"The Price of Gold" is the 4th episode of Once Upon a Time.
Emma tries to help a young pregnant woman, Ashley Boyd, escape from the clutches of Mr. Gold. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale world that was, Cinderella makes a regrettable deal with Rumplestiltskin.
There is a town in Maine...
Emma's yellow car is seen entering the town of Storybrooke, Maine. Then, she is seen heading inside Granny's Bed and Breakfast and saying that she'd like a room. Granny hands her a key and welcomes her to Storybrooke. ("Pilot")
Where every storybook character you've ever known...
Is trapped between two worlds...
In Storybrooke, Mary Margaret Blanchard, Snow White's counterpart, sets a blue bird free. In the fairytale land, a pregnant Snow is seen with her blue bird companion. Emma is then seen standing outside her car with Henry, at night, as they talk about the Evil Queen sending a bunch of fairytale characters to that town. Henry says they now don't remember who they are. ("Pilot")
Victims of a powerful curse.
The Dark Curse is seen approaching Snow and Charming's castle. At their wedding, the Evil Queen announces that everything all of them love will be taken from them. ("Pilot")
Only one knows the truth... and only one can break her spell.
Regina Mills, the Queen's counterpart, is seen holding Henry's book in front of her mirror. Emma Swan is then seen, looking rather confused, standing outside the Mayor's house. Henry tells Emma that it's her destiny to bring back the happy endings. Mr. Gold tells Emma, at the B&B, to enjoy her stay. The tower's clock strikes 8:15. ("Pilot")
Cinderella is visited by her fairy godmother.
Nighttime in fairytale land. A carriage is seen parked on the outside of a private property, and its passengers, three fairly unattractive women, make their way toward it, wearing evening gowns. The eldest woman - Cinderella's stepmother - enters the chariot first, followed by her two daughters. Soon afterwards, we are treated to the sight of the fair Cinderella, dressed in rags. The poor blonde looks with sadness at her step family as they leave their property on the carriage, headed to the prince's ball. The camera pans away from the chariot leaving their estate to reveal to us the royal castle, atop a hill, with fireworks blazing in the skies. Cinderella, the poor servant, looks at it longingly as she continues to sweep the floor, and then a golden creature makes itself appear out of nowhere: the Fairy Godmother. The fairy approaches Cinderella and tells her not to despair, for she will attend that ball. Ella asks her who she is, and the tiny fairy is bathed in a cloud of golden dust, after which she morphs back into a more humanly size. She stands before the maid and retracts her wings. She then replies that she's her fairy godmother, and she's there to change her life. Cinderella is reluctant to let herself be helped, for her stepmother told her she couldn't go. The godmother then reveals her magic wand and tells her that Ella's stepmother doesn't have a thing like that. She goes on to say that the wand has the power to take her to her ball, to her prince, and to... The godmother is unable to finish her own sentence, for she explodes in a cloud of magic. Horrified and confused, Cinderella backs off dropping her broom in the process. The magic wand falls to the floor, and is picked up by the wretched Rumplestiltskin.
"All magic comes with a price."
Ella asks him what he did, to which he replies, with a wicked smile on his face, that he got what he wanted - referring to the wand. He gets up and tells her there's no need to be frightened, to which the beauty responds, in a manner of scolding him, that he just killed her fairy godmother, who was trying to help her. Rumple questions if she truly was, and waves the wand before Ella, asking her if she knows what it is. She says it's "pure magic"... he corrects her, deeming it to be "pure evil". "Trust me.", he says, "I've done you a favor. All magic comes with a price." He then tells her to go back to her life and be thankful that she has something to go back to. Cinderella tells him her life is wretched. He tells her to change it then, claiming that she can't handle magic. He then turns around and starts to walk away, but she follows him, positioning herself in front of him and saying that she can indeed handle it. She then tells him she'll do anything to get out of there, and wonders if he knows how to use that wand. When she doesn't know his name, he introduces himself as Rumplestiltskin, and responds that he does know how to use it. She begs her to help him, but he tells her that if he does, and if she can indeed shoulder the consequences, she'll owe him a favor. Cinderella tells him to name it, asking what he wants. He moves his face closer to hers and says "Something... precious."
Isn't she lovely?
She tells him she has nothing, and he claims that she will, for with this wish will come riches more than she knows. She tells him she doesn't care for riches and will give him anything he wants, just so long as he gets her out of there. Rumple looks satisfied, and she asks him how it works. He tells her to fear not, for his needs are small, and all she has to do is sign on the dotted line. This said, he conjures up a rather large contract, written on a scroll, and asks her if they have a deal. Cinderella says "Yes", with a smile, and thanks him, as she takes his pen and proceeds to sign the contract against his back. He then gazes at her signature and folds up the contract, as she waits anxiously for the change in her life to come. Then, with a single wave of the magic wand, she is engulfed by a cloud of crimson magic dust, and her ragged clothes change to a beautiful blue dress and her hair is changed to a more marvelous hairdo. Cinderella marvels at her fancy new attire, and looks at him thankfully. She then notices the shoes that go with the dress on the floor beside her: a pair of crystal slippers. She looks at him with confusion, and he comments that every story needs a memorable detail. "Let's see how they fit, shall we?". Ella lifts up her dress and puts on her glass slippers. He then tells her to have a good time, but to be sure to watch the clock. Cinderella is left ecstatic.
A worry-free Emma takes her son to the school bus.
In present day Storybrooke, a seemingly clear, nice day is taking place, and the tower's clock is heard. Down on the sidewalk, Emma Swan is seen walking her son, Henry, to the school bus. He asks her if she's sure they can be seen out in the open, to which she responds, "Enough sneaking around. If your mom has a problem with me walking you to a school bus, I am more than happy to have that chat." He comments that she's brave, and adds that they'll need that for "Operation Cobra". He then asks her if she's been thinking about code names. She reminds him that Cobra is the code name, and he tells her that name is for the mission, he means names for the two of them, for he needs something to call her. She hesitates a little, and tells him that he can call her 'Emma' for the time being. "Okay, well, then, I'll see you later... Emma." He enters the school bus, after his classmates, and Emma watches as he goes. The bus drives away, and suddenly Emma is kept from crossing the street ahead of her by the presence of Sheriff Graham's police car, which is playing its siren. He parks it and gets out, and she asks him what the siren is for, to which he replies, jokingly, that it's hard to get her attention. Emma tells him he has it and asks if he's going to arrest her again. He thanks her instead, for her help in finding the coma patient. He says he owes her gratitude, and she asks, jokingly, if she gets a commendation for it, or a key to the city. He suggests a job instead, saying that he could use a deputy. Emma thanks him, but claims to already have a job. "As a bail bonds person? There's not much of that going on here.", he tells her. She replies, sarcastically, that she doesn't see a lot of "sheriffing" going on either. He tells her it's her chance to see it up close, and then adds that there's a dental plan. She grins, and he slips her his card and tells her to think about it and stay a while. She takes it, and a brief moment ensues in which they exchange earnest looks.
Regina prepares to confront Emma.
Over at Granny's Diner, sometime later, Ruby the waitress is seen bringing Emma, who is sitting on a table by the door, checking out the daily newspaper, her hot chocolate. Emma thanks her as the waitress puts the cup down before her, and the blonde then uses her finger to scoop some whipped cream, and licks it. The little bell from the front door is heard ringing, and once the door closes we learn that the newest entrant is none other than the town's wicked mayor, Regina Mills. The fearsome mayor pulls up a chair as she asks Emma how her walk with Henry was. The blonde is confused, not only to find her there, but to know that she knows. Regina sits down and tells her she knows everything, but adds that Emma can relax, for she doesn't mind. Emma, slightly entertained, says "You don't?". Regina answers, "No. Because you no longer worry me, Miss Swan." Regina goes on to say that she did a little digging into who Emma is, and what she found out was quite soothing: it all comes down to the number 7, which is the number of addresses Emma's had over the last decade. The mayor adds that the longest she's stayed anywhere was 2 years, and then wonders what she enjoyed so much about Tallahassee. Emma, rather nonchalantly, tells Regina, in case she was wondering, that she did find a place in Storybrooke. Regina claims to know that she's staying with Miss Blanchard, and asks how long her lease is, but then ironically adds that Emma doesn't actually have one. "You see my point?", the mayor asks her. "In order for something to grow, Miss Swan, it needs roots. And you... don't have any. People don't change, they only fool themselves into believing they can." Emma tells Regina she doesn't know her, and the mayor says that she thinks she does, and all she asks is that as Emma carries on her transient life, she thinks of Henry and what's best for him. Regina then suggests that Emma consider a clean break, which is gonna happen anyway. "Enjoy your cocoa.", the vile mayor says, before getting up to leave. Emma thinks about this confrontation for a few seconds, and then decides to get up and follow after her to give her a piece of her mind, but as she stands up, she accidentally spills the hot cocoa on her lap, soiling her clothes. Ruby comes up to her with a cloth and a sympathetic look, and Emma asks if they have a laundry room which she can use, to which the perky waitress replies positively.
Emma gives a young maid some tough love.
Shortly afterwards, Emma storms into the bed and breakfast's laundry room, livid. She has taken off her gray blouse and puts her red jacket on top of a washer. She then opens another one and throws her blouse inside, and then takes off her white shirt and puts it inside the machine as well. She pours some detergent and closes the lid, with a bang. She then notices a blue shirt on the clothesline and grabs it. A young woman next to her is shaken to find out that something went wrong with the laundry she was assigned to care for. Emma, putting on the blue shirt, asks the woman if she's okay, to which the pretty blonde replies that the sheets are pink. Emma asks if she tried bleach, and the young woman puts the sheet on top of the machine and it's revealed that she's pregnant. Emma says "Oh.", and the other blonde, Ashley Boyd - the real world counterpart of Cinderella - tells her that the night before she felt contractions and the doctor said the baby could come any day now. Emma, rather unenthusiastically, says, "So... that's great." Ashley, almost getting teary-eyed, starts to explain that when the baby comes, no one thinks she's gonna be able to do this. Emma is somewhat affected by this, and she can't help but feel sympathy for the poor young girl. Ashley adds that no one thinks she can do anything. She grabs the sheet and says that maybe they're right. Emma gets the washer started and turns to her, saying "Screw 'em.", as she crosses her arms. Ashley asks "What?", and Emma repeats, "Screw them." She then asks how old Ashley is, and the young maid says she's 19. Emma tells her, "I was 18." Ashley wonders if she means she was 18 when she had a kid, and Emma answers positively. "I know what it's like. Everyone loves to tell you what you can and can't do, especially with a kid. But ultimately, whatever you're considering doing, or giving up... the choice is yours." Ashley caresses her pregnant belly and tells Emma that it's not exactly what she might think it is, and Emma acknowledges that it never is. "People are gonna tell you what you are your whole life. You just gotta punch back and say, 'No, this is who I am.'" Ashley gets emotional. "You want people to look at you differently? Make them.", Emma says, "You wanna change things, you're gonna have to go out there and change them yourself because there are no fairy godmothers in this world." Ashley looks at her, teary-eyed.
Ashley uses her pepper spray on Mr. Gold.
At night, Mr. Gold is seen walking around his pawn shop, with the aid of his cane. He turns the sign on the door, to indicate that he's closing the store, turns off the lights, and proceeds to lock up - all the while sensing something - and leave. As he walks away, we are treated to the sight of the young maid, Ashley Boyd, sneaking up around the store in the night. Ashley approaches the back door of the shop and breaks its glass with a brick. She then unlocks the door, and shortly afterwards she is seen walking inside the store, as though she's looking for something. She passes by many items and objects in the store, including a pair of hideous wooden puppets (see "That Still Small Voice"). She comes up to a wall and grabs a painting. She pulls it to reveal a safe hidden behind it. She is then caught off-guard by a male voice calling her name. She turns around to find Mr. Gold back in the store. He asks her what she's doing, and she tells him "Changing my life." Gold looks confused, and Ashley suddenly takes out some pepper spray and spritzes his eyes with it. He screams with agony and is thrown back into an armoire as he steps away from her. After he hits, he falls to the front and bangs his head on the edge of a table full of golden figurines. He then falls to the floor, and Ashley notices that his forehead is cut and he seems to be getting unconscious. She then moves in toward him, crouches down, and removes his set of keys from his waist. She then uses it to open the safe as Gold lies down on the floor, unconscious.
Regina's rules are to be followed.
Regina is seen admiring herself in one of her mirrors, puckering up as she applies her lipstick. She then says "I know you think otherwise... but I don't enjoy these Saturday city council meetings. Sometimes they're just unavoidable." Once she's all set to go, we learn that she is talking to her son, Henry, who is sitting at a table, reading a comic book. She asks him if he knows the rules, to which he promptly replies, closing the comic in the process, "'Yes' on homework, 'no' on TV, and stay inside." She tells him "Good boy.", with a smile, and then moves in closer to him. She puts her fingers under his chin to properly grab his attention, and tells him that under no circumstance is he to leave their house. "You mean don't see my mom.", he tells her. Regina, slightly aggravated, stands up, conceals a sigh and tells him that Emma is not his mother, she's just a woman passing through. She then reminds him to do as she says or there will be consequences, and turns around to walk away. As she does so, she tells him she'll be back at 5 sharp. Henry looks on as she leaves their house, and then gets up. Once he's made sure she's driven off, he gets his backpack and prepares to leave.
Mary Margaret is surprised with how little Emma brings with her.
In her apartment, Mary Margaret is seen walking into the dining room with two plates of food on her hands. She hears her new roommate, Emma, saying that she's so glad her stuff is there, and so she moves in closer to give Emma her plate. The blonde is unpacking her belongings, which have recently arrived, and she stops briefly to take the food and thank Mary Margaret. She puts her plate down, and Mary Margaret, still holding hers, notices how little Emma has, and asks if that's all her stuff. Emma asks her what she means, and the teacher wonders if the rest is still in the storage. Emma tells her this is all of it, for she is not sentimental, and Mary Margaret, rather awkwardly and mostly being polite, tells her that it must make things easier when she has to move. Someone knocks on the door, and Mary Margaret puts her plate down and moves to answer it. She is surprised to find that it's the feared Mr. Gold. He greets her politely, and asks if Miss Swan is present. Mary Margaret doesn't say anything, still a bit stunned, and Emma makes herself appear at the door. He gives her his hand to shake and introduces himself as Mr. Gold, saying that they met briefly on her arrival. Emma says she remembers, and he goes on to say that he has a proposition for her, for he needs her help. He says he's looking for someone, and Mary Margaret looks intrigued. However, when they both make it clear that they want to discuss the matter between just the two of them, Mary Margaret awkwardly tells them that she will go jump in the bath. She leaves them alone, and Mr. Gold takes out a photo of the person he wants tracked down. It is a security camera still of the time when Ashley broke into the pawn shop. Emma admires the picture and recognizes the girl, whom Gold claims to be Ashley Boyd, who's taken something quite valuable of his.
Mr. Gold seeks help.
Emma, closing the door, asks him why he didn't just go to the police, and he explains that he didn't do so because Ashley is a confused pregnant young woman, who is alone and scared, and he doesn't want to ruin this girl's life. But he wants his property returned. Emma asks what is it, and the answer he gives her is that one of the advantages of her not being police is discretion. "Let's just say it's a precious object and leave it at that." Emma, bemused, asks when he saw her last, and he explains that it was last night, and then moves his hair to reveal the cut he received when he banged his head on the table, and explains that their encounter is how he got it. Emma is surprised. Gold comments that this behavior is unlike her, saying that she was rambling on about changing her life. Gold wonders what got into her, and Emma looks as though she has an idea. He begs her to help him find Ashley, for his only other choice is the police, and he doesn't think anyone wants to see that baby born in jail. Emma backs this up; he takes this to mean she'll help him, but Emma corrects him, saying she'll help Ashley. Gold tells her "Grand", and their conversation is then interrupted by the arrival of Henry, who bursts into the apartment with a suggestion to give his mother about what they could do, but he stops cold on his track when he spots Mr. Gold. The man asks how Henry is doing, and the young man, rather awkwardly, tells him he's okay. Gold says "Good", as he prepares to leave, and tells Henry to give his regards to Regina. He then wishes Emma good luck, and leaves, closing the door behind him. Henry asks Emma if she knows who he is, to which his birth mother replies that she does. Henry asks who then, for he is still trying to figure it out. Emma, realizing that he's talking about fairytale alter-egos, says that she meant in reality. Henry notices her things and asks if that's all she brought. Emma asks him what he's doing there, and he tells her that his mom is gone till five and he thought they could hang out. Emma tells him she wishes she could, but there's something she has to do. She then walks past him.
Emma can't shake the little bugger off.
Out on the streets, Emma walks decidedly to her car while Henry tags along, begging her to let him be of assistance in tracking down Ashley. Emma doesn't allow him, saying it could be dangerous, to which he responds, sarcastically, "The pregnant maid is dangerous?". Emma tells him she assaulted Mr. Gold ("Cool", he says), and that this isn't a game, she's desperate. They approach the car and Henry asks how she knows, to which she merely replies that she knows. Henry then says, "Well, then, let's find her.", and Emma stops him cold on his track, telling him that there is no "let's", he cannot come with her. Henry says that he'll look for her himself in that case, and Emma immediately fires back that she'll find him and bring him back. He tells her in that case she wouldn't be helping the maid. Emma tells him she is just trying to be responsible... to which Henry replies that he's just trying to spend time with you. Emma caves in before this emotional blackmail as he enters the car, and tells him that that is really not fair. She enters the car as well, and Henry asks her what the maid's story is. Emma closes the door.
The maid gets the happy ending she desired.
Cinderella, the former maid, is now seen standing on a balcony in the royal castle, looking more beautiful and radiant than ever before. A look of amazement on her face, she marvels at the fireworks blazing in the skies, and is filled with joy as they gain altitude and burst, all in her honor. Prince Thomas, her handsome new husband, approaches her from behind. He places himself by her side, and notices the look on her face. He asks her what is wrong, and she turns to him, smiles and says "Nothing.", with a tone of innocence and pleasure. She then tells him that every year when she was growing up she used to watch these fireworks from afar, and she knew what they meant: something special was happening in the palace. "Now they're for me.", she says, filled with wonder. He looks at her with a heartfelt smile, and she does the same, and adds "For our wedding." They then move in closer and kiss, as she puts one hand over his chest, and the fireworks continue to soar.
Soon, the newlyweds come down a staircase, with Ella holding up her balloon skirt as she makes her way down the steps. She lets go of it as they finally enter the ballroom, which is full of guests. The prince and the former maid walk across the dance floor, holding hands, and the king approaches them, accompanied by another famed royal couple: Snow White and Prince Charming. While the king takes Thomas' hand, Cinderella tells her friends that she's so happy they could come, and she and Snow hug.
Beauty dances with the beast.
Shortly afterwards, the fireworks keep blazing outside of the open-ceiling ballroom. A band plays beautiful music while while the attendants dance, all paired up, around the dance floor. The courteous king dances with Ella, telling her that they're thrilled to have her joining their family. He then says he hopes their family will soon be growing, and Ella chuckles in response, as does he. He spins her under his arm, and then the time comes to switch partners. Prince Charming passes by Ella, telling her that she and Thomas will be very happy, and she says "Why, thank you, James." Thomas then pairs himself up with his beautiful wife, but their dance is cut short when Snow White grabs a hold of her friend and they start dancing. Snow tells her that this is truly a night for celebration. Snow then asks the blonde if she knows what an inspiration she is to everyone, to which Ella replies that all she did was get married. They spin, holding hands, and Snow tells her that all she did was show that anyone can change her life. The time comes to switch partners again, and Snow tells her, as she starts to part ways with her, always rotating, that she's proud of her. Cinderella smiles, and continues rotating to the sound of the music... until she is stopped cold by the sight of the dreaded Rumplestiltskin, who is ready to dance as well. He walks up to her, and Ella, now deprived of her beautiful smile, is surprised to see him, and asks what he's doing there, as they start dancing as a cover. No one else seems to notice his presence. Rumple claims that he just wanted to make sure that she's happy with her end of the bargain: true love, riches, happy endings... He pulls her closer and asks if she got everything that she desired, and Cinderella says that she did, and asks him what he wants, what his price is: her jewels, the ring... Rumple denies this, claiming that what he wants is something she doesn't yet possess, but something he knows is coming... "Your first born.", he says, before he spins her around and leaves her bewildered.
Cinderella has bad news to share.
We are treated to the sight of the balcony outside of Cinderella's room in the castle. Inside the bedroom, the pretty blonde is seen packing her bags, while wearing a nightgown. As she moves around the bedroom, collecting her things, the door is opened and Prince Thomas comes in. Ella is surprised to see him, and he asks her what she's doing. She tells him she thought he was hunting, to which he responds that he was but the weather wasn't agreeing so they came back early. He then asks her if they're going somewhere. She doesn't reply and he realizes that she herself is going somewhere. She tells him something's happened, and he finishes taking off his gloves and asks what. She tells him she's pregnant, and he is overjoyed, telling her that's wonderful. He moves in closer and grabs her but she shies away from him. He asks her why she is upset, for this is what they wanted, and she starts to tell him that there is something else. She explains to him that when they met that night at the ball, it wasn't her fairy godmother who sent her, but Rumplestiltskin. Thomas is surprised, and she explains to him that she made a deal with the dark creature for this life, which she now acknowledges was stupid. She claims that she didn't understand the price of magic, and thus she promised him something. Thomas asks what she promised him, and she resumes packing her things and tells him that Rumple tricked her, she thought that he'd want their gold, or jewels. Thomas asks what he wants then, and Cinderella turns to him, looking disheartened, and touches her belly. A shocked Thomas tells her, "Our baby?"; she gets tearful and tells him she's so sorry. Ella then adds that now she's going to lose it all, her life... and Thomas. She sits down, and the prince denies this. He moves in closer and tries to comfort her, saying that he doesn't care what that imp said: magic may have brought them together, but it didn't create their love. Ella reminds him that she made a deal, and she can't break it, he's too powerful. "Then the answer is simple.", Thomas says, "We make another deal."
Emma comes to the diner to interrogate Ruby.
Front view of Granny's Diner. Billy, the tow truck driver, is seen lowering Ruby's car in front of the establishment, while Emma, accompanied by Henry, questions the waitress about Ashley's whereabouts. She asks him if she thinks Ashley's boyfriend was involved in her disappearance, to which Ruby, who is tending to some customers, tells the blonde that that would mean he was involved with her at all, which he isn't. She adds that Sean left Ashley in the lurch right after they found out she was expecting, and hasn't spoken to her since. Ruby starts to say something else, but she is interrupted when the hoist that's holding her car in the air abruptly drops the vehicle on the road. Ruby calls out for Billy's attention, telling him to be careful, for her almost shattered the red wolf pendulum hanging from her front visor, which she claims to be for good luck. Billy apologizes and points out that the wolf ornament is fine, and Ruby gives the tow truck driver a flirtatious look. Emma calls for her attention, and asks about Ashley's family. Ruby turns her attention back to her and tells her that Ashley has a stepmother and two stepsisters that she doesn't talk to. "Wait. Stepmom, stepsisters, and she's a maid?", Henry says, clearly having just realized that Ashley is Cinderella. Emma tells him "not now", and Ruby tells Emma that she doesn't know what the blonde heard, but it's wrong: everyone thinks she's not ready to have this kid, but she's trying, taking night classes, trying to better herself, trying to get her life together. Emma looks sympathetic; Ruby asks if she can understand that, to which she replies that she thinks so. Ruby tells her that maybe she should just stay out of it then, because Ashley's been through enough already. Emma explains that she's been through it too, and she can help her. Ruby tells her to try her ex then; Emma asks where she can find him, to which the waitress replies, with a bit of a judgmental tone, "He lives with his dad."
Emma questions Sean about his ex's whereabouts.
A knock is heard. Sean Herman opens the front door of his house to find Emma Swan standing there. Meanwhile, a car enters the house's driveway. Emma asks for "Sean Herman", and the young man replies affirmatively, asking her who she is. Emma tells him her name, and says that she's looking for Ashley Boyd, who is in trouble, and she thought maybe Ashley came to see him. Sean's father, Mitchell Herman - the alter-ego of the king - approaches them from behind, walking up to the entrance of his house, and tells Emma that his son doesn't have anything to do with that girl anymore, and whatever trouble she's in, he's sorry for it, but there's nothing the two of them can do to help her. Emma realizes that Mitchell is the reason Sean broke up with Ashley, to which the middle-aged man replies, "Absolutely. I'm not gonna let my son throw away his entire life over a mistake." Henry watches the entire conversation unfold from the passenger seat in Emma's car, as his birth mother asks Mitchell if he just told Sean to leave his girlfriend. Mitchell asks what they were going to do otherwise, if they were just going to raise the child in the backseat of a car. Emma tells him that some people only have the backseat of a car, to which Mitchell says that they're to be pitied, but he's not letting that happen to his son.
Papa does preach.
Mitchell enters the house, and Sean tells him that maybe they should help Emma look. Mitchell puts down the things he brought with him, and tells him it's a waste. Emma tells the young man that if he wants to come, he can come, and that he should stop letting others make decisions for him, because if Ashley runs away with this baby, she's going to be in serious trouble. Sean asks if she's running away with the baby, and Emma replies affirmatively. Mitchell, overhearing them, demands that his son go inside. Sean, albeit reluctantly, obliges. Emma looks despaired. Mitchell crosses his arms and tells her to believe that if he knew where Ashley was, he would tell her. He then explains that he went to a lot of trouble to get her that deal. Emma asks what he is talking about, and Mitchell, surprised that she doesn't know, tells her that Ashley agreed to give up the child, and she's being paid very well to do so. "She sold the baby?", Emma asks, surprised. Mitchell tells her that she makes it sound so crass; he then explains that he found someone who's gonna provide that child a good and proper home. Emma asks who he is to judge whether Ashley is capable of providing that. Henry keeps watching from the car. Mitchell says, "Look at her. She's a teenager. She's never shown any evidence of being responsible, how could she possibly know how to be a mother?". Emma says that maybe she's changing her life, to which Mitchell replies that everybody says that. The man then recounts that he found someone who's going to pay Ashley extremely well, and who is going to see to it that everybody's happy. Emma has a look of sudden realization on her face, and she says "Mr. Gold..." Mitchell asks, "Well, isn't that why you were hired? To bring him the baby?". Emma is none too happy about this discovery.
Emma is none too happy.
Emma is seen driving around in Storybrooke in her yellow car. Henry, sitting in the passenger seat, tells his birth mother that she can't make Ashley double-cross Gold, for no one's ever broken a deal with him. Emma tells him she's happy to be the first: if Ashley wants to have this baby, she should have it. "Anyone who wants to be a mother should damn well be allowed to be one.", she adds. Henry looks at her with a smile, a rather hopeful one, and he then looks to the front as Emma keeps driving to reach her destination. She finally parks her car in front of Granny's Diner.
Emma confronts Ruby.
Emma and Henry enter the establishment and the blonde asks Ruby why she didn't tell her that Ashley had sold the baby. Ruby responds that she didn't think it was important, to which Emma retorts, "Really? Considering that's why she's running away?". Ruby explains that Ashley is her friend and she doesn't like the idea of people judging her. As Ruby goes on about her work, Emma notices her wolf pendulum on the counter between the diner and the kitchen, and looks outside to find that Ruby's car is no longer there. Emma asks the waitress where her car is, and Ruby sighs and doesn't reply. Emma realizes that she didn't send her to Sean to find Ashley, but to give her a head start. Ruby says that she's only trying to help Ashley, and Emma responds that so is she, and adds that Ashley is in more trouble than Ruby knows. Emma then asks where she is, telling her not to make Ashley deal with Gold without Emma's help. Ruby gives Henry a disdainful look and says that she can't talk in front of him because he is the Mayor's kid. Henry, disgruntled, tells her he's on her side. Ruby isn't convinced, and Emma tells her birth son, lowly, that she needs to find Ashley, and in order to do that she needs him to go home. Emma begs him to really listen to her, for Ruby is not going to tell her anything if he is around. Henry acquiesces, and Emma thanks him. He then leaves the diner. Ruby sighs and tells Emma that she left town, saying that she was going to try Boston, thinking she could disappear there. Emma asks how long ago Ashley left, and Ruby answers that she left about half an hour before. Emma leaves.
Henry and Emma set out to find Ashley.
Emma is then seen driving her car, and suddenly Henry pops up in the backseat, asking her what Ruby told her. Emma is caught off-guard. "Henry... what the hell?", she tells him. Emma tells him that she's going to Boston and he can't come with her. Henry tells her that she can't go to Boston, and that Ashley can't leave, for bad things happen to anyone that does. Emma tells him that she doesn't have time to argue with him over the curse. She says that she has to get him home, and Henry tells her that they have to stop Ashley before she gets hurt, and they're wasting time, so if Emma drops him off she'll never catch up to her. Emma tries to argue with him, but he goes on to say that then Mr. Gold will call the police and they'll have Ashley sent to jail. Emma sighs and tells her son to buckle up, thus caving in. Henry obliges, and Emma asks, rhetorically, "Ashley, what did you get yourself into?..."
Cinderella is brought to the old mines.
In the fairytale world, the door to the old mines is opened, and Grumpy enters the somber area, carrying with him a lantern and a small chest. He is followed by Prince Thomas, Cinderella - who's further into her pregnancy - and Prince Charming. Ella asks them what they are doing there, and Thomas tells her that they need a place to keep Rumplestiltskin. Charming explains to her that Rumple is the most dangerous man in all the realms, so he needs his own special prison, and therefore they converted the mines to hold him. Cinderella asks how they can get him there, since he's alluded all forever. Grumpy tells her that his strength is also his weakness: his deals. Grumpy adds that Rumple can't resist making deals, and they already know who he wants to make a deal with next: Ella. They keep walking through the mines as Charming explains that they sent word through one of Snow's blue birds, and Rumple has accepted a meeting with Ella. He then gives her instructions: she's going to tell Rumple that Doc heard something with his stethoscope - two heartbeats. Thomas makes it clear that she's going to tell him it's twins. Charming adds that if Rumple wants them both, which he will, she'll propose a new deal. They stop and Charming gives Grumpy the cue. The dwarf opens the box he brought with him to reveal a quill made out of a red feather. Cinderella is confused, and Grumpy explains that the Blue Fairy cast a spell on the quill, and whoever signs with it will be frozen and their magic will be made impotent. Charming tells her that all she must do is get him to sign the contract. He then tells her that Rumple is a scourge and she'd be doing the entire land a service. Ella, a bit shaken, wonders if they should even use magic, since it's what's causing these problems to being with. She questions whether this magic also has a price, and Thomas claims that if so, he will pay it: he will do whatever is needed to save her and their child. Charming tells them to keep moving, and they do so. They reach a door, and Charming opens it to reveal a certain area in the mines, a bit of a clearing, and Grumpy leads the way to a cell and tells the new princess that he hopes she likes it, for a lot of dwarf blood went into it. They all keep moving toward the cell and Ella asks if they're sure this'll work. Charming reassures her that once Rumple is in there, he'll never get out, and she'll be safe. Thomas tells her they can do this. "Okay.", she says, with determination, "Let's get him."
Ashley alerts her rescuers that her baby is coming.
Back in present-day Storybrooke, Emma drives her yellow car with speed along the roads that lead to the border of the town. Henry notices something and points to the front, saying "I told you..." Emma looks to where he's pointing and is surprised to see Ruby's car in front of a bridge, out of the road, tilted to the side. The green plaque that reads "Entering Storybrooke" is shown as Emma's car makes it to the border and she parks it by Ruby's car. The two of them get out to look for Ashley, and rush toward the red vehicle, to find it devoid of people, and the door of the passenger seat opened. They then hear a female moan and spot Ashley sitting on the grass by the side of the road. They come closer and Ashley tells them that her baby is coming.
"I want my baby!"
Emma drives her car to the local hospital, while Ashley, sitting in the passenger seat, moans with agony. Henry, from the back seat, asks if the baby is really coming, to which Emma simply replies, "Oh yeah." Emma tells Ashley not to worry, for the hospital isn't that far, but Ashley becomes even more worried, wanting to go to Boston, rather than the Storybrooke hospital. Emma tells her that they don't have four hours, and Ashley begs her not to take her to the hospital, because Mr. Gold is going to take her baby. Emma reassures her that she's not going to let that happen. Emma then asks if Ashley knows what she's asking for, if she's really ready to keep this child. Ashley replies affirmatively, and Emma asks if she's sure, because she herself wasn't. Henry's attention is caught by this remark. Ashley asks "You weren't?", to which Emma responds that she wasn't, and says that if she wants to give this kid its best chance it's gonna have to be with somebody who's ready. She adds that Ashley's whole life is going to change, and once she decides that the kid is hers, she can't run away anymore, she has to grow up and she can't ever leave. Emma asks if she understands. "Yes.", the maid says, "I want my baby!" The car keeps moving fast.
Rumplestiltskin admires Cinderella's quill.
Back in fairytale land, it is nighttime, and Cinderella is seen standing under a trellis walkway in a garden, waiting, wearing a cloak. She rubs her belly, looking nervous, and she is caught off-guard by the sound of the mean Rumplestiltskin. He tells her she's starting to show, and takes a sip from his flask. She comes out of the walkway and he tells her that a little bird told him she wanted to speak with him. Ella confirms this, as she removes the hood of her cloak from her head, and explains that she'd like to alter the bargain. Rumple tells her that's not what he does, and she claims to think he'll want to. She says she's having twins, and Rumple immediately throws his flask away. He walks up toward her and asks if that's so. He then seems to get all excited and touches her belly. He then asks if she'd want to give up both, and she nods affirmatively. He wonders why that is. She tells him her husband is having a hard time. Their kingdom is poor, they're losing money, their crops are dying, and they can't support themselves or their people. Rumple asks if she means to give up her other child for comfort, and she says she can always have more children, but she can't make crops grow where the soil is dead. She shows him a contract, and tells him that in exchange for their other child, he'll see to it that their land is once again fertile. She claims to think that this is more than fair, and he bursts out a "Yes!". "Yes, yes...", he goes on to say, "It is. If what you say is true."
Rumplestiltskin is ensnared.
He crouches down and reads the contract, and she tells him it is, and all he has to do is sign on the dotted line. As she says this, she reveals to him the red quill. Rumple gazes at it and takes it from her hand, calling it a "lovely quill". He asks where she got it, and she says it's from their castle. Rumple tells her the only way to stop him is through magic. She tells him she's not trying to stop him, and he says, "Of course you're not.", with a look of apparent sarcasm. "Because as we all know", he adds, " all magic comes with a price." He then says that if she were to use magic to imprison him, then her debt to him would only grow. "And we wouldn't want that, now would we?", he asks, touching her chin with the feather of the quill. Cinderella moves her chin away and begs him to just sign the contract. He asks if she's sure she's happy with this new arrangement. Cinderella lifts up the contract and he squeaks with some odd joy. He then takes the contract from her and says, "Then so it shall be." He promptly signs it. And once he's done, he is immersed in magic, and the contract falls to the floor. His body is relatively frozen, and Cinderella calls for Thomas. Rumple then tells her, with a perverse smile, that no one breaks deals with her. "No one." The cavalry arrives, complete with a cell carriage for Rumple. He keeps on talking: "No matter where you are, no matter what land you find yourself in, I assure you... I will have your baby."
Emma and Henry are seen waiting in the hospital. The young man tells his birth mother that she is different, and she wonders what he means, though relatively carefree, more concerned with Ashley and her baby. "You're the only one who can do it." Emma, walking around in front of him, says she knows he keeps telling her she's the only one who can break the curse. Henry denies this, explaining that she's the only one who can leave Storybrooke. Emma tells him that he left and came and found her in Boston. Henry says that he came back though, he's 10 and had no choice, but if anyone else tried to go, bad things would happen. "Anyone? Except... me.", Emma says. Henry tells her that she's the savior, so she can do whatever she wants. Henry tells her that she can go. Emma understands what this means: he's worried she might leave him. A female doctor comes up to them and tells Emma that the baby is a healthy 6-pound girl, and the mother is doing fine. Emma smiles at her, but her smile fades once she hears a familiar voice saying, "What lovely news." Mr. Gold, the source of the commentary, is seen standing next to them. He walks up to them and compliments Emma on her "excellent work", and then says, "Thank you for bringing me my merchandise." Emma gives him a look of disgust.
Thomas is alarmed by a strange sound...
Grumpy and Charming are seen escorting a shackled Rumplestiltskin into the cell carriage. They lock the door behind him and Cinderella asks Prince Thomas if they really won, and he replies affirmatively, remind her that he told her they would. Ella tells him she was so afraid that they'd fail and that she'd have to go back to her wretched old life, that she'd lose him. He reassures her that as long as he's alive, she will never go back to that life. They kiss, and then Thomas asks her how their little Alexandra is doing. Cinderella is slightly confused and entertained, and Thomas makes it clear that he's already picked out a name. She tells him that's more like a prison sentence, and Thomas says he likes it. Cinderella starts to jokingly say that men know nothing of children, but she is interrupted by a pain in her stomach. Thomas asks what it is, and she tells him it's the baby, something is wrong. Thomas tells her it can't be that the baby's coming for it's too soon, so it must be the stress, the excitement. Ella claims to be dizzy, and Thomas gets her to sit on a bench. He then says he's going to get her water, and she says "Okay." He leaves her to go and get water from a nearby well, and once he starts pulling the bucket up with the ropes, he hears a crackling sound in the woods. A plant is shaken, and so is he, as it appears he can hear footsteps around him. All of a sudden, Cinderella's pain is gone. Feeling better, she calls out for her husband, telling him it's passed. She rubs her belly and then hears a strange sound coming from the well area, which alarms her. She gets up to go find her husband. Once she makes it to the well, she finds that no one is there, but Thomas' sash can be seen resting on the edge of the well. Afflicted, she calls out for him.
Cinderella is sure that Rumplestiltskin made her husband disappear.
As Charming finishes locking up Rumple, Cinderella shows up and asks the dark creature what he did. He looks at her with a twisted smile. Charming asks her what's wrong, and Grumpy, addressing her as "your Highness", asks what happened. Cinderella approaches the cell, holding up the sash and asking Rumple what he did to Thomas. The beast tells her he didn't do anything, for he's been otherwise 'engaged'. Ella, angered and scared, tells him that something happened to Thomas and he knows what, so he must tell her. "I've no idea, dearie.", he says, looking closely at her through the bars, "But I did warn you: all magic comes at a price. Looks like someone has just paid." Charming tells Cinderella not to listen to him, that they will find Thomas. Rumple tells him they won't; until that debt is paid, and until that baby is his, she'll never see him again. Charming gets her away from the cage, and Rumple says, "In this world or the next, Cinderella... I will have that baby!" He looks at her with a disturbing psychotic gaze and matching smile...
Emma tells Mr. Gold that he can't have the baby.
Mr. Gold is seen standing in front of the waiting room's coffee machine. It refuses to pour coffee into his cup, so he taps the machine with its hand and it finally starts to function properly. As the plastic cup fills up, he tells Emma that it must be his lucky day, and asks her if she'd care for a cup. "A baby?", she asks, confronting him, "That's your merchandise?". She asks why he didn't tell her, and he walks past her and says she didn't need to know at the time. "Really?", she wonders, "Or you thought I wouldn't take the job?". He tells her, "On the contrary. I thought it'd be more effective if you found out yourself." She is confused, and he comments that he thought it'd make sense to her after seeing Ashley's hard life, for Gold assumes that if anyone were to understand the reasons behind giving up a baby, it would be Emma. Still sitting on his chair in the waiting room, Henry listens to their conversation. Emma tells Gold, with a stern look of determination, that he is not getting that kid. Gold tells her that he and Ashley have an agreement, and his agreements are always honored. If not, he is going to have to involve the police, and that baby is going to end up in the system, which he says would be a pity. "You didn't enjoy your time in the system, did you, Emma?". Emma tells him that's not going to happen, and he smiles, saying that he likes her confidence, but all he'd have to do would be to press charges, for she did after all break into his shop. Emma guesses that she did it to steal a contract. Gold brushes this off, saying "Who knows what she was after?". Emma tells him no jury in the world would put a woman in jail whose only reason for breaking and entering was to keep her child. Gold takes a sip of his coffee, and Emma tells him she's willing to bet that contract of theirs doesn't stand up; she then asks if he is. "Not to mention what might come out about you in the process.", she adds, "Somehow I suspect there is more to you than a simple pawnbroker." She asks him if he really wants to start that fight, and he smiles and says that he likes her. Emma gives him a retributory wicked smile, as he tells her that she's not afraid of him, which is either cocky or presumptions, but either way he'd rather have her on his side. Emma asks if this means that Ashley can keep the baby, and Gold, turning around, says "Not just yet." He goes on to say that there is still the matter of his agreement with Miss Boyd. Emma tells him to tear it up, and Gold stops and tells her that's not what he does. He explains to her that contracts, deals, are the very foundation of all civilized existence. So he's putting it to her now: if she wants Ashley to have that baby, she must be willing to make a deal with him. Emma asks him what he wants, and Gold responds that he doesn't know just yet. "You'll owe me a favor." Emma looks at him for a short while, confused and intrigued, and then moves in to shake his hand and says "Deal."
Emma and Henry meet Ashley's baby.
Emma and Henry enter Ashley's room in the maternity ward and become the first visitors to meet her newborn daughter. Henry sits on Ashley's bed and Emma asks her what the girl's name is, to which she replies, "Alexandra." Emma tells her it's pretty, and Ashley sighs and thanks her for getting her there. Emma tells her that Mr. Gold was outside, but she took care of it, and Ashley can keep the baby. The new mother asks her what she did, and Emma says, nonchalantly, that she made a deal with him. Ashley thanks her, and Emma looks at the clock and tells Henry that it's almost five, so she has to get him home. They rush out of the hospital room.
Regina ends her "meeting".
We are treated to an overview of one of the main streets of Storybrooke. The tower's clock above the library indicates that it's almost 5 pm. Somewhere, in a bedroom, Regina is seen zipping up the back of her black dress, in the reflection on a mirror, while running water is heard from an adjacent bathroom. "I have to go.", Regina says, relatively loud, so that whoever is in the bathroom can hear. "Henry's expecting me home at five." Regina then adjusts her hair in front of the mirror, and says, "But I'll see you again." She then puts on her shoes. "The next council meeting?", she says, naughtily. "Oh, and don't forget.", she says, as she grabs a hold of her purse and walks out of the room, "You left your socks under the bed."
Emma is seen driving Henry home, and then she randomly breaks the silence by saying "Pumpkin." She goes on to explain that it could be her code name, in homage to the story of Cinderella. Henry doesn't like the suggestion, and his birth mother asks him if he has a better one in mind. He replies affirmatively, and when she wonders what it is, he tells her that he's not sure she's ready yet. They finally make it to the Mayor's house, and Emma stops her car in front of it to let him out. He rushes home, but she calls him. He turns back around, and reminds him of what he said at the hospital, about her being able to leave. He wonders where she's going with this, and she just smiles and tells him she'll see him tomorrow. Henry smiles back and rushes home, closing the gate behind him. Emma sighs.
Regina scolds Henry for leaving his shoe in the stairs.
Regina parks her car in her property, and Henry enters his house through the front and rushes upstairs, accidentally leaving behind one of his shoes in the process. Regina then enters the house through the front door and calls out for him. Henry makes it to his bedroom and closes the door, puts his backpack down on his bed and grabs a book from his desk. He then lies down on the bed quickly, as his mother comes up the stairs, takes off his other shoe as she apparently starts to scold him, shouting "What did I tell you?". He opens his book, to make it look as though he'd been there reading it all the while, and she opens the door and finishes her thought, revealing that she's mad at him for leaving his shoe in the stairs. Henry nods affirmatively, as though he gets it, and she tells him that someone could get hurt. She throws the shoe onto his bed and then leaves the room, closing the door behind her. Henry sighs with relief.
Sean Herman enters the hospital room where Ashley and their newborn child, Alexandra, are resting, and brings with him a little gift bag. "Is that her?", he asks, and Ashley's attention is caught. She's surprised to see him, and he walks up towards them and says he is so sorry, he never should have left her. "You're back." "Yeah. I'm back." He sits down on the bed. He then says he got the baby a present as he takes out a pair of baby shoes from the gift bag. They both chuckle, and Sean comments that he doesn't know if they're gonna fit. He then puts one shoe on one of the the baby's tiny feet, and it's too big, but Ashley, with an earnest smile, tells him they're just perfect. They then look at each other and kiss.
The sheriff's been naughty...
Emma is seen standing outside her parked car, leaning up against it. She is seen dialing Sheriff Graham's number on her cell phone, taken from the calling card he'd given her. Graham picks up on the other side, and she tells him it's her, and she was thinking that maybe some roots wouldn't be so bad. She then asks if that deputy job is still open, to which he says "Absolutely." "Then I'm in.", she tells him. She then wonders if Regina is going to be okay with this, and Graham tells her he doesn't care; it's his department. He then says he'll see her Monday morning, and Emma smiles, says "See ya.", and hangs up. She then looks at her son Henry through his bedroom window. On the other side, a shirtless Graham hangs up. We then get a shot from under a bed, where his socks are. He puts himself on all-fours and gets them, and then gets up, holding them, and sits down on the bed, in the same bedroom which Regina had previously exited from... indicating that they are sleeping together.
- The title card features the Fairy Godmother.
- Although credited, Raphael Sbarge (Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket) is absent from this episode.
- When Mr. Gold supposedly bangs his head on the edge of a table after being spritzed with pepper spray, it is clear that Robert Carlyle merely hits the table with his hands.
- Henry tells Emma that he has an idea for a code name for her, but she's not ready to hear it yet. He still hasn't revealed to her what said code name is.
- When Henry lies down on his bed to pretend before his mother as though he'd always been there, he crosses his legs. However, in the next immediate shot, his legs are fully laid on the bed, parallel to one another.
- The visual effects of Cinderella's courtyard received a nomination for Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Broadcast Program or Commercial at the 2011 Visual Effects Society Awards.
The episode posted steady yet respectable numbers, scoring a 3.8/9 among 18-49s and a 6.8/10 overall, with 11.327 million viewers tuning in. It ranked second in its timeslot altogether, once again behind Football Night in America on NBC but ahead of The Amazing Race on CBS and The Simpsons on FOX. 
- IGN.com gave the episode an average review (6.5/10 - "Okay"). Reviewer Amy Ratcliffe said "I like the addition of more fairy tale characters, and I'm enjoying the fact that their stories don't follow traditional paths. The transition between worlds works and has a natural feel. It can't be easy to pull off. Still, I'd like to see more forward movement in Operation Cobra in each episode. Learning about Cinderella doesn't do anything obvious to help Emma and Henry put the fairy tale world back together, and we need to start going in that direction."
- On TVFanatic.com garnered a rating of 4.5/5, although reviewer Christine Orlando gave it a 4.3/5.  Barbara Barnett of BlogCritics.org was positively critical of this episode, particularly praising Robert Carlyle's dual performance: "I really enjoyed this episode, perhaps because we begin to learn more about what has turned out to be my favorite character(s) in Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold. Robert Carlyle seems to be having an awful lot of fun hamming it up as the imp (as are, I’m sure, his costumers and makeup artists). Carlyle is always interesting to watch. His performances are textured works of art, even with a character so obviously menacing and broadly drawn as Rumpelstiltskin." 
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ "TV Ratings Sunday: Of Course Football Wins As 'Simpsons,' 'Allen Gregory, 'American Dad' Fall; 'Desperate Housewives,' 'Pan Am' Rise", by Bill Gorman, Zap2It.com, November 14, 2011.
- ↑ "TV ratings: Patriots-Jets gives NBC a Sunday win, 'Once Upon a Time' steady for ABC", by Rick Porter, Zap2It.com, November 14, 2011.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time: "The Price of Gold" Review", by Amy Ratcliffe, IGN.com, November 14, 2011.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time Review: Fairy Consequences", by Christine Orlando, TVFanatic.com, November 14, 2011.
- ↑ "TV Review: Once Upon a Time - "The Price of Gold" (page 2), by Barbara Barnett, BlogCritics.org, November 13, 2011.