Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, Jared Gilmore, Josh Dallas, Raphael Sbarge
Writer: Jane Espenson
Director: Milan Cheylov
Network: ABC, Sunday nights, 8 p.m.
Original Telecast: February 12, 2012
OMG! “Skin Deep” is one of those episodes of ONCE UPON A TIME where I really, really wish this weren’t a no spoiler zone, because we find out something about Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) and I would so love to debate the issue. It’s a twist at the end, though, and it’s no fun to zap you that way.
You will have to set your gag reflex on low, however, because the Disney references are really in your face. The episode starts in its modern day world of Storybrooke, Maine, with Mr. Gold repossessing the florist truck belonging to Moe French (Eric Keenleyside) right on top of Valentine’s Day. More to the point, however, is that Regina (Lana Parilla) confronts Gold and wants to talk to him.
In the fairy tale world, Sir Maurice – Moe French’s counterpart – is facing an attack of ogres. Sure enough, here comes Rumpelstiltskin (aka Mr. Gold) to make a deal to help him win the battle and save the village. What Rumpelstiltskin wants is not gold, however, but Sir Maurice’s daughter Belle (Lost alumna Emilie de Raven). Her fiance Gaston (Sage Brocklebank) refuses to let her go, but she volunteers nonetheless.
Belle’s good nature does its work and even cranky old Rumpelstiltskin, who refers to himself at a beast, starts to mellow a little. At least, he doesn’t put her in a dungeon for chipping his teacup. We even see him drinking from it later.
In the modern world, Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), Ruby (Meghan Ory) and Ashley Boyd (Jessy Schram) agree to a girl’s night out since Ashley’s Prince Charming Sean (Tim Phillips) has to work all night and Mary Margaret is still pining for Dave Nolan (Josh Dallas). Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) is invited, but she declines and then gets a call to Mr. Gold’s house, which has been robbed.
Emma does recover the items, well, all but one, but Mr. Gold isn’t satisfied. He wants French and bad.
In the fairy tale world, Rumpelstiltskin decides to let Belle go and get straw from the village for him to spin into gold, fully expecting her not to come back. While on the way there, Belle is stopped by Evil Queen Regina who decides to take a little walk with Belle. Of course, Rumpelstiltskin is under a curse and the Queen reminds Belle that all curses can be broken and that a kiss of true love is the most powerful curse breaker there is (and could we be foreshadowing some of her own doom???)
Belle goes back and tries to convince Rumpelstiltskin that she really does love him, gets the kiss and it starts to work. However, Rumpelstiltskin does react well and sends Belle away. Turns out there is a reason why all his mirrors were covered – he’s got a link to the Evil Queen. They’re not exactly friends, though.
Which brings us back to the modern world and it looks as though Regina has one up on Mr. Gold. But does she? That’s the thing. She does and she doesn’t and no more can be said.
This was a great, touching episode of ONCE UPON A TIME, the only thing marring it were the blatant Disney references. Not just Belle and Gaston, but she’s wearing a yellow ball dress, then this cute little blue peasant number with a white blouse. Come on, already! The good news is it’s one to talk about and what fun that is.
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Article: TV Review – ONCE UPON A TIME – Season 1 – “Skin Deep”