Once Upon a Time Review: The Curse of a Coward

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"Skin Deep" dove into the history of one of my favorite Once Upon a Time characters: Rumplestiltskin.

I couldn't say his fairy tale ever interested me, but I'm mesmerized by the man/monster overall. He has repulsed and fascinated me since the beginning, sometimes both in the very same scene.

And in a grand twist this week, Rumple played Beast to Belle's Beauty. Who saw that coming?!?

Emilie de Ravin on Once Upon a Time

It's one of the things I've always loved about Once Upon a Time. It again took the familiar, turned it upside down and made it all the more interesting.

Rumple was the happiest we've ever seen him as he interacted with Belle. Unfortunately, he couldn't trust in her feelings for him and she called him out for it. Rumplestiltskin was a coward before he obtained his evil powers and Belle told him the title still held true as he turned her away. 

I was amazed that I could feel so much for this villain, as his pain was caused by his own weakness. He banished happiness from his home as it begged him to let it in. Sad, foolish and all too human.

If we saw moments of a warm and fuzzy Rumplestiltskin, then back in Storybrooke, we had a particularly surly Mr. Gold. It didn't take long to find out why. That wasn't just anyone's truck he was repossessing. That was Belle's father's and when he robbed Mr Gold's house, things got ugly.

It became obvious that Mr. Gold remembered the man from the fairy tale world. Thankfully, before he could beat him to death, Emma intervened and arrested Mr. Gold. If there was any question about how much Mr. Gold remembered, his conversation with Regina confirmed it.

He knows everything. Will that make him Regina's worst enemy? Or a valuable pawn?

Back in Storybrooke, it was Valentine's Day. Ashley (a.k.a. Cinderella) finally got a proposal from Sean, albeit not the most romantic of one. The guy only had a 20-minute break and all.

But the most disappointing couple of the night was David and Mary Margaret. If you've got to buy two Valentines for two lovers, you're in trouble.

If nothing else, giving the wrong card proved that David's an idiot and Mary Margaret needed to wake up. It's not all that complicated. If David wants to be with Mary Margaret, he needs to leave his wife - and until he does they have no story. Right now David's actions seem almost as cowardly as Rumplestiltskin's.

Side notes:

  • Being a huge fan of Game of Thrones, I loved that florist truck. Very funny.
  • The Evil Queen's outfit with the parasol, and the one she wore at the end with Rumple, were both stunning. Someone in wardrobe deserves an Emmy.
  • Every time they showed the broken tea cup my mind kept naming it Chip and imaging dance numbers involving inanimate objects. The Disney powers run deep.

So... what power will Regina possess now that she's confirmed Mr. Gold's real name and when will she use Belle's existence against him? When he finds out will he walk away, or be the hero? And back in the fairytale world, is Belle truly dead or alive? Talk about turning the story upside down. I can't wait to see what this magical show has planned next.


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (300 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


Okay this episode told us how the curse will be broken by true love's kiss. And I truly beleive that kiss must be the with the person who cast the curse aka the evil queen/regina. I also believe Mr. Gold/Rumple is a good guy and he needed Emma's name to bring here to Storybrooke to break the spell. And Henry is with the queen bc that is the only motivation strong enough to get Emma to stay. Now who could be the Queen's true love that will bring her down....of course that can't happen until the last episode.;)
And I think Rumple thinks the way to break the spell is Emma bring the happy endings to the fairytale characters, bc he does not believe there can be a true loves kiss with the evil queen. I felt so sorry for his conflict when he and belle kissed..become human again or have the power to fight the queen??????? I hated the Queen for lying to him about Belle being dead. Bad queen!!!! Could the mysterious write be Rumple's son Bae?


Love this show and Rumple/Mr Gold, any scene he is in is tense. His low almost whisper voice draws me in to listen to every word. Now we're beginning to see the pieces of his history and he is even more fascinating. He could be the biggest hero of the show.
As far as the writers not answering all the questions and leaving gaps, I don't care, I'm just enjoying the ride that is Once Upon a Time.


Re. All the time stuff. Henry is the only one who aged in Storybrooke before Emma came. (Makes it pretty easy for him to figure out something is not right in the town!) Nobody else realized or thought it strange because they are all CURSED. Nobody ages, all memories of 'growing up' or whatever are fake, implanted memories. All of David's memories with Kathryn, for example, are 100% fake as in reality he was in a coma for 28 years -- until Emma came, started time moving again, and he woke up. There is no parallel universe or anything. Fairytale Land exists in flashbacks, it is the past. The curse hit, and everyone was brought to Storybrooke to be unhappy drones until the series started. As to how Mr. Gold was able to procure Henry for Regina that will be interesting to see. For sure he knew that Henry was the saviour's son (he knew Emma's name, remember), and bringing him to town would bring Emma as well. Man, I want to know what he endgame is.


Very good episode; I was especially pleased to see that a Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum (Jane Espenson) wrote the episode..


I love this show so much, as I do of all the characters. I do wish people would stop complaining about it. After all it is a fairytale where anything can happen, no need to really analize every little thing. I truly enjoyed this episode, Belle and Rumple were so sweet, it was nice to see a soft side to him. I love the way they keep bringing the characters back and continuing their stories. I look forward to every week to see what twists and turns it will make,its great to get away from reality and lose yourself in this fantasy, its fun. So enjoy it, I most certainly do.


I thought it was a very interesting take on the Beauty and the Beast. I was also glad to see Cinderella and her Prince Charming (do they ever have any other name besides Prince Charming in the books :D) make an appearance. While I do enjoy their twists on fairy tales, I wish they would spend some more time on the here and now. I'm also glad that Mary Margaret finally got a clue she's not really in a relationship with David. Their sorta affair demeaned their "true love" so to speak. And as many had pointed out, made David look stupid. I am curious though as to why their kiss didn't break their curse - since the Queen said true love's kiss breaks any curse.


I just love this ep showing Rumpelstiltskin's softer side...but can someone please stick it to the queen!!! I am sick and tired of her getting her way. It may have been over 18 years but since Emma and Henry's been their the people of storybrooke are now waking up and seeing that things aren't normal. They really need to end the Snow/Mary Charming/David story line soon cause its boring....It would be nice to see who's Henry's father. And what happen to the typewriter dude? So many questions and not enough answers.


@Alex: I think Regina DOES know who Emma is, but can't do much about it right now... I LOVE that they finally confirmed Rumpel's knowledge of his past life. I also agree with other commenter that Once leaves me with a lot of questions...how long have they been in Storybrooke? Doesn't it seem odd to ANYONE that no one ages but Henry? Where DID Henry come from? I hope they tie it up in logical ways...


Belle is my favorite princess and biases aside, I thought this was one of the best episodes of the series. Seeing Rumpelstiltskin as the Beast of Belle showed a lot more about the character than the back story that they did earlier. Or at least, it showed a lot more about the humanity vs the monstrosity of the character. I also appreciated how Ashley (aka Cinderella) was brought back because it shows that the characters that they show aren't just for one episode but there's continuity there. And it makes me more hopeful that we'll be seeing and learning more about Belle's Storybrooke character in the future. I mean, how can we not knowing that she is the weakness of Mr. Gold / Rumpelstiltskin, right? And of course, this episode just set up a lot through that conversation between Mr. Gold and Regina. They're both obviously aware of who they are and what that means for the future is endless possibilities.


I really dislike emilie de ravin; shes such an awful actress. and i didnt know there were australians in fairy tale world

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