What she said is very slightly spoilery, so I’ll continue after the jump.
Espenson said that Desperate Souls will reveal “a lot” more about Rumpelstiltskin, including where he comes from and what drives him.
She said that Rumpelstiltskin’s agenda is “very complex,” and that we’ll have to decide for ourselves “if it’s evil or not.” I’m getting a twinge of a LOST flashback here. Remember when it was Ben’s agenda we were trying to figure out?
She confirmed that “Regina retains all her memories,” which I think was apparent by the end of the last episode when Regina was squeezing Graham’s heart. She also said “Mr. Gold certainly seems to know something, but we won’t be telling you more than that for a while.”
She gave a glimpse behind the scenes, saying that the writers work together in Los Angeles “in a writers’ room figuring out the story, and then we take turns writing complete drafts that are then polished by [show creators and executive producers] Eddy [Kitsis] and Adam [Horowitz].” Each episode is shot in eight days in Vancouver, so the writers are not on the set, except for Kitsis and Horowitz, who go up there “fairly often.”
She also said it’s “worth keeping an eye on” the objects in Mr. Gold’s pawn shop and that some of the items will be important later.
It’s a good interview, and there’s a lot more to it. You can read the whole thing here: Reinventing Fairy Tales: An Interview with Once Upon a Time’s Jane Espenson
The director of Episode 8 is Michael Waxman, known for directing and producing Friday Night Lights, among other things. This is his first episode for Once Upon a Time. Jane Espenson has been a consulting producer on every episode of OUAT except the pilot, and Episode 8 is the second episode she’s written. Before OUAT, she was best known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.