Once Upon a Time – S01E12 – “Skin Deep”
Another classic fairytale gets the spin treatment as Princess Belle willing goes into the service of Rumplestiltskin in exchange for her kingdom’s safety. A refreshingly excellent episode amongst a string of ever degrading fare, “Skin Deep” proves that Rumple/Mr Gold is the most interesting character in the whole show. If they had ditched the lame B-plot and focused more on the Rumple/Belle relationship then this could have been a Five Star episode.
Score: 4 of 5
It’s official, I’m a Rumple/Belle shipper, or as I’m calling it, a Rumelle. Being that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale, “Skin Deep” had to go a long way to impress me, and it did.
First up, they changed Belle into a princess since obviously she wasn’t going to marry into royalty with Rumple as the Beast. And she’s the one to make the choice to be traded to Rumple in exchange for her kingdom’s protection against Ogres. Belle was always the Disney Princess with the most strength and gumption and Emily de Ravin pulled this off better than could be expected. Especially when she comments that she went with Rumple because it was the “brave thing to do” and didn’t fancy a life with the brainless Gaston. This helps to soften the Munchausen Syndrome prevalent in the Beauty and the Beast story.
The episode does skip through much of the romancing side of the story, taking the stance that everyone already knows what’s going to happen anyway. It would have been better if they dropped the lame Valentine’s Day subplot and spent that time on Rumelle. At least we get a ‘time has passed, been able to get to know a lot about you’ throwaway line to explain Belle’s true love in Rumple. (See writer’s, it’s not so hard!)
The loveliest part of “Skin Deep” was the tea cup. In the animated Disney Beauty and the Best one of the most beloved original characters was Chip, the chipped tea cup. Here, Belle drops a cup and chips it on her first day after Rumple gives her a fright. This worries her as she hasn’t quite figured out Rumple isn’t all that bad, and it becomes the only thing Belle physically brings to the relationship. Rumple becomes sentimental over it when he believes she is dead. (Personally, I think Rumple was too quick to trust Evil Queen but hey, it made for a good scene).
The most engaging scene was Regina confronting Mr Gold as he sets in prison in a wonderful call back to the first episode. It’s confirmed that Mr Gold remembers being Rumple and that there is some kind of power play going on. Both of the characters have an end game, but what exactly is it? Regina seems more transparent but Rumple, well, all magic does come with a price.
However, this episode is drug down by a horribly lame B-plot where real life Snow, Cinderella and Red Riding Hood go out on Valentine’s Day as a girl’s night out. Cinderella does nothing but whine and David gives Mary the wrong Valentine’s card. Total waste of screen time.
A good episode among crap ones, I have a feeling next week won’t be any better. Let’s hope for more Rumelle in the future.