"An Apple Red as Blood" is the twenty-first episode of Season One of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Jane Espenson & David H. Goodman and directed by Milan Cheylov. It is the twenty-first episode of the series overall, and premiered on May 6, 2012.
Henry pleads with Emma to stay in Storybrooke and continue her quest as the savior of the fairytale dwellers, and Regina concocts a plan that could rid her of Emma forever. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, Snow White enlists the aid of her fellow fairytale cohorts to attack the Evil Queen and save Prince Charming's life.
In Storybrooke, Regina and Henry Mills are eating dinner when the doorbell rings. Regina opens the door to discover Emma Swan. When she turns around, Henry has disappeared. Regina then sees that many residents are at her door. Henry is now standing behind her with a coiled rope, and they drag her outside. She is tied to her apple tree and surrounded by the people of the town of Storybrooke. They have recovered the memories of who they really are and want Regina to pay. Emma then takes a sword and swings it at Regina, while she pleads for them to stop. Regina suddenly wakes up from her nightmare and goes to check on Henry, who has pulled up the covers on his bed over a flashlight, to make it look like he is there.
Emma and Henry are leaving Storybrooke; however, when Henry realizes that she means to leave now, he begins to argue with her. He tells her that she has to save everyone, but she tells him she just wants to save him. He grabs the wheel and forces Emma into a ditch and begs her not to go, because her family is there, and she still needs to break the curse and bring back happy endings.
In the Enchanted Forest, Prince Charming is brought before King George, who intends to have him beheaded, for following the path of true love and ruining the marriage alliance with Midas' daughter. Charming is put in a guillotine and is prepared to die, when the Evil Queen interrupts. She turns the blade of the guillotine to water and offers King George all the riches he would have gotten from Midas, if he will give her Charming. She promises she will make him suffer, by using him to destroy Snow White. The King agrees and releases Charming to her.
In Storybrooke, Regina looks outside her window at her apple tree and notices the tree is dying. She picks a piece of fruit and finds it is diseased. She then goes to Mr. Gold's shop and tells him that the curse is weakening. She wonders why he doesn't seem to care. He tells her that she might need to give up Henry to keep the curse in full strength, but she disagrees with this idea. Regina wants to get rid of Emma, but Mr. Gold warns her to be careful, because killing Emma would break the curse by his design. And he cannot undo that part of the curse without magic. Regina realizes that he actually wants the curse to break. He declines to discuss his reasons. Regina wants to make a new deal; she wants to get rid of Emma without breaking the curse, but Mr. Gold is not interested. He suggests she should leave town, because when the curse is broken, the people of Storybrooke will be looking for blood.
At school, Regina sticks a white rabbit card to Paige's bike plate, knowing that the girl's father, Jefferson, is watching.
Emma arrives home to Mary Margaret Blanchard's surprise. She angrily confronts Emma for leaving without saying goodbye. Emma says that she doesn't want people relying on her, however, she says she tried to take Henry, but Mary Margaret sees this as a contradiction. She tells her not to be the person she once was, before she came to Storybrooke. She tells her that a life on the run would be bad and to figure out what is best for Henry.
In the Enchanted Forest, Snow White is rallying the Dwarves, Granny, and Red Riding Hood together to storm the castle. Grumpy says he knows people who can help with air support. Red shows up and informs them that the Evil Queen is there. Widow Lucas warns that it is a trap, and everyone agrees. Regardless, Snow White is still willing to go forward, but offers anyone the chance to turn back. No one does. Red asks about the Queen's intentions, and Snow White explains that she took away Regina's happiness; therefore, she wants to do the same to Snow White. Prince Charming is sitting in his cell when Regina arrives. She flirts with him, but he is only angry with her. Prince Charming tells her to take his life and leave Snow alone. The Evil Queen explains that she does not plan to kill Snow White; instead, she has in mind a different punishment. She walks away, smiling wickedly while flaunting a red apple.
In Storybrooke, Regina is at her window watching her tree again when Jefferson appears, having received the card left earlier on his daughter's bike. She wants his help, and she knows that he will not kill her, because he knows that then he will not see Paige/Grace again. She asks him to use his magic hat again, but he says it will not work without magic. Regina informs him that she still has a little bit left and that it should be enough for one last journey. She wants him to go back to the Enchanted Forest and get her a solution to fix the problem with Emma. Regina says that they have the same problem and that they both want their families. She offers to awaken Grace to her true self, but Jefferson does not want that, he sees the remembering of two lives as a curse. All he wants is a fresh start with no memory of the past, with his story and Grace's rewritten, so that they are together. Regina agrees, but only after Emma is dealt with.
In the Enchanted Forest, Snow White is getting ready to launch an attack on King George's castle. As a wolf, Red howls out the signal, and they move out. Above them, the fairies fly in for the attack, and on the ground, Snow White and the dwarves scale the wall. The guards see Snow White, but she quickly deals with them. The others join her, and they lead an attack into the main courtyard. They manage to take out all the guards, but more show up and surround them. The fairies dive in and bomb them with fairy dust, rendering them unconscious.
In Storybrooke, Henry rushes to see August Booth and tells him about Emma's desire to leave. August tells him that he tried to make Emma believe in magic, but he failed and is paying the price. He shows him his now wooden arm, which he calls the "unvarnished truth", and Henry realizes that August is Pinocchio. He says he is changing back, because he has not been a good boy. August explains that it is hard for him to continue moving and soon it will be hard to breathe, and he just wants to spend his last bit of time with Marco, his father. He tells Henry that it is up to him to continue Operation Cobra.
Emma and Archie Hopper discuss Henry at the diner, but he tells her that her custody case is not strong. She can't prove any of her allegation against Regina, and he is concerned about how Henry is being affected by the dispute between Emma and Regina. He says that a court would see that, since Emma arrived in town, Henry has stolen things, skipped school, and repeatedly put himself in danger. Emma perceives that Archie is implying that Henry is better off with Regina, and he says that Regina would never hurt him. Archie says the war needs to end for them to be together.
In the Enchanted Forest, Snow White races to the cell to save Prince Charming, but he is only an illusion in a mirror and explains that the Queen has taken him to her palace. Snow doubts that they will ever be together, but Charming still has faith. Then Regina appears in the mirror - she wants to talk with Snow White, just the two of them and tells her to meet her "where it all began."
Later, Snow White sets down her weapons despite her comrades' pleas against seeing Regina alone and unarmed. She thanks them, but knows it's best for her to end this herself, without endangering the others.
In Storybrooke, Regina brings Jefferson down into her vault, saying that the only remaining magic is contained in the things that she brought with her from the Enchanted Forest. She empties a box of trinkets into the hat, and they disappear, but nothing happens. Finally, she pulls out the ring that Daniel gave her and, with reluctance, drops it in the hat. Fortunately, it starts to work, but it does not open a full sized portal. Jefferson says that, although they cannot travel to the Enchanted Forest, he is able to touch the other side and bring a small object to the real world for her. She knows exactly what she wants and guides the hat's magic to the right time and place. The hat works and she tells him what she wants: an apple.
In the stables of the Enchanted Forest, the Queen and Snow White meet and walk up to the hill. Regina points out a grave which Snow White has never seen before, revealing that it is the grave of her love, Daniel. Snow White believed that he ran away and apologizes, when she learns that he was killed, because she had not kept their secret. Snow White reminds her that she lost her father in this war between them, isn't that punishment enough, but the Queen says no and rejects her apology. Regina offers her the apple which will make her body her own tomb. Snow White has to take the apple willingly or else it will not work. If she refuses, then the Queen says she will kill Prince Charming. Tearfully, Snow White agrees and takes a bite of the apple. As the poison takes effect, Prince Charming feels her pain and realizes something has happened to her. As the apple rolls away, it falls through the portal and is caught by Regina in Storybrooke
In Storybrooke, Regina holds the apple and ponders how to get Emma to eat it. She decides to bake it into a turnover. Later, Emma arrives, and Regina agrees that they need to talk. Emma says that the war between them must end. She agrees that Henry is Regina's son and offers her a deal that she will leave Storybrooke so long as she gets to come back and visit Henry. Regina seems to consent to Emma being in Henry's life and says that they must begin to be cordial to each other and gives Emma the apple turnover for the road.
In the Enchanted Forest, Snow White's friends search for her at the stables and find her unconscious. Red notices that she has no breath; therefore, she is gone. The Evil Queen sits in her room and delightfully watches Prince Charming calling out to Snow White in grief.
In Storybrooke, Regina visits Mr. Gold and says that she found the solution. He realizes that she is talking about the sleeping curse and reminds her that all magic comes with a price. Regina believes she has won and that the curse will never be broken. Henry goes to visit Emma, and, noticing she is packing, asks if everything is okay. She says that she is leaving but will still come to see him. Henry is dismayed that she is going to trust Regina, but Emma says that every time she fights Regina over Henry, someone else gets hurt. He asks if she truly does not believe in the curse, but she avoids the question. He insists she is the only one who can stop Regina and save Storybrooke; however, Emma pleads with Henry to stop believing in curses and fairytales. She is resolved to leave and says that Regina will take care of him. She and Henry tearfully hug.
He then notices the apple turnover on the kitchen counter. After learning that it was given to her by Regina, Henry says that the turnover is poisonous. Emma still does not believe it, as there would be no point in poisoning her when she has already agreed to leave. Henry says that Emma will always be a threat and he will prove it. He grabs the turnover and takes a small bite. When it does not appear to work at first, Emma asks him if he wants ice cream with it. However, he suddenly collapses, while Emma desperately calls out to him.
*: Only in archive footage
- The Enchanted Forest flashbacks occur after "Heart of Darkness" and immediately before "A Land Without Magic". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- The Storybrooke events take place after "The Stranger" and before "A Land Without Magic". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- How Daniel died, is explored in "The Stable Boy".
- Daniel's grave appears again in "Mother".
- How the Evil Queen procured the poisoned apple is revealed in "True North".
- The creation of the Sleeping Curse is explained in "Into the Deep".
- The Blue Fairy's previous dealings with Grumpy are detailed in "Dreamy".
- Regina's apple tree is rejuvenated in "We Are Both".
- The origin of the marionettes in Mr. Gold's pawnshop is explored in "That Still Small Voice".
- Mr. Gold's reason for journeying out of Storybrooke is revealed in "The Crocodile".
- The trip Mr. Gold is planning, is cancelled in "We Are Both", until he eventually makes the journey in "Tiny".
- As the seven dwarves set off to help Snow White rescue Prince Charming, Grumpy says, "I miss Stealthy", referring to the dwarf killed in "7:15 A.M.".
- King George mentions how Prince Charming could have been given the crown if he had chosen to get married to King Midas's daughter, Abigail, an event explored in "The Shepherd" and "Snow Falls".
- Regina mentions Jefferson's life in the Enchanted Forest, selling fungus in the fair, which was explored in "Hat Trick".
- Mary Margaret mentions Emma saying the two of them were like family, which happened in "Hat Trick".
- Archie mentions Henry stealing Mary Margaret's credit card; referencing events in "Pilot". Archie also speaks about asking Emma not to discourage Henry's fantasy, which he did in "The Thing You Love Most".
- When Snow White asks Regina if her deal is that she lets Charming live in exchange of eating her apple, the Queen retorts: "With all my heart". In "The Stable Boy", when Snow asked Regina if she loves Daniel, the latter answered the same thing.
- Snow White falls to the ground in the same fashion in Disney's 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs after taking a bite of the poisoned apple.
- In Regina's dream, Dopey wears a Geronimo Jackson T-shirt, which alludes to a fictional band of the same name on the TV series Lost.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode is a rendition of the "Snow White" fairytale, focusing on Snow White being cursed by the evil queen by eating the poisoned apple.
- This episode features the ugly duckling from the titular fairytale, Red Riding Hood and her grandmother from the "Little Red Riding Hood" fairytale, the king from The Prince and the Pauper, as well as the Fairy with turquoise hair from The Adventures of Pinocchio.
- Additional fairies appear in this episode, a species originating in European mythology.
- This episode features Fairy dust, a substance originating in the Peter Pan story.
- 🍎 APPLES: During Regina's dream, a bowl of red apples are sitting on the dinner table, and the citizens of Storybrooke tie her to her apple tree. In addition, a bowl of red apples is sitting on the table in her office in the real world. These are all references to the poisoned apple from the "Snow White" fairytale.
- The card Regina leaves on Paige's bike is of the White Rabbit, a character from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
- The boardgames Stratego, Balderdash, Aggravation, Battleship and Outburst II (note that only the "Outburst" part of the title visually appears in this episode, but the whole game appears in "The Thing You Love Most"), as well as a Meccano set (upside-down), are sitting on a shelf in Henry's room.
- RECYCLED SET: The studio set for Rumplestiltskin's cell, which was built on a sound stage at The Bridge Studios in Burnaby, where Once Upon a Time was filmed, doubles as the Evil Queen's dungeon. The studio set also doubles as the Storybrooke Mines for the show. It was also used to film King George's dungeon in "7:15 A.M.", the dwarf mines in "Dreamy", the safe haven underground pit where Emma and Mary Margaret are kept prisoner in the Season Two episode "We Are Both" and "Lady of the Lake", and Aurora's cell from the Season Two episode "Into the Deep". It was also used for the Season Two episode "The Evil Queen", for the part where Regina and Hook are walking through the cave beneath the clock tower, before she pushes him into the abyss. Different camera angles were used to make it look like a different place.
- Johnston Farms at 542 264th Street in Aldergrove, British Columbia doubles as the royal manor hillside where the Evil Queen gives Snow White the poisoned apple and where Red Riding Hood, Granny and the seven dwarves find her.
|Finnish||"Omena punainen kuin veri"||"An Apple Red as Blood"|
|French||"La Pomme Empoisonnée"||"The Poisoned Apple"|
|German||"Ein Apfel, rot wie Blut"||"An Apple Red as Blood"|
|Hungarian||"Egy vérpiros alma"||"A Blood Red Apple"|
|Italian||"Una mela rosso sangue"||"A Blood Red Apple"|
|Polish||"Jabłko jak krew czerwone"||"An Apple Red as Blood"|
|Portuguese||"Uma Maçã Vermelha como Sangue"||"An Apple Red as Blood"|
|Spanish||"Una Manzana Roja Como la Sangre"||"An Apple as Red as Blood"|