The Great Once Upon a Time Rewatch | Episode 21: An Apple Red as Blood

Regina goes to drastic lengths to eliminate Emma from Storybrooke, while Snow tries to free Charming from King George’s clutches.

Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Eion Bailey, Jared S. Gilmore, Raphael Sbarge, and Robert Carlyle

Season 1
Episode 21: An Apple Red as Blood

The Enchanted Forest

Having captured Prince Charming (see Episode 16: Heart of Darkness), King George decides to behead him. Just in time, the Evil Queen saves Charming by transforming the approaching blade into water, and exchanges Charming for all of the riches that Midas would have given King George if he had married Abigail. Meanwhile, Snow watches with the dwarves and Granny, when Red reports that the Queen is there. Regardless of the fact that they smell a trap, the band decide to go ahead with the plan anyway. Charming attempts to bargain his life with the Queen instead of her taking Snow’s, but the Queen doesn’t accept his proposal.

Snow manages to storm the castle but when she arrives at Charming’s cell, she finds only a mirror showing him inside. They briefly manage to talk, at which point Charming reveals that he’s been moved to the Queen’s palace, before the Queen interrupts and requests a parlay with Snow with no weapons. Despite the warnings of the rest of the group, Snow goes anyway. They meet at the stable where Cora murdered Daniel, and Regina shows her Daniel’s grave, revealing that Daniel died as a result of Snow breaking her promise, and she cannot forgive Snow, even though she managed to kill her father. At this point, the Queen offers Snow an apple. She explains to Snow that, if she eats the apple, she will be entombed within her own body, filled with regret at her actions, but Charming will live. However, if she does not eat the apple, then Charming will perish. Charming, in his cell, feels a sharp pain as Snow bites into the apple and falls to the ground.

Red, the dwarves and Granny find Snows body and notice that she has no breath, while the Queen chuckles to herself in her tower, victorious at last.


In the present, Regina and Henry eat dinner in silence when the doorbell rings. When Regina answers it, she finds Emma there, along with the other townspeople, saying they are there to kill her. Turning around, she spots Henry holding a rope. The townspeople tie Regina to an apple tree in the centre of town, pleading for her life. Emma explains that this is retribution for Regina taking away everybody else’s happiness. David gives Emma a sword, which she swings at Regina’s head, at which point Regina awakens and realises that she was having a nightmare. She runs to check on Henry, and it satisfied, even though he has actually left pillows underneath his blanket to trick her and conceal his absence.

Meanwhile, Henry desperately pleads with Emma not to leave Storybrooke, even going to the lengths of pulling at the steering wheel, convincing her that she needs to stay to break the curse. Ultimately, Emma returns to her apartment in the morning and discovers an irate Mary Margaret, who is angry at Emma for not having said goodbye. Upon learning that Emma intended upon taking Henry too, Mary Margaret grows even more furious, telling Emma that she needs to do what is best for Henry. Henry finally discovers that the curse is actually real when August shows him his wooden arm, and correctly deduces that he is Pinocchio. Meanwhile, Emma learns that she has no custody case against Regina, especially since Henry’s attendance at school has decreased since Emma’s arrival, as well as the multiple instances where he has been in dangerous situations around her. Archie also points out that a custody battle between Regina and Emma would only hurt Henry.

Regina has noticed that the apple tree is dying, which convinces her that the curse is weakening as a result of Emma being in town, so she goes to Mr Gold. She wants Mr Gold’s help in getting rid of Emma, even though she knows that she cannot kill Emma without breaking the curse. Mr Gold refuses to a deal with her, as he knows that once the curse is broken everybody is going to be against Regina, so Regina turns to Jefferson for help instead. She wants him to use the hat to go back to the Enchanted Forest so that they can use something magical to dispose of Emma. Jefferson agrees on the proviso that he can be reunited with his daughter and have his double life erased from his head. Both he and Regina attempt to make the hat work in Regina’s secret crypt, but both fail. Regina tearfully produces the ring that Daniel gave to her in the Enchanted Forest, and Jefferson reveals that it might have enough magic in it to make the hat work. The ring doesn’t make a portal open but Jefferson tells Regina that it is possible for him to reach through and grab something from the Enchanted Forest, so he asks Regina what she would like. Regina instructs Jefferson to retrieve the apple from Snow White after she had eaten it. Jefferson succeeds and hands it to Regina, who informs him that he will get his wish once Emma takes a bite of the apple. In order to make sure that Emma does eat it, Regina bakes it into an apple turnover.

Emma goes to find Regina about Henry, and tells her that she’s leaving Storybrooke, but that she still wants to be part of Henry’s life, so she needs the two of them to get along. Regina gives Emma the apple turnover as a parting gift. Emma comes clean with Henry about leaving and that she has made a deal with Regina. Henry notices the apple turnover on the side and asks Emma where it came from. Emma reveals that Regina gifted it to her, and Henry is insistent that Emma not eat it. Desperate to make Emma believe in the curse and what he is saying, Henry takes a bite of the turnover, and immediately collapses.

In Short

  • The Evil Queen poisons Snow White using an apple.
  • Regina uses Jefferson to procure the apple from the Enchanted Forest.
  • Desperate to get rid of Emma, she bakes an apple turnover and gives it to her.
  • Henry eats the turnover and collapses.


  • Let’s play Where’s Raphael Sbarge this week? He’s…God he’s here…again…blimey, he must be exhausted. All this acting.
  • Emma has quite a journey in this episode. She realises that she’s not quite cut out for the responsibility of saving an entire town (not that she believes it to be the case, anyway, but it definitely gives her a massive case of cold feet). I think another crucial aspect is the fact that Emma leaves Storybrooke in order to do what’s best for Henry. While she decides that ultimately what is best for Henry is for him to stay with Regina, the fact that she’s even taking this point of view demonstrates how far she has come from the beginning of the series, where she is actively making decisions which hurt her for his own good. Furthermore, she also wants visitation rights, and an inclusion within Henry’s life.
  • I loved seeing Mary Margaret being stern with Emma. She was angry, and rightly so. The flighty Emma, who couldn’t settle from the beginning of the series, has been absent since she became Sheriff in the town, and to leave without saying goodbye was a massive betrayal considering how far she and Mary Margaret have come as friends and as a unit.
  • I’m not sure whether the idea of Emma being killed breaks the curse is something that we knew before, which makes me believe that it’s not true. Is it possible that Gold has just told Regina this so that she doesn’t kill Emma and endanger the plan to actually break the curse? That seems more likely to me, because honestly, I’ve never heard that idea posited before. I’m also confused as to when Regina learned that Emma actually was Emma, as in Charming and Snow’s daughter. Did I miss that?
  • I wonder how they will save Henry? True Love’s Kiss breaks the Sleeping Enchantment, so I wonder whether Emma would count for that? After all, the act of True Love in Frozen was a sisterly act of love, so I suppose a parental act of love could also function in the same way here? Alternatively, I wonder whether the curse will intentionally be broken so that Regina can use magic to fix the problem. Because magic solves all problems, I guess.
  • Here we go kids: It’s FINALE TIME!

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