Recap / Once Upon A Time S 1 E 4 The Priceof Gold

Season 1, Episode 4:

The Price of Gold

Cinderella: Glass?
Rumplestiltskin: Every story needs a memorable detail.

Emma Swan: People are going to tell you who you are your whole life. You just got to punch back and say, "no, this is who I am." You want people to look at you differently? Make them. You want to change things? You're going to have to go out there and change them yourself, because there are no fairy godmothers in this world.

Emma is hired by the mysterious Mr. Gold to find pregnant teenager Ashley Boyd only to help the expectant mother after learning that Ashley's unborn child is in the center of a dangerous bargain while a regrettable deal made between Cinderella and Rumplestiltskin is revealed along with her desperate attempt to break the contract.


  • Advice Backfire: Emma tells Ashley to go change her life and she decides to rob Mr. Gold as a result.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Rumplestiltskin brands the Fairy Godmother's magic "pure evil" and later states that "nobody mourns her".
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Cinderella took Rumplestiltskin's deal because he killed her Fairy Godmother, expecting he would want his share of the riches from her new life as princess. But what he really wanted was her first born.
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat: Played with. Emma tells Henry to go home so she can track down Ashley before it's too late. Henry obediently goes. But he pops up a few minutes later in the back seat of Emma's Volkswagen and sensibly points out she'd waste too much time taking him home and let Ashley's head start get longer.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title refers to the price of gold in a literal sense (Cinderella having to give up her first born child in exchange for the wealth and happiness associated with being royalty) and in a figurative sense (Emma having to agree to do a favor for Mr. Gold in order to get him to give up his claim on Ashley's child.)
  • Fairy Godmother: Cinderella is visited by hers, who promises to grant her her wildest wish to go to the prince's oh shit she exploded. Uh. I guess that Rumplestiltskin guy is the new fairy godmother. That'll end well..
  • Genre Blind: Cinderella. It appears that she doesn't know the outcome of Rumplestiltskin's story. But she becomes Genre Savvy when the princes reveal the trap for Rumplestiltskin, as she just knows it's going to backfire.
  • Happily Married: Cinderella and Prince Thomas, until Thomas disappears (seemingly abducted by unknown forces) anyway.
  • Informed Attribute: Rumple flat out calls the Fairy Godmother and her power pure evil, though he's not exactly the best person to make a judgement call.
  • Ironic Echo: Mr. Gold calls Emma "charming"—aka her father's nickname.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Cinderella's fairy godmother is disintegrated in the middle of granting Cinderella's wish by Rumplestiltskin.
  • Longest Pregnancy Ever: Cinderella's 28-year and 9-month pregnancy. Justified in the fact that time having stopped in Storybrooke is a major plot point. Cinderella was pregnant when the curse hit, so logically, she would have been stuck like that until Emma arrived. (And when Emma does arrive, she's finally able to give birth.)
  • Mama Bear: Ashley/Cinderella went through a lot to make sure she protects her child from being taken away.
  • Mythology Gag: Aside from the glass slippers ("Every story needs a memorable detail"), when Sean comes to see Ashley and their baby in the hospital, he brings booties for Alexandra...and they're a perfect fit. Henry also loses a shoe on the stairway near the end of the episode.
  • Race Lift: Most versions of Cinderella portray the Fairy Godmother as white.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: The Fairy Godmother had maybe a minute of screen time, total, before falling into dust.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The Fairy Godmother got little to no characterization before being killed.