Once Upon a Time

Series 1 - 8. Desperate Souls

Desperate Souls
Radio Times
Review by:
Gill Crawford

Storybrooke needs a new sheriff, and although by rights Emma should get the job, Mayor Regina has other ideas. But Emma finds an unusual ally in Mr Gold, which gives the series the perfect chance to explore how his fairy-tale self, Rumpelstiltskin, got to become such a devious, evil manipulator.

It’s a sorry story, with blatant Lord of the Rings overtones, but Robert Carlyle relishes every moment. Then again, which actor wouldn’t enjoy the opportunity to display so many aspects of human weakness, from cowardice to the lust for power and sheer, plain nastiness? And there’s a neat cameo from everyone’s favourite weirdo, Brad Dourif.

About this programme

8/22. Emma's hopes of becoming sheriff are dashed when Mayor Regina appoints Sidney Glass, but then she receives an unexpected offer of help from Mr Gold. She already owes him one favour - is it wise to become even more indebted to him? As their campaign begins, the story of Rumpelstiltskin's humble beginnings is revealed in the fairy-tale realm.

Cast and crew


Mary Margaret Blanchard
Ginnifer Goodwin
Emma Swan
Jennifer Morrison
Regina Mills
Lana Parrilla
David Nolan
Josh Dallas
Henry Mills
Jared Gilmore
Archie Hopper
Raphael Sbarge
Rumpelstiltskin/Mr Gold
Robert Carlyle
Old beggar
Brad Dourif
Sidney Glass
Giancarlo Esposito
Beverley Elliott
Ty Olsson
Meghan Ory
Dylan Schmid
Miss Ginger
Patti Allan
Kate Bateman