Once Upon a Time – S1E04 – The Price of Gold
It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity of visiting our friends in Storybrooke, but I’ll try to catch you all quickly over the coming months so that we’re reasonably up to date by the next season. If you’ve never seen this show before, allow me to give you a (very brief) recap of what’s going on. You could also read my previous posts which give you quite a bit more detail at these links – (EP1) Pilot, (EP2) The Thing you love most, (EP3) Snow Falls. Once Upon a Time is an episodic television show where we are generally introduced to new characters and story’s each week – the twist with this show however is that these characters story’s are told from the point of view of where they are now in Storybrooke, Maine AND ALSO who they were before in a fairytale world. You see an Evil Queen (the Mayor of Storybrooke) has taken all of our favorite story book characters to a new land without magic… Storybrooke, Maine! Here all of our hero’s and villains live a normal life with no memory of who they were or where they came from. Into this land comes Emma Swan as the Savior. The hero that will defeat the Evil Queen and return these characters of legend to the land they truly call home.
In the fourth episode we’re introduced to another “throwaway” character. Unfortunately as I’ve mentioned earlier most episodes so far introduce new characters and story’s but as you can imagine this would quickly get unwieldy with hundreds of different characters running around so quite often the characters that a story is based around are seen only once – they do still serve a purpose in helping to drive the underlying story (Emma as the savior) forward and while some episodes do feel like “filler” episodes, there are generally 1 or 2 different things that are definitely worth noting. In The Price of Gold, we’re introduced to a young pregnant woman (Jessy Schram) in Storybrooke. It seems that her paramour and the father of her child left her when he found out that she was pregnant leaving her to have and look after the child on her own. Emma meets her while doing her laundry and helps her realize that she shouldn’t feel sorry for herself and that giving up the child would be a mistake. She explains a similar mistake that she herself made – with Henry – and the constant regret that this caused her. In the Enchanted Forest, Cinderella (“Ella”) is about to receive a wish from her fairy godmother, but the godmother is killed first by Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and robbed of her wand. He grants Ella (Jessy Schram) her wish to escape her home, but in return requires her to sign a contract. Rumpelstiltskin transforms Ella into an elegant woman complete with glass slippers, warning her that all magic has a price. One thing you will learn is that Rumple is a constant in the show and while he’s meant to be one of the baddies – he is simply too delightful as a character to really despise and he really is awesome and amazing!
As the story progresses we learn that in Storybrooke, the girl (Ashley) had offered her baby up to Gold (Rumplestiltskin). After Emma’s speech to her however she realizes that doing this would be a significant mistake and breaks into Gold’s office to steal the contract that she signed with him. Gold however catches her in the act and while she’s able to knock him out and escape, he knows that she’s taken the contract and enlists Emma’s help to find “an item of value”. Similarly in the Enchanted Forest, Rumplestiltskin approaches Ella (Cinderlla) at her gala wedding ball. He tells her that the price of his help is that she needs to give him her firstborn child. When Ella tells Thomas (her husband) about this deal, they enlist the help of Charming, Grumpy and the Blue Fairy to trick Rumple by offering him a “new deal”. The new deal would be for Ella’s twin children in exchange for Rumple also helping improve the crops and wealth of the kingdom. A skeptical Rumpelstiltskin agrees, but as he signs the contract, he is rendered powerless due to a special red quill pen, that was created by The Blue Fairy. He is captured, but Thomas disappears soon after. Ella demands that Rumpelstiltskin tell her what has happened, but he claims not to have done anything. He reminds her that all magic has a price, and that until her debt is paid she will never see Thomas again.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma finds out that Ashley’s boyfriend – Sean – actually didn’t even know he was going to be a father and in fact it was his father that had negotiated the deal with Gold in the first place. Sean’s father didn’t think that Ashley was suitable for his son and has forced him not to get involved with her. Unable to persuade Sean to help her, Emma realizes that Ashley has stolen Ruby’s car and is attempting to escape Storybrooke. However as we learned in an earlier episode, if any of the characters from the Enchanted Forest attempt to leave they will die – fortunately near the town lines, Emma and Henry find Ashley’s car crashed, with Ashley about to deliver the baby.
Emma gets Ashley to the hospital in time for her to give birth to a beautiful baby girl. As Gold tries to take the child away Emma makes him realize that no court would authorize a contract for sale of a child and Gold could be in severe legal trouble. Mr. Gold then offers a deal for Emma in which he’ll give up his questionable claim to the child and in return, Emma will owe him a favor. Emma agrees. After she leaves, Sean shows up to see his child, and they name the girl Alexandra. The episode ends with Emma agreeing to become Graham’s deputy.
I guess as mentioned at the start, this episode is one of the throw away ones … while Ella and Thomas do appear a couple more times they actually aren’t really key characters in the story and aren’t ones that you’re really going to become too invested in. Perhaps the most interesting part of this episode is the magic ink that can incapacitate Gold/Rumplestiltskin … this will play a factor in future episodes and is worth remembering.