In this episode, we learn more about Rumpelstiltskin's power and how Cinderella fits into the Storybrooke puzzle.
Author’s note: Lines between paragraphs indicate scene changes between Fairy Tale Land and Storybrooke/present day.
In Fairy Tale Land, Cinderella watches sadly as her stepmother and ugly stepsisters go to the ball. Her Fairy Godmother appears, but suddenly implodes in a ball of fire, leaving her wand behind. Rumpelstiltskin appears, taking the wand and claiming he saved Cinderella from “evil magic.”
Cinderella says she'd do anything to escape her stepmother. Rumpelstiltskin says if he helps her, she'll owe him a favor - "All magic comes with a price." He says he'll want something precious once he grants her wish.
Rumpelstiltskin pulls out a contract; Cinderella signs without reading it. He waves his wand and puts her into a beautiful gown, complete with glass slippers, saying "Every story needs a memorable detail.” (How astute.)
In Storybrooke, Emma walks Henry to his bus stop and sees him off to school. Sheriff Graham shows up and thanks Emma for her help in finding David Nolan. He offers Emma a job as his deputy and tells her to think about it.
At Granny's Diner, Emma is accosted by Mayor Regina, who claims Emma no longer worries her. She's found out that Emma has led a rather transient life thus far and asks her to remember Henry and how her "rootless" existence will affect him. As Regina leaves, Emma spills a cup of hot cocoa on herself and asks to use the laundry room.
In the laundry room at Granny's, Emma runs into a very pregnant maid, who looks remarkably like Cinderella. The maid says no one believes she'll be able to take care of the baby once it comes - she's 19, the age Emma was when she gave up Henry. Emma tells her not to listen to them; the choice is hers. "People are gonna tell you who you are your whole life - you just have to punch back and tell them, 'This is who I am!'" "There are no fairy godmothers in this world."
We next see the maid, whose name is Ashley Boyd, breaking into Mr. Gold's pawn shop. Gold catches her in the act, but she maces him and steals a key from inside his clothing.
Regina goes to a Saturday council meeting, leaving Henry home alone and forbidding him to leave the house. Henry is still referring to Emma as his mom, infuriating Regina. As soon as she leaves, Henry grabs his backpack and heads out.
At Mary Margaret Blanchard's house, Gold arrives, looking for Emma. He needs her help finding Ashley Boyd, who's taken something quite valuable of his. He claims he doesn't want to go to the police because she's pregnant and alone and he doesn't want to ruin a young girl's life. Just as Emma agrees to help Ashley (not Mr. Gold), Henry bursts in. He insists on accompanying Emma to find the girl.
At the palace on her wedding day, Cinderella watches the fireworks from the balcony with her husband, Prince Thomas. At the reception, Snow White and Prince Charming congratulate the couple and say how proud they are that “Ella” was able to change her life so dramatically. The king tells Ella that he's glad to have her in the family and hopes she will soon give him a grandchild. Just then, Rumpelstiltskin arrives at the wedding and asks Ella if she got everything she desired and informs her that he wants her firstborn child in exchange for having granted her wish.
A few months later, Ella, now pregnant, tearfully explains to her husband that she promised her firstborn child to Rumpelstiltskin. The prince tells her they'll make another deal with "that imp."
Back at Granny's diner, Ruby explains to Emma and Henry that Ashley's boyfriend left her when he found out she was pregnant and hasn't spoken to her since. She has a stepmother and two stepsisters who don't want anything to do with her, and she's been taking night classes. (Interesting detail: Ruby has a crystal wolf good luck charm hanging from her rearview mirror.)
Emma visits Ashley's boyfriend, Sean (who looks just like Prince Thomas) and finds that his father is the one who broke the two of them up. The father explains that he got Ashley a good deal - a large payment in exchange for giving up the baby to Mr. Gold, who will find a good home for him/her. Emma realizes that Ashley’s baby is the valuable object she’s been hired to bring back to Gold.
Henry tells Emma she can't help Ashley double-cross Gold - no one has ever broken a deal with him and gotten away with it before. Emma confronts Ruby for not telling her Ashley sold the baby, and finds that Ruby provided Ashley with a getaway car and the time to escape. Ruby tells Emma Ashley headed for Boston. Emma heads that way, but Henry reminds her that Ashley can't leave Storybrooke, just like the others.
Prince Charming, Ella and Prince Thomas come up with a plan to escape Rumpelstiltskin's spell: they'll tell him that a doctor found two heartbeats and that Ella is expecting twins. If Rumpelstiltskin wants both babies, they will have an opportunity to strike a new deal. They will attempt to get him to sign the new contract with a magic quill, which will imprison him and keep him from taking the baby. Ella is hesitant that this magic, also, will have a price. Thomas vows to accept the negative consequences to save Ella and their unborn child.
Emma and Henry find Ruby's car crashed on the side of the road and Ashley lying in a ditch, in labor. Emma drives Ashley back into Storybrooke, giving her a talk about what it really means to have a baby of her own - she won't be able to run away ever again. Ashley says she really does want to keep the baby.
Ella and Rumpelstiltskin meet, and Ella informs him of her twins and that she wants to give up the second baby in exchange for her land becoming fertile again. Rumpelstiltskin tells Ella that the only way to stop him is with magic, and that if she succeeds in trapping him, her debt to him will only grow. He signs the contract and is imprisoned; he vows to have her baby, no matter where she goes or what she does.
At the hospital, Henry explains that Emma is the only one who can leave Storybrooke - he was able to leave, but he had to come back; he had no choice. A nurse comes in and reports that Ashley has given birth to a healthy six pound baby girl. Just then, Mr. Gold arrives.
As Rumpelstiltskin is led away, Thomas tells Ella he wants to name their daughter Alexandra. Ella begins having pains; Thomas runs to fetch her water from a well. Ella's pains pass and she rushes to find Thomas, who has vanished. She confronts Rumpelstiltskin in his jail cart, who says that she'll never see Thomas again until she gives up her baby.
Emma confronts Gold about his failure to tell her he'd purchased Ashley's baby. Gold tries to manipulate Emma through her own memories of growing up as an abandoned child in the foster system. She challenges Gold that his contract won't hold up in court. He asks Emma to make a deal with him, but won't name what she'll owe him - merely "a favor" in exchange for Ashley being able to keep the baby. Emma agrees. She goes to Ashley’s hospital room to inform her that she can keep baby Alexandra.
We find out that Regina was not at a council meeting that day; she was having a tryst with an unidentified man.
Sean arrives at the hospital and apologizes for having left Ashley. He brings Alexandra a pair of tiny slippers as a gift.
Emma calls Sheriff Graham and accepts his offer of the deputy job. As he hangs up, we see that he's Regina's mystery lover.
An ongoing list of questions that hopefully will be answered in future episodes.
-Is Sheriff Graham the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood?
-If Emma starts setting down roots in Storybrooke, will she also be unable to leave like the others?
-What will be the ultimate impact of Emma's pact with Mr. Gold?
-What's the history between Rumpelstiltskin and the Fairy Godmother?
-Who enchanted the magic quill Ella used to trick Rumpelstiltskin?