this episode:
Isaac falls in love with her stupidly fast. He even tells her all about his magic pen and ink after a single night out. Jesus. If the guy was so hard up for some lovin’, why didn’t he just write himself some?
He also kind of blithely tells her how her world is merely a story, and doesn’t really exist. Cruella brushes this off almost immediately. Umm, that’s some serious existential shit you just dropped on her. Wow. No wonder he’s single.
Cruella, for all her supervillainy, doesn’t do a good job of listening. Isaac stresses how the pen and the ink don’t work without each other. So what does she do? She steals just the pen. Idiot.
Maleficent transforms into a dragon to attack Cruella (for reasons I’ll discuss in the next section. They’re hilarious), so Cruella just uses her animal control magic to subdue her. Did Maleficent really not pick that?
Snow makes what could be the ballsiest assertion in the history of Once Upon a Time. Emma bitches at her and David about hurting Maleficent’s baby, and Snow has the audacity to say that Emma’s moral outrage, which is a product of the spell to keep Emma pure of heart, proves that what they did was worth it. Fuck. You.
Regina is disappointingly permissive of Snow and David’s actions (or at least, their choice to keep it a secret from Emma). You finally have something concrete to hold over Snow, and you’re throwing it away?
Isaac makes a big deal about how dangerous spilling the magic ink would be. During his later tussle with Cruella, he spills it on her, and all it does is give her half black hair and funky, chunky eyebrows. Is that it?
Oh, and Isaac initially rejects Cruella’s invitation to dance at the club because he doesn’t want to leave his pen unattended. Just put it in your pocket, dipshit.
But it’s not all bad:
Cruella is a fucking queen. I always knew it. It’s very refreshing for a villain not to be tied down by some tragic past trauma to explain their evil. Cruella is just a murderer, yo. The fashion is a perk.
She brilliantly deceives sooky little Isaac. He was so ready to believe her tale of locked-in-the-attic woe. He gave her magic powers, for goodness’ sake. You got played, baby.
Naturally, the first thing Cruella does once she has her magic powers is return home and command her mum’s Dalmatians to kill her. And they do. When Isaac comes calling for their rendezvous, he finds Cruella feverishly sewing a Dalmatian fur coat. #slay. #literally.
While Emma is out with Regina and Hook (they get separated, natch) looking for Henry, Snow and David track down the Author to hopefully find out how to defeat Cruella. He shows them the clause he wrote to prevent her from not only killing him during their tussle, but to prevent her from ever deriving pleasure from killing again. They arrive just a little too late to stop Emma from offing Cruella, who would have never been able to harm Henry, anyway. So Emma basically killed an unarmed opponent. That oughtta blacken up that heart of hers.
Gold implies that Emma’s dark heart is what they need to make more magic ink. Cool.
Regina’s scheme against Gold is pretty basic, but it gets the job done. She also takes the opportunity to really sting him by coercing his confession about his heart of darkness, and making Belle tell him that Will is a better kisser. Regina appears to have commanded the words out of Belle, but it would be cute if it was also the truth. Belle just can’t resist her British bad boys.
The reason Maleficent attacks Cruella is because Maleficent asks Cruella what she and Ursula did with her baby after they came out of the portal. Cruella nonchalantly explains that they used the dragon egg’s magic to prolong their own youth, and left the baby to die in the woods. Given that we know Lily is alive, it’s a lie. But Cruella sells that shit well enough for Maleficent to dragonform in retaliation. I lol’d.
Emma’s resolute refusal to forgive her parents is admirable.
She also nabs herself the episode’s best line after Regina pulls a Dr Phil and tells Emma to just get over it: “Forgive me if I don’t take advice from the woman who held a grudge for half her life because a ten year-old spilled a secret.” Yeah, but that ten year-old was Snow. And as we now know, Snow is a huge cunt.
Cruella uses Pongo to threaten Henry.
Oh, and Once Upon a Time did cheap out with the whole “she could never have hurt him, anyway,” but I’ll applaud any excuse to see a divine bitch holding a gun to a bratty child.
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