Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
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Sympathy for the De Vil 

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.


Romeo Tirone


Edward Kitsis (created by), Adam Horowitz (created by) | 2 more credits »




Episode cast overview:
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Mary Margaret Blanchard
Jennifer Morrison ... Emma Swan
Lana Parrilla ... Regina Mills
Josh Dallas ... David Nolan
Emilie de Ravin ... Belle French
Colin O'Donoghue ... Captain Killian 'Hook' Jones
Jared Gilmore ... Henry Mills (as Jared S. Gilmore)
Michael Socha ... Will Scarlet (credit only)
Robert Carlyle ... Mr. Gold
Kristin Bauer van Straten ... Maleficent
Patrick Fischler ... Isaac Heller
Anna Galvin ... Madeline De Vil
Victoria Smurfit ... Cruella De Vil
Milli Wilkinson ... Young Cruella


In the 1920s, Cruella is tortured by her mother's evil uses of her Dalmatians, confined to her attic until a strange visitor tells her she should stand up to her mom; in Storybooke, Regina's plans to save Robin are put on hold when Henry's taken.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 April 2015 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The object/animal/person in this episode is a pack of dalmatians running through the forest. See more »


David Nolan: You're not actually considering Cruella's demand to kill the Author?
Regina Mills: Of course not. Even if we could find him, it wouldn't be half the fun of killing Cruella. Let's see how she likes being made into outerwear.
Mary Margaret Blanchard: Regina!
Regina Mills: What? It's Emma's heart we're trying to protect, not mine.
See more »


Cruella De Vil
Written by Mel Leven
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User Reviews

Unsympathetic Cruella
9 June 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When 'Once Upon a Time' first started it was highly addictive and made the most of a truly great and creative premise. Really loved the idea of turning familiar fairy tales on their heads and putting own interpretations on them and the show early on clearly had clearly had a ball. Watched it without fail every time it came on and it was often a highlight of the week. Which was why it was sad when it ran out of ideas and lost its magic in the later seasons.

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

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