Time machine works like rshapshot. It creates a tree of hard links for each new backup. Hard links to files already existing in a previous backup use very little additional space. Only when the last hard link to a file is removed is the file actually deleted from the filesystem.
Removing an entire individual backup won't hurt. You're just removing hard links. No other backup will be affected. But that can be accomplished via tmutil.
One scenario in which it may be necessary to bypass protection is to remove a specific file from all backups (and the reason why I ended up on this post).
My backup disk is full. I have a very large file (many gigabytes) that has been backed up for months. There is one physical copy of it, but many snapshots with hard links to that copy. To actually get rid of that file, I need to remove the hard link from every backup.
Note that the inode number is the same for all hard links to the same file.
% cd /Volumes/WD\ 500G\ USB/Backups.backupdb/csm-laptop
% ls -li */Macintosh\ HD/Users/csm/vm.img
2740350 -rw-r--r--@ 28 csm staff 42949672960 Feb 17 16:12 2015-05-08-005636/Macintosh HD/Users/csm/vm.img
2740350 -rw-r--r--@ 28 csm staff 42949672960 Feb 17 16:12 2015-05-08-015812/Macintosh HD/Users/csm/vm.img
2740350 -rw-r--r--@ 28 csm staff 42949672960 Feb 17 16:12 2015-05-08-030036/Macintosh HD/Users/csm/vm.img
2740350 -rw-r--r--@ 28 csm staff 42949672960 Feb 17 16:12 2015-05-08-041307/Macintosh HD/Users/csm/vm.img
2740350 -rw-r--r--@ 28 csm staff 42949672960 Feb 17 16:12 Latest/Macintosh HD/Users/csm/vm.img
(Latest is just a symlink to the last dated directory)
% sudo bypass rm -f */Macintosh\ HD\Users\csm\vm.img
The file is removed from all backups, and space is returned. If the file has been changing over time, each backup will have a full copy and the space returned will be enormous.