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Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 12 Review: “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

Cruella de Vil in ABC's Once Upon a Time
Cruella de Vil in ABC's Once Upon a Time
Cruella de Vil in ABC's Once Upon a Time

Posted March 1, 2015 by

“I suggest we go out and see what’s killing property values this time.” – Regina

Remember, dearie, all spoilers come at a price~

So, it is finally here: Season 4b. Want to know my predictions for this season?

Evil terrorizes Storybrooke. Each episode will have gratuitous flashbacks to the past, involving some sort of discontinuity with other established storylines. Romances will fail to work out due to unforeseen and magical circumstances. Henry’s storybook will continue to be an important item. Rumplestiltskin will have somehow managed to rub his scaly hands all over each and every storyline from the past, and, inevitably, have f@*#$% someone over.

So basically what happens every season of “Once Upon a Time.”

On to the latest episode!

It has been several weeks since Belle banished Rumplestiltskin over the town line, and things have more or less returned to normal. Emma’s back to being the Sheriff, Mary Margaret’s teaching, and Belle is tending to the library. What is not normal is that the fairies are still stuck in the Sorcerer’s hat. But, hey, not everything is going to be perfect. Luckily, Belle, with her astute research ability, is collaborating with some linguistics experts to translate a spell that should release everything from the hat.

Also it appears that Belle and Hook are striking up some kind of friendship, bonding over how they were both tricked by Rumplestiltskin. Obviously Belle has forgotten about the time Hook tried to murder her. Though, I suppose if everyone in Storybrooke got hung up about who tried to kill who, and when, and for what reason, nothing would ever get done.

In New York Ursula and Rumple have been playing roommates, which Ursula is none too pleased about. As far as the sea witch is concerned, all the Dark One has been doing is sleeping on her couch and eating all of her Ramen noodles. Rumple does profess to have a plan that requires Ursula’s help, as he would not be there if it was not absolutely necessary.

Together the two villains go to pick up Cruella just in time to see her husband being carted off by the FBI for undisclosed reasons. But, honestly, is it a surprise to anyone that Cruella De Vil would marry someone that got mixed up with crime? Tempted by the promise of a happy ending, Cruella loads up Rumple and Ursula in her car, straight out of “101 Dalmatians,” and the three head off to Storybrooke.

Of course, this is not the first time the Rumplestiltskin has tempted the “Queens of Darkness” with the promise of a happy ending. In the past he called Maleficent, Ursula, and Cruella together to help him get an artifact to use in a curse, one that would bring about their happiness.

After using their magical abilities to get the object (that is correct, Cruella has magic) Rumplestiltskin betrays the Queens and leaves them to die at the claws of the object’s guardian, the Chernobog. As he leaves them to their doom Rumple at least is kind enough to let them in that the creature seeks out the hearts with the greatest potential for darkness to consume them.

Of course a heart-consuming hell beast is not a match for the power of teamwork, and the Queens escape.

In the present Regina is on the fruitless search for any clues about the Author. Luckily not all news is bad news, because a linguistics professor Belle contacted was able to translate the spell to get the fairies out of the sorcerer’s hat. Using the Dark One’s Dagger Regina is able to release everything from inside the Sorcerer’s hat.


Including, surprise, the Chernobog.

Now you are probably wondering how the Chernobog got trapped in the sorcerer’s hat. But the more important question is how no one in the group surrounding the hat noticed the creature escape from the hat in a plume of dark smoke. You would honestly think with everything that happens in Storybrooke that its citizens would be more alert.

Like any good evil creature, the Chernobog bides its time to make the perfect dramatic entrance, giving Regina the opportunity to question the Blue Fairy about the Author. Up until this point it was assumed that the Sorcerer and the Author were the same person, but according to the Blue Fairy they are not. So, how are they supposed to find the Author? By searching for clues in Henry’s storybook.


Meanwhile the evil trio has reached the town line. Rumplestiltskin plans to trick Regina into letting Ursula and Cruella into the town. Upon contacting Regina, however, they are able to offer information about the Chernobog in exchange for entrance into the town.

With the knowledge that the Chernobog goes after the heart with the most potential for evil, Emma drives Regina to the town line in hopes of getting the monster to cross it and disappear once it is exposed to a world without magic. With the plan succeeding, Cruella and Ursula are given entrance into the town despite Mary Margaret and David’s protests.

Once inside, the two Queens are able to get Rumple across the town line. There he reveals his intention of bringing back Maleficent to join their evil crew. When the Queens express their concerns about Regina and her dark magic thwarting them, Rumple reveals that their true threat is Emma Swan, whose heart the Chernobog was actually after.

The episode ends on the dramatic note that, surprise, Snow White and Prince Charming had some kind of run-in with the “Queens of Darkness” back in the enchanted forest.

I suppose the reveal that the Chernobog was after Emma is supposed to surprise the audience, but ABC has spent the past month hinting that the key plot point this season is Emma’s evil potential. Which, personally, I think is a fantastic.

As shown by my predictions for the season, “Once Upon a Time” has fallen into a pattern. Now, it is not necessarily a bad pattern, as it still manages to throw in some surprises here and there. But it has gotten to the point where you wonder how exactly the characters are going to continue to develop. Throwing in a “good gone evil” character opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for each character.

Will Regina end up taking over Emma’s spot as the Savior? When Emma goes dark will Hook, totally smitten, return to his old ways? How will Henry react seeing his mother corrupted?

There are so many ways this season could go, and frankly I am very excited to see how it all develops.

The one character I am truly interested seeing in action, though, is Cruella De Vil. Do not get me wrong, I love her. Her character is the epitome of sass and is great fun to watch. But it is going to take a lot more than the writers gifting her with the magical power of “persuasion” for me to accept her place at the evil big girl table.

-By Guest Contributor Jordan Cheresnowsky

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Jordan Cheresnowsky

Jordan Cheresnowsky