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Once Upon a Time 1-21: An Apple Red as Blood

My brother and sister-in-law have stopped watching all previews for future episodes of shows they like because they feel these previews give too much away. And I completely agree with them. I just can’t help myself from watching them. This time, the preview gave away the ending of the episode. But that didn’t stop it from being gripping. And I can NOT wait until next week to see what happens next. (BTW, we need to be working on theories of the season ending cliffhanger because I will do much better waiting all summer if I can guess what’s coming.)

In the world of Fairy Tale, we got the next chapter in the Snow/James saga. When last we’d seen them, James had been captured by his “father” and Snow was promising to come for him. She’d better hurry because King George isn’t wasting any time in executing James. Then again, James pretty much dares him to, saying he would rather die for love than live with the riches he was offered to play the part of the prince. But as the guillotine is falling, the blade turns into water. Wait, what? That’s what everyone is thinking until Regina walks in. She is willing to pay George for James, what George would have gotten from the marriage. James is a trap for Snow White.

Snow, meanwhile, is ready for a fight. She’s got the seven dwarves to help her, and she’s also recruited Granny and Red Riding Hood along with all the fairies. Red has done some reconnaissance and learned that James is still being held in the prison, so they break in. Let me tell you, that girl can fight. No damsel in distress, but we pretty much already knew that. She and the dwarves knock out the guards, only to have them come back to their feet. Fortunately, the fairies are there to make them all go to sleep. Snow rushes to the dungeon and opens the door to the cell where James is, only to find that it’s really just him in a mirror and he’s been moved. As they again begin to declare their love, Regina breaks in. She wants to meet. No weapons, no tricks. And Snow agrees. The others try to talk her out of it, but she is persistent.

And so they meet back at the stables where Snow ruined Regina’s life so many years ago. Snow learns what really happened to Daniel. Again, she apologizes, but Regina will hear none of it. Snow points out that Regina killed Snow’s father, so in reality both of them have suffered great loss, but Regina says it isn’t enough.

And she produces an apple.

The apple won’t kill Snow, but she will be trapped in endless dreams, always suffering for what she has done. Snow at first refuses to eat it, even asking if the queen will be forcing her to eat it. But Regina explains that you have to willing take the apple for the spell to take effect. So how does Regina get Snow to eat it? She promises that James will be freed. With that promise confirmed, Snow eats the apple and falls down. James, in his cell, reacts to it as well. He knows something has happened, but he doesn’t know what.

When Granny, Red, and the dwarves find Snow, they think she is dead because she isn’t breathing. Meanwhile, Regina keeps her promise and releases James.

So, that’s how Snow ate the apple. Again, they’ve done a major twist to the fairy tale, but I like it. It speaks of who Snow is, and who Regina is. In fact, it makes Snow more heroic.

But what about Storybrooke? Don’t worry, plenty happened there as well.

We open with Henry and Regina eating a nice dinner in their home. Honestly, I felt confused for just a moment, but then I figured it had to be a dream. And sure enough, it isn’t long before that is obvious. Emma shows up at the front door and accuses Regina of ruining everyone’s life. As she does so, the other characters show up. They quickly tie Regina to a tree and vow to make her suffer. Emma reaches up and grabs an apple from the tree. It’s black and liquefies as Emma squeezes it. “Rotten to the core.”

And Regina wakes up gasping for breath. She goes to check on Henry and is reassured to see him asleep. Only he isn’t in his bed; it’s just made up to look like he’s in there.

Cut to Emma and Henry racing out of town. Henry is shocked to learn that Emma is serious about leaving town that night. As they near the town limits, Henry grabs the steering wheel, and the car skids to a stop. He’s not leaving.

The next morning, Regina goes out to her apple tree to find that her apples are indeed going bad, another sign that the curse is losing power. In a panic, she goes to Mr. Gold, who doesn’t seem that concerned. She begs and pleads with him to help her find a way to get rid of Emma. However, she can’t kill Emma because that would break the curse. (Now there’s an interesting twist I was not expecting. I wonder if that’s the only way or is there another.) Anyway, Mr. Gold refuses to help at any price and seems actually excited by the idea of the curse being broken.

Emma returns home to be confronted by Mary Margaret. She is understandably upset by Emma running out without saying goodbye. She even throws Emma’s words trying to get her to stay back in her face. You know, about family and how Mary Margaret has been good for Emma. But Emma says she hasn’t changed after all. Mary Margaret also asks if Emma’s behavior is really good for Henry. Really, she says much of what I’ve been thinking the last few episodes.

Henry turns to August to try to get his help is convincing Emma the curse is real, but August has completely given up. His arm has started to turn to wood. He just wants to spend what little time he has left with his father.

In her efforts to get custody of Henry, Emma turns to Dr. Hopper. He really opens her eyes to the fact that the changes in Henry haven’t been good since she came to town. He’s been endangering his life and skipping school. He seems more deluded by his belief in the curse. He says a court might easily rules against her for custody of Henry.

Meanwhile, Regina has turned to a surprising place to get help with her Emma problem – the Mad Hatter. Jefferson is very reluctant to work for Regina, but she eventually strikes a deal. If Jefferson helps with the Emma problem, Regina will make Jefferson forget who he is and about his daughter. So Regina pulls out his hat. But it won’t work without magic, so they head down to Regina’s catacombs. She throws in a few trinkets she still has, but it doesn’t do any good. So she sacrifices the biggest piece of magic she has, a ring that had an image of someone in the middle. I think it was Daniel, but I couldn’t quite tell for sure. Anyway, the hat begins to spin very slowly when that happens. It’s not enough to get them to their world, but it is enough for Jefferson to reach in and grab one item if Regina will concentrate on a specific time, place, and item. And what does she want? The Apple.

That was actually a nice bit of storytelling. At this point, we cut to the scene where Snow and Regina had their confrontation. Snow took her bite, fell over, and the apple rolled out of her hand into a vortex that lead back to our world.

Regina now just needs to figure out how to trick Emma into eating it. She hits upon the idea of a turnover.

As she is almost done baking it, Emma shows up. She has decided that it is best for Henry if she leaves Storybrooke. She still wants to visit, but she isn’t going to fight Regina for him any more. Naturally, Regina is thrilled. She even offers Emma some traveling food – the turnover. “It’s one of my famous turnovers. An old recipe. I hope you like apple.” Emma accepts the peace offering and goes.

In the finale scene of the night, Emma is back home packing. Henry comes by at her request, and she tells him she’s leaving. He’s upset on a personal level, but he also keeps insisting that Emma needs to stay to break the curse. Emma tells him to stop talking about that. As they hug, Henry spots the turnover. He’s immediately suspicious, especially when he smells apple. He insists it isn’t safe to eat. They both reach for it, but Henry gets it. In an effort to finally prove to Emma that everything he’s been saying is correct, he takes a bite and falls over.

End of episode.

Henry falling over was the scene we’d seen in the preview, and I figured out about 20 minutes early where it would fall in the episode, so I wasn’t that surprised when it happened. But I still desperately want more and I want it right now!!!!!

No, I’m not impatient at all, why do you ask?

So, I’m trying to think what the cliffhanger next week could be. Might it be Henry dying? Could it be Emma actually breaking the curse? That seems too early to me. And does Emma have to die to do that or is there another way? Why does Mr. Gold want the curse to end? Will Mary Margaret and David get together before the season ends? What will we see in Fairy Tale next week? And how many hours until I get to watch it?

One possibility is definitely Emma saying she believes in the curse and doing something to prove it. But what?

Leave me a comment with your thoughts on tonight and speculation on next week. Do try to avoid real spoilers, but speculation is very welcome.