ONCE UPON A TIME There Was a Woman with an Apple

Episode 1.21 “An Apple Red as Blood”

This week: the red jacket returns! And the emotional turmoil that goes with it. It’s no coincidence that she’s wearing the outfit in which she came to Storybrooke. It’s a clear visual clue that she’s reverting back to the emotionally distant hands-off Emma from the beginning of the season.

Emma confides in Archie, wondering which is the right thing to do. [Copyright © 2012 ABC, Inc. / Jack Rowand]
And who can blame her, really? She’s been told she’s the savior of an entire town from a magic curse that’s been holding them in thrall for nearly thirty years. And she’s been told this by a boy who reads fairy tales and a man who claims to be a wooden puppet who came through a magic tree with her when she was a baby.

Yeah. That’s plenty to take in.

So, this week is about accepting fate, or running from it. The big confrontation we’ve seen in the promos for the last couple of weeks – well, that’s Regina’s nightmare. Because things are starting to fall apart on her, and she thinks Gold has something to do with it. There’s a lot of teeth-gnashing this week. Regina wants Gold to fix things, to make the curse stronger or something, but Gold can’t play. For one thing, there’s no magic in this realm. For another, he doesn’t want the curse to end.

Wait. That’s not what he said. Did he tell Regina that he wants to go back? Regina thinks he does. And he doesn’t disabuse her of the notion. This has drawn plenty of comments on other forums. Because the whole idea behind this curse was for Gold to be able to find his son, who got sucked into the Green Vortex of Going Elsewhere. So it doesn’t make sense that Gold would want the curse to end.

But in the back and forth between Gold and Regina, it seems as if we establish that if Emma dies, the curse is broken. But also, Emma is the prophesied savior who’s destined to break the curse – meaning if Emma lives, the curse is broken.

Don’t see a win for Regina either way here.

Setting aside that question (which the writers will undoubtedly address as they have everything else…), let’s look at Emma’s plot for a moment. She’s back in “walls up” mode, and after Henry foils her plan to leave Storybrooke by almost wrecking the bug, she gets a stern lecture from her mother roommate Mary Margaret. It’s interesting to see the mother/daughter dynamic finally start to assert itself between these two. And if it unfolds from here, it may have some unexpected consequences for them both.

Emma just flat out feels in over her head.

By contrast, over in Fairy Tale Land, Snow White is one to rush headlong into a rescue mission without hesitation. She’s determined to get Charming out of King George’s clutches. And she takes her gang of misfit toys with her – the seven dwarves, Granny, Red, and the fairies. They “have fun stormin’ the castle” only to find that Charming isn’t where they think. Because Regina has bought Charming from King George, taking him to her castle instead.

Regina has the apple, and the prince, well in hand. [Copyright © 2012 ABC, Inc. / Jack Rowand]
And to see thousands of fairies throwing “fairy bombs” at King George’s men? A little wince-worthy, but it’s all in good fun, right?

Regina calls for a parley (and yes, we all think about pirates now, thank you), which basically means Snow goes unarmed into a meeting with a woman who can rip out hearts with her hands. Uhm, the up side? Is there an up side to this? Charming lives and goes free, but Snow has to eat the apple with Maleficent’s sleeping potion – which simulates death.

All it takes is one bite… [Copyright © 2012 ABC, Inc. / Jack Rowand]
Well, we all knew she was going to end up in the glass coffin. This is not a surprise to anyone.

And yes, we all know that Snow White could have sneaked a knife in and planted it between Regina’s lovely cleavage, but that wouldn’t be the honorable thing to do. And Snow White is an honorable thief who really, truly, desperately wants the battle to be over between them. So, she’s going to sacrifice herself to save Charming and get this war over with so Regina maybe has some closure and can move on.

Next stop: glass coffin. [Copyright © 2012 ABC, Inc. / Jack Rowand]
Also this week: the Mad Hatter returns!

Wait. What? Didn’t he disappear after falling three stories from a window in his house? Where’s he been? And do we assume Sheriff Emma was conducting her investigation of his part in Mary Margaret’s kidnapping off-screen? Really, the writers seem to sometimes lose one thread into obscure hand-waving territory. The whole arc of Emma being the sheriff just has never really worked, because we don’t really see her doing anything as a sheriff. She’s clearly not qualified for it.

But perhaps that plays into her feeling overwhelmed at the thought that the whole town depends on her to save it. But I still hear the Penguins of Madagascar in my head saying, “You didn’t see anything”…

Regina sees things, though – like the opening scene (which is what we’ve been getting in the promos): everyone in Storybrooke coming after Regina, tying her to a tree so Emma can cut off her head. But it’s just a dream. Once teases us yet again… But it has the effect of sending Regina spiraling down into a less-controlled emotional state, so much so that she uses her last bit of magic – the ring from Daniel – to reach through Mad Hatter’s hat and pluck the apple from the field after Snow White has tasted its bitter effect.

(For those on other sites wondering how the hat can have TARDIS qualities, remember Hatter told Regina to go there in her mind. So she was guiding the hat through both time and space to the place where she last saw the apple. But I fully expect someone to create a TARDIS Top Hat. Now. This must happen.)

The intent, of course, is to get Emma to eat the apple, now baked in a turnover. Only Henry beats her to it and eats it himself after realizing that Emma’s about to blow it. Which means Henry is now in a coma from the sleeping curse.

Now what are you gonna do, Emma?

Line of the Week goes to Grumpy: “Red, you’ve got someone on your chin.”


[Official Show Site at ABC]     [Previous recap: “The Stranger”]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

One thought on “ONCE UPON A TIME There Was a Woman with an Apple

  • May 10, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Why is it whenever I see the Fairy’s I think flying jelly fish?


    Gold still has an ace up his sleeve in a deal with Emma so I don’t think he’s too worried. He has to know the only way for the curse to remain strong is for Emma to leave or be out of the picture in some way that won’t instantly break the curse. I don’t think he wants Emma dead (well at least not at the moment) he want time to find his son, so her being in Regina’s way is a good stall tactic for him.

    MM & Emma scene was great, very mother/daughter.

    Emma, MM & the Hatter, well, if Emma did a actual investigation (you know like doing her job), she would have to admit MM escaped. MM being in the cell when Regina checked the day of the trail was the first wrench throw in the Regina’s plan to get rid of MM.


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