The Great Once Upon a Time Rewatch | Episode 12: Skin Deep

Mr. Gold pursues vigilante justice when he is robbed, while Rumpelstiltskin makes a deal with Belle in the Enchanted Forest.

Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Jared S. Gilmore, and Robert Carlyle

Season 1
Episode 12: Skin Deep

The Enchanted Forest

The Ogre Wars are raging in the Enchanted Forest, which isn’t going well for Sir Maurice. Rumpelstiltskin is summoned and he agrees to help Maurice in exchange for his daughter, Belle. Belle’s fiancé Gaston and her father reject the proposal, but Belle ignores them and accepts the deal.

Taking Belle back to his castle, Rumple gives her a list of tasks. At the mention of having to skin the children he hunts, Belle drops a teacup in shock, though he reveals that he was only joking and does not seem to mind the chipped cup. As time progresses, Rumple and Belle grow closer, and Belle even mentions to Rumple some child’s clothing that she has found in the castle. Rumple admits that it belonged to his son, and mentions that he lost his son, like he lost his wife.

Gaston arrives at the castle to right Rumple, but he transfigures him into a rose and gifts him to Belle. Belle admits that her relationship with Gaston was not one born out of love, but rather arranged, and she explains that she left her home because she wanted to do something heroic, as there are not very many opportunities for a woman in this time period to be heroic. On the back of this, Rumple asks Belle to go into town to buy some straw for him to spin. She is somewhat surprised that he trusts her to come back, but Rumple replies that he does not expect her to return.

While walking into the village, Belle encounters the Evil Queen, who mentions to Belle that true love’s kiss will break any curse, after Belle admits that the man she is leaving, and loves, is consumed with evil. Belle returns to the castle, and admits that she wasn’t going to return until something changed her mind. She kisses Rumple, at which he starts to transform back into an ordinary man, but he swiftly breaks off the kiss and accuses Belle of being in league with the Evil Queen to strip him of his powers. Rumple is convinced that nobody will ever truly love him and throws Belle in the dungeon while he destroys all of his possessions. Even in his rage, however, he cannot bring himself to destroy the chipped teacup.

Eventually, Rumple commands Belle to leave his castle, claiming that his magic and his power is more important to him than his feelings for her. Belle denies this, and responds that he is too much of a coward to believe that she could love him. She leaves, warning him that he will regret his choices, and that all he will have left is an empty heart, and a chipped cup.

Later, the Evil Queen arrives at the Dark Castle, whereupon Rumple informs her that her deception with Belle failed, and that she will not gain more power than him. The Evil Queen informs him that she had no input in Belle’s actions (which isn’t strictly true). She then tells Rumple that when Belle returned home, she was shunned because of her association with Rumple and because of Gaston’s disappearance. She was then tortured and imprisoned by her father and she committed suicide by jumping out the tower prison. Rumple is devastated, and places the chipped cup on prominent display, mourning his loss once the Evil Queen has left.


Mr. Gold repossesses Moe French’s van on the day preceding Valentine’s Day. Following this, Emma investigates a robbery at Mr. Gold’s mansion, where he claims that Moe was responsible. Emma manages to recover the majority of the items, but Mr. Gold claims that something else is missing and he wants it to be recovered. Gold starts to take matters into his own hands to find Moe, when Emma is not working fast enough for him. He kidnaps Moe, ties him up in a shack and he beats him, demanding to know where the missing object is. Pretty soon, however, his ranting turns into cries of “she’s gone” and “how could you”, etc., which Moe is completely confused by. Emma arrives and manages to stop Gold. Gold believes that Regina made Moe steal from him, and that she must know where the last stolen item is. Emma is forced to arrest Mr. Gold for assault. Gold reminds Emma of the favour that she owes him, but he does not use it to escape arrest. Regina appears and says that Emma can see Henry for thirty minutes if she can have a private visit with Gold during this time. Once alone, Gold asks Regina if she has the missing item. She confirms that she does, and that she did it to find out if Mr. Gold remembered the events in the Enchanted Forest. Regina manages to make Mr. Gold admit his true name as Rumpelstiltskin, and he even refers to Regina as “Your Majesty”. Regina returns the chipped cup to Gold, then visits the hospital. While at the hospital, she enters an underground psychiatric ward, in which we can see Belle trapped inside. It appears that the Evil Queen had lied about Belle’s fate all those years ago.

Elsewhere, Mary Margaret, Ashley and Ruby had a girl’s night out on Valentine’s Day. Once there, Ruby tries to convince Ashley to find another guy as Sean is always working, but Ashley is only interested in being with Sean. Mary Margaret understands completely, since her romantic entanglement with David also keeps them apart. Sean appears, on a break from work and proposes to Ashley, which she accepts. David next appears to give Mary Margaret her Valentine’s Day card, but he accidentally gives her Kathryn’s card instead. Mary Margaret tells David that they cannot carry on like this, and that they need to find another way, which isn’t sneaking around behind Kathryn’s back. She tells David to go home, seemingly ending their affair – for now, at least.


  • Where is Raphael Sbarge in this episode? At home, in a bathtub, laughing while bathing in money.
  • Finally, my favourite Disney princess is here! Belle: the brilliant, intelligent and independent Belle is here. The wait is most certainly worth it, and it’s interesting that they’ve interpolated Rumple’s story into the Beauty and the Beast tale, in the part of the Beast. It’s interesting to delve into that aspect of his psyche, as he clearly does not view himself as worthy of love. Furthermore, we also see him desperately clinging onto power in preference to personal connection, believing that personal connection and love is a weakness. Perhaps this is why he was so eager to provide Snow with a potion to forget about Charming, and his experiences with Belle have coloured his reasoning behind why love is such a weakness.
  • I’m not sure if the David and Mary Margaret content was entirely necessary this week, but it’s nice to see Mary Margaret sticking to her principles, even if it is woefully late.
  • Finally, we have actual confirmation that Gold remembers his time in the Enchanted Forest. I have suspected for quite some time, but it’s been tricky to see within his own actions, until this confirmation. With this out in the open between Gold and Regina, I hope that this doesn’t open up any avenue of the two of them working together. Hopefully Gold wants this curse ended for himself as well, seeing how drawn he is to power and besting Regina in general.
  • Gold is going to hit the roof when he discovers that Belle is still alive, and that Regina has held her captive for years. I am worried for Regina once that’s out in the open.
  • I mean, using your child as a tool is great Regina, but 1) why would Emma fall for this? She clearly just doesn’t care and 2) there must be cameras in that sheriff’s office that would allow for Emma to work out what had gone on between the two of them.
  • Still no development on the Stranger front, despite the fact that we know that he has the fairy tale book in his possession. Presumably, if he has this, then he must know how vitally important it is, so what is his deal? I want to find out – and quickly please!
  • How long was this Ogre War? I’m going to guess that it must be a different Ogre War? Because that war was the reason why Rumple became the Dark One in the first place. I’m presuming that this encounter with Belle takes place after Rumple tricked Jiminy Cricket. Since Belle appears the same age in Storybrooke, while locked up, it seems that little time has passed between when Rumple and Belle have their time in the castle together and when the Dark Curse was cast. This means that since becoming the Dark One, it has at least been about 80 years, considering Geppetto’s age now, compared to his age when Jiminy Cricket became a Cricket. Regardless, it’s a long ogre war. I can’t help but feel that maybe they could have come up with another bad guy to be at war against? Also, you would have thought that Rumple would have successfully destroyed all of the ogres considering that they were the reason why his child was almost conscripted into service.
  • Speaking of Baelfire, Rumple confirms here what I suspects in those previous episodes, that he somehow manages to lose his son. However this happens might help to explain why Rumple is so obsessed with power, as he feels that he perhaps has very little else.
  • Self esteem is definitely a recurring issue for poor Rumple. In the past, when he was cowardly, he was conditioned to believe that he was worthless and that nobody would want to have anything to do with him. Since then, he pursued power as a way of him getting out of that situation, and now he is convinced that those who want to get close to him are trying to take away that power. It’s a bit of a tricky mind cycle he has gotten himself into, and I can’t quite place my finger on the source of this thought spiral. Perhaps the reasons behind his son’s death might help to explain it.

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