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 outing, Henry attempts to convince Emma to remain in Storybrooke and Regina devises a master plan with Jefferson that will force Emma into leaving forever while the events surrounding Snow White's attempted rescue of Prince Charming are revealed along with her plan to enlist the aid of her allies and defeat the Evil Queen once and for all.
It was co-written by Jane Espenson and David H. Goodman, while Milan Cheylov served as director.
In the Characters' Past
In the Enchanted Forest, in the hours after having captured Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) for betraying him after he refused to marry Abigail, King George (Alan Dale) decides that Charming will be beheaded. But as the blade prepares to fall on him, The Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) turns the blade to water and then makes a deal with King George by trading Charming for all the riches he would have been paid if he had married Midas’ daughter. The Evil Queen tells King George that he will be used to take down his one true love, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin). Meanwhile, Snow White watches from a hill with the dwarves and Granny (Beverley Elliott). Red Riding Hood (Meghan Ory) appears and tells the group that The Queen is there, but despite the fact that her presence there might indicate that it may be a trap, the group decides to move in after King George anyway. Moments later, the Queen goes to see Charming in his cell where he tries to convince her to take his life instead of Snow White's, but she doesn't want his life. When Charming asks what her plan is, she laughs and closes the jail cell and walks away while holding a red apple up for him to see.
Hours later, Snow White, with help from the fairies from above, storms King George's castle, but when she arrives at Charming's cell, she is disappointed to find a mirror there. They speak quickly, but before anything more is said, the Evil Queen interrupts and requests a parlay with no weapons. The entire group warns her not to go, but Snow White is determined to settle her dispute with the Queen without implicating the others. At the stable where Cora murdered her true love, Daniel, the Queen waits for Snow White, who walks up behind her. The Queen leads Snow White to the place where she ran down her runaway horse and saved her life and reveals to Snow White the burial site of Daniel. The Queen explains that she believes Daniel died because of Snow White breaking her promise, and cannot forgive Snow White despite already robbing Snow of her father. The Queen then gives Snow White an apple and makes a deal with her that if she eats the apple, she will be entombed in her own body, filled with nothing but regret, but Charming will live. However, if Snow White doesn't eat the apple, then Charming will die. Unfortunately, as Snow White eats the apple and collapses, Charming feels her soul in his cell now that she took the deal. As Snow White falls to the ground, the poisoned apple rolls down the hill and gets sucked into a portal leading to Jefferson’s (Sebastian Stan) hand waiting in Storybrooke. As Red Riding Hood uses Snow White’s scent to get to the barn, they notice she has no breath. Back at her palace, the Queen chuckles in her tower, saying that Snow's sacrifice is overrated.
In the present day, Regina (Parrilla) and Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) eat dinner in silence when the doorbell rings, even though Regina wasn't expecting any company. Regina opens the door and finds Emma (Jennifer Morrison) there, saying that Henry had invited her. As Regina turns around, she finds Henry is not there. Regina then looks back on the doorstep to see the townspeople who had gathered to take her away. Regina sees Henry waiting behind her with a rope, ready to tie Regina to her apple tree which had been planted in the center of the town. As Regina pleads for her life, Emma tells her that because Regina took away everyone's happiness, it's their turn to take away hers. David (Dallas) then gives Emma a sword which she swings at Regina's head. Regina wakes up and realizes that it was a nightmare. She then runs into Henry’s room to check on him, but she doesn't realize he is not there and left his bed pillows to form the shape of his body.
As for Henry and Emma, Emma tells her son that she wants to leave Storybrooke right away, but Henry pleads with his mother and hijacks the steering wheel in order to convince her to return. The following morning, Emma returns to Mary Margaret’s (Goodwin) apartment and discovers that Mary Margaret is upset for not having had the opportunity to say goodbye to her. When Emma explains she abducted Henry as well, Mary Margaret gets more furious and tells Emma to do what's best for Henry. As Emma questions her what that is, Mary Margaret tells Emma that she is the mother and she has to make that decision. Later that day, Henry goes to see August (Eion Bailey), who reveals to him that he is turning back into a wooden puppet, and thus, dropping himself off of Operation Cobra. At the same time, Emma talks with Archie (Raphael Sbarge), who tells her that Emma has no case against Regina and tells her Henry's been skipping school and has even endangered himself since her arrival, he makes her understand that the fighting between her and Regina will only hurt Henry. This emotional tug of war leads Emma to make her decision.
Elsewhere in Storybrooke, Regina sees that her apple tree is dying and goes to Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle), who tells her the curse could be weakening. Regina wants to get rid of Emma, but knows that if Emma dies the curse will be broken. She tries to strike a deal with Mr. Gold, but he turns down the offer, telling her that once people start remembering who they are, they are going to be out for Regina’s blood (just like in the nightmare Regina had). So the Mayor uses another ploy by leaving a white rabbit card on Paige’s bicycle at school. Hours later, Jefferson goes to see Regina now that he received the message from Paige’s bicycle. To Jefferson's surprise, Regina produces the hat that she kept when she was the Evil Queen back in the Enchanted Forest during their trip to Wonderland. It turns out that Regina wants Jefferson to go back with her to their land to get something to help her get rid of Emma. Jefferson only agrees if he can forget his double life and be reunited with his daughter and she agrees to his request. Regina and Jefferson then go into the cell where the hearts are kept. As Jefferson places the hat on the ground, the hat doesn't spin. Regina's attempts are not successful either, but when Regina, with tears in her eyes, produces the ring that her former love, Daniel, had given her, Jefferson tells her that it may have some magic and instructs her to drop the ring in the hat, which begins to spin slowly. A portal doesn't open, but Jefferson tells her that he can reach through and grab something from the other side, so Regina guides the hat to the location of the item. When Jefferson asks her what item she wanted to retrieve, Regina responded by telling him that they are looking for an apple. Jefferson then catches the apple that Snow White ate from the other side of the portal and gives it to Regina, who then tells Jefferson that she will not fulfill the deal until Emma takes a bite of the apple. Afterwards, Regina concocts a plan to get Emma to eat it by baking the apple into a turnover.
That afternoon, Emma goes to see Regina about Henry, telling her that she is leaving town. Emma wants to still be a part of Henry’s life, so she would rather they would get along than not. Regina then gives Emma the poisoned turnover as a parting gift. Unfortunately, as Regina goes to Mr. Gold about how she has obtained the poisoned apple from the other world, Mr. Gold reminds her that all magic comes with a price. Regina retorts by telling him that he can pay it since it's his curse. Later that evening, Emma tells Henry that she is leaving, but Henry tries to get her to stay, only to have Emma tell him that this isn't a story. He stares at her in disbelief that she still doesn't believe in the curse, but Emma tells him that all Regina has ever done is fight for him. As Henry sees the apple turnover on the counter, he tries to convince his mother not to eat it and tells her that he believes in her and proves it by taking a bite of the turnover. Unfortunately, Henry collapses after swallowing the turnover, leaving a stunned Emma in a state of disbelief as she attempts to revive her son.
- Regina had NEARLY won (and thus end the series with the Dark Curse unbroken), but do to her paranoia about Emma wanting to still be a part of Henry's life, she ends up ruining her victory.
- Jefferson's hat can open portals to different periods of time as well.
- Regina sacrifices the ring Daniel gave her, to use the True Love magic embedded in it to give the hat enough power to reach into the Enchanted Forest.
"An Apple Red as Blood" was co-written by co-executive producer David H. Goodman and consulting producer Jane Espenson, while 24 veteran, Milan Cheylov, directed the hour. 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.
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