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'Once Upon a Time' Recap: "Darkness on the Edge of Town"

&squot;Once Upon a Time&squot; Recap: "Darkness on the Edge of Town"
Once Upon a Time is BACK! When we last saw our band of dysfunctional storybook characters, hearts were broken, goodbyes were said, Rumple was banished, and the hunt for the mysterious author began. Not to mention, the Queens of Darkness came to play!

Fast forward a few weeks to a telling montage, the crew is getting semi-back to normal life. Regina is doing her motherly duties by dropping of Henry at the school bus stop. Snow White is back in the classroom, teaching about birds. (How long has it been since we’ve seen her at her job?) Regina is back in her old digs as the Mayor of Storybrooke, redecorating her Kris Jenner-style mansion. Emma is back in her trusty leather jacket, meeting for quick coffee date with her one-handed hottie, Hook. And Belle is back to business running the library. Belle and Hook have also teamed up to find a way to release the trapped fairies from the Sorcerer’s Hat. Using their very Carrie Mathison-esque vision board and “magic boxes” aka computers, they seek to find a spell that will help them. They also confide in each other how Rumple truly fooled them, but both literally and figuratively, stealing their hearts.

After being banished by Belle, Rumple finds himself in Newwwwwww York! Like Alicia Keys once sang, it is after all the "concrete jungle where dreams are made of!" Rumple seeks the assistance of the now poor, unfortunate soul Ursula, who had traded in her status of queen of the ocean’s underworld – to an aquarium worker. Rumple crashes at her pad, which looks eerily like The Governor’s in The Walking Dead, except the many fish tanks are filled with actual fish, not severed heads. Merrin Dungey brings the subtle yet ruthless vibes that she became known for on Alias. It’s great to see her in this role! Rumple tells Ursula that they too can achieve their own happy endings and wants to put the band of villains back together. The two travel to Long Island, where Cruella De Vil is now Cruella Fienberg – a married woman, whose house is being raided by the FBI. As her husband and her very Kimye-like fur coats are being taken into custody, Rumple convinces her to join the team. The three hop into her snazzy and iconic coupe ‘De Vil’, and head for Storybrooke.

Flashback to the Enchanted Forest, Rumple had previously teamed up with Queens of Darkness in search of their rightful happy endings. He promised them all the darkest curse ever known. The evil group traveled to Bald Mountain, where several obstacles protected the powerful curse, requiring a particular skill from each of the women. Firstly, Cruella uses her powers of persuasion to get through a pack of blood scarabs. Umm, since when did Cruella have magical powers? In 101 Dalmatians she was just a really big psychopath with a sense of fashion. Kind of cool that the OUAT creators gave her some magic. Even though her powers really just look like she has bad breath. For the second obstacle, Maleficent summons her dragon powers to get rid of a wall of fire. She takes that ish down, no problem. Lastly, Ursula uses her tentacles to grab the curse from its pedestal. But wait! More trouble is afoot! Seriously, haven’t these women watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? You gotta place something of equal weight as the treasure - duh! As Rumple steals the curse and reveals his plan to use them all along, he leaves the ladies at the hands of the dreaded chernabog – a creature that feeds off of evil and the darkest of hearts. Looks like they’re screwed. However, the trio uses their dark, savvy skills and volunteers the darkest of them all, Maleficent, as bait. The beast falls for the trick and all three Queens of Darkness escape. Albeit, curse-less and pissed at Rumple.

In Storybrooke, Belle has received spell translation assistance from a professor at Oxford and enlists Regina to officiate the ceremony to release the fairies from the Sorcerer’s Hat. Using the dagger, the Blue Fairy and her crew of sisters are released. Also released from the hat is a mysterious black smoke. Could it be “He Who Must Not Be Named?” No, but it is the chernabog!

A few miles away, Rumple and the Two Queens (sounds like a new CBS sitcom), have arrived at the town line. Rumple tells them that they can gain access to Storybrooke. However, the ladies ain’t no fools this time! They tell him off at red-rhinestone bedazzled gunpoint. With some convincing, Ursula uses Rumple’s cell to call Regina, pleading that they too have changed their evil ways and would like a happy ending of their own. In return, they will help defeat the chernabog. Although Regina is initially skeptical of the “plate of undercooked calamari,” she knows that her and Emma’s powers are not enough to defeat the creature. They devise a plan to lead the beast to the town line, where it will be vanquished. Since Regina is self-proclaimed as the darkest heart in town, she uses herself as bait and the plan works. Even with Snow and Charming’s warnings of the dangers of letting the two queens into town, just like Rumple, a deal’s a deal! The ladies are tossed the magic scroll and drive off into town. This can’t be good.

Later on, as Rumple is a cry-baby, standing in the middle of the road, gazing at the moon, Ursula and Cruella let him into Storybrooke. Looks like Belle’s banishment wasn’t that hardcore after all, eh OUAT writers? Rumple admits that he was actually the “Oxford professor” that Belle enlisted, and he planned to release the chernabog all along. And major plot twist – the chernabog wasn’t after Regina, it was after the heart with the biggest potential for darkness – Emma’s! The evil team plan to raise Maleficent back from the dead and continue on their search for domination – er – I mean happy endings.

Everyone’s favorite couple, Snow and Charming, then secretly meet the queens in the forest. Snow threatens that if their history with each other is revealed, she will rip out their hearts. Dang girl! Who else loves it when Snow gets all badass?

Can't wait to see what happens next in Storybrooke? Is Emma gonna go to the dark side? Will more of Snow and Charming's past be revealed? 

Let us know what you thought of tonight's episode and what's to come on OUAT in the comments section! 
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