Skin Deep
Once Upon a Time 1x12
February 12, 2012
Running time
Production code
Flash sideways
Viewers (mil)
Centric characters
Centric character
Other backstory characters
Other backstory character
Written by
Directed by
Cast Featured
{{{cast featured}}}
Also Starring
Special Guest Star
Archive footage

"Skin Deep" is the 12th episode of Once Upon a Time.


After Mr. Gold's house is robbed, Emma keeps a close eye on him when it looks like he wants to track down the criminal and dole out some vigilante justice as payback, and Valentine's Day finds Mary Margaret, Ruby,and Ashley having a girls' night out. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Belle agrees to a fateful deal to give up her freedom in order to save her town from the horrors of the Ogre war.



Act I

112 01
Belle comforts her father in times of war.

The shot shows the exterior of a castle, and, inside it, Sir Maurice is staring at a map on the table as one of his men tells him of news on the battlefield. He tells him that their soldiers have fallen, and Maurice seems distraught, going on to say that ogres are no people. Another of his man says that they have to do something to stop them, and the nobleman's daughter, Belle, makes her way over to Maurice, assuring her father that the person who has been supposedly fallen in battle, could be on his way at that moment. Maurice seems sure that it's too late and tears up in his throne, but then they hear someone entering the castle. Maurice and Belle get up to investigate and the former wonders how "he" could get past the walls. The two of them walk closer to the door and the nobleman tells his guards to open it. They remove a plank which blocks the entrance and guards begin to draw their blades until, soon enough, the double doors swing open... but no one is on the other side. They seem disappointed. "Well, that was a bit of a let-down," says Rumplestiltskin, sitting upon the throne, and the people in the room turn around, shocked. "You sent me a message, something about, um... 'Help! Help! We're dying! Can you save us?!'" Rumple retorts as a guard walks toward him, sword in tow. "Now, the answer is, yes," Rumple tells them, standing up and pushing the guard's sword down to point at the floor. He walks around the room and tells them that he can protect their little town, for a price. Maurice recalls having sent him a promise of gold, then squaring up to Rumplestiltskin, who explains that he makes gold and wants something a bit more special. "My price... is her," the Dark One, pointing a finger towards Belle.

112 02
Belle is taken by Rumple, fulfilling the kingdom's deal.

Maurice refuses and the guard from earlier - Sir Gaston - places his arm in front of the lady, telling Rumple that she's engaged to him. Rumple points out that he wasn't asking if she's engaged, for he isn't looking for love; he's looking for a caretaker for his rather large estate. He adds that it's her or nothing and so Sir Maurice tells him to leave, gesturing the door. Belle is pulled aside rather forcefully by her fiancé as Rumple obliges and makes his way towards the door... but Belle tells him to wait. The Dark One turns around and Belle manages to break free of her fiancé's grip to walk towards him. She says that she will go with him and Rumplestiltskin lets out a shrill sound of glee. Her fiancé says he forbids it and her father tries to step in. "No one decides my fate but me!" Belle exclaims to them, to which Rumple reminds her that it'll be forever. Belle, however, is merely concerned with whether or not her family and friends will live, and Rumple says she has his word. "Then you have mine," Belle replies, promising that she will go with him forever. Rumple lets out another shrill, gleeful laugh. "Deal!" he exclaims, before the girl's father tells her that she cannot do this. "Please, don't go with this... beast," Sir Maurice begs, causing Rumple to give an insincere gesture of shock and insult. Belle tells her father and Gaston that it's been decided as Rumple walks up closer to her, gratifying her correctness and stating that the deal is struck. He then congratulates them on their war before leaving the castle, arm-in-arm with the beautiful Belle.

112 03
Moe French has his truck repossessed by Mr. Gold.

In Storybrooke, Moe French (Sir Maurice's counterpart) steps out of his florist's van to deliver some flowers; however, he is greeted by Mr. Gold and his lackeys, who have apparently been looking all over for him. Moe promises that he'll have Gold's money next week, but the town's "owner" points out that his terms were fairly specific, then ordering his lackeys to take the van. His employee bows and obliges, but Moe begs him to stop, saying that tomorrow is Valentine's Day: the biggest day if income all year. Moe stops trying as the man gets into his van; he instead stands in front of the vehicle and tells the man now inside it to stop, but the engine starts. Moe begs to be allowed to sell his flowers but Gold, who seems not to care in the slightest, begins to walk away, hearing Moe's exclamation that this is not the way to do business. The van revs its engine and Moe tries to stop it, in vain. The vehicle speeds away after Mr. French yells at Gold, telling him that people aren't going to put up with this. He is left standing on the street.

112 04
Gold says "please".

Regina watches the scene from afar as Mr. Gold struts his way up to her. She greets him and congratulates him on causing quite a show back there, to which Gold says that Mr. French is just having a bad day and that it happens to the best of us. "I've been meaning to talk to you about something-" Regina tries, but Gold tells her that when she has something he wants to discuss they'll have that little chat. She insists that they're going to do this now, for it'll only take a moment, and steps in the way of Mr. Gold who asks her if there's something she needs to get out in the open. "This is gonna have to wait," he tells her, "Please." He adds the last word in a whisper, overpowering Regina enough to walk right past her.

112 05
Mary Margaret and David's conversation is interrupted by Ruby.

Over at Granny's Diner, Ruby takes a coffee pot from the machine and walks it past Granny, going to serve a table. Elsewhere in the diner, Mary Margaret is watching David read on another table, commenting that he got the book. He says he just started it and it's great, unable to wait for the end, but their view is blocked by Ruby, who pours Mary Margaret some more coffee. She offers to push the tables together, noticing something between her two customers, but both refuse the offer, making it clear that they're not together. Ruby leaves and Mary Margaret and David smile at each other, however, they are next interrupted by Emma, who enters the diner and greets David before sitting down opposite her roommate. She asks her how her day's going to which Mary Margaret replies that Henry's fine. Emma points out that that's not what she asked, but then wants to clarify that the teacher is sure. Mary Margaret confirms it, saying that Regina won't keep them separated forever, and adds, "If people are supposed to be together, they find a way." She shines a little wink to David.

112 06
Ashley takes a break from motherhood.

Emma makes sure that Henry is normal happy self and Mary Margaret confirms it, suddenly realizing the effect this has on Emma, and retracting her answer, assuring the blonde that her son misses her a lot; plus, she only spends six hours with him a day. "Six hours? Do you take newborns? Because I'd love six hours' help," says Ashley Boyd who's standing behind them, handing her baby Alexandra to Granny. Mary Margaret greets Ashley, who pulls up a chair, and mentions that she didn't even recognize her. Ashley sits down and Emma asks her how it's going. She hesitates and eventually says that the baby's great, but struggles to say a nice word beyond that, for she has no time for herself anymore. She adds that it's been rough and Sean's been spending all of his time working. Mary Margaret points out that he's got to work, but Ashley is more upset that he'll be working on Valentin's Day, and Emma tells her that that sucks. Ruby assures that it doesn't have to as she approaches their table, suggesting that they have a girl's night; "We can all go, Mary Margaret, and Emma, if you promise to leave the badge at home." Emma says that she's not really in a party mood but tells the others to go and have fun. Ruby smiles and speeds away while Mary Margaret seems unhappy that Emma declined. Emma's phone vibrates and she checks her cell. Her roommate asks her what it is and she says it's the station and that something's up. Emma gets up and leaves and Mary Margaret gives a worried look to David, who reciprocates.

112 07
You're in my house now, bitch!

Over at Mr. Gold's mansion, he walks up his porch to discover that his door is already open. He pushes it further to realize that his house has been ransacked, quickly fetching his gun and cautiously wandering into the adjacent room. He walks through his messed-up living room and is suddenly startled as he turns around to see Emma standing there, pointing a gun at him. He reciprocates the action, before greeting the Sheriff, who explains that the neighbors saw his front door was open and one of them called it in. Gold says that it appears he's been robbed and Emma points out that that keeps happening to him. "Well, I'm a difficult man to love," he assures.

112 08
"My room?!"

In the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin and Belle walk into the former's Dark Castle, with the fair beauty demanding where the Dark One is taking her as he drags her through his dining room. "Let's just call it... your room," Rumple replies.
The two of them walk down to a dungeon and Rumple swings open a cell door. "My room?!" Belle questions, shocked and appalled, and Rumple tells her that it sounds nicer than "dungeon", and then throws the reluctant girl into the cell and slams the door behind her, locking it in the process. Rumple giggles and walks away while Belle is heard calling out in protest and banging on her cell door.

Act II

112 09
Belle frets over a minor inconvenience.

In Rumplestiltskin's castle, Belle is seen walking into the main room with a tea set which she places on the table. "You will serve me my meals, then you will clean the dark castle..." Rumple starts, Bell says that she understands. "You will dust my collection and launder my clothing..." he continues, Belle obliges as she pours him his tea. "You will fetch me fresh straw when I'm spinning at the wheel..." he adds, Belle nods, and he adds "Oh, and you will skin the children I hunt for their pelts." Rumple exclaims, Belle drops a cup in shock. "That one was a quip," he assures her, and Belle tries to laugh it off, picking up the cup as she does so. "Oh... my, I'm so sorry but... it's... it's chipped," Belle says, worried, she tries to say that one can hardly see it as she holds the chipped cup up to Rumple who assures her, "...It's just a cup." Belle smiles and returns the cup to the tea set.

112 10
Emma suspects Gold is issuing a threat.

In Storybrooke, Mr. Gold tells Emma that she can leave now, saying that he's got it from here. Emma, dialing on her cell, refuses to believe that, "This was a robbery, a public menace, and if you don't tell me what you know, I will have to arrest you for obstruction of justice... I have a feeling you don't wanna be behind bars," the blonde explains. "Indeed not," he assures her, before going on to say that the man was Moe French who was late on a deal and who had a little disagreement with Gold a while ago over collateral. Emma says that she'll go get him and check him out, beginning to leave, and Mr. Gold adds that he assumes she will, and goes on to say that bad things tend to happen to bad people. "Is that a threat?" Emma asks, but Gold denies it, and Emma walks out the door as the pawnbroker wishes her good luck.

112 11
Beauty falls into the arms of the beast.

Back at Rumplestiltskin's castle, Belle is up on a ladder trying to open the very large curtains. On the other end of the room, Rumple is spinning at the wheel, turning straw to gold. Belle sees him, "Why do you spin so much?" she asks, causing him to stops momentarily before continuing, "I'm sorry, but, you've spun straw into more gold than you can ever spend," she says. "I like to watch the wheel, helps me forget," Rumple explains. Belle asks what it is he needs to forget. Rumple is silent for a moment, "...I guess it worked," he comes out with and laughs in his high pitch, Belle giggles before turning her attention back to the curtains. Rumple stands up and walks over to her, asking what she's doing, and she explains that she's opening the curtains as it's almost Spring and they should let some light in. She tries to draw the curtain but is unable to, tugging with nothing happening. Belle asks if he nailed them down, and Rumple blatantly answers, "Yes." Belle continues to pull on the curtains, Rumple watches her with concern in his eyes. Belle ends up tearing the curtains off the rail, causing them and her to fall down, but she lands safely in Rumple's arms. They stare at each other as sunlight shines over them. She utters a thank you as Rumple stares at her and seems confused; he then quickly puts her down. Belle thanks him again but he tells her that it's no matter. He begins to walk away and Belle tells him that she'll put the curtains back up. "There's no need, I'll get used to it," Rumple says before returning to his wheel. Belle smiles his way as the two of them depart.

112 12
Mr. Gold is less than happy with the sheriff's work.

In the sheriff's office, Emma pulls a sheet from all of the items of her desk before Mr. Gold, revealing that she recovered all of his stolen items. "You're welcome, you were right," she says, going onto explain that Moe French ripped him off and it was all still at his place. Gold then asks about the man himself, at which Emma assures the pawnbroker that she's closing in on him. Gold adds that this makes the job only half done, leaving Emma insulted, and the blonde points out that she retrieved everything in under 24 hours, wondering if something's wrong. "You've recovered nothing." he tells her, viciously. He says there's something missing and storms away, leaving Emma confused. "I'll get it when I find it!" she exclaims, but Gold stops, adding before he leaves, "Not if I find it first."


112 13
Rumple and Belle share a heart-to-heart.

At the Dark Castle, Rumple walks around the table as Belle follows him half way round and perches upon it, pausing before eventually coming out with, "Why did you want me here?" Rumple lifts the chipped cup to his mouth to take a sip, pointing out that his home is filthy. Belle doesn't believe this, telling her master that she thinks he was lonely, assuring him that any man would be. He reminds her that he's not a man, and sits down on the table next to her, at which Belle begins to mention that she's had a couple of months to look around and has noticed some small clothing upstairs, as if for a child. She asks if it's his or if there was a son, and Rumple appears sad, staring into space. He soon turns to Belle and says, "There was," going on to tell her that there was a son but he lost him, as he did the boy's mother. Belle offers her condolences, clearly noticing that she's created an awkward moment, before commenting that Rumple was a man once, breaking the silence. She asks if he was an ordinary man, but no answer follows. "If I'm never going to know another person in my whole life... can't I at least know you?" she wonders. "Perhaps..." Rumple tells her, standing up off of the table, "...perhaps you just want to learn the monster's weaknesses." He adds the last part more jokingly, but Belle merely smiles and assures him that he's not a monster, saying that he thinks he's uglier than he is and that's why he covers all of the mirrors up. There is a large knock at the door.
Rumplestiltskin goes to answer his door and a man is standing there, "I am Sir Gaston, and you, beast, are taken-" he starts, but Rumple merely snaps his fingers and Gaston, in a cloud of purple smoke, becomes a red rose on the ground.

112 14
Belle graciously accepts a rose from her captor.

Rumple returns to Belle in the dining room and she asks him who was at the door, at which he tells her that it was just an old woman selling flowers, walking slowly with the rose coyly hidden behind his back. He presents the flower to her and Belle seems grateful, accepting the rose and thanking the beast before curtsying; he bows in reciprocation. Belle giggles and sniffs her rose as she walks away and Rumple watches her longingly, seeming happy that she is happy. "You had a life, Belle? Before... this?" Rumple asks her, adding, "Friends, family... what made you choose to come and live here, with me?" he wonders. He sits at the table once again to listen as she begins to explain: "Heroism, sacrifice, you know, there aren't a lot of opportunities for a woman in this land to show what they can do, to see the world, to be heroes." As she says this, she retrieves a vase from the cupboard to place the rose within and she strolls over to Rumple, adding that when he arrived, she saw it as her chance as she always wanted to be brave and figured "do the brave thing and the bravery would follow". Belle snips the stem of the rose and places it into a vase on the table, and Rumple asks her if bravery is everything that she hoped it would be. The beauty sits back on the table and tells him that she wanted to see the world, but that part obviously didn't work out as she's a servant locked up in a castle, however, she happily adds that she did save her village, and appears content with this fact. Rumple asks about the girl's "betrothed", meaning the man he just turned into a rose at the door, and Belle explains that it was an arranged marriage and that she honestly never cared much for Gaston; "No, to me love is... love is layered. Love is a, uh, a mystery to be uncovered. Yeah, I could never really give my heart to someone as superficial as he." Rumple seems happy to hear this and she breaks the small moment of silence with, "You were going to tell me about your son?" The Dark One says that he'll make the girl a deal, saying that if she goes to town and fetches him some straw, he'll tell her his tale once she returns. Belle is completely shocked and confused, asking if he trusts her to come back, but he tells his beloved maid, "Oh no, I expect I'll never see you again..." The girl remains confused by her master.

112 15
Ruby tries to convince Ashley to stray.

At a club in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret, Ruby and Ashley are having drinks together, and Mary Margaret, noticing Ashley's discomfort, tells the young woman that she'll get used to it, but Ashley says she is, explaining that this is the first time she's been out since the baby was born and she's making up for lost time. She then downs another shot. "Mm, Ash, check out those guys," Ruby points out, referring to the men at the bar, but Ashley reminds Ruby that she's still with Sean, and so Ruby tells her friend that she's not married and that he's not there. Ashley says that her boyfriend is working, but Ruby points out that he always is, before telling them to have fun moping and getting up and walking over to the guys at the bar. "She's right, he is always working... I thought love would be different," Ashley says. Mary Margaret seems to react to this, regarding to her own situation with David, and the teacher adds, "Me too." Mary Margaret takes another drink.

112 16
Who is David's true woof?

David is seen at the Dark Star Pharmacy picking out a Valentine's card, and soon he goes to join the queue with two in his hand. "Two Valentines. Sounds like a complicated life," Mr. Gold, who is in front of him, tells him. David assures the pawnbroker that he just couldn't decide, and Gold doesn't seem to have an easy time believing that they're for the same woman, looking at the cards. David lies that they're both so "us", but Mr. Gold says that David's just fortunate to have someone who loves him. David agrees, and Mr. Gold goes to pay for his duct tape and rope, "Love," he says, "It's like a delicate flower, and once it's gone, it's gone forever." David smiles and nods and Mr. Gold is handed his items in a plastic bag by Mr. Clark. He wishes David luck and leaves the pharmacy, and as Mr. Clark sneezes, we are shown Mr. Gold eerily walking out the door.

We see Mr. Gold driving down the road in the florist's van. The shot moves to the back of the car where Moe French is seen tied up with rope and gagged with duct tape; the same items Mr. Gold bought in the pharmacy. Moe is his hostage. Mr. Gold continues to drive with a stern, still expression upon his face.

Act IV

112 17
Mr. Gold takes Moe hostage.

At a miscellaneous cabin in the woods, Mr. Gold steps out of his van and walks around to the back doors, he opens them slowly and immediately aims his gun at the contents. "Walk!" Gold orders Moe French, who's still duct taped and tied up at the wrists; he obliges to Mr. Gold's command and steps out of the van, with Mr. Gold still toting a gun. The door to the cabin opens and hostage Moe walks in with the gun-toting Mr. Gold not far behind him. Gold pulls back the hammer of his gun and points it at Moe who turns around. "You see, here's the thing," Gold says, "I do not let people get away." The pawnbroker slams the door shut.

112 18
Belle is alerted by an approaching carriage.

Back in the fairytale land that was, Belle is walking down the road in the forest, cloak on back, basket in hand, and a horse is heard somewhere behind her and the girl turns to see who's arriving. It's the carriage of the Evil Queen and so Belle quickly rushes into the trees at the side of the road, hoping to go unseen. The horses go past her but the carriage stops when it's facing Belle, who seems confused as to why it's done so. "Did my carriage splash you?" Regina asks upon opening her carriage door, but Belle assures the queen that she's fine, shaking her head. Regina then proposes to a reluctant Belle that, since she's tired of riding, she stretch her legs and walk with her.

112 19
Regina is Belle's new, unwanted best friend.

Soon, Regina and Belle are walking down the road together side by side, Regina's horses and carriage not far behind, and the queen points out that Belle carries light, at which the girl explains that she doesn't want to be slowed down. Regina realizes that Belle's running from someone, and asks if the person is her master or lover, at which Belle does not make a sound. The Evil Queen takes this to mean that the person Belle's running from is her master and her lover, and they continue to walk but Belle stops. She says that she would like to rest, but tells the queen to go on without her, however, Regina ignores this, pulling Belle close to her by the shoulder, and keeps on walking with her. "So if I'm right, you're in love with your employer... but you're leaving him?" Regina asks. After a pause, Belle states that she might love him, before going on to say that she could but it's like something evil has taken root in him. The queen says that it sounds like a curse, but notes that all curses can be broken, and a kiss born of true love should just about do the trick. Belle seems confused, and Regina assures the girl that she would never suggest a young woman go kissing a man who held her captive, wondering what kind of message that would send, before going onto say that if he loves her, he would have let her go, and if he doesn't love her, then the kiss won't even work. Belle stops again, noting, "Well, he did let me go." However, Regina points out that no kiss happened. Belle, appearing skeptical, asks if a kiss is really enough to make him a man again, and Regina assures her, "An ordinary man." She then tells Belle that true love's kiss can break any curse, and the girl smiles joyously.

112 20
Belle tries to break Rumplestiltskin's curse with true love's kiss.

At his castle, Rumple is seen staring out of his tower window, and turns around when he suddenly sees something. The Dark One then dashes down the tower stairs.
Meanwhile, Belle walks into the dining room, ready to kiss her true love, and as Rumple spins at the wheel, he nonchalantly asks, "You're back already?" As Belle walks over to him, he notes it's a good thing as he's nearly out of straw, and she puts the basket full of straw next to him and talks to him from the other side of the spinning wheel. She makes clear she knows he's happy that she's back, at which Rumple smiles, telling his maid that he's not unhappy. Belle smiles too, before reminding the Dark One that he promised her a story, and she walks over to him and places her hand on his shoulder; the wheel stops. "Did I?" he asks, at which Belle nods, standing up. She takes the straw from the wheel and sits down next to him, ready to listen, and requests to know about Rumple's son. Rumple says that he lost the boy and that there's not much more to tell, but Belle asks him if, since that happened, he's loved anyone, or if anyone loved him. Rumple leans in and looks into Belle's eyes, but he doesn't answer her question, merely wondering why she came back, and the girl explains that she wasn't going to up until something changed her mind. The two of them gaze into each other's faces longingly as Belle begins to lean in towards Rumple; they kiss. As they lean out, Rumple's gold skin begins to turn back into normal human skin, he seems weak, and he asks "What's happening?" "Kiss me again, it's working!" Belle exclaims, noticing Rumple's curse is wearing off, and hopefully saying that any curse can be broken. Rumple stands up, stormily, and knocks his chair over; he's angry and his skin turns gold-plated once more, "How do you know that?!" Who told you that?!" he demands, in a rage. Belle says that she doesn't know, merely uttering "she", but Rumple knows what this means, walking across the room and pulling the sheet from his mirror. He exclaims towards the mirror that this was "you" and that "you" turned her against him, and Belle walks after him, cautiously, "You think you can make me weak? You think you can defeat me?!" he yells, at which Belle asks him who he's talking to. The Dark One exclaims that it's "your friend", the queen, who can view things through mirrors, hence Rumple's true reason in covering each one in his castle up, such as the one he's talking into presently.

112 21
Belle is thrown back into her old room.

Rumplestiltskin asks Belle how Regina got to her, but Belle is unable to respond, still utterly confused as to what's going on. Rumple advances on her, saying that he knew she never really cared for him, and that she must be working for Queen Regina, "Or is this all you? Is this you 'being the hero'? And killing the beast?" he asks. "It was working," Belle reminds him, touching his arm softly. But Rumple screeches at the girl, telling her to shut up and batting her off of him. Belle argues that this means it's true love, but he tells her once again to shut up, in a rage. "Why won't you believe me?!" Belle asks, scared and saddened, and Rumple screams, "Because no one, no one, could ever, ever, love me!" As he says this, he violently shakes Belle by the arms, utterly frightening the poor girl.
Downstairs, Rumplestiltskin throws Belle into her old room in the dungeon, pushing her to the floor. Belle breathes heavily, sad and confused in her cell, as Rumple closes the door behind her.

112 22
Gold compresses Moe's throat with his cane.

In the cabin in the woods of Storybrooke, Mr. Gold removes the duct tape from Moe's mouth and places his gun on the table, giving his hostage a chance to explain himself, Gold pulls up a chair and sits opposite from Moe, telling him that it's fascinating, he then takes his cane and pushes it into Moe's throat, causing him to squeal out in pain, pushing against the force of the cane. "I'll let you breathe in a second, then you're gonna say two sentences. The first, you're gonna tell me where it is, the second, you're gonna tell me who told you to take it," Gold explains, applying more pressure to his cane. Gold asks Moe if he understands, and Moe nods with a struggle, leading Gold to take the cane away. Moe exhales heavily, "...I needed that van," he says, but Mr. Gold tells him that that's not a good first sentence, and raises his cane in the air and strikes Moe in anger, making his hostage cry out. Moe pleads for Gold to listen, but Gold merely demands that Moe tell him where "it" is, whacking him a second time with his cane. "Stop!" Moe tries, and Gold repeats that Moe must tell him where it is, before striking him again. "It wasn't my fault!" Moe tries, "'My fault'? What are you talking about, 'my fault'? You shut her out. You had her love, and you shut her out!" Gold yells, hitting Moe with his cane yet again upon the last word. "She's gone. She's gone forever. She's not coming back. And it's your fault!" Gold exclaims, striking Moe, "Your fault!" he repeats, repeating the action as well, by this point Moe is whispering, scared of being hit again. "You're her father!" he screeches, whacking Moe with his cane for yet another time. Mr. Gold begins to repeatedly strike Moe with his cane, yelling at him, hitting him, over and over.

112 23
Rumple stops his rage thanks to his chipped cup.

The scene merges into one of the fairytale land where Rumplestiltskin is using a cane to smash his dresser, glass and plates alike falling in shards as he goes into a rage upon what happened with Belle. Eventually he stops whacking, getting tired, and becomes sad.
"It's your fault!" Mr. Gold yells as he strikes Moe French, "It's your fault!" he yells before hitting Moe with his cane one last time, and, as he lifts it up, a hand grabs it, stopping him. "Stop," Emma says, preventing the situation.
In his palace, Rumplestiltskin picks up a cup from his tea set, he throws it against the wall, smashing it, he picks up another and does the same, and another, and another, and another. Finally, he picks up the chipped cup that Belle had broke, he stares at it sadly and places it on the table before walking away. The shot moves in on the sentimental cup.

Act V

112 24
Ashley and Sean soon after engagement.

Ashley is sitting at the table in the restaurant alone, seeming bored, Mary Margaret pulls up a chair next to her and points out that the girls' night out doesn't seem to be working, and Ashley says that she thought it might make her feel better but what she needs is a "be with my guy" night. She goes on to say that Sean's never around so it's just her and the baby all day, asking what's the point in being together if they can't be together. Mary Margaret is silent, but eventually says that she does understand what she means (relating Ashley's situation with Sean due to her own with David), "Having someone you can't be with... is a terrible, terrible life." There is a pause. Ashley, teary-eyed, points out that this was a bad idea and that she should go home, getting up, and just as Mary Margaret is about to try and stop her, someone says, "Ashley." Ashley turns to see that it's Sean. He is holding roses, and she says that she thought he was working. He explains that he is and that he's on his break, "I had to see you." Ruby pulls up a chair next to Mary Margaret to watch the scene between Ashley and Sean, and Ashley happily accepts the roses as Sean adds to his previous sentence, "And ask you something." He proceeds to get down on one knee and takes out a ring, presenting it to Ashley, "Will you marry me?" he asks, hopefully. The people in restaurant begin to stare, including Ruby and Mary Margaret, and Sean, holding the ring, reminds his love that he only has a 20 minute break. Ashley begins to nod, now holding back even more tears, and exclaims in reply, "Yes!" extending her hand for Sean to place the ring upon her finger, which he does. The people around them clap and the central couple hug, and Sean tells his fiancée that his truck's just outside if she wants to take a ride before he heads back to work, adding that it's not much of a date. Ashley assures him that that sounds like the best date, before kissing him. He jokingly tells her that her carriage awaits and the joyous couple head out the door, whilst back at the table, Ruby walks away, and the scene at hand appears to have triggered something within Mary Margaret, who grabs her coat and purse before leaving The Rabbit Hole.

112 25
Mary Margaret receives a Valentine's card from David... one intended for Kathryn.

Outside, Ashley and Sean are happily getting into the latter's truck, and Mary Margaret, elsewhere in the street, stares into space. David soon emerges from around the corner, and asks Mary Margaret, who turns to him, realizing he's there, how girls' night's going. She is surprised to see him and happily walks over to her love, asking what he's doing there. "I knew you'd be here, and I wanted to give you your Valentine's card," David explains, handing Mary Margaret a card from his inside pocket. The teacher opens it and as she does so, she asks if he was checking up on her, to which he says that he perhaps was. Mary Margaret looks at the card with the dog on the cover and is flabbergasted, "Kathryn, I woof you." she reads aloud, and David quickly takes the card from her hand and apologizes, taking the right card out of his coat and handing it to her, saying that he meant that one. However, Mary Margaret is totally appalled, and tells David, "...I-I always thought that if two people were meant to be together, they'd find a way, but, David, if this is our way... I think we should find another one." David tries to apologize again but Mary Margaret tells him that he should go home to Kathryn. David assures Mary Margaret that it does not mean that he's going to give up and that they will find their way, and she adjourns that she hopes so. "...Happy Valentine's Day," he says, ironically, and she reciprocates "Happy Valentine's Day." The two of them then walk away in opposite directions.

112 26
Emma takes Mr. Gold into custody.

Back at the cabin in the woods, Emma walks up to Mr. Gold and tells him that he was lucky not to break anything Moe needs, with the man himself being loaded into the back of an ambulance van. "You're lucky, Mr. Gold," she says, but he points out that she has a funny definition of "lucky". "You've got a funny definition of 'justice', what did he really do?" Emma asks.She retorts that Gold has a funny definition of "justice", and asks what Moe really did. Gold reminds the blonde that he stole, but she tells him that his reaction was about more than taking a few trinkets. Emma recounts something that Gold said, saying that Moe hurt "her", and wondering who "her" is referring to. She says that if someone is in trouble, then maybe she can help, but Gold tells the sheriff that he thinks she's got that wrong. Emma asks him if he really doesn't want to co-operate, and he tells her that they're "done here". Gold tries to walk away, but Emma grabs his arm, stopping him, saying that actually they're not done as he's under arrest. She takes out her handcuffs and locks them around Mr. Gold's wrists.

112 27
"...And a chipped cup."

In Rumplestiltskin's dungeon, Belle is sitting alone in her cell, staring into space with a disregarded tea set on the floor. Belle is startled by the sudden sound of her cell door opening, Rumple walks in. The girl wonders what he is going to do to her, and Rumple points a finger to the door, uttering, "Go." Belle is confused. Rumple turns away from his love as she questions what he's allowing, and the Dark One tells her that he simply doesn't want her anymore. Belle stands up, dusting herself down, and walks past Rumple, out of her cell. She suddenly stops and turns around, walking over to face him, "No," she begins to dictate,"You are freeing yourself! You could have had happiness if you just believed that someone could want you! But you couldn't take the chance." Rumple assures her that that's a lie, but Belle advances; "You're a coward, Rumplestiltskin... And no matter how thick you make your skin, that doesn't change." "I'm not a coward, dearie. It's quite simple, really, my power means more to me than you," he protests. Belle pauses, "No," she says, staring into his eyes, fueled with anger and hurt, "No, it doesn't. You just don't want to think I can love you. Now you've made your choice, and you're going to regret it... forever. All you'll have... is an empty heart... and a chipped cup." She begins to tear up storms away, and Rumple, forcing back words, merely closes his eyes, secretly devastated.

Act VI

112 28
Emma is offered Henry for a meeting with Mr. Gold.

At the sheriff's station in Storybrooke, Emma is sitting at her desk eating a sandwich. She says it's pastrami, and asks Mr. Gold, who is standing in a cell on the other side of the office area, if he wants half. The blonde points out that she still owes him a favor and some pastrami could be a delicious way to honor it. "Oh, I don't need a reminder that you owe me a favor. And when the day comes that I make my request... it'll be for more than half a sandwich." Emma smiles but soon hears footsteps coming from the corridor; Regina and Henry walk into the office. The mayor tells Sheriff Swan that she is allowing her thirty minutes with Henry, telling her to go get some ice cream. Regina leaves Henry with Emma and slowly makes her way over to Mr. Gold. Befuddled, Emma makes sure that Regina wants to be left alone with a prisoner, but the mayor merely points out that Emma now only has twenty nine and a half minutes. The blonde is confused and stares at Regina, but then looks to Henry. "Hi Emma," he says gleefully, and the sheriff smiles before looks back at Mr. Gold, who tells her to bring him back a cone. Soon, Emma disregards the situation, grabs her coat, and leaves with Henry. From his cell, Gold points out that Regina really wanted that "little chat", and the mayor says that this was apparently the only way she could do it. She walks more towards Gold and lets out a slightly vicious smile. "Please, sit," he requests, pointing towards the chair beside the cell, and Regina reluctantly obliges and takes a seat in the chair beside the bars. "Now, when two people want something the other has, a deal can always be struck... do you have what I want?" Gold asks, and Regina smiles, answering positively. Mr. Gold realizes that Regina put Moe up to the robbery, and the mayor reminds Gold that strong men take what they need. Gold points out that she told him exactly what to take, and Regina says that she and Gold used to know each other so well, asking if it's really come down to this. "It seems it has, yeah. But you know what I want, what is it you want?" Gold curiously wonders. "I want you... to answer one question," Regina explains, being very serious, "And answer it simply. What's your name?"

112 29
Regina taunts Gold with his sentimental keepsake.

For a moment, Mr. Gold is silent, before assuring her that "it's Mr. Gold". Regina requests his real name, but Gold reassuringly states that every moment he's spent in this world, that's been his name. Regina then wonders about moments spent elsewhere, and Mr. Gold is silent again before breaking it by asking the mayor what she's asking him. She says she thinks she knows and firmly instructs him, if he wants her to return what's his, to tell her his name. Mr. Gold smiles. "Rumplestiltskin," he utters, revealing that he remembers his life before the Dark Curse hit. Standing up, he then demands that the mayor give him what he wants, grasping the bars of his cell. Regina points out the hostility, and he acknowledges this, before the mayor slides her purse from her shoulder and pulls out... a chipped cup. "Oh, look at this," Regina says, taunting it in front of Mr. Gold, "What a... sentimental little keepsake." She finally lets him take it from her and the pawnbroker thanks the mayor, addressing her as "your majesty". Gold sits down with his cherished item, saying that, know they're being honest with each other,t he wants to remember how things used to be, and tells her not to let the bars fool her, stating that he's still the one with the power around town. "I'm gonna be out of here in no time. And nothing between us will change," he assures her, and Regina pulls herself up to the bars, and assures the middle-aged man in return that they shall see about that. She proceeds to leave the sheriff's station and Mr. Gold sits down, staring at his cup.

112 30
The Evil Queen tells Rumplestiltskin of Belle's "fate".

Rumplestiltskin is spinning at his wheel in his palace when the Evil Queen walks into the dining room. She says to a still, quiet Rumple that he has easy locks, and that she needs him to deal with a "certain mermaid". Spinning his wheel, Rumple says that he's not spinning today, and Regina asks him what's wrong as she pours herself a cup of tea with Rumple's tea set. The Dark One assures the queen that her little deception failed, saying that she'll never be more powerful than him; "You can keep trying, dearie, but you're never gonna beat me." "Aw, is this about that girl I met on the road?" she asks in a mocking tone; Rumplestiltskin is silent and Regina smiles, asking the girl's name and beginning to guess ("Margy?... Verna?...") "Belle," Rumple says, breaking his own silence, and Regina continues to clean up the tea set, telling Rumple to rest assure that she had nothing to do with "that tragedy". Rumple is silent and makes his way over to a tea-sipping Regina, asking to what tragedy she is referring to. "You don't know? Well, after she returned home... her fiancé‎ had gone missing, and after she'd stayed here; her... association with you, no one would want her, of course. Her father shunned her. Cut her off; shut her out," Regina explains. "So she needs... a home?" Rumple asks, hopefully, and Regina cackles, continuing with, "He was cruel to her. He locked her in a tower and sent in clerics to cleanse her soul, with... scourges and flaying. After a while she threw herself off the tower... She died." Rumple accuses Regina of lying, but she simply asks, "Am I?" The Dark One remains silent and tells Regina that they're done. He walks away and she follows him to the door, saying that she has other calls to make. She then runs her finger along the table and tells Rumple that the place looks dusty and that he should "get a new girl", but she merely comes off as cruel, which is intentional, before leaving the palace. After the queen leaves, Rumplestiltskin walks over to his cabinets, opens the doors and retrieves an item. Rumple goes over to a trophy that is displayed on a podium, and removes it, putting in its place Belle's chipped cup. He stares at it, crying.

112 31
Smile, dearie.

Regina walks through Storybrooke's hospital and punches a code into a machine on the wall, looking around and being discrete, noticing Moe French incapacitated on the same floor. Regina's code is accepted and she walks through the door marked, "Exit". A nurse is sitting at a reception desk at a lower level of the hospital who meets Regina as she walks down the stairs, and the mayor pulls out a single red rose. The nurse takes it, commenting that it's pretty, and Regina adds that she knows how hard she works. The mayor then asks if anyone's been to see "her", to which the nurse replies, "No ma'am. Not today... not ever." Regina walks away as the nurse sniffs the rose, and as the mayor makes her way down the hall of the psychiatric ward she's in, with a stern expression on her face, she turns a few corners and neatens herself up. Regina passes a janitor and stops outside of a cell door, and from within the cell, we see Regina open the hatch, giving the mayor a view inside. Regina stares at the girl sitting in the corner of the cell and smiles to herself. The girl looks at Regina and we see that it's none other than Belle; her Storybrooke counterpart. The queen and the princess continue to stare at one another through the cell door.


112 Title Card
  • The title card features Rumplestiltskin's spinning wheel.
  • Although credited, Raphael Sbarge (Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket) is absent from this episode. However, he'd been featured in promotional pictures of the episode, so his scenes were probably cut.
  • According to Sbarge, his scene would have involved him and David being at The Rabbit Hole at the same time as the girls, discussing David's relationship with Mary Margaret.
  • Another deleted scene, as mentioned by Jane Espenson and Robert Carlyle in the DVD commentary, would have featured a messenger dove delivering news about the Ogre Wars - Belle's family is safe, and she tries escaping while Rumple is distracted. However, she goes through one door and finds herself entering the same room via magic, and Rumple explains how she can't escape.
  • Also according to DVD commentary, the original script had Belle failing in her attempt to uncover Rumple's mirror in order to prove to him he's not a monster, then hearing about his son while they're pressed up agaisnt each other.
  • Additionally, Espenson mentioned that there was originally more to the present day story which involved Gold sending Emma on a wild goose chase and her having to track him down in order to save Moe. As it is, there's no real explanation of how she knew where to find Gold and his captive. This was cut to make room for more extensive flashbacks.
  • Espenson has also mentioned that the episode was originally meant to be about Rumplestiltskin choosing power over love, but this eventually developed into an episode about him believing that no one could love him.
  • The name of Moe French's florist business, Game of Thorns, is a reference to HBO's Game of Thrones, which Jane Espenson also writes for.
  • Several references to Disney's Beauty and the Beast are made throughout the episode, one of the most obvious being that of the chipped cup, used to represent the character of "Chip" from the film. Additionally, in Rumple's Dark Castle, a candlestick and clock can be seen next to each other, which are references to other characters from the film, Lumière and Cogsworth. Other character references include that of Belle's fiancé‎ named Gaston and her father Maurice, which were their names in the Disney adaptation, and Gaston was also turned into a rose. Rumple also mentions that at the door, there was an old woman selling flowers, a reference to the Enchantress at the beginning of the movie. The dresses Belle wore during the episode were also practically identical to the two main outfits Disney Belle was dressed in within the film.
  • Also within Rumple's Dark Castle, a weapon that looks very much like a slayer's scythe from Buffy the Vampire Slayer can be seen, another show that Jane Espenson wrote for.
  • Several other objects containing outside references can be viewed within Rumple's home.
  • When the Evil Queen goes to visit Rumplestiltskin, she mentions "a certain mermaid" which she needs taken care of, a most likely reference to Disney's The Little Mermaid.
  • In the episode's opening scene, two rivers are viewed on a map in Sir Maurice's throne room. They are named "Tigelaar River" and "Kitsis River", references to one of the show's writers, Liz Tigelaar, and one of the show's co-creators, Edward Kitsis.
  • The book Mary Margaret and David discuss at Granny's Diner is "Anna Karenina", which was written by Leo Tolsty.
  • When Sir Gaston knocks on the Dark One's castle door, we go to a close up on Rumplestiltskin. In the close up, we see his right eye-contact lens is missing.
  • After Belle sets down the rose on the table and talks to Rumplestiltskin and the camera shifts back and forth between the two, the rose keeps changing positions in the vase though no one is touching it.


"Skin Deep" was written by consulting producer Jane Espenson, while 24 veteran, Milan Cheylov, directed the installment.[1]

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Emilie de Ravin mentioned that viewers will see Belle in future episodes: “I do come back and I’d love to come back for a lot more because I love the show. I had a lot of fun with it,” she says. But as for when we’ll see her next, “you’ll have to wait and see.”[2]



  • Ratings and viewership for "Skin Deep" were down from the previous episode. It had a 18-49 rating of 3.0 and was seen by 8.65 million viewers, down 14%, but still came in second overall for the night.[3][4] This was partially due to the fact that the episode aired in the same time-slot as the 54th Grammy Awards, who had their best numbers ever since the 1984 telecast and the sudden news of Whitney Houston's death the day prior to the event.[3]


  • Amy Radcliffe of IGN commented on the identity of the beast being revealed, starting her review with, "Beauty and the Beast is about as "classic fairytale" as you can get. We've known Lost's Emilie de Ravin would be playing the part of Belle for a while, but we didn't hear anything about her Beast. I wondered if they would go for a Twilight-werewolf option for him or maybe a Ron Perlman-style creature. As it turns out, neither: The Beast is Rumpelstiltskin." She ended by complimenting Carlyle's acting throughout the episode: "I always love seeing more of Robert Carlyle, and I especially liked him in that episode. He managed to show true emotion in spite of his silly Rumpelstiltskin accent, and he improves every scene he's in. I feel like this episode will start something bigger. At least, I hope it will."[5]
  • Barbara Barnett of gave another positive review, starting with, "There is so much to love about tonight’s Once Upon a Time episode “Skin Deep.” At its heart is Belle’s “tale as old as time” (as the lyric goes) with a fresh angle courtesy of writer Jane Espenson. “Skin Deep” was created especially for Valentine’s day—a tragic love story that casts Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle—and yes, that’s the way Rumple’s name is spelled in the series) as the Beauty’s beast, who makes a deal with Belle’s (Emilie de Ravin) father just as in the classic story." She continued the review with a positive outlet on the episode.[6]


Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.

External links


  1. Once Upon a Time: Skin Deep, The Futon Critic (January 23, 2012)
  2. "'Once Upon a Time': Emilie de Ravin on Belle's debut (and return!)" from Entertainment Weekly (February 12, 2012)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sunday Final Ratings: 'Napoleon Dynamite,' 'American Dad' Adjusted Up; '60 Minutes' Adjusted Down + 'Grammy Awards' Finals
  4. Grammy ratings surge as industry honors Whitney Houston
  5. Once Upon a Time "Skin Deep" Review, by Amy Radcliffe, IGN (February 13, 2012)
  6. TV Review: Once Upon a Time- “Skin Deep”, by Barbara Barnett, (February 12, 2012)
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.