Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
5 user 2 critic

Skin Deep 

Emma suspects Gold is planning vigilante justice when his house is robbed, as flashbacks show when Belle made a deal with Rumplestiltskin.


Milan Cheylov


Edward Kitsis (created by), Adam Horowitz (created by) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Mary Margaret Blanchard
Jennifer Morrison ... Emma Swan
Lana Parrilla ... Regina Mills / Evil Queen
Josh Dallas ... David Nolan
Jared Gilmore ... Henry Mills (as Jared S. Gilmore)
Raphael Sbarge ... Dr. Archie Hopper (credit only)
Robert Carlyle ... Rumplestiltskin / Mr. Gold
Emilie de Ravin ... Belle / Belle French (as Emilie De Ravin)
Tim Phillipps ... Sean Herman
Jessy Schram ... Ashley Boyd
Beverley Elliott ... Granny Lucas
Eric Keenleyside ... Sir Maurice / Moe French
Meghan Ory ... Ruby Lucas
Sage Brocklebank ... Sir Gaston
John DeSantis ... The Dove


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. Written by ABC Publicity

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The book Mary Margaret and David both read while they both sit in Grannys is Anna Karenina. See more »


In Once Upon a Time: The Price of Gold, it is established that Ashley is 19; however, in this episode she is drinking at a bar (21 in Maine, just like the rest of the U.S.). This may also be true for Ruby, who looks young, though her age has only been previously established to be 17+ since she serves liquor in a restaurant. See more »


Rumplestiltskin: You will serve me my meals, and you will clean The Dark Castle.
Belle: I understand.
Rumplestiltskin: You will dust my collection and launder my clothing.
Belle: Yes.
Rumplestiltskin: You will fetch me fresh straw when I'm spinning at the wheel.
Belle: Got it.
Rumplestiltskin: Oh. And you will skin the children I hunt for their pelts.
[Belle drops a dish]
Rumplestiltskin: That one was a quip.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening sequence shows Rumplestiltskin's spinning wheel. See more »


References Beauty and the Beast (1991) See more »

User Reviews

Belle and Rumpelstiltskin
7 December 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When 'Once Upon a Time' first started it was highly addictive and made the most of a truly great and creative premise. Really loved the idea of turning familiar fairy tales on their heads and putting own interpretations on them and the show early on clearly had clearly had a ball. Watched it without fail every time it came on and it was often a highlight of the week. Which was why it was sad when it ran out of ideas and lost its magic in the later seasons.

Like "7:15 A.M" saw Season 1 back on track after stumbling a little with "True North", "Skin Deep" is on near-top form in one of its best episodes after "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" underwhelmed a little. The David and Mary Margaret subplot didn't add as much as it could have done and didn't go very far. The writing and character detail however has come on such a long way since 'Once Upon a Time' first started and this is one of Season 1's better examples.

Belle and Rumpelstiltskin's chemistry is done beautifully, not fully developed perhaps but it didn't feel too rushed, nor did it feel cold. This is helped by storytelling that's charming, witty, harrowing and poignant and by the character writing for Rumpelstiltskin, who warms the heart as well as darkens it (the most interesting he's been of the season up to this point). Belle is written charmingly.

"Skin Deep" is a very handsomely mounted episode, settings and costumes that are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie-cutter. The special effects, after being pretty bad in a couple of episodes like "True North", are superior here. It is photographed beautifully and there were some make-up that suited the characters perfectly. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable main theme.

The writing is humorous, very touching and has a lot of character nuance and great one-liners from particularly Rumpelstiltskin. Likewise with the storytelling, where the real world and fantasy world parallel is adeptly handled.

Robert Carlyle takes the acting honours here, a fun, dark yet oddly charming characterisation.

Overall, great episode and one of the better ones to me of the first season. 9/10 Bethany Cox

1 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 5 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

12 February 2012 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed