In this world or the next, Cinderella... I will have that baby!
Ella, more commonly known as Cinderella, was previously a young poor servant, who eventually became the wife to Prince Thomas after sealing a deal with Rumplestiltskin. When the Dark Curse was set in motion, it trapped her in Storybrooke, Maine, where she lives as Ashley Boyd, a young maid who finally gave birth to her child when time started moving again.
Before the Curse
My life... is wretched.
Rumplestiltskin demands to have Cinderella's first-born. ("The Price of Gold")
On the night of Prince Thomas' ball, Ella is forced to clean her house by her cruel step-family, when the Fairy Godmother appears to her and tells her that she will, in fact, be able to attend the ball. However, as the Fairy Godmother takes out her wand, she explodes into a myriad of gold dust. Ella is taken aback by this, as Rumplestiltskin appears and tells her that he was doing her a favor. Rumple steals the Fairy Godmother's wand and manipulates Ella into making a deal with him. Rumple explains that he can make all of Ella's dreams come true, by allowing her to attend the royal ball. Ella explains that she does not have anything to give him in return, to which Rumple tells her that he will receive his payment at a later date. Desperate and forlorn, Ella accepts the deal. Later, we see Cinderella on her wedding night, cherishing her new life and love. However, Rumplestiltskin arrives and tells Cinderella that, for her to complete the deal, she must give him her first-born child. Cinderella is noticeably shocked by this, as she believed he wanted jewels or money. A short while later, Cinderella discovers she is pregnant and tells Thomas that she has promised Rumplestiltskin their baby. She is dejected, but Thomas tells her that he will make everything better and to break the deal, they simply have to make a new deal. With the help of Prince Charming and Grumpy, Thomas plans to trick Rumplestiltskin into believing that Cinderella is pregnant with twins. A quill charmed by the Blue Fairy shall be used by Rumple, who will be frozen long enough for Charming and Thomas to transport him to a secure prison in the dwarfs' mines. Cinderella is at first hesitant to undo such powerful magic, but they go through with the plan. Rumplestiltskin signs the new deal, and is trapped and captured. However, Rumplestiltskin apparently makes it so that Thomas disappears, and that he does not come back until Cinderella does, in fact, fulfill her deal with Rumple. ("The Price of Gold")
After the Curse
I thought love would be different...
Ashley - Cinderella's counterpart - has her baby. ("The Price of Gold")
After Emma Swan spills cocoa over herself, she meets, in the laundry room at Granny's, a very pregnant 19-year-old maid, whose name is Ashley Boyd - none other than Cinderella. She tells Emma that no one believes she'll be able to take care of the baby once it comes. Emma tells her not to listen to them: the choice is hers. Later on, Ashley breaks into Mr. Gold's pawn shop. Gold catches her in the act, but she maces him and steals a key from him. After it is revealed that Ashley made a deal with Mr. Gold about her unborn child and has run away, Emma and Henry find Ruby's car crashed on the side of the road and Ashley sitting in a ditch, in labor. Emma drives Ashley to the Storybrooke hospital, giving her a talk about what it really means to have a baby of her own – she won't be able to run away ever again. Ashley says she really does want to keep the baby. Later, at the hospital, a doctor reports to Emma and Henry that Ashley has given birth to a healthy baby girl. Emma has a stern talk with Mr. Gold that leads to him agreeing to let Ashley have her baby, just so long as Emma herself owes him a favor. Sean, the baby's father, later arrives at the hospital and brings the baby, now named Alexandra, a pair of tiny slippers. ("The Price of Gold")
Sean proposes to Ashley. ("Skin Deep")
On Valentine's Day, Ashley comes into the diner with her baby and admits to her friends that she hasn't had time to get married to Sean yet, and he's been working double shifts at the cannery. Ruby overhears them talking and suggests that they all go out for a ladies night on Valentine's Day. Emma isn't interested, and then gets a call from the station about a break-in. Ashley, Mary Margaret and Ruby go to a bar that night, and Ashley starts drinking, admitting that it's her first night out since she had the baby. Ruby spots some cute guys and invites Ashley to go over to them with her. Ashley hesitates, saying that she's with Sean, but Ruby points out that Sean isn't there for her. As Ruby goes over, Ashley admits that she's right, and Mary Margaret commiserates. Ashley finally admits that she just wants to be with Sean, but that there's no point in being together if they can't be together. This said, Sean comes in, on a break from the cannery, and proposes to her. Ashley accepts as everyone applauds, gleefully, and Sean then takes his new fiancée for a short drive as their first date as an engaged couple. ("Skin Deep")
Leroy and Ashley bump into Will. ("Down the Rabbit Hole")
A storm hits, on a night when the employee in charge of locking up Granny's Diner is the lovely Ashley Boyd, who tells her companion Leroy - the town drunk - that he's closing up the joint. As she heads down the steps, she looks up at the stormy sky as she comments that he's gunning for the "Customer of the Week" plaque. A careless pedestrian makes his way to the diner as Leroy starts to tell Ashley that the situation is win-win for them, she gets his mug on the wall and he finally gets... He is unable to finish his thought for the man walks past them but not without bumping into Ashley and catching her off-guard. Leroy tells the man that it's closing time, and Ashley adds that it looks like a storm is coming so he better find a place to keep dry. Leroy and Ashley start walking away, and the man turns back to them with a smirk and says, "I'll get right on that." This said, he reveals that he has taken the keychain from Ashley and swings it around his finger. He then uses it to open the front door to Granny's and gets in. ("Down the Rabbit Hole")
- The name "Cinderella" typically derives from the fact that the beauty was forced to sleep on top of cinders in an old version of the story. In the series, her name is revealed to be Ella, with "Cinderella" presumably being a nickname given to her for the same reason. It is possible that the name of her alter-ego, Ashley, was chosen because the first three letters constitute the word "ash".
- Cinderella became the first minor character in the series to have a centric episode.
Promotional poster of the 1950 film adaptation by Disney.
The character of Ashley Boyd/Cinderella is based on the titular protagonist of the eponymous fairytale, "Cinderella" (also known as "The Little Glass Slipper"). Thousands of variants are known throughout the world of this folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. The story was first published by French author Charles Perrault in 1697. Although both the story's title and the character's name change in different languages, in English-language folklore "Cinderella" is the archetypal name. The word "cinderella" has, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes were unrecognized, or one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect. The still-popular story of "Cinderella" continues to influence popular culture internationally, lending plot elements, allusions, and tropes to a wide variety of media, the most popular of which being the 1950 film adaptation by Disney, one that inspired the character's story in Once Upon a Time. The general story of Cinderella consists of the character being unfairly treated as a servant by her evil and unappealing step-family, only to be granted the wish of going to a prince's ball by her fairy godmother, eventually marrying him and living happily ever after. An important detail of the story is the pair of glass slippers that Cinderella is given to wear by her fairy godmother, of which she loses one when rushing home from the ball at midnight. The prince uses said shoe to track her down, and when Cinderella's foot fits, he knows he's found the girl he met at the ball and fell in love with. In Once Upon a Time, however, Cinderella also embodies the role of the woman who is tricked by Rumplestiltskin into owing him her first-born child, from the tale of "Rumplestiltskin".
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.