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Snow White: I take that apple and he lives? That's the deal you want to make?
Evil Queen: With all my heart.
Snow White: Then congratulations. You've won.

"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.[1]


This section is a detailed recap of this episode. There are major spoilers. Click to expand.

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.



Guest Starring



*: Only in archive footage



Event Chronology

Episode Connections



Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

Props Notes

Filming Locations


  • In the opening scene, Regina is wearing black pants.[18] When she is tied to the apple tree, her pants are gray.[19]

Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale

International Titles



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, May 06, Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#121) "An Apple Red as Blood"”
  2. Live+7 DVR Ratings: 'Modern Family' Leads Ratings and Viewership Gains, 'The Secret Circle' Tops Percentage Increases. TV by the Numbers (May 21, 2012). “ONCE UPON A TIME-05/06. ABC. 8,955.”
  3. File:121Title.png
  4. Gonzales, Sandra (March 9, 2012). 'Once Upon a Time,' 'New Girl,' 'NCIS,' 'HIMYM': Spoilers!. Entertainment Weekly. “I'll let you theorize exactly what the title "Apple Red as Blood," means, but I can tell you that it's part of a final arc that will focus heavily on the major players rather than stand-alone stories”
  5. File:121Apologies.png
  6. Fairy. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on October 13, 2021. “While the term fairy goes back only to the Middle Ages in Europe (...) Fairy lore is particularly prevalent in Ireland, Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland. Fairies are common in literature from the Middle Ages on and appear in the writings of the Italians Matteo Boiardo and Ludovico Ariosto, the English poet Edmund Spenser, the Frenchman Charles Perrault, and the Dane Hans Christian Andersen, among others.”
  7. File:121Apples.png
  8. File:121FungusAtTheFair.png
  9. File:121WhiteRabbit.png
  10. File:102HenryLeaves.png
  11. File:121DoorCloses.png
  12. Francis, Ruth (July 21, 2012). "I am H-A-P-P-Y" – An interview with Once Upon A Time’s Michael Coleman. Honest Reviews Corner. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. “Episode 21, where we were fighting countless guards with swords, axes, crossbows, etc. is still my favorite days on set in over two decades of work. I SHOT A FLAMING ARROW!!! How cool is that?”
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Block, Sheri (November 27, 2012). Once upon a time, CTV.ca's Sheri Block visited the 'Once' set. CTV Television Network. “Even though it has only been used for Rumplestiltskin's cave once, the show has gotten a lot of use out of this set – including as the Storybrook [sic] mines (a S-shaped roller coaster track was built to accommodate a mine car), the Queen's dungeon, an underground pit where Cora threw Emma and Mary Margaret and the site where the dwarves mine diamonds.”
  14. Ginnifer Goodwin on the Season One Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary for "7:15 A.M."
  15. Colin O'Donoghue on the Season Two Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary for "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
  16. David H. Goodman and Colin O'Donoghue on the Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary for "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
  17. ONCE UPON A TIME ABC TV Series 'An APple [sic] Red as Blood' Call Sheet Script Sides. eBay (January 29, 2020). Archived from the original on March 9, 2019. (Photograph)
  18. File:121ReginaGoesToOpenDoor.png
  19. File:121ICommandIt!.png
  20. Beane, Odette. Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York, Hyperion, 2013, p. 302