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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 Time | Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
Books: Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the Queen | Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale | Once Upon a Time - Behind the Magic | Once Upon a Time: Out of the Past | Once Upon a Time: Red's Untold Tale | Once Upon a Time: Regina Rising

Characters

Once Upon a Time Characters: Emma Swan | Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard | Prince Charming/David Nolan | Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold | The Evil Queen/Regina Mills | Belle/Lacey French | Killian Jones/Hook | Henry Mills | Happy | Sneezy/Tom Clark | Bashful | Doc | Dopey | Sleepy/Walter | Jiminy Cricket/Archie Hopper | Victor Frankenstein/Dr. Whale | Aurora | Prince Phillip | Fa Mulan | Blue Fairy | Widow Lucas/Granny | King George/Albert Spencer | Genie/Magic Mirror/Sidney Glass | Mad Hatter/Jefferson | Milah | Prince Henry/The Valet | Marian | Sheriff of Nottingham/Keith | Fairy Godmother | Peter Pan/Malcolm/The Pied Piper | Wendy Darling | Ariel | Zelena/The Wicked Witch of the West | Glinda/The Good Witch of the South | The Wizard of Oz/Walsh | Elsa the Snow Queen | Anna | Kristoff | Hans | Grand Pabbie | Sven | Tinker Bell | Blackbeard | Lumière | Abigail/Kathryn Nolan | Ursula | Red Riding Hood/The Wolf/Ruby | Huntsman/Sheriff Graham | Baelfire/Neal Cassidy | Pinocchio/August W. Booth | Frederick/Jim | Severe Nurse | Mayor Tomkins | Quinn | Anita | Hansel and Gretel/Nicholas and Ava Zimmer | The Woodcutter/Michael Tillman | Martin | Myrna | Stephen | Donna | Prince James | Jack | Blind Witch | King Xavier | Peter | Siren | Pongo | William Smee | Dorothy Gale | The Witch of the East | Gaston | Greg Mendell | Tamara | Geppetto/Marco | The Dragon | Rapunzel | The King/Mitchell Herman | Rapunzel's Mother | Rapunzel's Father | King Leopold | Queen Eva | Lost Boys | John Darling | Michael Darling | The Shadow | The Sheriff of Hamelin | King Midas | Nana | Mary Darling | George Darling | Medusa | Gus/Billy | Marshmallow | Zoso | Prince Thomas/Sean Herman | Prince Eric | Little Bo Peep | The Apprentice | Ingrid/Sarah Fisher | Lily Page | Nova | Seer | Grace | Daniel Colter | Lancelot | Colette | Stephen | Liam Jones | Oaken | The King of Arendelle | Queen Gerda | Cruella De Vil | Poseidon | The Duke of Weselton | Hans' Brothers | Chernabog | Briar Rose | King Stefan | Isaac/The Author | Madeline | Merlin/The Sorcerer | Merida | Queen Eleanor | King Fergus | Harris, Hubert and Hamish | The Witch | Young MacGuffin | Young Macintosh | Wee Dingwall | Ruth | King Arthur | Sir Kay | Guinevere | Charon | Brennan Jones | Megara | Hercules | Hades | Cerberus | The Scarecrow | Cleo Fox | Auntie Em | Dr. Jekyll | Mr. Hyde | Evil Regina | Aladdin | Gideon Gold | Jasmine | Iago | Morpheus | Captain Nemo | Lady Tremaine | Clorinda | Tisbe | Jacob | Oracle | Royal Guards | The Sultan | Genie | Black Fairy
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Characters: Alice | Cyrus | Percy/The White Rabbit | Jabberwocky | Silvermist | The Sultan/The Old Prisoner | Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum | Mrs. Rabbit | Elizabeth/Lizard | Amara
Characters of both series: Will Scarlet/The Knave of Hearts | Anastasia/The Red Queen | Cinderella/Ashley Boyd | Robin Hood | Little John | Friar Tuck | Grumpy/Leroy | Cora/The Queen of Hearts | Caterpillar | Maleficent | Jafar | Dr. 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"
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

Storybrooke | Maine | Enchanted Forest | Dark Palace | Dark Castle/Rumplestiltskin's Castle | Prince Thomas' Castle | Cinderella's Chateau | Neverland | Skull Rock | Wonderland | White Rabbit's House | New York | Boston, Massachusetts | Land of Oz | Emerald City | Arendelle | Agrabah | The Sultan's Palace | Sherwood Forest | Hamelin | The Mushroom | Ring of Stones | Vault of the Dark One | Underworld | Mount Olympus | Auntie's Chicken & Waffles | Cave of Wonders

Objects

Once Upon a Time (Book) | Maleficent's Staff | Enchanted Hearts | Magic Wand | Poisoned Apple | Spinning Wheel | Magic Lamp | Dark One's Dagger | Chipped Cup | Jefferson's Hat | Enchanted Candle | Pixie Dust | Dreamshade | Jafar's Snake Staff | Pandora's Box | Vorpal Blade | Silver Slippers | Sorcerer Hat | Enchanted Broom | Trident | Enchanted Shell | Heroes and Villains (Book) | Merida's Bow | The Magical Rose | Sword in the Stone | Olympian Crystal | Cinderella's Dress | Golden Scarab Beetle

Vehicles

The Jolly Roger | Magic Carpet | Cruella's car | Nautilus

Species

Fairies | Unicorns | Dragons | Bridge Trolls | Wraith | Ogres | Mermaids | Kraken | Flying Monkeys | Rock Trolls | Will O' the Wisps | Furies | Munchkins

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