Monday, January 9, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 8)

It is week eight for ABC's Once Upon a Time. A month ago we were left with a heart-wrenching (quite literally) final minutes of episode seven. I don't know about you but this one definitely had me amped up to see where the show would go in 2012.

This week's episode was entitled "Desperate Souls", an episode written by Jane Espenson. With the void left by last episode's shocking death, Emma finds herself at odds against Regina to fill that position, with Mr. Gold acting as a wild card in the whole thing. Also, one of the most anticipated tales from Fairytale land is revealed.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

How does someone like Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold get to the position of power he has and maintain it? That is what this episode is all about.

Let's start first in the land of Fairytales. We learn that there has been an ongoing ware with orges, waging for decades at least. Since this is the first we've heard of this on the show, we have to assume it takes place long before the other tales we've seen so far of Snow White, Cinderella, etc. At age 15 children after taken from their homes to fight and dies as soldiers for the Duke. Anyone who protests is dealt with by the Dark One, a mystical, mysterious entity.

Rumpelstiltskin's son is due to turn 15 in three days. He takes his son and flees, something we soon learn when they are cornered by troops is what he has done before. Turns out this wool spinner was once in the army and cowardly ran away. This caused his wife to leave him. All he has left is his son and will do anything to protect him. However, kissing the boots of the head officer will do nothing to buy him that time; he is only further ridiculed.

An old man comes to father and son's aid and tells Rumple that the Dark One is in fact a slave to the Duke. Whoever holds the dagger with the Dark One's true name can control him, or that person can slay the Dark One with the dagger to take his powers. Rumple finally finds courage to act in order to save his son.

Using fire to create chaos in the castle, he slips in and steals the dagger. He summons Zoso, the Dark One, and shows he has the dagger. Zoso taunts him by saying he needs to use the power wisely. The conversation turns, Rumple reacts in haste and kills Zoso with the dagger. As the once powerful entity reverts to normal, Rumple realizes it is the old man. With his dying breath, Zoso laughs that he has found a truly desperate soul to relieve him of his burden. Now the powers and the burden belong to Rumplestiltskin. It is his name now locked on the magical dagger.

The next day, the army comes for the son but Rumple arrives. He flaunts his power, makes the leader kiss his boot, and then slays the army squad. He tells his son he did it to save the children, all children. His son is still afraid but Rumple says he fears no one.

In Storybrooke, we see what years (maybe centuries? how long does a dark one live?) of experience have done for Mr. Gold. He calls Emma to his shop to offer condolences for the death of Sheriff Graham but he really wants to set the pieces in motion for Emma to be the new sheriff. He does show his softer side when he offers her walkie-talkies for her to share with Henry (he indicates how children are so precious).

Emma finds, however, that she just can't say she is sheriff. Regina plans to appoint Sydney Glass, editor of the local paper and someone she already controls. Mr. Gold won't have that and offers to be Emma's benefactor. His first gesture is showing her the town charter that reveals that Regina can only appoint a candidate. There must be an election.

Regina is ready to fight back. First she has Glass publish Emma's hidden past for all the town to see. Then she plans to use a debate to further slander Emma. When Emma goes to see her about all this, a fire breaks out at Regina's office and traps them both. Only through Emma's resourcefulness are they both saved. Emma is a hero in the town's eyes. But Emma suspects foul play.

She confronts Gold about his possible involvement in the arson. Gold is sly and makes no claim. He has learned how to dance around things.

The debate arrives but Emma decides she must show Henry that good does not have to stoop to evil's ways. She tells the town folk that she suspects the fire was no accident and that Mr. Gold might be involved. This shocks all except Regina who smirks with confidence. Gold leaves without a word.

A few hours later, Regina has to eat crow and deliver the badge which indicates that Emma has won the election. The town folk have more faith in her now that she is willing to stand up to Mr. Gold, someone they all fear as much as they do the Mayor. Regina is at least content that Emma has made a bigger enemy, expecting that Gold will take care of Emma for her now.

But, Regina is wrong. Gold is waiting for Emma the next day. She is worried that he is there for revenge. Turns out, he orchestrated the whole thing - realizing she needed more than just being a hero to push her over the top. He arranged it all so she could appear to be standing up to him in order to win. Emma is confused. Why do that? Gold realizes that she'll be in a better position to repay him the favor she owes him some day if she's in a better position of power in Storybrook.

So, this week we firmly learned that Rumplestiltskin/Gold now enjoys the absolute power and all that comes from it and will let no one be the better of him. It will be very interesting to see what comes next. And just where is the dagger with his name on it? Hidden, I am sure, but no doubt it will come into play down the road.

Next week: the story of Hansel and Gretel and guest star Emma Caulfield (best known for playing Anya on Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a number of seasons). I can't wait.

1 comment:

Eric Duhamel said...

This show just keeps getting better and better. I had no idea what to expect in this episode, but it sure was a good surprise.