Monday, February 13, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 12)

This week's episode of Once Upon A Time was entitled "Skin Deep", written by Jane Espenson of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

A burglar has robbed Mr. Gold's house, and sheriff Emma is concerned that the businessman will attempt to seek vigilante justice. Meanwhile, Mary Margaret plans a Valentine's Day night out for the girls with Ruby and Ashley.

In the land of Fairytales, we learn the story of Belle which includes a fateful deal with Rumpelstiltskin.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

On the Fairytale side, a king sends for Rumpelstiltskin to help them be protected from the Ogres. The crafty dealer will protect them, but his price is the young Belle. Her fiancee Gaston protests. Belle agrees to go under her own according. (I like how her dress suddenly gets a gold tint when in close proximity to Rumpelstiltskin.)

Belle (now wearing the other signature Disney outfit of white and blue) is to remain at his castle, to clean and cook. When Rumpelstiltskin jokes about her having to skin children, she drops a tea cup and a piece falls out(a nod to Disney's animated feature as that would be "Chip"). He is not angered. She finds out he spins straw to gold in order to forget the son he lost. Belle says she does not see him as a monster at all.

A knock on the door pauses the conversation. It is Gaston there to slay the beast. Poof. Rumpelstiltskin turns him into a rose that he then presents to Belle. He asks about the fiancee; she explains it was an arranged marriage and she never loved him. She would rather give her heart willingly.

Rumpelstiltskin lets her leave the castle to go to town for straw. He expects she will not return. She does not plan to until she runs into Queen Regina who fills her head with how loves true kiss can break any curse.

Belle returns to the castle and kisses Rumpelstiltskin. He feels his power weaken briefly. Angered, he uncovers the mirrors and rants at them. He wasn't covering them to avoid looking at himself; he was covering them to prevent Regina from spying on him. He goes on a destructive rant, breaking things. But not the chipped cup. No, that is precious. He instead sends Belle away, stating his power means more to him than she does. She says he'll regret doing so.

Regina visits Rumpelstiltskin as she needs help with a mermaid. He says they are done. She tells him how Belle returned home only to have her father lock her up to try and cleanse her. She tells him that Belle committed suicide. Alone, he shows remorse and puts the cup in a place of honor.

Over on the Storybrooke side, Mr. Gold repossesses florist Mr. French's van for not paying his loan. Regina wants to talk to Gold, but he uses his "please" power to dismiss her. That does not sit well with her at all.

Ashley agrees to go out with Ruby and Mary-Margaret since Sean has to work on Valentine's Day. He works a lot.

Emma is called to investigate a break in at Gold's home. Someone stole things and he wants them back. She says she'll get whoever did it. Gold suggests she investigate French. She recovers most of the stolen goods except for one item.

Gold takes the law into his own hands, kidnaps French and takes him to the cabin in the woods. He wants to know where the item is and who put him up to it? French does not give the right answer, so Gold begins to beat him. Emma arrives in time to prevent him from killing the florist. She does overhear Gold talking about "her" (French's daughter).

At the night out, Ruby goes to flirt with guys. Ashley is sad until Sean arrives on his break and proposes. This gives Mary-Margaret hope. When she heads outside, she runs into David. He offers her a card, but it is the one he bought for his wife. Mary-Margaret suggests that this isn't working for them.

Emma ends up arresting Gold and locks him up. She reminds him of the favor she owes him and offers half a sandwich. He scoffs. Regina shows up with Henry and tells Emma to take him for a half hour. The sheriff leaves the mayor alone with the prisoner which is what Regina wanted.

Regina wants to deal with Gold. He knows she sent French to his house and wants to know if she has what was taken. She does. Her price? "What is your name?" He plays innocent and avoids the response, but she is persistant. He tells her "Rumpelstiltskin". This startles her a bit, but she gives him back his cup just the same. He calls her "your majesty". So now they both know that the other knows. Clearly a showdown is to come.

In the final scene, Regina goes to the hospital and enters a code to enter a hidden basement wing. Turns out there is a mental hospital down there. She gives the head nurse a rose and goes to visit one patient. Opening the little window, Regina looks inside and checks on a very confused girl. Belle! The evil queen still has something that Rumpelstiltskin will want.

Wow! I loved the episode. Totally blown away by the plot advances as the writers continue to take the show to the next level. Yes, we continue to get a lot little nods to the Disney versions but they are done more as Easter eggs and not major plot influences. I like that.

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