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.


P.S. it could be a parallel time line....with only Henry And Emma growing up.


Remember, any time someone asks anyone in Storybrooke a question about that, such as "how did you meet", or whatever, they can't process it, but it doesn't strike them as odd. Whatever is your normal IS normal, so why WOULD they notice that they don't age if NO ONE ages. It's not that much of a stretch to say that they wouldn't notice Henry b/c it seems to me that part of the curse was making them oblivious to the things that would call out the alternate reality. Think about it: unless someone told you and really CONVINCED you you were in the Matrix, would you really see signs everywhere? Of course not.


Mr Gold is a wounded animal right now, and we know all about wounded animals....Regina has been on a role, somethings going to break.
It's hard to believe how truly evil Regina/Queen is.


This is just my take on the time dilemma: I think that time in the fairy-tale world might have been running at a different pace as the rest of the world. Also - do we know how long the people of storybrooke have been in our world? Maybe it isn't 18 years, but shorter. There's still the problem of Henry aging, I admit that I don't have anything to explain that, but I still think that the townspeople have not been in our world for 18 years. (The writers will undoubtedly explain it all eventually.)


Love the kiwi accents on belle. Shut up Roggio you old complaining candlestick


I thought this was a great episode. I was skeptical going in as Beauty & the Beast is my favorite Disney movie, but the moment she chipped the cup I was all in. Loved the shout out to the "old woman selling flowers". The scene in the jail was fantastic, best scene of the episode imo! And Mr. Gold used the power of 'please' twice this episode! Loved it! I cannot wait until he finds out that Regina is keeping Belle locked away in Storybrooke -- though I'm curious how he couldn't tell she was lying about her death back in Fairytale Land. I feel like Regina is really setting everyone up. She's confirmed that Gold knows everything, so she knows what she has to work around. She set up Emma last episode, and it looks like she's messing with Mary / David next week (though David is doing a good enough job messing with Mary all on his own. Man up Charming!) It really feels like they're buildng to something with Regina. I need our good guys to realize it and start moving against her as well.


Great episode. I loved the fact that these villains are not one dimensional. Even though she makes it very hard, there are moments I have sympathized with the Evil Queen (and then she does something that makes me hate her all over again). Now with Rumpelstiltskin we get to see him as a man and not just a monster. I believe now that the Queen has confirmed, he knows everything, she will use Belle as a pawn against him, possible forcing his allegiance to her, as a bond made with Rumpel is a bond for life. They really need to wind up the Snow/Mary Charming/David story line, as this one makes David look like a complete idiot and a coward.


Ditto on "Chip" and the chipped teacup! LOL.


@alex and Kay I agree. There are so many things in storybrooke that are just plain head scratching, I am surprised that Emma doesn't believe Henry yet just cause things there are so different from everywhere else. There must be something about Henry aging and no one else that Regina has managed to cover up. Why would she want to adopt a child when she knows no one will age but him? Why draw attention yourself? And speaking of that, how did Henry come to be there if no one can leave? How did mr. Gold leave? I love the show and am hoping some explanations are given.
And I love belle and rumple. She will be the key to mr. Gold/rumple, and I don't think she is dead in fairy tale land either. I think Regina locked her up like in storybrooke hoping to have something rumple wants. It seems that is the key to their animosity...Regina wants to be as powerful as rumple.


The writers present mysteries they don't know the answers to. They try to make it up as they go just like they did with Lost. This is a horrible way of writing and usually ends up with a lot of loose ends that were never tied up due to the impossibility of tying them up. Who wrote the book? How did he know everything from The Huntsman's heart being taken to Snow White's daughter being transported to Earth? Why doesn't Regina just kill Emma? She obviously has no problem with killing anyone. And even if Emma is "magically protected", why hasn't Regina at least tried considering she knows nothing of Emma's identity? Why has Henry aged and no one else has? How has no one noticed? These questions, along with many more, won't ever be answered. Just like Lost, the setup is very interesting and could perhaps even be confused with "genius", but once its time to start answering questions, it starts being ridiculous.

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