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All the dark deeds I've done... they've taken their toll. Poisoned my heart. Thickened the blood.

Mr. Gold to Robin Hood

"Heart of Gold" is the seventeenth episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Tze Chun & Scott Nimerfro, and directed by Billy Gierhart. It is the eighty-third episode of the series overall, and premiered on April 12, 2015.


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 Gold does. When Gold's quest for his happy ending grows more urgent, he blackmails Regina into helping him. In a Fairy Tale Land 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.[2]


This section is a detailed recap of this episode. There are major spoilers. Click to expand.

Regina wakes up and discovers Rumple is holding her hostage. He tells her if she wants Robin to stay safe she will do whatever he wants. She asks what happened to Robin, and he hands her a phone telling her to call him herself. Nine weeks ago, Regina says goodbye to Robin and sends them away. Arrving in New York, they are scared and someone steals Marian's purse. Robin steals a horse and rescues it from the thief. He tells Marian they have keys to Rumple's son's apartment. Marian mentions that he was also from the Enchanted Forest and survived there for many years so they can too. They are trying to adjust to life in the city when Rumplestitlskin opens the door to the apartment and asks what they are doing there. After verbally arguing about who really belongs there, Rumple clutches his chest and falls to the ground. At the hospital, Rumple tells Robin that all his dark deeds poisoned his heart. He was able to use magic to protect himself but without it in this land he will die. He tells Robin to retrieve some of the elixir of a wounded heart which he was sent to get in Oz in the past. Robin asks him "and why would I help you?" and Rumple tells him it's because he is an honorable person with a code to live by. Marian tries to convince Robin to let Rumple die but he tells her he cannot and that she is different than who he remembers. She reminds him everything is different now. Robin breaks into Walsh's furniture shop and steals the elixir; he gets away just as the police arrive. He brings it to Rumple and tells him they own the apartment now and he never wants to see him again. Rumple drinks it but says it isn't working. Marian comes in and tells him it's because it isn't real magic but rather a cold and flu medicine. Rumple asks her why she switched it as he caused her no harm.  "That's not exactly true," she says. She pulls out a necklace which glows green and reveals it is Zelena. Rumple asks how it is possible since he killed her. She explains that when he stabbed her in the jail cell her life force left her body before it shattered and she went through the portal with Emma and Hook. She killed Marian and assumed her form to come back and steal Regina's happy ending and that no one has been the wiser. She then taunts Rumple in reminding him that because she is still alive he never avenged his son's death. Rumple's heart fails and they resuscitate him. Zelena tells him she will give him the elixir if he finds the author, forces him to write her a happy ending and stops trying to kill her. He reluctantly agrees. Nine weeks later, in Storybrooke, Rumple finds the author, shows him a magic quill and convinces him to come with him. Regina calls Robin's phone and discovers Zelena is alive and acting as Robin's wife. Rumple tells her if she doesn't help him turn Emma dark he will call Zelena and tell her to kill Robin.

In the Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood owns and operates a tavern. Little John wants him to return to thieving with him but he explains that is no longer who he is after marrying Marian. The Sheriff of Nottingham enters and tells him his taxes are overdue. He says he will give Robin Hood two days or he will shut down the tavern and put Robin in jail. The Dark One enters later and tells Robin if he goes to Oz and steals the Elixir of a Wounded Heart, which can cure hearts physically and emotionally, he will take care of his tax problems. Robin enters through a door to Oz and meets Will Scarlet, who is tied up on the road. He releases him and Will tells Robin if he brings back some of the Elixir for him he will keep his mouth shut and not tell the guard. Robin Hood agrees and dresses as an Ozian guard. In the Emerald City, Robin is trying to find the elixir in the vault. He also finds a set of ornaments bearing a six-leaf clover and steals one, then puts some of the elixir in a vial and is finishing filling another vial when he hears a voice say "What are you doing?" He looks in the mirror and sees the Wicked Witch. He tries to hail her but she knows he is not a guard because he spoke to her, and they are not supposed to; Robin then spots a nearby bow with set of arrows and takes them, trying to take the Wicked Witch hostage, only to find that she's cast an illusionary spell and now there's three of them. She asks him why Rumplestiltskin sent him because she knows he is the only one bold enough to steal from her. She throws a fireball at him and he shoots an arrow towards a pillar and smoke hisses out. While she is coughing in the fog, he escapes. Back at the door, he lies and tells Will it was a trap and he got none of the elixir. Will explains he wanted it for him because his sister died and he wanted the hurt to go away. He tells Robin his wife will understand. Robin goes through the door and Will walks away. Will discovers Robin left the vile of the elixir in his pocket. The Sheriff comes to arrest Robin Hood but Robin's men prevent that from happening. Robin explains he understands being a thief with honor is to steal from those who have too much and give to those who have too little and he takes the Sheriff's bag of gold pieces.

Deleted Scenes

Footage of this scene being filmed can be found in "Secrets of Storybrooke". According to Adam Horowitz, the scene is not canon:[3]

Robin Hood goes to Rumplestiltskin's castle after he returns from Oz. He sees Rumplestiltskin place a wand on a pedestal; the same wand that Robin steals in "Lacey". Robin remarks that Fairies can get quite nasty when they are stripped of their wands, but Rumplestiltskin says, "Only if they're still breathing after you've taken it"; implying that the wand that he stole from the Fairy Godmother in "The Price of Gold." Rumplestiltskin asks for the potion, but Robin says that the Wicked Witch proved too powerful, and he does not have it. Rumplestiltskin calls him foolish and says that no potion means no gold, which means no tavern, and debtors' prison. The Dark One tells him to get out of the castle and warns him that if he ever sees him there again, he will kill him.



Guest Starring



*Only in archive footage.



Production Notes

  • The episode was discussed during the summer of 2014, conceived in November 2014, outlined in December 2014, and written in January 2015.[6]
  • During a concept meeting, the production team was described as "aflutter" because of something "outrageous" in the script.[7]
  • ABANDONED IDEAS: Concept artist Keith Lau crated concept art for a pair of six-leaf clover earrings in addition to the necklace,[8] but only the necklace was used in the episode.
  • Zelena's Marian disguise had been planned for a long time.[9] The show creators came up with the twist when "Marian" was brought back in Season Three.[10]
    • Sean Maguire did not know Marian was going to be revealed as Zelena until the show runners told him.[11]
    • Also, before the episode "Snow Drifts" aired, when the showrunners were asked in an interview whether if Zelena would be back in Season Four, they strongly replied, "Yes".[12]
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: The name "London" appears on a spa outside The Wizard of Oak furniture shop.[13]

Event Chronology

Episode Connections



Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

  • Next to it,[33] there is a promo poster for the 2005 album Brigadoon by the Canadian indie pop band P:ano.
  • Above this poster,[33] there is a promo poster for the Canadian alternative country singer Carolyn Mark and the Canadian alternative country and bluegrass band Luther Wright and the Wrongs, and their Owner Operator Tour from 2012.[34]
  • The scene where 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".

Props Notes

Set Dressing

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Inside The Wizard of Oak, a big wood carving of an O is sitting on a table, while a big wood carving of a Z is sitting on the floor.[40] Together, they form the name "Oz".
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: There is a photograph of Emma Swan on Walsh's work desk.[41]

Costume Notes

  • BRAND INFO: Robin's jacket[43] is a Belstaff H Racer Jacket[44] in green (the exact color is no longer available).

Filming Locations


  • According to the heart monitor screen over his hospital bed, Mr. Gold's heart gives out at 14:33.[89] The date, however, is wrong: It says 25 Dec 14, but since there was a one-year time jump in "Going Home", which takes place in 2012, the flashback story in "Heart of Gold" should take place in 2013. Nor could the flashback take place in December 2013, because the episode clearly states that both the flashback scene where Robin Hood an his family leave Storybrooke, and the New York City flashback, take place nine weeks before the frame story, meaning that there is no gap between the two flashbacks. However, "Heroes and Villains" establish that Robin left town shortly after Mother Superior's disappearance in "Fall", and according to the missing person form in "Darkness on the Edge of Town", Mother Superior was reported missing on November 6.[90]

International Titles



  1. Sunday Final Ratings: 'America's Funniest Home Videos' Adjusted Up; 'Mad Secretary', 'The Good Wife' & '60 Minutes' Adjusted Down. TV by the Numbers (April 14, 2015). “Once Upon A Time (...) 5.17”
  2. 2.0 2.1 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, April 12, 2015. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#417) "Heart of Gold".”
  3. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (August 19, 2015). "here's the cut scene. Non canon unless you hear otherwise. Hope you enjoy!" (screenshot) (script facsimile)
  4. File:417Title.png
  5. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (January 27, 2015). "Hey look! It's another #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler! Hope to see ya March 1st!" (screenshot)
  6. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (April 15, 2015). "Sunday's ep was discussed last summer. Conceived in November. Outlined in December. Written in January. Filmed in Jan" (screenshot)
  7. TwitterLogo.svg @ScottNimerfro (Scott Nimerfro) on Twitter (January 16, 2015). "something so outrageous in my next Once script (with Tze Chun) that during concept meeting -- the prod team was all aflutter at the news!" (screenshot)
  8. PROP DESIGN. Keith Lau. Retrieved on February 6, 2019. “Six Leaf Ear Ring Concept | OUAT | Client: ABC Studio | Duties: Design and Illustration.”
    Necklace: File:417ConceptArt3.jpg
    Earrings: File:417ConceptArt4.jpg
  9. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (April 13, 2015). "for a very long time it was planned" (screenshot)
  10. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on the Season Four Blu-ray Audio Commentary for "A Tale of Two Sisters"
  11. TwitterLogo.svg @alwaysxlou (Amanda) on Twitter (April 12, 2015). "Did you know all along Marian was really Zelena?" (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo.svg @sean_m_maguire (Sean Maguire) on Twitter (April 12, 2015). "not until Adam & Eddie told me." (screenshot)
  12. Abrams, Natalie (May 7, 2014). Lightning Round 13: Once Upon a Time Bosses Answer Your Burning Questions. TVGuide. “Is there a chance of seeing more of Rebecca Mader after this season? Horowitz and Kitsis: Yes.”
  13. File:417CopsAppear.png
  14. This is proven by the fact that "Heart of Gold" takes place before the birth of Roland, an event that took place after "Lacey". Roland is four years old in the present day events of "Quite a Common Fairy" (minus the 28 years with the Dark Curse), which takes place less than a year after time started moving again in "Pilot" (this is proven in "The Tower", where David states that it's been almost 30 years since Emma was born; since "The Tower" takes place one year after the first half of Season Three (as seen in "Going Home"), this means that less than a year passes between "Pilot" (where Emma turns 28) and the second half of Season Three), meaning that Roland was born a few years before the casting of the Dark Curse. "The Song in Your Heart" takes place shortly before the Dark Curse is cast.
  15. File:417Bus.png
  16. File:419WithThisCash.png
  17. File:522IDontKnow.png
  18. File:522IThoughtTheTowers.png
  19. File:417WhatACrowd.png
  20. File:420Tavern.png
  21. File:417GoldExitsHospital.png
  22. 22.0 22.1 File:417HiddenMickey.png
  23. File:417GuardsFeet.png
  24. 24.0 24.1 The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved on April 26, 2020. “[...] Dorothy looked, and gave a little cry of fright. There, indeed, just under the corner of the great beam the house rested on, two feet were sticking out, shod in silver shoes with pointed toes.”
  25. File:417TalkToMe.png
  26. File:417GoodLuck.png
  27. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (April 12, 2015). "Yes, that was a Midnight Cowboy homage --" (screenshot)
  28. Prince Charming 2001. YouTube (June 16, 2014).
  29. File:417RobinToTheRescue.png
  30. THE BRICKYARD. LiveVictoria.com. Retrieved on February 6, 2019. “Hours: No Longer Operating”
  31. Event Archive - Mint Night featuring performances by Mint recording artists:: The Buttless Chaps, The Gay, The Ramblin' Ambassadors. LiveVictoria.com (September 17, 2003).
  32. You Know the Rules – The Gay. Mint Records. Retrieved on February 6, 2019. “Their debut record, You Know the Rules, is one indie pop high after another...'
  33. 33.0 33.1 File:417RobinToTheRescue2.png
  34. Shneider, Jason (May 4, 2012). Carolyn Mark, Luther Wright and Jack Grace Team Up for Owner/Operator Tour. Exclaim!.
  35. Screenshot from The Wizard of Oz
  36. File:407IngridUsingIceMagic.png
  37. File:417ThisNumber.png
  38. File:417Container.png
  39. File:417CopsEnter.png
  40. File:417EnteringShop2.png
  41. File:417LampOn.png
  42. File:407WantIsOutThere.png
  43. File:417Stooop!.png
  44. H RACER. Belstaff. Retrieved on February 6, 2019.
  45. File:420MyHappyEnding.png
  46. File:421InPhuket.png
  47. File:422DarknessToRegina.png
  48. File:612LetMeSeeYourHand.png
  49. File:613ClearMyHead.png
  50. File:614ExcitingTurn.png
  51. File:519JamesChargesAtDavid.png
  52. File:520ThisFate.png
  53. File:521SeeHimLikeThis.png
  54. File:522SearchingForIt.png
  55. File:523WhichMeansHes.png
  56. File:601DavidAndDirigible.png
  57. File:519LostYourFlock.png
  58. File:417Huh.png
  59. File:704WatchingHenry.png
  60. File:708LookSoYoung.png
  61. File:710GiveItToMe.png
  62. File:714ThatsHim.png
  63. File:417WhatTheHell.png
  64. Homespun Knitwear coalminer contrast henley. J.Crew. Retrieved on February 6, 2019.
  65. Screenshot from Maze Runner
  66. Screenshot from Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
  67. File:417WellThenConsider.png
  68. File:708WhyYou.png
  69. File:710ToDeliverAMessage.png
  70. File:417OffWithHisHat.png
  71. File:212IDidIt.png
  72. File:212IPurchasedYouACommission.png
  73. File:403DiscoveredSomething.png
  74. File:407DiplomaticMission.png
  75. File:407WelcomeToMyKingdom.png
  76. File:606YourLifeFamily.png
  77. File:614GiveThatOrder.png
  78. File:615FromThoseBeasts.png
  79. File:516OzGuard.png
  80. File:618ToRemindThem.png
  81. "Robin Hood" Oz Guard ensemble from Once Upon a Time Season 4, Episode 18.. iCollector. Archived from the original on March 4, 2019. “Inspired by the legendary designs by Adrian for the MGM musical.”
  82. FlickrIconTemplate.png Lawrence Andreutti. Once Upon A Time February 3, 2015 (February 3, 2015).  "Once Upon a Time set photos from Central Park, Burnaby, BC taken on February 3, 2015.(archive copy)
  83. Gittins, Susan (January 27, 2015). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME Turns Vancouver Business District into New York City for Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) & Family. Hollywood North Buzz. “It's a good thing that Once Upon a Time fakes New York City in downtown Vancouver and Gastown because the real Chelsea is at the epicentre today of one of the worst snow storms ever to hit the Atlantic seaboard.”
  84. 84.0 84.1 Gittins, Susan (February 8, 2015). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME's Robin Hood Gallops on a Horse Through Downtown Vancouver as New York City. Hollywood North Buzz. “In scenes shot late last month on the 1000 block of West Hastings Street in downtown Vancouver, Robin Hood (stunt double) "borrows" a horse from a tourist carriage ride and goes galloping off through Manhattan traffic with prop yellow NYC cabs. (...) Once Upon a Time filmed more of Robin Hood on a horse the next morning at Victory Square dressed as the same New York City neighbourhood.”
  85. Gittins, Susan (January 28, 2015). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME’s Rumple (Robert Carlyle) & Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) at Vancouver Community College. Hollywood North Buzz. “Once Upon a Time turned the north side of downtown Vancouver Community College into Our Lady of Providence Medical Center tonight for a Manhattan meetup between Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) and Robin Hood (Sean Maguire).”
  86. Gittins, Susan (January 28, 2015). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME Turns Victory Square West into New York City for Robin Hood (Sean Maguire). Hollywood North Buzz. “Once Upon a Time is still in Chelsea, NYC, for scenes of Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) stirring up trouble but with a different downtown Vancouver location as the Manhattan art district — the west side of Victory Square with the empty Pappas Furs building as The Wizard of Oak, Repurposed Furniture Store.”
  87. File:IGlee j buckley-417.png
  88. FlickrIconTemplate.png Lawrence Andreutti. Once Upon A Time January 30, 2015 (January 30, 2015).  "Once Upon a Time set photos from Robert Burnaby Park, Burnaby, BC taken on January 30, 2015.(archive copy)
  89. File:417HeartGivesOut.png
  90. File:412Missing.png