Jan 9 2012 12:59pm

Once Upon a Time Episode 8: The Rumpelstiltskin Show

Rumpelstiltskin in Once Upon a TimeWhen we last left the denizens of Storybrook, they were reeling from the death of Graham/Sheriff/Huntsman. Murdered in cold blood by Regina/Evil Queen.

But this episode is clearly Rumpelstiltskin’s episode, and I couldn’t be happier. Let the David Bowie (whose birthday is today, incidentally) references fly! BTW, the soundtrack to this episode is particularly good, kudos for the Sonic Youth song !

(Need to catch up? Check our our past Once Upon a Time Recaps:
Episode 1Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7)

We open to R. (I don’t want to type his long-ass name every time) spinning. He lives in a hovel and you can hear screaming outside. We see soldiers taking all the children away, and some crazy ass sorcerer holding the town at bay while the soldiers do it. It is clear that the next time they come they will take R.’s son. Both of them are terrified.

Cut to Storybrook

Emma is summoned by Mr. Gold, who just talks about the Sheriff and how much he will be missed. He tries to get her to take his belongings, but she refuses until he presses the point with some walkie talkies for Henry. He also reminds her that the Sheriff’s job is now hers by default. She acts like she doesn’t want it, but you can tell she does. It is also clear that Gold is pushing her toward Henry.

Emma Swan and Henry in Once Upon a TimeEmma gives Henry the walkie talkies. They talk about Graham’s death some, and Henry is visibly shaken. He tells her he wants to cool it with the covert stuff. Henry also says Gold makes Regina look like Hello Kitty (I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist).

Back at the Police station, Emma is about to put on the badge when Regina shows up, and after a big scene of two stepping, Regina wrests the badge away from Emma. Cut to Emma listening to SONIC YOUTH and drinking...GOOOOO EMMMA!

Mary Margaret arrives in one of her do-goody moments and gets Emma to admit she wants the badge back. Just then, a convenient knock sounds at the door and Mr. Gold, our resident Bad Batz Maru (okay I’m done with the Sanrio references), shows up. He says he has found a loophole in the town bylaws and that if she still wants to be the Sheriff they can set up an election. She agrees.

Back to R.-land in the next scene:

R. and son run to avoid the soldiers, but they are caught. The soldiers humiliate R. by telling his son that R. is a deserter, coward and a liar, and then they make him kiss their boots. R. is treated cruelly and humiliated, but the son doesn’t care, since it’s clear he loves his father. Enter Old Man (played by Brad Dourif of LOTR and Deadwood fame; if he drops the F-bomb I’m going to die) who helps R and son home.

R. offers Old Man some soup and they talk. They discuss the power of names and how R. can regain his personal power by taking it from that Dark Sorcerer guy. Old dude tells R. about a dagger with the dark one’s name on it. If R. can take it out of the castle and kill the Dark One with it, then he’ll have limitless power. R. looks confused, he seems like sort of a simpleton.

Regina, aka the Evil Queen, in Once Upon a TimeThis is the modern world...

Emma confronts Regina and tells her about the loophole, and that there will be an election for sheriff.

Regina appoints Sidney Glass (the mirror) as Emma’s opposition. Sidney looks shocked, and Regina looks scared.

Regina goes to see Mr. Gold, who lets her know that he’s in Emma’s corner. More two stepping and some name calling.

Cut to the cafe, where Henry is reading a smear campaign article about Emma. He’s not buying into it, but it’s clear it’s hitting all the highpoints of Emma’s somewhat questionable life. Again, Henry warns about Gold’s evil ways.

Emma pays a visit to Regina, and while they are hurling insults at each other a fire erupts in Regina’s house. The Mayor is hurt, and demands Emma save her. Emma does, because frankly that’s what reasonable people do.

Back to R., who is talking to his son about his plans to kill the dark one and take his power. R wants desperately to be all powerful to prove to his son that he is a good man. You can see him nearly drooling over this power. The son doesn’t like it, but stands behind his father.

Hooray for Emma, she has saved the Evil Queen’s bacon, but EQ is not grateful, but whiny and complaining. The townsfolk are excited, though, and calling her names like HERO and SHERIFF. Emma recognizes a smell in the fire debris—a smell she last smelled, ah yes!, when she was visiting Gold in his shop. She realizes he set the fire and goes to confront him.

He doesn’t outrightly say he did, but his smile says “Yep I did it, what are you going to do about it?”

Snow and Charming aka Mary Margaret and John Doe in Once Upon a TimeWe next see R. and son setting fire to the castle so that R. can run in and get the dagger. He finds it easily and looks to see the Dark One’s name, which is, ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Zoso (h-huh like Jimmy Page’s name on that Led Zep cover; I faint and miss the rest of the episode. OK, not really, but seriously writers—come on!)

The day of the sheriff’s debate comes and we see Mary Margaret run into Princely guy, they talk awkwardly and say nothing, MM walks away with a sad.

Ginnifer Goodwin as Mary Margaret in Once Upon a TimeThen MM goes to talk to Emma. They have a deep talk about Emma’s feelings for Henry and how she wants him in her life, and wants him to be proud of her. She realizes what she must do.

R. has got the dagger and he is summoning the Dark One. When the magical menace arrives, it is clear that R. doesn’t really have him under his power. The Dark One is taunting R. and calling him names, so R. stabs him just as planned.

But WAIT—the Dark One is the Old Man who told R. about the dagger to begin with! As he lays dying he explains that he couldn’t stand his life anymore and this was they way he tricked R. into freeing him and taking his place. Old guy dies and R. is visibly upset. We can see R. turning “gold” before our very eyes. Just before Old dude dies he whispers “all magic comes with a price...” Hey, haven’t we heard that before? (cue ominous music)

Debate starts, and Mr. Glass is all smiles and kindness, while Emma is serious and uncomfortable. She stands and tells all of Storybrook that Mr. Gold set the fires to “help her win” so people would overlook her shady past. The town is shocked into silence, and Gold skulks out. Regina looks pleased with herself.

A few minutes later, Emma is in the cafe drinking when Henry shows up and right on his tail are Regina and Glass. Regina tells Emma she won as sheriff because the town loves that she stood up to Gold. Regina warns Emma that Gold makes her look like a kitten. Emma looks uncomfortable.

Rumpelstiltskin kills a soldier in front of his sonBack to R., whose son is being carted off by the soldiers. R. shows up all gold and crazy looking like he stepped off the cover of Ziggy Stardust or something. He humiliates the soldiers and almost makes them pee their pants with fright. Then in a fit of rage he brutally kills them all. Son is terrified, and we see the Birth of Rumpelstiltskin.

Gold comes to see Emma, once more congratulating her for becoming sheriff. He tells her he is glad his plan worked, because he knew that the town would love her standing up to him. She is aghast, and realizes that she has become his tool (in more ways than one, people!). He leaves snickering and she is worried.

He reminds her of the favor... It’s coming! Muahahahahaha.

Synde Korman talks music and books on her website Tombstone Tails, along with creating a line of literary jewelry on her etsy site Cemetery Cat Designs.

When she’s not herding cats or creating art, she works as a part-time bookseller. You can find her on twitter as @psynde.

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EC Spurlock
1. EC Spurlock
Best. Episode. Yet. Especially the little showdown between Gold and Regina.
Darlene Marshall
2. DarleneMarshall
Loved it. R/Gold is still the most fascinating character in the show, and Robert Carlyle is still hotter than dead sheriff wolf guy. Speaking of the late sheriff, it's good to see Ms. Swann in something besides her red jacket. I'm surprised though that dead sheriff's jacket fit her so well. I'd expect a little drag at the length of the sleeves, but I'm a picky person.
Synde Korman
4. SyndeKorman
EC Spurlock- I agree.. My fav epsiode so far.. Although I did love the one where Gold was in the outfit that was so Goblin King..

Darlene Marshall- Yes... yes...yes...

Wicked Lil Pixe- sorry you didn't like.. I think it's my fav so far...
Louise Partain
5. Louise321
I liked the fact that it centered around R but I didn't like what a whiny sniveler he was and what gaining power did to him, although over time he's definitely acquired finess. On the other hand, there is a chilling line that runs through this power trope along with "all magic comes with a price" and that is "I recognize a desperate person." The fact that R/Gold says it to Emma is enough to have me chewing my lip just like Emma. What exactly is the favor that R/Gold expects from Emma? Does it involve a knife with a curvy blade? Nice twist of an ending.
Pamela Mason
6. PamelaMason
Ooohh... my fav to date!

Regina is so deliciously snarling - at the end when she tells Emma what an enemy she's made for herself in Gold, and that wicked giggle. Frankly, I like her character as much as R's and much more than Emma's and heartbroken Mary Margaret's.

And oh my goodness... Charming at the animal shelter? I don't want to say what went through my head went with that tidbit of resume fodder.

Can't wait to see next week's episode! I was just waiting for H&G.
Christopher Morgan
7. cmorgan
Got to say, I'm with other people on this being my favorite episode to date. Though I'm very muched biased in the fact that Gold/R is the primary reason I watch this show.

Loved how they did his character. But I feel there is more that can be said for his storyline. They didn't show what happened to his son, his wife, or what exactly he does with the kids once he "saves them from war". Cause the man likes his baby swapping...

Now, wouldn't it be awesome if Rumple's wife was EQ
EC Spurlock
8. EC Spurlock
@ Louise 321 -- YES! I thought the very same thing when he said that line. (Although knowing Emma she'd probably just shoot him.)

@cmorgan -- OOH, that's an interesting idea! I've been wondering about their relationship, because he mentions to Emma that they have "a mutual enemy" yet he clearly seems to be controlling or at least intimidating Regina. Here's hoping they go into more of his backstory in future. As for the babies, he apparently supplies them to infertile royalty in exchange for leverage of some kind, as shown in the previous episode.
Synde Korman
9. SyndeKorman
@cmorgan- Oh nice idea... but we know the EQ was married to Snows dad..
Christopher Morgan
10. cmorgan

But we also no that there was no love lost between Snow's dad and EQ, and that EQ had something that she lost, presumably due to some action or inaction on Snow's part, that cost her something very dear to her heart.

Like I said, unlikely but I secretly hope that they pair have more history than just he gave her the curse. I still get the sense that Regina legitamately fears Gold, if only because of that secne where he says "please?" at the beginning.
EC Spurlock
11. Daniela C
@ Louise321. Good points. However, I don't find Emma to be desperate soul. Why would he think that? Maybe he will misjudge her after all and that will be his downfall.

I am still trying to figure out what his agenda is. R seems to want Emma to help the town or at least help on HIS terms. He seems to want to thwart EQ and if sometimes he helps Emma so be it. I wonder if he (like the Dark Lord) is tired of the power and wants it to end. That's not to say he will stop gathering more power!
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