TV REVIEW: Once Upon a Time Spring Premiere
By Meredith Loftus
It’s back! The long-awaited return of Once Upon A Time finally came in the form of “Darkness on the Edge of Town” last night.
The episode laid the foundations for what to expect in this new Season 4B arc. New secrets, new mythology, and, of course, new insight on defining the “villains” and “heroes” in Storybrooke and in life. Nothing is quite as it seems, and I’m so excited to see how the rest of the season unfolds.
Origins of Dark Curse
The Queens of Darkness met each other for the first time in Maleficent’s castle. Rumple united them with the sole purpose of reclaiming their happy endings. After initial distrust, Rumple convinced them to follow him to this secluded mountain where a dark curse could be found. This is the original dark curse that brought the inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest to Storybrooke in the first place. After retrieving the curse, Rumple abandoned the Queens of Darkness to face the Chernobog, a demon character that feeds off darkness and seeks the heart with the greatest potential for darkness. The Queens of Darkness were able to escape and new alliance is created between them.
Reuniting Old Friends
After convincing Ursula to join his cause, the next thing Rumple needs to do is recruit Cruella de Vil. When Rumple and Ursula find Cruella Feinberg (an alias), the FBI had just finished raiding her house. Rumple is able to use this low point to his advantage in order to convince her to take them to Storybrooke. They go to the town line where Storybrooke is still under the cloaking spell. Ursula and Cruella suspect betrayal again, but after a heartfelt plea, they go along with his plan to get all of them into Storybrooke to take back their lives.
Six weeks have gone by since Rumple’s banishment from Storybrooke and it appears that life in Storybrooke is actually normal. Snow goes back to teaching Henry at school and Regina resumes her role as mayor of Storybrooke. Emma and Hook have had enough time to fall into a simple routine of being in a relationship. Regina, with Henry and Emma’s help, continues to search for clues to uncover the identity of the elusive Author. Still coping with Rumple’s manipulation, Hook and Belle work together to find a way to release the fairies from the Sorcerer’s hat. They finally catch a break when one of Belle’s sources informs them that they need to wave the dagger over the hat to release its contents. Regina successfully releases them, only to also release the Chernobog. The Chernobog later begins its assault on the town and is temporarily defeated by Emma and Regina.
While scrambling to find a solution to the new creature, Regina receives a phone call from Ursula and Cruella. They claim to have run into Rumple in New York and heard about Storybrooke’s reputation of second chances and redemption. Regina allows them into Storybrooke after Ursula gives her information about the Chernobog. Ursula tells her that the creature only preys on the person with the heart with the greatest potential for darkness. Regina believes this means her. With this in mind, Regina and Emma lead the Chernobog towards the town line and push the creature over it. Upholding her end of the deal, Regina gives Ursula and Cruella a magic scroll, the same one that Ingrid used, to enter Storybrooke.
Darkness in Storybrooke
Ursula and Cruella return back to the town line to give Rumple the scroll so that he can enter Storybrooke as well. It is revealed that he was the source that Belle found to release the fairies and the Chernobog from the hat. It is also revealed that the Chernobog was not seeking Regina; it was actually seeking our dear savior, Emma Swan.
Snow and Charming, who we see very little of in this episode, go to the town line later that night to meet Ursula and Cruella. They make an agreement with the new residents to live peace with each other in exchange for secrecy of their past with each other. Snow even threatens to rip their hearts out if Emma finds out the truth. What is the original true love power couple hiding from their daughter and the town?
- Emma and Hook were beyond adorable in this episode! From continued teamwork, morning coffee, and looks of adoration, they were melting audience’s hearts. Also, it was nice to see Emma building up and encouraging Hook when he doubted his status as a hero. I can’t wait to see how their relationship continues to blossom and grow this season!
- Speaking of adorable, the new friendship between Hook and Belle is also a highlight. Belle was still heartbroken over Rumple’s betrayal and Hook was able to comfort her. It was sweet and I hope we have more scenes between them in the future.
- Blue revealed to Regina, Emma, and Henry that the Author and the Sorcerer are NOT the same person. Given her tone when discussing the Sorcerer, it might be assumed that the Sorcerer is not so benevolent. The Author and the Sorcerer have great power. Maybe we can expect a face-off between the two of them before the season ends.
- Ursula and Rumple as roommates in New York could make a great comedy spin-off. Also, Cruella ordering take out was just fantastic!
- Emma’s optimism highlights the growth of her character since the show’s beginning. She’s determined to find the Author and settle into her now comfortable life in Storybrooke with her family, friends, and boyfriend. However, this might change since she has the heart with the greatest potential for darkness. This sounds a bit like Star Wars, but it will be interesting to see the Savior struggle with her inner darkness.