The Price of Gold was, once again, gold. I'm really enjoying this show, and I hope they can keep this up.
Again, the focus is on interpersonal relationships and how they have been affected by the move into our world.
This time, the flashback reveals that Cinderella was not sent to the ball by her fairy godmother. Instead, Rumplestiltskin killed the fairy godmother and took her place. Cinderella was so desperate to escape her life of drudgery that she accepted the substitution fairly quickly and signed a deal with Rumplestiltskin: He'd get her to the ball, she'd pay him back in some unspecified way at some point in the future.
This is Rumplestiltskin we're talking about: In return for providing gold, he wants Cinderella's first child. She doesn't want to give it to him, and with the help of her husband, Prince Thomas, and Snow White's husband, they set a trap. Rumplestiltskin is imprisoned, but he warns that, unless his price is paid, Cidnerella will never see Prince Thomas again.
In the Maine world, Cinderella is Ashley, an unmarried young mother about to give birth. One thing has not changed: She has still signed a contract with Gold agreeing to give up her baby in return for money. Trying to leave the city, she is brought back by Emma, who in turn makes an agreement with Gold: Cinderella keeps her baby and is reunited with her prince, and Emma will owe him a favor.
Not even Henry, who has contrived to travel with her, warns her against this. So--oops. Emma's won a short-term victory, but what is it going to cost?
I do like Rumpelstiltskin as a villain. He seems so careful about covering all the angles in a bargain and so open about his machinations. I wonder, though, is he telling the truth when he says that all magic has a price? If so, what price is he paying? And, how can he be defeated? This is going to be very important as the story moves on--say, a season or three down the line. It is possible that it's as simple as knowing his real name (which, then, can't be Rumpelstiltskin since everyone in the fairy tale world knows it), since the guard mentioned names having power back in the pilot. However, that's long-term stuff, so we'll see.
As far as Emma's mistake: I like the fact that it's a very in-character mistake. It doesn't seem likely that her upbringing gave her much exposure to fairy tales, and she doesn't really believe yet that she's living in one, not even one gone wrong, so shes' not thinking in terms of promises being absolute, unbreakable, and unpredictable. Also, she's vulnerable to families in need and so just might have made that promise anyway.
The sour note in this comes with Regina and the sheriff. I really, really hope the show is not going to start focusing to much on who is sleeping with whom. On the one hand, I like the idea that deputizing Emma might be part of Regina's long-term plan; I'd like to see the queen as a capable plotter in her own right. On the other... who is sleeping with whom can get so tiresome. On the whole, I hope that what we saw was careful misdirection with the camera, not the beginnings of some strange triangle with the sheriff, Regina, and Emma.
Until next week!
As of this writing, several episodes, including The Price of Gold, are up on hulu. Actually, they're up on ABC as well, but on the whole, I've found hulu slightly easier to stream than any of the networks.