Some people struggle not to be drawn in to the darkness. Ever since I was a little girl I've said... why not splash in and have fun?
Cruella De Vil is a supporting character on Once Upon a Time. A chic diva with a penchant for fur coats, Cruella was psychopathic from a young age, opting to kill her mother's husbands and the like; that is, until she met the Author and he made it so that she couldn't kill. And so Cruella made her way to the Enchanted Forest to be a part of the Queens of Darkness, whose plotting led them to Storybrooke so that they may force their way towards their own happy endings. Ultimately, however, Cruella took drastic measures to have the Author killed... and it ended with her being flung from a cliff to her death by the savior. Her story continued in the Underworld where she failed to get written back to life but settled contently for being the gin-guzzling lush of the realm.
Before the Curse
The game is rigged. The villains never win.
A true villain is born. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")
Cruella De Vil is a disturbed young girl who uses poisonous trumpet flowers to kill her father at a young age, leading her mother Madeline to use her expertly-trained dalmatians to keep her daughter prisoner in her attic. Despite her constraints, Cruella is still able to make sure that her proceeding two step-fathers die as well, for she finds enjoyment in it, but she grows incredibly bored being locked away all the time. When a man from the newspaper - Isaac - visits hoping to ask Madeline some questions, she kicks him out for being rude, and so Cruella beckons him, knowing that he's looking for a great story and offering her own for him to use... but only if he can set her free first. He is successful, and wants to find a private place to talk, but being cooped up for so many years has made Cruella restless, and she wants to find a nice loud club in which to enjoy herself. She tells Isaac that her mother has been killing her husbands, keeping the truth hidden, and the two make a fast connection, going on to dance together and fall in love. Isaac feels so close to her in the end that he reveals himself to be an Author - a sacred recorder of events across many realms, and his magic quill and ink are capable of manipulating people's stories as well. He writes it so that she can control any animal she desires, meaning she can escape her mother and run away with him, but Cruella has other ideas, stealing his quill after he's given her his vintage car and using her newfound magic to make her mother's dogs turn on her and eat her alive. She makes a fabulous coat out of their skins, but Isaac, having learned the truth, comes back for her, wanting his quill back. They fight for it, and the magic ink ends up spilling all over her, warping her appearance evilly. She tries shooting him, but he scribbles something down which means she can't - in fact, she can never again take a human life, much to her dismay. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")
Cruella works her own brand of magic. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")
Cruella De Vil is summoned to Maleficent's Forbidden Fortress along with Ursula by Rumplestiltskin, who wants the three villainesses to team up with him in order to steal something that will make it so they can achieve their happy endings - the Dark Curse. Though reluctant at first, they soon agree to work together and make their way to a dark cave. Cruella's magic is first needed to control a horde of poisonous bugs, which she inhabits and forces to deviate, granting them access to what's inside. Maleficent then uses her staff to swallow the fire that surrounds what they're aiming to steal, and Ursula grabs it using one of her tentacles - the scroll which contains the curse, sealed in a glass orb which is then dropped into Rumple's hand. A grand demon named Chernabog then emerges and Rumple leaves the three ladies to deal with it, having planned on betraying them all along, and the trio has to work together in order to escape. Maleficent tackles the beast as the other two get away, and Ursula uses her tentacle to pull her to safety. From then on, they decide to form a tight-knit alliance with one another. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")
Cruella plans on being the victor. ("Heroes and Villains")
Whilst Belle, Rumplestiltskin's maid, is outside doing laundry, she becomes distracted by a small dalmatian, which she proceeds to follow. It isn't long before she loses it and someone grabs her from behind, kidnapping her. Rumplestiltskin soon receives a sand dollar with a message inside which depicts a captive Belle; she tells him that he has to meet with her kidnappers and give them his magic gauntlet in exchange for her life, and later he arrives at a cliff with said magic gauntlet that points to a person's greatest weakness, and he meets who he expects to meet: Maleficent. However, Ursula the Sea Witch is also there, to his surprise, and, to his further surprise, so is Cruella De Vil. He is hesitant about handing the gauntlet over, but when Ursula begins strangling Belle with her tentacles, he quickly tosses it over to Cruella, who explains that they shall use it to point to their enemies' weaknesses and then they shall be the victors. Rumple leaves with Belle whilst the self-proclaimed Queens of Darkness leave with the gauntlet, only to have Rumple corner them later and steal it back with ease, for one must have a death wish to demand a ransom from the Dark One. The Queens lament their loss, and Cruella points out that the game is rigged and that the villains never win. They suggest that Rumple join then so that they can change the game together, but he refuses, saying that he wins and he wins alone. ("Heroes and Villains")
The Queens of Darkness tell the Charmings of their potentially evil child. ("Unforgiven")
Snow and Charming return from their honeymoon to find everyone in their castle under some sort of sleeping curse, and the culprit is soon revealed as Maleficent, who's come to make a deal with the two royals along with Cruella and Ursula: they want to go with them to the Tree of Wisdom, which only answers the questions of the most valiant heroes, so that they can figure out a way to stop Regina's Dark Curse. Snow and Charming agree to go with them, begrudgingly, but begin to have their doubts when Maleficent slaughters good soldiers who stand in their way; as such, they take off in the middle of the night when the self-named "Queens of Darkness" are sleeping, and they find the tree by themselves. However, when they ask it a question, it repels them, and the three villains soon catch up and realize that the reason it didn't answer them is because Snow is pregnant and, being a product of true love, their baby has potential for great darkness as well as a great good. The trip is deemed useless and the separate parties part ways, but Maleficent later revisits Snow in the middle of the night and reveals to her that she's pregnant as well, which is why it's so important to her that this curse be stopped. She wishes to join forces with Snow, but Snow declines, refusing to delve into darkness while trying to protect her child for she believes that there is a better way of doing things. She vows that she will never be like Maleficent. ("Unforgiven")
Cruella and Ursula attempt to retrieve Maleficent's child. ("Best Laid Plans")
Maleficent takes dragon form in a cave and lays an egg inside it, waiting for her child to hatch, and Ursula and Cruella wait outside this cave standing guard. As they're complaining about the cold, with Ursula pointing out that Maleficent could send some dragon fire their way and Cruella adding that she wishes she'd bagged an extra two puppies to make mittens out of, Snow and Charming sneak up from behind and knock them both out with a magic powder. They proceed to head into the cave and steal the egg so that they may cast a spell with it that will siphon their child's potential for darkness into Maleficent's. However, unbeknownst to them, this spell entails sending the egg - which begins to hatch, revealing a baby to be inside - through a portal and to another land. Ursula and Cruella show up to try and stop them, appalled by what they're doing, but they simply end up being sucked into the portal as well, thus landing in our world. ("Best Laid Plans") Cruella and Ursula use the magic from the dragon's egg to keep them young for years, then abandoning the child in the woods to die. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")
After the Second Curse
There's more than one way to skin an Author.
Cruella decides to team up with Ursula and the Dark One. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")
Cruella's husband and source of income is arrested by the FBI and she scarcely manages to snatch away one of her priceless fur coats before they take everything, just as Rumplestiltskin and Ursula approach her in order to strike a bargain - she aids in their plan, and she shall receive her happy ending. Cruella is enticed by the idea and agrees to drive the three of them in her vintage car to a quaint little town called Storybrooke, where magic is present. When Cruella and Ursula learn that this town cannot be seen or entered, however, the former pulls a gun on the Dark One and threatens him, warning him not to betray them like the last times because he is nothing but a weak cripple without his powers; he assures them that he won't, pointing out that so much of his plan relies on him placing his trust in them, and they agree to proceed, using his cell phone to make contact with the Evil Queen. They tell her that they've turned over a new leaf and want to enter Storybrooke, and she agrees to help them should they help in turn to defeat Chernabog, who's attacking the town. They give Regina the information she needs and Chernabog is defeated, followed by Cruella and Ursula being given a scroll that allows them to enter Storybrooke. Later that night, the give the same scroll to Rumple and he enters too, regaining his magic and losing his limp. He reveals his plan to both resurrect Maleficent and turn Emma Swan to the dark side while, later that night, his two lady villainesses meet up with Snow White and Prince Charming, who threaten to kill them should they reveal what happened all those years ago. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")
Cruella plays her part in resurrecting Maleficent. ("Unforgiven")
Cruella and Ursula, after taking much issue with the service over at Granny's Diner, head to Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer under the pretense of wanting a new hood ornament for Cruella's car, when in fact they want to steal a totem of Maleficent's in aid of her resurrection; they are successful. However, they are pulled over by Emma and Charming, the latter of which finds the totem and takes it, realizing what the two villainesses are up to and deciding to head with Snow down to the mines in order to steal Maleficent's ashes to nullify the revival. As they soon learn, this was all a part of Cruella and Ursula's plan, and Cruella takes a small knife and cuts into the hands of the two heroes: the totem was unneeded, but the blood of the people who wronged Maleficent most is very useful indeed. It is dropped onto the ashes, and Maleficent rises once and for all. They decide to spare the Charmings, preferring to leave them stewing in their own guilt, and the three Queens of Darkness - together again - head to the town's woods. Maleficent completes the totem and shakes it, revealing it to have been a rattle intended for the baby she lost at the hands of the Charmings. ("Unforgiven")
The Queens of Darkness play a game of chicken. ("Enter the Dragon")
Regina approaches the Queens of Darkness as they hang out in an empty Granny's Diner and says that she'd like to join them in ruining everyone else's happiness (when in fact she's going undercover for the town's heroes in order to get info on the trio of villainesses). They decide to play a game in order to find out if she's gone as soft as everyone says, parking Cruella's car on the train tracks and making it so that whoever poofs them away first is the loser. Regina assumes this role and the Queens are disappointed, but Maleficent assures her associates that it means nothing except that her old friend is rusty. After a night of wreaking havoc together, the Queens return to Rumplestiltskin, who later reveals himself to Regina. She and Maleficent have just kidnapped young Pinocchio because it is believed that he knows something about the Author - a mysterious magical someone who appears to have control over the fates of happy endings. Rumple explains that Pinocchio will never remember anything so long as he's a child, and so he transforms him into the man he used to be, known as August W. Booth. ("Enter the Dragon")
Bitch gets knocked the F out. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")
Some initial torture of August is done, involving a knife and a fireball, and Rumple soon returns to the wood cabin in the woods with a potion stolen from the fairies - one which will temporarily reverse any spell they've cast. He forces it down August's throat and he turns back into wood, before reverting to his human form almost instantly. However, the potion has made it so that his "built-in lie detector" has been activated, meaning that his nose will now grow every time he fails to tell the truth. Rumple grabs him and aims him in front of the fire, learning from him that he tore an illustration of a door from the book, and the Author is trapped behind. Rumple demands to know where this door is, but all August knows is that it's in Storybrooke. Since Regina took August's things, the page is in her possession, or rather, Henry's. She is tasked with retrieving it while Cruella is left with August, but the Charmings quickly storm the place (with Snow knocking Cruella out with a frying pan) and rescue him while Ursula betrays her associates and leaves town with her father, telling Hook before she does so about Rumple's plan: he wants to fill Emma's heart with darkness so that the savior's presence doesn't interfere with the upcoming shift in happy endings. Cruella slips away and warns Gold of Ursula's betrayal as Regina retrieves the page from Henry, learning from August that the door and the page are one in the same, so the Author isn't sealed away in the Sorcerer's house like Rumple thought - the Author is trapped inside the book. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")
Cruella wants to kill the Queen. ("Best Laid Plans")
Regina is "unable" to retrieve the page, and so brings Gold, Maleficent and Cruella a photo of the door instead, taken on her phone. Cruella sees this as useless, pointing out the glare on the picture, but Gold soon realizes that this is no glare: it's magic. He works out that the Author is trapped inside the book, and he employs Maleficent to use her magic to put the whole town to sleep so that they can search for the door. They head to the Blanchard Apartment, where Regina says she last saw it, but it is soon figured out that Henry - who's immune to Maleficent's spell because he's been under a sleeping curse before - has run off with the page to the Sorcerer's mansion, for he knows the villains are after it. Regina goes to collect it from him and Gold sends Maleficent and Cruella after her to make sure she gets the job done. When the Queens of Darkness then return, Regina brings with her a forgery of the page made by Emma, and Gold figures this out quickly, forcing Maleficent to knock her out. He has her carried to her vault and Cruella wants to kill her, but Rumple says that he has something that will make Regina do his bidding forever - referring to a captive Robin Hood. ("Best Laid Plans")
Cruella goads herself into her own demise. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")
Cruella is driving through town when she's confronted by Maleficent, who demands to know what happened to her daughter, Lily, upon arriving in this world with the two other Queens of Darkness. Cruella explains that she and Ursula left the baby in the woods to die, having used the egg's magic to keep themselves young, and the infuriated sorceress takes dragon form, wanting to make Cruella's death last days - but this just means that Cruella can use her magic to take control of her, and she makes the beast fall asleep as she vows to herself that today is the day that she gets her happy ending. After confronting Isaac, the Author, and knowing she can't kill him, Cruella uses Pongo (a trusted dalmatian) to kidnap the son of the savior and the Evil Queen: Henry. She alerts his two mothers via video message, threatening to kill him if they don't do what she wants and kill the Author, but they refuse, deciding to track their son through the woods instead. Henry escapes his binds and Cruella is forced to chase after him using Pongo's help, all the while David and Mary Margaret learn that Rumplestiltskin has already meticulously planned out the ending to this entire occurrence, wanting to use it to make Emma's heart darken. He intervenes and makes it so that she and Cruella face off alone on the edge of a cliff, with the latter holding Henry at gunpoint and threatening to murder him. Emma raises her hands, prepared to use magic, but Cruella doesn't think she'd dare, pointing out that she's a hero, and heroes don't kill... and then Emma uses a blast of magic to send Cruella hurtling off the cliff and to her death. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")
I'll miss her... furs and all, I'll miss her.
Cruella De Vil is buried. ("Lily")
Following her death at the hands of the savior, Cruella De Vil is laid to rest, and both Rumplestiltskin and the Author watch as her coffin is lowered down into the ground of Storybrooke's graveyard. Isaac, staring down at the lipstick-stained napkin Cruella kissed all those years ago in the club they attended, comments that he'll miss her - furs and all - for he realizes that in her own special way she cared for him. The napkin is placed onto the grave, and Rumple says that someone had to die for the progress of his plans. Isaac questions this, and they proceed to discuss the state of Emma's heart. Meanwhile, Emma watches them from nearby, and glares are exchanged. The savior has a look of darkness on her face, regretting what she did to Cruella. ("Lily")
Cruella drives on by. ("Souls of the Departed")
Upon dying, Cruella De Vil's soul heads to the Underworld, where all those with unfinished business reside. When Captain Hook is sacrificed in order to save Storybrooke, Emma decides that she has to rescue him, and so she and the entirety of her expansive family unit head down to the Underworld in order to recover his lost soul. As they arrive, they are surprised to learn that the Underworld has taken the form of Storybrooke, although it's far more hellish with red skies and an abundant amount of ominous mist. Just as Rumple is starting to explain how things work, Emma notices Cruella's car drive by, which she finds irksome, not having thought about the fact that Cruella would be down there. Rumple points out that Cruella is there because of Emma, to the blonde's dismay, and the group proceeds to split up in the search for Hook. ("Souls of the Departed")
Cruella tries to goad the new Author into resurrecting her. ("Labor of Love")
Henry decides to search the Underworld version of his mother's mayoral office for maps that will help the heroes find their way around; however, when he and Robin discover that the place has been locked down by Cora, the young man uses the air vent to crawl in, and to his dismay he discovers that Cruella De Vil is waiting for him. She asks how his mother is, then remembering that when it comes to him she needs to be more specific, asking about the one that killed her. She points out that Henry could undo this - Emma being a killer doesn't have to have happened because Henry is the new Author, and he could simply write Cruella back to life. She knows that the only way out of the Underworld is by going to a better place or a worse one; obviously she's destined for the latter, but she's realized there's a third option that could get her back to the land of the living which she misses so much, what with the music, the gin, the glamor, the gin... Henry doesn't understand how her plan is supposed to work because he snapped his magic quill, but she explains that the quill was a living thing and, when he broke it, it died. With its purpose unfulfilled, it epitomized unfinished business and ended up in the Underworld, so they just have to find it and then it's a matter of time before Cruella's alive and the savior is pure again. Henry is left to consider all this. ("Labor of Love")
Mayor De Vil teaches Regina about the logistics of Underbrooke. ("Devil's Due")
Regina heads to Granny's Diner in the Underworld in search of the Blind Witch, but instead she finds Cruella, and the two of them sit down to discuss some questions the former Evil Queen has about what she coins as "Underbrooke". Cruella thinks she catches Regina admiring her doe skin fur - which she isn't saying is Bambi's iconic dead mother, though it very well could be - before they get into what the latter wanted to discuss. She asks about the cemetery, wondering if the presence of a person's grave means that they're there in the Underworld, but Cruella denies it, saying that it means they're just passing through. She wonders who Regina's looking for, though she refuses to tell, and proceeds to take some maps of the town from her purse, revealing as she does so that she is now the Mayor of Underbrooke thanks to Cora's recent departure. She explains how if a grave is tipped over, then that means the person has moved on to a better place - but if it's cracked, then they've gone to a worse one. Any other condition and they're there in the Underworld. Regina wonders what this worse place entails, but Cruella simply laughs that nobody who's anyone goes there anymore. Regina eventually discovers that her true love Daniel's grave is tipped over, meaning he's ascended Mount Olympus. ("Devil's Due")
Cruella decides to have a little fun. ("The Brothers Jones")
Cruella drives Henry through the Underworld in the hopes of discovering the Author's quill, telling the young man to look out for a sign. He soon discovers one, and they go out into the woods to look; however, when Cruella is distracted, the Sorcerer's Apprentice shows up and warns Henry against doing what he's doing... although he does reveal that the quill is hidden inside the Sorcerer's mansion. Finding her day fruitless, Cruella decides to go to the sheriff's station with a bottle of champagne and two glasses, hoping to have a little fun with her sheriff boyfriend Prince James. Instead of James though, she finds David, who has a hard time pretending to be his brother as Cruella's advances grow more severe. Eventually he is forced to make her back off, and she expresses annoyance that he couldn't pretend a little longer, revealing that she knew it was him the entire time because he lacks James' certain amount of damage. David wonders what his brother has to be damaged over and Cruella points out that their mother chose David over James, and the latter always held a great deal of resentment over that. Later, when the quill is discovered, Henry reveals to his family that he was considering resurrecting Cruella, but he doesn't want to do that anymore. Instead, he's going to use his power for good and help to defeat Hades. ("The Brothers Jones")
Claude does the Mayor's dirty work. ("Ruby Slippers")
When Charming wants to use one of the Underworld's haunting booths to talk to his son, Prince Neal, he discovers Cruella using her lackey Claude - a former Black Knight - to rip the phones from all the machines, making it so that no one down there can contact their loved ones any longer. When he asks her what she's doing, she insists that she's fulfilling her mayoral duty. He argues that this is the only chance people who to reach out to those they love, but she knows it's simply him lamenting the fact that he can't haunt his infant son, and he thinks she's being spiteful and vindictive just because Henry ultimately refused to write her back to life. However, she assures that she isn't doing this by choice, but rather she was ordered to do so by Hades. Of course, should Henry be willing to do the deed and use his magic quill to help her return to the land of the living, then she might be able to turn a blind eye. He of course refuses, and Claude is ultimately ordered to rip the phone from the booth, to Charming's dismay. ("Ruby Slippers")
Cruella gets her own back on the savior. ("Sisters")
David heads out to gather supplies for Robin and his baby in the forest when he's ambushed by James, who reveals that Cruella was wrong: he doesn't hate Charming because their mother chose him, he hates him because he got to have all the glory. David tries making a case for himself, protesting that it wasn't his fault either way, but this doesn't stop James from tasering him into unconsciousness. He decides that, since David got his chance to play the prince, he's going to try "playing the shepherd"; he proceeds to lock his twin brother up in the sheriff's station and he heads to the apartment, pretending to be David. Emma seems to be falling for the act as the two of them head out into the woods to give Robin the supplies, but then suddenly James slaps an anti-magic cuff on his niece's wrist, with Cruella having told him not to face the savior without one of them. Cruella herself then shows up, giving Emma a punch in the face for being the one who killed her, and she and James take Robin and the savior hostage, bringing them to the docks and threatening to throw them into the River of Lost Souls. It's all part of a plan to use Baby Hood as leverage against Hades. However, David soon shows up and saves the day, pointing out that it was stupid of James to lock him up in his own jail because he knows how to escape. The two princes then face off, and a lengthy fight ends with James being thrown into the river by his brother. Cruella flees the scene, being unable to use the gun to any effect, while David laments that there must have been another way, but Emma comforts him by saying that there was not; some people just can't let go of the past. ("Sisters")
The Blind Witch helps Cruella trap the heroes. ("Firebird")
When Hades and Zelena share a kiss of true love, the former's heart restarts and he's finally able to leave the Underworld; as such, he opens up a portal to Storybrooke for he and all the heroes to go through, even taking their names off of their respective headstones in exchange for them helping him rescue the Wicked Witch. However, he doesn't really want them following him, and so he gets Cruella De Vil and the Blind Witch to trap them in the library until the portal closes. Cruella approaches Henry as he's using his magic quill to help people realize what their unfinished business is, so as to help them move on, and Regina comments that she doesn't think Cruella would be able to move on to anywhere nice. The Mayor of Underbrooke insists that she has no interest in moving on, since Hades leaving means the land will need a new ruler... but that would be no fun without a citizenry to torment. The heroes make clear that they're not going to let her hurt the people, but she doesn't much care about them, only really wanting the heroes to remain trapped. It's pointed out to her that her magic isn't powerful enough to do more than make a puppy roll over and beg, and Cruella agrees - her magic isn't powerful enough to keep them all penned there, but the Blind Witch's is. The Witch emerges and forces all the heroes into the library, sealing them in with the help of Hades' power. She tells Regina to consider it payback for tricking those two children into burning her in her own oven. She and Cruella then stroll away, deciding that it's going to be a nice eternity after all for the two of them. ("Firebird")
Cruella is just so done. ("Last Rites")
When King Arthur dies, he finds himself in the Underworld, immediately heading to its version of Granny's Diner where the Blind Witch offers him some coffee. However, he doesn't want coffee; what he wants is to know what the hell is happening, and Hook offers him some assistance with that, explaining to the monarch that he's dead and encouraging him to help defeat Hades, who's loose in Storybrooke, so that he can move on for Emma. He ponders Hades' weaknesses but the Blind Witch says that he never shows them; Hook, however, gets the idea to recover the missing pages of the storybook that his brother Liam tore out, finding them hidden in Hades' throne. These tell him parts of Hades' story, but he needs the book itself to discover the rest, and so he and Arthur return to the Blind Witch's diner to ask Cruella De Vil what she knows. Initially, all she can do is marvel at the attractiveness of the Underworld's newest addition, wanting a better look at King Arthur and time to enjoy the "stubble sandwich" that is he and Hook. However, they have demanded her help, and she decides that there's no point in beating around the bush and hindering their chances of finding the book since they'd only end up finding it anyway. Instead, she reveals that she hid it near the River of Lost Souls, and Hook and Arthur are able to use it to help Emma defeat Hades. Hook moves on, and is resurrected by Zeus, while Arthur decides to become the Underworld's King and fix all the areas which are broken. ("Last Rites")
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the character.