Once Upon A Time: “Darkness on the Edge of Town” (S4Ep13)

I actually liked this episode of Once Upon A Time. It’s introduction to the new villains was good though a little long, it had a few good twists, something cool for Snowing and so so much SwanQueen. But, this was a premiere and this show is usually only good at premieres and finales so I shouldn’t be so hopeful.

The episode opens with the promo scene of Rumple (Robert Carlyle) gathering Ursula (Merrin Dungey), Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit) and Maleficent (Kristen Bauer van Straten) in the Enchanted Forest “many years ago” because the writers don’t know how times lines work. Rumple says they are all going to go find their happy ending together.

Then we are given a montage through Storybrooke to remind us that six weeks have past since the last episode. The montage was fun. Henry (Jared Gilmore) actually went to school for the first time in years, Regina (Lana Parilla) moved back into the Mayor’s Office, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) has fully regained the Sheriff’s duties from her idiot father. It was mostly fun. It had stuff like this:

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but also

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Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) are working together to free the fairies from the hat. At first their pairing seemed random, but they are both dealing with the fact that they couldn’t stand up to Rumple. Hook tells Belle that despite how much of a lying, abusive bastard Rumple was he did love her. Because that is a good message, OUAT.

When then cut to New York, when Rumple and Ursula are living together in a sad little apartment. But, parts of his plan start to fall together and they head to Long Island to find Cruella, whose husband is getting arrested as her house is being repo’ed. Rumple convinces her to come with them and, after stopping to get drive-thru chicken, they head to Storybrooke in Cruella’s car.

In the present and in the Enchanted Forest, Rumple is promising them a happy ending and a chance for the villains to win. Rumple says they need to find a dark curse, not sure if that is the Dark Curse or not, but the writers probably don’t either. In the present, Rumple explains they need to find the Author because he/she/they will have the power to give them happy endings.

Over in Storybrooke, Regina is flipping through the book when Emma comes in with kale salad, root beer and fanfic dialogue. Regina has been searching answers and has been for weeks. Emma finds the alternative story book page of Regina and Robin kissing in the tavern. Everything about this scene was great.

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I hate you but I also want you to take me over this desk

So clearly, it was interrupted by Hook and Belle realizes they found a way to get the fairies out of the hat. Belle found an incantation, which she got translated by a professor at Oxford. I threw that information away as a yeah sure OUAT detail but it comes back later. Regina has to perform it. Emma encourages her to while calling her Madam Mayor.

So out in the woods, Regina performs it while Emma, Hook, Belle and Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) are hanging around. It works and Blue (Keegan Tracy Connor) and the rest of the fairies are released. Blue thanks Emma and she is quick to give the credit to  Regina. Regina looks super nervous and is shaking after this but the show doesn’t explain it. Because she, like everyone else, did not see the black smoke monster thing escape the hat.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Rumple is leading the Queens of Darkness to Bald Mountain to retrieve the curse. They all have to face a test to get to the end. Once, they do Rumple tricks them and takes the curse for himself. Present day, Ursula and Cruella pretty much told us this is what happened. Also,Cruella’s magic is the power of persuasion because sure.

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How? Why? Who knows?

After Rumple leaves, they are forced to defeat the Hell Bat, which seeks out the heart with the greatest potential for darkness and devours it, to escape. Back in the present, Rumple, Ursula and Cruella get to the town line and he barely convinces them that he isn’t lying. He has them call Regina using his cellphone to convince her to let them into town. He tells them to convince Regina that they are against him and can help defeat the Hell Bat.

Regina and everyone else are having the half-season party at Granny’s. Regina and Henry take the story book to Blue and ask her about the Author. Emma quickly joins. I’m confused as to why they start calling the abandoned manor from 4A the Sorcerer’s Mansion and not the Author’s house like they had been but whatever. Blue says the Sorcerer and the Author are different people. The Author wrote the book but nobody has seen he/she/they in a really long time and nobody knows anything about him/her/them. But, there are rumors that clues have been left in the book.

photo 1

Any chance Emma could just be my happy ending?

Because it is probably going to be a main topic of this half season, I just want to get my headcanon and favorite fan theory out there. I think Henry is the Author. He writes the story book after the events of the show and sends it back to Snow using magic, with his family he has to have magic. He knows his grandmother would give it to him when he needed it most and to set the events of the series in motion. So, I’m going to use he/him pronouns for the Author.

Anyway, the Hell Bat starts attacking the town. So, everyone goes and stands out in the street to freak out. Belle figured out from her research that it will go after the heart with the greatest potential for darkness. Regina is concerned as Emma is glued to her side through the entire fight and they end up stunning it with magic.

Emma and Regina then go to Regina’s office. Regina is freaking out and about to cry thinking the Hell Bat is after her. Emma is cutely worrying about her and saying she isn’t going to let anything happen to her. They then get a call from Ursula and Cruella. They say everything Rumple told them to. Regina is reluctant to let them into town at first but Emma convinces her and they know how to defeat the Hell Bat.

So Emma and Regina get into the bug and start zooming toward the town line. The Hell Bat starts attacking them. Emma is being the heroic-to-the-end, lovable idiot and Regina is expressing her concern by insulting her car. It was great. Once the Hell Bat punches through the windshield, Regina thinks all hope is lost. She tells Emma she isn’t going to let both of them die and poofs herself out of the car after saying “Thanks for trying, Miss Swan.”

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I’ll save you, Regina!

Emma zooms at Regina, hits the breaks at the last second and the Hell Bat goes flying over the town line and is destroyed. Then we get these clearly-in-love looks, camera zooms and music swells between Regina and Emma.

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Are you OK? You look OK. Actually, you look fantastic.

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I’m so turned on right now.

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Yeah, I’m getting some tonight

They then throw the Snow Queen’s scroll over the town line to let Ursula and Cruella enter. Snow and Charming (Josh Dallas) came to protest. Later, Ursula and Cruella use the scroll to let Rumple in. He tells them the plan if for them to become regular members of the community while he is going to work behind the scenes. He planned everything that happened in this episode. He knew releasing the fairies would release the Hell Bat, he was the Oxford professor that emailed Belle and he knows who has the heart with the greatest potential for darkness: Emma.

The episode ends with Snow and Charming meeting Ursula and Cruella in the woods. Snow tells them they can’t tell anyone what happened between them in the Enchanted Forest or Snow would rip out their hearts herself. Something cool for Snowing! Yay!

Right now, I’m actually excited for the rest of this season. But this was only the first episode, I’m sure next week will be a shit show and make me hate it again. I’ve learned to expect things from this show.

 

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