This week, we branched out from the established characters to focus on Cinderella, a poor girl who, in this version, is thwarted out of her dream when Rumplestiltskin kills her fairy godmother and forces her into a dirty deal with him. Basically, then, we’re getting a hybrid of the traditional Rumplestiltskin and Cinderella stories. She is an innocent girl desperate to break out of her bedraggled state, and she foolishly signs a contract without understanding what she would be giving up in order to go to the ball in finery and attract the attention of her prince. In Storybrooke, she is an unwed mother fleeing Mr. Gold, to whom she has been forced to sell her baby.
Jessy Schram inhabits the role well, with naivety being Cinderella’s chief trait, although I couldn’t help finding it funny that just after learning that Emilie de Ravin would join the cast as Belle, we met Cinderella, whose storyline echoes Claire’s so closely. It amused me, too, that back in the fairy tale realm, her husband’s name was Thomas, also the name of Claire’s ex-boyfriend. Both girls are young and overwhelmed and pressured into giving up the babies they’re not sure they’re ready to raise. Also found it interesting that the name Cinderella chooses for her child is Alexandra, the infant whisked away from Danielle by Ben Linus, and that, while she never says those exact words, Emma basically spends the whole episode encouraging the 19-year-old to say to the world, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”
It felt odd for Snow White to be so uninvolved in this episode. She really didn’t come into the current story at all and only had a cameo in the flashbacks as a princess warmly welcoming Cinderella to the fold. How much earlier did this take place? It would seem that it must have been before her sojourn with the dwarfs, though not necessarily. I’m assuming a very short engagement, but maybe quite a bit of time passed between her awakening and her wedding. In any case, it must have been before because Rumplestiltskin doesn’t become imprisoned until the end of the episode. I wonder just how the two families are connected. Is Thomas related to either Snow White or James?
It is very agitating to me that the most potent villain in this series has a Scottish accent. Rumplestiltskin is completely creepy, yet he’s got charisma, more so than the icy evil queen. As unpleasant as he is to look at, particularly in the flashbacks, there’s a seductive charm about him, and every once in a while a facial expression or vocal inflection reminds me hugely of Desmond. Blech. So not Desmond. But so far, aside from Henry, he is most certainly the most engrossing male character in the show. It would seem that he’s our Smokey.
I do have hopes for Jiminy Cricket, however. It’s not completely clear where his allegiances lie, but he seems to have mostly retained his decency, and his geeky demeanor is endearing. Looking forward to focusing more on him next week.
Obviously, Emma’s own bargain with Rumplestiltskin is going to come back to bite her, no doubt at the worst possible time. Emma was rather foolhardy too, but she took what seemed like the only solution and figured she’d worry about the price later. This episode was all about forethought and not entering into agreements lightly, and that’s certainly a lesson that carries over into the real world.