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A person obsessed with vengeance is easy to manipulate. She thought I believed her happy ending was reconciling with her mother. But I knew she was after something else. Your death.
Mr. Gold to Isaac Heller

"Sympathy for the De Vil" is the eighteenth episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz, and directed by Romeo Tirone. It is the eighty-fourth episode of the series overall, and premiered on April 19, 2015.


In fictional 1920s England, viewers meet a young Cruella, whose oppressive mother uses her Dalmatians to terrorize her daughter. Cruella is confined to her mother's attic until a mysterious stranger arrives and empowers her to challenge her captor. In Storybrooke, Regina gains leverage to keep Gold from interfering with her plan to rescue Robin, but her trip to New York takes the backseat when she and Emma learn that Cruella has kidnapped Henry.[2]


This section is a detailed recap of this episode. There are major spoilers. Click to expand.

Deleted Scenes

These scenes are included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season.

"Good Boy"


"The Lonely Author"




Guest Starring





Production Notes

  • Paige's bike was on set during the filming of this episode, but it didn't actually appear when it aired.[7]
  • In an early version of the script, Cruella and her mother were both part of a dog psychic team.[8]
  • Milli Wilkinson, who plays young Cruella, also plays Alice's daughter in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland series finale "And They Lived...".
  • A digital facial replacement was used for Pongo's angry face. The dog was not actually snarling. The growls on Madeline's dalmatians were also digital.[8]
  • Murray's Club was a real night club on Beak Street, London, which opened in 1913, and closed in 1975.[9]
    • Fittingly enough, the in-universe name of the song that Cruella hears on the radio is "The Toast of Beak Street".
  • When Cruella leaves the club, as she puts the napkin in Isaac's inside pocket, the box where Isaac keeps the quill, is open.[10] A few seconds later, when he is holding the napkin in his hands, the box is closed.[11] This is the moment where Cruella steals Isaac's quill. This little detail was added by the director, and was not in the script.[8]
  • Madeline states Cruella used trumpet flowers to poison her own father to death. She does not specify which type of trumpet flowers, but one possibility is the angel's trumpet, also commonly known as a trumpet flower, that have several different species and all have fatal effects if ingested.
  • After Emma kills Cruella, the sound of crows can be heard in the final shot of Emma. This is a subtle hint that Emma is sliding into darkness. Crow sounds were often edited in by the sound designers for Regina's Storybrooke scenes during Season One.[12] (Two examples are when she tells Emma to leave town in "Pilot", and when she is talking to Sidney in "The Thing You Love Most").

Events Chronology

Episode Connections


Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

Props Notes

  • The dust jacket for Isaac's edition of The Great Gatsby[14] is a prop designed by concept artist Neil Westlake.[17] The cover uses the same font as Scribner's 1953 edition of the novel[18] and features a billboard with a pair of spectacled eyes. A dominant symbol in The Great Gatsby is a billboard which advertises the services of an optometrist by the name of Dr. T.J. Eckelburg and depicts a pair of eyes wearing glasses.
    • The book blurb[14] is directly copied from the blurb for Scribner's 1953 edition.[19] It reads:

Here is a novel, glamorous, ironical, compassionate –
a marvelous fusion into unity of the curious incon-
gruities of the life of the period – which reveals a hero
like no other – one who could live at no other time
and in no other place. But he will live as a character,
we surmise, as long as the memory of any reader lasts.

It is the story of this Jay Gatsby who came so myste-
riously to West Egg, of his sumptuous entertain-
ments, and of his love for Daisy Buchanan – a story that
ranges from pure lyrical beauty to sheer brutal
realism, and is infused with a sense of the strangeness of
human circumstance in a heedless universe.
It is a magical, living book, blended of irony, romance
and mysticism.

  • The interior of the book is a real edition of the novel published by Vintage Books in 2012: The introduction, which Isaac is reading when Cruella drops by,[16] has the exact same design, layout and content.[20]

Set Dressing

  • The room where Cruella is locked up is filled with her mother's dog statuettes and dog show trophies.[25]
  • A dictionary from University of Oxford in 1920s England is lying on a table in adult Cruella's room in her homeworld.[26]
    • The titles of the magazines lying around inside the room are Photopage,[26] Filmgoer[27] and Modern Pictures.[28]
  • As Henry is in the alley with Pongo, the peeled-off paint on the container next to him forms a star pattern around a vertical silhouette of a running dog.[29]
  • When Isaac shows Cruella the Author's pen, the upside-down piece of paper on the table contains Isaac's notes about a man called Jonas, and someone called Jilton. The latter traveled through some landscape, and was known for having a connection to the first convoy that traveled to some deep jungles.[30]

Costume Notes

Filming Locations

International Titles



  2. 2.0 2.1 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, April 19, 2015. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#418) "Sympathy for the De Vil"”
  4. File:418Title.png
  6. Mitovich, Matt Webb (April 8, 2015). Once Upon a Time Bosses Tease Emma's Darkness and Cruella's Happy Ending, Answer a Burning Q. TVLine. “The [writers] room knows that we're very big Rolling Stones fans, so they actually came out with this pitch and it got a big yes from us. It’s a favorite.”
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 David H. Goodman and Jerome Schwartz on the Season Four Blu-ray Audio Commentary for "Sympathy for the De Vil"
  10. File:418NapkinInsidePocket.png
  11. File:418KissMarkNapkin.png
  13. File:418MadelineSighs.png
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 File:418BotherStudying.png
  16. 16.0 16.1 File:418TheGreats.png
  17. File:418ConceptArt1.png
  18. THE GREAT GATSBY By F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (nice) Hardcover – 1953. Amazon. Retrieved on August 28, 2018. (Photograph of the 1953 edition)
  19. Boats Against the Current: The Great Gatsby. Running In My Head (September 27, 2013). “From the Back Cover: Here is a novel, glamorous, ironical, compassionate (...). ~ 1953 Scribner Edition
  20. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vintage Books, London, 2012, p. VII. Facsimile by Google Books.
  21. File:418SewingMachine.png
  23. File:511Rumple.png
  24. File:518LetThatHappen.png
  25. File:418LockMeUpHere.png
  26. 26.0 26.1 File:418AndNow.png
  27. File:418BrandNewSong.png
  28. File:418BeakStreet.png
  29. File:418ComeHereBoy.png
  30. File:418APen.png
  31. File:418CarStops.png
  33. File:418ThatsNotYou.png
  34. (note that the source erroneously claims that the sweater is worn in the nineteenth episode of Season Four)
  35. File:418Regina.png
  37. File:422EmmaToTheRescue.png
  38. File:503Promo14.jpg
  40. External image of the outside of the house
  42. External image of the basement
  43. Screenshot from Psych: "Pilot"
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 Movies Filmed at Casa Mia. MovieMaps. Retrieved on September 24, 2018.
  45. Screenshot from Supernatural: "Abandon All Hope..."
  46. SPN Filming Locations: Season Six (Episodes 1 - 7). LiveJournal. Retrieved on October 28, 2018.
  47. Screenshot from Arrow: "Corto Maltese"
  48. Screenshot from John Doe: "Past Imperfect"
  49. Screenshot from Lucifer: "St. Lucifer"
  50. Screenshot from iZombie: "Blue Bloody"
  51. The Huffington Post B.C. (March 13, 2014). Fifty Shades Of Grey' Movie House Could Become Seniors Care Home. HuffPost. “Most recently, it was used as interiors for the Grey mansion in "Fifty Shades Of Grey," which finished shooting in the city last month.”

Start a Discussion Discussions about Sympathy for the De Vil

  • Thoughts on "Sympathy for The De Vil"

    139 messages
    • I agree with you. (I just also think the car never had magic since nothing in the show has suggested that other than that he said he transpo...
    • Jingle bells, Ursula smells, Maleficent laid an egg! Cruella De Vil, lost her wheels and the Dark One got away!
  • henry and robin, who will die?

    30 messages
    • Hum, I don't get it. The author seem to be trapped in the book after what happened between him and Cruella. When the apprentice trapped ...
    • D.Prince wrote:Hum, I don't get it. The author seem to be trapped in the book after what happened between him and Cruella. When ...