Recap

'Once Upon a Time' Recap: Skin Deep

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Feb 12, 2012 | 7:05pm EST

once upon a timeS1E12: Tonight's episode of Once Upon a Time delved into the always-mysterious past and present of Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin -- although tonight we know him mainly as The Beast. In the fairytale world, we follow the magical retelling of another fairytale classic that is a tale as old as time - Beauty and the Beast - with Rumple in the thick of the action as his love story with Belle (Emilie de Ravin) begins to unfold. But his Storybrooke counterpart, Mr. Gold, gets equal amounts of attention after his house is broken into and he decides to take matters into his own hands.

To best honest, I've always found the fairytale portion of the show to be the most enjoyable, but the fact that both worlds focused so heavily on one of the most intriguing characters this week added a extra level of intensity and excitement to the Storybrooke plot that's not usually there. Rumplestiltskin/Mr.Gold is such a complex character in both worlds. Although we now know how Rumple came into his magical abilities after killing "the dark one," we have yet to discover what made him the legendary trickster he is now. And as far as Mr. Gold, there's the question of where his loyalties actually lie; he's been a hard one to read. While he constantly assures Emma that he's on her side, we get the distinct impression that he's got other plans. This episode brings us that much closer to figuring him out - well, at least a little. The writers aren't going to give us all the details that easily. But, let's be honest, that's part of the reason we love this show.

"We sent you a promise of gold." - Belle's father

"You see, I make gold. What I want is something a bit more special. My price is her." - Rumplestiltskin

Belle's father's kingdom is threatened by the Orgre wars, so she suggests they enlist the help of Rumplestiltskin (a.k.a. The Beast). But as we know by now, every favor comes with a price when dealing with this guy, so he agrees to help on one condition: he must have Belle. He wants her to be the caretaker for his rather large estate, however, the downside is she must never see her family and friends again. And since Belle doesn't want to see her father's town made into Ogre stew, she willingly sacrifices her freedom and agrees to go with Rumple forever.

But as you would suspect, thanks to Belle's beauty and kindness, Rumple takes a liking to her. They have a few sentimental moments together, including when she accidentally chips his cup - Disney reference you guys! And when Gaston, her former betrothed, comes knocking on the door to free her from her lifetime sentence with the beast, Rumple turns him into a beautiful red rose and gives it to Belle as a gift. But Rumple remains uncertain of Belle's true feelings, so he makes another deal with her as a test. If she goes into town to fetch some straw and comes back, then he'll gladly share a story with her about his long, lost son -- something she had asked him about in the past. Belle, of course, is surprised that he trusts her enough to come back, but really he doesn't believe she will return at all now that she's able to leave.

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"I'll get it when I find him." -Emma

"Not if I find him first." - Mr. Gold

In Storybrooke, we find Mr. Gold in a heated discussion with a flower delivery guy, Mr. French (Belle's fairytale father). Apparently, he owes Mr. Gold some money, which he still is unable to payoff, so as punishment Mr. Gold takes his flower van away from him. It's the perfect way to make his business suffer (and on Valentine's Day too). When Mr. Gold returns home, he discovers that his house has been broken into and automatically thinks Mr. French is the culprit. Upon hearing about the robbery Emma heads over to Gold's house and promises to investigate. Shortly after, she returns with all of his possessions still in tact, though she has yet to actually find Mr. French himself. But after discovering that one item is missing, Gold sets out to take matters into his own hands and track down the thief.

And track him down he does, taking him to a secluded area bound and gagged. First he demands to know where the unknown object is and who told him to take it. However, Gold lets his anger get the best of him and he starting beating the man, saying how "she" is never coming back and that it's all his fault. Now, since this guy is the same man who was Belle's father in the fairytale world, we can safely assume he's referring to Belle in his little rampage. But after a couple minutes of significant beating and yelling, Emma shows up and stops him. Knowing that his violent reaction was about more than just his stolen possessions, she demands to know what's really going on. When he doesn't comply, she arrests him (and we all know this guy doesn't take well to being behind bars).

"True love's kiss will break any curse." - The Queen

Back in the fairytale world, Belle runs into the Queen on her way into town and the two of them get to talking. It's then that Belle reveals that she's in love with someone (Rumplestiltskin), but feels that something evil has taken root within him and she can't seem to find a way to change it. However, the Queen proposes a solution, guaranteeing that true love's kiss would be able to break any curse that may be hidden within him. So, if he really does love her, then he'll become a man once again.

Thrilled by this new information, Belle returns to the beast's house and kisses him. Sure enough, his appearance begins to change, but when she excitedly announces that he's becoming human again, he stops kissing her, stopping the transformation from being permanent. He's immediately angry and assumes Belle is working with the Queen to help make him weaker than the Queen. Feeling tricked and betrayed, he locks her away. Later, he releases her and tells her to leave his sight forever. But before she goes, she calls him a coward for not taking a chance for love, and coldly responds that he isn't a coward, his powers just mean more to him than she does. But Belle's not buying it and says that he just doesn't think she actually loves him, but he'll regret this decision eventually. She then departs from him, saying, "All you'll have is an empty heart and a chipped cup."

Some time afterward, the Queen pays Rumple a visit and reveals to him that a tragedy had befallen his beloved Belle (since it's clear he still has deep feelings for her). Evidently, after she returned home, her father shunned her, thinking that she had something to do with Gaston's disappearance since she's associated with the beast. He locked her in a tower and tortured her for information until she threw herself off the tower and died. Obviously, this devastates poor Rumple, who then brings out the chipped cup and cries over the loss of his one true love.

"If you want me to return what's yours, tell me your name." - The Mayor

Back in Storybrooke, the Mayor lets Emma take Henry out for ice cream so she can talk with Mr. Gold privately - and I'm a little surprised Emma allowed to happen. During their alone time, we learn that it was Regina who told Mr. French to steal this mysterious possession from Gold's house and she just happens to have it with her, which means there's a new deal to be made. She promises to return his coveted object if he answers one question: what is his name? Of course, at first he plays coy, pretending not to understand what she really means, but after some coaxing he reveals that his name is Rumplestiltskin and even calls her "Your Majesty." This was pretty exciting since this is the first time anyone in Storybrooke has voiced their knowledge of their fairytale existence. So, keeping her word, she turns Gold's missing object: the chipped cup that Belle had accidentally broken, thus revealing that, even now, he still loves her.

But this wouldn't be a true Once story without a unique twist. The Mayor then goes to visit what looks like a dungeon portion of a mental institution, which is where we find Belle still alive and locked up in one of the rooms. Looks like the Queen wasn't totally honest with Rumple when she recounted Belle's tragic fate (although I'm not sure why he was so quick to believe her in the first place). It looks like we haven't seen the end of this love story after all.

So what did you think of tonight's episode? Do you feel anymore remorse for Rumple now that you know more of his back story? Were you surprised to find out that Belle is still alive? Let me know in the comments below or find me on Twitter @KellyBean0415.
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