Once Upon a Time Round Table: The Queens of Darkness

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The Queens of Darkness appeared on the winter finale of Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 12 and we were left to wonder how much havoc they'll cause in Storybrooke in the months to come. 

Our TV Fanatics Stacy Glanzman, Mary Kate Venedam, Robin Harry, Allison Nichols, and Amanda Steinmetz are joined by Gareth from Once Upon a Fan to debate Rumpel's punishment, Regina and Robin Hood's future and their favorite scenes from "Heroes and Villains"

What were your first impressions of the Queens of Darkness? Did you have a favorite?

Stacy: Well, we've seen Maleficent before and I love her, so it's hard not to be a little biased towards her since we've seen more of her. I'm really excited to see more of all of them though in the second half of the season.

Mary Kate: I like them. I think they will bring something to the show with their story and I'm curious what their ultimate plan is and who they have connections with. So far, I like Cruella. If she can go up against Rumple with the sass, I'm a fan. I'm wondering how she fits into OUAT world, considering she's from London not a kingdom far, far away.

Robin: I liked them, though I'm not sure how I feel about the storyline. I'm hoping they get more to do than just wanting to get away with being bad. I thought Cruella was a lot of fun! I loved Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, so it's kind of hard for me to see anyone else in the role now. She'll take some getting used to. 

Allison: I'm unsure where Cruella fits into all of this. Is her skill sass? Can she turn into a Dalmatian? Right now, it is hard to see her role. I'm excited to see more of Ursula. I was excited to hear that she would be on the show.

Amanda: I'm definitely excited for this new chapter. I'm not sure how Maleficent is supposed to be around now because wasn't she killed in the first season when she was in dragon form? I'm really curious about how Cruella will fit in. I'm hoping there is a good twist with her character like she uses the puppies as her minions or something. 

Gareth: I think Cruella is going to be fun. I loved her line to Rumple about getting a step stool so he could look her in the eye. I get the feeling she may be the brains in this trio of evil.

Belle banished Rumpel from Storybrooke. Did you feel sorry for him?

Stacy: Not at all! He's had it coming all season and it was so empowering (and heartbreaking) to watch Belle do what needed to be done.

Mary Kate: Nope. He totally got what he deserved. I'm so glad Belle fought back after all the lying he did. Plus, he finally realized that rules apply to him, I can't believe it took that long. 

Robin: I didn't feel sorry for him at all - he had that coming. I'm glad Belle finally saw what was going on and stood up for herself. If anything, I found him kind of pathetic. It's a sad man who doesn't realize how much he has in the love of a good woman.

Allison: No. I was just proud of Belle. She finally is seeing things clearly now, and she had her badass moment. I'm excited to see how being banished by Belle changes anything for Rumple. Will he try to win her back or is he just going all out dark side?

Amanda: Not at all. Rumple had it coming. Clearly the love of a good woman will never be enough for him. I'm so proud of Belle for standing up for herself, and saving the day. There's only so much heartbreak a woman can take. Belle finally wised up to who Rumple really is. I just hope Rumple doesn't turn on Belle and treat her like an enemy. 

Gareth: When Rumple said “I’m afraid” as he went over the town line, I had the faintest twinge of sorrow for him. He was right back to where he started, the village coward. I really felt for Belle, her tears and anguish were heartbreaking. 

Do you think Regina has lost Robin Hood forever?

Stacy: No, operation Mongoose is in full force and I think Regina will get her happy ending somehow. I suspect Robin will be back by the end of the season.

Mary Kate: I have hope (just like Snow) that Robin will find a way back, if not, Emma would've stayed in NYC after she and Henry forgot everything. Again, I'm curious what would make them come back, if it has something to do with Rumple crossing the line or not.  

Robin: I hope not!  I sincerely hope they'll be reunited before the end of the season. Perhaps Robin Hood, in NYC, will get some wind of Rumple's and the Queens' plans?

Allison: I don't think so. It would be a shame to lose Robin from the show for good. He is such a great character. Emma is on a mission to get Regina her happy ending, so I bet she is going to do all that she can to reunite Robin and Regina.

Amanda: I doubt it. This would be a terrible way to close out there story. I'm sure the curse on the town line will eventually be lifted or the author will change things. Regina is not going to give up on her happily ever after so easily. 

Gareth: I think he will be back. Maybe Robin will find out what Rumple is planning and try to get back to warn the residents of Storybrooke.

Should Emma join in on Operation Mongoose or should it just be Regina and Henry's adventure?

Stacy: I wish we could have seen a little more of Regina and Henry operating on their own before Emma joined, but yes I think it's good she's helping out. I love just about any scene Emma and Regina share so I think this will be pretty entertaining to watch.

Mary Kate: I like that Emma's joining because that means a chance that there will be more scenes with more of the cast. I really enjoy when the cast is involved in a joint cause, rather than a bunch of separate ones. 

Robin: Like Stacy, I wish we had gotten to see more of Henry and Regina working together, but I'm quite glad that Emma's joined forces with them. Regina and Emma complement each other well, and I love all their scenes together.

Allison: I agree that it would have been great to see more of Regina and Henry working together. We've seen many operations that Emma and Henry have gone on, and so it would have been nice to see Regina and Henry bonding over walkie talkies and Operation Mongoose. Personally, I wish we could have seen Henry snooping around Gold's shop and being really obvious about it. I wonder how long it will just be Emma, Regina, and Henry working on Operation Mongoose. It wouldn't surprise me to have more people jump on board.

Amanda: Yes! Working together will be good for this dysfunctional family. Emma stills feels guilty for bringing Marian back with her, therefore ruining Regina's hopes for love. Henry will be thrilled to have his two moms working together. 

Gareth: I think it will be fun for Henry to be working on Operation Mongoose with both his moms. I really enjoy it when Emma and Regina are teamed up together.

Was there anything that disappointed you in the winter finale?

Stacy: I thought it was a little convenient that Anna randomly decided to ask who Mr. Gold was just as she was about to go through the portal. Other than that though I really enjoyed the episode and don't really have any complaints. 

Mary Kate: Probably the lack of many main characters. For a finale, Snow and Charming and even newbie Will hardly made any appearances. 

Robin: I didn't think there was any need for the final Frozen scene they showed, with Anna in her wedding dress. I mean, sure, it's cute, but we could have assumed they went back to do what they said they would. I would have rather seen that time spent on Emma and Hook, or with someone comforting Belle. 

Allison: I wish Emma would have acted on her suspicions about how Hook is behaving. She clearly knows something is wrong, but she doesn't do anything. Instead, Emma finds out when she sees Rumple holding Hook's heart. There were just too many little moments where Emma has a look that suggests that she knows something is wrong for the writers not to have her really investigate this. Sure, she asks Hook if everything is okay, but that's it.

Amanda: Nothing major, but why didn't Emma investigate Hook's behavior? For heaven's sake, he was gripping on her wrist pretty damn hard. That's kind of a red flag something is wrong.

Gareth: I’d have liked to have seen Anna and Kristoff’s wedding, however I’m guessing there might be reasons why that couldn’t be shown on-screen. Overall, I really enjoyed the finale. It set up all the plot threads for Season 4B, had great character moments and hinted at a much darker storyline to come, all of which which I’m really excited about.

What was your favorite scene from the episode?

Stacy: Definitely Belle forcing Rumple to leave town. As I said before it was heartbreaking to watch and the acting from both Robert Carlyle and Emilie de Ravin was fantastic.My second choice would be Rumple and Regina in the car. Seriously someone give Robert and Lana an Emmy nomination already! 

Mary Kate: I liked the goodbye scenes for Frozen. Even though I have mixed feelings about the story of the Frozen arc, I loved the characters. It was nice to get a proper goodbye, both in Storybrooke with Elsa and Emma, and the final goodbye before Anna's wedding. I can not say enough good things about the casting of the Frozen characters.  

Robin: Even more than Rumpel & Belle's final confrontation, I loved the scene in the clock tower, when Gold tried crushing the heart only to find Belle there. I love how Belle took charge, I loved the resolve and anger in her voice, and I love how forceful she was.

Allison: Oh goodness, it is a tie between Belle banishing Rumple at the town line, and Rumple and Regina in the car. I loved seeing Belle strong and in control even though her heart was breaking. I also enjoyed the distinction that is drawn between Rumple and Regina when they are in the car. Plus, it shows that the two of them have a friendship.

Amanda: Belle banishing Rumple at the town line. Both their performances were fantastic, and I was so proud of Belle in that moment. Her actions were both strong and sad all at once. She was losing her love, but she was saving the town and herself from his evil ways. 

Gareth: It had to be the showdown between Belle and Rumple at the town line. One of the best  moments, not just of this season, but of the entire series. I loved it. Emilie and Robert have never been better. 

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C. Orlando was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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