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We aren't going to break it down, Emma. It was enchanted to hold Rumplestiltskin. We don't have a chance.
Mary Margaret to Emma src

Rumplestiltskin's Cell is an Enchanted Forest location featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the first episode of the first season.


Before First Curse

A housemaid, Cinderella, contracts a deal with the wizard Rumplestiltskin that if she manages to win the heart of the prince, Thomas, she will have to give him something in return. Later, he asks to have her first born child, but Cinderella wants to back out of the deal. So, after she consult Snow White and Prince Charming, the dwarves convert the mines into a dungeon. The farther into the dungeon comes to a cell, which was enchanted to hold Rumplestiltskin. ("The Price of Gold", "Queen of Hearts")

After Cinderella tricks him into signing a new contract with a quill containing squid ink by saying she is pregnant with twins, and giving him only one of her children requires a new signed deal. The ink freezes him and his powers. Though she escapes having to hand over her child to him, he magically makes Prince Thomas disappear. Cinderella confronts him in the cage carrying him off to his dungeon jail cell, and he cackles her prince shall not return until he receives his end of their deal. Rumplestiltskin is jailed, but secretly carries the quill with squid ink and hides in his cell for later use. ("The Price of Gold", "Into the Deep")

As they needed to know more about the Dark Curse the Evil Queen is going to use against all the inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest, the dungeon jailer takes Snow White and Prince Charming to see Rumplestiltskin. He warns her to let Rumplestiltskin know her name, though he already knows who they are despite that they are wearing cloaks to shield their faces. He says that he can tell them about the curse, but it will cost them something in return. Prince Charming defiantly refuses but Snow White insists and asks what he wants. Rumplestiltskin asks for the name of their child and Snow White agrees, and he tells them that they will all soon be imprisoned when time stops, imprisoned somewhere horrible where everything they love will be ripped from them. When Snow White asks what can stop it, Rumplestiltskin says that her child is their only hope and they should get her to safety. On the child's 28th birthday, she will find them and the Final Battle will begin. Snow White and Prince Charming walk away and Rumplestiltskin demands the name of the child; saying that it is a girl. Prince Charming insists that it is a boy, but Rumplestiltskin says that Snow White knows the truth. She turns and tells Rumplestiltskin that the child's name is Emma. ("Pilot", "Into the Deep")

After he is given by Snow White the name of her unborn child, Rumplestiltskin obsessively scribbles down Emma's name over and over again on a piece of parchment using the quill with squid ink. The ink itself is able to turn the jail cell bars into dust, but Rumplestiltskin does not want to escape, as he is exactly where he wants to be. ("Into the Deep", "Save Henry")

Finding herself under the influence of Snow White's singing spell, Regina visits the imprisoned Rumplestiltskin and demands him to sing about how to break it. Rumplestiltskin dramatically turns around as if preparing himself to pump out a melodic verse, but then turns back around to reveal that the Dark One doesn't sing at all. He reminds her, with annoyance on his part, that he gave her his curse to cast but instead she keeps coming to him everytime she is having other problems. Regina points out that he should be grateful to have her as his best student, though Rumplestiltskin implies there was another witch who may have been more powerful than her. To prove he was right to choose Regina instead of the latter witch, Rumplestiltskin tasks her with removing the singing spell. ("The Song in Your Heart")

He receives another visitor in the form of the Evil Queen disguised as a rat. She transforms to her human form and tells him that the curse he gave her is not working. Rumplestiltskin says that Snow White and Prince Charming visited him as well, and that he told them that only their unborn child can stop the darkness. She asks what she did wrong, and Rumplestiltskin requests to have certain things in the new land they will be in after the curse is cast. He wants riches, but also wants the Evil Queen to obey him in the new world as long as he says "please". The Evil Queen notes that he will not remember anything if the curse succeeds, and agrees to the deal. He tells her that she needs to sacrifice the heart of something precious. When she states she used the heart of her most prized steed, Rumplestiltskin hisses she needs more than just a horse's heart for the curse to work. The Evil Queen asks what will suffice, and he says the heart of what she loves most. When she says that what she loved most died because of Snow White, Rumplestiltskin says that there must be something else and tells her to consider how far she's willing to go. The Evil Queen is troubled by what she will have to do, but says she will go as far as it takes. Rumplestiltskin snaps at her to stop wasting time and go kill it. ("The Thing You Love Most")

On the day the Dark Curse is cast, he expectantly waits for it to take effect. The Queen materializes outside his cage to gloat about her success with the curse and boasts at the knowledge he, like all others will be affected by it, will soon lose their memories of everything. He relishes in asking her how it felt ripping out her father's heart for the curse to work, but she doesn't answer as it is of little importance. Rumplestiltskin can tell despite her triumphant front, she is still unsatisfied with something. He stresses that Prince Charming and Snow White's child will foil her curse, to which the Queen voices plans of getting rid of the baby. Additionally, Rumplestiltskin hints that now she has hole in her heart and will feel the need to fill it in the future. The Queen doesn't take his prophecy seriously, though he shouts she has underestimated the price of magic and will come back for his help someday. Soon after, the curse takes Rumplestiltskin and many other inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest to another land. ("Save Henry")

After First Curse

After being awoken from the sleeping curse by Emma, Henry has horrifying nightmares of being in a fiery windowless room. Through Mr. Gold's help, he is able to communicate with another person, Aurora, who is also trapped in the same world while asleep. From her, Henry gains information about someone named Cora that is getting in the way of Emma and Mary Margaret's plans in finding a way back to Storybrooke from the Enchanted Forest. As Henry is slowly falling asleep and returning to the burning room, Mr. Gold lulls him with a story to inform Aurora that Emma and Mary Margaret need to steal a special compass, and go to the cell to gather up the remaining squid ink in his old jail cell. The ink has paralysis effects which will work on any magical being; including Cora. ("Into the Deep")

Aurora, Mary Margaret, Emma, and Mulan then go to the cell to acquire the jar of ink, but Mulan finds the jar to be empty. Instead, they find the ink had been used on a piece of parchment with Emma's name written repeatedly. At that moment, Cora influences Aurora via her heart to throw a rock at the lever and slam the gate shut; trapping the four women inside. Cora and her accomplice, Hook, appear and they steal the compass. When all seems lost, Mary Margaret remembers how Cora used magic with her spell book and blows the squid ink off of the page onto the cell bars. It forms a cloud and disintegrates the cell bars and they are able to escape. However, Aurora fears that as long as Cora has her heart she will be to dangerous so she asks to be tied up.

After Cora and Hook are defeated and Mary Margaret and Emma travel back to Storybrooke, Mulan returns with Aurora's heart and places it back inside her body. The two discuss bringing back Prince Phillip's soul, and they go off to make plans to do so. ("Queen of Hearts")


On-Screen Notes

Production Notes

  • The cell was the setting for a specially made promotional trailer for Season Five that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con. The trailer featured Emma Swan as the Dark One trapped in the cell and the Jailer bringing her food. She reaches out and grabs the Jailer, ripping out his heart and crushing it.[1]
    • This trailer mirrors a deleted scene from "Pilot", where an imprisoned Rumplestiltskin, watched over by the Jailer, is brought food by a guard. As the guard places the food in the cell, Rumplestiltskin grabs him and tells him, "It has begun".[2]

Filming Locations


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. File:SDCC Season 5 Dark Swan Promo
  2. "Pilot" (deleted scene), Once Upon a Time, ABC
  3. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on Season One DVD/Blu-ray Commentary for "Pilot"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ginnifer Goodwin on the Season One DVD/Blu-ray Audio Commentary for "7:15 A.M."
  6. Colin O'Donoghue on the Season Two DVD/Blu-ray Audio Commentary for "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
  7. David H. Goodman and Colin O'Donoghue on the Season Two DVD/Blu-ray Audio Commentary for "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
  8. File:101DungeonStorybook.png
  9. File:322Look.png

Start a Discussion Discussions about Rumplestiltskin's Cell

  • Was the Final Battle foreshadowed in the Pilot?

    14 messages
    • They clearly did not have this in mind when they wrote the pilot, but now they are saying that yeah, it's the battle Rumple prophesized.
    • Tysonjackson wrote:Eskaver wrote:ChocolatEyes613 wrote:Farerb wrote: When Rumple said it, I don't think that they intended for the fi...
  • Flash Forwards/Time Jump?

    22 messages
    • Edzz wrote: In this article they say: “The construction [of Season 5A] is different as far as flashbacks go,” Horowitz noted.  Does t...
    • well the jail scene isnt canon but we had a time jump
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