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Skin Deep (Once Upon a Time)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Skin Deep"
Once Upon a Time episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 12
Directed by Milan Cheylov
Story by Jane Espenson
Original air date February 12, 2012
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Fruit of the Poisonous Tree"
Next →
"What Happened to Frederick"
Once Upon a Time (season 1)
List of Once Upon a Time episodes

"Skin Deep" is the twelfth episode of the American fairy tale/drama television series Once Upon a Time. The series takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, in which the residents are actually characters from various fairy tales that were transported to the "real world" town by a powerful curse. In this episode, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) suspects Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) is planning to seek vigilante justice when a cat burglar (Eric Keenleyside) robs his house. Meanwhile, Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) plans a special girls' night out on Valentine's Day with Ruby (Meghan Ory) and Ashley (Jessy Schram), and a fateful deal made between Rumpelstiltskin (Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) is revealed – in which she gives up her freedom to save her village from the horrors of the Ogre Wars.

The episode was written by consulting producer Jane Espenson and directed by Milan Cheylov. It featured the first appearance of de Ravin, who was cast as Belle in November 2011 after being approached by series co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Espenson created a love-themed episode; initially its main theme was to focus on Rumpelstiltskin choosing power over love, but during the writing process Espenson decided to make him instead believe that he was not worthy of love at all.

"Skin Deep" first aired in the United States on ABC on February 12, 2012. A novelization of "Skin Deep" was released in 2013.

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>>DAVID WILCOCK: We are interviewing a truly remarkable man, Corey Goode, age 45, originally from Texas. And you still live in Texas actually. And what he has done here is to come forward as an insider and share with me more information about what's really going on behind the scenes in the so-called secret government and secret military programs and their development and industrialization of our solar system. It's a truly remarkable story, because I've interviewed dozens of insiders over the years with classification sometimes 35 levels above the President of United States. I've withheld about 90% of that information from the public, because A, it could get people killed, B, I didn't want to release things that would then spoil me being able to figure out who the real insiders were. Corey came along, and he not only knew the 90%, he had many other puzzle pieces that I had been looking for. I knew there was something that people weren't telling me, and it all came together. So Corey, welcome to the show. Thank you for being here. >>COREY GOODE: Thank you. >>DAVID: I understand that what you're about to tell us is so far out that people are going to have a really hard time accepting this, particularly if they don't already have a background in this. So instead of trying to hold them by the hand and take this slowly, let's just dive right in. And if you could really quickly give us an overview of your involvement with what this whole space program subject has been in your life. >>GOODE: OK. For me, it started at the age of six years old when I was brought into what is known as the MILAB, some pronounced it MILAB programs. I was identified as an intuitive empath. >>DAVID: What does that mean exactly? >>GOODE: Intuitive, you have a deep intuition of things that are possibly about to happen. >>DAVID: So like psychic ability? >>GOODE: Yeah, precognitive abilities. And empathic being you have a strong emotional connection with others around you. You can feel what they're feeling and connect with them emotionally. That was a skill set that was desired. And I was trained, and that was enhanced. And it was enhanced to a point where I was around 12 or 13 years old, me and a few of the people that I was training with being brought into a program to we were what they called IE support for the Earth delegation in a super federation. And this was a federation of a large amount of ET federations that met to discuss the grand experiment. >>DAVID: What was this experiment? What were these ETs doing? >>GOODE: There was a group of 40 human looking ETs that were pretty much always present, and up to 60 at other times that were present. There were 22 genetic programs that were going on. >>DAVID: What does that mean? What's a genetic program? >>GOODE: Programs of them mixing their genetics and manipulating our genetics. >>DAVID: That was ongoing? >>GOODE: Yes, it's ongoing right now. And this is what this was all about. And the earth delegates had been trying to become a part of this for a long time. And they were finally able to get a seat. And as the intuitive empaths, when we were sitting there, we didn't know what was going on. Because a lot of what was going on was happening in this ancient ET language that's real monotone that we didn't understand. And some of what was going on was going on telepathically. So we were just sitting there, and we were given this device that was a glass smart pad-- that's like an iPad-- that had access to the ET, basically, database. And we were told to keep our minds occupied by looking through all this material, and this also helped us with our intuitive empath abilities in detecting danger or deception. >>DAVID: What kind of stuff were you able to look at on these pads? >>GOODE: It was mainly they wanted us looking at the information about these 22 genetic experiments that were going on, but we had access to all types of other information. And depending on each of us-- we all had own interests-- we would look at all kinds of information. And there's so much information that I looked at, it's almost like looking back at your college days, all the books that you read and all the information you looked at. How much of it do you retain? Like that. There was just so much information. >>DAVID: Did you ever have a question that you asked that you couldn't get the answer to, where it just says, I don't know? >>GOODE: No. I mean, you were pretty much given the information that was available. You would run across certain things that the human delegation, our group, we're not privy to. But pretty much all of the information was open to us. >>DAVID: What did the screen look like? Was it similar to an iPad or? >>GOODE: No, it was just-- it looked almost like a piece of Plexiglas. Unremarkable if you saw it. If they would have dropped it out of the window, and you found it in a field, you'd pick it up, and you would not know it was anything special. You would put it on your hand, and you would have to activate it with a mental component. And it would pop up in your language. The information, you would access the database through your mind, and it would show what you wanted. It would show text, pictures, video, and the video and pictures were holographic in a way that it came off the screen a little bit. I mean, it didn't totally come out of the screen in holographic ways some people would think. But it had just this 3D depth holographic view to it. >>DAVID: And could you still see your hand at that point underneath the glass? >>GOODE: No. >>DAVID: So it would darken first? >>GOODE: Right. Yeah, it would totally go opaque, or black, or whatever before it started to produce images or text. >>DAVID: Did they have any buffers or security firewalls-- if you ask certain questions, it tells you it's unauthorized or anything like that? >>GOODE: Well like I said, very, very seldom did you get a screen that was all blue or something that showed that you couldn't get to. But pretty much everything was open, and we had these same devices on the research vessel that gave us access to our own databases. >>DAVID: So this is a prevalent technology once you get out of the space program. >>GOODE: Yes, and they have much larger screens that they use for conferences and demonstrations. >>DAVID: Well, obviously you encountered so much information on these pads. Was there any information that jumped out at you as being really significant that really shocked you, even from what you had already learned by that point? >>GOODE: It was really interesting that there were-- the information was presented almost as if-- going back to the college analogy-- there were 22 term papers competing with each other, and each of these genetic experiment programs were presenting their information in that manner. They were somewhat competing with each other. They weren't all working-- they weren't all hand in glove working together. >>DAVID: Did this involve these human looking extraterrestrials-- >>GOODE: Yes. >>DAVID: --splicing their DNA with ours, that kind of thing? >>GOODE: Yes, and manipulating our DNA. There was also a spiritual component. They are very much involved in a part of the experiment. It's not just them experimenting on us. They're a part of this grand experiment too. >>DAVID: Did they have a goal? Why are they doing this? Why do they care? >>GOODE: That I do not know. I don't know if they're doing it just because they can, if they're trying to create some sort of super being. But a lot of it didn't-- why would they try to mix all of their best genetics together, and then manipulate us and our civilization to keep us down? >>DAVID: How long do you think this program has been in action for? >>GOODE: Of the 22 different programs, they've been going on for different lengths of time. But the genetic manipulation of what we are has been going back at least 250,000 years. >>DAVID: Wow. >>GOODE: But these programs, they vary in their length from 5,000 going-- they're all different lengths of time. >>DAVID: This doesn't sound like something that our secret Earth government or elected government would want these folks to be doing. Could we stop them? >>GOODE: I don't think so. I mean, this is something that we've just recently been able to beg to get a seat at their table, to be a part of the discussion. >>DAVID: So would these be negative oriented extraterrestrials, or more neutral, not really the benevolent type? >>GOODE: It depends on your point of view. It's all amount of-- it's perspective. It's hard to say, this group is positive, this group is negative out of all those groups. Because they see what they're doing as a positive thing. >>DAVID: You mentioned on your website something called LOC. Could you tell us what that is? >>GOODE: The Lunar Operation Command is a facility on the backside of the moon that is a diplomatic neutral facility that all the different space programs have access to and use. There's some people that are stationed there and work there, but it's more of a weigh station. People are coming and going from it all the time to go to their further out into the solar system and beyond to go out to the other stations, other bases to go up to their assigned vessels. >>DAVID: Walk us through your actual story arc of how you go from your house and eventually end up on this research vessel out in our solar system, just a brief overview of what that was like. >>GOODE: I was transported from my house in the middle of the night by conventional means to Carswell Air Force Base. Underneath Carswell Air Force Base in a secret area of the base there's an elevator that takes you very far down. And many people know about the tram system that runs underneath the United States. >>DAVID: I've heard insiders call it sub shuttle. >>GOODE: So a shuttle system. It's like a mono rail going through a tube, and it's like a Maglev and also in a vacuum tube. I was transported from there to another location to where I was transported to the LOC through what some call "Stargate" type technology or portal technology. I ended up at the LOC, or Lunar Operation Command. And I was then put onto this manta looking craft. >>DAVID: Like a stingray shape? >>GOODE: Yeah, like a stingray or a manta ray looking craft. And with a bunch of other people. And then we were transported from the moon further out into the solar system. >>DAVID: So there was some sort of hangar at the Lunar Operations Command. >>GOODE: Yes, there's a series of hangers. This was the larger hangar. >>DAVID: OK, how big is this manta craft for conventional measurements? >>GOODE: About 600 people could fly in it. >>DAVID: Wow, so it's pretty large. >>GOODE: Yeah, it flew us to our destination. >>DAVID: How long were you at the LOC before you boarded the manta craft. >>GOODE: It wasn't long at all. There was-- that's where I signed papers, even though I was too young to legally sign legal papers. And it was explained to me that I was doing a 20 year commitment. They called it the 20 and back. >>DAVID: Did it look like some futuristic set off "Star Trek, Next Generation" when you're in there? What did it look like? >>GOODE: Just mainly real narrow halls and regular looking doors, but it was nothing-- it didn't have like Star Trek doors that swish, swish closed. It wasn't really super advanced in that way. >>DAVID: So if you filmed the inside of it, you could easily convince somebody that it was just a building here. >>GOODE: Oh yeah, definitely. >>DAVID: What did the hangar look like? Did the hanger look anything special? >>GOODE: The hangar looked very much like a Naval facility, like a mixture of a Naval submarine and aircraft hangar facility. >>DAVID: Once you got inside the manta, how long were you flying for? >>GOODE: Maybe 30, 40 minutes. >>DAVID: And what was the next thing that happened? >>GOODE: Next thing that happened was that I got to see the research vessel that I was going to be assigned to for the first time. >>DAVID: How long were you on this space vessel for? >>GOODE: I was assigned to the research vessel for six years. >>DAVID: And you said that the whole term of service was 20 years? >>GOODE: Yes. >>DAVID: Is there a reason why they only kept you on the research vessel for six years? >>GOODE: The intuitive empath skill set was needed in other programs, so I was moved through multiple programs for the remainder of the 20 years. >>DAVID: Could you give us an example of one of these programs? >>GOODE: One example would be the Intruder Intercept And Interrogation program. >>DAVID: What defines an intruder? >>GOODE: Someone that's coming into the solar system or into the Earth's atmosphere uninvited, or without permission. >>DAVID: And you would actually be able to apprehend these folks and ask them questions? >>GOODE: There was a team that was a part of that program that would do that. I was present during the interrogation as an intuitive empath. >>DAVID: And as you said before, you're trying to detect deception? >>GOODE: Right, somewhat. Sometimes when you communicate with these other beings it's called interfacing. Sometimes I was needed to interface, and sometimes I was there just to read them, read their emotions, and to see if they were being truthful, like a human lie detector. >>DAVID: And consciousness works enough the same way that you can read extraterrestrials and it works the same as if it's a human more or less? >>GOODE: Definitely. >>DAVID: So you left the program after the 20 years of service. >>GOODE: Other than some follow up work that they had me do, I pretty much ended my tenure. >>DAVID: On your website, you've mentioned that there are five factions within the secret space program. Could you quickly delineate for us what those five factions are and just a little bit about what each one is like that makes them different from the others? >>GOODE: Sure. I'll start with the oldest, which is Solar Warden. They were started back in the late '70s, '80s, during the SDI, Strategic Defense Initiative-- I think is what that stood for-- just before and after Reagan. And then we have the ICC, the Interplanetary Corporate Conglomerate, which is corporations all over the world that have representatives in a super corporate board that control the secret space program infrastructure that they have out in space, which is massive. We have Dark Fleet, which is a very secretive fleet that works mainly in the outside of the solar system. We have various Black Ops military secret space programs that we put into one group. And then we have this Global Galactic League Of Nations group that was somewhat of a carrot that was offered to all the other nations to have them maintain this veil of secrecy about what was going on in outer space by giving them a space program and giving them a narrative of there's certain threats, or possible invasions. We need to come together and work together. And at the one facility that I visited a couple times, it looked very much like the TV show "Stargate Atlantis" where you had a real laid back environment, people walking around in jump suits with patches from all different countries of the world. They are almost completely outside of the solar system, as well. >>DAVID: You mentioned the term the alliance a lot, and I think there might be some confusion there. >>GOODE: There was the Earth Alliance. They have a completely different agenda. Their agenda is to basically create a new financial system and to take down the cabal and a few other things in their agenda. And then there's the Space Alliance, and it's made up of what started off with as mainly the Solar Warden faction and then defectors from the other secret space programs. And these defectors from the other space programs left their programs with their craft, and intelligence, and information and joined the secret space program alliance. >>DAVID: What's the sequence of events that led to you becoming a whistle blower and that has led to what we're now seeing with this push towards disclosure? >>GOODE: I was contacted by an actual higher density ET group that has now been known as the Blue Avians. >>DAVID: And avian means bird? >>GOODE: Bird. >>DAVID: So what would these folks look like? >>GOODE: They're eight feet tall. They look very bird-like. They're blue to indigo in color with feathers. When >>DAVID: You say very bird like, though, are you saying they actually are birds with wings? >>GOODE: No wings. They have a very human looking torso, arms, hands-- >>DAVID: So they're hominid. >>GOODE: --feet. >>DAVID: It's like a bird head on a human body? >>GOODE: Yes, but they don't have a long beak like a lot of people are trying to depict on the internet. It's a real soft flexible beak, and when they speak, they do a sign language or motion with one hand. And then they move their mouth around, and they communicate telepathic. >>DAVID: So who are these Blue Avians? Where do they come from? Do they have an agenda? >>GOODE: The Blue Avians told me that them and the other beings that they are working with come from sixth through ninth density and that-- >>DAVID: And what is a density? >>GOODE: Everything around us is made up of matter, energy. Thought is all made of vibration. And it comes from a different vibration or frequency. >>DAVID: So it's like another plane of existence? >>GOODE: Right. >>DAVID: Is it somewhere else in the galaxy or the universe, or is it around us? >>GOODE: It's not in a far, far away planet close to the center of the galaxy or anything like that. It's all around us. It's real close and far away at the same time. >>DAVID: And what is their agenda? What are they here for? >>GOODE: They've been here for quite some time. They've been observing, but they're here for-- we're moving into a part of the galaxy that is a very high energetic part of the galaxy that's going to change the density of our solar system and our local star cluster. >>DAVID: Is that something that they've told you, or is that something that in the space program you had tangible evidence of? >>GOODE: We had tangible evidence of that in the space program. That's been studied for some time, but that's something they told me as well. >>DAVID: OK, and if we go into a different density, what are these Blue Avians telling you will happen to human life as we know it now? >>GOODE: That we're going to go through a transformational experience that is going to change us on a consciousness level mainly. >>DAVID: What would that look like? Would we become more psychic, more telepathic? >>GOODE: Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of theories. I haven't been told that we're going to be able to do this and that. I've heard a lot of different theories. I don't know if it's going to happen to everyone at once or if there's some people that are more spiritually evolved that are going to start showing these signs earlier. I don't have all the answers. I'm not a guru. I really don't have all the answers. >>DAVID: So are these Blue Avians looking out for our highest good, or do they have a hidden agenda? How do we know we can trust them? >>GOODE: They're definitely of a positive polarity. From what I understand of sixth and higher density beings, they're not agenda oriented as we try to project onto them. For our third, fourth density way of thinking, everything we do is agenda oriented. It's about making money. It's about manipulating people to do or think the way we think. We can't project that onto a higher density being and say that they're going to be behaving or thinking the same way. They are here with these giant spheres to help defuse these large tsunami energy waves that are entering our solar system, and they're defusing this energy to where we don't get too much at one time and to give us more time to prepare. >>DAVID: If they didn't use these spheres, what do they say would happen? >>GOODE: That a lot of people would go mad, and there'd be a lot of chaos. >>DAVID: And when you mention these spheres, what are we looking at? People are not seeing spheres in their telescopes. >>GOODE: No. These are also other density, and a lot of people are thinking that these are giant spacecraft. And I'm almost certain after my many travels in these spheres that these are spheres on a giant macro level. These little orbit beings are also these giant spheres. >>DAVID: What are the orb beings? >>GOODE: They're one of the five beings from the Sphere Alliance that are one of the higher density of the five beings. >>DAVID: So you've actually had in person meetings with these Blue Avians? >>GOODE: Yes. My name was mentioned as a choice, as a delegate, to be a part of communications between this group, the Secret Space Program Alliance Council, and also to start speaking on their behalf with this old super federation council that I had sat in as an intuitive empath support as a young teenager. I was trying to talk my way out of this delegate position. I'm not a public speaker. I have a weak voice. I was giving all of these excuses why I should not be a delegate. I was giving these excuses after I had been brought to one of these massive spheres that are out in space, and I met this Blue Avian named Raw-Tear-Eir. And as I was trying to talk my way out of being a delegate, he walked up very close to me, put his hand on my forearm, and was communicating to me telepathically that I need to let go of all the negative and quit thinking about the negative. And his hand was very powder soft on my skin. It's was the only time they physically touched me. And then he told me that what was important was the message. >>DAVID: What is their message? >>GOODE: Their message for humanity is that-- and it's the tenant of many religions-- we need to become more loving. We need to become forgiving of ourselves and forgiving of others, thus stopping the wheel of karma. We need to focus on becoming more service to others on a daily basis. And we need to focus on raising our vibration and our consciousness. >>DAVID: Well you see a lot of people who are aggressive commenters on articles saying that the elite want to steer us into a one world religion. How would we be able to know that this isn't just another PSYOP to try to get us all marching in lockstep with some new controllers? >>GOODE: Well that's what they said, and what I put on my web page is that you don't need to change your faith or your religion. You can use-- these beliefs are the tenants of all the major religions. I mean, this is not really anything new. The time is short. It needs to be done. We need to start focusing on-- if you're a Christian, if you're a Muslim, if you're a Buddhist, you can remain. That can remain your faith. >>DAVID: So they're not trying to pose as the new god? >>GOODE: Absolutely not. And one of the things that they have forced into my head is that I need to make sure that this does not become a cult or a religion. And I don't know the history of it, but apparently they've tried this three other times in the past. And each time their messages have been distorted, and humans have used it for control and turned it into cults and religions. >>DAVID: Well obviously we've just gotten started here. This is really fascinating information, and I just want to say on a personal level that it validates so many things I've been studying for so many years and done as much as I can to try to put scientific evidence behind. So we got a lot more to talk about. We're just getting started, but I'm really happy that you wanted to do this and come forward. And I honor you for your courage and bravery. I know you got two kids. You gave up a six figure job for this. So this is really a major thing for you to come forward, and I really appreciate it. So thank you Corey. >>GOODE: Thank you. >>DAVID: All right.



Opening sequence

A straw spinning wheel is shown in the forest.

Event chronology

  • The Storybrooke events of this episode occur immediately after the events of "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".
  • The Enchanted Forest events of this episode take place immediately after "Family Business", and also before and after the events of "Lacey".

In the Characters' Past

In The Enchanted Forest, the Ogre Wars continue but are not going well for the lands controlled by Sir Maurice (Eric Keenleyside). Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) arrives and agrees to aid the battle in exchange for Maurice's daughter, Belle (Emilie de Ravin) to be his servant. Belle's fiancée, Gaston (Sage Brocklebank), and her father are against the terms but Belle agrees. At his castle, Rumpelstiltskin gives Belle a list of tasks, including skinning the children that he hunts for their pelts. At this Belle drops and chips a teacup in shock, but he explains that it is a joke and doesn't mind about the chipped cup. As time goes by, Rumpelstiltskin and Belle develop a strong bond with each other. After a few months of living with him, Belle asks the dark one why she found children's clothing upstairs. Rumpelstiltskin tells her it belonged to his son whom he unfortunately lost along with his wife. Gaston arrives to take Belle back but Rumpelstiltskin turns him into a rose and presents it to her as a gift. When asked about Gaston, Belle says that it was an arranged marriage, not one of love. She left him because she wanted to be heroic and there are not many chances for women to be heroic. Rumpelstiltskin asks Belle to go into town to buy more straw, and she cannot believe he trusts her to come back. Rumpelstiltskin says he does not expect to see her again.

As Belle is walking down the road, she runs into The Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla), who asks her if she is running from someone. Belle admits the man she is leaving is overcome by evil yet she loves him. The Evil Queen offers the solution: true love's kiss will break the curse. Belle returns to Rumpelstiltskin's castle and the Dark one asks why she came back to him. She replies that she wasn't going to return but something changed her mind. After a moment of silence between the two, they both share true love's kiss, the magic starts to turn him back into an ordinary man, but he becomes furious and shakes off the magic, accusing Belle of conspiring with The Evil Queen. Rumpelstiltskin yells in a rage that no one will love him, and The Evil Queen will never take away his power. He throws Belle in his dungeon and smashes every cup against the wall but he cannot bring himself to destroy the chipped one. Once he has cooled off, he tells Belle to leave because his powers are more important to him than she is. Belle admonishes him for not believing she can love him. She warns him that he will regret his actions when all he has is an empty heart and a chipped cup.

A month later, The Evil Queen appears; Rumpelstiltskin says that her deception with Belle failed, and that The Evil Queen will never be more powerful than him. She then tells him that she had nothing to do with Belle's actions (even though she prodded her, Belle's feelings were real) and informs him that upon Belle's return to her home, she had been shunned by her village for her association with Rumpelstiltskin and Gaston's disappearance and was subsequently imprisoned and tortured by her father. She eventually killed herself, leaping off the tower she was kept prisoner in. Rumpelstiltskin is devastated and replaces a treasured gold chalice with the chipped cup and weeps over his loss.

In Storybrooke

In the present day, Mr. Gold (Carlyle) repossesses florist Moe French's (Keenleyside) van the day before Valentine's Day. At Granny's Cafe, David (Josh Dallas) and Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) talk from separate tables, until Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) interrupts to ask about Henry (Jared S. Gilmore). Ashley (Jessy Schram) arrives with her baby, noting how rarely she gets a babysitter or sees her boyfriend, Sean (Tim Phillipps). Ruby (Meghan Ory) suggests a girl's night out. Emma investigates a robbery of Mr. Gold's home, who says he knows that Moe is responsible, seeking revenge for the repossession. Emma recovers the majority of Mr. Gold's items but one thing is missing and he will stop at nothing until it is recovered. He kidnaps Moe, ties him up and beats him, demanding where it is. However, he soon starts saying "she's gone," referring to Belle, until Emma arrives to stop him. Mr. Gold believes Regina (Parrilla) put Moe up to the theft and she knows where the last stolen item is. Emma still has to arrest Mr. Gold for kidnapping and assault.

Elsewhere, during their girls night out, Ruby is trying to convince Ashley to find another guy since Sean is always working. Ashley tells Mary Margaret that all she wants is to be with Sean. Mary Margaret understands since her own romantic arrangement is not ideal. Sean shows up on a break from work and proposes to Ashley; she accepts and they go out for a drive. David shows up next to give Mary Margret her Valentine, but mistakenly gives her Kathryn's. Mary Margaret says she thought if two people were meant to be together they would find a way, but maybe she and David need another way. She tells him he should probably go home.

At the sheriff's office, Mr. Gold reminds Emma about the favor she owes him but he does not use it to ask for his freedom. Regina shows up and tells Emma that she can see Henry for only 30 minutes if she will allow her to visit Mr. Gold. He asks Regina if she has what he wants and she in fact does. Regina put Moe up to the robbery because she wants Mr. Gold to say his real name. After some prodding he admits his name is Rumpelstiltskin and addresses Regina as "Your Majesty," confirming that both are aware of their alternate identities. Regina returns the chipped cup to Mr. Gold then makes a visit to the hospital. She goes to see Belle's counterpart, who did not die in the Enchanted Forest, but is now being held prisoner in the hospital's mental ward.


 Emilie de Ravin, who portrayed Belle, described her character as someone who would "do anything basically for her father, but also her friends and family in general, and that’s what she does. She has this chance where she’s always wanted to be brave and make a change and do something different and not just sit around in the confinement of her castle and her simple life."[1]
Emilie de Ravin, who portrayed Belle, described her character as someone who would "do anything basically for her father, but also her friends and family in general, and that’s what she does. She has this chance where she’s always wanted to be brave and make a change and do something different and not just sit around in the confinement of her castle and her simple life."[1]

"Skin Deep" was written by consulting producer Jane Espenson, while 24 veteran, Milan Cheylov, directed the installment.[2][3] Knowing that they were going to recreate the story of "Beauty and the Beast", series co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz wanted its heroine, Belle, "to exude intelligence and strength and be someone you would immediately love,"[4] which led them to approach Emilie de Ravin.[5] Her casting was announced in November 2011.[6] The actress agreed after reading the script, believing that the character was "very courageous" with a playful side that would endear her to Rumpelstiltskin.[4] During their casting meeting, Kitsis and Horowitz told de Ravin that Belle is defined as a strong intelligent woman in a world that disapproves of those characteristics, and that de Ravin was going to be "tak[ing] the icon of Belle and mak[ing] her a woman."[4]

Espenson said that this was one of their most love-centered episodes; when they realized it was going to be airing near Valentine's Day, they decided to "lean into" this theme.[3] Unusual for Once Upon a Time, the theme of this episode changed during the writing process. It was initially meant to center on Rumpelstiltskin choosing power over love. However, as Espenson went through drafts and discussed them with others, she decided that Rumpelstiltskin might think he is doing this, but really his actions are motivated by not believing that he is worthy of love at all.[3] In the interest of time, Espenson was forced to edit out many plot points, including a failed escape attempt by Belle. Despite this, she sought to trim down more time from the Storybrooke scenes and "preserve as much as we could of the fairy tale side," as the Belle-Rumpelstiltskin relationship was a love story that needed time to grow in order to be believable.[3]

De Ravin was a fan of the series before being cast[5] and was happy to be able to view the costumes up close, describing her character's gold dress as "absolutely stunning."[7] The casting of her former suitor, Gaston, was announced in December 2011 with Psych actor Sage Brocklebank.[8] De Ravin described the episode's version of Gaston as "maybe not as cocky as the animation [version of him], but it’s funny."[5] Rumpelstiltskin's castle was shot almost entirely on greenscreen, with only a few real props being used.[3] It was de Ravin's first time working with this technology, which caused her to become "quite nervous."[1] The physical props helped her with the scenes, and "they ha[d] a fantastic set up of a couple of monitors that you can see a markup of basically how it’s going to look."[1]

The episode was included in Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale – a novelization of the first season – which was published by Hyperion Books in 2013.[9][10]

Cultural references

There are multiple references made to Disney's Beauty and the Beast. The chipped tea cup that Belle accidentally drops is a reference to the character Chip in the film.[11][12] Also, Belle's fiancée in the show is named Gaston, the Disney antagonist, and he was turned into a red rose, which featured prominently in the film.[13] In addition, most of Belle's clothing in the fantasy world appears to be directly inspired by clothing worn by Belle in the Disney film, such as her yellow ballgown and her blue and white plainclothes.[3] Mr. French's flower shop is called "Game of Thorns," a reference to Game of Thrones, a popular fantasy show and book series. The name and a logo can be seen on the side of his van at the start of the episode.[3][14] David is seen reading Anna Karenina, another story about an affair that ends tragically.[3][14] In the end of the episode, a reference to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is shown, when Regina meets a nurse, who looks like nurse Ratchet and the janitor mopping up bears a striking resemblance to the Chief in the novel and film adaptation.[3]



Ratings and viewership for "Skin Deep" were down from the last episode. It had an 18-49 rating of 3.0 and was seen by 8.65 million viewers, down 14 percent, but still came in second overall for the night.[15][16] This was partially due to the fact that the episode aired in the same time-slot as the 54th Grammy Awards, who had their best numbers ever since the 1984 telecast and the sudden news of Whitney Houston's death the day prior to the event.[15] In Canada, the episode finished in sixteenth place for the week with an estimated 1.55 million viewers,[17] a slight decrease from the 1.58 million of the previous episode.[18]


"Skin Deep" received mixed reviews from television critics.

Amy Ratcliffe, writing for IGN, rated the episode with an 8 out of 10. She expressed her love of Robert Carlyle, opining that "I especially liked him in the episode. He managed to show true emotion in spite of his silly Rumpelstiltskin accent, and he improves every scene he's in. I feel like this episode will start something bigger. At least, I hope it will."[19] Laura Prudom of The Huffington Post felt Espenson was a "perfect fit for this episode – when she's firing on all cylinders, the Buffy alumna is one of the best in the industry at writing layered, empowered women, even when circumstances conspire against them."[13]

Hillary Busis of Entertainment Weekly opined that Espenson's attempt to tell a "nightmarish, twisty tale of obsession and loss" was "decidedly mixed" due to the lack of development in the relationship between Belle and Rumpelstiltskin.[20] Busis explained, "Yes, people fall in love quickly in traditional bedtime stories. But at least in the animated version of Beauty and the Beast, we could understand why Belle and her hairy paramour were meant to be. 'Skin Deep' didn't bother to explain that attraction."[20] In a contribution for, Teresa Jusino defined "Skin Deep" as an "amazing retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story that contained some wonderful character moments and some great one-liners... Funny, charming, and at times harrowing, the script takes us into the depths of Rumpelstiltskin’s soul, showing us this character both at his most warm and at his most dark."[21] Jusino was critical of the subplot with David and Mary Margaret, however, saying that "it didn’t seem necessary as it didn’t really move much forward."[21]


  1. ^ a b c Nededog, Jethro (February 12, 2012). "'Once Upon a Time' Guest Star Emilie de Ravin: Her 'Ballsy' Belle and What Made Her Nervous (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Once Upon a Time: Skin Deep". The Futon Critic (Press release). January 23, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Robert Carlyle, Jane Espenson (2011). Audio commentary for "Skin Deep" (DVD). Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season Disc 3: Disney-ABC Domestic Television. 
  4. ^ a b c Emilie de Ravin, Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz (2011). Building Character (DVD). Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season Disc 5: Disney-ABC Domestic Television. 
  5. ^ a b c Roffman, Marisa (February 11, 2012). "Once Upon a Time: Emilie de Ravin Teases 'Skin Deep'". Give Me My Remote. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ Abrams, Natalie (November 8, 2011). "Exclusive: Once Upon a Time Casts Lost's Emilie de Ravin As Belle". TV Guide. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  7. ^ Gonzalez, Sandra (February 12, 2012). "'Once Upon a Time': Emilie de Ravin on Belle's debut (and return!)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  8. ^ Snierson, Dan (December 5, 2011). "'Once Upon a Time': Sage Brocklebank cast as Gaston for 'Beauty and the Beast' episode". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  9. ^ Beane, Odette (2013). Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale. Hyperion Books. ISBN 9781401305499. 
  10. ^ "Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale". WorldCat. Retrieved September 25, 2013. 
  11. ^ Dove, Steve (February 13, 2012). "Storybrooke Secrets: Skin Deep" (Press release). American Broadcasting Company. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  12. ^ Webb Mitovich, Matt (February 12, 2012). "Recap: Once Upon a Time Spins a Golden Twist". TVLine. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Prudom, Laura (February 12, 2012). "Once Upon a Time Recap: The Beast Finds His Beauty In 'Skin Deep'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b McLennan, Cindy (February 13, 2012). "Beauty And The Fruity". Television Without Pity. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (February 14, 2012). "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Napoleon Dynamite,' 'American Dad' Adjusted Up; '60 Minutes' Adjusted Down + 'Grammy Awards' Finals". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  16. ^ Hibberd, James (February 13, 2012). "Grammy ratings surge as industry honors Whitney Houston". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Top Programs – Total Canada (English), February 6 – February 12, 2012" (PDF) (Press release). BBM Canada. 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Top Programs – Total Canada (English), January 23 – January 29, 2012" (PDF) (Press release). BBM Canada. 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  19. ^ Ratcliffe, Amy (February 13, 2012). "Once Upon a Time: "Skin Deep" Review". IGN. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Busis, Hillary (February 13, 2012). "'Once Upon a Time' recap: Tale as Old as Time". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b Jusino, Teresa (February 13, 2012). "Once Upon a Time Vs. Grimm 11: Fairy Tale Valentines". Retrieved March 1, 2014. 

External links

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