ONCE UPON A TIME: New ‘Desperate Souls’ Clips Shine Light On Rumpels’ Backstory


Four new sneak peeks from the midseason premiere of Once Upon A Time shines intriguing light on the backstory of Rumpelstiltskin and follows the aftermath of the Sheriff’s demise. Get your early peek at “Desperate Souls”.

“Desperate Souls” is the eighth episode of OUAT and digs into the Rumpel backstory. Check out the four sneak peeks crammed into one single player below, right after the synopsis:

Regina and Mr. Gold play dirty politics and take opposite sides when Emma runs for a coveted Storybrooke public office against Sidney. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale world that was, Rumpelstiltskin tries to track down the ultimate power source in order to help his son avert the horrors of a meaningless war.


The Gold/Rumpels scenes are the pick of the bunch for me. Gold seems genuine when advising Emma to make the most of her time with Henry, clearly reflecting on painful memories of his own son.

The fairytale flashback provides more context on that relationship, and it’s particularly interesting just how much braver than him his young son appears to be. Cowardice and frailty are the terms the soldier uses to describe Rumpels, who’s latter menace has yet to form. From this we can see the thread that leads a desperate Rumpels to obtaining power — the possible loss of a son (in some form or other), the loss of honor and his all round vulnerability. I can see these as believable factors contributing to a dramatic shift in Rumpels — though I do wonder whether there is an element of possession involved (as some of our readers have suggested). The accumulation of power can be dangerous — so my thought is: how would the show illustrate that in ‘fantastical’ terms? How much of Rumpels’ soul is still his, for example? There’s certainly a lot to play with here and this looks like being a pretty interesting episode one way or the other.

Other Observations:

  • What exactly made Graham ‘good’, Annoying Henry? I know we’re dealing with fairytale notions here, but let’s dig into human nature if we’re going to throw ‘good’ and ‘evil’ around so often. After all, the Huntsman (Graham’s counterpart) was going to kill Snow White and only changed his mind because her words brought him to tears. Perhaps the ‘Evil’ Queen of Evil just hasn’t had such an opportunity yet? Does it matter when redemption comes as long as it does eventually? Will OUAT dig into such considerations? I’d say it’s 50/50.
  • Like Emma, I find it absurd that Sydney is qualified to be the new sheriff in town (just like I find it absurd that Emma is qualified to be deputy/sheriff!), but I liked Regina’s ever-so-knowing “after due reflection..” comment. Reggie, you slay me..metaphorically!

Watch a new promo for “Desperate Souls” below and catch a OUAT marathon on New Year’s day:

‘Souls’ premieres Sunday, Jan 8 at 8PM ET on ABC

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  1. Bryan Hill says

    Love the commentary Roco. ((and please forgive my mis-spellings of your name)). The question about “how much of Rumple’s soul is left?” is a good one. And I also agree that nothing we’ve seen qualifies the Sheriff as “good.”

    Furthermore, I prefer characters that are NOT defined as “good” or “evil.” Everybody makes choices based on various factors, and everybody has the capacity to do both. That’s reality, and it makes for better TV in my opinion.

    Example, why do we excuse Ashley Boyd breaking into a pawn shop and spraying Mister Gold with mace? Why? Becuz she’s “good”? Well, that’s what happens when you categorize characters as “good” or “evil” — not cool.

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  2. Sami H says

    I think henery sees sheriff as good because he spared Snow , that’s his Granny and in 10 year old mind it makes Gram a good guy .

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