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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

There was one thing I genuinely liked in this episode, and then there was a whole lot more I went ‘the hell is this?’ at. I think my patience has slowly curdled for OUAT, and yet, I keep hanging on. Remember when Peter Pan was the bad guy and he was fantastic? I miss him. That kid was the best villain they’ve ever had, and primarily for the same reason I think Cruella is a fantastic bad guy. But that’s getting ahead of myself. Previously on Once Upon a Time, the show decided we were all super stupid and made up some nonsense about how Zelena has been Marian all this time. It made zero sense and annoyed most of the audience. But we’re stuck having to accept it, so now she’s holding Robin over Regina’s head. Rumplestiltskin plans on turning the Savior “dark,” and she found out her parents took all the darkness out of her before she was born and put it into Maleficent’s daughter Lily. I’d like to point out that Emma Swan has gone through a lot of darkness in her past so far. She was a lonely and miserable orphan, a grifter and thief, and then lost her first love and gave up her baby as a teenager. It’s not like her life has been full of goodness so far. If she’s stuck it out this long on the side of good, why is it suddenly such a concern? Whatever, here we go.

Cruella De Vil was hunted down by her mother and locked away in their very rich mansion. She’s not allowed to leave, and her mother seems like a very creepy Mother Dearest type of figure. Cruella wants desperately to get out. One day an Author stops by, Isaac, and he is way weird about pushing his way into the house and trying to get a story. This seems weird considering later he admits that this is some weird pocket universe, so what brought him there in the first place? I don’t even know, this episode was a mess. This show is a mess. Cruella convinces Isaac to set her free so they can have a night of dancing and fun, and she tells him that her mother killed all of her husbands. Over the course of the night apparently he falls in love with her (?), or at least forms an attachment to her, and he confesses he’s a magical author. He gives her the ability to possess animals for some unknown reason, what in the world, and then figures out that Cruella was lying all along. She’s really psychotic. She’s a born sociopath and killed her father and her mother’s husbands, and then has her mother’s dogs kill her. Which leads to her skinning the dogs and making her coat. Isaac’s horrified at this monster he unknowingly gave power to, so he writes down that she can never murder another person. She also gets magic pen ink on her, which explains her cool hair do. Full marks for them having a villain like Pan who is flat out a villain. The show gets a little too obsessed with redemption arcs sometimes, so it’s fun that some characters are born to be bad.

418Promo2Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Cruella confronts Isaac, but obviously we know she can’t kill him. Can she force the dogs to kill him? I don’t think so, it’s hard to say. Probably not, otherwise plenty more bodies would’ve been left behind her. She manages to control Maleficent when she goes into dragon form. Maleficent confronts her about letting Lily get taken away, and this is the first glimpse of Cruella’s truly evil self, when she’s like “ehhhh, who cares.” She kidnaps Henry to try and force Emma and Regina to kill Isaac for her. It’s funny that no one immediately went “well why didn’t she just kill him herself?” That would’ve solved a lot of questions right there. But they needed to push out an entire episode of false drama over whether Cruella could kill or not. Snow and Charming find Isaac, and he tells them Cruella can’t kill, and this means she’s helpless when Emma confronts her. But is she? It’s not like Emma knows this. Emma does kill her, and I guess that’s supposed to be a sign she’s now dark. But Cruella had Henry and they were on a freaking cliff. She had zero idea Cruella didn’t intend to kill her child. I don’t really feel like this is a villain act, or that this is a sign of darkness. Regina’s killed a lot of people for a lot less reason, and she’s on a redemption arc, so why is it such a big deal for Emma?

It does bug me. I think they wanted Emma to do something bad, enough we go oooo dark Emma, but not so dark she can’t still be the savior. But IMO there was no ambiguity to this. She believed her son was in danger of death. One could argue she was protecting him. It’s just a weird thing to put so much emphasis on, especially with Lily coming into town soon. Does Lily have all the darkness? Why did she seem like a good person when she knew Emma then? Why has Emma shown darkness and violence before this if she’s always been pure? Do they have any idea what they’re doing with this show anymore? Sigh. Also Rumple reveals to Belle that his heart is almost purely black now, and he’s doing this to try and fix his heart. If his heart was that dark, you’d think he would have stopped caring by now whether he has it or not. Just die already, Rumple. Regina was actually controlling Belle, and she now has her heart. But we saw her talking to Belle earlier, and Belle offered to help her, so maybe she’s a willing part of this. Hard to say. I’m sad that this part of the season I was so excited for the Queens of Darkness, and I’m already going “wow this is not what I was hoping for.” Ursula’s gone, Cruella’s dead, Zelena came back out of ridiculous plot contrivance, but at least Maleficent’s storyline is still interesting. For now. Also what is up with Emma’s new design? She looks very washed out and almost skeletal, I’m sure that’s intentional due to her going evil, but yuck. It’s hard to know intentions with this show, since they seem to want things to be good vs evil, but then also want gray zones and ambiguity. Also I’m not impressed with the writer so far. He’s dull. What a mess. But huge thumbs up for Cruella always being a psychopath and bad guy. We need at least one of those! There’s a few episodes left.

 

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