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Darkness on the Edge of Town

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"Darkness on the Edge of Town" is the twelfth episode and spring premiere of the fourth season of the American fantasy drama series Once Upon a Time, which aired on March 1, 2015.

Plot

Opening Sequence

Cruella de Vil's car arrives in the forest.

In The Characters' Past

"Many years ago" in the Enchanted Forest, a gathering takes place at Maleficent’s Forbidden Fortress, with Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella de Vil being brought together by an unknown person. Before they can fight amongst themselves, the person responsible for this meeting, Rumplestiltskin, appears with a plan to change their happy endings. The ladies are skeptical about his plan at first, but they listen and agree to join him.

At a nearby mountain, Rumplestiltskin points out to the ladies that the curse, concealed in an orb, lies within the deepest part of the area, but to reach it they must first get through a series of obstacles perfectly suited to their talents. After they complete the tasks, they hand the orb to Rumplestiltskin, who reveals he was simply using them and leaves them to die at the hands of the demon Chernabog, the Guardian of the mountain. The ladies hide from the demon, who seeks the person with the heart that has the darkest potential, until Maleficent notices a large crack in the wall that would provide escape. The ladies come out of hiding and while Chernabog targets Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella escape. Maleficent, thinking they are abandoning her, fights off the demon until Ursula rescues her by using her tentacles to pull her to safety.

Outside Storybrooke

It has been six weeks since Mr. Gold was banished to the real world. Since then, he has been making himself at home at Ursula's apartment in New York City, eating Ramen and mooching off of a furious Ursula, leading to tensions between the two. However, they put their differences aside when Gold receives an e-mail he states will end their troubles. Following this, they go to Great Neck, Long Island, where they meet a distraught Cruella de Vil watching her belongings being seized by the FBI after her criminal husband is arrested. After Gold arrives to see her lose everything, he tells her about joining him and Ursula on a trip to a place where magic exists, Storybrooke, where they hope to seek out the author of the "Once Upon a Time" book, whom Gold believes ruined their lives in the first place and can give them their happy endings.

In Storybrooke

During the six weeks, long after Gold was banished from Storybrooke, the residents are shown to be going back to their regular lives. Henry going to school, Mary Margaret goes back to teaching, Regina resumes being Mayor of Storybrooke and Emma continues her job as Sheriff and her growing relationship with Hook. During the six weeks, Hook and Belle have been working together attempting to find a solution to liberate the fairies from Sorcerer's hat, they talk about their feelings towards Gold and their lives as they attempt to move on from what Gold did to them. Finding a solution, the two visit Regina and Emma in Regina's office, where Regina talks about the torn page of her and Robin Hood embracing after Emma finds it in a drawer. Hook informs the two that they managed to get a professor to translate a counter spell to free the fairies from the hat, but only Regina can enact it. When the foursome, along with Mary Margaret, return to the woods, Regina uses the Dark One's dagger to release the fairies. Unfortunately, just seconds after the fairies are freed, the hat releases a thick, black smoke that begins to ooze out, floating into the sky and forming the shape of the winged demon Chernabog, and starts flying away. As the town, save for a remorseful Hook, celebrates the fairies' return, Regina asks the Mother Superior about the author. She responds that the author and sorcerer are two different people and that the author had left behind clues to his identity in his works. The celebration is interrupted by earthquake-like thunder and strange cries. The people rush outside to find Chernabog perched on the clock tower. Realizing he must have been released from the hat, Emma asks if they can capture him again but Belle tells her that because he was released from the hat, he can not be placed back in. Emma and Regina attempt to use their magic to destroy the demon but quickly discover all they can do is temporarily repel it.

Meanwhile, Gold, Cruella and Ursula arrive at the town limits, where Gold placed a marker on the tree after his banishment. Both Ursula and Cruella are skeptical at first to trust Gold, but since he was banned, he tells them that he has to trust them to enter Storybrooke first and then come back for him if they choose. Gold then hands Ursula his phone to call Regina, and the queens ask to enter Storybrooke, saying they have realized the error of their ways and have decided to turn over a new leaf and be good. Regina does not trust them but makes a reluctant deal to let them in if they can help destroy Chernabog. The queens inform them what Chernabog is looking for and Regina suspects he is after her because she has the darkness in her heart. This gives Emma the idea to coax the demon to the town border since a creature made of magic should disappear when crossing into a land without magic. Regina and Emma drive to the town border as Chernabog attacks them. As the demon smashes the windshield, Regina vanishes and reappears at the line, trying to distract him. Emma slams on the brakes as she approaches the border and Chernabog is thrown off the car and across the line, where he disappears. Regina and Emma see Cruella and Ursula standing on the other side of the town line, but both David and Mary Margaret, who have just shown up, are reluctant to let them, in which surprises Emma since they both always want to see the good in people. They decide to give Cruella and Ursula another chance and the two are given the Snow Queen's magic scroll which allows them to cross the line. Hours later, the queens return and let Gold in using the same scroll.

Later that night, David and Mary Margaret meet Cruella and Ursula and Mary Margaret says that they will allow them to stay on the condition that they must never speak to anyone about what happened between them in the Enchanted Forest, especially to Emma. If they do, Mary Margaret threatens to personally rip out each of their hearts. With that plan out of the way, Gold tells the queens that he, posing online as a professor with knowledge of translating ancient texts, was the one who told Belle how to free the fairies while releasing Chernabog at the same time, who in actuality was after Emma, as Gold sees her as the one with the "darkest potential."

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Media
Shows: Once Upon a TimeOnce Upon a Time in Wonderland

Books: Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the QueenReawakened: A Once Upon a Time TaleOnce Upon a Time - Behind the MagicOnce Upon a Time: Out of the PastOnce Upon a Time: Red's Untold TaleOnce Upon a Time: Regina Rising

Characters
Once Upon a Time: Emma SwanSnow White/Mary Margaret BlanchardPrince Charming/David NolanRumplestiltskin/Mr. GoldThe Evil Queen/Regina MillsBelle/Lacey FrenchKillian Jones/HookHenry MillsHappySneezy/Tom ClarkBashfulDocDopeySleepy/WalterJiminy Cricket/Archie HopperStealthyVictor Frankenstein/Dr. WhaleAuroraPrince PhillipFa MulanBlue FairyWidow Lucas/GrannyKing George/Albert SpencerGenie/Magic Mirror/Sidney GlassMad Hatter/JeffersonMilahPrince Henry/The ValetMaid MarianKnave of HeartsSheriff of Nottingham/KeithFairy GodmotherPeter Pan/Malcolm/The Pied PiperWendy DarlingArielZelena/The Wicked Witch of the WestGlinda/The Good Witch of the SouthThe Wizard of Oz/WalshElsa the Snow QueenAnnaKristoffHansGrand PabbieSvenTinker BellBlackbeardLumièreAbigail/Kathryn NolanUrsulaRed Riding Hood/The Wolf/RubyHuntsman/Sheriff GrahamBaelfire/Neal CassidyPinocchio/August W. BoothFrederick/JimSevere NurseMayor TomkinsQuinnAnitaHansel and Gretel/Nicholas and Ava ZimmerThe Woodcutter/Michael TillmanMartinMyrnaStephenDonnaPrince JamesJackBlind WitchKing XavierPeterSirenPongoWilliam SmeeDorothy GaleThe Witch of the EastGastonGreg MendellTamaraGeppetto/MarcoThe DragonRapunzelThe King/Mitchell HermanRapunzel's MotherRapunzel's FatherKing LeopoldQueen EvaLost BoysJohn DarlingMichael DarlingThe ShadowThe Sheriff of HamelinKing MidasNanaMary DarlingGeorge DarlingMedusaGus/BillyMarshmallowZosoPrince Thomas/Sean HermanPrince EricLittle Bo PeepThe ApprenticeIngrid/Sarah FisherLily PageNovaSeerGraceDaniel ColterLancelotColetteStephenLiam JonesOakenThe King of ArendelleQueen GerdaCruella De VilPoseidonThe Duke of WeseltonHans' BrothersChernabogBriar RoseKing StefanIsaac/The AuthorMadelineMerlin/The SorcererMeridaQueen EleanorKing FergusHarris, Hubert and HamishThe WitchLord MacGuffinLord MacintoshLord DingwallRuthKing ArthurSir KayGuinevereCharonBrennan JonesMegaraHerculesHadesCerberusThe ScarecrowCleo FoxAuntie EmDr. JekyllMr. HydeEvil ReginaAladdinGideonJasmineIagoCaptain NemoLady TremaineClorindaTisbeJacobOracleRoyal GuardsThe SultanGenieBlack FairyTiger LilyRobertPrince AchmedStanumCowardly Lion

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: AliceCyrusAnastasia/The Red QueenPercy/The White RabbitJabberwockySilvermistThe Sultan/The Old PrisonerTweedle Dee and Tweedle DumMrs. RabbitElizabeth/LizardAmara
Both series: Will Scarlet/The Knave of HeartsCinderella/Ashley BoydRobin HoodLittle JohnFriar TuckGrumpy/LeroyCora/The Queen of HeartsCaterpillarMaleficentJafarDr. Lydgate

Episodes
Season One: "Pilot" • "The Thing You Love Most" • "Snow Falls" • "The Price of Gold" • "That Still Small Voice" • "The Shepherd" • "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" • "Desperate Souls" • "True North" • "7:15 A.M." • "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" • "Skin Deep" • "What Happened to Frederick" • "Dreamy" • "Red-Handed" • "Heart of Darkness" • "Hat Trick" • "The Stable Boy" • "The Return" • "The Stranger" • "An Apple Red as Blood" • "A Land Without Magic"

Season Two: "Broken" • "We Are Both" • "Lady of the Lake" • "The Crocodile" • "The Doctor" • "Tallahassee" • "Child of the Moon" • "Into the Deep" • "Queen of Hearts" • "The Cricket Game" • "The Outsider" • "In the Name of the Brother" • "Tiny" • "Manhattan" • "The Queen Is Dead" • "The Miller's Daughter" • "Welcome to Storybrooke" • "Selfless, Brave and True" • "Lacey" • "The Evil Queen" • "Second Star to the Right" • "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
Season Three: "The Heart of the Truest Believer" • "Lost Girl" • "Quite a Common Fairy" • "Nasty Habits" • "Good Form" • "Ariel" • "Dark Hollow" • "Think Lovely Thoughts" • "Save Henry" • "The New Neverland" • "Going Home" • "New York City Serenade" • "Witch Hunt" • "The Tower" • "Quiet Minds" • "It's Not Easy Being Green" • "The Jolly Roger" • "Bleeding Through" • "A Curious Thing" • "Kansas" • "Snow Drifts" • "There's No Place Like Home"
Season Four: "A Tale of Two Sisters" • "White Out" • "Rocky Road" • "The Apprentice" • "Breaking Glass" • "Family Business" • "The Snow Queen" • "Smash the Mirror" • "Fall" • "Shattered Sight" • "Heroes and Villains" • "Darkness on the Edge of Town" • "Unforgiven" • "Enter the Dragon" • "Poor Unfortunate Soul" • "Best Laid Plans" • "Heart of Gold" • "Sympathy for the De Vil" • "Lily" • "Mother" • "Operation Mongoose"
Season Five: "The Dark Swan" • "The Price" • "Siege Perilous" • "The Broken Kingdom" • "Dreamcatcher" • "The Bear and the Bow" • "Nimue" • "Birth" • "The Bear King" • "Broken Heart" • "Swan Song" • "Souls of the Departed" • "Labor of Love" • "Devil's Due" • "The Brothers Jones" • "Our Decay" • "Her Handsome Hero" • "Ruby Slippers" • "Sisters" • "Firebird" • "Last Rites" • "Only You" • "An Untold Story"
Season Six: "The Savior" • "A Bitter Draught" • "The Other Shoe" • "Strange Case" • "Street Rats" • "Dark Waters" • "Heartless" • "I'll Be Your Mirror" • "Changelings" • "Wish You Were Here" • "Tougher Than the Rest" • "Murder Most Foul • "Ill-Boding Patterns" • "Page 23" • "A Wondrous Place" • "Mother's Little Helper" • "Awake" • "Where Bluebirds Fly" • "The Black Fairy" • "The Song in Your Heart" • "The Final Battle"
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: "Down the Rabbit Hole" • "Trust Me" • "Forget Me Not" • "The Serpent" • "Heart of Stone" • "Who's Alice?" • "Bad Blood" • "Home" • "Nothing to Fear" • "Dirty Little Secrets" • "Heart of the Matter" • "To Catch a Thief" • "And They Lived..."

Locations
Once Upon a Time: Dark PalaceDark Castle/Rumplestiltskin's CastleLibraryPrince Thomas' CastleCinderella's ChateauDwarves' CottageDwarf MinesNew YorkKing Stefan's CastleThe BeanstalkGiant's LairNeverland Skull RockHamelinBoston, MassachusettsVault of the Dark OneLand of OzYellow Brick RoadEmerald CityGolden CastleArendelleArendelle CastleWandering Oaken's Trading Post and SaunaBald MountainRing of StonesDunBrochWitch's CottageCastle DunBrochUnderworldMount OlympusPoppy FieldsAuntie's Chicken & WafflesCave of WondersPleasure Island

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Wonderland CastleThe Mad Hatter's HouseWhite Rabbit's HouseUnderlandTulgey Wood
Both series: StorybrookeMaineEnchanted ForestForbidden FortressWonderlandWonderland MazeAgrabahSherwood ForestThe Sultan's Palace

Objects
Once Upon a Time: Once Upon a Time (Book)Maleficent's StaffMagic WandGlass SlipperPoisoned AppleSpinning WheelMagic LampDark One's DaggerChipped CupJefferson's HatCaptain Hook's HooksMagic BeansEnchanted CandlePixie DustDreamshadePandora's BoxSilver SlippersSorcerer HatEnchanted BroomTridentEnchanted ShellHeroes and Villains (Book)Merida's BowMagical RoseExcaliburOlympian CrystalCinderella's DressGolden Scarab Beetle

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Vorpal Blade
Both series: Jafar's Snake StaffEnchanted HeartsJafar's Lamp

Songs Featured
Give a Little WhistleHeigh-HoWith a Smile and a SongBeauty and the BeastPart of Your WorldFathoms BelowCruella De VilSome Day My Prince Will Come
Vehicles
Geppetto's BoatThe Jolly RogerMagic CarpetCruella's carNautilus
Species
FairiesUnicornsDragonsBridge TrollsWraithOgresMermaidsKrakenFlying MonkeysRock TrollsWill O' the WispsFuriesMunchkins

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