My favorite character on OUAT is Rumplestiltskin aka Mr. Gold. So I was very happy to see a Rumplestiltskin centric episode. And we even got to see that at one point, old Rumpy had a heart….and a son! This is why I think OUAT is so successful…great character development. It reminds a little of Lost in the sense that you have a big cast and everyone has a story. But we aren’t going to rush to tell it and everyone has multiple layers that will be told over time. And just when you think you’ve figured someone out, you haven’t. Maybe that’s why I’m gravitating to this show so much. Because it’s 100% about the characters. Even though the premise of the show lulled you in, enticing you with a bigger, mysterious, mystical story, ultimately, the show is about these people.
In “Desperate Souls”, we see Rumplestiltskin (RS…because I can’t keep writing Rumplestiltskin) in fairytale land living in a very poor area that is being bullied by the Duke and the Dark One, whom he happens to control. They are barging into RS’s village because they are taking all the young children, once they reach the age of 14, and using them in battle. The parents have no say and these people are cruel and violent. RS’s son is about to turn 14 and he wants to do whatever he can to stop the Duke from taking him away. In the middle of night, they try to run away but they are caught and in order to keep the Duke from taking his son right there and then, RS has to be humiliated and kiss his boot. After being kicked in the head (literally) and publicly humiliated, they leave. A beggar shows up trying to give RS some advice on how he can save his son. He tells him the story of the Dark One and how the Duke stole his dagger, therefore, he controls him. The beggar tells RS, if you steal the dagger, you have the power of the Dark One and the power over the Duke. RS doesn’t think he can do that. The other option is to take all the power for yourself by killing the Dark One.
RS sets fire to the castle as a diversion and is able to steal the dagger from the Duke and he notices a strange inscription on the dagger, Zoso. He goes into the woods to summon the Dark One who appears to him. He basically tells him what a nothing he is and let his son go off as intended, prompting RS to stab him with the dagger. As he begins to die, he transforms back into his “human” form….as the beggar from the woods!!!! The beggar was tired of the toll being the Dark One was taking on him, so he purposely drove RS to kill him so RS would become the Dark One. The interesting part is that when RS doesn’t want this power because he doesn’t know what to expect, the beggar tells him, “never make a deal where you don’t know all aspects of that deal.” It’s also interesting when RS asks, why me? “Because I’m very good at finding desperate souls” the beggar tells him. It certainly explains why RS was walking around with glitter all over his face like he just left a Hannah Montana concert. Is she still relevant? Who knows? Anyhoo, when RS pulls the knife from the beggar, the inscription that read Zoso, now reads “Rumplestiltskin.” Guess the beggar’s name was Zoso…sucks for him. RS returns to the village where the Duke is there to wreak more havoc on the villagers. The Duke notices the Dark One’s presence but it stunned when he sees that it’s someone new…it’s someone who was once weak and timid…it’s RS!!! RS tells the Duke he needs to kiss his boot now and when the Duke goes to do so, RS snaps his neck. He then kills the rest of the Duke’s entourage. All of this happens right in front of his son who is floored by the look of his new father. He tells his son that he now has the power to protect him and he will no matter what.
In reality, everyone is dealing with the Sheriff’s death. Emma thinks this mean she is now the sheriff, but Regina has other plans. She appoints a report, Sidney Glass, the new sheriff. Mr. Gold doesn’t want this to happen. He supports Emma in her quest to become sheriff. The main reason (we think) is because she is trying to do this to stay connected to son. So he brings her the city’s by-laws and we learn that Regina doesn’t have the power to name the new sheriff, only to nominate. There needs to be a public vote. Let the dirty politics begin! And begin they do. Regina gives Sidney a story about how Henry was born in jail and we see this horrible mug shot of Emma on the front page. Henry is really upset by this. He’s already having a hard time with the sheriff’s death and wants to give up Operation Cobra because he thinks the good guys will never be able to beat the bad guys. Emma storms into Regina’s office to grill her over why she would do something like this to Henry. It’s one thing to play dirty with Emma but it shouldn’t be at the expense of her “son.” As they are walking and talking an explosion happens and a fire breaks out. Emma ends up saving Regina’s life and he is now the hero of Storybrooke. But things aren’t always what they appear to be. Emma notices a rag that has a smell she recognizes from Mr. Gold’s office. She confronts him and it turns out Gold set the fire to set up Emma to look like a hero to overcome the story Regina ran in the paper.
At the debate, Emma decides that she can’t win like this. It isn’t a good example for Henry and she wants to show him that good can beat evil. She announces what really happened at the debate. Mr. Gold isn’t happy and leaves while Emma feels she has lost. She goes to the bar to have a drink and Henry shows up with the walkie-talkies she brought him earlier on in the show. He tells her that he was really proud of her and that he does believe in the good guys again and that Operation Cobra is back on! Also showing up is Regina and Sidney. Emma thinks they are there to gloat when in reality, they are there to congratulate her. SHE WON! She is now the sheriff and the people have spoken. Not that this was any surprise, but I still liked it. Regina smiles and tells Emma that Mr. Gold is a scary friend to have, but he’s an even more dangerous enemy. “Good Luck with that” she tells her. Lana Parilla is awesome as the wicked queen/Regina! When she is setting up her new office, Mr. Gold shows up. He tells her that things went exactly as planned. He says he knew she would stand up to him and that’s exactly what she needed to win. I don’t know if I buy this but damn that Gold is good at spinning things to his favor! She asks him why he was supporting her. He tells her “because I’m very good at finding desperate souls.” HHHHHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMMM. Where have we heard that before? Before he leaves, he reminds him that she owes him a favor and there is no better person to own you a favor than the sheriff of the town. “Good day to you Ms. Swan.”
A flipping fantastic episode!! This show keeps getting stronger and stronger every week. And thank God the ratings have stopped sliding. That was starting to worry me. I have really become so engrossed with these characters that I am at the point where I don’t care if they solve the curse…at least, not yet. I am interested in seeing the back stories and the future stories, that if we mix in some curse stuff, so be it. I think the show is pacing very nicely and it is now in my top 5 must watch shows every week!
If you haven’t checked out OUAT, stop whatever you are doing, run to your nearest TV, Computer, iPad, iPhone, whatever, and watch these episodes!!!! They are too good to miss.