For the magical entity, see the Darkness.
"Darkness on the Edge of Town" is the twelfth episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, and directed by Jon Amiel. It is the seventy-eighth episode of the series overall, and premiered on March 1, 2015.
With Gold banished from town, the residents of Storybrooke attempt to resume their normal lives. Hook and Belle search for a way to release the fairies from the Sorcerer's hat, while Emma, Henry and Regina continue to look for clues that could lead them to the Author. But when a terrifying darkness descends on the town, Emma and Regina are forced to confront the true nature of evil. Meanwhile, in New York, Gold and Ursula enlist Cruella De Vil to join their cause.
In the Forbidden Fortress of the past, Ursula takes down a guard with her tentacles. As she walks through a corridor, she is challenged by the castle's owner Maleficent. She attempts to attack Maleficent with her tentacles, but is blocked by Maleficent's staff. The women struggle, during which Ursula reveals that she was invited to the Fortress, and Maleficent informs that she owns the castle and did not send for Ursula. The struggle is interrupted as two barking rottweilers run up to the women. Maleficent points her staff at them. Just then, Cruella De Vil approaches and Maleficent stands down. Cruella employs some kind of breath charm on the dogs, calming them. She then demands to know why she is at the Forbidden Fortress. Maleficent again explains that it is her home and she didn't send for anyone. As she menaces the other women, calling them trespassers, Rumplestiltskin appears, calling for peace. Maleficent deduces that Rumplestiltskin has assembled the trio. He explains that the four of them have something in common—they're villains, and it's "time the villains got their happy endings".
In present-day Storybrooke, citizens try to go about more "normal" lives. Regina Mills exits Granny's Diner with Henry and puts him on the school bus. At Storybrooke Elementary School, Mary Margaret Blanchard is teaching students again, including Henry. At the Mayor's office in the town hall, Regina is setting up her desk. She notices a brightly colored painting of a bluebird—left over from Mary Margaret's tenure as Mayor—and shoots a fireball at it, burning it. She smiles. At her and her family's apartment, Emma Swan waves goodbye to Granny and baby Neal as she puts on her jacket. Hook waits outside the pawnshop with coffee for himself and Emma. The pair stroll down to the Storybrooke Free Public Library together where they greet Belle. Emma continues on and Hook enters the library with Belle.
Inside the library, Hook gazes at a case board for events surrounding the nuns being sucked into the Sorcerer's Hat, including a missing person report on the Mother Superior. In frustration, he knocks the board off the wall. He laments that six weeks have passed and the nuns are still trapped. Belle reassures him that she's reached out to the finest minds in the world and that someone will get back to her, they will release the fairies from the hat, and find away to release the others, including the "old man" Hook trapped in the hat. Hook calls himself "weak", for having let Mr. Gold control him. Belle agrees, and laments that she, too, was influenced by Mr. Gold when she should have known better. The pair agree that they were blinded by love. Hook tells Belle that, despite how terrible Mr. Gold was, he did love her. Near tears, Belle replies that he's gone forever, and she hopes he finds what he's looking for.
In present day New York City, Mr. Gold micorwaves himself a cup of Ramen in a small apartment filled with fish tanks as Ursula enters. She tells Mr. Gold that she's starting to think he's all talk and is just freeloading in her apartment. Mr. Gold retorts that her meager accommodations are nothing compared to what he's providing, and that he will fix all her problems. When Ursula claims he doesn't care about her, Mr. Gold agrees. He further claims that Urusla is fortunate that her desires align with his. As he eats his noodles, the nearby computer pings, indicating an email. Ursula inquires, and Mr. Gold, with a smile, claims it's the beginning of the end of their misery, and that it's time to "visit an old friend".
In Great Neck, Long Island, Mr. Gold and Ursula approach a large white mansion. A crowd has gathered as Cruella De Vil's husband is being arrested and valuables removed by the FBI. Cruella wrests a black and white fur coat from one agent, claiming it was hers "before". Mr. Gold and Ursula approach Cruella, and Mr. Gold offers to return her "glory" if she joins them. Cruella refuses, and Mr. Gold apologizes for their last meeting, and claims their interests are aligned again. He claims he is there to "put an end to having everything taken away". Cruella then opens her garage, revealing her custom Zimmer Golden Spirit. Mr. Gold inquires where Cruella is going with her "paltry possessions", to which she replies "to get myself some less paltry possessions". Mr. Gold calls this an empty pursuit, and that she will end up back where she started. He claims he can help her get back everything and more. Cruella rebuffs him, pointing out that there is no magic in this world. He tells her that, in fact, there is, if you know where to look. He tells her that, if she follows him, she doesn't have to trust him. When he asks her if she's tired of feeling ordinary, she tells him and Ursula to get into the car. She asks Mr. Gold where they're going, to which he replies, "A quaint little town called Storybrooke."
In the Forbidden Fortress of the past, Cruella questions Rumplestiltskin about giving the quartet happy endings. Maleficent claims that Rumplestiltskin is powerful, but not that powerful, and Ursula agrees. As Rumplestiltskin dances around revealing his plan, Cruella positions herself very close to his face, declaring that she is quite content with her life and does not like to be toyed with false promises. Rumplestiltskin claims that there is nothing false about what he is promising, and that he knows "exactly" what all three of the women want. He elaborates that each of the women can keep their secrets, and he declares that they want what all villains want, "to win", and that he can show them how if they work together. Maleficent interjects that, even if the group did work together, no spell can do what Rumplestiltskin claims. Rumplestiltskin agrees, but informs her that they are not looking for a spell, they are after a curse. "A Dark Curse". He further claims that, if the women help, this Dark curse can give them their happy endings.
In the present day, Cruella, Ursula and Mr. Gold wait in line at a Mr. Cluck's fast food restaurant as Cruella asks Mr. Gold how he can be sure this new plan will work when all the others have failed. Mr. Gold claims that they failed in the past because of the mysterious Author. He claims that his book holds more power than they've experienced, and that the Author gives heroes and villains the rewards and punishments he wants. He claims that the groups' failures are caused by the Author's will, and not their own actions. The women order their meals in the drive-thru, and Mr. Gold tells them to hurry up, as he is certain that the Author is in Storybrooke and they need to get to him "before the heroes do".
In the Office of the Mayor in Storybrooke, Regina pours over the storybook as Emma puts lunch on her desk. Emma pulls out bottles of rootbeer as Regina laments that it has been weeks and she's found nothing in her quest. Unable to open the bottles, Emma searches for a bottle open. Opening a drawer, she finds a taped together storybook page with an illustration of Queen Regina and Robin Hood engaged in a kiss. She asks Regina if she took it from the book, and Regina replies that it isn't from the book, Robin Hood found it before he left. Emma recognizes that it isn't Regina's story, and Regina explains that Robin Hood thought it was a sign that there was hope for Regina. Emma asks if Regina has heard from him, and a tearful Regina replies "No". Just then, Hook and Belle burst into the office, claiming to have a way to get the fairies out of the hat. Belle explained that she found an incantation in an ancient tongue, and that a professor of linguistics had emailed her a translation. She claims that it is an ancient ceremony that will bring the nuns back if Regina enacts it.
In the woods, Regina, Emma, Belle, Mary Margaret and Hook gather around a stone with Futhark carvings and the Sorcerer's hat upon it. Belle gives Regina the Dark One Dagger, and Regina passes it over the hat before touching it with the blade. A few moments later, a blast of light emerges from the hat. As the group shields themselves from the light, the nuns appear around the rock. The nuns are clearly shaken, and the Mother Superior thanks both Emma and Regina. As the nuns hug, a wave of black smoke seeps from the hat, unseen by the group. It coalesces into Chernabog and the creature flies away.
In the past, Rumplestiltskin, Maleficent, Cruella and Ursula explore Bald Mountain, where the Dark Curse is kept. Rumplestiltskin explains that there are obstacles between them and the Curse that require each of the women's "specific talents". The quartet approaches a door covered in blood scarabs, and Rumplestiltskin asks Cruella to use her "powers of persuasion" to clear the way. Cruella approaches and a single scarab crawls up to here. She breathes her magic upon it, and the scarab rejoins the group, scattering the creatures and opening the door. The group passes through, coming upon a large chamber with an orb containing the Dark Curse. A wall of fire blocks their passage. Rumplestiltskin explains that the fire is forged from the breath of dragons, and calls upon Maleficent. Maleficent steps forward, her arms outstretched. The flames channel around her and into her dragon-topped staff. Finally, Rumplestiltskin turns to Ursula, who uses a tentacle to grab the orb from where she stands and give it to him. Just then, a rumbling is heard. When the women inquire as to what to is happening, Rumplestilskin informs them that he is leaving and they are "about to die". He elaborates that the Chernabog also guards the Dark Curse—an ancient demon that "seeks out the heart with the greatest potential for darkness and devours it". He reveals that this is the true reason that he needed the three women. He leaves the chamber, the door closing behind him as the Chernabog manifests before the trio of women.
In the present day, Cruella and her passengers drive along the woodland road that leads into Storybrooke. Mr. Gold instructs Cruella to stop the car, she does, and the trio approaches a small tree with a tie attached to a branch. Mr. Gold removes the tie, proclaiming, "We're here". Ursula looks about the empty road, asking where Storybrooke is. Mr. Gold confesses that things aren't exactly as he made them seem. He explains that the town line is just up the road, but is cloaked by a protection spell—it cannot be seen or entered. Neither of the women appear to believe him, and he explains that, the night he was banished he attached the tie to the tree so he could one day find his way back. Ursula ask how they are supposed to enter the town without magic. Suddenly, Cruella pulls out a pistol, demanding that Gold be completely honest with them. Ursula kicks God's cane away from him, causing him to fall to the ground. Cruella points out that, outside Storybrooke, Gold is powerless and can be killed, and a visibly shaken Gold agrees. Cruella asks him who banished him and why, and Ursula suggests that it was his "little maid", and asks if she is the reason they are they. Gold replies that he is there for the same reason the women are—his happy ending, and what it is his business, just like their reasons are theirs. He tells the women that everything they want is in Storybrooke, and that if they think they can get it and face the light magic alone, they should do so, but, with his help, they'll be invited into the town. Ursula points out that the residents of Storybrooke would never invite them with Gold on their side and Gold, rising with his cane, retorts that they will, because he won't be on their side. Cruella withdraws her gun and tells Mr. Gold to start talking.
At Granny's Diner, Hook stands in a hallway as Emma approaches. He tells her he's "just thinking", and Emma implores him to come to the party with her, that heroes are entitled to celebrate. Hook replies that the nuns were in the hat in the first place because he put them there, and Emma reminds him that it wasn't his fault, it was Mr. Gold's.
In the main dining room, amidst the celebration, the Mother Superior sits alone in a booth. Henry Mills encourages his mother Regina to approach her. Regina, holding a blank storybook, presents it to the Mother Superior and asks if she knows what it is. The Sister asks where Regina got it, and Emma, having joined the group, replies that Henry found dozens of blank storybooks in the Sorcerer's mansion. The Mother Superior asks if the Sorcerer is in town, and Henry replies that his house is, but he himself has not been found. Regina reveals that she is hoping the Sorcerer can write her a happy ending, as the book seems to have great power. The Sister agrees, but explains that Regina is looking for the wrong person, as the Sorcerer is not the Author. When Regina ponders why the Sorcerer would have the Author's books, the Mother Superior responds that she doesn't know, but the two are "very different people". Regina asks if the Sister knows who the Author is, and she responds that she doesn't, but she knows the Author exists, but no one has seen them for many years. Emma asks if she knows why the Author would disappear, and the Mother Superior replies that she doesn't, but there are rumors that the Author left clues in his works. Suddenly, a rumbling and a creature's shriek is heard. Emma, Hook, Belle, Regina and Mary Margaret exit the diner onto the main street, where the Chernabog sits atop the clock tower.
Inside the Bald Mountain of the past, Ursula, Maleficent and Cruella hide from Chernabog's view behind rock formations. As the creature prowls around, Maleficent points out a crack in the wall that could provide escape. Cruella points out that the creature doesn't seem to know which one of the women to choose. Maleficent responds that it doesn't matter who Chernabog chooses, and once it selects a victim, the other two women can make their escape and then work together to rescue the one left behind. Cruella scoffs at the idea of trusting Maleficent, but the three women emerge from hiding to stand before the Chernabog. The creature eyes all three women, then settles on Maleficent. Settling herself for battle, she declares, "I knew it".
In present-day Storybrooke, panicked citizens run and Chernabog swoops down on the group of Emma, Belle, Hook, Regina and Mary Margaret. The group moves down the street, taking shelter along the side of a building. Regina wonders if the creature came from the hat, as the spell was "only supposed to release the fairies". Mary Margaret suggests it may be some kind of fairy, and Emma suggests that they put the creature back in the hat and figure it out later. Belle interjects that they can't do that, as once something is free from the hat, it can never be retrapped in it. Hook suggests that Regina and Emma can defeat the Chernabog, and the two women walk out into the street to face the creature. Chernabog flies toward the women, and the duo blast their magic at it. After a few moments, the creature flies away. Regina declares that they only stunned it, and a blast like they created should have destroyed it. Emma turns to Belle, who says she will try to research Chernabog in the library, and then Mary Margaret, who says she will get everyone to safety. Emma is impressed by their initiative, and Hook points out that this isn't their first such fight. Regina suggests that she and Emma find a way to "clip the monster's wings" before it returns.
On the woodland road just outside Storybrooke, Mr. Gold declares that he has the number ready to be called on his cellphone. He hands it to Ursula, who retorts that she is not sure if she can trust him. Gold points out that the women have his phone, know his entire plan and, if they decided to not "come back" for him once they enter Storybrooke, he couldn't do anything about it. He further points out that, with this plan, the women are not dependent on trusting, he is dependent on trusting them. He asks if they are "in this together" and Ursula replies that he'll "find out tonight". She presses the call button on Gold's phone, which has Regina Mills' number pulled up.
In the Mayor's office, Regina answers the call. Ursula asks her how she is, and Regina responds that she's wondering how Ursula has Gold's cellphone. Ursula replies that she stole it from him, and Emma says Regina's name, who puts the phone on speaker and sets it down. Regina inquires where Mr. Gold is now, and Ursula responds that he's likely at the bar where she and Cruella left him. Ursula explains that Gold found them in New York saying he needed old friends, that he was living in a special town where "villains could find redemption". Ursula claims that Gold has told them how Regina has changed, and that she and Cruella have changed too, and want a chance to prove it. She asks Regina to let them into town. As Regina begins to reply in the negative, saying the town has "enough problems", Chernabog roars in the distance. Ursula asks if one of their problems is a "hell-bat". Regina asks how she could know that, and Ursula replies that the roar is the same sound it made when she encountered it, and that she can tell Regina what it wants. Regina asks Ursula to tell her what the creature wants, and Ursula asks if, if she does so, if Regina will let her into the town. When Regina replies that she couldn't let them in even if she wanted to, Ursula replies that she's on her own. In a lowered voice Emma points out that the Snow Queen's scroll let her into town, and perhaps it would work again. Regina tells Ursula that, if her information helps, they will "consider" letting them into town. Ursula agrees to her terms.
Inside the Bald Mountain of the past, Maleficent zaps the Chernabog repeatedly with her staff as Ursula and Cruella begin to climb to the exit. Seeing this, Maleficent reminds them that they had a deal. The Chernabog approaches her slowly, and she stops fighting back. Suddenly, one of Ursula's tentacles wraps around her and pulls her to the ledge exiting the cave, out of harm's way.
In modern-day Storybrooke, the Chernabog is still loose in town. In the Mayor's office, Emma tells Regina that they aren't sure the creature is after her. Regina retorts that, of course it is, as it seeks out the heart with the darkest potential, and with Gold gone, that must be her. Emma declares that she's not willing to sacrifice Regina, and Regina responds that they may not have a choice. Emma ponders what would happen if Chernabog, a magical creature, were to leave town for a world without magic. Regina states "no magic, no beast", and Emma suggests leading the creature over the town line. Regina points out that the creature withstood both of their powers combined, and would "crush me like a bug" if she were to "poof" herself to the town line to lure it away. Emma tells Regina that she has help, and to trust her.
At the Blanchard apartment, Mary Margaret sits at her counter with David Nolan, hanging up a conversation (presumably) with Emma. With a worried look on her face, she tells David that they've found a way to stop the beast. When David asks her about her expression, she tells him that Cruella and Ursula are here.
Emma and Regina race along the woodland road leading out of town in Emma's car, with the Chernabog following. A nervous Regina asks Emma why she chose yellow for her car, and Emma responds that this isn't the time to question her taste. Regina replies that she's trying to take her mind off being devoured by Chernabog, and Emma assures that that won't happen. Suddenly, the Chernabog lands on the roof of the bug. Emma swerves in unsuccessful attempts to shake the creature off, but the beast just smashes a hand through the front window. As Emma's attempts to shake the creature continue to fail, Regina declares that she will not let both of them die, and thanks Emma for trying. She disappears from the passenger seat in a cloud of smoke. Emma fights off the hands of the Chernabog as she continues to drive, and Regina, having appeared in front of the town line, shouts to get the creature's attention. Nearing the town line, Emma slams on her breaks, launching the creature off the car and sending it hurling over Regina's head. As it passes over the town line, it disappears. Both women look relieved, and Emma exits the car, holding the Snow Queen's scroll.
David and Mary Margaret pull up in a police cruiser. Mary Margaret hugs Emma, relieved that she's alright. Gazing over the town line, she remarks that Cruella and Ursula were telling the truth, and Regina agrees. As Emma is about to hand the scroll to Regina, Mary Margaret stops her, saying it's a bad idea, just because Ursula and Cruella told the truth in this instance doesn't mean they can be trusted. Shocked, Emma remarks that Mary Margaret "always believes the best in everyone", to which her mother replies that she's "also a realist". David agrees, saying that things were just starting to "get back to normal" in town, and Emma is shocked at him as well. Mary Margaret states that the two women could be truly looking for redemption, or the could be just as evil as others the group has faced, like Mr. Gold or Zelena. Emma replies that she may be right, but the women helped them and they made a deal. Mary Margaret insists that it's a bad idea. Regina agrees that the women are horrible—but "not as horrible as I once was". She says that if she deserves a chance at redemption, so do they, and she can't deny them a chance at their happiness while she hunts for her own. Emma agrees with Regina, and hands her the scroll. Regina tosses it over the town line, where it appears to Cruella and Ursula. The women get into Cruella's car, and Cruella opens the scroll, revealing the group standing on the other side of the line. Cruella beings driving along the road, pausing next to the group. Regina welcomes the women to Storybrooke. Cruella thanks her, telling her she won't regret it. Regina responds, "I better not", and Cruella drives on.
Later that night, Mr. Gold stands on the woodland road just outside the town line. Looking despondent, he turns and walks away. He takes just a few steps before a whoosh is heard. Turning, the Snow Queen's scroll is on the ground. He opens it, revealing Cruella and Ursula standing across the line. Ursula asks if he thought the duo had abandoned him, and Gold replies "Of course not. We're a team". He joins the women—as he crosses the town line, his clothes transform to a nicer suit, his limp disappears and he stops using his cane. Cruella compliments his clothes and asks what they do now. Gold tosses the cane away and replies that it's time to begin their task.
Walking with the women along the main street of Storybrooke, Mr. Gold instructs them to continue repenting their wicked ways, and to make friends and build relationships. Cruella asks him what he'll be doing, and Gold responds that he'll continue his work "behind the scenes". Ursula retorts that it sounds like she and Cruella will be doing everything yet again. Gold stops walking, and asks the women how they think they got into town, or how the Chernabog was released. He declares that it was him, and explains that he is the "Oxford professor" who provided the translation of the spell for Belle, the spell that released the nuns as well as the Chernabog. He tells the women to consider what he was able to do outside of town, at "my lowest point, without magic", and consider what he's able to do in the town. He declares that it's time to stop bickering and get to work, as their team is missing a member. Realizing he means Maleficent, Cruella points out that she is dead. Gold responds "not entirely". When Cruella asks what that means, he replies that their work is cut out for them and they have much to prepare. Ursula declares that they have a bigger problem—Regina, as the Chernabog was unable to defeat her, that "as bad as Maleficent is, Regina's dark heart is far worse". Gold stops walking again, and tells her that she is filled with assumptions. He declares that the beast wasn't going after Regina—it was after Emma Swan.
In the main dining room of Granny's Diner, Hook and Emma sit at a table looking at Henry, who is sitting at the counter examining his storybrooke with a magnifying glass. Hook asks what Emma thinks he's up to, and Emma replies "Being Henry", that if anyone can get the Author out of the book, Henry can. Hook remarks that Emma has become an optimist, and Emma replies that it must be the influence of Henry and her parents. Hook points out that her parents are supposed to be at the diner with them, and Emma pulls out her cellphone.
On the woodland road, David stops his truck and he and Mary Margaret exit the vehicle as one of their phones rings. The couple approach Cruella's car. The headlights turn on, and Cruella and Ursula approach. Mary Margaret declares that Storybrooke is their town, and that if the women truly are trying to change, they are welcome to stay. She explains that there is a condition—the women are not to reveal what happened between the four of them back in the Enchanted Forest. She declares that if the women tell anyone, especially Emma, she will "rip out their hearts" herself.
- The title card features Cruella's car.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on November 12, 2014.
- Adam Horowitz is a fan of the singer Bruce Springsteen. This episode shares its name with a song from the rock star's album of the same name.
- The establishing shot of the Forbidden Fortress is stock footage from the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episode "Forget Me Not". The establishing shot was first used in the Season One episode "The Thing You Love Most", but with a different color hue and with the Evil Queen's carriage added to it.
- The close-up of the town clock seen in the Storybrooke opening montage is stock footage from the scene where time started moving in Storybrooke in the Season One episodes "Pilot" and "The Thing You Love Most", but differently lit. The same shot is used in the Season One finale "A Land Without Magic", and the Season Six finale "The Final Battle Part 2".
- In the Storybrooke opening montage, you can see Floyd, the cook at Granny's Diner, crossing the street, side by side with one of the waitresses at the diner. When Hook walks through Storybrooke in "Shattered Sight", in the background, you can see Floyd under the effects of the Spell of Shattered Sight, being harassed by the same waitress.
- Mr. Gold's words, "mea culpa", is a Latin phrase that acknowledges wrongdoing. It translates as "through my fault".
- Bald Mountain is also a real mountain in Idaho. It's part of the Sun Valley ski resort.
- The establishing shot of Ursula's apartment building is stock footage of a New York City apartment building from the website Framepool.
- The Enchanted Forest flashbacks occur after "Sympathy for the De Vil", "Poor Unfortunate Soul" and "Enter the Dragon", and before "Heroes and Villains". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- The Land Without Magic and Storybrooke events take place after "Heroes and Villains" and before "Unforgiven". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- Cruella's origin, and "where she started", is explored in "Sympathy for the De Vil".
- Belle mentions Hook trapping The Apprentice in the Sorcerer's hat, which happened in "The Apprentice".
- Emma makes a comment about liking Granny's grilled cheese. Emma's love for grilled cheese was first established in "Red-Handed", where Ruby is sent to the diner to buy some for her.
- The Sisters of Saint Meissa were trapped in the hat in "Fall".
- Mr. Gold was banished from Storybrooke in "Heroes and Villains".
- How Cruella and Ursula ended up in the Land Without Magic is explained in "Best Laid Plans".
- The story behind Cruella's fur coat, which she states was hers before she married Mr. Feinberg, is revealed in "Sympathy for the De Vil".
- Cruella's car is a replica of Isaac's car in 1920s England, from "Sympathy for the De Vil".
- Robin Hood found the Page XXIII of a storybook in "Smash the Mirror".
- Hook mentions that they had previously defeated monsters attacking the town. This include Anton in "Tiny" and the Snow Monster in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
- In this episode, Rumplestiltskin gets hold of the Dark Curse, which is later cast in "The Thing You Love Most". Who created the Dark Curse and how it was done is revealed in "The Black Fairy".
- Emma recalls stealing the yellow bug, an event shown in "Tallahassee".
- Mr. Gold, Cruella and Ursula discuss Maleficent's death. She was "killed" twice, in "A Land Without Magic" and "The Evil Queen".
- Mary Margaret and David's past with the Queens of Darkness is revealed in "Unforgiven" and "Best Laid Plans".
- The Author's identity, and the reason why no one has seen him in years, is revealed in "Best Laid Plans".
- Rumplestiltskin tells the Queens of Darkness that he offers the answer to all their prayers. Cruella is not convinced and remarks, "I'm not exactly the religious sort."
- This episode features Chernabog and the Bald Mountain from Disney's Fantasia.
- Cruella De Vil's jerky way of driving is a reference to the eponymous' character's driving in the film One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
- Cruella De Vil, Mr. Gold and Ursula go to a Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack restaurant, a famous fast food franchise in the show. Hugo, played by Once Upon a Time actor Jorge Garcia, previously worked for this fast food franchise, before becoming the owner in the flash-sideways world.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features the sea witch from "The Little Mermaid", the wicked fairy from "Sleeping Beauty", Cruella De Vil from The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Rumplestiltskin from the "Rumpelstiltskin" fairytale, the ugly duckling from the titular fairytale and Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story.
- Chernabog from Disney's Fantasia, is based on Chernobog, a deity from Slavic mythology.
- The "professor" (aka Mr. Gold) who translated the spell for Belle, is supposedly from Oxford, a reference to the famous British research university.
- The painting being carried out of Mr. Feinberg's mansion is Salome, a sixteenth century painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Titian. It depicts the biblical figure Salome holding the severed head of John the Baptist.
|Date of report: Nov 6th||Time of report: 14:35|
|Name of person missing:|
|First name: Reul||Surname: Ghorm||Age: Unknown|
|Address: The Convent of the Sisters of St. Meissa|
2356 Mulberry Court, Storybrooke
|Home number: 555-0166||Mobile:|
|Description of missing person (height, ethnicity and distinguishing features):|
|Description of clothing: Convent attire/habit|
|When and where were they last seen?: Granny's Diner on Main at approximately 19:10 hrs|
|What steps have been taken to trace the missing person?|
Interviewed all known associates
|Person reporting missing person (name):|
|Address: Convent of the Sisters of St. Meissa|
2356 Mulberry Court, Storybrooke
|Phone number: 555-0166|
|Relationship to missing person: Sister Manning [image ends]|
|Name of reporting staff member: A[image ends]' [image begins] see report # 3417|
- The photograph of Mother Superior is from the scene where she is reunited with her friends in the Season Two premiere "Broken".
- Reul Ghorm is Scottish Gaelic for "blue star".
- The phone number 555-0166 is also on a poster inside the library. Curiously, the headline says "port and marine safety and security certificate".
- Adam Horowitz has previously stated that Season Four takes place in the early part of 2013, long before the movie Frozen (a late-November release) was released, but this is proven to be incorrect in this episode.
- In the Storybrooke library, handwritten notes on a piece of paper next to a photograph of the Apprentice's house say:
reality and create a [obscured]
use for the inversion of [obscured]
any time or plac[obscured]
- "These portals break in the intent to stop and your doing is what energy your subconscious uses as if you open the fabric of reality and create a direct link into time-space, as a link which is felt and thought suppressed in mind as the body is use for the inversion of space-time is travelling. By traversing through time space, one is able to basically travel into any time or place imaginable."
- A paper above the photo says:
uppon earth. Not of the wycked, but o[obscured]
[obscured] hands [obscured]
- "Behold these Tables. Herein lye theyr Names, that work under God uppon earth. Not of the wycked, but of the Angels of Light. The whole Government doth consist in the hands of 49(in [sic] God his powre, strength, Mercy, and Justice) whose Names are here evydent, excellent, and glorious."
- A piece of paper next to an illustration of the Sorcerer's hat, mentions two property owners in Drummond Island, Michigan, named Peter and Emilia Lurie.
- According to handwritten notes next to the illustration, the shape of the hat is an interdimensional coil - an accelerator relay between two fixed coordinates.
- Other notes say:
- The word "Oz" can be seen next to the microwave clock when Mr. Gold is heating up noodles in Ursula's apartment.
- The symbols on the rock where Regina frees the nuns from the hat are Anglo-Saxon runes. It says ᚷᚱᚩᚢᚾᛞ ᚻᚨᛚᛚ, which transliterates as "ground hall".
- According to the poster behind the front desk, the library book categories are general works, psychology and philosophy, religion & mythology, social sciences, languages, natural sciences & math, applied sciences & technology, arts & recreation, literature, and geography & history.
- Ursula's apartment is filled with ocean-themed decorations, including coffee cups with printed fish motifs, a sea shell, a squid-shaped wall hook, framed pictures of fish, fish wall decor, and a coral-shaped porcelain ornament. The wall tapestry resembles seaweed.
- A small statue of a raven is sitting on a table inside the Forbidden Fortress, a reference to Maleficent, who can shapheshift into a flock of ravens.
- Rumplestiltskin's robe is decorated with a Chinese dragon.
- Belle is wearing a RED Valentino Wool-Blend Coat, an Alice + Olivia Flutter Lace Arie Top and a 1 State Quilted Houndstooth Mini Skirt '(all three are no longer available).
- Belle's shoes are Red Suede Leather T-strap Betty Open Toe Heels from Gucci. Belle wore the same shoes back in the Season Two episode "The Crocodile".
- Emma is wearing a James Perse Colorblock Melange Tee (no longer available).
- Ursula is wearing a BCBG Treated Animal Print Leather Fitted Jacket. She continues to wear the jacket in "Unforgiven", "Enter the Dragon" and "Poor Unfortunate Soul".
- Throughout the episode, the same shot on the secluded road leading to Storybrooke is used inconsistently for shots facing in the direction of town, and in the direction away from town.
- This is most noticeable in the scene where Regina, Emma, Mary Margaret and David use the Sorcerer's scroll to let Cruella and Ursula into Storybrooke. As a result, when Cruella picks up the scroll, she looks towards a flat road, but when facing the same direction as she and Ursula enter town, the road is the same as it was behind them.
|Finnish||"Pimeys laskeutuu"||"The Darkness Descends"|
|German||"Die Dunkelheit am Rande der Stadt"||"The Darkness on the Edge of Town"|
|Italian||"L'oscurità bussa alla porta"||"Darkness is Knocking at the Door"|
|Portuguese||"Escuridão nos Limites da Cidade"||"Darkness on the Edge of Town"|
|Spanish||"Oscuridad a las afueras del pueblo"||"Darkness on the Edge of Town"|