Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Once Upon a Time 1.4: "The Price of Gold"



The Price of Gold was Once Upon a Time's most controversial episode yet! (Okay it could just be me, the last scene had me almost throwing something through the television.) But more on that in a bit. :) This episode introduces a real power player from Fairy Tale Land -- Cinderella (Jessy Schram). Fair disclosure: I have a very decided bias towards the "princess stories" when it comes to ranking fairy tales -- Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White are "the big three," if you will. To the show's credit the writers throw a major twist in Cinderella's story -- instead of being sent to the ball by a beloved fairy godmother, Cinderella makes a deal with the devil -- literally. After Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) basically blows up the fairy godmother, in her desperation to escape her life of drudgery Cinderella promises him anything if only he'll work magic in her favor.

Interestingly enough Rumplestiltskin actually tries to talk Cinderella out of this -- he reiterates one of the show's major themes -- that all magic comes with a price, the implication being that the price is too dear to pay. But Cinderella persists and foolishly signs a veritable "blank check" -- she'll give Rumplestiltskin whatever he wants, whenever he requests it. As the previews for this episode hinted, Rumplestiltskin demands her unborn child. This raises the question of whether or not the show will ever tell the "traditional" Rumplestiltskin story, where he teaches the maid to spin straw into gold in exchange for her baby -- demanding too many unborn kids is apt to get a little weird, no?

Back in Storybrooke, I LOVED how Cinderella's story translated into Ashley's, the single, pregnant maid desperate to better her life so she can provide for the child no one thinks she can handle -- the child her Fairy Tale father-in-law arranged to "give" to Mr. Gold. And given as how I've always thought the Prince (Tim Phillipps) -- in the Disney film, anyway -- never had much of a personality, seeing that in Storybrooke he allows his father to talk him out of stepping up and caring for his unborn child wasn't too much of a stretch. Considering Emma's (Jennifer Morrison) own past as regards children, it was a given that Ashley's plight and doubts were going to hit home with her. The impact Ashley has on Emma was a most welcome one, as it gave Morrison her best opportunity to date to show some real emotional investment in Storybrooke and its world. (But seriously, yes Emma really was stupid enough to give Mr. Gold another blank check promise... *sigh*)

As Henry (Jared Gilmore) points out, Emma is the only one who can come and go from Storybrooke at will because she wasn't cursed in Fairy Tale Land. I really liked how this hour played with this idea that Emma is transforming who she is and who she wants to be now that she's met Henry. It seems likely, given her strong response to Ashley's doubts regarding motherhood, that perhaps she was convinced that she "had" to give up her child for adoption -- and she's been running ever since, with no desire to put down permanent roots until Henry started to weave his way into her heart. Gilmore's performance is one of the best parts of the show -- Henry is precocious and earnest and funny and sarcastic in turn -- and really like his relationship with Emma. I'm DYING to know what code name he was going to give her -- I'm thinking it is a clue as to what her Fairy Tale identity would be. Thoughts?

Couple of other things -- I loved the fact that we got to see Cinderella and her prince interact with Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) in Fairy Tale Land. As a kid I used to wonder what it would be like if -- as seemed logical -- they all inhabited the same world. *wink* Kudos to Charming for showing himself to be a prince among princes -- I wasn't terribly impressed with Cinderella's prince, but to his credit he did come through in Storybrooke, which was sweet. :) And I also liked Ruby's (Meghan Ory) friendship with Ashley, as it added some welcome and much-needed depth to what to date has been a pretty shallow character.

And now onto the ISSUE I mentioned at the beginning of this post -- Regina (Lana Parrilla) and the Sheriff (Jamie Dornan) ARE HAVING AN AFFAIR??? WHAT THE HECK???? Does this completely blow my personally beloved theory that Sheriff Graham is the Queen's huntsman out of the water -- because I like to think that the huntsman who spared Snow White wouldn't be shacking up with the Evil Queen (blech!!). I DON'T WANT GRAHAM TO BE EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do he and the mayor have this thing going on because his memory's been wiped by the curse??? (I realize I'm grasping at straws here...) It's not that I'm entirely sold on him as a romantic possibility for Emma, either -- though he's all flirty and "will you come work for me blah blah blah" and now I learn he's sleeping with the enemy? NOT COOL, no not AT ALL.

*sigh*

This Sheriff development is very upsetting, people, very upsetting...

Off to go sulk now... *wink* Throw me some hope in the comments! :)

16 comments:

Rissi said...

Don't lose "hope" in the Sheriff just yet, Ruth! In productions like these, there are all too often twists that change everything. =D

Lori Benton said...

That was my first disappointing moment in this show. But... we'll see. A character needs a place to grow from right?

Ruth said...

@Rissi - Too true. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

@Lori - Ha! Very true also! I desperately, DESPERATELY do not want him to be in league with the Evil Queen!!!

Ella said...

Okay, I was shocked with the Sheriff, but I still think he is the Huntsman. Don't ask me why, but I do.

I loved the addition of Cinderella and like you, I loved seeing her interact with Snow White in Fairy Tale World. I also imagined that Cinderella and Belle were best friends ;-) You know, I prefer Josh Dallas's "Prince Charming" (DUH =D) than Cinderella's.....no personality....but he never did

The part where I cringed? When Emma made HER OWN DEAL with Mr. Gold.....what was she thinking?!

Ruth said...

@Ella - I'm glad you're sticking with me on the Huntsman theory -- I've just had to decide he's brainwashed. :) I read that Belle has been cast so we'll be seeing her at some point this year. But I really want to see Aurora/Sleeping Beauty -- that is my favorite, and I LOVE Prince Phillip! :)

Emma's deal -- yeah that will blow up in her face I'm sure!

Charity said...

The ending doesn't surprise me at all -- in every Snow White story I have ever seen, there's something MORE going on between the Huntsman and the Evil Queen. He merely let Snow White go because she cried, not because he is against the Evil Queen.

Overall, liked this episode. Rumplestiltskin is giving me the creeps -- in a good way.

Ruth said...

@Charity - Oh I saw it coming...I just didn't WANT it to, LOL! I have always "read" the Huntsman letting Snow go as a glimmer of compassion -- not that he's against the Evil Queen outright, but more a glimmer of hope that he's not wholly "in her camp" so to speak. Looking back at my post -- yeah wasn't super clear on wishes vs. reality LOL!

Rumplestiltskin is pretty creepy awesome, isn't he? Great performance my RC so far!

heidenkind said...

Of course they're having an affair! Like she would pass up any opportunity to control a man? But maybe he still likes Emma. :)

Ruth said...

@heidenkind - HA! So true. I'm voting that he's brainwashed...or maybe drugged. This CAN'T be genuine, I won't allow it. :P

Emms said...

I don't think Emma gave a blank check. Since we didn't see the deal i'm hoping she's smarter than the lack of that scene points to! <:O) (but than again i tend to put a lot of faith in the 'good' characters! LOL)

I grew up with the versions of the fairy tales (the tales the brothers Grimm collected from the villagers and the Disney versions)... it seems to me that Once Upon a Time is a mix of Disney and the original... so the huntsmen could go either way - he's either the queens half-brother (yes ..eeeeeyooo) or a hunter who works in her kingdom. I harbor a hope that he is just the hunter who works for the queen and that he and Emma get together! *grin*

oh ...on a side note - have you seen the movie "Snow White: A Tale of Terror" with Sigourney Weaver? (i don't do horror so it's not a horror film but i wouldn't show it to my 5 year old niece!)

Ruth said...

@Emms - Oh I hope you're right! :)

I am completely in your camp as far as your hopes for the huntsman go -- I desperately want him to end up being a good guy. He's too adorable. :)

I have not seen that Snow White: Tale of Terror movie -- so it's not exactly a horror movie? 'Cause I don't do those either...

Emms said...

it is dark - but not horror. i'm a chicken and i was able to handle it ... plus there's a nice boy for Snow there too! *grin*

i hope the sheriff comes through ... and you never know maybe Rumplestilskin helps everything get back to normal and the favor he asks is his release from prison - and hoping that him getting the favor from Emma keeps Cinder's baby with Cinder! LOL can you tell fables were my food growing up! LOL

Renee said...

I agree. I think the Sheriff is going to pull through--like a Sawyer on LOST character. Maybe he's bewitched or the evil gal is holding something over on him. Don't give up on him yet, Ruth! (My sister and I are really enjoying this show!)

Ruth said...

@Emms - Thanks for the rec, I will have to try and check it out! I can relate, fables were my bread & butter as a kid too. :)

@Renee - Oh I hope you're right! I will hang in there too. :)

Kristin said...

I just have to say that this Cinderella was exactly what I would picture the real life Cinderella to look like. :) Way more realistic than the ones at Disney World.

~Kristin

Ruth said...

@Kristin - You are SO right. It manages to honor the animated film but feel totally real and unique!