Once Upon a Time- Sympathy for the De Vil- Review- (Spoilers)
The last few episodes were packed with information and revelations; this episode had less in the way of twists and turns. This episode was used more as a set up for the rest of the season. We see Regina get the upper-hand on Rumple. Rumple is now being manipulated by just about everyone. We got Cruella’s backstory and learned that some people are actually true villains to the core. And Emma has taken her first step down the path of darkness when she killed Cruella.
We got Cruella’s backstory this episode and, unlike just about everyone else’s stories, hers did not spark pity or understanding. All the other “villains,” we have encountered have had tough beginnings. As viewers we have been able to pity them and understand why they choose the path they did. Some were betrayed by people they trusted, others watched as loved ones died and some were cast out on their own and had to find worth and value without anyone else to help them. Each of their histories gave us a reason for their actions. Many were fueled by vengeance and anger. Every one of them had a reason for their decisions. Until this point we have not had someone who enjoyed causing pain just because it was fun.
We are led to believe in the beginning that Cruella is someone we are going to feel sorry for. She is imprisoned by her mother in an attic and left alone. We are excited to see her get free with help from Isaac, the author. For a good part of the episode we are happy because it appears that she is now going to be able to live a full and happy life. Then we watch as she kills her mother without much emotion. She appears cool and collected and that is a bit terrifying to watch.
Cruella is not a victim. She is a sick individual. She has been sick since she was a small child. Her parents hoped she would outgrow whatever was causing her issues but they were wrong. By today’s standards she would be considered a psychopath and locked away to protect the general public. Cruella only cares about herself and no one else. She has no emotions about killing her mother or hurting Isaac. She cares about nothing more than hurting others.
There is a moment in the attic when Isaac confronts Cruella that we realize that there is no hope for helping this woman. We see that whatever is wrong is mental and not external. She is making a coat out of her mother’s dogs when Isaac finds her. She tells him that he was nothing more than a means to an end for her. He asks her ,why? And Cruella has no real answer for him. She tells him that people have asked her all that all her life and she has never had a true answer to give.
She has no reason and no logic to her actions. She just likes to hurt and likes to cause pain, plain and simple. No one hurt her. No one took anything from her. No one caused her pain and left her to wallow in it. She just enjoys the darker side of life. Her character is probably the least complicated character we have gotten thus far. She is cold hearted and mentally sick and that is all there is to her.
Cruella meets her fate in this episode. Cruella takes Henry hostage, hoping to get Emma and Regina to kill Isaac for her. Because it turns out that Isaac wrote into her story that she cannot kill anymore. In order to get her revenge she needs Emma or Regina to do her dirty work. In the end Emma is the one who reaches Cruella first and in order to save her son she throws Cruella off a cliff with her magic. Emma has now taken her first step down a path towards darkness.
We know from Snow, Regina and Rumple that killing someone is a surefire way to darken your heart. You cannot kill without it taking something from you. It does not matter the reason, saving someone or revenge for a loved one. You have still taken a life and that will never be something that leaves you un-scarred. Emma has now placed a dark mark on her heart. A mark Rumple is going to do everything he can to make grow.
Emma is the savior so one incident like this isn’t going to throw her right into the deep end of darkness. But Emma has now had her first real taste of what that path entails. She killed Cruella without much hesitation. She didn’t try to puzzle out a way to save her son without taking a life. Her child was in trouble and she took action. Her actions are understandable. But she has now seen a new side to herself. Temptation has been given a way into her heart and it will now start to take root, hoping to pull her farther and farther down that path.
Emma believes she is strong. She thinks that she cannot be tempted to go down a negative path. But what Emma doesn’t see and understand is how vulnerable she is at the moment. She is at odds with her parents. Two people she had finally put all her trust in only for them to throw it back in her face. No matter their reasoning, they still hurt their daughter. Emma has been hurt so many times in her past that she cannot just brush off this incident.
Hook and Regina try to get her to understand that Emma needs to forgive her parents. They point out that Emma forgave both of them for their pasts but Emma make good point to them. Neither Hook nor Regina pretended to be perfect people. From day one they both said they made bad choices and that they did bad things. Snow and Charming have been playing a fake role this whole time. I understand Emma’s point. Nothing is worse then someone who pretends to be someone they are not. Be upfront about your mistakes and your past. Do not sugar coat it and then when you get caught in a lie confess. That looks horrible and makes Emma wonder what other things they may have done that no one knows about. Emma will forgive them sooner or later but right now she has every right to be upset and stubborn.
Unfortunately this leaves Emma vulnerable to darkness though. She can’t trust the two people who are supposed to be there when she needs them the most. She should be able to go to her parents and have them help her keep her head above water. But she wants nothing to do with them. Now she has killed and she is going to need strong hands to keep her from continuing down this path. She is not going to be able to do this alone.
There wasn’t much else in this episode but I did want to make a comment on Isaac, the author. I am not sure how to read him right now. When he first came out of the book I saw him as an arrogant and selfish man who cared about no one but himself and writing an entertaining story.
After this episode I am not a hundred percent sure that he is someone to distrust and be upset with. When he was speaking to Cruella’s mother about love, he gets defensive when she accuses him of not knowing what love is. We see a man who has a past, a past that I think may have fueled why he is so intent on manipulating everyone else’s stories.
My idea is that at one point in his life he was hurt by someone. Either someone died or someone left him. Now he has thrown himself into changing other’s stories. He wants to watch things fall apart and people get hurt, not only to amuse himself but to make other’s peoples lives worse then he is. He never dealt with whatever caused him pain. Instead of dealing he decided to take his pain out on others. He had no control over his own life and fate and now he is going to remedy that by controlling as many people as he can. He no longer will leave anything to chance.
“Idle threats don’t make for good drama,”- Isaac -Right now his life is consumed by creating intriguing and complex stories. At one point he learned this lesson first hand I believe
“A great story always needs a sprinkle of magic,” – Isaac- Isaac mentions that he travels through realms of times and stories. Where did he originally come from? Was he from an enchanted world with real magic at one time? Or was he from a more mortal type world where magic lived in stories only? How did he become the author?
“Some people struggle not to be drawn into the darkness […] Why not splash in and have a bit of fun?” – Cruella- This is the point where we know this woman is deranged and cannot be saved. She always wanted the more dark side of life, it has appealed to her since she was young. This is the one person we have seen that can be considered a true villain.
Is anyone else manipulating Rumple?
Is Rumple running out of time and options?
Does Rumple has any power over his own decisions anymore?
What will change in Emma now that she killed someone?
When and how will Emma forgive her parents? Will that process of forgiveness play a part in keeping her from losing herself to the darkness?
Has Regina left for New York to save Robin now?
Is Maleficent at all interested in helping Rumple anymore?
Is Maleficent only concerned about finding her daughter?
What is Isaac’s backstory?
How does someone become the author?
Can an author be anyone? Emma? Henry?
If Regina goes and saves Robin and they are reunited does she need Isaac anymore? Will she need her happy ending written?
Other then Rumple then who would need the author to write them anything?
Will Isaac have to write a new ending for Emma in order to save her from the dark path?
Is there any other author out in the world right now?
Are these other time realms like parallel universes where all of our characters have lived our multiple different lives?