On this week’s Once Upon A Time, Cruella gets her backstory and it ties into the Author. And just like last week’s reveal about Zelena taking the form of Marion, this week’s episode has a bait and switch on the Cruella story.
The audience meets Cruella when she is a young girl who is being mistreated by her mother, chased by her mother’s Dalmatians and locked in the attic. When Cruella’s mother locked her in the attic, it had a feel of the book Flowers in the Attic – minus the siblings and odd behavior.
The Author meets Cruella when she is all grown up. He goes to her home seeking out her mother and a story. What he finds is a beautiful young woman in an attic promising a tantalizing story if he gets her out of the attic.
The Author frees Cruella and they go to a night club that appears to be in the 1920s with roaring jazz music and flowing glasses of gin. It is there the Author tells Cruella they are in just a moment of time in a story and he can write and create anything with his pen and ink. He writes to give Cruella jewels and then gives her the gift of being able to control animals.
Alive and heady with the feeling of finally being in a story instead of just writing about it, the Author’s mood turns dire when Cruella’s mother comes to see him. The story Cruealla told the Author was a lie – her mother wasn’t the evil one; Cruella is. It was Cruella who killed her father and her mother’s next two husbands.
The Author confronts Cruella when he finds out she stole his pen. As the two fight over the pen and ink, the inkwell spills all over Cruella, giving her the signature look of black and white hair and dark eyebrows. With just a small amount of ink left in the pen, the Author imparts one last gift to Cruella – she can’t kill anyone ever again. Oh, and her iconic coat? She made it out of her mother’s dogs.
How does this play into the present story in Storybrooke? Well, Cruella has kidnapped Henry and the rest of the story in present day Storybrooke is the group trying to get Henry back. While Regina, Hook and Emma go in search of Henry, Mary Margaret and David look for the author.
Emma is the one who finds Cruella as she is holding a gun on Henry at the edge of a cliff. When David and Mary Margaret find out Cruella can’t kill Henry, they race to stop Emma, for if she kills Cruella it will send her down a dark path. Too late, Emma uses her power to send Cruella over the ledge and kill her. With red circles under her eyes and her skin growing pale, it seems like Emma may be making her way to darkness just as Gold plans.
As for Gold, he is played by Regina when she uses Belle to ensure he won’t let Zelena know she is going to New York to rescue Robin. Regina takes Belle’s heart and holds it as ransom, so to speak, to make sure Gold doesn’t call Zelena.