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"The Price of Gold" is the fourth episode of Season One of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman and directed by David Solomon. It is the fourth episode of the series overall, and premiered on November 13, 2011.
Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters are going to a ball. The Fairy Godmother appears to Cinderella and tells her that although her stepmother has said she cannot go, she is going to go anyway. However, immediately after this, the Fairy Godmother explodes in an horrendous, yet amazing display of fire.
She is swiftly incinerated, and Rumplestiltskin appears and grabs her magic wand. Cinderella shouts in despair, saying he has just killed her Fairy Godmother, and that the wand is pure magic. He replies that the wand is pure evil and that he has just saved her. Cinderella asks if he knows how to use the wand.
He tells her all magic comes with a price. She tells Rumplestiltskin that she will do anything to have her life change for the better. He tells her that if she can shoulder the consequences he will give her what she wants, in exchange for a favor. Cinderella tells him that she will give him anything if he can get her out of her present life of misery. He agrees to do this, for a price: she must give him something of hers, something to be decided upon by him at a later date, and taken by him sometime in the future. He makes her sign a contact agreeing to his terms. After this, he waves the wand, and she has a beautiful ball gown and glass slippers. He wishes that she has a good time, but tells her to watch the clock.
Back in Storybrooke, Henry and Emma are walking down the streets of Storybrooke. Emma drops Henry off at his school bus, and Sheriff Graham shows up, siren blaring. He thanks Emma for helping to find David Nolan and offers her a job as a deputy. He asks her to think about it.
Emma heads to the diner for hot chocolate and meets with Regina who wants to know how her walk with Henry went. Regina tells Emma that her presence in town no longer worries her, because Emma has a history of not staying anywhere for very long. Regina knows that Emma is living with Mary Margaret, but believes that Emma will not change her transient life.
After Regina leaves, Emma drops the hot chocolate all over herself. She heads to the laundry room in the restaurant to wash her clothes. She meets a pregnant girl named Ashley Boyd who tells her that her baby could come any day. She tells Emma that no one thinks she can take care of the baby, because she is only 19. Emma tells her the choice is hers, because only can she decide what she wants.
Mr. Gold is leaving his pawnbroker shop. Once the coast is clear, Ashley puts a brick through the window of his shop. She finds a wall safe, but Mr. Gold walks in, discovers her, and asks her what she is doing. She tells him that she is changing her life, and she then sprays pepper spray into his eyes and takes the key for the safe from his belt.
Regina is telling Henry that she does not enjoy council meetings. Regina tells Henry that under no circumstances can he leave the house. Henry watches her leave and then gets his bag. He is clearly leaving the house.
Mary Margaret and Emma are eating, and Mr. Gold comes to see Emma. He tells Emma that he has a proposition for her, as he is looking for someone. Mary Margaret leaves them alone, and Mr. Gold gives Emma a picture of Ashley. Emma asks why he does not go to the police, and he says he does not want to ruin her life. He just wants something back she has of his. Mr. Gold begs her to help him, because he does not want to see Ashley’s baby born in jail.
Henry bursts in the door and sees Mr. Gold. Mr. Gold wishes Emma good luck as he leaves. Henry asks Emma if she knows who that was, since he has had a hard time trying to figure out who Mr. Gold's fairytale counterpart is.
Emma tells Henry that Ashley is pregnant and desperate, and she has to find her. Henry wants to help her look, because he wants to spend time with Emma.
Cinderella and Prince Thomas are watching the fireworks held to celebrate their wedding. Snow White and Prince Charming are at the wedding, and Snow White compliments Cinderella, because she is an inspiration that anyone can change their life.
Rumplestiltskin shows up and tells Cinderella that he is proud of her as well. He asks if she has gotten everything that she desired, and Cinderella immediately asks what his price is. He tells her it is something she does not possess yet, but it is something that is coming, her first born.
Cinderella is in her room packing a bag, when Thomas, comes in and asks her where she is going. Cinderella tells him she is pregnant, and he wonders why this has upset her. Cinderella tells him of the deal she made with Rumplestiltskin, that she would give him her first born child. She tells her husband that she is going to lose everything, as Rumplestiltskin is too powerful. Thomas tells her that they will make another deal.
Emma is questioning Ruby about Ashley. Ruby tells Emma that she has a step-mother and two step-sisters; all of which she does not talk to. She tells Emma that Ashley is really trying to put her life back together. Emma heads over to Sean Herman, Ashley’s ex, who is Thomas's real world counterpart. Sean's father comes out and tells Emma that he is not going to let his son ruin his life, and that he made a deal with Ashley that she would give up her child. He tells Emma that he found someone who will pay her very well for the baby. Emma realizes it is Mr. Gold who has bought the baby.
Henry is telling Emma that she cannot make Ashley break a deal with Mr. Gold. Emma and Henry head to the restaurant to see Ruby, and Emma is upset, because Ruby did not tell her that Ashley sold the baby. Emma realizes that Ruby gave Ashley her car. Emma asks Ruby to tell her where Ashley is so that she does not have to deal with Mr. Gold alone. Ruby tells her that Ashley left half an hour ago for Boston, because she believe that she can disappear there.
In the Enchanted Forest, Cinderella, Thomas, Charming, and the dwarves are in a cave where they have set up a prison in which they are planning to trap Rumplestiltskin. They have sent a message to Rumplestiltskin telling him that the doctor has heard two heartbeats, thus they have to make a new deal. They show her a red feather quill which has a spell put on it so that anyone who signs with it will be immobilized and temporarily powerless.
Emma and Henry are driving, when they see Ruby's car crashed and deserted at the town line. They hear screaming and find Ashley on the grassy side of the road having contractions.
Emma and Henry help Ashley into the car and drive back to the hospital. Ashley is distressed and frightened that Mr. Gold is going to take her child. Emma tells her that if she wants her baby she must grow up.
Back to the Enchanted Forest, Cinderella is meeting Rumplestiltskin and tells him she wants to alter the bargain. He tells her that is not what he does, she lies and tells him she's having twins. He asks her if she wants to give up both. She tells him that her husband is having problems, as the lands are poor and they cannot feed their people. She tells him that she can have more children, but she cannot make their lands fertile. She tells Rumplestiltskin that, if he signs on the dotted line and makes their lands fertile, he can have both children.
Rumplestiltskin reminds her that: the only way to stop him is with magic, all magic comes with a price, and if she imprisons him she will be even more in dept to him. He takes the quill and signs the contract, and he is frozen. He tells her that no one breaks deals with him and assures her that, no matter where she goes, he will have her baby one day.
In the current time, Henry tells Emma that she is different, because she is the only one that can leave Storybrooke. Henry tells her that she is the savior, and she can do anything she wants. The nurse comes to tell Emma that the baby is born, and the new baby girl and mother are doing fine. Mr. Gold shows up and thanks Emma for finding his baby.
Cinderella tells Thomas she is so happy, because she thought she would have to go back to her old life. Thomas tells Cinderella that as long as he is alive nothing will happen to her. Cinderella starts to feel sick and Thomas runs to get water for her from the well. She calls Thomas to come back since she feels fine now, but when he does not respond she goes to the well and finds nothing but his cape. Cinderella confronts Rumplestiltskin, and demands to know where her husband has disappeared to. Rumplestiltskin reminds her that all magic comes with a price. He tells her she will not find her husband, until the price is paid from the original deal they made.
Mr. Gold is speaking to Emma, and she wants to know why he called a baby his merchandise. He tells her that if anyone could understand why someone would give up a baby she should. Emma tells him that he is not getting the baby, and he tells her that if the deal is not met, he will simply call the police, and the baby will end up in the system.
Emma tells Mr. Gold that she is willing to go to court and testify against him, and that she doubts that the contract will hold up in court. Mr. Gold realizes that he cannot bluff Emma. Emma asks him to tear the contract up. He tells her it is not what he does. Mr. Gold then offers a proposition; if he lets Ashley have the baby, would Emma be willing to give him a favor, in the future. Emma agrees. Mr. Gold is the only one beside Henry who seems to understand that Emma is very special, because she is the daughter of Snow White.
Emma goes to visit Ashley who tells her that the baby's name is Alexandra. Emma tells her that she has taken care of Mr. Gold, as she has made a deal with him.
Emma realizes that it is almost 5 PM, and she has to take Henry home, because his mother will be expecting him. Emma tells Henry that she has decided that her code name is Pumpkin in honor of Cinderella. Henry tells her that he has a better one, but is not sure she is ready to hear it yet.
She lets Henry off and he runs up the stairs, just as his mom gets home. Regina storms up the stairs and tells him not to leave his shoes lying on the stairs, as someone could get hurt.
Sean shows up at the hospital to see Ashley and the baby and tells her he is back. He brought a present for the baby, a pair of slippers and Ashley tells him "they're perfect".
Emma calls Graham and asks whether the deputy job is still open. She wonders if Regina is going to be happy about this, but Graham is not concerned. Meanwhile, Regina is seen dressing and leaving someone's house, which is alluded to be Graham's house. She speaks to him as he is in the shower, revealing he and Regina are having an affair.
- The opening titlecard features Cinderella's Fairy Godmother.
- If you look closely, or play it in slow motion, as Cinderella signs Rumplestiltskin's contract, the first letter she writes is a C; indicating that her true name is Cinderella, and "Ella" is simply her nickname.
- The pawnshop's address is number 3480.
- The computer-generated imagery model created for the interior of Prince Thomas' castle is is recycled and reused for King Xavier's castle in "The Miller's Daughter" and the Maritime Castle in "Ariel". This can be seen from the archways, and the balcony outside, which have a very similar design. The model is used again for the Camelot Castle courtyard in "The Price", "Siege Perilous" and "The Bear King", which can be seen from the archways and the railing on top of them.
- Sean and Mitchell reside at house number 431.
- According to Emma, Boston is four hours away from Storybrooke.
- Several of the guests in the background of Cinderella and Thomas' wedding celebration ball are computer generated.
- The Enchanted Forest flashbacks take place at different moments in the timeline: (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- Cinderella's contract with Rumplestiltskin takes place after Rumplestiltskin finds out about the Fairy Godmother's location in "The Shepherd", and immediately after her stepsisters' invitation and preparation for the royal ball in "The Other Shoe".
- The actual wedding of Cinderella to Prince Thomas takes place after the ball and Cinderella's reunion with the prince in "The Other Shoe". It is also estimated to occur after Snow White and Prince Charming defeat King George in "The Cricket Game", since they attend the wedding as a royal couple.
- The scene where Cinderella tells Thomas that she's pregnant, takes place several months before the casting of the Dark Curse in "Pilot".
- The imprisonment of Rumplestiltskin, takes place when Cinderella is fully pregnant, after "The Cricket Game" (where he was still a free man) and some time before Snow White and Prince Charming speak to him in prison in "Pilot".
- The Storybrooke events occur after the past events of "Snow Falls" and before the present-day events of "That Still Small Voice". The story also takes place before Emma's reunion with Ingrid in "Shattered Sight" (where Emma is wearing the blue leather jacket that she receives in this episode). (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- How Rumplestiltskin procured the location of the Fairy Godmother is explained in the events of "The Shepherd".
- The fate of the Fairy Godmother's wand is seen in "Queen of Hearts".
- Rumplestiltskin's reference of fairy magic being "pure evil" alludes to a past occurrence in his life that caused him to hate fairies as shown in the events of "The Return".
- Rumplestiltskin's desire to acquire Cinderella's first-born child as part of a signed contract is not the first time he has ever asked for such a request; with the same incident occurring previously in the events of "The Miller's Daughter".
- Emma's habit of moving around and running from place to place is also referred to in "The Thing You Love Most", "Snow Drifts" and "There's No Place Like Home".
- Regina's mention of the place in which Emma has stayed longest being two years is further explored in "Tallahassee".
- How Cinderella and Prince Thomas met and fell in love, and how Cinderella became friends with Snow White and Prince Charming, is shown in "The Other Shoe". The events leading up to the ball are also explored in this episode.
- Briefly seen in Mr. Gold's pawnshop, the unicorn mobile is the same one Snow White and Prince Charming used in their baby nursery in "Pilot" and the male and female puppets' origins are explained in "That Still Small Voice".
- The box Emma holds as she unpacks her things is a box of keepsakes, which she shows Hook at the sheriff's station in "Breaking Glass".
- Mr. Gold mentions that he and Emma have met briefly, which was shown in "Pilot".
- A photo from the scene when Emma and Henry walk by the Storybrooke Post Office appears in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".
- The favor Emma ends up owing Mr. Gold is fulfilled in "Manhattan".
- Emma's baby blanket which Mary Margaret appears to recognize is the same one that Granny was knitting in "Pilot".
- Why the quill paralyzed the Dark One is explained in "Into the Deep", which reveals the ink on the quill froze Rumplestiltskin.
- When Emma is driving her bug, Henry pops up from the backseat and surprises her. His father does the same thing in "Tallahassee" and "Souls of the Departed".
- Several allusions to Disney's 1950 film Cinderella such as the iconic glass slippers, a fairy godmother, prince and Cinderella herself.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode is a rendition of the Cinderella fairytale, focusing on Cinderella's journey from rags to royalty with the help of a fairy godmother.
- It is also a rendition of the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale, deriving from Rumplestiltskin's desire to acquire a child as part of a specific deal.
- This episode features Snow White, Prince Charming and one of the dwarves from the Snow White fairytale.
- Henry drops behind a shoe when hurrying up the staircase much like how Cinderella did the same going down the stairs when leaving the ball.
- The front page of the newspaper that Emma is reading in the diner shows a photograph of David Nolan in hospital. The main headline (seen upside-down) says "Coma patient wakes up". Another headline says "The 13th zodiac sign?".
- The chess set which Mr. Gold's hurts his head on when he is attacked by Ashley in the pawnshop, is King Leopold's chess set from "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".
- According to a photo that is shown to Emma by Mr. Gold, the bottom right time-stamp indicates Ashley broke into the pawnshop at approximately 9:23 p.m.
- The well where Thomas disappears, is the same prop used for the well in Rumplestiltskin's village in "Desperate Souls", but with a different pulley.
- The framed picture in Regina's dining room is "Rosa sinica - Three-leaved China Rose" by Sarah Drake, an English nineteenth century botanical illustrator. The illustration was created for an 1837 issue of Edwards's Botanical Register, an illustrated horticultural magazine that ran from 1815 to 1847. Rosa sinica is an alternate name for the plant Rosa laevigata, also known as Cherokee rose.
- In "The Thing You Love Most", the window outside the entrance to the Blanchard Loft is a regular, single-pane window. In this episode, it has been divided into four window panes.
- Henry's room has a Rubik's Cube. Another one is present in Emma's apartment in "Pilot". The writers put it there to connect mother and son in some way.
- There is a 1985 Elami Jr. computerized plastic robot from Robotland Inc. and a 1985 Nintendo R.O.B. video game controller in Henry's room.
- Henry's room is filled with cut-outs of fairytale illustrations. Among the illustrations seen in this episode are:
- An illustration by the American illustrator Jessie Willcox Smith, from Nora Archibald Smith's book Boys and Girls of Bookland (1923). It features Alice in a scene from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, surrounded by the characters of Wonderland, including the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter (although most of him is cropped off, so we only see his hat) and the White Rabbit.
- "The King Rides off with the Dumb Maiden"  (1872) by the British artist Eleanor Vere Boyle. This painting depicts a scene from the literary fairytale "The Wild Swans" by Hans Christian Andersen. Interestingly, this story is about a princess who sets out to rescue her brothers who have been turned into swans by their stepmother, an evil queen who is a witch.
- "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - A Mad Tea-Party" (1907) by the famous English book illustrator Arthur Rackham. It is an illustration of a scene from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, with Alice at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party with the March Hare, the Dormouse and the Mad Hatter.
- An illustration by the English artist and book illustrator Walter Crane, from The Sleeping Beauty Picture Book, (1875) depicting a scene from "Sleeping Beauty", where Sleeping Beauty and the prince watch as the royal court awakens from the sleeping curse.
- The Princess and the Pea" (1911) by the French-born, British illustrator Edmund Dulac, from the book Stories from Hans Andersen, with illustrations by Edmund Dulac. This is an illustration of the bed scene with all the mattresses from "The Princess and the Pea".
- "Little Miss Muffet" by Arthur Rackham, from the nursery rhyme of the same name.
- An illustration by the nineteenth century French artist Gustave Doré, from Les Contes de Perrault, an 1867 edition of the seventeenth century French author Charles Perrault's fairy tales. It depicts a scene with Red Riding Hood in bed with the wolf, from the fairy tale of "Little Red Riding Hood".
- An illustration by the artist and book illustrator Helen Stratton from a 1903 edition of Grimms' Fairy Tales. The image depicts a scene from the "Cinderella" fairytale, in which a bird gives the titular character a beautiful ball gown.
- When Henry's school bus leaves, a real-life Steveston business known as the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, which doubles as the Storybrooke Cannery in later episodes, can clearly be seen in the background.
- When Graham offers Emma a new job, the sign on the building behind Emma says Storybrooke Coffee Co. However, when Graham gets out on the police car, you can clearly see a circular sign on the side of the building, which says "Steveston Coffee Co".
- When Graham offers Emma the job as deputy sheriff, as he says, "Why don't you think about it", in the background, you can see the name "Steveston" on the sign of a business next to Kisamos Greek Taverna.
- In Mary Margaret's loft, the wall clock reads as 5:50 A.M., which is impossible considering the bright daylight in the previous scene as well as Regina's mention to Henry that she will be back before noon, which indicates the clock is set at the wrong time.
- As Emma and Henry cross the street after leaving the apartment, in the background, you can see a real-life Steveston business called Steveston WineMakers.
- When Henry lays on his bed, he crosses one leg over the other. In the next shot, his legs are parallel to each other.
- The Stepmother's Estate also doubles as Edwin's House in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episodes "Down the Rabbit Hole" and "Who's Alice".
|French||"Le Prix à Payer"||"The Price to Pay"|
|German||"Ein hoher Preis für Gold"||"A High Price For Gold"|
|Hungarian||"A varázslat ára"||"The Price of Magic"|
|Italian||"Il prezzo della magia"||"The Price of Magic"|