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Once Upon a Time – 4.17 “Heart of Gold” Review

Just to make sure you’re all paying attention Once Upon a Time gave us a flashback within a flashback twice this episode, as we witnessed Robin Hood’s backstory and his dealings with Gold.

The Past with A Past

Sherwood Forest (many years ago but post Regina not going into the tavern), Robin Hood can now be found trying to make a go at being an honest man running a tavern, but there’s a huge wrench in those attempts when the Sheriff of Nottingham shows up and makes threats about overdue taxes. Our former outlaw is at a loss over how to pay his debts when Rumplestiltskin appears to make a deal. If Robin will go to Oz to acquire the elixir of the wounded heart, which can cure hearts both physically and emotionally, then he will have the money to pay off his debts. Robin takes Rumple up on his offer and heads to Oz, lands on a guard and meets Will Scarlet. Scarlet asks Hood (who had told him why he was there) to also get him some potion.

Robin then takes the guard’s clothing as a disguise and heads to the Emerald City where he finds the elixir, only to have Zelena find him. He narrowly escapes using the bow that never misses its target. 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; Robin touched by the tale gives Will the potion he had taken for Rumple.

Back in the Sherwood Forest, Robin and his Merry Men ambush the Sheriff and then steal his money to give to the poor. Robin then reveals to Marian that he managed to steal the six-leaf clover of Oz, which acts a glamour spell and allows you to look like anyone you wish.

Old New York (or Nine Weeks Ago)

After leaving Storybrooke and Regina behind, Robin, Marian and Roland arrived in New York City, looking for Neal’s apartment since Regina gave them the keys after a brief encounter with a purse snatcher they make their way to their new home.  Their stay is interrupted by Gold who orders them out before having a ‘heart attack’ or at least that’s what the doctors at the hospital say.

Gold tells Robin that the only thing that can cure him is the elixir of the wounded heart and that there might be some at Walsh’s shop. He asks Robin to break in and retrieve it for him. Robin does but is almost arrested. In exchange for the elixir Robin tells Gold that the apartment is his and his family’s. Hood leaves and Gold drinks the elixir but nothing happens.

Turns out that Marian swapped the elixir and that she isn’t even Marian, she’s actually Zelena. She was the one who went through the time portal with Hook and Emma and she killed the real Marian back in the Enchanted Forest after Emma knocked out the real Marian to take back with them, when Hook and Emma ran off to catch up with Snow and Charming, Zelena moved in. She assumed Maid Marian’s place by using the six-leaf clover from Oz to transform herself into Hood’s dead wife as part of her plan to ruin Regina’s happiness. Gold briefly flat lines, 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 elixir that they work together.

As Gold is finally released from the hospital, Robin gives him some possessions that were left in the house. Gold keeps the truth about Zelena from Robin and tells him to pursue happiness because once you find it you need to hold onto it. Robin then goes home and tells “Marian” that he wants to stay with her and to prove it he deletes Regina from his contact list.

Some Thoughts

  • I loved that they explained the ‘recasting’ of Hood and why he didn’t look the same as he did in his flashback at the Dark Castle, granted I ‘didn’t need it but it was still cleaver.
  • I love Will, he’s always a scene stealer!
  • Walsh’s shop ‘The Wizard of Oak’ I died! Also Emma’s picture was on Walsh’s desk!
  • Can I be honest? I probably could have done without the purse snatching scene and had a little more Storybrooke. I mean I loved the scene visually but I didn’t need it.
  • Who is paying rent at Walsh’s shop and Neal’s apartment? And why isn’t there more of Neal’s stuff at the apartment? It’s been empty for over a year?


As Emma, her parents, Henry and Hook search the woods for the author, her parents inform her that they know the Author and that it is he who was responsible for placing them on the path to Maleficent’s child. Emma is furious and feels she’s only special at of the cost of someone else’s soul. The Author attempts to make a quill out of a branch but out of nowhere Gold appears. He tells the Author that the trees in Storybrooke will not make the quill as they don’t have magic. Gold offers the Author a real magic quill and tells him that all he has to do is write him some happy endings to which he quickly agrees to.

Back in Regina’s crypt, Regina wakes up the prisoner of Gold, and he tells her that he has the author. Regina is vital to his plans to darken Emma’s heart and he lets her call Hood.  Of course it’s Zelena that answers and goads her sister about her new life with Hood. Gold tells Regina that in order to protect Robin Hood she must destroy Emma or else he will give the order for Zelena to kill Hood.

Looking Forward/Final Thoughts

  • I really wish we’d had some more Charming family moments of ‘peace’ before their past came out. There are so many moments we miss and now Emma is (justifiably) furious with them, I’ll be interested in seeing how and if the rift can be healed.
  • Poor Regina, she’s really in a pickle. And can we talk about how crazy Zelena is? Going after your sister’s love disguised as her ex is a whole new low.

Cruella’s backstory is up for this coming week’s episode and it seems she has a connection to the author already! I can’t wait to see what they have cooked up for her back story.

‘Heart of Gold” was directed by Billy Geirhart and written by Tze Chun & Scott Nimerfro



Just to make sure you’re all paying attention Once Upon a Time gave us a flashback within a flashback twice this episode, as we witnessed Robin Hood’s backstory and his dealings with Gold. The Past with A Past Sherwood Forest (many years ago but post Regina not going into the tavern), Robin Hood can now …

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