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Once Upon a Time Recap: 4×18 “Heart of Gold”

Emma, followed by David and Mary Margaret, runs through Storybrooke in search of the Author, who Emma’s parents admit they knew back in the day, and who misled them down the path which led to losing Maleficent’s baby. Emma puts what her parents did in pretty harsh but accurate terms when she points out that she’s only the Savior because they altered her very being at the expense of someone else’s soul. Not wanting to hear David’s reasons, Emma refocuses the hunt on the Author, hoping to find him before Gold does.

Of course, the Author, who is trying to fashion a magic quill out of non-magic trees, pretty much runs right into Gold a moment later. The search party, which now includes Killian, is closing in on the Author, and Gold offers him an escape. But not before the Author tells Gold he’s the biggest pain in the ass he’s ever had to write about. Gold laughs it off and shows the Author a real enchanted quill, stating that the price for his help is a whole bunch of new happy endings for him and his friends. The Author agrees, and they disappear in a cloud of evil purple smoke just as Emma and company come upon the scene.

Cue the title card featuring, for some reason, Oz.
Cue the title card featuring, unfortunately, Oz.

Regina wakes up in her vault, her hands bound, her magic negated, with Gold standing over her. Regina reminds Gold of what he promised about trying to get her her Happy Ending, but Gold says the affection he has for her has its limits. Ouch. Gold then taunts her with the phone number for Robin that Emma provided Regina last episode. After Regina freaks out over the idea of something having happened to Robin, Gold surprises her by magicking away the restraints and handing her the number and a cell phone with the instruction, “Call.”

The subsequent flashback takes us to nine weeks ago as Marian, Roland, and Robin are crossing the barrier out of town. We see them some days later, clad in modern clothes, trying to navigate the heart of New York City. They’ve been given a map and keys to Neal’s old apartment and are optimistic that they can live in the new world together for many years. As Marian leans down to pick up Roland, she leaves her bag on the ground. A purse snatcher takes advantage of this, grabs it, and bolts. Robin, realizing all their money and keys are in the bag, runs after him. The thief jacks a bike and takes off. Robin unhitches a horse from a hansom cab and does his best Rick Grimes impression as he gives chase through the streets and into a park. Robin jumps off his horse and tackles the thief, who looks genuinely more surprised that he got scolded than chased by a dude on a horse.

So much for keeping a low profile. At least there aren't any Walkers. YET.
So much for keeping a low profile. At least there aren’t any Walkers. YET.

Back in Sherwood Forest, Robin is pouring drinks at an inn as Marian waits tables.

She brings home her pay, for love, for looooove....
She brings home her pay, for love, for looooove….

Robin gets annoyed when Little John shows up, promising a fresh score as Midas’s carriage is passing by tomorrow, and rumor has it it’s totally under-guarded. Robin chastises Little John, saying he hasn’t lifted a penny since he and Marian got married, and he’s adamant to keep his new life. As if on cue the Sheriff of Rottingham Nottingham busts in and scoffs at pretty much everything and everyone. Helping himself to a pint, he informs Robin that his taxes are overdue.

Robin states that he needs time, and the Sheriff, totally nice guy that he is, gives him two days to come up with it. Not one to leave the “or else” implied, he threatens to shutter the tavern, throw Robin in debtor’s prison, and then comfort Marian.

Well, now, that’s the perfect excuse to maybe hear Little John out.

I need to point out that overconfident villains are hilarious. Here’s an exact quote. “Well, [Marian,] when you are on the street, and your husband is in jail, perhaps you’ll see my appeal.” I’m sorry, did you just say, “When you have literally nothing else to live for and you have zero standards left, you’re totally gonna give me a call”? Because you just self-burned, Sheriff.

It sounded smoother when I said it in my head.
“It sounded smoother when I said it in my head.”

The Locksleys, who have found Neal’s apartment, are licking their wounds and regrouping. Marian worries that this whole situation is her fault, that had she not returned with Emma and Hook, Robin would be with the woman he really loves. Robin tries to comfort her, but they are interrupted by someone coming in the door. With kitchen knife in hand, Robin prepares to defend his family. Suddenly Gold appears and is obviously surprised to find them there. I guess Regina didn’t ask Gold for a set of keys when she put together the care package.

Gold is livid that they are trespassing in his son’s apartment, but Robin stands firm and says it’s their home now. Gold says he has business to attend to, the business of his happiness. Robin surmises that Gold is looking for the Author, whom Regina told him about. Gold says that if Robin keeps him from his business, he’ll be denying Regina a chance at her Happy Ending too. And then, for like no reason, Gold has chest pains and collapses.

I dunno, maybe we can just drag him into the hall. This is New York, after all.
“I dunno, maybe we can just drag him into the hall. This is New York, after all.”

Back in the tavern, Robin welcomes a lone hooded customer who turns out to be Rumpelstiltskin, ready to make a deal with the best thief in the land. Though Robin insists he’s not interested, Rumple thinks the tax notice on his door might make him feel otherwise. Holding up a bundle of straw, he offers to solve all Robin’s problems in exchange for traveling to Oz, breaking into someone’s vault, and stealing the Elixir of the Wounded Heart. Robin remarks that’s a ridiculously self-explanatory name, but Rumple assures that’s it powerful stuff, able to cure a heart of emotional and physical wounds.

Back in NYC, Robin sits in a hospital waiting room pondering his cell phone and the call button under Regina’s picture. Robin visits Gold in his room, and Gold says the doctor’s said it was a heart attack. But he knows better. All the dark deeds he’s done have taken their toll on him. And while he’s always used magic to protect himself, being exiled to a world without magic may very well kill him. Robin basically says “oh, well.” But Gold reminds Robin of the Elixir he asked Robin to steal and can point him to it. When Robin resists, Gold uses Robin’s penchant for honor against him.

In Oz, Robin has landed, quite literally, on a guard who was apprehending Will Scarlet the Knave of Hearts, who is grateful for the assist. The men make friends and Robin explains his situation and mission. The Knave, deducing this plot involves a woman, says he’ll help in exchange for some of the potion. Robin agrees, and together they strip the guard of his uniform.

In NYC, Robin stands outside of “The Wizard of Oak,” which Robin quips to Gold in a cell phone call is really uncreative. The Wizard was sent by Zelena to keep an eye on Emma, and he’s probably well-protected by potions and charms. Unfortunately Robin finds that the shop is protected by an alarm system. As he ransacks the place for the Elixir, he finds a drawer decorated in Emerald City style. Inside he finds the Elixir and high-tails it out of the back window as the police arrive.

In Neal’s apartment Marian and Robin fight quietly during dinner about Robin risking his safety and their well-being by following Gold’s orders. Robin insists that his priority is his family, but that it’s against his code to not assist someone in need. Marian suggests considering the greater good and letting Gold just die. Robin says just because everything else has changed, that doesn’t mean he has.

In Oz, a disguised Robin enters the Great Hall of Oz and proceeds to fill up some vials with the Elixir. He pockets a 6-pronged ….thingie.

Well, what would YOU call it?
Well, what would YOU call it?

And as he begins the second vial, Zelena, the Wicked Witch, arrives and confronts him. He makes the mistake of speaking to Zelena, something her guards never do. In an effort to escape, he grabs a nearby bow and arrow from a display. But Zelena laughs at him and creates doppelgangers of herself. She knows there’s only one person bold enough to steal from her, and she demands to know why Rumpelstiltskin has sent him. Seizing his chance to create a diversion, Robin lets the arrow fly, hits a pillar full of green water, and fills the hall with smoke.

Robin escapes Oz, returns to the Knave and, lying, apologizes for not procuring any of the Elixir. The Knave looks crestfallen and walks away, but Robin pulls out the vial he salvaged.

In NYC, Robin stands in Gold’s room with the Elixir, tells them they’re even, and the apartment is theirs now. Gold gives in, and Robin leaves with their dealings done. Gold takes the Elixir but realizes it’s not working. A smug Marian enters with the real vial of Elixir. To Gold’s horror she pulls out a pendant with one of the tokens from the 6-pronged ….thingie…. which Robin stole back in Oz. As it glows, her glamour fades and she reveals herself to be…….!

Oh, hell naw.
Oh, hell naw.

Apparently that bauble is part of a 6-leaf clover of Oz, and it survived inter-realm travel.

Zelena proceeds to narrate a painfully convoluted explanation of why she’s not Marian. Please believe me when I say bullet points are the only way.

  • Gold insists he killed her to avenge Neal
  • Zelena admits he tried, but when he stabbed her in the jail cell, she didn’t die
  • Her lifeforce “simply” fled her body before her body shattered
  • Zelena returned to the hex mark in the barn (where Elsa emerged) and opened up a portal to the Enchanted Forest…. because reasons
  • Emma and Hook went to investigate the portal and were pulled into the past
  • Zelena followed them as they tried to right history and …apparently stayed invisible the whole time
  • Zelena learned that Emma has rescued Marian and was planning on bringing her back to Storybrooke to save her life
  • “Inspiration struck” and Zelena, now for some reason capable of corporeal form, killed Marian, put her essence into the clover token, and took her form
  • Emma and Hook brought Zelena-as-Marian back to Storybrooke where Zelena took great pleasure in coming between Robin and Regina

Gold is overwhelmed with the heartache of knowing he did not avenge his son’s death and flat lines. As the crash team piles into the room, Zelena feigns concern while hiding a smile.

This is like that time the writers of X-Men  made Xorn Magneto because they absolutely did not know how to finish that story line.

No, it's not.
No, it’s not.

Gold wakes up intubated with Zelena talking some creepy line about “the magic of this world” as she fingers his breathing tubes menacingly. She gives it a little tug and goes on about her clever plan to make Robin really fall in love with her and crush Regina. But something is standing in her way, like fate or true love. But if Zelena could find the Author, then perhaps her Happy Ending would come quicker with more certainty. And of course Gold will help her find the Author in exchange for the Elixir, a life for a life.

Robin and the Knave part ways in Oz. The Knave tells Robin he’s sorry he will lose his tavern and that he’s let down his wife because Robin is an honorable man and deserved better. Robin, who is keeping the Elixir from the Knave, is uncomfortable. The Knave tells Robin about his sister who believed in him, but died. Robin realizes the Knave wanted the Elixir for himself to mend his own heart. They embrace and wish each other luck. After Robin leaves, the Knave finds that Robin has put a half vial in his belt.

In NYC, Robin meets Gold outside the hospital with a box of Neal’s stuff. But Gold turns it down because those items belonged to Neal, not Bae, and they symbolize his own failings as a father to be with his son in this world to start over. He talks about how he only wanted happiness but couldn’t recognize it when he did have it.

Robin admits that he thought Marian would be his Happy Ending, but now he’s not so sure. In a display of theatrical irony, Gold gives Robin the most accidently-on-purpose cryptic love advice ever, then walks off.

STEP ONE. Cut a hole in that box.
STEP ONE. Cut a hole in that box.

The Sheriff returns to confront Robin at the tavern, and when he moves to pull out some shackles, the Merry Men surround them with weapons pointed at the Sheriff and his men. Robin says he realizes that stealing is selfish, unless you do it for others.

Later in Sherwood Forest, Little John is distributing the money they lifted off of the Sheriff to the poor. Robin and Marian talk about how the Sheriff will surely kill Robin the first chance he gets, and the Dark One will do the same. But Robin has the token off the 6-leaf clover of Oz which will transform him into whomever he wants to be to hide from his enemies. And just in case that doesn’t work, he’s also changing his name to Robin Hood.

Robin admits he’s not a barkeep; he’s a thief. Marian might as well say “duh” as she agrees. She also tells him that she wants to be with him, wherever they go.

In Neal’s apartment, Marian/Zelena discovers Regina’s number is still in Robin’s phone. She confronts him asking who he wants to be with. He insists he wants to be with her and deletes Regina’s number from his phone.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate that he saved Granny's take out?
Can we just take a moment to appreciate that he saved Granny’s take out?

He then tells her what Marian said to him years ago, that he wants to be with her, wherever they are. As he kisses her, the camera pans to the mirror where Zelena’s reflection smiles wickedly.

Finally, 9 weeks later, where we left Regina and Gold in her vault, the other end of the cell phone rings and is answered. Regina practically shouts “Robin!” excitedly, but the woman’s voice says no. “Marian?” Regina asks. “Not exactly,” the woman replies. As she fingers the token on her necklace, Marian turns back into Zelena and Regina is horrified as she hears, “Hello, sis.” Some corny soap opera dialogue passes between them, and Zelena gets to the heart of matter which is that she’s Robin’s wife now. Regina is disgusted with Gold who knew this whole time Robin was in danger of Zelena. Gold says they all have an understanding now, and that Regina is vital to his plan to turn the Savior evil. Regina says she let Gold turn her evil and insists that she won’t let Gold do the same to Emma. So Gold asks if she’s made her choice: the Savior over her love?

The face I make when I realize I’m watching the most complicated show on TV right now.



What are your thoughts on this latest episode?

Are you as confused as I am?

What do you think of the Zelena-is-actually-Marian reveal? 


All screen captures are property of ABC.

ABC. “Images,” April 12, 2015. Television. April 13, 2015.

[Austen, Chuck. (w), Philip Tan (p), and Avalon Studios (i).] “The Draco, Pt. 2.” Uncanny X-Men #430 (October 2003), [Marvel Comics].

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