Once Upon a Time Recap: Episode 1.08 – Desperate Souls

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last episode.  That episode being the one that crushed many a heart with Graham’s death.  To be honest I’m still pretty bummed out about it but my fingers are crossed we’ll get to see Jamie Dornan again in the form of the Huntsman.

Episode 8, titled Desperate Souls explores just how far one will go to “do the right thing”.  Sometimes it doesn’t turn out so well.  The bonuses with this episode is three-fold.  First, an ex-BSG cast member shows up.  Ty Olsson, who played Capt. Kelly on BSG has a bit of a role which made me happy and you all know how I feel about BSG.  Second, this episode was penned by the great Jane Espenson, which always puts a smile on my face.  And third, we finally get to see Rumpelstiltskin’s back story.

The episode starts off in Fairy Tale Land where Rumpelstiltskin is at his spinning wheel.  He’s not the creepy/campy deal-maker we know him to be, at least not yet.  He’s just a bit of a broken man, trying to take care of his son.  Knights arrive in the village to take a girl, who’s just become of age to fight in the war.  No one can stop them and when they try, they’re rendered helpless by the “dark one”; a powerful being under control of the king.  Rump worries because in just a few days time, his son will taken as well.

In Storybrooke, Emma shows up at Mr. Gold’s shop after he calls the Sheriff’s office.  He has a box of Graham’s things and asks if she wants any of it.  She declines at first, but then takes a pair of walkie talkies after he suggests giving one to Henry.  He tells her that it’s been two weeks since Graham’s death and she should be sporting the Sheriff badge and not the deputy badge.  He also tells her that time spent with a child is precious because “before you know it, you lose them.”

Emma goes to see Henry and gives him a walkie telling him they can use it for Operation Cobra.  Henry looks pretty sullen and a little defeated and tells her he thinks they should lay off for a while.  He’s convinced that good can’t win over evil and he knows that Regina was the one who killed Graham.  Emma tries to comfort him but it doesn’t do much good.

At the Sheriff’s office, Emma is just about to pin on the Sheriff badge when Regina walks in and tells her not so fast.  She throws her title/power around and tells Emma that she’s hiring Sidney Glass (who is the magic mirror in FTL) to take over as Sheriff.  Emma bites back saying that Graham freed the office from her leash and that he chose her to be deputy.  Regina pours more salt in the wound and fires Emma on the spot.

Mary Margaret comes home to see Emma blasting loud music, drinking and fighting with a toaster.  Emma tells her about getting fired and how she’s upset about it but doesn’t know why, she just wants the job back.  Mr. Gold shows up and tells her “two people with a common goal can accomplish many things; two people with a common enemy can accomplish even more.”  He’s got a copy of the town charter and tells Emma that Regina may not be as powerful as she thinks and asks if she wants him to be her benefactor.  I tsk tsk tsk’d Emma at this point because that’s like making a deal with the devil.

In FTL, Rumpelstiltskin wakes his son, telling him that they have to leave now to prevent his son from getting taken.  On the road, Rump gives a beggar (played by Brad Dourif) some coin, and then has a run in with the knights.  The Knight tells Rump’s son about how Rumpelstiltskin ran from service and how cowardly he is, even his wife left him.  The Knight explains that avoiding service is treason but Rumpelstiltskin begs him for mercy.  The Knight degrades him even further by forcing Rump to kiss his boot.  When Rump complies, the Knight kicks him over and the group laughs and rides off.  The beggar appears and tells Rump that he’ll be his benefactor.

Over in Storybrooke, Regina holds a press conference to announce that Sidney will be the new Sheriff.  Emma interrupts the announcement to inform Regina that she can nominate a candidate, but there has to be a vote.  She also tells Regina and everyone else that she’s putting her name in the hat for the position.

In FTL, the beggar tells Rump that he needs to choose a new path.  Rump scoffs and tells him that the only decision he can make is which corner to hide in.  He looks at his sleeping son and tells the beggar that his boy is all he has left.  The beggar tells Rump that things would be different if he had some power.  He then suggests to Rump that he should steal the dagger of the “Dark One” so that he can control him.  Rump replies that he’s too much of a coward, but the beggar then suggests that he should steal the dagger and kill the Dark One so that he has all the power.

Back in Storybrooke, Regina pays Mr. Gold a visit and tells him that he’s “backing a slow horse.”  He responds saying that she shouldn’t underestimate someone who is working in the best interest of their child.  The two trade quips about the charter, the race and technicalities and it’s made clear that there is a bit of a power struggle.  All he really has to do is say please and she has to abide by his wishes.  They need to use that trick more often in my opinion.  Like, he should say, “Stop being such a turbo bitch….please.”  But that takes all the fun out of it I guess.

Henry is at the diner reading the paper when Emma shows up.  Much to her horror, the headline is about her, giving birth to him while serving time in the clink.  He asks if it’s true and she tells him it is.  She tells him that she has Mr. Gold’s help in running for Sheriff, but he warns her to stay away from him because Mr. Gold is even worse than Regina.

Emma then barges over to Regina’s office and has words with her about unsealing juvenile police records.  As the two go to leave the building they trade words, but just as a door is opened, there is an explosion and their way out is engulfed in flames.  Regina gets injured and Emma has to help her out.  But Emma hesitates, like she isn’t going to help her.

In FTL Rumpelstiltskin explains to his son about the dagger and how he’s going to get it and use the power for good.  The son thinks he should just go and fight, but Rump tells him it’s not a war, it’s sacrifice.  His son asks if the story the Knight told was true and if his mother is actually alive.  Rump tells him that his mother is dead, but doesn’t answer the other question.  Instead he tells his son of his plan.

Emma decides to be the bigger person and helps Regina get out of the burning building. Once out of the building, there is someone there taking photos.  The fire department shows up, as well as everyone else and now the town is behind Emma’s run for Sheriff because she’s a hero.  Emma tells Henry that they don’t have to fight dirty and the good guys can win.  She then finds evidence that Mr. Gold had a hand in the fire.  She takes the evidence to his shop and confronts him about it.  She tells him that she won’t play his reindeer games, but he tells her to think twice about that decision.

In FTL, Rumpelstiltskin and his son set their plan into action.  They set the castle on fire and Rump runs in to retrieve the dagger.  Once he gets it and gets back outside, he tells his son to go home because this next bit he has to do on his own.  The son reluctantly leaves.

In Storybrooke, it’s election day and Mary Margaret is on Team Emma….of course.  She’s outside putting up posters and runs into David, who is Team Sidney, but only because his wife is friends with Regina.  They have a brief conversation and MM bolts rather quickly leaving David a bit confused.

The debate is about to get started and Emma is backstage nervously looking out at the crowd.  Everyone is there and MM shows up to give her a bit of a pep talk.  Emma tells her that she knows she can’t win and is worried that if she doesn’t, what place will she have in Henry’s life.

In FTL, Rump summons the Dark One by calling his true name, Zoso.  Zoso appears and tells Rump to use this power wisely and then chastises him a bit.  Rump gets mad and stabs Zoso.  As the dark power starts to transition, Rump realizes that the Dark One was actually the beggar he met on the road.  Zoso tells him that he can recognize a desperate soul and that all magic comes with a price and he can’t bear that burden anymore.  Once the power is transferred, Rump’s name is etched on the blade of the dagger.

At the debate, Archie gets things started by having Sidney give his opening statement.  It’s all about honesty, integrity and all those other promises politicians make that they don’t keep.  Emma takes to the podium and surprises everyone by telling the truth about Mr. Gold being behind the fire.  Mr. Gold shakes his head and gets up and walks out.

Emma ends up at the diner and has a drink.  Henry shows up with a walkie and tells her that he thinks they should continue with Operation Cobra now that she’s stood up to Mr. Gold.  Regina and Sidney enter the diner and tell a shocked Emma that she is now Sheriff, even despite what happened at the debate.  Regina tells Emma that Mr. Gold doesn’t make a great friend and an even worse enemy.

In FTL, the Knights show up to take Rump’s son and wonder why there isn’t anyone around.  Just then one of them is killed.  The main Knight kneels to the “Dark One”, who is now Rumpelstiltskin.  Rump pays the Knight back in kind and has him kiss his boot with his son looking on, terrified.  As the Knight proceeds to comply Rump kills him, then moves on to kill the rest of them.  Rump’s son expresses his concern and tells his father that he’s scared.  Rump replies that he’s not scare of anything anymore.

Emma walks into her new office and sees Graham’s leather jacket hanging on the coat rack.  Mr. Gold tells her he thought she’s want it after all.  She tells him she’s armed and he just scoffs at her.  He tells her how all of this has been nothing but political theater and the town had to see that she had some defining quality in order to vote.  He implies that it was all a set up and that he can recognize a desperate soul.  He also tells her that now she’s Sheriff he made need to call in that favor she promised him.  After congratulating her, he leaves.

So that wraps up the first episode of 2012.  Owing anything to Mr. Gold has to be bad news so I’m wondering where this is all going.  Next week we get to meet up with Hansel and Gretel, which looks interesting.

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