"Heart of Gold" is the 83rd episode of Once Upon a Time.
Emma is still reeling after learning the truth of her parents' history with Maleficent, but she must focus on finding the Author, who is running loose in Storybrooke, before the Dark One does. When Gold's quest for his happy ending grows more urgent, he blackmails Regina into helping him. In an Enchanted Forest flashback, Robin Hood learns what it means to be an honorable thief when he accepts a proposition by Rumplestiltskin to travel to Oz to steal a valuable magic elixir from the Wicked Witch.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
Outside of Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer, Regina falls unconscious in front of Rumplestiltskin and the Queens of Darkness. ("Best Laid Plans") Down in Regina's vault, where an unconscious Regina is placed, Rumple tells the Queens of Darkness of how he knows something that will make the formerly Evil Queen do his bidding forever. ("Best Laid Plans") After misusing the magic quill, the Author is trapped inside the storybook by the Sorcerer's Apprentice. ("Best Laid Plans") Emma frees the Author from the storybook, but before they can get answers to any of their questions, the Author escapes into town, and Emma is left unable to find him. ("Best Laid Plans")
David and Mary Margaret try defending their sins.
It's nighttime in Storybrooke, Maine, and Emma is looking around, carrying a flashlight with her, still in search of the Author. Behind her comes Mary Margaret and David; the latter asks where the Author is, to which Emma replies that they've lost him. After Mary Margaret briefly glances at her husband, she speaks up, revealing to her daughter that she and David know him. "What?" Emma asks, shocked. The Charmings continue that they met him before their daughter was even born, and even state that he manipulated them. David says that it's because of him that they were put on the path of causing Maleficent to lose her child. (See "Best Laid Plans") "It's true," Mary Margaret adds, but this doesn't come out well for Emma, who believes instead that it's true that no matter how much they were manipulated, they still did what they did and they lied to her about it. The blonde continues that they've lied to her about everything, about them, about her, but David argues that that's not the case, but that it's one incident from their past. "Don't downplay it," Emma exclaims, disgusted, to which Mary Margaret tries reminding the blonde that they've changed, and have been trying to be the parents she deserves. However, Emma retaliates that she is only the Savior because they altered the entire state of her being at the expense of someone else's soul. David gives in, agreeing with Emma that they were wrong, but still argues that they didn't entirely know what they were getting themselves into, and that they simply acted out of fear, and that after all, they're only human. "Yeah, well right now I don't care. None of that matters now; we have to find that Author before Gold does," Emma replies.
Alliances are formed.
Meanwhile, the Author roams through the woods, trying his best to hide from Emma and the others. He stops for a moment and looks around; a tree catches his sight, and so he makes his way over to it, and snaps off a branch. From his pocket, he pulls out a small knife, which he uses to start cutting away at the branch. As he does this, Emma, along with Hook and Henry continue searching for him. "Well I'm not much of a writer, but I do know something about magic quills," a voice calls out. The Author turns, and standing before him is none other than Rumplestiltskin. The Author now has a look of fear in his face, but proceeds to ask the Dark One what that is. Rumple replies that the quill must be carved from an enchanted tree, which, unfortunately for him, is not an attribute any of the timber in Storybrooke possesses. "Dammit," the Author exclaims, annoyed, as he snaps the branch. He overhears the Savior and the others arriving near by, and so he tells the Dark One he needs to go. Rumple agrees, but offers an ultimatum: the Author could come with him. He chuckles at this though, asking why he'd want to do that, going on to say that the Dark One is the "biggest pain in the ass" he's had the displeasure of writing for. "Yes, there is that, but there is also this," Rumple reveals, removing a magic quill from his coat pocket. Seeing this, the Author gives in, and asks what it is the Dark One wants from him. Rumple states that he is going to write him a bunch of new happy endings; the Author looks back and sees Emma and the others nearing, and so he agrees. With that, Rumple poofs the two of them away in a cloud of purple smoke, leaving the heroes to continue their pointless search.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Regina makes a phone call.
Inside Regina's vault, Rumplestiltskin watches as the formerly Evil Queen starts to regain consciousness. Once finally coming to, Regina goes to fight back against the Dark One, but finds herself handcuffed. "I'm afraid your hands are tied; no more magic for you today," Rumple exclaims. "So now I'm your prisoner?" Regina questions, to which the Dark One reveals that not only her, but also the Author. However, he corrects himself, stating that in fact the Author chose to join his team, while instead Regina decided to back the wrong one. Regina wonders about everything Rumple had said to her in the past though, about wanting her to find her happiness. (See "Heroes and Villains") Rumple states that that was all true, but not as his expense; he goes on to tell that the affection he has for her do have their limits. Disgusted, Regina asks what happened to him, to which he replies he lost everything. (See "Quiet Minds" & "Heroes and Villains") Rumple also adds that it's just as she will if she doesn't do what he says. He proceeds to pull a piece of paper from his pocket; a phone number registered for Robin of Loxley. Regina demands the Dark One give it back, but he ignores her, going on to assume she has his number because she's worried about him being out there in the world, just like she should be. "What do you know that I don't?" Regina asks, "What happened to Robin?" With a wave of his hand, the cuffs on Regina disappear, and Rumple places his cell phone and the piece of paper with Robin's number on it in Regina's hand; he orders her to find out for herself and to call. Regina does just that, and waits for the phone to be answered.
Nine Weeks Ago
Marian and Roland cross over the town line, leaving Storybrooke. However, before Robin follows them, he gives his true love one last kiss, and proceeds to catch up with his family. Regina watches from inside town as the three walk along the empty road, before shedding a tear. (See "Heroes and Villains")
"A thief who steals from those in need has no honor."
Along the busy and noisy streets of New York City walks Robin Hood and his family. "It's loud," Roland exclaims, to which his father replies that they'll get use to it. He proceeds to pull out a map of the town; Marian asks what it is they're looking for, and Robin reveals it's their new home. He goes on to tell that Regina gave him the keys to Mr. Gold's son's apartment. "Baelfire," Marian exclaims, going to say that he was from the Enchanted Forest, but still lived out many years in their current world; she now believes that they can too. Robin agrees, but the two are interrupt by Roland, who tells his mother that he's tired. Marian agrees to carry her son while Robin leads the way to their new home, but as she places her purse on the ground to pick Roland up, a thief runs by and steals it. "Mama," Roland tries to warn, but it's too late. Marian calls out for the thief to stop, but it proves to be useless. Robin leaves his wife and son to run after the thief, who has now stolen a bicycle to get away from the Merry Man. Contemplating what to do next, Robin looks around, where he sees a classic horse drawn carriage, driven by a carriage driver, and all. Moments later, as the purse snatcher continues riding away on his stolen bicycle, he is caught up to by Robin Hood, who has borrowed one of the horses from the carriage. The two of them each cut in the middle of traffic, and after a bit more chasing, Robin finally jumps from his horse and tackles the purse snatcher, throwing him off of his bike. Robin goes to punch him, but seeing people crowed around, he instead says, "A thief who steals from those in need has no honor." "What are you talking about, man?" the purse snatcher asks, confused and frightened. Robin doesn't answer, but instead gives the thief a shove and stands to his feet. The purse snatcher proceeds to run off, presumably leaving Marian's purse behind.
Many Years Ago
Robin ain't about that thug life no more.
In the Enchanted Forest of the past, at a local tavern, the former thief we know today as Robin Hood is seen pouring a drink for one of the many men who dine at the bar. He smiles, appearing content with his current lifestyle; he looks over to see his loving wife, Marian, who has just refilled someone's drink at a table. She smiles at her husband as she walks past, but the moment is ruined when Robin turns to see none other than Little John. "Unless you're here for a pint, Little John, the answer's no," Robin exclaims as he goes back to work. The Merry Man ignores him though, stating that he has a fresh lead; King Midas' carriage will be riding through town the following day, and he'll only have a few of his royal guards with him. Robin reminds his friend though, while giving him a drink, that he hasn't as much as lifted a penny since he and Marian got married. He tells Little John to look around, stating that he and Marian have made a new start, and that this is his new life. However, Little John insists that Robin isn't a barkeep, but a thief. Just at that moment, the doors to the tavern open, and in walks the Sheriff of Nottingham, exclaiming, "Well I had to see this for myself; Robin of Loxley, walking the straight and narrow; nice apron." As he walks around, he acknowledges Marian with a, "Milady."
The Sheriff gives Robin two days to pay his taxes.
"Sheriff," she says right back at him, with a look of disgust in her eyes. Robin questions what he may do for Nottingham, who asks himself the same question, while pouring his own drink. "Well for starters, your taxes are overdo," the Sheriff exclaims, as his associate nails a notice to the wall. Robin states that he needs time, to which Nottingham replies, after guzzling down his drink, that since he's in a 'generous' mood, he'll give the former Merry Man two days to come up with the money. However, if Robin is unable to pay of his debt, the Sheriff will have no choice but to shut the tavern down, throw Robin in prison, and 'poor ole' Marian will have no arms to hold her, but his. Robin states that she'd never be with him, but Marian tells her husband she can speak for herself. She turns to Nottingham, exclaiming, "I would never be with you." As the Sheriff gets closer to Marian's face, he states that when she is on the streets and her husband is in jail, she may then finally see his appeal. "I'll find your money... somehow," Robin speaks up, but Nottingham doesn't seem to find that to be too believable. He reminds Robin of the deadline one last time before exiting the tavern.
Hunni bunni, I'm home.
Back in New York City, inside of Neal Cassidy's former apartment, Robin's wounded head is being tended to by Marian, who exclaims, "If this is New York, I would hate to see the old one." Robin brushes it off though, stating that he's had worse injuries; though, he does admit this world is a bit more confusing. "This is also my fault," Marian says, blaming herself for everything, but Robin argues that if she hadn't left Storybrooke then she would have died. (See "Rocky Road" & "Heroes and Villains") He goes on to say that he made the decision to accompany his wife and bring Roland; no one forced his hand. Marian states that she knows, adding that his honor is his greatest strength, but questions if it's the reason he is there and not with the woman he truly loves. Robin doesn't answer, but instead asks Marian if she remembers what she said on one of their first days as outlaws. Not quite remembering, Marian states that she said so many things. However, before Robin can carry on with the conversation, he and Marian hear a sudden noise by their front door. Beginning to fear what this sound may entail, Robin gets Roland, and has him stand with Marian towards the back of the apartment; meanwhile he grabs a knife for protection. The front door is then unlocked, and in walks none other than Rumplestiltskin, who proceeds to ask, "What the hell are you doing here?"
"What are you doing here?" Robin Hood asks in return to the Dark One, who has unexpectedly arrived at the apartment. Rumple argues that why he is there is his own concern, but that Robin's is to remove himself, since, after all, it's his son's home, and they're trespassing. However, Robin puts up a fight, stating that the home now belongs to him and his family. "Look, I don't have time for this," Rumple replies as he puts down his keys, stating that he has business to attend to. Robin questions what possible business the Dark One could have in a world without magic; Rumple replies that it's the business of his happiness, and he proceeds to order Robin to get out once more. However, Robin realizes that Rumple is there to find the Author. "So she told you; of course she did," Rumple replies, referring to Regina. He goes on to say that this must mean he also knows if he doesn't find the Author then the formerly Evil Queen won't get her happy ending either. Despite what is said, Robin states he will not fall for the Dark One's tricks, for he has a wife and child who need the home, and so he is keeping it. "No, no, no," Rumple replies, but before he can continue, he grabs his chest, having all of a sudden started feeling sharp pains. He falls to the ground, startling Robin and his family. "Gold? Gold?..." Robin asks as he kneels to the ground, checking on the apparently unconscious Dark One.
A deal is strung.
In the Enchanted Forest of the past, Robin of Loxley is seen scrubbing the floors of his tavern. A hooded figure walks inside, and so Robin stands to his feet, happy to see the Sheriff hadn't scared everyone off; he asks what he can do for him. The hooded figure replies that he hadn't come for the yale, nor clearly for the ambiance, but that he came to make a deal. With that, he removes his hood, revealing himself to be Rumplestiltskin. This shocks Robin; Rumple exclaims that he's asked around for the best thief in the land, and everyone has been pointing to him. "Yes, well, I'm not in that line of business anymore," Robin exclaims, to which Rumple replies it would also seem that soon he won't be in the tavern business either, referring to the tax notice on the door. "Get to the point," Robin says, rather annoyed. Rumple states that he can solve all of the former Merry Man's problems, as he pulls golden straw from the inside of his cloak. This surprises Robin; Rumple continues that he needs the former thief to visit a far away land that's ruled by an old compatriot of his, who wouldn't exactly be happy to see the Dark One, himself, again. He reveals that he needs Robin to steal the Elixir of the Wounded Heart. "That's a ridiculously self explanatory name, and also sounds like a fool's errand," Robin replies. Rumple denies this though, stating that it does exactly that; it cures wounded hearts both physically and emotionally - it's powerful stuff. Robin questions where it is he'd be going, to which the Dark One replies that it'd be another realm - a land called Oz; he asks the thief if he'd be able to do that for him.
At a hospital in New York, Robin sits, waiting for any word back on Rumple's condition. He looks down at his phone, thus revealing he has been deciding on whether or not to call Regina. He goes to hit the "call" button, but a nurse interrupts him, revealing that Rumple's awake. Robin lets out a brief sigh, since calling his true love will have to wait a bit longer; he gets up and follows the nurse.
Robin's code of honor is used against him.
Inside of a hospital room, Rumple lies in bed, attached to all different types of machines for his health. Robin asks him what the doctors said, to which Rumple replies it was only what their 'small minds' could comprehend; they went on about diets and exercise, and that what he had was a heart attack. "But you have other ideas?" Robin questions, to which Rumple replies that his problem isn't physical, but moral - all the dark deeds he has committed are finally taking their toll and have poisoned his heart and thickened his blood. He reveals that back in Storybrooke he used magic to protect himself, but out here he won't last unless he gets some. "Well unfortunately for you, Dark One, this is no magic in this world," Robin states. Rumple agrees that magic cannot be created here, but he, however, can still use magical items if they were brought from elsewhere. Rumple then asks Robin if he remembers of something from their past - the Elixir of the Wounded Heart - something the Dark One had asked the Merry Man to steal. Robin nods, and Rumple reveals that he might know of some that exists right there in New York City, and he needs the Merry Man to get it for him. "And why would I help you?" Robin asks. Rumple grabs Robin by the shirt and pulls him up close, stating that it's for the same reason he left the woman he loved: because he is a man with a code, a man with honor, and that, despite everything, is the reason why he will save him.
In flashbacks, Robin of Loxley walks through a set of curtains that are in place of a door, thus revealing he has arrived in Oz. Now stepping onto the infamous Yellow Brick Road, he looks into the far off distance at the Emerald City; he admires the sight. "Lovely view, ain't it?" a voice calls out. Robin turns to the man we know today as Will Scarlet, who lies on the ground with his hands tied behind his back. "Bloody hell," Robin exclaims, shocked. "Thank you, mate," Will says, to which Robin asks what for. Will reveals that it was for saving his life, and he glances over to where the portal door is; it fell atop of the guard who had arrested Will, and knocked him out. Will states that he's sure the guard had it in for him, to which Robin replies, sarcastically, that he's sure Will was apprehended unjustly. "I was just trying to make something to eat, man," Will argues, defensively. As Robin kneels down beside Will, he tells him to consider a professional courtesy, and begins untying him. Will questions if Robin is a thief too, but Robin states he's a former one.
Friendships are made.
Will questions what a former thief is doing in Oz, and so Robin reveals his plans of stealing a potion from the Wicked Witch that cures wounded hearts. As Robin helps Will to his feet, the latter questions if the Merry Man is mad, stating that that is a good way to end up dead. Robin replies that it's a risk he's going to have to take since he's been offered a fortune for it and he needs it to keep his tavern. "You're risking your life for a tavern? Nah, there must be a woman involved," Will exclaims, to which Robin confesses that there is - his wife, Marian, who he promised a better life, and he intends to keep that promise. Will comments that that is quite noble of him, and makes a deal that if Robin steals him some of the potion too then he'll make sure the guard wakes up far away from there, since they wouldn't want him sounding an alarm. Robin tells Will to consider it a deal, and thus, the two shake hands. However, Robin states that there's one last thing: he's going to need help getting into the guard's uniform.
Robin finds himself some heart medication.
Back in New York, Robin Hood stands on the outside of Walsh's furniture shop, the Wizard of Oak, where he speaks to Rumple on the phone, who states that apart from being great and powerful, the Wizard was not witty, though he was effective. The Dark One reveals that Zelena sent him to New York to keep an eye on Emma (See "New York City Serenade"), and would have been a fool not to send him with precautions, magical charms, or potions. "And Zelena's no fool?" Robin asks, to which Rumple confirms that she wasn't. The Merry Man proceeds to hang up the phone, and starts picking the lock of the door of the furniture shop. Once getting in, Robin is shocked to hear an alarm go off, and exclaims, "Blood hell." Needing to act fast, Robin makes his way over to Walsh's old desk and turns on a lamp, beginning to search through drawers. Finding nothing, he makes his way over to a set of cabinets and searches, and then notices an extra drawer with it. He opens it up, and there he finds a bottle of the Elixir of the Wounded Heart. "There you are," he exclaims, now in possession of the potion. He starts running towards the doors to leave, but sees the police have arrived, and so he turns around and throws himself through a window, making his way out a back alley.
"This isn't the Marian I know." xD
As Roland eats a meal in his family's new home, Robin and Marian bicker; Marian is upset with her husband for stealing the potion for Rumple, questioning what would have happened if he had gotten caught, but Robin states that he had to. "Juice, please," Roland calls out to his parents, but Robin tells him to have milk instead, stating that it'll help him grow big and strong. As Marian goes to pour her son a glass of milk, Robin tells her to never doubt that she and Roland are the most important people to him, but to turn down the less fortunate, especially a man dying, goes against everything he believes - his code. Marian turns to Roland, stating that his father is right, but only about milk. She asks Robin if his code really extends to helping the likes of Rumplestiltskin, and that perhaps he should consider the greater good and let him die. "Let him die?" Robin questions; he adds that that isn't the Marian he knows. She tells him to look around, stating that everything's changed. "Not me," Robin replies, before walking away.
Stealing from the wicked.
In Oz of the past, and in the Emerald City, thief Robin of Loxley makes his way through a set of doors and into what was once of home of the Wizard. Dressed in a guard's attire, he looks around quickly before making his way into a back room, set up with a bed and numerous personal possessions. He opens of a cabinet where he finds the magical Six Leaf Clover, and takes the opportunity to pocket it. He soon finds the dispenser of which the Elixir of the Wounded Heart comes from, and he proceeds to take a small bottle to fill with said potion. Once doing so, and pocketing that, he goes to fill up a second, but before he has enough time to complete, a voice calls out, "What do you think you're doing?" Robin drops the second bottle out of shock, and turns to see none other than the Wicked Witch of the West. Not knowing what to do, the thief turns to Zelena, exclaiming, "Hail the Wicked Witch." However, she knows in fact that he is not her guard, for they know to never speak to her; she asks who he is and why he is stealing from her. Meanwhile, Robin is looking around, and sees on display a magic bow and arrow that, when fired, never misses its target.
50-ish shades of green
Instead of answering the Wicked Witch, he heads for said bow and arrow, but Zelena simply laughs, questioning if he really believes he can kill her. Once getting the bow and arrow, Robin goes to fire, but sees Zelena has duplicated herself into three. "Don't make the wrong choice, thief," the three each say, all getting a chance to get a word in. The Wicked Witch tells Robin that it's his last chance, and that only one person is bold enough to steal from her, so she proceeds to question why Rumplestiltskin sent him. Robin doesn't answer though, but instead looks over at a large container with an emerald liquid inside, having gotten an idea. Zelena realizes this, and so she morphs back into one and forms a fireball in her hand, proceeding to throw it at him. This proves to be useless though, for the thief dodges it, and the magic arrow still hits it's target, and causes smoke to come from the stand the liquid is contained in. As Zelena struggles to breathe and see through the smoke, Robin manages to escape.
Robin lets Will down.
Far off from the Emerald City, Robin of Loxley has made his way down the yellow brick road to where Will awaits, questioning if the thief is alright and how things went. Out of breath, Robin exclaims that he is afraid he failed, and that once he got there it was a trap, for there was a witch waiting for him, and lies that he never even got close to the elixir. Will questions if he even got a single drop, and Robin replies that he got nothing, and that he is sorry. This saddens Will, who proceeds to walk away. Meanwhile, Robin reaches into his pocket and pulls out the elixir he did in fact obtain.
Marian is evil. =O
Back in New York, further into the future, Rumplestiltskin lies on a hospital bed as Robin Hood enter with a bottle of the Elixir of the Wounded Heart in tow. "You found it," Rumple exclaims, going to grab it, but Robin holds back, stating that before he holds up his end of their promise, he wishes to strike a deal. Rumple, struggling to survive, tells the thief to make it quick, and so Robin states that after the potion heals the Dark One, he is to move on, Baelfire's old apartment belongs to him now, and he never wants to see Rumple there again. Rumple agrees to these terms, and demands the potion. Robin puts the bottle on his hospital tray, and exclaims, "Good riddance, Rumplestiltskin. Our dealings are done." He then leaves, and Rumple takes the potion to drink; however, after a moment, he realizes it's not working. "Why isn't it working?!" Rumple asks himself as he throw the bottle to the wall, shattering it. "Because it's not real magic," a voice calls out, revealing to be none other than Marian. The Dark One is confused to see Robin's supposedly innocent wife walk through the door, holding the real elixir.
Marian is... Zelena. Pfhahahaha!!!
Marian exclaims that she tried to convince Robin to let Rumple die, but he just wouldn't listen to reason, so here she is. "You switched the vials?" Rumple questions, to which Marian confirms, going on that what she gave him won't cure his heart, but will help with sudden cold and flu symptoms, "Don't worry, it's non-drowsy." Rumple is just confused though, for he does not understand why Marian would do this, seeing as how he has done her no harm. "That's not exactly true," she replies, before reaching into her shirt and revealing a necklace. She turns it slightly, and transforms into none other than Zelena. This shocks Rumple, who wonders how this could be possible, to which the Wicked Witch replies it was imported magic, going on to warn him to never travel realms without it. Rumple is clearly having a hard time taking all this in, and Zelena reminds him of the six leaf clover from Oz, which has proven to be quite an effective glamor spell, and reveals to have been wearing it in the form of a necklace this whole time. "But I killed you..." Rumple reminds her. (See "Kansas")
Eh, you tried. When you stabbed my in that jail cell I didn't die. My life force simply fled my body before it shattered.
Flash to Rumple ramming his dagger into the Wicked Witch's gut. She wretches in pain, and suddenly, Rumple uses his magic to transform her into a porcelain statue of herself. When he withdraws the dagger, she smashes into a million pieces, crumbling into a pile on the floor. ("Kansas")
I had somewhere to go... or should I say some time.
Once Rumple has left, Zelena's remains turn into a cloud of dust and disappear, going on to combine with the magic from her pendant, and open of the time portal. ("Kansas") Back in the hospital bed, Rumple realizes that Zelena had followed Emma through the time portal. Flash to Emma struggling to grab ahold of Hook as she falls through the portal, and the two of them soon land in the Enchanted Forest of the past. ("Snow Drifts")
That I did, and when I realized what Emma had planned for Marian, well I knew I had to get in while the getting was good, so I bided my time watching Emma and her one-handed lover scurrying about trying to right their mistakes.
Flash to Emma and Hook dancing at King Midas' ball, under the aliases of Princess Leia and Prince Charles. ("Snow Drifts") Then to the two of them watching a bandit Snow White escape on a horse, and Emma shoving a guard so he misses his target. ("Snow Drifts")
And when I saw they planned to bring Robin's wife back, I mean, inspiration struck.
And then I struck. For a few careless moments they left her unattended and that was all I needed.
I killed her.
And then I became her.
I took her form.
You know, it wasn't easy not being me, but knowing it would ruin Regina's happiness. Oh, that made it worth every dull moment in her body.
Rumple is reminded he failed to avenge Bae's death... and then he dies for the 20th time.
Back in the present, Rumple, who is now struggling to breathe even more, realizes Marian never made it through the trip back to Storybrooke. Zelena laughs, confirming that it was indeed her all along. She then leans on Rumple's bed, going on to say that no one has even been the wiser - not her husband, not ever her child - she's as dead as Baelfire. Wanting to hurt the Dark One even more, Zelena reminds him that this also means he never did avenge Neal's death, and that he failed (See "Kansas"), "Oops," she adds. Rumple is no longer able to bear anymore of this, and though he has been trying his best to keep going on throughout Zelena's entire speech, his heart finally gives out, and he flat-lines. Zelena's mouth widens, and a smile comes across her face; she knocks on Rumple's chest a few times to see if he is dead or alive and she leans in to hear a heartbeat, but nothing. "What a beautiful echo," she exclaims as a group of doctors and nurses enter the room. She then pretends to be worried, and as if she is about to cry; she asks that they please help him, but when no one is looking, she goes back to wickedly grinning.
Zelena continues tormenting Rumple.
Still in the hospital, and in bed, Rumplestiltskin awakens, now attached to numerous machines and tubes that keep him alive. His face is being dabbed, cleaning up all the sweat, and he comes to see that this is being done by Zelena. He jumps in fear, but the Wicked Witch shushes him, telling him not to talk; she then points out the 'magic' in the world they are in - how there is a tube that can be breathe for a person. "Why your predicament does look painful," Zelena exclaims as she plays with the tube that keeps Rumple alive, practically teasing him. She states that there was a time she would relish this, with the vendetta he has against her and then the death of his son; she comments that this would be a strong practical choice. However, she is not done telling him her clever plan, and she reveals that she had planned to use her Marian glamor to steal Robin's heart and make him fall in love with her, to steal Regina's fated true love; she points out how ultimate that sounds, that such a loss sounds like a wound that wouldn't heal for her sister.
A deal is made solving everyone's problems...ish.
Zelena grabs Rumple's hand, and plays with his ring some, exclaiming that it sadly didn't take, and that she just can't win his heart since something is standing in the way like a stone wall. She states that it could be fate, or true love, or some other bias to those in the universe who deserve happiness, but whatever it is, she believes there to be an Author who could simply force a happy ending for her, and if there is anyone who could find him and bend him to their will then her money is on the Dark One, "Or should I say the 'Deathly Pale One'?" Zelena laughs, but gets back on topic, stating that whatever Rumple's plans are with the Author, she wants her happy ending built into it, which also means he'd have to stop trying to kill her. "And what does ole Rumple get out of it?" Zelena asks in a mocking tone, and she reminds the Dark One she has a certain potion that fixes hearts. She does admit that it may not be able to cure the "little lump of coal" he has in his "narrow little chest", but it will get him back home. "Your life for mine," Zelena says, making her deal, "That seems rather fair. Do we have a deal?" Having no other choice, Rumple gives in, and accepts.
Will shares his tale.
In Oz of the past, on the yellow brick road, and at the portal door Robin came through to cross realms, he shakes hands with Will Scarlet, ready to head home. Before he leaves though, Will states that he'd like to thank the thief for trying, seeing as how not many have had the courage to do what he just tried to; he adds that it was an inspiration, and that he is sorry Robin won't be able to save his tavern. "Me too," Robin exclaims, to which Will adds he'd be even more sorry if Robin left thinking he let down his wife, and that he is an honorable man who did the best he could for those who needed him. "Will-," Robin tries, but he continues that if Marian is anything like Robin claimed she was then she will know what is in his heart when he gets home. "You may be right," Robin replies, feeling guilty now; Will states that he knows he is because when he was a child he had someone in his life who knew him just like Robin's Marian knows him. "Who was it?" Robin asks, and Will reveals it was his sister, Penelope; he goes on to tell that she fell through the ice of a lake and drowned.
Robin now realizes that Will never intended to sell the potion, but to drink it and mend his own heart. "I can't move on mate; I don't know how," Will confesses, and Robin questions if that is why he is out there all alone. Will points out that he can't just ask someone for their heart until he can fix his own, and Robin believes this to be a noble sacrifice - especially from a thief. "Sometimes honoring a code is all we have," Will admits, and the two then embrace in a hug, and go to part ways. However, Robin stops him, wishing him good luck, and his hopes that he finds what it is he is looking for. Will then does the same, wishing Robin with the best of luck with Rumplestiltskin. They proceed to part ways, Robin going through the portal door, and Will continuing down the yellow brick road. However, Will goes to sit down on a rock, but feels a sharp pain on his side. He stands up and reaches into his pocket, discovering the vile of the Elixir of the Wounded Heart. He smiles at this, commenting, "Bloody scoundrel."
Robin offers a gift, but is turned down.
Farther into the future, but still not exactly the present, Robin stands outside a New York hospital, waiting for Rumple, who soon approaching, questioning that he thought the thief never wanted to see him again. "Well, after all the trouble I went through, I wanted to make sure you were well," Robin exclaims, to which Rumple confirms he is, and thanks him. Robin also reveals that he wanted to give the Dark One something as well - a box - containing the remaining possessions of Baelfire that were left over at the apartment. "I thought you'd might want to have them." Rumple stares at the box for a moment, but ultimately turns it down, confusing Robin. Rumple states that the items inside the box are simply the remnants of Neal Cassidy, a boy who was in the Land Without Magic alone, and all because his father was too much of a coward to hold on to what he had. (See "The Return") He goes on that he doesn't want a reminder that he was a failure, that all he wanted was happiness, and when he had it he couldn't recognize it.
Rumple gives some advice.
"I know what you mean," Robin replies, stating that with Marian he wished her to come back every day and when she did, but Rumple interrupts, finishing that he had fallen in love with another woman. However, Robin states that there is more to it than just that, and that Marian is like a stranger to him now. "Why did you marry her in the first place?" Rumple questions, to which Robin replies that it was because he loved her. "And you thought she was going to be your happy ending?" Rumple asks, to which Robin confirms. The Dark One wonders if she indeed is, and the thief states that he does not actually know. Rumple states that Robin should make take advice from a man who has pushed away every chance at happiness he has ever had because it wasn't enough and that if it is within his grasp, and he knows where it is, and who it's with, then he should run to it, grasp it, and never let it go. Robin nods, taking this into consideration, and the two part ways.
Stealing from the rich...
Far into the past, now back in the Enchanted Forest, Robin of Loxley stands in his tavern, scrubbing a cup clean, when he hears the door open and in walks the Sheriff of Nottingham and two other officers. "What a crowd," the Sheriff remarks, sarcastically, about the entirely empty tavern. "While I try to get the barkeep's attention, why don't you see if you can find us a table," the Sheriff tells one of his officers, before approaching Robin, commenting on how slow business seems to be, and that he hopes that didn't prevent Robin from obtaining the money he owes. The thief confesses that he doesn't have it, and so the Sheriff pulls out a set of handcuffs, stating that there is a prison where he can rot, thinking of all he has done. However, Little John enters, bow and arrow in tow, followed by several other Merry Men. They surround the Sheriff and his other officers, and Robin states that Nottingham was right, that thieving is in his blood, but that how to be a thief with honor, he thinks he has learned the answer. As he takes the Sheriff's pouch, Robin states that that is by stealing from those with too much and giving to those with too little.
...and giving to the poor.
Sometime later, Robin and Marian watch as Little John and the other Merry Men hand out gold coins to those poor citizens of the village; Marian turns Robin, pointing out that the Sheriff will most likely want him dead now, which Robin considers a victory. "You're the most famous hoodlum in all of Sherwood," Marian exclaims, "Robin of Loxley will be a walking target." However, Robin states he will no longer be known as "Robin of Loxley", but that this "famous hoodlum" shall hence forth be known as "Robin Hood". Marian chuckles, agreeing sarcastically that that will fool everyone; Robin states that it's symbolic. Marian then questions what of Rumplestiltskin, reminding Robin that he never got him the potion, and that if the Dark One sees him again he'll kill him sight on scene. Robin states that he'll just have to make sure Rumple never sees his face again, and if he is ever in a pinch and has no choice, then he has the infamous six leaf clover of Oz, which is said to have the ability to transform anyone into whoever they wish to be. "Clever, 'Robin Hood'. Very clever," Marian comments, to which Robin questions if she really thought he'd leave with nothing. "I should've known better," she exclaims, and as the two begin walking alone, Robin apologizes for not telling her what he was up to, and Marian states that there is always now.
Robin sighs, and confesses that he was there to steal something in order to keep the tavern, which is what he thought was important, but he now realizes he isn't a barkeep, but a thief. Marian lets on the hint of smile, stating that she could have told him that. Robin goes on that when in Oz, he learned his thieving could be put to good use; he reveals that he met a friend, a friend that needed help, and when he helped them, it showed him that when you steal for yourself you're a thief, but when you steal for someone else, that makes you a hero. Robin and Marian then look over at Little John, who is still throwing money, and Marian exclaims that that is what he is, and Robin states that he wants to keep making a difference, but that is also no life for a family. However, Marian believes that it is as long as she is with him. "You want to stay with me?" Robin questions, going on to warn that it won't be easy. Marian takes his hand though, reminding him that it also won't be boring, and that wherever they are and what they face, she just wants to be with him. Robin states that he loves her, which Marian says back, and the two proceed to kiss.
"Marian" questions Robin's loyalty.
In New York, years later, Robin stands in the shower, allowing the flow of watch to drench him. He thinks about what Rumplestiltskin had to say regarding obtaining a happy ending; however, is thoughts are interrupted when "Marian" calls out for him.
In the living area of the apartment, "Marian" stares at Robin's phone, having Regina's phone number pulled up. Robin enters, now wearing a robe, and "Marian" confronts him about said phone contact. She asks why he still has the formerly Evil Queen's phone number, and Robin apologizes, stating that he has been thinking about her. "Do you want to be with her?" questions "Marian", who fakes the tone of sadness; she goes on to say that she feels like Robin is present, but that he is also not. She states that she knows things are hard, but that Robin needs to make a choice; she doesn't want to have to worry about who she is with - she's here - and she and Roland are fine, "If you want to go back to Regina then go back to her, but you have to decide what you want."
Robin chooses Zelena... I mean "Marian".
However, Robin makes up his mind, stating that he wishes to be with her; he goes on to say that he loves her, and that she once gave up everything to be with him as a bandit in the woods, and she said something to him once that he should have taken to heart, "Do you remember?" he asks, to which "Marian" lies, stating that she does, but she wants to hear Robin say it. "No matter where we are or what we face, I want to be with you," he exclaims, to which "Marian" replies she meant every word. "And now so do I," Robin exclaims, going on to point out again that she once gave up everything to be with him and he lost sight of that; she was once his happy ending and he was hers, and they can have that again. "I thought you were dead, and now that we're back together it's a miracle," he exclaims. Robin then deletes Regina's contact from his phone, surprising "Marian", and he pulls her in for a kiss. Meanwhile, Roland, who is too busy watching TV, doesn't notice the reflection in the mirror as Robin and his supposed mother kiss, but that the Wicked Witch's true reflection is shown. She looks into the mirror and smiles wickedly.
Nine Weeks Later
Zelena reveals herself to her dear sister.
Back in the present day Storybrooke, down inside the heart vault, the formerly Evil Queen Regina, waits as the phone rings, but she is soon answered. Hoping that it's her beloved Robin Hood, she calls out his name, only for her to receive the answer, "No, it's not Robin." Regina believes this to be Marian, which it partially is; the disguised Wicked Witch of the West then takes her magical, glamor spelled-necklace and transforms herself back into her true form, thus retaining her true voice. "Hello, sis," she exclaims, shocking Regina, who replies with, "No... No, it can't be..." But it is though, Regina realizes her supposedly deceased sister is in fact alive, and so she questions how, stating she saw her die. (See "Snow Drifts") However, Zelena corrects that Regina only thought she saw her die, but the formerly Evil Queen simply questions where Robin is, pointing out that it's his phone, and she wants to know what the Wicked Witch has done with him. "I haven't done anything except love and honor him in sickness and in health, and to have and to hold, and all that other wifely nonsense," Zelena replies, but Regina still doesn't understand. The Wicked Witch states that she doesn't have to though, and that all she needs to know is that while Robin thinks it's his wide-eyed wife cooking dinner for him every night, it's actually Zelena.
Regina has to chose between SwanQueen and OutlawQueen.
She then states that she has to hang up, for Robin will be home soon and she has a meatloaf in the oven. "No..." Regina exclaims, and then looks up at Rumplestiltskin, who stands above her, uttering "No," once more, but this time a bit more enraged. Zelena comments that it seems like Regina needs a moment, and she suggests she take it, seeing as how she's sure the two of them will see each other again very soon, and with that, the Wicked Witch hangs up. Regina is left with no one but Rumple now, who she realizes knew the entire time. "And that's why you will do everything I ask," the Dark One exclaims, "because one phone call from me and your beloved dies at the hands of your sister." Regina reminds him of how Zelena murdered his son, but Rumple reveals that the two of them have come to an understanding, and now he and Regina have an understanding as well. He goes on to reveal that the formerly Evil Queen is vital to his plan of turning the Savior towards darkness. However, Regina points out that Rumple may have made her a monster, but he won't let him do the same to Emma. Rumple takes back his phone, exclaiming, "So you've made your choice, have you? The Savior over your beloved Robin Hood? Is that your final answer?" However, Regina is unable to reply, for she herself does not know what to do.
- The title card of this episode features the Emerald City of Oz.
- Although credited, Emilie de Ravin (Belle French/Belle) is absent from this episode.
- During a concept meeting, the production team was described as "aflutter" because of something "outrageous" in the script.
- Sean Maguire filmed the horse chase scene while riding a mechanical horse.
- The name of Walsh's furniture shop, Wizard of Oak, is a reference to the iconic character, the Wizard of Oz, who Walsh also happens to double as.
- The container with the Elixir of the Wounded Heart is engraved with the words "cor aut mors", Latin for "heart or death".
- When Robin and Will hug, there is an overhead shot where the Tin Man appears lying on the side of the Yellow Brick Road.
- In the special, "Once Upon a Time: Secrets of Storybrooke", footage of filming a deleted scene could be found where Robin Hood visits Rumplestiltskin at his castle when returning from Oz, and lies to the Dark One, claiming that Zelena bested him. Outraged by the thief's failure, Rumple threatens to kill Robin if he ever sees him again.
- During this scene, it's noted that Rumple has just acquired the Fairy Godmother's wand, which Robin goes on to steal in "Lacey", but this would constitute as a continuity error, seeing as how both "Lacey" and "Heart of Gold" take place before "The Price of Gold", which is when Rumple obtains the wand.
- The title of this episode was confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on January 27, 2015.
- The episode was discussed during the summer of 2014, conceived in November 2014, outlined in December 2014, and written in January 2015.
The episode dropped slightly from the previous episode, as it posted a 1.6/5 among 18-49s with 5.17 million viewers tuning in, but at the same time helped the series win its timeslot although it did placed second among the most watched scripted programs that night behind A.D.: The Bible Continues, which had more viewers.
The episode was met with good but mixed reviews.
- Amy Ratcliffe of IGN said of the episode, "The exploration of Robin Hood's origins slowed tonight's Once way down as everything about the trip to fairy tale land seemed like it was about forcing connections and parallels. However, in the modern day, learning Marian is actually Zelena almost made up for it. They shouldn't get in the habit of bringing back blasts from the past, but Zelena has the potential to shake things up so much that her return is worth it. Since she's also searching for the Author though, it would have been better to tie him more into the story considering what happened in the previous episode." Ratcliffe gave the episode a 7.2 rating out of 10.
- Hilary Busis of Entertainment Weekly notes: "Like it or not, you’ve got to admit that Zelena’s return was the most exciting part of an episode that otherwise read as wheel-spinning."
- In a review from Rickey.org, Nick Roman cites that "This was one of the weirdest Once Upon A Time episodes in recent memory. Flashbacks within flashbacks, and a story that diverges from the overarching narrative we’ve been following for this entire half season all contribute to making “Heart of Gold” feel like it’s from a different show entirely." but added that despite the subpar twist, the episode's plotline was done well.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Scott Nimerfro tweet.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet #1.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet #2.
- ↑ Once Upon a Time: "Heart of Gold" Review, by Amy Ratcliffe, IGN (April 13, 2015)
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time recap: 'Heart of Gold'" from Entertainment Weekly (April 12, 2015)
- ↑ "‘Once Upon A Time’ Review: A Face From The Past Returns In 'Heart of Gold'" from Rickey.org (April 12, 2015)