Guest Review Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time 4×19 – Sympathy for the De Vil

“People always underestimate a girl in diamonds and furs, don’t they?”


Review by Panda
It’s been apparent for a while the Once Upon a Time has been playing by a certain set of rules. It never really crosses certain boundaries even when it hints heavily that it will. ‘Sympathy for the De Vil’ surprised me even more so than last week when it changed all that and took an oddly disturbing turn.

It’s an impressive choice to have Cruella take a different path to the multitude of villains before her, who had some epiphany or another and realized the error of their ways. It is the Storybrooke way after all. Instead, we learned that she’s not some misunderstood and mistreated orphan; she’s just a plain psychopath who killed her own father (for whatever reason) and every other man who came after him, before eventually offing her stepmother.

Part of me is disappointed that she ended up dying at the close of the episode. What we learned here was leaps and bounds ahead of Ursula’s flat back-story. It could have proved fascinating to have her wandering around Storybrooke, completely defenceless and unable to do what comes naturally to her, with everyone aware of the fact that she can’t do anything to hurt them. Would it have changed her? Given what we know about psychopaths, probably not, but I’m going to miss Victoria Smurfit more than the majority of past guest stars this show has had.

Cruella’s death did push Emma into the darkest territory she’s ever been in. Thanks in part to Snow and Charming’s betrayal, Emma was in the right frame of mind to do anything to protect her son, just as those other two numpties did for Emma 30 years (?) ago. It’s convincingly brought this whole turning the saviour dark thing into more conceivable ground. Things seem to be playing right into Rumple’s hands now.

Everything about what the author can do is a bit of a mess. It’s hard to understand the whole “realm of story” thing, but it does help to explain the whole Wonderland/Victorian England/Storybrooke confusion from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. I liked how the author fit so well into Cruella’s history as well, and what he did to pacify her was pretty clever. I’d like to see him get fleshed out as much as possible before he leaves.


I loved that scene where Cruella provoked Maleficent into turning into a dragon.

Regina is on her way to New York to save Robin. Or at least, she was until she was sidetracked with Henry’s kidnapping. I can’t wait for the two sisters to face off again.

I’m a little unsure about how Zelena has magic in New York. Emma made sure to remind Regina that she would be powerless when she got there. Was it the clover necklace that gave Zelena the ability to do magic outside of Storybrooke?

Cruella playing Angry Birds is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on this show.

He Said, She Said

The Author: “I spend too much time recording life, and not enough time living it.”

‘Sympathy for the De Vil’ is one of the strongest episodes of Once that I’ve seen in a while. Confusing mythology aside, it was still an intriguing and exciting exploration of a completely different side to the worlds, or “realms of story” that we’ve seen. It was also the darkest and most compelling character driven episode the show has ever produced. I don’t think I’ll be forgetting about Cruella and her amazing car for a while.

Panda Rating

Previously posted on PandaTV.

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