Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
1 user 3 critic

Heroes and Villains 

In the aftermath of the Snow Queen's curse; Emma looks for a portal so Elsa, Anna and Kristoff can return to Arendelle, Regina makes a difficult choice, and Gold's quest for power reaches a dramatic conclusion.


Ralph Hemecker


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




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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
Robert Carlyle ... Mr. Gold / Rumplestiltskin
Kristin Bauer van Straten ... Maleficent
Merrin Dungey ... Ursula
Scott Michael Foster ... Kristoff
Georgina Haig ... Queen Elsa
Elizabeth Lail ... Princess Anna
Christie Laing ... Marian


In the aftermath of the Snow Queen's curse; Emma looks for a portal so Elsa, Anna and Kristoff can return to Arendelle, Regina makes a difficult choice, and Gold's quest for power reaches a dramatic conclusion.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 December 2014 (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?


This is the 2014 Winter Finale. See more »


Belle French: So, I figured it out... Why you collect so many magical objects. You have a hole in your heart.
Rumplestiltskin: There's only one thing missing from my life right now. Clean clothes
[Poofs Belle outside]
Belle French: You're just upset because you know I'm right. And no, I am not talking to myself because I know you can and do listen to me.
See more »

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User Reviews

Curse aftermath
31 May 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.

"Heroes and Villains" for me is among the best episodes of the first half of Season 4 and a fine mid-season finale. Even if Season 3's mid-season finale felt rather more conclusive.

It is notable for the return of Maleficent and for introducing Ursula and Cruella De Vil. The last two still have a lot more room to grow but they do provide a good deal of intrigue and makes one want to know more about them. Their scenes together do have tension, though it's not with these villains where "Heroes and Villains" shines most.

Where it shines most is in the character writing of the existing characters. Emma is written with a lot of heart and has come on a long way since 'Once Upon a Time' first started. Regina has some lovely development, but Rumplestiltskin is the most interesting here. Love his relationship with Belle, charming and heartfelt yet with also intensity and a twist that one does not expect. Belle's development goes forward and not backwards, great to see.

Really liked too how the 'Frozen' arc was handled and concluded, very compelling and emotionally investable and doesn't squander a generally very well done arc.

Credit is due for the character and plot progression (Belle showing the most development and balls she's had in a while), not feeling over-stuffed despite such a lot going on, providing tension, fun and emotion.

All the acting is strong. Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle are splendid and Emilie De Ravin gives one of her better performances of the show, Belle's character writing does help. Kristin Bauer van Straten, Merrin Dungrey and Victoria Smurfit similarly make positive impressions, van Straten and Dungrey are suitably imperious but Smurfit (usually not a fan of her) is the biggest surprise.

Furthermore, "Heroes and Villains" 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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