Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Once Upon a Time, Season 4, Episode 19: Sympathy for the De Ville

A young Cruella runs, chased by furious Dalmatians controlled by her mother who won’t let her run away and is willing to use savage dogs to control her. Cruella’s father has died so her mother is now free to run the house her own evil way. Including locking Cruella in an attic room. Apparently hardly ever letting her out or even letting her have a radio even as she grows to adulthood.

In the present Maleficent confronts Cruella – because Cruella told her that her daughter, Lillith (or Lilly) didn’t survive going through the portal which she’s now learned isn’t true. Cruella’s excuse is that she’s a really terrible person and she left her in the woods to die

That is almost gloriously honest in its evil. She and Ursula used the egg shell to stay young with its magic, they abandoned the child. Maleficent is not amused and turns into a dragon to spread some serious wrath – except Cruella has the power to control all animals. She uses her green breath on Maleficent and makes her sleep so she can pursue the author for her own ends.

Over to the Charmings and Emma is still ragingly pissed at her parents (which I would say is appropriate given how unforgiveable their actions were) and they don’t make it any better by constantly justifying why they kidnapped and banished a baby. Mary Margaret even says “if was worth it.”

Burn her. Burn her now. Burn them both. Crackle crackle crackle get the potatoes.

Regina steps in at this point to tell them all about Zelena and Robin and how she wants to ride to the rescue. She’s also confident she can handle Gold which seems like a bold claim. But she’s Regina and therefore awesome. And ruthless – she goes to Belle.

Gold has Isaac, the Author and he has the magic quill – though it also needs magic ink to work. This apparently requires blackening the Saviour’s heart (which will be hard to do since KIDNAPPING CHILDREN AND THROWING THEM IN A PORTAL DOESN’T DO IT!). His drama is interrupted because he hears Belle call him – naturally he wooshes to her side.

She asks for honesty and why he’s there and he takes out his heart – entirely blackened and hard except for one tiny red vein which is almost gone after centuries of black deeds (like kidnapping children and throwing them in portals). When it goes he will lose any ability to love and only the Author can fix it. She cries about how she may have thrown out the chipped teacup – and him – too soon. They kiss…

…and she tells him Will is a better kisser than him (a) yes I’d choose Will and b) poor Will). Belle may seem to be uncharacteristically vicious here, but that’s because Regina has her heart and is delivering the lines. She also threatens to crush Belle’s heart if Gold interferes while she goes to sort out Zelena in New York. Gold believes her and folds.

While they’re distracted, Cruella goes to the Author to ask for what he took from her – she tries threats but he says she can’t hurt him (apparently true) and asking nicely which also fails. Since Gold doesn’t know Cruella and Isaac know each other that gives him something to threaten her with.

Flashback time – Isaac went to Cruella’s mother’s home as a reporter to do a story on the greatest dog trainer in London. He gets kicked out when being too casual about Cruella’s mother’s 3 husbands – touchy subjects. But it does give Cruella chance to speak to him out of her window. He rescues her and they drive off in the awesome car she currently drives (or one very like it). Out in the nifty 20s club Cruella accuses her mother of poisoning her dad – and her other 2 husbands. She also manages to coax Isaac into partying rather than just writing

In the present Cruella lures Henry in with Pongo.

Regina plans to head to New York and Emma steps in – she doesn’t want Regina going off alone to a place where she has no magic. She at least insists Regina takes her gun. And they both get simultaneous ransom messages from Henry: kill the Author.

On to Gold who goes to Isaac and reveals he knows all about his past with Cruella and his plan actually rests on it –and on Cruella being desperate enough to kidnap Henry. But to use this situation to his advantage, Gold needs to know WHY Cruella wants him dead so badly. He gives Gold Cruella’s story

Which is another flashback to the end of their fun evening and the smitten Isaac showing Cruella his pen (not a euphemism) and telling her about his Author power and showing it by conjuring diamonds (with ominous warnings of what will happen if the ink spills). To keep her safe from her dog-training mother he gives her the power to control all animals. Before she runs off with him, though, she insists she must confront her mother alone to deny her power. He gives her his car to go do just that

Except mother finds Isaac first and tells him she didn’t kill anyone – Cruella did. She recounts as Cruella poisoned people with her favourite flowers she kept and went on to poison her other husbands. She warns him that Cruella will destroy the things he cares about.

Her mother goes home – and Cruella uses her new powers to make her mother’s dogs kill her. Isaac goes to her to find her having murdered her mother and now sewing a Dalmatian fur coat. She also tells him that he’s just a means to an end and how she’s always quite enjoyed being evil. They struggle over his pen and ink is spilled on her – changing her hair and voice (and makeup) to her distinctive style. He finishes his story about her which prevents her shooting him

Back to the Charmings and Regina who wants to kill Cruella and turn her into Outerwear – Mary Margaret objects from the moral highground that comes from KIDNAPPING A BABY AND THROWING IT INTO A PORTAL. They split up – Emma going with Regina and Killian because she trusts them. Unlike Mary Margaret

Damn Charmings, she trusts the Evil Queen and Captain Hook more than you. That’s gotta hurt.

Even Regina thinks she’s going too far “they did a bad thing, they apologised, get over it.” To which Emma wins come back of the year with “forgive me if I don’t take advice from someone who held a grudge for half her life because a 10 year old spilled a secret.” Bullseye. Killian points out that they’re both evil and she forgave them – but Emma focuses on the fact that neither Killian nor Regina lied or pretended to be heroes – they were honestly villains. Even Regina speaks up in Mary Margaret’s defence.

Henry runs from Pongo who is set after him – and some woo-woo from Gold means that Killian, Regina and Emma split up, only Emma arriving to see Cruella hold Henry at gunpoint at a clifftop.

Mary Margaret and David find Isaac who tells them about the Saviour turning dark and gives them Cruella’s story – Cruella De Ville can no longer take away the life of another. His way of protecting the world from Cruella. Which means Henry is in no danger and Cruella is defenceless. Apparently

At the cliff edge, Emma calls her magic to protect her son – and blasts Cruella over the edge. She’s dead – just as Mary Margaret and David arrive. Emma gets evil eyes

Can I say again that I totally agree with Emma’s horror at the atrocious and appalling act her parents committed – especially since they’re STILL JUSTIFYING IT – but I still can’t agree with the focus of her anger – constantly going on about how her parents lied.

When people kidnap a baby, deceit is not the main crime here. Yes there is something especially galling about them then pretending to be the most noble and virtuous heroes ever, especially since they’ve been condemning all kinds of very honest villains – but the problem is BABY KIDNAP is such a huge bar to meet that focusing on anything but KIDNAPPING A BABY seems like a damn broken set of priorities.

Can we also call shenanigans on some of the logic here. Not being able to kill does not make someone defenceless when there are several levels of mauling that exist between “intact” and dead. Nor does it count as killings someone completely defenceless who is holding a GUN to you son’s chest. Seriously? That’s enough to blacken the Saviour’s heart?! This counts as an evil act? Killing a hostage taker holding a teenager over a deadly drop with a firearm to save him?! No no no no, what kind of bullshit morality is this?! Self-defence or defence of a child, one’s own child is hardly evil! (Certainly not compared to KIDNAPPING A BABY TO USE IN A MAGICAL RITUAL SACRIFICE!)

The one redeeming thing – I kind of like that Cruella DIDN’T have the tragic past of tragicness that sent her on the road of darkness. That meme has been used and used and used again. I quite like that she was just damn evil and loved it.