Heart of Gold
Season 4, Episode 18
Airdate April 12, 2015
Written by Scott Nimerfro & Tze Chun
Directed by Billy Gierhart
Episode Guide
Best Laid Plans
Sympathy for the De Vil
Heart of Gold is the eighteenth episode of the fourth season of the American fantasy drama series Once Upon a Time, which aired on April 12, 2015.

In this episode, Emma Swan must deal with the truth about her parents' past with Maleficent, while she tracks down the Author, whom she must find before Gold does. As Gold's quest for his happy ending grows more urgent, he resorts to blackmailing Regina in order to help him. Nine weeks before this, Mr. Gold needs Robin's help. Back in the Enchanted Forest, Rumplestiltskin enlists Robin Hood to go to Oz to steal an elixir from Zelena.

View the Heart of Gold Gallery.


Opening Sequence

The Emerald City looms in the forest.

In The Characters' Past

Back in "Sherwood Forest many years ago," Robin Hood is at his bar, when the Sheriff of Nottingham shows up and threatens his nemesis over taxes and gives him just two days to get his money in order. That night after closing, Rumplestiltskin appears with a proposition: Rumplestiltskin will solve Robin’s monetary issues, if Robin will steal something for him in return. Rumplestiltskin informs Robin that they’ll have to go to a realm called the Land of Oz to acquire a potion called the elixir of the wounded heart, which can cure hearts both physically and emotionally. Robin goes through a portal into Oz, where after the portal lands on a guard after he steps out, Robin runs into Will Scarlet, who was just captured by the aforementioned guard, and frees him. The two then agree to work together, though Will wants some of the elixir for himself.

Robin then takes the guard’s clothing as a disguise and uses it to break into the Wicked Witch of the West’s palace, where he bottles some of the elixir, only to have Zelena catch him, immediately assuming he is there on Rumplestiltskin’s behalf. He narrowly escapes but lies to Will, telling him that he didn’t get gather any of the elixir. Before Robin leaves to return to Sherwood Forest, Will tells him that he is trying to mend his own broken heart, which has been crushed since his sister died. As Robin leaves to return to his realm, Will notices that a vial of the elixir has been sneakily placed in his pocket.

Back in the Sherwood Forest, Robin is in his bar all alone when the Sheriff shows up looking for his money and is ready to cuff Robin, when The Merry Men led by Little John appear with arrows ready on aim; they then steal the Sheriff’s money and distribute it to the poor townspeople. As Robin and Marian make plans to stay together on the run, he gives her the six-leaf clover of Oz, which would later be the catalyst for Marian's demise by Zelena during Emma Swan and Captain Hook's stint in the Enchanted Forest.

In Storybrooke

As Emma and her parents search the woods for The Author, [[[Mary Margaret Blanchard|Mary Margaret]] tells Emma that they met him before, and David adds that he was the one responsible for placing them on the path to destroy Maleficent’s child. David explains that they didn't understand what they did out of fear, but Emma snaps and says they’ve been lying to her and adds that she became the anointed savior because they destroyed someone else’s soul. The Author stays one step ahead of them and snaps a small branch off a tree, then sharpens the end to a fine point. Out of nowhere Gold shows up and says he knows about magic quills and says he knows they have to come from an enchanted tree, since there are none of those in Storybrooke. The Author curses and goes to walk away but Gold says he should come with him, then he shows The Author that he has a magic quill and tells him that he has to write him some happy endings, and when The Author sees Emma and the Charmings coming, he agrees to go along with Gold and disappear in a cloud of dark magic. Back in Regina’s crypt, Regina wakes up and discovers her hands are tied and sees Gold standing there, as he tells her that he has the author, but says he can’t let her find her happiness at his expense, adding that he lost everything and she will too if she doesn’t obey. Regina then panics after she sees Gold with the phone number for Robin Hood that she had in her pocket, but then uses his magic to free her so she can call him.

Its nine weeks later after the events of the outside world, when Regina called Robin, only to be in shock to have her half-sister Zelena answer, explaining her domestic life with Robin, and tells Regina that they will be seeing each other very soon. After the phone call, Gold tells Regina that if she doesn't help him turn Emma's heart dark, he'll order Zelena on the phone to kill Robin. However Regina refuses to work for Gold and tells him, she won't let him turn Emma into a monster, the same way he did to her.

Outside Storybrooke

Nine weeks earlier, after Robin kissed Regina before stepping over the magical boundary of Storybrooke (and nine weeks before the aforementioned phone call that Regina made) to leave with Marian and Roland, they have entered New York City, where Robin tells Marian that Regina gave her the keys to Neal/Baelfire’s apartment, but as they check for directions, a man on a bike snatches Marian’s purse and Robin tries to give chase, then steals a horse and goes after the thief; he runs the guy down and tackles him then stops himself, saying a thief who steals from those in need has no honor. Unfortunately, As they have now settled in the apartment, Marian is already not happy about living in New York City, despite her feelings about Robin Hood and Regina. They then hear someone knocking on the door, and they see Gold there; he wants Robin and his family out of his son's apartment, saying that Regina told him about the Author and what will happen to her if her happy endings do not come true, but even as Robin refuses to give up the place Gold starts suffering chest pains and is taken to the hospital, where he is told that he had a heart attack. Gold explains to Robin the only thing that can cure him now is the elixir of the wounded heart, which is actually being kept safe nearby at a place called "The Wizard of Oak." Gold tells Robin where to find it, and Robin breaks in to steal it just in time to escape the police, upsetting Marian in the process.

Robin then brings the elixir to Gold in the hospital, then makes a deal that in exchange for the elixir that Gold allows Robin and his family to keep the house. As Gold drinks it, he realizes it doesn’t work, when out of nowhere, Marian enters the room with the real elixir, having swapped the real bottle; it turns out Marian was actually Zelena, who Gold discovers had been alive all along and not dead. Zelena's soul had actually travelled back in time, where she killed the real Marian back in the Enchanted Forest, by using the six-leaf clover of Oz to make Marian vanish and to transform herself into Marian. This was part of her plan to ruin Regina’s happiness, and to add the misery it's now causing to Gold, which is certainly making Zelena happy too. Gold briefly flatlines, then comes to afterwards with Zelena telling him that she wanted to make Robin fall in love with her, but he just couldn’t, making her realize that she needed the Author to change her story, and since Gold is the one that can find him, she proposes that in exchange for the only elixir that could save him, he agrees to the deal to find the Author.

As Gold is finally released from the hospital, Robin give him some possessions that were left in the house while they discuss about Marian and how Robin doesn’t feel anything for her anymore, although Gold, neglecting to tell Robin the truth about what happened to his actual wife, tells Robin to pursue his happiness with whomever that may be. Robin then goes home and tells "Marian" that he wants to stay with her, no matter what they have to go through, and to prove it he deletes Regina’s phone number from his cell phone in front of "Marian." As Robin starts kissing his "wife," he is unaware that from what viewers see in the mirror’s reflection, it's Zelena kissing Robin instead. This would eventually later lead to the phone call that Regina made later on as alluded by Gold in Storybrooke nine weeks later.

Cultural references

  • When Robin enters Oz, the magic portal lands on the guard, and his feet are sticking out, just like the Wicked Witch of the East from the novel.
  • The Six-Leaf Clover is from L. Frank Baum's children's novel The Patchwork Girl of Oz.
  • The Enchanted Bow painting says "The Omaha Circus and Freak Show". In the novel, Omaha was the name of the Wizard's birthplace.
  • When Robin Hood and Will Scarlet hug, there is an overhead shot where you can see the Tin Man from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz lying on the side of the Yellow Brick Road.
  • The scene when Mr. Gold's heart stops and Zelena says "What a beautiful echo" is a reference to The Wizard of Oz scene where Dorothy bangs on the Tin Woodman's chest and the Scarecrow says, "Beautiful! What an echo".


  • When Robin Hood returns from Oz, Marion states that he'll be killed if he ever meets Rumpelstiltskin again. Robin then indicates the stolen six leaf clover of Oz and states that if he ever crosses paths with the Dark One again he won't look like himself. This is done to explain the fact that a different actor played Robin Hood during his first appearance in episode 2.19 (Lacey).
  • Hidden Mickey: When Robin Hood is searching in the Wizard of Oak shop, he opens a desk drawer containing some odds and ends. In the middle of the drawer is a shiny silver "Mickey" (3 rings giving the appearance of a Mickey Mouse head and ears). Disney, of course, owns the ABC Television Network.
  • This episode deals with "Robin Hood" characters.
  • The object/animal/person in this episode is the Emerald City.
  • Robin & Marian's son is named Roland, perhaps as a "shout out" to Stephen King and The Dark Tower series(?)
  • When Robin Hood is offering The Dark One some of Baelfire's things, in the background you can see a picture of the genie from Aladdin. This could foreshadow something, or be a tiny Easter egg.
  • Tom Ellis played Robin Hood in season 2 but was unavailable to appear in season 3. He was replaced by Sean Maguire. They have corrected this with S04E18, when Robin admits to having the necklace which permits the wearer to change form.
  • Rebecca Mader returns as Zelena, the Wicked Witch.
  • During the scene where we first see Robin and his family in New York you can hear the line "I'm walking here! I'm walking here!" in the background, which is the line spoken by Dustin Hoffman in the movie "Midnight Cowboy" (1969) also set in New York.
Season 1
PilotThe Thing You Love MostSnow FallsThe Price of GoldThat Still Small VoiceThe ShepherdThe Heart Is a Lonely HunterDesperate SoulsTrue North7:15 A.M.Fruit of the Poisonous TreeSkin DeepWhat Happened to FrederickDreamyRed-HandedHeart of DarknessHat TrickThe Stable BoyThe ReturnThe StrangerAn Apple Red as BloodA Land Without Magic
Season 2
BrokenWe Are BothLady of the LakeThe CrocodileThe DoctorTallahasseeChild of the MoonInto the DeepQueen of HeartsThe Cricket GameThe OutsiderIn the Name of the BrotherTinyManhattanThe Queen Is DeadThe Miller's DaughterWelcome to StorybrookeSelfless, Brave and TrueLaceyThe Evil QueenSecond Star to the RightAnd Straight On 'til Morning
Season 3
The Heart of the Truest BelieverLost GirlQuite a Common FairyNasty HabitsGood FormAriel (Episode)Dark HollowThink Lovely ThoughtsSave HenryThe New NeverlandGoing HomeNew York City SerenadeWitch HuntThe TowerQuiet MindsIt's Not Easy Being GreenThe Jolly RogerBleeding ThroughA Curious ThingKansasSnow DriftsThere's No Place Like Home
Season 4
A Tale of Two SistersWhite OutRocky RoadThe ApprenticeBreaking GlassFamily BusinessThe Snow QueenSmash the MirrorFallShattered SightHeroes and VillainsDarkness on the Edge of TownUnforgivenEnter the DragonPoor Unfortunate SoulBest Laid PlansHeart of GoldSympathy for the De VilLilyMotherOperation Mongoose
Season 5
The Dark SwanThe PriceSiege PerilousThe Broken KingdomDreamcatcherThe Bear and the BowNimueBirthThe Bear KingBroken HeartSwan SongSouls of the DepartedLabor of LoveDevil's DueThe Brothers JonesOur DecayHer Handsome HeroRuby SlippersSistersFirebirdLast RitesOnly YouAn Untold Story
Season 6
The SaviorA Bitter DraughtThe Other ShoeStrange CaseStreet RatsDark WatersHeartlessI'll Be Your MirrorChangelingsWish You Were HereTougher Than the RestMurder Most FoulIll-Boding PatternsPage 23A Wondrous PlaceMother's Little HelperAwakeWhere Bluebirds FlyThe Black FairyThe Song in Your HeartThe Final Battle
Season 7
Hyperion HeightsA Pirate's LifeThe Garden of Forking PathsBeautyGreenbacksWake Up CallEloise GardenerPretty in BlueOne Little TearThe Eighth WitchSecret GardenA Taste of the HeightsKnightfallThe Girl in the TowerSisterhoodBreadcrumbsChosenThe GuardianFlower ChildIs This Henry Mills?HomecomingLeaving Storybrooke
Down the Rabbit HoleTrust MeForget Me NotThe SerpentHeart of StoneWho's AliceBad BloodHomeNothing to FearDirty Little SecretsHeart of the MatterTo Catch a ThiefAnd They Lived...
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