Regina's plans to head to New York to rescue Robin from Zelena are halted when Cruella kidnaps Henry, as flashbacks show her encounter the Author, who encourages her to stand up to her oppre... Read allRegina's plans to head to New York to rescue Robin from Zelena are halted when Cruella kidnaps Henry, as flashbacks show her encounter the Author, who encourages her to stand up to her oppressive mother.Regina's plans to head to New York to rescue Robin from Zelena are halted when Cruella kidnaps Henry, as flashbacks show her encounter the Author, who encourages her to stand up to her oppressive mother.
Season 4 had a lot to live up after Season 3 being as impressive as it was. At this early stage of the season, one can see a lot of promise, some may argue that it is capitalising on 'Frozen's' success but there is much more to the season than that. This promise was apparent from the get go, with a great season opener in "A Tale of Two Sisters". As far as the previous Season 4 episodes go, they were all decent to brilliant with the only small dip being "Family Business" and the best being the "Smash the Mirror" two parter.
"Sympathy for the De Vil" for me is another great episode from Season 4 and of the show, if not quite one of the best. There are a few clunky moments, like an all too easy defeat, but there is very little to criticise really here.
Credit is due for the character and plot progression. Really appreciated what the episode did with Cruella, it would have been easy softening and humanising her but instead they make her the most interesting she ever was up to this point (of the three Queens of Darkness she was in the shadow of particularly Maleficent) and also crueller and more wicked, providing her with one of the show's most twisted back-stories.
Other particularly note-worthy aspects are how the world's mythology and the character of the Author are expanded and Rumplestiltskin's motives are given another layer. Regina and Emma continue to be written very well.
All the acting is strong. Victoria Smurfit (an actress who mostly doesn't do much for me in general) has proven to be a big surprise as Cruella, and with Cruella at her most interesting and expansively written she is suitably devilish. Lana Parrilla, Jennifer Morrison and Robert Carlyle can't be faulted either.
Furthermore, "Sympathy for the De Vil" is a very handsomely mounted episode visually, the settings and costumes are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie cutter. It is photographed beautifully too. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable theme tune.
Writing has the right balance of humour, pathos, mystery and intrigue, or corn or cheesiness here. This aspect has come on such a long way since when 'Once Upon a Time' first started, much more complexity and nuance.
Overall, another great episode. 9/10 Bethany Cox
- Jun 9, 2018