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

Darkness on the Edge of Town 

Hook and Belle search for a way to release the fairies from the Sorcerer's hat, Emma, Regina and Henry continue to look for clues that could lead them to the Author, and Gold and Ursula enlist Cruella to join their cause, as flashbacks show their first meeting.


Jon Amiel


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 (credit only)
Robert Carlyle ... Rumplestiltskin / Mr. Gold
Kristin Bauer van Straten ... Maleficent
Merrin Dungey ... Ursula
Beverley Elliott ... Granny Lucas
Victoria Smurfit ... Cruella De Vil
Keegan Connor Tracy ... Mother Superior
Panou ... FBI Agent


With Gold banished from town, the residents of Storybrooke try to resume their normal lives. Belle and Hook try to find a way to free the fairies from the sorcerers hat. Regina, Emma, and Henry team up to find the author of the storybook, but when they discover a darkness on the otherwise of town, Emma and Regina are forced to confront the true nature of evil.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The clue board that Hook looks at in the beginning has a post-it reading: "the landlord is Yen Sid." Yen Sid is Disney backwards. This is also the name of the Sorcerer in Fantasia (1940). See more »


Cruella's vanity license plate spelled her (former) last name incorrectly as DEV IL instead of DE VIL. This is because it is a British number plate (DEV 1L). This is the same plate as in the animated film, 101 Dalmatians. See more »


Emma Swan: Why don't we just put it back in the hat and figure out the rest later?
Belle French: Because we can't. Once something's freed, it can never be retrapped.
Emma Swan: Great. So our best defense against magical beasts follows the same rules as Chicken Pox?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening sequence shows Cruella De Vil's car. See more »


References Lost (2004) See more »

User Reviews

Dark good versus evil
3 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.

"Darkness on the Edge of Town" for me is another great episode and a fine start to the second half of Season 4. My only quibble with the episode is that for my tastes Chernabog's appearance/role could have been bigger, though he is awesomely intimidating and he looks great.

It is notable for continuing the arc with the three arch villains Maleficent, 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 "Darkness on the Edge of Town" 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. Her chemistry with Regina is a pleasure and is refreshingly much more interesting than the standard good versus evil conflict. Belle's character has not gone backwards, if not progressing as much as the others, which is a relief.

Love that 'Once Upon a Time' has returned to its roots, while showing how far it has come on since it began while showing too what the show is all about.

Credit is due for the character and plot progression, Gold/Rumplestiltskin and Regina/Evil Queen have wonderful moments and development, the former's interaction with Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella really shines, and the three arch villains have even more to give and are already showing huge potential.

All the acting is strong. Lana Parrilla and even more so Robert Carlyle are splendid and Jennifer Morrison has grown so much. Kristin Bauer van Straten, Merrin Dungrey and Victoria Smurfit continue to make positive impressions, Smurfit has proven to be a big surprise as Cruella though van Straten is the most imperious of the three and Dungrey is advantaged by having the most interesting development.

Furthermore, "Darkness on the Edge of Town" 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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Release Date:

1 March 2015 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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