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'Once Upon A Time' Recap: 'Skin Deep'

February 14th, 2012 9:06am EST | Melanie Linn Gutowski By: Melanie Linn Gutowski

Once Upon a Time - BelleIn this episode, we meet Belle and her father, and learn more details about the Evil Queen's entanglement with Rumpelstiltskin.

Author’s note: Lines between paragraphs indicate scene changes between Fairy Tale Land and Storybrooke/present day.

In Fairy Tale Land, a king receives bad news: his kingdom is succumbing to war. All seems lost, when Rumpelstiltskin arrives, having been summoned by the king; he promises to help them, for a price. He refuses the king's offer of gold in favor of taking his daughter, Belle, as a housekeeper. The king refuses, but Belle agrees to go with him ("No one decides my fate but me!"). Her father pleads with her not to go with the "beast," but the deal has already been made.
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In Storybrooke, Mr. French, the florist, watches helplessly as Mr. Gold repossesses the truck he uses for his business (awesomely named "Game of Thorns"). It's just before Valentine's Day, and he's set to lose a substantial profit. Gold drives off with his truck and the unsold stock.

At Granny's Diner, Mary Margaret and David read the same book at different tables, insisting that they're not "there together." Emma arrives and shortly after, so does Ashley, saying that she and her boyfriend haven't had a chance to actually get married since their baby was born. Ruby comes over to refill their cups, and suggests a girls' night out for the four of them. Emma bows out, but urges the others to go without her. Just then, Emma receives a text from the station and leaves.

At an ornate old home on a hill above Storybrooke, Mr. Gold opens the door cautiously. He retrieves a pistol from the hall table and proceeds slowly into what is clearly a ransacked home. As he surveys the damage, Emma arrives and confronts him, gun at the ready. She says neighbors saw the front door open and alerted the police. Gold says he was robbed
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Belle waits on Rumpelstiltskin, serving him tea as he goes over her new duties with her. She accidentally drops a cup, chipping it. Rumpelstiltskin tells her it's only a cup and not to worry about it.
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Gold insists to Emma that she drop the case; he knows who was responsible for the crime. Emma tells him if he doesn't cooperate and tell her what he knows, she'll charge him with obstruction of justice. He tells her that it was Mr. French, who defaulted on his loan, and had a disagreement with Gold several days before over collateral.
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Belle, attempting to remove the heavy draperies from the windows, falls off a ladder and is caught by Rumpelstiltskin. He is clearly taken with her.
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At the sheriff's office, Emma shows Gold the stolen items she's recovered, but he is unimpressed: there was something much more important that she failed to find.
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In the now brighter room, Belle asks Rumpelstiltskin why he wanted her there. He claims the place was "filthy," but Belle thinks he was only. She says she's noticed child-sized clothing in one of the upstairs rooms, and asks if there was a son at one point. Rumpelstiltskin says that yes, there was a son, but he lost him, and his mother. Belle realizes that Rumpelstiltskin was once a real man.

Just then, there's a knock at the door: it's sir Gaston, Belle's betrothed. Rumpelstiltskin turns him into a cut red rose and presents it to Belle. He asks her what made her choose to come with him, and she says she wanted an opportunity to be a brave hero and see the world. Rumpelstiltskin asks about her betrothed, and Belle admits to never having cared about Gaston; it was an arranged marriage. She tells Rumpelstiltskin that love is layered and a mystery to be uncovered, and Gaston was too superficial for her. She asks again about his son, and Rumpelstiltskin tells her to go into town and fetch him some straw, and when she returns, he'll tell her about his son. Confused, Belle asks if he means for her to come back; he expects never to see her again.
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It's girls' night at the bar, and Ruby has a great time while Mary Margaret and Ashley commiserate on how they thought love would be different.

At the drugstore, David buys two valentines while Mr. Gold buys duct tape and rope (dun dun da). We later see Gold driving down the street in the florist truck while Mr. French lies gagged and bound in the back. Gold drives French to the cabin in the woods and forces him inside at gunpoint.
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On her way into town, Belle is accosted by the Evil Queen's carriage. She gets out to walk with Belle, and finds out that Belle may be in love with her employer, and that her employer may be cursed. She advises Belle that true love's kiss can break any curse, and the fact that he let her go proves he loves her.

Rumpelstiltskin waits alone at the window for Belle to return. When she does, he pretends to have been spinning the entire time. Belle asks him to keep his promise and tell her about his son. He says there's nothing more to tell, and Belle asks if he has loved or been loved since he lost his son. She admits that she wasn't going to return, but something changed her mind. They share a kiss, and Belle is delighted to notice that Rumpelstiltskin is changing back into a real man. Rumpelstiltskin is furious and surmises that the Evil Queen was behind the tactic and then assumes that Belle had been working with the Evil Queen to weaken him. He locks Belle in the dungeon.
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Mr. Gold demands that Mr. French tell him the location of a mystery object and who told him to take it. French assumes he means the truck, and Gold begins to hit him, saying that he "hurt her, and she's never coming back." Emma bursts in and stops the assault.
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Rumpelstiltskin vandalizes his home in a fury, smashing cabinets, trinkets and household goods. As he throws a tea set into the fire, he comes across the cup that Belle had chipped. He sets it aside.
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At the bar, Ashley tells Mary Margaret that her boyfriend is never around, and she doesn't see the point in being together if they're not really together. Just then, he walks in during a break in his shift and stages a surprise proposal. Ashley accepts, and as they head out together, Mary Margaret does, too. David finds her on the street and asks how her evening was. He hands her a valentine, but it turns out to be the one he picked out and wrote to Kathryn. Embarrassed, David hands her the one really meant for her. Mary Margaret says he should go home to Kathryn. He says he won't give up, he'll find a way for them to be together.

As paramedics load Mr. French into an ambulance, Emma confronts Gold. She wants to know who the girl was that Gold was talking about as he assaulted French. Gold tries to leave, but Emma places him under arrest.
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Rumpelstiltskin releases Belle, telling her to leave and that h doesn't want her anymore. Angry, she tells him that he could have had happiness if he'd believed someone could love him. She calls him a coward, but he says his power means more to him than she does. Belle doesn't believe him, and tells him that all he'll be left with is an empty heart and a chipped cup.
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At the police station, Mr. Gold sits in a cell when Regina comes in with Henry, saying he'll give Henry and Emma thirty minutes alone together. Emma takes her up on it, though she thinks it's strange. It's Regina's way of getting time alone with Gold: she has what he wants. Gold realizes that Regina put French up to the robbery and told him what to take. In exchange for what Gold wants, Regina asks to know his name. Gold is evasive, but Regina demands to know his real name, the one he uses even outside of Storybrooke. He tells her: Rumpelstiltskin. Regina hands over the thing he wanted so badly: the chipped teacup. He thanks her, calling her "Your Majesty." Gold insists that nothing between him and Regina will change: he'll still have the power when he gets out of jail. Regina isn't so sure.
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The Evil Queen visits Rumpelstiltskin to discuss a deal, but he says he isn't making deals that day. He tells her her attempt to weaken him didn't work, and would never work. She mentions a tragedy in connection with Belle, and tells Rumpelstiltskin that once she got home and Sir Gaston was gone, her father disowned her because she'd been living with Rumpelstiltskin unmarried. The Queen says the king had her tortured and eventually threw herself off the tower and died. Rumpelstiltskin doesn't believe her, and throws her out. After she leaves, Rumpelstiltskin retrieves the chipped cup from his cabinet and places it on a pedestal.
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Regina arrives in the hospital and punches in the access code to the closed ward. A nurse assures Regina that no one has been to see the patient; no one ever has. She proceeds down a hall to a basement isolation cell, where a girl looking exactly like Belle sits, sullen and forlorn.

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Photo Credits: Photo Credits: © American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.


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