Once Upon a Time Preview: Mr. Gold's 'Stranger' Agenda, Plus a Finale That Will Blow You Away

This Sunday on Once Upon a Time (ABC, 8/7c), Mr. Gold is out to unravel the mystery that is the true identity of Storybrooke newcomer August W. Booth aka “The Stranger.” Meanwhile – and perhaps not coincidentally? — in the fairytale land that was, Rumpelstiltskin and his son struggle to come to terms with the former’s new powers.

Genre-TV go-to gal Jane Espenson, who penned this week’s hour, spoke with TVLine about Mr. Gold’s unique dilemma (being aware of his own past and all), what’s ahead for Mary Margaret and David, and the sneak peek we’re about to get at a grand finale showdown.

Spoiler Alert! Episode 12: Terrifying Once Upon a Time First Look, Ugly Revenge Twist and More!

TVLINE | So, this is the episode where Mr. Gold (played by Robert Carlyle) gets on the couch, as a new patient of Archie’s?
[Laughs] Yes, Mr. Gold is going to talk to our friendly neighborhood cricket.

TVLINE | Is he genuinely seeking personal betterment, or is he working an angle?
Before he knocks on the door of Archie’s office, watch carefully, because there’s an interesting shot that will answer that question. But he’s going through real stuff in this episode.

He’s trying to figure out who August is, and at the same time the fairytale story has him dealing with his beloved son Baelfire. Questions will be raised about August that push his buttons in a genuine way. Because Mr. Gold has all those memories, unlike most characters when we flash back, we see things he actually remembers, so he’ll be thinking about his son.

Once Upon a Time Shockers: Regina Makes a Play for David! And [Spoiler]’s Identity Revealed?

TVLINE | This episode features Baelfire, and next week’s has Geppetto and Pinocchio…. It would seem that somewhere in there lies the answer to August’s identity.
Unless they’re both misleads. [Laughs] Sometimes you’re like, “Well, that’s definitely a clue,” and then you go, “Wait, is this a clue to the real answer or is it to mislead me?” We’re very good at the misleads.

TVLINE | If August reveals a Louisville Slugger tattoo on his arm, I’m going to take that as a sign.
[Laughs] Could be!

TVLINE | What in particular sets Mr. Gold on this mission to crack the August mystery?
August is going to do something that catches his attention. August is a great character and Mr. Gold just could not be more fascinating. You talk about peeling back the layers of an onion, but if you do that you end up with nothing in the middle. But with Mr. Gold you keep hitting more substance. It’s more like there’s candy inside the onion!

TVLINE | Do I understand correctly that if Baelfire can find a way to have his father’s powers safely taken away, Rumpel is open to it…?
That very question is what Rumpelstiltskin is wrestling with. The answering of that question drives the episode.

Once Upon a Time Sneak Peek: Mr. Gold Investigates August in a Rumpel-Heavy Episode

TVLINE | Where do things stand with Mary Margaret and David now that Kathryn has been found? Is she still cheesed off that he briefly seemed to suspect her?
That’s not a thing you get over quickly. I have a good feeling about them making it work in the long-term, but they’ve got a lot of obstacles to get through. Hang tight for the season finale (airing May 13), where you’ll get some resolution.

TVLINE | This week Emma confronts Regina about her involvement in Kathryn’s vanishing. What sort of evidence does she present?
She’s going to have some concrete evidence, but the problem with Regina is you can ever really get enough evidence — she’s so good at this, and she’s got people working with her and for her – so this is more about how Regina reacts to the reemergence of Kathryn. This confrontation between Emma and Regina is a prequel to a later confrontation that’s going to absolutely thrill and delight. This season finale is go to be one of the best hours of television you’re ever going to see in your life. I am blown away by it. Absolutely everything happens. The confrontations, relationship resolution…. There’s a lot going down!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Frivolouswhim says:

    Well that “problem with Regina” is what keeps this show interesting to me. :p

    • HK732 says:

      ^ This! The show is great all around, but at the end of the day it’s Regina and her story that really pulls me in.

      • Frivolouswhim says:

        Yeah. I do love the show overall (and it has one of the nicest and kindest ensemble cast too) but the villains are the most interesting to me. Both Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle do a marvelous job. My clear favorite is Regina, I think her complexity is amazing despite all the evil she does. The showrunners always said this show is about hope. My hope for the show is that whenever the final showdown comes, it won’t deal with these two villains the cliché, usual way.

  2. Dee says:

    Awesome!!! Cannot wait for all these episodes!

    • Templar says:

      That quote “We’re very good at misleads” makes me a bit angry. Picking up on clues and weaving them into whole cloth is part of the show’s appeal. False clues, misleads, red herrings are fine in moderation. But, where is the fun if they make it impossible to unravel? That kills the fun and ultimately kills the show.

      • Tarc says:

        I don’t think anyone could say that OUAT doesn’t deliver on their mysteries, beautifully and in not too lengthy of a time frame. Like life, not everything is simple and straightforward, and it would be less satisfying if everything was obvious from minute one. I can’t imagine why one would complain that not being completely obvious is a problem. People are always clamoring for intelligent, well-written TV, and in OUAT, we get it. Jane Espenson is as good as you can get.

  3. kirads09 says:

    I am so uber-addicted to this show. Cannot wait!

    “Mr. Gold just could not be more fascinating. You talk about peeling back the layers of an onion, but if you do that you end up with nothing in the middle. But with Mr. Gold you keep hitting more substance. It’s more like there’s candy inside the onion!”
    Exactly! – I love the incredible Robert Carlyle so.

  4. anthonynewhall says:


    • kirads09 says:

      I believe it was toward the very end of the last new episode. Ruby finds a stunned but alive Kathryn behind the diner. Emma is there outside and Ruby comes running screaming. I think I have it right. Correct me people if not.

      • anthonynewhall says:

        Ahh, thank you. I’ll rewatch it. My DVR cut off the end and I just accepted it. (It’s actually been doing that with every OUAT episode.)

        • Liana in San Diego says:

          Do what I do – set it to end 5 or 10 minutes after the “official” end of the show. Easy peasy to just erase after you’ve watched the show.

        • Heather says:

          It’s because the show runs over 1- 2 minutes, which plays havoc with my DVR!!! GRRR…producers keep the show to 1 hour as scheduled!!!!

        • Gilda says:

          Mine did the same thing! A few days later a friend who watches it said “Oh my god Kathryn” to me and I became very confused until she explained.

          • anthonynewhall says:

            It’s crazy! And what’s ridiculous is that my DVR can only record two things at once and you have to watch one of them. So If I let it record the ending then I miss another show that’s on afterwards.

    • Me says:

      End of the last episode. She was found dirty and seemingly hurt behind grandma’s dinner.

  5. sara says:

    I hope they don’t hurt Regina too much, just enough to make Lana do some great faces. At this point Regina and Gold are the only interesting things about the show, they’re what pull me back for more.

  6. Becca says:

    I wonder if it will be all about Bae on Archie’s couch, or if there will be even the slightest suggestion of Belle during therapy. Especially since Jane Espenson also wrote Skin Deep.

  7. deanna says:

    I wish someone other than Jane was writing his episodes, her episodes always come out so shallow. I don’t know why considering how interesting he is in his non-perspective episodes. All the layers come from Robert’s brilliant acting, not the writing.

  8. Ann says:

    Is it possible that Baelfire can also be Pinnocchio who is also August? I’m trying to work out a way in which all three characters are the same person…

    • st says:

      i have been wondering this too — after all, rumpelstilkin turned out to be the “beast,” so why assume august has to be pinnocio OR baelfire but not both?
      perhaps something awful happens to baelfire and body parts are recrafted out of wood? perhaps the wood taken from the magic tree made into the cabinet for baby emma?

      • Templar says:

        The stuff I’m still curious about with August is the Kansas license plate[Oz?], the unicorn decal [Maleficent?] and whether he was the 7 year old boy who found Emma on the side of the road.

  9. sarah says:

    Eion Bailey is on this show? May have to tune into repeats this summer

  10. darclyte says:

    August is Mr Gold/Rumple’s son.

  11. Holly says:

    Just realized that Robert Carlyle is on this show. Don’t watch it but see the promos for it. He’s yet another actor who starred in the film Trainspotting who’s done quite well in TV and film since the movie ran (Kelly MacDonald, Kevin McKidd, Ewan McGreghor, Johnny Lee Miller etc). I’m happy for them. It was an awesome film.

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