"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.
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 lead 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, and he gives her the six-leaf clover of Oz.
The Current Day
As Emma and her parents search the woods with her parents for the author, Mary Margaret tells Emma that they met him before, and David adds that he was the one responsible for pacing 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 is 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.
In The Outside World
Nine weeks earlier, after Robin kissed Regina before stepping over the magical boundary of Storybrooke 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. She killed the real Marian back in the Enchanted Forest and that Zelena's soul actually went back in time where she managed to revive herself and that Zelena assumed Maid Marian's place upon making her vanish by using the six-leaf clover of Oz to transform herself into Marian as 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, saying that he wants to stay with Marian, no matter what they have to go through, and deletes Regina's phone number from his cell phone. As Robin returns home and starts kissing his "wife," he is unaware that from what viewers see in the mirror's reflection, its Zelena kissing Robin instead.
Nine Weeks Later In Storybrooke
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 answers, 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 in order to protect Robin Hood, they have no choice but help turn Emma's heart to darkness.
- Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White / Mary Margaret Blanchard
- Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan
- Lana Parrilla as Regina Mills
- Josh Dallas as David Nolan
- Colin O'Donoghue as Hook
- Jared S. Gilmore as Henry Mills
- Michael Socha as Will Scarlet
- Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin / Mr. Gold
- Patrick Fischler as Isaac Heller
- Christie Laing as Maid Marian
- Rebecca Mader as the Wicked Witch / Zelena
- Sean Maguire as Robin Hood
- Wil Traval as Sheriff of Nottingham
- Raphael Alejandro as Roland
- Jason Burkart as Little John
- Jennifer Cheon as Nurse
- Leif Havdale as Purse Snatcher
- Paul Kloegman as Carriage Driver
- This episode reveals that Zelena killed Maid Marion when Emma and Killian went back in time and Zelena took her form so she could ruin Regina's happiness,
- This episode explains the Robin Hood recasting in-universe. The original actor Tom Ellis, had take the lead role in Lucifer at the time and wasn't available.