For the Sea Goddess of the same name, see Ursula.
You named me Ursula after the Goddess of Old. Legends say she was strong and powerful, well that's exactly what I want to be.
Ursula is a supporting character on Once Upon a Time. Originally a mermaid with a beautiful singing voice, Ursula was betrayed by both a vengeful pirate and her own father, who made it so that she could never sing again. She ended up stealing the latter's trident and using it to transform her tail into a set of tentacles, making her as powerful as the renowned sea goddess who serves as her namesake. With this power, she went on to rule the ocean as she wished and joined the Queens of Darkness, a group of villains who wanted to make it so that they got the happy endings for once. Their plot led them all the way to Storybrooke, Maine, but a reunion with both her father and her voice allows Ursula to reform to the side of good and live out her happy ending under the sea.
Before the Curse
The risk was worth it. For too long we've lived in a world where the heroes always win.
Ursula becomes the Sea Witch. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")
Following the death of her mother, Ursula is commanded by her father, King Poseidon of the Sea, to use her singing voice to lure sailors to their doom. One day, Ursula nearly leads Captain Hook and the crew of the Jolly Roger to their demise, but stops before they hit a group of sharp rocks. Ursula later leaves the sea, not wishing to abide by her father's rules. She starts working at a tavern as a singer in hopes of earning enough money to travel to Glowerhaven, a place her mother always enjoyed singing. She runs into Hook, who realizes she's the mermaid who almost got him killed, but since she didn't, he feels the need to buy her a drink. Hook agrees to take Ursula to Glowerhaven for free, but when King Poseidon tries to buy him off with squid ink in exchange for detaining his daughter's singing voice in a shell, the pirate alerts Ursula, who agrees to steal the squid ink for him instead so they may both get what they want. Before the two are able to set sail, however, Poseidon arrives and uses magic to get rid of the squid ink as punishment. Angered that his only hope of revenge against Rumplestiltskin has been crushed, Hook traps Ursula's singing voice in the shell so the Sea King can never use his daughter to sink another ship again. Poseidon tries to make up with his daughter later on, however, but Ursula is unforgiving, and instead she steals her father's trident to transform her mermaid tail into tentacles and takes control over the sea, deeming herself to be feared. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")
Ursula helps collect the Dark Curse for Rumple. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")
After receiving anonymous instruction to come to the Forbidden Fortress, Ursula and Cruella have a stand off with Maleficent, who insists that she did not invite them and warns them to leave. But before things get too heated, Rumplestiltskin reveals himself to be the one who gathered the girls in promise of a happy ending. He tells them of a plan to retrieve the Dark Curse, which requires the three witches special skills. Maleficent and the other two agree, so they head to the location where the curse is kept. After Cruella and Maleficent successfully get them past the first and second obstacles, Ursula takes her turn and grabs the curse with her tentacle. However, Rumple takes it and leaves the three women to die at the hands of the Chernabog, an ancient demon that guards the curse. Trapped in the room with the demon that seeks the heart with the darkest potential, Maleficent comes up with a plan for the three of them to escape. After realizing she's the one with the darkest potential, Maleficent distracts the Chernabog while Cruella and Ursula escape. She fights off the beast as long as she can, but when she thinks she's been abandoned she gives up. However, Ursula grabs her just in time and takes her to safety. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")
Ursula uses Belle as leverage. ("Heroes and Villains")
When Belle, working as Rumplestiltskin's maid, is out doing the laundry, she becomes distracted by a small dalmatian which she follows as it runs away. She eventually loses before someone grabs her from behind, kidnapping her. When looking for his maid, Rumple receives a message from a sand dollar 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. He later arrives at the cliff with the magic gauntlet that points to a person's greatest weakness, and he meets who he expects to meet: Maleficent. Thinking it's just the two of them, he begins to strangle her with magic, but he stops when a pair of tentacles begin choking Belle. The sea witch Ursula reveals that she is there too, and then so does Cruella De Vil, much to Rumple's shock. 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 Ursula and Cruella: 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")
Ursula and Cruella 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") Ursula and Cruella 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
Never go up against a woman who has eight hands, especially when you only have one.
Rumple recruits Ursula for his new master plan. ("Heroes and Villains")
Six weeks after his plot to cleave himself to the dagger fails and he is forced by Belle to leave Storybrooke, Rumplestiltskin is seen staying in New York where he visits an aquarium. He meets up with a former foe, Ursula, who now has a job feeding the aquarium's fish. Taking in the Dark One's appearance, the sea witch sneers at how little he resembles a man who always wins, which is what he once described himself as. Rumple explains that his situation is temporary, and he goes into the fact villains never win also applies to himself, but also states there's someone who can change that called "The Author". This doesn't impress Ursula much, her thinking such a person sounds pretentious, though Rumple offers to take her to him. Ursula finds it strange he is coming to her for help, and she wonders exactly who they are up against. Unsurprisingly, he states that the heroes are in their way, and then suggests she pack her things for the journey as they still have two more stops to make, referring to Cruella De Vil and Maleficent. ("Heroes and Villains")
Ursula and Cruella arrive in Storybrooke. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")
Mr. Gold has been staying in Ursula's apartment and mooching off of her, much to her displeasure, but it isn't long until a plan is set in motion and the two of them garner the help of Cruella De Vil, whose 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, Ursula 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")
Ursula knocks out the Charmings. ("Unforgiven")
Ursula and Cruella, 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 Ursula and Cruella'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")
Ursula is skeptical of Regina. ("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")
Ursula gets her happy ending. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")
Instead of torturing August with Rumple and the other Queens of Darkness, Ursula meets up with Hook in the woods, who is willing to negotiate a deal with the Sea Witch. In exchange for the Dark One's plan, Hook agrees to help Ursula get her happy ending without the Author. She agrees to these terms, and the two make their way to the docks where Hook has Ursula open up a portal to the Enchanted Forest and retrieve the Jolly Roger, but to the pirate's surprise, it has been shrunken down and placed inside a bottle. With help from Belle and Will, the boat is sized back up to its original form, and Hook returns Ursula her singing voice. However, when it doesn't work, Ursula calls off the deal and throws Hook overboard to his death so she may rejoin Rumple and the others. Hook is saved by Ariel, however, a mermaid who was trapped in the bottle with the Jolly Roger on accident; she agrees to help Hook get Ursula her happy ending. Meanwhile, Ursula arrives back at Rumple's cabin where she discovers Emma, Mary Margaret, and David trying to free August, so she grabs Mary Margaret with one of her tentacles and begins strangling her. Hook then arrives, telling Ursula she doesn't have to do this, revealing that the reason she was unable to get back her singing voice from the shell was because it must be returned by the one who enchanted it to begin with. Ursula's father, King Poseidon then arrives, having been brought to her by Ariel, and he returns her voice, resulting in a happy reunion. Before leaving Storybrooke with her father, Ursula reveals that since the Author can't just re-write their happy endings, having never actually written them for Storybrooke, it's all up to the Savior - Emma - who Rumple plans on turning to the dark side. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the character.