If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will.
Ah yes, we’ve finally made it to the episode dedicated to Cruella De Vil’s origin story–in case you couldn’t tell by the title. At the beginning of episode 19, we get to see Cruella as a young girl, mistreated by her Dalmation-trainer mother and eventually locked away in the attic after her father dies (a la Flowers in the Attic minus the siblings). It seems the Once writers have crafted up a Cinderella intro for one of our favorite villains.
Once she’s grown up, a young version of the Author visits her home, in search of a story–because you know, that’s how journalists totally went about writing articles back in the ’20s. Anyway, after getting shooed out by her mother, Cruella apparently heard the whole conversation and calls to him from her window, offering an interesting story in exchange for her freedom. Let’s take a second to ponder why this girl never attempted to climb out that window and escape. She probably could have called to another stranger during her captivity. But, I digress.
After springing her from her prison, The Author takes Cruella to a jazz club straight out of the roaring 20s. While sipping on gin, she tells her savior how her mother was a homicidal psychopath who murdered all three of her husbands and kept her captive all these years. The Author explains to the troubled young blonde that he’s got a magical quill that can rewrite people’s stories. To prove his point, he amazes Cruella by conjuring up a matching diamond necklace and earrings. He also gives her the ability to control animals by breathing on them with her nasty green breath. Seriously, as we’ve already seen in previous episodes, her magical halitosis is bright green. There’s no way that doesn’t stink.
Obviously wrapped up in the events, the Author asks Cruella to run away with him. She consents but tells him that first she needs to have a private chat with her mother. While the Author is waiting for Cruella to take care of her unfinished business, Madam De Vil senior visits him and reveals that it was actually Cruella who killed her father and her mother’s next two husbands. Dun dun dun! I really have to applaud the writers for the unexpected twist. While the show has always been known for it’s twisted versions of some of our favorite storybook characters, we’ve seen many of the most recent plot turns coming from a mile away. This episode, however, came from left field. The best part is, there is still another pretty good twist in the episode, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
So now that we know Cruella is pretty much a sociopath, we get to see her use her newfound power to do one of the darkest/bloodiest things in the show’s airing to date. She forces her mother’s prized spotted pups to turn on their owner and rip her to shreds. If that wasn’t enough, when the Author goes to confront her for stealing his quill, he finds her furiously slaving over a sewing machine, creating her iconic coat from the recently slaughtered Dalmations. As for her signature black and white due and crazy makeup? That apparently happens when she and the Author are fighting over the magical pen and ink. With the last bit of ink he has left, the Author adds the inability to kill other people to Cruella’s story. Keep that little tidbit of information in your back pocket for later.
Back in present day Storybrooke, Regina uses Belle to help ensure that Rumpel doesn’t warn Zelena that she’s on her way to rescue Robin. While the former husband and wife are having a moment out in the woods, Belle does a complete 180 and we see her spitting nasty remarks at her ex. When the Dark One is confused that these words are coming out of his true love’s mouth, Regina steps out from behind a tree holding Belle’s heart. After she tells Belle to go back home and forget everything, she tells Rumpel that if he warns the Wicked Witch, she’ll squeeze all of the life out of Belle’s heart.
Meanwhile, Cruella is busy kidnapping Henry, and leading the rest of the heroes on a wild goose chase by placing magical conch shells that spit out Henry’s cries for help all over the woods. Emma ends up finding Henry at the edge of a cliff. At the same time, Mary Margaret and David, who had gone to search for the Author to ask him how to defeat Cruella, find out that Cruella can’t kill anyone and come to the realization that if Emma kills her, she will finally head down the dark path the show has been teasing since the beginning of this half of the season. The Charming’s race to tell Emma the news before she does the unspeakable, but unfortunately they are too late: Emma has just used her magic to push Cruella off a cliff. With Cruella dead at the hands of Emma, it looks like she is on her way to the dark side, despite everyone’s attempts to keep her in the light.
So what did you think of Cruella’s origin story? Do you think that by killing her, Emma has finally began her dark descent? Let us know in the comments below.