Once Upon a Time
“An Apple Red as Blood”
Penultimate Episode Bitches. Let’s do this.
King Widmore has Charming on his knees in front of the court. You’ll remember that this picks up from the episode where Charming does everything he can to get Snow to remember who she is and how she feels about him. Charming is none too pleased and tells King Widmore to get on with whatever it is he’s going to do. Before we get to the beheading portion of the night, King Widmore speechifies a bit that he was going to give Charming everything as his “son” if he would have just married Midas’s daughter but nooooo, he had to choose true love. The “blech” is implied. Charming says that his life for a chance at true love is a sacrifice he was happy to make. King Widmore takes him up on his offer and into the guillotine he goes. As the blade drops, it turns to water; I totally thought Snow was going to be the executioner in disguise but it turns out the magic is being caused by the Evil Queen who is making a class Evil Queen entrance, albeit uninvited. In exchange for whatever riches Midas would have bestowed upon King Widmore, she is willing to give in exchange for Charming; you see, her plan is to use him to bring down her biggest enemy, Snow White.
Outside the castle walls, Snow, Granny and the Dwarves scout out the castle situation when Red shows up with news that Charming is alive but that the Evil Queen is also inside. Its a trap! Snow offers the Dwarves an out and they all recommit to her fight. Red wants to know why the Evil Queen is doing this and Snow tells her about the whole, “destroying her happiness, quid pro quo” thing.
In his jail cell, Charming gets a visit from the Evil Queen. She tries to seduce him but he’s not having it. He offers himself in Snow’s place but the Evil Queen assures him that she got something worse in mind than death and withdraws a bright red apple from her satchel as she walks away. Charming? Still in jail.
Team Snow await Red’s howl and then begin their assault after first launching a fire arrow in the air. On that signal, all hell breaks loose complete with a Fairy Army. At the castle wall, the Dwarves launch grapple hooks and begin scaling the walls with Snow leading the charge. Snow goes over first and immediately begins dispatching palace guards Fairy Tale Ninja style. Team Snow regroups and they move into the castle en masse, taking out guards in pretty bad ass fashion as they go. That is, until reinforcements arrive but then the Fairy Army start dropping Fairy Dust Bombs and the path is clear once again. Snow finds Charming but when she enters his cell, she realizes she is seeing a reflection of Charming in a mirror at the Evil Queen’s castle. Tricky! After she whines that this totally ruins her “rescuing him” plan, the Evil Queen takes his place in the mirror and proposes a parlay, just the two of them. “Where do we meet?”, Snow asks and the Evil Queen says, “where it all began.”
Team Snow tries to convince her to take weapon and backup but she explains that they have already risked too much for her war with the Evil Queen. After Snow leaves, Red says she doesn’t trust that Queen. A Duh.
The Parlay. Of course, “where it all began” is the horse stable where Daniel was killed by Cora, the Evil Queen’s mom. Hello Regina, Snow says and the Evil Queen instructs her to follow without preamble. Out in the field where Regina saved Snow from her stampeding horse all those years ago, she shows Snow her Daniel’s grave. He’s dead, Snow asks sadly? She had continued to believe he had run away, which the Evil Queen says she told her to spare her feelings. But the time for nice has passed and the Evil Queen makes sure Snow realizes that Daniel is dead and its her fault. She continues with her venting session, that Snow was supposed to keep her secret and you lied!! Snow’s defense was that she was young and your mother … the Evil Queen interrupts this excuse to mention that Cora ripped his heart out of his chest all because Snow couldn’t listen to the Evil Queen’s request. Snow changes tack and says that the Evil Queen too her father and haven’t we both suffered enough? No, the Evil Queen responds flatly. She shows Snow an apple which she tells Snow will put her into a state whereby she’ll trapped in her own body destined to only dream of her regrets BUT Snow has to take it freely or else it won’t work. She explains that choice is Snow’s to make but she should understand that if she doesn’t eat the apple, the Evil Queen kill Charming. Like, a lot. Again, the choice is Snow’s. Snow reconfirms the deal that if she eats this apple, the Evil Queen will let Charming live and that is the deal that she wants to make? “With all my heart” Evil Queen replies. Snow wishes her congratulations because she’s won. She bites the apple and immediately falls to the ground, seemingly dead. The apple bounces out of her hand and falls through a portal (more on that in a bit).
The Hillside. Red and Granny and the rest of the team find Snow lying where she fell and she’s got no breath. The eulogize her that she sacrificed herself for True Love, she sacrificed herself for all of us. Side note: this is a very Christian image and its use here is peculiar what with her child being the Christ figure in the show and Snow White aptly enough being the Mother Mary figure … if you’re going to go down that road.
Enchanted World Wrap Ups. In her castle, the Evil Queen is watching the impromptu memorial service on the hillside and flips her magic channel to Charming where he’s still locked up and yelling, yelling, yelling. Presumably, the finale shows us the next step of how he is sprung from jail and finds Snow in the woods which is where the Pilot picked up in its first scene. Full circle yo.
The episode opens with maybe my favorite sequence in this great show. Henry and Regina have a horribly silent conversation when the doorbell rings. Emma is at the door and she says Henry invited her and be clear, she didn’t come for dinner, she came for Regina. Regina turns around and Henry is gone and the dining room is now dark. She turns back and David, Mary Margaret, Ruby, Granny, Leroy and Dr. Archie (the last two are only visible in the HD version when I watch on my TV) have joined Emma at the door and they all looked pissed. Regina turns back around again and Henry is there with some heavy looking rope over his shoulder, looking like he’s straight out of a Stephen King novel. Cut to a tree featuring black apples outside where the rest of the Dwarves have joined the gang and Ruby and Dr Archie are tying her to the tree. Regina tries commanding being let go but they unceremoniously tell her that (a) she’s not queen anymore … Sister (Leroy adds natch) and (b) Regina deserves this for all she’s done to them (e.g. Tearing David and Mary Margaret’s love asunder). Dr Archie’s conscience is clear by the way. Henry has the best sneer (really, Jared Gilmore has KILLED it these last two episodes and I hope he is nominated and wins … something because I love him) as Emma plucks a black apple and smushes it in front of Regina making her shriek. Rotten to the core, Emma says. Regina whimpers that she just wanted to win for once and Emma tells her that since she took away their happiness, now its time to take away hers (which mimics her line from two episodes after Sydney confessed to the Kathryn kidnapping plot). Emma gets Charming’s sword from David while Henry tells Regina she did this to herself. With the slashing blow, Regina wakes in bed, or course. Because we have one more episode to go. Startled, Regina checks on Henry and is relieved to see his lump laying in bed. Of course, the lump is not really Henry because currently, Henry is careening through the roads of Storybrooke with his birth mom.
The Car. When Henry realizes that Emma means to leave Storybrooke right now, he freaks out and pulls the car into a slide causing it to wind up in the ditch. He pleads with Emma that they need her, her family needs her and she can’t go. They both look on the edge of tears. Again, Jared Gilmore- KILLING IT.
Regina’s Garden. Regina plucks a (dying but not black) apple from her dying tree and storms on over to Mr. Gold’s shop, full of the accusations that he’s doing enough to keep the curse in tact, the weakening of which she blames on Emma. They discuss the logistics of the curse in practice and it seems that Regina can either give up Henry and maintain her curse OR, if she wants to get rid of Emma, she can kill her but then the curse will be broken. Regina is mildly curious as to why Mr. Gold wants the curse broken but is more interested in striking a new deal with him whereby she can both Kill Emma AND keep the curse in tact. He’s not interested and be clear, she has nothing that interests him. Besides, he’s planning a trip and some unsolicited advice if she’d like some? Regina should plan a trip too because when the town wakes up and realize who Regina really is, they’ll be out for blood.
The School. Regina places a Mad Hatter card on Paige’s (the Mad Hatter’s daughter you’ll remember) bicycle vanity plate. The stalking of children in this show is creepy.
The Apartment. Mary Margaret is having a snit over Emma’s attempted fleeing and she reminds her that they are family as Emma told Mary Margaret when she tried to leave in the middle of the whole “wrongfully accused of Kathryn’s murder so she tried to flee town after being left a mysterious key to her jail cell) thing (which was also the episode where we met Jefferson, the Mad Hatter, for the first time). Emma starts her favorite whine of not wanting to be the sheriff and not wanting people to depend on her. What about Henry, Mary Margaret asks? Emma sheepishly confesses that she took him with her and Mary Margaret is all over this with the whole, “you think abandoning your duties and running away is good for Henry?” What is wrong with you? She asks in maybe the most succinct statement ever on this show. Mary Margaret continues her scolding by telling Emma that she needs to do what’s right for Henry now but its up to Emma to figure out what that is … seeing as she’s the mom.
Jefferson shows up at Regina’s and she tells him that he’s not going to kill her because he would have done it 28 years ago when she first brought him here. And If you’re wondering why he didn’t? Its because he knows that with her dead, he’ll never get to return to their Enchanted World with Grace(Paige he reminds her scornfully, since she changed her name). Plus, she’s got a way for them both to get what they want, she just needs him to do one more Mad Hatter job (which is what she said the last time she asked him to do something). She pulls out his hat and says she needs him to open up a portal to their world so she can get what she needs to kill Emma. Why should Jefferson let her kill Emma when she can maybe break the curse and end the madness and go home? And return to your hovel, Regina snarks? No, their problem is the same, Regina tells him, and that problem is family. They are both missing their kids and want them back. She even offers to wake up Grace so she’ll remember him but that’s the worse thing he can think of, the burden of knowing two worlds will drive you mad remember. Instead he wants a new story, a fresh start here in this world. Sure thing, says Regina. AFTER they take care of the Emma problem.
Henry shows up at Pinocchio’s door and tells Pinocchio tells him he’s failed. He shows Henry his wooden body (his arm has turned now)y and Henry is stoked that he was right about the stories being true and the curse, etc.!! He is confused about why he’s turning back to wood but “I haven’t been a good boy” is all the explanation Pinocchio offers. Also, Pinocchio is done trying to convince Emma. With the little time he has left, he wants to spend it with his father (Marco, Henry asks? Yep). Pinocchio tells Henry that he’s out of Operation Cobra and its all on Henry now.
Granny’s. Dr. Archie is convincing Emma that she’s got zero case for custody and in many ways Henry is in more danger since she arrived. He explains to her that its not a matter of “better off” and in fact, it seems that Emma has awoke a dragon in Regina which only gets Henry hurt in the end.
Regina takes Jefferson into her crypt vault where she’s kept her last bits of magic. The Hat doesn’t react so she starts dumping some of her magical trinkets into the Hat; its only when she uses her last bauble (a magical picture of Daniel) that the Hat starts to spin but even then, its very weak. Jefferson explains that its only large enough to bring a small object back. She says she has such an object and directs her thoughts to it. The hat reacts to this and Jefferson asks what they’re after? An apple. Natch.
After the Enchanted World scene where Snow takes the fatal bite of the apple, Regina catches it as falls through the portal and Jefferson wants Paige free ASAP. Not yet, since she still needs to eliminate the Savior.
Cut to Regina baking an apple turnover. When Emma shows up, Regina agrees to talk. Emma says that his needs to end and that they need to make a deal about Henry. No deals says Regina but then Emma tells her that she’s leaving town. Since their war isn’t good for Henry, she’ll leave but she wants assurances that she can still come and see him from time to time. “Then you’ll still be in is life, Regina asks incredulously? “No deal is perfect.” The unlikely duo head to kitchen where Regina hands Emma going away apple turnover. Not before Reina makes Emma admit Henry is her son, or course. Emma hesitates but accepts the turnover and leaves.
Mr. Gold’s office. Regina comes to gloat and she explains that she found an “old” solution to her Emma problem. A sleeping solution, Mr. Gold asks? And he is curious how she pulled that off. She tells him that she used her last bit of magical objects and since she used magic to make magic, he reminds her that all magic comes with a price (I also feel that there several mentions to her using her last bit of magic in this world will be significant in the finale and I have a certain idea in mind but I don’t want to be spoilery if I’m right). Then you can pay it (the price), Regina sneers, because now the curse will be stronger than ever. Mr. Gold walks away and she follows, explaining that she won and for whatever reason he wanted the curse broken, its not going to happen so, so sad for you. She’s clearly annoyed that she didn’t get a rise out of him.
The Apartment. Emma explains to Henry that he was right, she can’t take him out of Storybrooke but she can’t stay either. When he gets what she saying he goes into major “No” mode and tries to explain she’s just scared and that all heroes have a low point before they fight back. Emma starts tearing up and says that this isn’t a story, its real life. She continues that he can’t skip school and runaway and he can’t believe in curses. He’s shocked that she really doesn’t believe. He explains that Regina wants Emma dead because she’s the ONLY one that can stop her. Why doesn’t she get that. They hug which is when Henry and spies the turnover. When he learns its from Regina, he tells her not to eat it because its poisoned. She continues to not believe and wonders why Regina would want to poison her if she’s leaving town? Henry explains that as long as she’s alive, she’s a threat to Regina’s plan. They struggle over the turnover and Henry grabs it. He tells her that she may not believe in the Curse or in him but he believes in her so … nom, nom. He eats the apple and Emma mockingly asks if he wants some ice cream with that since clearly its fine. Of course, that’s until he falls over just as Snow did in the Enchanted World. Take that and cram it in your disbeliever hole Emma. We end with Henry lying on the floor and Emma saying his name over and over. Is it next Sunday yet?!?!