‘Once Upon A Time’ S1 Ep 4 recap: ‘The Price of Gold’ cost too much

S1 Ep 4
Jessy Schram guest stars as Cinderella (Photo credit: ABC)

This week’s episode introduced us to Cinderella (Jessy Schram) and showed us just how low Rumplestiltskin will go to get what he wants.

Fairytale: “All magic comes with a price”

Cinderella’s story begins as we all know it to be; she sweeps up while watching her evil step-mother and step-sister ride off to the ball. Suddenly her Fairy Godmother appears to save the day when – Bam! – Rumplestiltskin surprisingly vaporizes her into thin air. And so the story takes a turn for the worse.

Rumplestiltskin offers Cinderella a deal without clarifying what she will owe him in the future; he vaguely warns her, “You can’t handle this.” She signs the contract, which immediately transforms her into the belle of the ball – blue gown, glass slippers, and the whole enchilada.

Cut to her magical wedding to Prince Thomas (Tim Phillipps), where Rumpy creepily appears and demands his end of their deal – Cinderella’s first born. Months later Ella confesses her deal to Prince Thomas and with Prince “Charming” James’ help they hatch a plan to get her out of it.

Ella approaches Rumpy with a new contract, claiming to have twins and offering up her second babe for “comfort.” Rumpster signs the new contract with a magic quill, on which the Blue Fairy cast a spell so that it freezes his powers.

As soon as he signs the contract, the spell is cast and he is imprisoned, but Prince Thomas has disappeared. Rumpy decrees that she will never see her prince again, in this world or any other, until he gets her baby.

Storybrooke: “There are no Fairy Godmothers in this world.”

Emma meets Ashley Boyd (aka Cinderella), a struggling pregnant 19 year old girl and having been in the girl’s shoes ten years earlier offers Ashley a bit of advice, if she wants to change her life, then she has do it herself.

Turns out Ashley promised to sell her baby to Mr. Gold (sound familiar?) and has since changed her mind. She tries to leave town, so Mr. Gold hires Emma to find Ashley.

Emma follows a lead from Ruby and goes to see Ashley’s ex-boyfriend Shawn. There she learns Shawn’s dad forced Ashley to make the deal with Mr. Gold and kept his son from being with her, so Emma sets out to save her.

With Henry beside her in the car, she heads for Boston, but he warns her that nobody can leave Storybrooke – except for Emma because she is their “savior.” “Bad things happen when you try to leave,” he says as they come upon Ashley’s broken-down car right in front of the welcome sign. They find her going into labor off the side of the road and rush Ashley to the hospital; on the way Emma promises to take care of her deal dilemma.

At the hospital, Mr. Gold comes to claim the baby, but after a bold confrontation with Emma he admits he would rather have her “on his side” and makes a new deal. Ashley and Shawn can live happily ever after with their baby girl, as long as Emma owes Mr. Gold a favor in the future – let’s hope it doesn’t come at too high a price.

As this episode ends, Emma calls up the Sheriff and accepts his offer to be deputy because she wants to set some “roots.” Then the big twist: Regina and Sheriff Graham are having an affair (“Saturday Council Meetings” in Henry’s case), giving this sweet re-imagined fairytale drama a raunchy soap opera vibe.

Given how awesome the first three episodes have been, this one disappointingly did not live up to expectation. However, it still raises some questions: Does breaking the deal in this world free them from it in Fairytale Land? Sheriff Graham did not seem fond of Regina, so what’s the deal with their affair?

What did you think? Share your thoughts below!

‘Once Upon A Time’ returns with a new episode on November 27. Until then, check back here for spoiler and updates.


  • Rumpy says about the glass slippers, “Every story needs a memorable detail.”
  • Henry wants to give each other codes names for Operation Cobra, but Emma isn’t ready for hers yet – anyone else think his choice is “Mom”?
  • Sweet to see Snow White and Prince Charming were buddies with Cinderella and Prince Thomas.
  • Emma’s sage words to Ashley, “You have to grow up. You can’t ever leave” – Guess she wasn’t ready to grow up when she had Henry and she seems to have commitment issues.
  • Most adorable moment goes to Shawn bringing baby slippers to Ashley and Alexandria.
  • Did you catch the not-so-subtle nods to Ruby’s red wolf car ornament?
  • Robert Carlyle sparkles in this dual role; his performance was one of the best parts of this episode.


  • Regina and Sheriff Graham’s affair – REALLY?! It better be for a good reason because right now it is just a disappointment.
  • Is Ruby bothering anyone else? Enough with the hot-pants and attitude already Little Red Riding Ho
  • No word on David Nolan: After last week’s stellar episode, how can they not even mention him?


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