I definitely wouldn’t say that Once Upon a Time’s “Sympathy For the De Vil” made me feel any sympathy for Cruella De Vil at all. The episode, which dug into her dark and twisted back story, revealed that unlike Ursula, Cruella was very much deserving of her “villain” title.
Initially, the episode portrayed Cruella as a victim, one who was confined to an attic by her cruel and murderous mother. From childhood well into adulthood, Cruella was never allowed to leave her home. However, she finally found a way out when “the author” happened to make a visit. Cruella promised to tell the author, Isaac, a really good story if he helped her escape.
Once Cruella had managed to leave her home, Isaac took her out for a night on the town where she spilled her secrets and they danced the night away. The romantic attachment they formed caused Isaac to reveal his true identity as a writer travelling through the realms, and he proceeded to show Cruella his enchanted pen and ink. By stating that she didn’t believe him, Isaac decided to show her that he had magic by gifting her with powers of her own–the ability to control animals (as we’ve seen her do numerous times this season).
However, Cruella wasn’t the innocent victim that she portrayed herself to be. When her mother found Isaac, she revealed that it had been Cruella that had poisoned all of her husbands, and she was just trying to prevent her daughter from hurting anyone else. Unfortunately it was too late, and Cruella used her newfound magic to turn her mother’s dogs against her and murder her. As an animal lover, I definitely had zero sympathy for Cruella when we discovered that she turned her mother’s dalmatians into her infamous fur coat. Fortunately, the author was able to use his enchanted pen to prevent Cruella from ever being able to take another life.
Unfortunately, however, Emma wasn’t aware of Cruella’s inability to harm others. After kidnapping Henry to use as leverage and proceeding to put a gun to his head, Emma used her own powers to blast Cruella off of a cliff and down to her rather justified death. While I can’t say I’m sad to see Cruella go, Emma’s actions are bound to put her on a path towards darkness.
But I have something to say about that. Sure, Emma may have caused Cruella’s death, but she had no possible way of knowing that Cruella was powerless. I believe that any character in Emma’s position would’ve reacted the same way to seeing a gun at their child’s head. Emma did what she needed to do to save her son’s life, and I’m not sure how the show plans on justifying Emma becoming evil or dark through a protective action. It’s one thing if the author were to write Emma as evil, changing her personality against her will, but I find it very difficult to buy the idea that Emma would go dark of her own volition.
Are you sad to see Cruella go? Will Emma turn dark?
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8PM on ABC and CTV.
Cassandra Maciel is a part-time writer and full-time TV Junkie. She tends to care more about the lives of fictional characters than her own and isn’t afraid to participate in the nastiest of Internet ship wars. Outside of television, she can be found with a camera in her hands, cheering on the Toronto Blue Jays, or hanging out with her diabetic cat.