Character: Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold
Original Release: September 28, 2014 (US)
Running Time: 44 minutes
The fourth season premiered on September 28, 2014 and the last episode of the season aired on May 10, 2015.
A new storyline incorporating elements from Frozen was revealed when the time travel events of the previous season lead to the accidental arrival of Elsa (Georgina Haig) from the Enchanted Forest of the past to present-day Storybrooke.
As she searches for her sister Anna (Elizabeth Lail) with the aid of the main characters, they encounter the Snow Queen (Elizabeth Mitchell). Meanwhile, Regina seeks the Author of Henry's Once Upon a Time book so that she can finally have her happy ending. However, later on Mr. Gold returns, with the help of Cruella De Vil (Victoria Smurfit), Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten), and Ursula (Merrin Dungey), has his own plan to rewrite the rules governing the fates of all heroes and villains. Henry and Emma race to restore reality and the truth before the twisted inversion becomes permanent. However, the price leads to the ultimate sacrifice.
4x01 - "A Tale of Two Sisters" (original airdate: September 28, 2014)
Elsa finds herself in Storybrooke, and fearful of the intentions of its residents, creates a powerful snow monster for protection. With Robin Hood’s wife, Marian, back in the picture, Regina wonders if her 'happily ever after' with the former thief has completely quashed; while on their honeymoon, Gold finds an intriguing box that makes him question whether or not he should give Belle possession of the Dagger. Meanwhile, in Arendelle of the past, as Elsa’s sister Anna’s wedding to Kristoff nears, Anna discovers that their parents, who died in a shipwreck during a violent storm, were heading to a mysterious destination in a quest that may have held the secret to containing Elsa’s out-of-control ice powers.
4x02 - "White Out" (original airdate: October 5, 2014)
Elsa feels threatened by Charming and accidentally traps Emma with her inside an ice cave, with the frozen temperature placing Emma’s life in peril. Regina, depressed over her break-up with Robin Hood, secludes herself from the town and Henry, which saddens her son. And with the townspeople considering Mary Margaret their leader, Mary faces her first leadership task in trying to re-start a generator and restore the town’s electricity after Elsa freezes and damages the power lines. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest of the past, Anna tries to teach a meek David to fight Bo Peep, a warlord threatening to take David's home.
4x03 - "Rocky Road" (original airdate: October 12, 2014)
In Storybrooke, the mysterious Snow Queen—whose public identity is that of the owner of an ice cream shop—uses her powers to frame Elsa to have the Storybrooke residents cast doubts on her after she is blamed for putting a freezing spell on Marian. When David and Emma encounter Will Scarlet, they find out about the Snow Queen, only to discover that the Snow Queen knows Emma from a past encounter that Emma doesn't remember, though Mr. Gold does. Henry helps Regina track down the author of the Once Upon a Time book, and Hook believes Gold is still in possession of the real Dagger. Back in Arendelle, Elsa and Kristoff must fend off Hans, who is plotting another attempt to take over Arendelle, only to unwittingly unleash the Snow Queen, who freezes him. She reveals herself as Elsa's aunt.
4x04 - "The Apprentice" (original airdate: October 19, 2014)
Hook prepares for his first real date with Emma by making a deal with Gold to restore his missing hand in exchange for keeping Gold's secret about the Dagger that he gave Belle being fake. Hook discovers his restored hand brings out his dark side, and is forced into doing a favor for Gold to rid himself of the hand. Gold traps the Apprentice inside the Sorcerer's hat, and makes Hook responsible to ensure he won't tell Belle. Emma is followed by the Snow Queen. Will tries to steal a book that features someone from his past and gets caught. Henry takes a job at Gold's pawn shop to find out who wrote the storybook. In the past, Rumplestiltskin makes a deal with Anna in exchange for telling her about why her parents had traveled to the Enchanted Forest.
4x05 - "Breaking Glass" (original airdate: October 26, 2014) NO ROBERT
Emma and Regina are forced to team up when Ingrid, the Snow Queen, leads them and Elsa into a trap. Ingrid conjures up an ice warrior to stop Regina and Emma, and uses an illusion of Anna to lure Elsa into chains, keeping her out of the way. The three ladies fight back, with Elsa overcoming her fear and destroying the chains, and Emma and Regina combining their powers to destroy the ice warrior. The Snow Queen acquires the services of Sidney and takes possession of the magic mirror. Meanwhile, Mary Margaret leaves Neal with Belle as she and David spend time together, only to be interrupted by Will escaping jail, who Mary Margaret later pardons. Emma has flashbacks of running away as a teenager, and finds videotape evidence that Ingrid (Storybrooke alias Sarah Fisher) is her foster mother.
4x06 - "Family Business" (original airdate: November 2, 2014)
As everyone attempts to track down Ingrid, Emma discovers that there is more to her connection than she expected, while Belle begins to remember her past encounter with Anna and forces Gold into leading her to The Snow Queen's lair. After Belle sees the mirror, Gold warns Ingrid that he will stop her from harming anyone close to him, and shows her the Sorcerer's Hat as proof. Ingrid is planning to destroy everyone around Storybrooke by using a mirror in order to bring the only family into her world: her, Elsa, and Emma, who just discovered a prophecy scroll that she is the savior that will become Ingrid’s sister.
In Belle's past in the Enchanted Forest, she seeks out help to finding out a way to remember her mother's death with the help of Anna, who is trying to keep Elsa from finding out the truth about her trip, until she becomes suspicious of Ingrid's (The Snow Queen's) presence, and once Anna discovers that Ingrid is hiding the truth about having another sister, Ingrid imprisons her and steals the box that contains the Sorcerer's hat.
4x07 - "The Snow Queen" (original airdate: November 9, 2014)
The origins of Ingrid, the Snow Queen, are revealed in her past back in Arendelle, where her close relationship with her sisters Helga and Gerda take a tragic turn after they seek out Rumplestiltskin's help to control her magic, leading to Ingrid accidentally killing Helga, and Gerda trapping Ingrid in the urn. Then, Gerda visits the Grand Pabbie and asks him to make Arendelle forget about the existence of Ingrid and Helga.
In the present, Sarah allows Emma to capture her, but uses a ploy to make Emma's family fear her, after she loses control of her magic. This in turn causes Emma to fear that she will start hurting those that she loves, and she runs away as a result. Later, Regina continues to reject Robin Hood's offer to restart their romance, but ends up giving in to her desire. Meanwhile, Sarah makes a deal with Gold to return her ribbons, in return for the secret to the missing ingredient that he needs to free himself from the Dagger of Kris. When Mr. Gold obtains the information, he tells that he will have "great pleasure" in obtaining the final ingredient.
4x08 - "Smash the Mirror Part 1" (original airdate: November 16, 2014)
As Emma's powers become uncontrollable, she ends up seeking help from Gold, who agrees to help her, but has other plans in store for Emma. Regina gives Mary and David a locator potion from her vault, but they quickly drop their plan to stop Emma, believing that it might be better if Emma became "normal." Seeing this turn of events, Elsa steals the locator potion to locate Emma on her own. When the Snow Queen threatens Gold not to hurt Emma, he uses magical dust made from the urn's remnants to temporarily trap the Snow Queen within her palace, to keep her from intervening. In Arendelle's past, Ingrid tries to convince Elsa that Anna was planning to remove her magic, but fails. Elsa and Anna manage to obtain the urn, which they plan to use on Ingrid. Elsa learns why their parents left for the Enchanted Forest, and makes peace with it, and she sends Anna back into the prison to set up their trap for Ingrid.
4x09 - "Smash the Mirror Part 2" (original airdate: November 16, 2014)
The Snow Queen fails to stop Emma from heading to Mr. Gold, since Emma no longer trusts her. Regina convinces Mary and David that Emma's powers made her special, so they team up to find Emma. Robin Hood decides to help Regina find the author of the fairytale book, and discovers a missing page that could provide a clue. Hook reaches the mansion first, but Gold binds him to the fence surrounding the property, before trying to convince Emma to step through the door where his magical hat is set up, while Emma's friends and family close in on her location. While Gold taunts Hook, Elsa breaks in through the back door and convinces Emma to accept herself, allowing Emma to control her powers.
This frustrates Gold, but he takes Hook's heart, which he needs to sever himself from the Dagger, turning Hook into his "puppet" in the process. Afterward, the Snow Queen places ribbons on Elsa and Emma, to harness their power. They notice the ribbons too late and are unable to remove them, which begin siphoning away their magic. Then, the Snow Queen uses her newly-amplified magic to shatter her mirror, casting the Spell of Shattered Sight over Storybrooke. In Arendelle's past, Ingrid uncovers the sisters' plot, and plans to turn Elsa against Anna, only for a cursed Anna to place Elsa in the urn. In anger, Ingrid freezes Anna, Kristoff, and all of Arendelle. Rumplestiltskin comes to take Anna's necklace and the urn in exchange for the Sorcerer's hat. However, Ingrid turns over the box to the Apprentice instead, in exchange for her happy ending, leading her to 1982 Boston, prior to baby Emma's arrival.
4x10 - "Fall" (original airdate: November 30, 2014)
Elsa goes through a portal in the mines of Storybrooke, where she eventually finds Anna and Kristoff on a beach. It is revealed that after being frozen by Ingrid, Anna and Kristoff were unfrozen after 30 years, and they were sent to Storybrooke after Elsa used a Wishing Star (Anna's Necklace) to wish for her. Meanwhile, Ingrid directs the Spell of Shattered Sight towards Storybrooke, and Gold threatens to kill Ingrid following the end of the spell, to which she allows him, Belle, and Henry safe passage out of Storybrooke. As the Spell of Shattered Sight approaches, Regina seals Henry in the mayor's office and herself in her vault. Snow and David lock themselves in the jail at the sheriff's station, while Kristoff is cuffed to the desk. Emma is put in charge of David and Mary Margaret's baby, even as the Spell of Shattered Sight hits, while Emma, Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff look on.
4x11 - "Shattered Sight" (original airdate: December 7, 2014)
Anna informs Emma and Elsa that killing Ingrid is the only way to break the Spell of Shattered Sight, and they set out to stop Ingrid. Unfortunately, Ingrid uses the ribbons she shares with Emma and Elsa to keep them from hurting her, but Emma figures out that hatred strong enough to counter Ingrid's love can remove the ribbons. They go to Regina, and Emma succeeds in provoking Regina into shooting a fireball in hatred at them, which dissolves the ribbons. In the past of the Real World, Emma is fostered by Ingrid and the two grow very close, until Ingrid tries to get Emma to utilize her magic.
Emma runs away, and Ingrid moves to Storybrooke. In November 2011, Emma arrives in Storybrooke, and Ingrid takes Emma's memories of Ingrid. In the present, Anna finds the letter from her and Elsa's mother, which says she made a terrible mistake with Ingrid and that she loves her. Ingrid feels remorse over the curse, and kills herself to get rid of it. Meanwhile, Mr. Gold blackmails Hook into getting him, Belle, and Henry out of Storybrooke before the curse takes over, but Hook is unsuccessful in acquiring Henry. Once the curse is broken, Gold makes his final preparations to leave with Belle to New York.
4x12 - "Heroes and Villains" (original airdate: December 14, 2014)
In the past of the Enchanted Forest, Belle is kidnapped for a gauntlet from Camelot that can reveal anyone's greatest weakness. Rumplestiltskin goes to pay the ransom to Maleficent, Ursula, and Cruella de Vil, and leaves with Belle, only to reclaim the gauntlet later. Rumplestiltskin declines Ursula's offer to join them, to get villains their happy endings, claiming he will always win. In the present, Gold learns that Ingrid's lingering magic will keep those who leave Storybrooke from ever returning, so he has Hook help him uncover a portal in the Sorcerer's mansion, where Elsa and Anna depart. Regina apparently saves Marian, but Ingrid's Freezing Curse still lingers, so Regina has Robin Hood take his wife and Roland into the real world, to cut off the magic sustaining the Freezing Curse.
He leaves heartbroken, knowing he can't see Regina again. Belle finds the gauntlet while packing for New York, and realizes that Rumplestiltskin loves power the most. She uses the gauntlet to find the real Dagger, in Storybrooke's clock tower, where Rumplestiltskin has begun the ritual to sever himself from the Dagger. Then, she uses the real Dagger to stop Rumplestiltskin from killing Hook, and to release Emma and Mary Margaret, before having Rumplestiltskin take them to the town line. There, Belle confronts him over remaining unchanged, and power being his "true love", before using the dagger to force him across the town line. Henry finds a secret library full of blank storybooks in the Sorcerer's mansion, and tells Regina that it is possibly the Author's home. Six weeks later, in New York City, a powerless Rumplestiltskin visits Ursula at her aquarium job as a fish feeder, and they agree to work together to obtain their happy endings, before meeting with Maleficent and Cruella. Gold implies that he knows who the Author is, having apparently lied to Regina about knowing nothing about the Author.
4x13 - "Darkness on the Edge of Town" (original airdate: March 1, 2015)
In New York City, Mr. Gold & Ursula go to Cruella De Vil's place in Great Neck, Long Island where her criminal husband is arrested by FBI. As the Storybrooke residents attempt to move on from Gold; Emma, Regina, Belle, and Hook help free the fairies from the hat, along with the demon Chernabog, who threatens to destroy the town. Meanwhile, Gold enlists Ursula and Cruella De Vil to re-enter Storybrooke by convincing that they have renounced their evil ways to Regina and Emma. Later David and Mary Margaret, warn Ursula and Cruella to not reveal a past meeting to anyone, especially Emma, or Mary Margret would kill them herself. Elsewhere, Gold reveals that he was the person who translated the scroll for Belle and that the Chernabog was hunting the heart with the greatest potential for darkness, Emma. Back in the Enchanted Forest, Rumplestiltskin gathers Maleficent, Cruella, and Ursula in a plot to gather a curse to find their happy endings through the retrieval of the Dark Curse.
4x14 - "Unforgiven" (original airdate: March 8, 2015)
In the past of the Enchanted Forest, before the first curse, Snow White and Prince Charming are asked by the Queens of Darkness to find the Tree of Wisdom, for answers on stopping the Evil Queen's Curse. Maleficent later reveals to Snow White that she will also be a mother as well, and asks for help in stopping the Curse to protect both of their children. But she refuses to help a villain. In present-day Storybrooke, Emma is unaware that Mary Margaret, David, and Hook are keeping secrets from her.
Cruella, Ursula, and Gold bring Maleficent back to life, whose return could wreck Emma's relationship with her parents, while Hook's past with Ursula could affect his relationship with Emma. Regina attempts to find out if Pinocchio (when he was August Booth) knew about the Author, but a riff prompts Marco to keep him away from Regina; She later apologizes to Marco, who then gives her a bag that may hold the answer to the Author's whereabouts. Gold appears in Storybrooke undetected, and is stunned to see Belle and Will kiss. Mary Margaret tells Regina a secret they can't tell Emma: she was born with a potential for Darkness, and her parents caused the "death" of Maleficent's baby.
4x15 - "Enter the Dragon" (original airdate: March 15, 2015)
Regina goes undercover to learn of the Queens' plan to reverse the stories that was ever written about the heroes, with Emma keeping tabs on Regina and the Queens. When Maleficent reveals that they're after Pinocchio and wants Regina to kidnap him, the plans take a different turn after Regina succeeds. At the same time, Mr. Gold, masquerading as Hook, informs Belle that the Queens are after the dagger and agree to hide it, only to have Belle end up being fooled by Gold, who needed the dagger to transform Pinocchio back into August Booth, surprising Regina, who has now "joined" the Queens after being accepted by them. Back in the Enchanted Forest, Regina decides to help Maleficent regain her spirits, in the hours before casting the sleeping curse on Aurora, prior to her wedding to Prince Phillip.
4x16 - "Poor Unfortunate Soul" (original airdate: March 22, 2015)
As the heroes attempt to rescue August from Gold and the Queens of Darkness in their quest to track down the Author, Hook finds a way to make a deal with Ursula to get the information he needs to help the heroes as a way to make up for what he did back in the past, in which Hook made a deal with Ursula's father Poseidon that led to unfortunate consequences for both Hook and a young Ursula.
4x17 - "Best Laid Plans" (original airdate: March 29, 2015)
As Gold and the Queens of Darkness seek out the Author, Maleficent uses a sleeping spell on Storybrooke so they can find the page containing the Author and uses it as a deal with Gold to find her daughter. At the same time Mary Margaret and David must find a way to stop them in order to keep Emma from finding out about her fate. Henry, who has the page, finds the key to unlock the Author's door. He gives the duplicate to Regina, but Regina is quickly found out to be a double agent by the Villains.
Back in time in the Enchanted Forest, Snow White and Prince Charming encounter the Peddler, who then leads them to the Apprentice in a effort to rid any potential darkness from their unborn child. The task becomes one of regret when the Sorcerer and the Apprentice send Maleficent's unborn daughter, Cruella, and Ursula, into the modern world. In modern day, David and Mary Margaret tell Emma the truth about their mistake and August reveals to Emma and Hook that there are more than one Author. When the Author is set free by the heroes, he runs. Gold tells Maleficent that her daughter is alive, revealing that she was sent to the modern world, and named Lily.
4x18 - "Heart of Gold" (original airdate: April 12, 2015)
Emma, still upset upon learning the truth from her parents, searches for the Author, who is later found by Gold. Nine weeks earlier, while in New York City, Gold confronts Robin Hood, who is about to move into Baelfire/Neal's apartment with Marian and Roland. When Gold experiences a heart attack, he enlists Robin to steal an elixir to save him, in exchange for letting Robin stay in the apartment, but after Robin completes the task, Gold discovers that the elixir was switched by Zelena.
Following her apparent death, Zelena had traveled back in time (along with Emma and Hook, via her spirited soul) and killed Marian, before using the Seven Leaf Clover of Oz to take on her current form. She then returned and has been posing as Marian, to steal away Robin from Regina, and to make Gold suffer. Now, she wants Gold to have the Author released to give her a happy ending, in exchange for the real elixir. In the present, Zelena reveals on the phone that she is alive to Regina, who is left with no choice but to have Emma become dark in order to save Robin. Back in the past in Sherwood Forest, Rumplestiltskin enlists Robin Hood to travel to Oz to steal the same elixir from Zelena.
4x19 - "Sympathy for the De Vil" (original airdate: April 19, 2015)
Cruella is determined to seek revenge on Isaac (the Author), by kidnapping Henry and forcing Emma and Regina to kill him, but it is later revealed that Gold is aware of his past with Cruella, and explains that this encounter will lead to Emma's descent into Darkness.
When Isaac is confronted by David and Mary Margaret, he tells them that Cruella will be the reason for Emma's transformation; however, it's too late as, Emma kills Cruella while saving Henry. Meanwhile, back in the 1920s in London, Cruella, who was kept prisoner by her mother, meets Isaac, who vows to take her away from her mother. But when her mother reveals the truth about Cruella to Isaac, the consequences take a toll on both Isaac and Cruella for the rest of their lives.
4x20 - "Lily" (original airdate: April 26, 2015)
Upon learning that her former childhood friend Lily is also Maleficent's daughter, Emma embarks on a trip to find her, and Regina joins her in her mission to warn Robin Hood about Zelena. When Emma finally meets up with the now-adult Lily, it turns out Lily has been plotting to seek revenge on Mary Margaret and David, leading to a showoff between Emma and Lily, and prompting Regina to intervene before Emma goes dark. The two make up and race off to New York to warn Robin Hood, but it is too late, as Zelena has not only killed Marian, but is now pregnant with Robin Hood's child.
Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, Gold enlists Will to steal Belle's heart back. After completing the task, Gold reveals that if his heart continues to darken, he will eventually die, and then gives his blessing to Will to take care of Belle. Back in 1999 Minnesota, Emma runs into Lily again, whose presence could threaten Emma's new life with her foster family. When it's discovered that Lily is a thief and the stolen money is found, Emma is thrown out of the home, and comes across Lily once again, who wants to remain friends, but Emma turns her down. Lily's past would later be revealed by the Apprentice, who shows up to explain Lily's past to her, as the Sorcerer reveals back in the Enchanted Forest that their fates are intertwined.
4x21 - "Mother" (original airdate: May 3, 2015)
Lily is finally reunited with Maleficent in Storybrooke, but Lily still desires vengeance against Mary Margaret and David, even though Maleficent decided to forgive them. At the same time, Isaac informs Gold that he needs Emma's darkness for the ink to write the stories, which leads to Regina securing his services in exchange for obtaining the darkness-infused blood, while Gold passes out, due to his dying heart. As Regina plots to do away with Zelena, she finds the means to do so in Lily, and she cuts her skin to obtain Lily's blood, which contains the darkness transferred from Emma. Lily's anger over this action causes her to transform into a dragon, which leads to a confrontation with Mary Margaret, and Maleficent intervening to convince her that she wants to make up for lost time.
She succeeds, as Lily reverts back to human form, and agrees to stay in Storybrooke for one week with Maleficent, while Emma finally forgives Mary Margaret and David. At the asylum, Regina gloats to Zelena about having Isaac write her out of existence, but when Zelena accuses Regina of being like their mother, Cora, Regina decides to spare Zelena's life for now. However, Isaac disappears and returns to Gold, who orders Isaac to write a new story that will alter the destiny of everyone involved, in which the villains will win. Back in the Enchanted Forest, before the first Curse, Cora returns to help Regina seek love, but her interference and influence to ensure that Regina will have an heir to the kingdom results in Regina taking a potion that leaves her infertile.
4x22 & 4x23 - "Operation Mongoose - Part 1 & 2" (original airdate: May 10, 2015)
Part 1 & 2
Isaac finally completes the "Heroes & Villains" book, and successfully changes the universe by sending everyone back to an alternative version of The Enchanted Forest. Only Henry is left behind, who tracks down Isaac in the Land without Magic, as he discovers that Isaac has become a best-selling author. When Isaac refuses to undo everything (and since he no longer is the Author, having violated the Author's Code), Henry uses a key that sends him and Isaac into the alternate Enchanted Forest. There, in order to undo Isaac's work, Henry has to convince a "Snow White" version of Regina to stop Robin Hood from marrying Zelena, while trying to rescue Emma, who is held captive in the tower by an "Evil Queen" version of Snow White. Henry and Hook help Emma escape the tower and must race against time to make sure that Robin doesn't marry Zelena.
However, Isaac blackmails Rumplestiltskin into stopping Emma, but Regina would sacrifice herself after Rumplestiltskin killed her. Emma shows Isaac what he had done in this world but since Isaac cannot undo what happened, it's Henry who can change everything as Isaac has lost the ability to write, and Henry has become the new Author. Henry uses the ink to undo everything that Isaac did, and the timeline is restored with everybody returning to Storybrooke. The Apprentice offers Henry a chance to become the Author, but he turns it down, snapping the pen. The Apprentice also frees an unconscious Gold from the Darkness in his heart, which had nearly killed his heart, by sending it into the Sorcerer's Hat.
This purifies Gold's heart and severs his link to the Dagger of Kris in the process. However, the Darkness is too powerful for the hat to contain, and it escapes, attacking the Apprentice. Emma is able to drive out the Darkness with her light magic, but the Apprentice has been fatally wounded, and warns them that only Merlin, the Sorcerer, can prevent the Darkness from destroying all of the realms. The Darkness eventually reappears and attacks Regina, but Emma sacrifices herself and volunteers to tether her soul to the Darkness, to prevent it from destroying everything and everyone, leaving only the Dagger behind, now featuring a new inscription, "Emma Swan."