Once Upon a Time Spring Premiere Recap: Hearts of Darkness — Plus: Get Scoop on [Spoiler]'s Secret

Once Upon a Time Recap Rumplestiltskin Returns

ABC’s Once Upon a Time resumed Season 4 with Rumplestiltskin aiming to “reunite the band” for a nefarious gig, while Emma and Regina teamed to best a beast. Also: What big secret are the Charmings hiding?

Up front, I want to say that I have my reservations about Season 4B and the Queens of Darkness storyline. I’m OK with a multi-pronged threat, but this team-up comes off just a bit random. And in this first episode, Cruella’s the only one who delivered any color; where is Season 1’s scenery-hungry Mal? It’s very early goings, however, so we’ll see how it plays out.

Besides, who can fault a storyline that gives us the mighty Dark One slurping ramen noodles with more than a little self-loathing? There was also something entertaining about Ms. de Vil having been living as Cruella Feinberg, Once_MrCluckswed to a Wall Street crook and thus now left penniless save for her trademark Panther motor car. And Rumple, Cruella and Ursula pulling up to a Mr.Cluck drive-thru? As Hurley would say, “Awesome, dude.”

But the way Cruella and Ursula gained passage into Storybrooke was too easy. Setting the stage for their infiltration, Rumple — posing as an Oxford linguistics professor (who seemingly raised no eyebrow about translating an incantation for a random librarian in Maine) — fed Belle a spell that not only helped Regina free the fairies from the Sorcerer’s Hat but also let loose Chernabog (see: Fantasia). That’s when Ursula rang her frenemy Regina “out of the blue,” hoping to find redemption in the town Rumplestiltskin had told her and Cruella about. When Ursula traded intel on how to defeat Chernabog — having battled one long ago, alongside Cruella and Maleficent — Regina and Emma, despite the Charmings’ conspicuous protest, used the Frozen scroll to allow the sorceresses across the town line.

From there, it was just a simple matter of Cruella later tossing the scroll back across the invisible barrier to Rumple, because apparently none of the Storybrooke leaders thought to get back this powerful “key”! Reunited and strolling the quiet streets, Rumple pointed out to Cruella and Ursula that Chernabog, in seeking out the heart with the greatest potential for darkness, actually wasn’t after Regina, but was chasing Emma Swan.

At episode’s end, Cruella and Ursula took a meeting with Snow White and David, who previously discussed in private having a “bad feeling” about having the sorceresses in town. It seems their paths had crossed before, Once_Charmingsin the Enchanted Forest, at which time something happened which the Charmings very much want kept secret from their loved ones. Snow goes so far as to warm the ladies that if so much as a whiff of their truth gets out, especially to Emma, she’ll personally rip their hearts out!

What could the righteous marrieds possibly be hiding? In slowly revealing this secret, “The goal is to deepen who they are, and take what we’ve already presented and present another layering,” shares Once co-creator Adam Horowitz. With the first hint at the secret to come next Sunday, he says, “Our hope is that by the time everything is revealed, you’ll see it really informs who they were in Season 1.”

Co-creator Eddy Kitsis echoes that the eventual reveal is about “character motivation,” in that once Season 4B has ended, “you will go back and look at the series in a different way.”

Color me quite intrigued!

Elsewhere in the midseason premiere:
* In flashback, we saw how Rumple originally assembled — and duped — the Queens of Darkness, trapping them with the Chernabog after using their distinct skills (or, yawn, tentacles) to get his hands on the Dark Curse.
* Whilst laboring to free the fairies (using the “magic box”/computer and all), Belle and Hook discussed Rumple’s betrayal, with Hook assuring Belle that the Dark One, for all his faults, did love her. Similarly, Emma later reassured Hook that though he had been compelled to do Rumple’s bidding, in the end he earned “a mark in the hero column.”
* After freeing Blue, Regina picked the fairy’s brain about the Sorcerer/Author she seeks. Blue said that the Author and Sorcerer are “very different people,” and that the former’s identity/whereabouts may be hidden in the pages of Henry’s storybook.
* “It’s a party. We should… buckle some swash. Or, you know, whatever.”
* “Wow, you guys really have this down!” “Well, this isn’t our first monster bash.”
* “Is there a dwarf named Evil-y?”
* Regina riding shotgun in the Bug, asking Emma: “What made you choose yellow?”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Al says:

    Already better than the frozen arc!!
    Love this premiere

  2. hopemullinax says:

    I finally felt like I had my show back again after the train wreck from the Frozen half season. The only thing missing was Will Scarlet. Going into 4B, he was the only character I was invested in. Now I’m seeing light in all of the main cast once again

  3. Al says:

    The show is at is best when they focus on the core group

  4. aurat22 says:

    Of the villains the only one I actually liked was Ursala, I thought Cruella was too over the top. Regina had some great one liners. And I liked kick butt Snow at the end. Other than that it really didn’t grab me all that much.

    • I would say, thought, that of all the evil villains in the storybrook verse. Cruella has always been portrayed as a very over the top type of villain. That’s not other villains were not but she was especially dramatic.

    • abz says:

      Cruella has always been over-the-top. Just watch the Glenn Close version and see.

      • aurat22 says:

        I never saw that one so I will have to check it out.

        • abz says:

          Oh you definitely should. I’m loving the OUAT version, but I don’t think anyone beats the Glenn Close version.

          • Tara D (@taratama) says:

            Last night I thought I started the playback, went into the kitchen came back and pongo was on which I thought was a tie in to Cruella and then I saw Jeff Daniels. the Glenn Close version was on a Family Channel last night! I was so confused lol

    • Lena120 says:

      I actually like Cruella. She’s being portrayed very much in character. She’s my favorite out of the trio. I can’t stand Ursula though. I always imagined her being a curvaceous woman like Queen Latifah or Monique. This actress is fine, but not great IMO.

      As someone else said, I think anything is better than that awful Frozen arc. I almost tuned out because of that shoehorned mess.

    • Demi says:

      You are one of the few that actually liked Ursula in this episode, personally Regina and Rumpel were my best this episode

  5. Len84 says:

    Really good episode
    So much sass lol
    Cruella and Ursula make me laugh

    Lovely Hook and Belle scene, i love that he is so guilty and ashamed and still was even when the fairies were out. Poor Belle, and heartbroken

    Love that Emma and Hook are content and happy. And in love and being in a relationship and growing.

    Nice to see team work of Emma and Regina.

  6. Khorrie says:

    It is not “a” or “the” Chernobog. It is simply Chernobog, who is an ancient Slavic deity. And yes, he was featured in Fantasia

  7. Al says:

    Anyone get the LOST reference – Mr. cluck ( fast food )

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Noted in recap above, yes.

    • Butters says:

      I have watched from the beginning and that was my favorite thing from it. However, I will say I will give it three episodes to make this worth while.

    • Tony says:

      I meant to go back and check if that was a reference to Lost (I was a bit distracted during the scene). Such q huge Lost geek, I welcome the references whenever (and wherever) they pop up.

  8. Quen says:

    I enjoyed the Queens of Darkness, all three of them, tremendously. Right from the first moment on. Rumple and Ursula in New York, recruiting Cruella, the hilarious drive-thru bit, the constant bickering in the FTL flashbacks, the Ursula-Regina phone call… I loved all of it. These villains and the dynamics they’ve teased so far remind what I love about this show and I’m glad.
    I’m intrigued by Snow and Charming’s secret. They were definitely very worried and threatened by the idea that Cruella and Ursula could come to town and stick around. I like the idea of adding a new layer to their characters. It’s needed, imo, and so far it looks promising.
    Interesting hints about the author and the sorcerer coming from the Blue Fairy. Looking forward to see where that story is going. I also enjoyed the character development they’ve underlined for Regina and the dynamic of Regina and Emma working together. I just wish we could have gotten a slight hint of what happened to Robin Hood. I’ve seen the conversation about him in the sneak peek released earlier this week already, but it was still heartbreaking the second time around. I’m strongly rooting for him and Regina to be reunited, but in true OUAT fashion they’ll probably make us wait and suffer through the seperation along with Regina for quite some time.
    I’m on the fence about the Chernabog being after Emma. We’ve already had Ingrid/Snow Queen being after her in 4a, I admit I’d kind of hoped the “big bad” of 4b would focus on someone else. But maybe there’ll be a twist in there somewhere.
    Only thing I didn’t like was the incredibly rushed and, in my opinion, unconvincing Hook and Belle bonding and just the way they’re generally wiping every questionable thing the character’s done aside when it comes to Hook. He’s never going to be an interesting and useful (for the show/story) character to me as long as they deny him any lack of depth. He continues to be… just there.

    • Ginger Snap says:

      Hook – just there be Emma’s boy toy. He isn’t organic to the show, he’s just there.

      Hopefully, they kept his scenes to a minimum. There’s much interesting things going in Storybrooke.

      • Letti says:

        Agreed. I loved Hook back in season 2 when he was a villian. But it seems like we should forget all the bad things he’s done, only to remember that he’s Emma’s boyfrined. Too bad this won’t make him a hero. Even in 4A there was too much Hook. I hope he won’t take away too much screentime this time.

        • aurat22 says:

          “Forgetting about the bad things he’s done,” could be said about almost every character in the show. As the writers have said even the “heroes” have acted in
          morally questionable ways. The question is can they be forgiven and forgiving is not the same as forgetting?

    • Mer says:

      Completely agree with this statement about Hook. They are trying to make us forget that he threatened Belle when he was blackmailing Rumple. The man tried to kill her several times. When he was forced to apologize to Belle back in Season 3, he just excused his actions as “extenuating circumstances.”

      Let’s not pretend that he gives a crap about Belle because he doesn’t. It is just very creepy but I understand that they are really pushing Hook in the “hero” category with very little development.

      And he wasn’t even useful in helping Belle with the research. She did all of the work. This is the most forced pairing in the show, and that is something with some of the relationships we have on the show.

      • ninergrl6 says:

        Belle has obviously forgiven Hook if they’re working together the way they seemed to be in the library scene. He’s actively trying to be a better person, as is Regina. It’s just like the Charmings & Emma working with Regina now after all the awful things she did to them. Either BOTH Regina & Hook can find redemption or NEITHER of them can.

        • Mer says:

          The problem on the show is that they tell and don’t show. For one person who has only been shown to actively harm Belle, it would be important to SHOW how did they get to this level of comfort. But OUAT does that all the time with every character. But for this Belle/Hook, it is more unbelievable then alot of other things. We need to actually SEE a geniune apology from Hook to Belle.

          As it stand right now, they totally skip the foundation of sincere progress in that relationship and is just using Belle as a prop for Gary Stu Hook, to make him look like a hero when he really, after Neverland, doesn’t contribute anything useful to the team other than looking pretty and looking emo.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Emma and Regina in the bug will go down as one of my favorite scenes in the entire series, no question.

  10. Ursula made the call to Regina. Not Cruella. :D

  11. Jake L. says:

    I agree with your reservations, Matt. This did seem awfully coincidental and convenient. I hope the show raises its game soon.

    • It’s a bit late to be having trouble with coincidences when it comes to this show. Most of the character’s interactions with each other is one big coincidence. It’s like, seriously? There are how many realms and yet somehow all of these people have met each other before and have complicated backgrounds. Not everyone can know each other. When they introduced the Wicked Witch I was all, she can’t be related to anyone, but no. She may not have met many of the people in storybrooke but she still manages to be related to some of them. Peter Pan was also that way. Not every character they introduce needs to have a history with one or more of the heroes.

  12. Lysh says:

    I enjoyed it. This half seems like it’ll be a lot of fun and, while I enjoyed the Frozen storyline, it’ll be nice to get back to the basics of the show…especially finding out who the author is!
    So…who was the voice at the drive-thru? Adam didn’t give the answer on his Twitter.

  13. Jackie says:

    “Once Season 4B has ended, ‘You will go back and look at the series in a different way.’”

    In other words, they’re rewriting it.

    Like you, I have HUGE misgivings about 4B. This ep didn’t help matters. Too many villains and guest stars sucking up screen time from the regulars. The Author storyline actually bugs me because it should be people make their own happy endings, not some omniscient author. Looks like they’re going to make the heroes do bad things simply to make the villains look better. I absolutely HATE the concept of Emma going evil. Hatehatehate. I’m sure Regina will save the day, because she’s the show’s wittle pwecious woobie who didn’t at all do those evil things we saw her do. Yeah, she’s only a villain because somebody wrote her as one and not because she, oh, MURDERED A BUNCH OF PEOPLE. I’m so tired of her whining. “I didn’t murder or curse anybody for a day, give me my happy ending!!”

    The bloom is definitely off the rose with this show after the first half ended in such a disappointing, rushed way and the second half looks, well, let’s say not promising. Not even my beloved Captain Swan can save it. (Especially when they get hardly any screen time together anymore.)

    • Quen says:

      I’m not sure which episode you were watching tonight? Because I’m pretty sure I saw and heard Regina being very clear herself about how evil exactly she used to be at least twice. What I didn’t see or hear was any “whining” or blaming other people. In fact I didn’t see any of what you’re ranting about with regards to Regina. But then again I also don’t see where the idea that “Captain Swan” get hardly any screentime comes from. If what they got tonight is “hardly any”, then that’s… an interesting perspective. Considering what other relationships got in that ep. Or in 4a for that matter.

      • aurat22 says:

        Couples aside and this is JMHO, I would have liked to seen more of the entire core cast period. I think they all got short changed. I realize guest stars are necessary but they should play a supporting role in advancing the regular cast members stories. They shouldn’t take so much airtime that we barely get to see anything about what’s going on for the regular residents of Story Brook. Hopefully this was only because they needed to introduce the guest stars and will change as the season progresses. If it doesn’t I will still watch it just won’t be as enjoyable.

    • Michelle says:

      I agree with ALL of that. I feel like I should stop watching now before I start hating the first couple of seasons…

      And ugh, stinking Regina! “It’s been six weeks, I want my happy ending!” You tortured those people for 28 YEARS. Ugh, she has no self-awareness.

      • abz says:

        “she has no self-awareness.” –> I don’t know if you were paying attention or not, but did you not see how she admitted that the only person that Chernobog is going after was her because she had the most evil in her heart now that Rumple was gone?

    • abz says:

      “The Author storyline actually bugs me because it should be people make their own happy endings, not some omniscient author.” –> Who says that even when they find this Author he or she will even give them a happy ending? You’re jumping to conclusions.
      I don’t think Regina is saying that she is a villain because someone wrote her as one. I think she’s aware of the things she’s done and aware of the powers this author has in influencing lives and she wants to see if he can possibly write her a happy ending or pave a way for her to get one. She clearly has self-awareness. She demonstrated that in this episode pretty clearly when she acknowledge the fact that she’s the only possible person Chernobog could have been after because she was the person with most evil in their hearts in the town after Rumple left.

    • Ali says:

      No one on the show, including Regina herself, has ever said that she didn’t do horrible things. Everyone acknowledges that Regina used to be evil and that she did awful things like murdering whole villages full of people without blinking an eye. Why do you think Regina believed the Chernabog was after her? Because she knew with Rumple gone, she has the most evil in her heart.
      Regina’s been working on the side of good for a lot longer than a day, I’d say going back so far as the season 2 finale. Time and time again, she’s turned from the dark side and done the right thing, sometimes at great personal cost like when she saved everyone from Pan’s curse by giving Henry up. Of course, this doesn’t undo all the awful things she did as the Evil Queen, but she’s done pretty well with the whole redemption thing over the past two seasons.
      Nowhere has it been said that Emma will definitely go evil. The suggestion is that she has the potential for darkness in her heart, but I suspect the people who love her will be able to pull her back from that. According to this show, almost anyone can be capable of turning to the dark side so why should Emma be the exception?
      And I suspect the whole point of the Author storyline will be in the characters realizing exactly what you said: that they have to find their happy endings within themselves instead of looking to someone else to give it to them.

    • Tony says:

      No offense, but it almost seems like you watched with your mind made up about certain things and with dome assumptions about what’s going to happen. I say we wait to see how all of this plays out. Because rarely do things actually play out how promos and previews make them appear to be.

    • Mer says:

      I agree. I believe the Author storyline is atrocious considering that for the first 3 seasons, the storybook was represented as only showing events that happened. That is why when Emma/Hook went back in time it RECORDED those events.

      There was nothing to indicate that some mystical author controls everything. Maybe the writers are using this storyline to write a meta focus on that “people should control their own destinies” or something.

      • Buttercup says:

        I agree completely. The author storyline is really losing me. I hope the villains/Emma turning evil get much more screen time than the author search.

    • Buttercup says:

      The problem I have with Regina is that she said in Neverland that she has no regrets as to anything she’s done because “It brought me my son.” I call B.S. on that. She killed hundreds or even thousands of people because a ten-year-old told a secret. She enslaved, raped, and murdered Graham. She tried to murder Emma and in the process nearly killed Henry. She may be acting like a good girl now, but she has never shown any remorse or apologized for her endless crimes. At least we’ve seen Hook showing real remorse over what he did to Ariel, the fairies, and the Apprentice. Instead of facing up to her crimes, Regina is looking to blame the author who “wrote” her as a villain. News flash lady–you were a villain! The author simply wrote down what actually happened. This is why I liked Regina much better as the evil queen. She isn’t believable as a hero. If she was, she would be looking within herself to face her past misdeeds rather than searching for an external source to blame.

      • Leeeeeeeee says:

        I completely 100% disagree… lest we forget the many times she’s saved these same people. even putting her own life on the line. btw veryyyyy extreme with the she raped Graham… very

  14. X says:

    Emma is the best part of the show.

  15. Chris says:

    So…Now I’m kinda curious why they didn’t just toss the scroll to Robin Hood after him and his family crossed the line and healed Marion (unless if that happened way before they defeated Ingrid, I can’t remember). They could have at least seen if she would have been okay if she came back. Since apparently you can make phone calls to Storybrooke (I don’t know why but people just making calls and conversing with people in Storybrooke from the outside seemed off for some reason, like it shouldn’t happen, maybe it’s just me).

    • Quen says:

      Yeah, good point. I wasn’t too crazy about that oo. I figured they’d have to come up with a magical solution to allow Rumple, Cruella and Ursula back into town. But the way it was done seemed a little too easy after how they’d made it such a big deal in the midseason finale that Robin Hood, Marian and Roland first and then later Rumple had to cross the townline and we were told there was seriously no way for them to come back. It cheapened those two fantastic townline scenes in 4.11 and their emotional impact a little bit in retrospect.

      • laurelnev says:

        That’s b/c sans a talisman, you can’t cross the town line and regain your SB memories, or so they said. Remember the Dwarf? And Belle/Lacey? And didn’t Rumple do something magical after he 1st left SB to ensure he could come back? Or do the rules there change w/ Curse #2?

        • The rules changed. It is now leftovers of the snow queen’s magic keeping people from entering.

          • aurat22 says:

            Thanks for clearing that up. I was confused as to why Emma would ask Regina if Robin had called because I assumed Robin would have no memory of Regina, just like Emma didn’t remember Hook or her family.

          • laurelnev says:

            Oh, I guess I didn’t catch that part. But the rules changed with the different versions of “The Curse” too, so I’m not surprised. Except for didn’t Zelena’s magic wear off when she died? Like Aurora was no longer a monkey. Now SQ is gone, they can’t break a simple protection spell? (Which must be stronger than Cora’s, which disappeared when she died.)

        • Ginger Snap says:

          They making things up as they go. This season’s rules aren’t last season’s rules.

    • buttercupscarlett95 says:

      I totally agree! It was a huge plot hole. As soon as Cruella and Ursula asked to come in, they said, “Oh, let’s just use the Snow Queen’s scroll.” Um, o.k., then why aren’t Marian and Roland camping just outside the town line with a few Merry Men, and Robin can go visit his son whenever they want? It doesn’t make any sense. Regina almost cried when she saw Page 23, yet she hasn’t thought of this? Why not?

      I’m also getting really bored with the author storyline. All the book does is record events that happened in the past in the Enchanted Forest. There is no indication that it controls their future, or even that it includes anything that happened in Storybrooke. I don’t understand why they care about finding the author, and it gets boring watching Regina whine about it. It would be more productive for her to search for a way to find Robin, tell him about the scroll, and he can come back. Get some common sense, lady!

      The Hook and Emma scenes were cute, and I liked the conversation between Belle and Hook. I’m glad the fairies are out of the hat, but what about the Apprentice? Belle and Hook talked about him, but he didn’t come out of the hat and no one seemed to notice or care. I’m interested in Snowing’s secret and the possibility of Emma going dark. The villains are somewhat entertaining. But if we’re going to spend all season watching Regina whine about the author, I’m going to get bored fast. She used to be one of my favorite characters when she was evil, but she’s pretty dull now.

      • Tony says:

        Not sure how the Author storyline can be a bore already when it really is just beginning. I felt it took a back seat to the Frozen arc during 4a.

        I also assume the book to be older than the characters or ay least that’s the impression in getting. At this point, we don’t know when the information was recorded (at least I don’t recall any scenes saying so).

        • buttercupscarlett95 says:

          I just never liked the author plot line to begin with. I enjoyed the Frozen story much more. I don’t see how the author has had any impact on their lives. Right now, it’s just a book that tells what happened in the past. Until the book starts telling the future and the characters have no power to change it, the whole plot does not make any sense. In fact, we know they have the power to make their own choices–Regina chose evil over love with Robin Hood, for example. I don’t understand the reason for blaming some nameless author for your own bad decisions. It’s pointless.

      • Zelda says:

        Pretty sure you missed the part where Robin had to leave because of Marian suffering from Ingrid’s crazy ice-cream curse. It doesn’t matter much that they now have a scroll that allows people to cross the town line and came back to Storybrooke. As long as there’s no way to get rid of the curse on Marian, Regina’s not gonna ask Robin to just leave her and Roland in the outside world and come back to Storybrooke.

        • Buttercup says:

          They had the scroll once the Snow Queen was gone, which was before Robin left. No one is saying to leave Marian alone. Robin and the Merry Men camp in the woods anyway. So camp in the woods a few feet outside the town line and everyone but Marian can go back and forth using the scroll. Simple. What sense does it make for them to go to New York? Sorry, major plot hole there.

          • Me says:

            I always thought he had to go with her because she could barely get by in this world. As for camping on the boarder, that too isn’t much of a life. Robin would really seem like a two timer with a wife on one side of the line and a girlfriend on the other. This way set up more drama for Regina, and her having to work towards her happy ending. Because I agree with posters above, she was realllllly evil. Happiness can’t just be given to her without some work on her part.

  16. wrstlgirl says:

    I’m still on the fence with this one. With so many great TV shows that I truly enjoy watching its hard for me to spend time on the ones that I find just mediocre. If Once doesn’t get its groove back it will likely go into the can along with The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.

    • DonnaMama says:

      have you checked out the Originals lately, it has been awesome way better than the dairies, you should check it out, I just caught up yesterday (stuck inside due to ice storm) watched 4 episodes in a row, WOW – what a family!!!

      • wrstlgirl says:

        No, I never went back after the break. It’s just so repetitive with nothing really happening. And I cannot stand that actress they have playing the mother. She just grinds on my last nerve. I’ll probably watch the finale’ and decide if I want to continue next season. I’m completely done with TVD. It’s just a waste of time.

  17. Rad says:

    I didn’t love it. Too much screen time went to the villains right away. This show is terrible at pacing. I can’t believe Charming was in the episode for like two minutes. I felt like this was all set up, and I am not looking forward to anything involving the inane Author plot point.

    • Chris says:

      I was really into finding out who the author was in Season 1 (still disappointed it’s not August, he had a typewriter and fixed Henry’s book like it was nothing for crying out loud. Though that entire character’s arc was just one red herring after the next. “Hey, he’s mysterious! Oh, he’s Pinnochio. Hey, he’s Rumple’s son. Oh, no he’s still Pinnochio. Hey, he’s alive. Oh, they made him a kid again.). On the villains, I agree it’s a little too random. I can live with Maleficent and Ursula teaming up and being in the flashbacks. But Cruella kinda doesn’t make any sense, how is she anywhere near then without the use of portals/hats? Maleficent was already in the Enchanted Forest, and Ursula could just swim between worlds since Ariel established that. But Cruella..drove there? I don’t know, either way still beats the Frozen storyline though.

      • abz says:

        They’ve already said in a few interviews they’ve taken many liberties with Cruella and that they will pay tribute to the iconography of the character, but this is a completely different version. I don’t get why so many people, not just on this site, but a lot of other sites I’ve visited have such a huge problem accepting that. Why doesn’t it make sense? This is a different version much like every other story and character on this show.
        From what I’ve read, she will have roots in the Enchanted Forest and as evidenced by her magical powers she does seem to fit in, but of course there’s a lot more to learn about her powers and how they’ve twisted her character and how she actually came from the EF to our world.
        Also Ursula can maybe swim between worlds, but our world has no magic so I’m thinking it’s only between magical worlds or maybe there’s more to how she got to New York. Plus she seemed pretty miserable with her life which makes it seem like she’s been stuck where she is.

  18. Carly says:

    I like the new evil trio. Maybe it is random, but they explained how they were brought together by Rumplestiltskin. It works for me. The actress who plays Cruella nailed it. So much sass. Maleficent looks darker than in s1, which is good. Ursula had me when she made that comment about Mr. Gold eating all her Ramen. Yeah, I’m gonna enjoy this story.

  19. Mike Q says:

    The suspension of disbelief this show requires increases exponentially by the season. Apparently no one in storybrook has heard the phrase, “Trust but verify.”

  20. Wilson says:

    So, are Cruella and Ursula together-together or was that just teasing? ;) Good ep!

  21. Aly says:

    I REALLY enjoyed this episode, especially after the horribly boring train wreck that was 4A. I loved Emma and Regina working together, and the fact that we have our Madame Mayor back! Snow seems much better at the teacher role. Cruella was fabulous, and awesomely snarky (though she didn’t get in quite as many hits as Regina, our resident Queen of Snark). I loved the scene with Ursula and Rumple in the flat, with the ramen noodles, and laughed so much at the drive-thru bit.

    I am BEYOND excited about the return of Mal. She was wonderfully grumpy in this episode, and I can’t wait to see her after resurrection. I found it interesting that Chernabog went after her, but I’m hoping that as with Emma, it’s all about potential and not who is actually the darkest of the three (plus was there anyone else wanting her to turn into a dragon in that showdown?? I guess they used up the budget…). If any of the three Queens of Darkness are saved, I truly hope it’s Mal. I’ve literally been waiting to see more of her story, and her friendship with Regina, since 1×02, so I’m really happy we get it this season. It’d be great if she could stick around after the arc too.

    I’m intrigued by the whole ‘Chernabog after Emma’ thing, but only if it doesn’t get too much focus. 4A was the ‘Emma Show with Hook and Frozen cast as support’, so I am rather sick of her right now. But by the sounds of it, we are getting episodes exploring the QoD’s connections with other characters, so I’m not too worried.

    Bring on 4×13!

    • Josh says:

      The Emma show? Oh boohoo the Main character gets the focus she deserves after 3 seasons of the Regina show. Emma is the main character. The savior there should be focus on her for once. I loved 4A.

      • Aly says:

        Well, each to their own of course. You loved 4A, I hated it. Fair enough.

        But Emma is not the only “main” character on the show. The show has always been about Emma, Snow and Regina, followed by David, Rumple and Henry. Which is fabulous…I love me some leading ladies.

        Emma’s had more than her fair share of story lines over the seasons, and honestly I PERSONALLY think they made a mistake in 4A by cutting out so many of the core cast from the main action. I also think that Emma is currently one of the weakest-written/uneven characters on the show, and so it’s a mistake to focus on her too much.

      • Kyle says:

        Once Upon a Time is an ensemble show. It’s not “The Emma Swan Show” with Snow, Charming, Regina, Rumple and Henry only playing support for her. All of these characters are equally important to the show and it’s growth over the years.

        • aurat22 says:

          This is my take and JMHO I think Emma, Regina, and Rumple are the 3 main characters and the rest are their support cast.

          • jen says:

            I agree completely. These are the main characters. Rumple he is my favorite and everything on this show that happens he is behind. I love his character, acting. .also really enjoy Regina. But I want rumbelle back! Anyway I though it was a great eposide I look forward to next Sunday :) :)

  22. abz says:

    I don’t think I have ever been more in love with a guest star on this show than I am with Cruella. EVERYTHING ABOUT HER WAS PERFECT!!! The look, the voice, the sass, the bitchiness, basically everything!
    I liked Ursula a lot as well and that scene in her apartment with Rumple was pretty funny.
    I think this was a great start to the second half. I’m loving the Queens of Darkness.
    Enjoyed the Hook/Belle bonding. I’d like to see where that goes. And I really loved the Emma/Regina bonding as well. Damn Henry is growing up fast. There might need to be a significant time jump down the line. Soon he’ll be way taller than Emma/Regina.
    Snow’s threat at the end has me really excited for what’s to come.
    Why didn’t Maleficent just turn into her dragon form and attack Chernobog or fly them out?
    Wish it was 2 hours! Waiting even another week is gonna suck.

  23. Cobra says:

    I have zero doubt that August/Pinnochio is the author.

  24. kate says:

    I’m going to roll my eyes but I am guessing that once they learned she was going to break the curse maybe they wanted to assure she had magic. I’ve always had doubts about the whole product of true love meant she had magic since neither of them do.

    • abz says:

      I don’t think that you always have to have parents with magic to be magical. Cora was an example of that. She was a miller’s daughter. She didn’t become magical till Rumple taught her and she learned how to do it.

  25. Jacob says:

    I’m digging the Queens of Darkness. But why does Maleficent look so drastically different from her costume prior to season 4? Are they trying to just make her look more traditional? I really liked how different she was early on. Will see ever lose the horns again?

    • H says:

      No, she has to look like Angelina Jolie, that’s the only reason why she’s there. Cross promotion/public’s attention/ratings.

  26. Jessica says:

    Loved the episode! MUCH better than the Frozen storyline!! Ursula and Cruella are a really good duo! Love the car and Cruellas bad driving! Regina had the best one liners as always. Interested to see more of Snow and Charmings past.. Especially with the villains. One thing I was confused about was how Regina was shaking a lot after she used Rumplestiltskins dagger.. Is she scared to use magic (which you could call dark magic) or was Lana simply cold?! And when’s Robin Hood making an appearance? Missed him!

  27. JDH says:

    I akin the author, as having a plan in place, but the characters having free will. As evidenced by the fact during the Frozen arc, that had Regina made a different choice when it came to seeing Robin, her life would have turned out differently. Much like if Zelena hadn’t let jealousy & bitterness consume her, or if Peter Pan had accepted responsibility instead of always running away from it, or Ingrid hadn’t isolated herself from her sisters. We all grow up with some gifts or purpose, but we achieve it through our ability. Why we have those abilities, I suppose is up for debate. The Author is like Chuck in Supernatural, or the Powers that be in Angel.

  28. Ronnie says:

    I love Regina. Her simple exchange with Cruella as she crossed into town was priceless . Can’t wait for more scenes between them.

  29. Tiffany says:

    Love this episode. The second half going to be awesome. Still miss Elsa (Georgina Haig ) and Anna ( Elizabeth Lail ). It would have great if they were there to help battle the Queen of Darkness. Would have been EPIC. But looking forward to a fierce battle. It’s going to be great. Once Upon a Time still rules.

  30. ninergrl6 says:

    The villains getting into Storybrooke was FAR too easy, particularly Rumple. I wanted (and still want) him to suffer more. The portrayals of Maleficent & Ursula leave a lot to be desired compared to their animated counterparts, but Cruella is certainly entertaining. I kind of wish she were the only villain working with Rumple right now.

    With that said, I enjoyed the rest of the episode. I really liked the private conversations reflecting on the past: Belle & Hook, Emma & Regina, Emma & Hook, even the Charmings with Ursula & Cruella. The appearance of Chernobog was pretty epic too.

    What’s up with Regina’s reaction to wielding the dagger? Why is Blue being so shady?

  31. Gail says:

    I am guessing that back in the Enchanted Forest Snow and Charming needed something desperately and the price was that their daughter have a dark soul with the potential to turn evil. Perhaps it even is responsible for her life as a thief with Bae in her early days which up to now has been blamed on her being abandon by her parents. Also Snow’s over protection of her son, Neil.

    In other news we saw Henry go to school for like the first time since he returned from NY.
    Also for some reason Mary Margaret is a teacher again for the first time since she got her memory back and Regina is back as Mayor

  32. Gail says:

    Rumple captured the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in the hat and I guess he is still in there . As no one but Rumple knows that he was in there I guess that makes sense that no one tried to free him. Since Rumple gave Belle the spell to free the fairies, guess he could make sure it did not also free the Apprentice.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      Belle said something to Hook about “that old man you trapped in the hat” during their scene at the library, so at the very least Belle & Hook know he’s in there. But they also mentioned a few times that the spell from “the Oxford professor” was only supposed to release the fairies. Snow made a quick crack about Chernabog possibly being a fairy when he started causing havoc. Rumple (in the guise of the professor) obviously only provided info to free those he wanted released, which wouldn’t include the Sorcerer.

  33. murley says:

    I agree with Matt. I am open to seeing how everything unfolds but I don’t feel really intrigued by these villians yet. Except Cruella. She was great. 101 Dalmations came out when I was a girl and I loved it. She was fun to watch and actually feels threatening. While Ursella was funny and engaging she doesn’t feel nearly sinister enough. Same with Malificent. They both need to amp it up. They are storybook villians. So far they just feel sort of bitchy.

  34. justme says:

    Anyone else see Yen Sid’s name on the corkboard Hook was looking at? I tried to freeze the frame to read what was on the other index cards, but the DVR got in the way.

  35. gloria 098 says:

    “so many captainSwan kisses get ready emma and hook LOVERS because you will be beyond pleased with the amount of PDA packed into Sundays premiere! their looks of adoration will give you butterflies, and the opening credits are still rolling when you’re treated to you FIRST captainswan kiss with coffee. it’s clear that the past six weeks have been filled with many romantic moments”
    i loved seeing hook and emma hold hands ansd stuff, but i have to say i was expecting a lot more(still enjoyed it). hopefully there be MORE scenes of them in the next episodes!!!

    • ninergrl6 says:

      I thought this ep had a good balance between showing their closeness (the casual kisses, holding hands, etc) and advancing the overall plot. I can’t just be about them. As much as I would love OUAT to be the CaptainSwan show, there are a lot of people who already think they get too much screen time. It’s an ensemble show so all of the characters and relationships need to have their own moments. Personally I like the way Emma & Hook’s romantic relationship has been a slow build with cute little moments scattered throughout the episodes.

  36. Jen says:

    Such a good episode! I’m actually excited about OUAT again!! It felt like going back to season 1 but it’s even better because now Regina and Emma are working together and getting along and dang the way Regina looked at Emma after she got out of the car…wow, that scene was amazing!!

  37. Kyle says:

    I won’t lie, I liked this midseason premiere much better than the season premiere. Frozen simply wasn’t for me. This feels more like my kind of OUaT again. The three queens are campy, but in the best possible way. Cruella’s gonna become a fan favorite real quick, I bet. I’m glad the queens have ties to many of the main characters – from Rumple to Regina to Snow White and Charming.
    In the midseason finale Rumple said to Ursula they would have two more stops to make. We saw one of them. They met with Cruella. We didn’t see the second and it looks like Maleficent or what remains of her is still in Storybrooke. So I bet the second stop was Robin Hood, Rumple and the queens kidnapped him, and we’ll find it out soon.

  38. Pat says:

    I was happy to watch the return of Once Upon a Time. Last nights episode was great. I also, watched the hour long show before this which I really enjoyed. It was interesting to see how they do these scenes with the green screen and adding the digital to give life to each story that they are doing. I loved watching two hours of Once last night and finally, my Sunday nights are getting back to normal.

  39. Give me spoilers!!!!! uggggggghhhhhhhhhhh

  40. JMB12345 says:

    I just love this premiere!!!!!!!

  41. amy says:

    I really enjoyed the episode and how it set up Rumples past with the QoD. I thought it was a really solid introduction to the arc and I loved Cruella. I’m curious if maybe the Socerer kidnapped the Author. I’m excited to watch Emma’s arc play out too, I adore her. I’m also curious about that page Regina and Robin found and now I’m wondering if maybe it didn’t happen that way and Rumple interfered and changed it by erasing Regina’s memories since he needed her to cast the dark curse. And then someone changed the pages…we know August tampered with the book, so it’s logical to think someone else did too.

  42. Gosh I adore Cruella. Her portrayal was totally amazing.
    And I love the new stuff theyre bringing : Snow ripping hearts and Emma turning evil.

  43. Tony says:

    Great to have the show back. I have to say, having Cruella being from the Enchanted Forest is a bit off putting. It just seems so out of place. With that said, I look forward to seeing what secret the villains and the Charmings share.

    I’m also glad the Sorcerer and the Author are two different people. That way, we get two anticipated reveals and not killing two birds with one stone

  44. Crysania says:

    A million times better than season 4a and all the Frozen nonsense. I hope this keeps up!

  45. Gerald says:

    2 Things
    1st. I hope we get to see Pongo reaction to having Cruella in Storybrook and their backstory

    2nd Rumple being back in town I assume is a secret, so why on earth were the 3 of them walking the main street together at night? Not very stealthy.

  46. Dave says:

    Will we find out how Cruella and Ursula ended up in new york?

  47. wendie says:

    best line- let’s see what’s ruining our property market this time!! Ah Regina, glib as ever.

  48. John NYC says:

    The “secrets” lead in was interesting. Lana Parrilla’s real voice!

    • ninergrl6 says:

      I noticed the difference in her voice too. Even though I’ve seen Lana give other interviews, I never realized that Regina’s voice is a put on.

  49. RUCookie says:

    Don’t go hating on the villians… I am excited to have more than Rumple around. And honestly, that flashback had more than just tentacles… in fact, they were the least important. I love how the incorporated Cruella’s magic – very cool.

  50. MintyFresh says:

    It’s all downhill from here. Help them, Matt!