By Meredith Loftus
After a two-week hiatus, Once Upon a Time brings the audience up to speed on the whereabouts of Robin Hood after he crossed the town line in the midseason finale. In Heart of Gold, we not only get the long awaited return of Robin Hood but also the comeback of the Wicked Witch of the West, Zelena. Her involvement of the current season’s arc raises the stakes for our heroes and their quest to preserve their happy endings. Their reappearance in this episode reminds us why we love these characters, and why we are so thrilled to have them back.
A Short Trip to the Emerald City
In the Enchanted Forest, Robin of Loxley has given up his life of thievery in order to settle down with Marian and run a local pub in Nottingham. However, when the Sheriff increases the taxes, Robin has just two days to pay or lose his livelihood. Rumple appears to Robin later that day to offer him a way to save his pub. Rumple needs the best thief in the land to go steal the Elixir for the Wounded Heart from the Wicked Witch of the West; this elixir has the power to heal the heart physically and emotionally. In exchange, Rumple will give Robin the gold he requires to save his business.
Robin takes a portal to Oz and encounters Will Scarlet, after unintentionally helping him escape from an Oz guard. Robin tells him of his mission and Will offers his services, in exchange for some of the elixir, to which Robin agrees. He successfully sneaks into the Emerald City, disguised as a guard, and finds the Elixir for the Wounded Heart; he also manages to steal a six-leaf clover, which can allow its owner to change appearances. Zelena catches him in the act and knows that Rumple was the one that sent Robin. Robin manages to escape with the elixir. He finds Will on the edge of the Emerald City and lies to him about his success. Will is thankful that Robin at least tried and teaches him about honor in thievery. While saying goodbye, Will manages to steal the Elixir for the Wounded Heart for himself, and Robin makes his way back to Sherwood Forest. The Sheriff arrives to arrest Robin, but Robin turns the tide by having the Merry Men ambush the Sheriff and steal from him. Robin of Loxley becomes Robin Hood, an honorable thief with the intent to steal from the greedy to give back to those in need. Marian stands by him and together they begin their lives as outlaws.
Back in the Big Apple
After crossing the town line, Robin, Marian, and Roland make their way to New York City for a fresh start. Regina had given him the address of Neal’s apartment in the city, and it’s there Robin and his family settle down. They begin to turn the apartment into a home when Rumple swings by, demanding they leave because it was his son’s apartment and he needs it in order to begin his personal search for the Author. Robin is not backing down, but Rumple suddenly collapses on the floor. Being the honorable man that he is, Robin takes Rumple to the hospital. He considers calling Regina but doesn’t when the nurse allows him to visit Rumple. The doctors tell Rumple he has had a heart attack, but he knows the truth: Rumple’s dark deeds have taken a toll on him and have poisoned his heart as a result. The only cure Rumple can find in this city of no magic is in Zelena’s old store: the Elixir for the Wounded Heart. He employs Robin to retrieve it for him. After Robin successfully finds the elixir, he returns to the apartment to inform Marian on what’s going on. She condemns him for assisting the Dark One and suggests that they should let him die. Robin doesn’t entertain the thought and he comments how she is unlike the woman he married long ago.
True to his word, Robin returns to the hospital and gives Rumple the elixir, in exchange for Rumple’s leaving his family in peace and giving up the apartment. Robin leaves as Rumple takes the potion, but it doesn’t work. Marian enters the room confessing she switched the potions and has the Elixir for the Wounded Heart. It is then that Marian reveals that she is actually Zelena! How is that possible? Well, it turns out that after Rumple killed her in 3×20, her soul was still active because it triggered the time portal to open. She traveled with Emma and Hook to the past, looking for the right opportunity to revive herself. When Zelena overheard Emma’s plan to bring Marian back to the present time with her and Hook, Zelena waited for Emma and Hook to leave Marian unattended so she could kill her and use the six-leaf clover to disguise herself as Marian. It was actually Zelena that Emma and Hook brought back to Storybrooke, and with her disguise, she kept Regina separate from Robin, to the point of making Robin and Roland leave town with her when she was “dying.” Zelena revels in telling Rumple her tale and steps back as Rumple experiences another “heart attack.” Although he survives, he is barely holding on as Zelena offers him a deal: the Elixir for the Wounded Heart in exchange for Zelena’s story to be rewritten by the Author as well. In his vulnerable state, he had no choice but to agree to her terms.
Robin goes back to the apartment to confront “Marian” about what happened earlier. She wants Robin to make a choice between her and Regina again; she believes that he is only staying with her out of honor and not by choice. Robin pledges his allegiance to “Marian” and proves it by deleting Regina’s number from his cell phone. Unknowingly, Robin has jumped from one Mills sister to the other. Wicked is officially back!
Dealing With the Dark One
Emma, Henry, Hook, Snow, and Charming are on the hunt for the Author. Snow and Charming fill in Emma about their past encounter with him, which led to the couple stealing Maleficent’s baby. Emma is unwilling to accept any form of rationale from them because the deception is still fresh. Instead her focus is set on finding the Author. He is searching for a magical branch to make a new enchanted quill to write the stories. Rumple finds him and strikes a deal with him: an enchanted quill in exchange for Rumple accompanying him as he writes the new stories. The Author reluctantly agrees and he disappears before the Charming family can catch up.
Rumple takes the Author to Regina’s vault where Regina is also a prisoner to Rumple. He needs her help to turn Emma dark and has incentive for her help. He gives Regina his phone in order to call Robin. When the line is connected, it’s Zelena who answers the phone. Regina is furious as her sister torments her by commenting on how she is building a life with Robin. The deal is simple: Regina is to help Rumple turn Emma dark in order to keep Robin alive. Rumple may have turned Regina dark, but she will have no part in helping him do the same thing to Emma. Rumple asks if this is her final answer, and the episode ends without giving us a definitive decision from Regina. What will she do?
- One of the best scenes in this episode took place between Robin Hood and Rumple outside the hospital after Rumple made the deal with Zelena. Robin tries to return Neal’s belongings to Rumple but he refuses because it’s a painful reminder of abandoning his son. He acknowledges that he lost sight of his happy ending even when he had it. Rumple tells Robin to run to his happy ending, grasp it, and never let it go. Rumple may be selfish, but he cares enough to advise Robin not to make the same mistake he did.
- There were red flags about Marian’s true identity from the very beginning of the episode (i.e. knowing about Baelfire, not remembering key conversations with Robin from the past, and suggesting they let Rumple die). However, in the season premiere Marian is very handy with a bow and arrow, a skill that Zelena isn’t known for. Also, in the midseason finale, Marian gives Regina her blessing for Robin and Regina to be together. Comparing Marian’s actions between the two arcs of this season, her character doesn’t seem consistent. I think this was a great twist, but there should’ve been more clues of this deception in 4A as well.
- Is anybody else wondering where Baby Neal is? Who is taking care of him while his parents are facing off with the Queens of Darkness and searching for the Author?
- Speaking of the Author, just how long has he been writing the story? He mentioned to Rumple that it has been a pain for him to write out Rumple’s complex story. Did the Author start writing before or after Peter Pan abandoned him?
- I’m glad we got to see more of Will Scarlet’s past with Robin Hood, but I’m still waiting on an answer as to why he’s in Storybrooke instead of Wonderland and where Anastasia is. For those fans who are still puzzled by Will Scarlet, I highly recommend going back and watching Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
- I hate to be that person, but there is an inconsistency in the storyline. In 2×19 Robin Hood steals from Rumple in order to save Marian, who is pregnant at the time. In this episode, it was perceived that this was Rumple’s first encounter with the famed outlaw. However in this episode, Rumple seeks out Robin for help in a time before Robin becomes the infamous Robin Hood.
- The furniture shop that Walsh owned in order to keep tabs on Emma in 3B is The Wizard of Oak. I see what you did there! Also, there was a hidden Mickey Mouse in one of the drawers in the shop.