|Season 01, Episode 12|
|Premiere date:||February 12, 2012|
|Written by:||Jane Espenson|
|Directed by:||Milan Cheylov|
|Previous Episode:||"Fruit of the Poisonous Tree"|
|Next Episode:||"What Happened to Frederick"|
"Skin Deep" is the twelfth episode of Season One of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by Milan Cheylov. It is the twelfth episode of the series overall, and premiered on February 12, 2012.
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.
The episode begins in the castle of Sir Maurice, the town of Avonlea on his lands is under attack in the Ogre War, they have sent for help, but it has not arrived. Suddenly help arrives in the form of Rumplestiltskin who offers them a deal of his protection of the town in exchange for Belle's servitude. Belle agrees to his terms. Gaston, who is engaged to Belle, and Sir Maurice, her father, are against the idea, but the deal has already been made.
Regina insists on speaking with Mr. Gold immediately, but he requests that she "please" delay the conversation. At the cafe, David Nolan and Mary Margaret Blanchard are talking when Emma Swan arrives to ask about Henry. Ashley Boyd arrives, and Ruby asks if they would like to go out for a girls' night. Emma receives a message about Mr. Gold and goes to his house where he says he has been robbed and doesn't know who to suspect, because he is a difficult man to love.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Belle is thrown into the dungeon of Rumplestiltskin's castle. He lists all of Belle's tasks, and when he jokes about one of the duties (skinning kidnapped children), she accidentally drops a tea cup, which chips. While trying to open his drapes, Belle questions why he spins straw so much as he has so much gold already. She pulls too strongly on the drapes and falls off of the ladder, but Rumplestiltskin catches her. He agrees to leave the drapes open.
In Storybrooke, Emma threatens to arrest Mr. Gold if he does not tell her what he knows. He accuses Moe French of robbing his home, and Mr. Gold threatens him. Emma recovers the majority of Mr. Gold's items, but he says that there is still something missing which upsets him, and he goes after Moe himself.
In the Enchanted Forest, Belle asks Rumplestiltskin why he wants her there. She asks him about some clothing she found upstairs, and he tells her of his son. She wants to get to know him, but to keep from giving too much away, he jokes in a fit of self-deprecating humor that perhaps she is trying to find the monster's weaknesses. She tells him he is not a monster. Gaston shows up, and Rumplestiltskin turns him into a rose, which he gives to Belle. He asks her about her choice to come live with him. She tells him she did it to be a hero and be brave. He asks her about Gaston, and she tells him that she never cared for Gaston and that their marriage was arranged. He allows her to go to town to preclude further questioning, and in response to her surprise that he is letting her out of the castle, he responds that he expects to never seen her again. By now, it seems he has fallen in love with Belle.
While out in Storybrooke, Ruby tries to convince Ashley to go get another guy since Sean Herman is always working. David is at the pharmacy getting two Valentine's Day cards when he runs into Mr. Gold who is buying rope and duct tape. Mr. Gold kidnaps Moe and ties him up in the back of his van. At an undisclosed location, Mr. Gold takes Moe out of the van at gun point.
In the Enchanted Forest, Belle is walking down the road where she runs into the Evil Queen. They talk and the Queen asks her if she is running from someone. She also asks Belle if she loves her employer. The Queen tells her that any curse can be broken. She suggests she kiss him and tells her that true love's kiss will break any curse (which may explain what happened when Graham kissed Emma).
Belle returns to the castle, much to Rumplestiltskin's surprise. He is plainly pleased; he has been watching for her from a tower, and when she returns he runs downstairs to his wheel to appear that he has been spinning nonchalantly rather than waiting for her return. She asks him to hold true to his promise and tell her about his son. He asks her why she came back, and she kisses him. The curse begins to fade away. Rumplestiltskin pulls back, shocked and angry. When Belle says that "she" said true love could break any curse, he realizes that the Queen planned this and thinks Belle has been working for her. His anger comes from his own self-loathing: as the curse returns, he shakes Belle and shouts in her face that he knew she could not have been genuine because nobody could ever love a monster like him. He throws her back in the dungeon. Afterwards, he smashes things in a fit of anger and grief and picks up the cup with the chip, preparing to smash it as well, but stops himself and sets it down.
In a cabin in Storybrooke, Mr. Gold threatens Moe's life. He wants to know where the missing object is and who told him to steal it. His anger grows, and he strikes Moe with his cane repeatedly. He says that she is gone forever, that it is his fault, and that he was her father. Emma shows up to stop him from harming Moe any further. At the bar, Ashley is sitting alone, still feeling down, and she tells Mary Margaret that she wants to be with Sean.
She considers breaking up with him, and Mary Margaret understands what she is going through. Just then, Sean shows up and proposes to Ashley, which she accepts, and they kiss. David finds Mary Margaret outside. He gives her a card and tells her that he did not want her finding anyone else. He accidentally gives her the wrong card, and Mary Margaret tells him he should go home. Back at the cabin, Emma questions Mr. Gold and places him under arrest.
In the Enchanted Forest, Belle is sitting in the dungeon when Rumplestiltskin enters and allows her to go free. He tells her he does not want her any more. She tells him that he could have had happiness and calls him a coward. He tells her his power means more to him than she does, which she says is not true and that he will regret his choice. She tells him that all he will have is "an empty heart and a chipped cup", and she leaves broken-hearted.
At the sheriff's station in Storybrooke, Emma talks to Mr. Gold, who is behind bars. She offers him half of her sandwich to repay the favor she owes, but he refuses. He tells her that he does not need a reminder that she owes him a favor. Regina shows up and gives permission for Emma to go with Henry for 30 minutes, to get ice-cream. Emma knows that it is to allow her a private meeting with Mr. Gold, but she wants it too much to refuse. Gold invites Regina to sit, using the word, "please". She wants to talk to Mr. Gold who asks her if she has what he wants, when she says, "Yes." Gold realizes Regina put Moe up to breaking into his house. She says she just wants him to answer one simple question: What is his name? When he replies, "Mr. Gold," she ask him again what his name is elsewhere. He admits to her that his name is Rumplestiltskin and addresses Regina as "Your Majesty" confirming that both are aware of their alternate identities. She returns the chipped tea cup, and he tells her that nothing between them will change.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, the Evil Queen shows up and asks Rumplestiltskin to make a deal with her. She wants to talk about a mermaid. He says that she will never be more powerful than him. He accuses her of having something to do with Belle, but Regina stuns him when she next tells him that she had nothing to with Belle's death. She reveals that because of her time with Rumplestiltskin, Maurice treated her with cruelty when she returned home and locked her in a tower for an "exorcism". She died when she threw herself off the tower. Rumplestiltskin calls her a liar, but she mocks him by telling him that he should get a new girl, because the place is getting dirty. Full of grief, Rumplestiltskin replaces a golden chalice on a pedestal with the chipped tea cup, quietly sobbing afterwards.
Regina is seen going through a codelocked exit door and down into what appears to be the psychiatric ward, in the basement of the hospital. She gives a nurse a rose, and the nurse informs her that no one has come to see "her" that day. Regina walks down the hall and approaches a door. Inside the room is Belle's counterpart locked up in a cell.
Belle: Honestly, I never really cared much for Gaston. To me love is—love is layered. Love is a mystery to be uncovered. I could never truly give my heart to someone as superficial as he.
Belle: Town? You trust me to come back?
Rumplestiltskin: Oh, no. I expect I’ll never see you again.
Evil Queen: True love's kiss will break any curse.
Belle: 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.
Mr. Gold: When two people both want something the other has, a deal can always be struck.
Mr. Gold: So, now that we’re being honest with each other, let’s remember how things used to be, shall we? And don’t let these bars fool you, dear; I’m the one with the power around here. I’m gonna be out of here in no time, and nothing between us will change.
Regina: We shall see.
Evil Queen: Are you angry with me? What is it this time?
Rumplestiltskin: Your little deception failed. You’ll never be more powerful than me. You can keep trying, dearie, but you’re never gonna beat me.
As described by Raphael Sbarge:
For Valentine's Day, Archie and David spend time at the bar on the same night Mary Margaret is there for girls' night with Ruby and Ashley. It involves a discussion between Archie and David about his relationship with Mary Margaret.
The original script features Belle attempting to tug off the cloth on the mirror in Rumplestiltskin's castle to prove to him he's not a monster. He stops her before she succeeds in doing so. While pressed up against Belle, Rumplestiltskin tells her about his son.
- The opening titlecard features Rumplestiltskin's spinning wheel.
- The director's cut of this episode was 60 minutes long.
- In the opening scene, the two rivers shown on the map are named "Tigelaar River" and "Kitsis River".
- Belle's dress was originally a wedding dress redesigned in three days' time.
- After Belle says, "He could be on his way right now, papa", Sir Maurice's line was supposed to be, "Our offer must have been too small", which did not make the cut for the episode.
- Moe French's flower delivery service, Game of Thorns, is a reference to the show Game of Thrones, which Jane Espenson also writes for.
- The card David buys for Mary Margaret has a prince and princess on it.
- The inside of the card says, "You are...my happily ever after!"
- In the original episode script, the Evil Queen invites Belle into her carriage. Through filming the scene, it was discovered the carriage could only fit one person.
- While Jane Espenson wrote the episode, Edward Kitsis wrote Belle's iconic line: "All you'll have is an empty heart and a chipped cup."
- The chipped cup used on set for filming was autographed by both Robert Carlyle and Emilie de Ravin and put up for the September 2012 With Kids charity auction.
- The Land Without Magic events of this episode occur after the past events of "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree", and before the present-day events of "What Happened to Frederick". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The Enchanted Forest flashbacks take place after Red learns to control her wolf shapeshifting ability, and also before and after some events in "Lacey". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- The title card is used again in the episodes "That Still Small Voice" and "The Miller's Daughter".
- Sir Maurice's fate is briefly mentioned by Hook in "Queen of Hearts".
- Ashley's back story is shown in "The Price of Gold".
- The origin of marionettes in Rumplestiltskin's castle is explored in "That Still Small Voice".
- Rumplestiltskin's backstory of how he lost his son is further explained in "Desperate Souls" and "The Return".
- Belle's fate after she leaves Rumplestiltskin's castle is explored in "Dreamy" and "The Outsider".
- Emma's owed future favor to Mr. Gold was promised due to the events of "The Price of Gold".
- The reason behind the disappearance of Rumplestiltskin's wife is revealed in "The Crocodile".
- Rumplestiltskin hints at the love he and Belle shared as a "brief flicker of light amidst an ocean of darkness" in "A Land Without Magic".
- The name of the bar Mary Margaret, Emma and Ashley go for girls' night is revealed in "Lacey".
- Belle, Gaston and Maurice are characters of the same names as in Disney's 1991 film Beauty and the Beast.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode is a rendition of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale, focusing on Belle's budding relationship with the Beast.
- This episode features the Evil Queen from the Snow White fairytale.
- The Evil Queen makes mention of a mermaid. In folklore, mermaids are creatures of the sea with the upper body in likeness of a human and the lower half with a tail and fins.
- The book David is reading in the diner is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
- The song playing while Mary Margaret, Ashley and Ruby hang out at the bar is "1989" by Tape the Radio.
- On the pharmacy's counter is an ad for the Canadian lottery Classic Black with their common advertising phrase, "300,000 prizes of $50 or more".
- 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.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 http://www.thefutoncritic.com/listings/20120123abc16/
- ↑ http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/02/14/tv-ratings-broadcast-top-25-grammy-awards-the-voice-the-big-bang-theory-top-week-21/119740/
- ↑ http://oncepodcast.com/raphael-sbarge-exclusive-audio-interview-once-upon-a-time-podcast-077/
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jane Espenson's Season One DVD Audio Commentary for "Skin Deep"
- ↑ https://twitter.com/robertcarlyle_/status/177187690192699392
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 http://www.buddytv.com/articles/once-upon-a-time/once-upon-a-time-46511.aspx
- ↑ https://twitter.com/ginnygoodwin/status/169662686207025152
- ↑ http://www.onceuponatimefans.co.uk/apps/blog/entries/show/16750075-broken-hearts-chipped-cups-an-interview-with-robert-carlyle