‘Once Upon A Time’ S1 Ep 21 recap: Don’t stop believing

S1 Ep 21
Snow White and Prince Charming’s True Love is stronger than ever. (Photo credit: ABC via SpoilerTV)

Sunday night’s “An Apple Red As Blood” was full of surprises; we see how Prince Charming was willing to die for True Love and learn why Snow White took a bite of the forbidden fruit in Fairytale Land. Meanwhile in Storybrooke, we discover that a little bit of magic still exists and (as Rumpy warns everyone) it comes with a great price.

Fairytale Land: “Congratulations. You win.”

Sunday’s fairytale takes us back to Snow White and Prince Charming’s enduring love story. Picking up from where we left off in “Heart of Darkness” when PC valiantly prevented Snow from filling her heart with darkness by killing the Evil Queen; his unyielding love and selflessness triggered her memory. Moments after their True Love’s kiss, Charming was hauled away by King George’s knights. Now, PC stands before an infuriated King George, who voices his disappointment and disgust in Charming’s betrayal. Even when facing execution, Charming stays true to himself and his beloved Snow White. As we saw in the preview clip, Charming would rather die for True Love, than live without it. King George sends PC to the guillotine and as the blade swiftly approaches the prince’s exposed neck, it suddenly transforms into a splash of water. The Evil Queen has come for Charming and guarantees King George that her punishment for him will be worse than a quick beheading. She vows, “I promise to make him suffer…by using him to destroy his one True Love.” Meanwhile, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs team up with Red Riding Hood, Granny and the Fairy brigade in order to rescue Prince Charming.

Red returns from her wolfed-out covert affair and warns the gang that the Evil Queen’s abduction of Prince Charming is a trap to ensnare Snow White. Nonetheless, Snow & Co. are all in and ready to face whatever wickedness Regina has prepared for them this time. Over in the Evil Queen’s palace, a caged Charming begs her to spare Snow White’s life by taking his instead. Naturally, Regina tells the prince that she has bigger plans than simply killing the woman she scorns so feverishly.

Red’s howl signals the go ahead and Snow & Co. skillfully overcome the guards and infiltrate the Evil Queen’s castle. Snow White finds Charming in a cell, but when she gets closer to him, she realizes that his appearance is a trick. The prince is being held captive somewhere else and EQ projected his image in a magic mirror. Luckily, it is a live projection, so Snow and Charming have a chance to comfort each other. Throughout the course of their relationship they have taken turns finding each other, but Snow will not lose faith in their love and destiny to be together. The love bird’s heart-to-heart is abruptly interrupted by Regina, who requests a private parlay with Snow. They will meet “where it all began” and cannot bring weapons. Snow’s friends beg her not to go, but she must confront the Evil Queen in order to save her prince.

They meet at the stable and EQ takes Snow to Daniel’s grave. Regina tells Snow White that Daniel died because Snow broke her promise and told Cora her secret. Snow never knew that Daniel had died, so she is surprised. However, she reminds Regina that she killed her father, King Leopold, and argues that they have both suffered enough loss in one lifetime. The Evil Queen disagrees; she still wants Snow White to pay for her sins. Regina shows Snow the poisonous red apple and explains its effects. One bite from the red apple turns your body into a tomb; the apple does not kill you, instead it puts you in a deep coma-like sleep in which all of your dreams are full of your regrets. The Evil Queen threatens Snow that if she refuses the apple, then Prince Charming will be killed.

Snow White grabs the apple from Regina’s hand and says, “Congratulations. You win.” She then takes a bite of the poisonous apple to spare the life of her beloved Prince Charming. As Snow collapses and the apple rolls out of her hand, Prince Charming feels the pangs of her sacrifice and is overcome with gut-wrenching pain.

Snow White’s friends discover her body; they are heart-broken to see how she sacrificed herself for True Love and to protect all of them.

Storybrooke: “You may not believe in the curse or in me, but I believe in you.”

“An Apple Red As Blood” opens with a shocking sequence in which the whole town has gathered to punish Regina for her evil crimes. Just before Emma swings at Regina with a sword, Henry tells her, “You did this to yourself.” Before the blade strikes, Regina wakes up and we realize that it was only a nightmare. She runs to check on Henry and cannot tell that he is gone. Meanwhile, Emma is determined to leave Storybrooke and protect Henry from his sociopath “mother.” Henry tries to convince Emma that she is the savoir and must stay in Storybrooke to break the curse; he pleads, “Your family needs you!” Then he takes the steering wheel and swerves Emma’s bug off the road before they pass the Storybrooke sign.

Back in town, Regina notices how all of her apple trees are rotting, so she pays Mr. Gold a visit. She says it is a sign that the curse is weakening and Emma must be taken care of. Mr. Gold then explains how the curse works; Rumpy designed the curse in such a way so that if Emma dies, then the curse will break. Regina wants to strike a new deal with Gold to get rid of Emma, but he refuses to do so. She fears that if the townspeople remember their past as the curse weakens, then they will be looking for blood – Regina’s blood. Since, Gold will not help her, Regina turns to someone else who knows the truth.

Regina leave’s a White Rabbit calling card on Paige’s bike at school, prompting Jefferson to pay her visit and warn her to stay away from his daughter. Regina reveals that she has kept Jefferson’s hat and she wants him to use it so she can retrieve something from Fairytale Land. She promises him that if he helps her, then she will return his daughter’s memories, but Jefferson wants a different deal. If they continue to live in Storybrooke, then he would rather they both get a fresh start by forgetting the truth and living in ignorant bliss. Meanwhile, Emma and Henry return to Storybrooke.

Emma comes home to an offended Mary Margaret. Her feelings are hurt because Emma took Henry and left with no goodbye or explanation. She tells Emma that when she wanted to leave, Emma stopped her by saying that they are like family and you do not run out on your family. Emma fears that she is reverting back to the isolated person she was before she came to Storybrooke; she is worried about Henry and does not know what to do. While MM and Emma make-up, Henry has a chat with his “Operation Cobra” cohort.

Henry turns to August for help with making Emma believe the fairytales and curse are real. Unfortunately, he gets an unexpected surprise when he sees August. After telling Henry how his efforts failed, he reveals his wooden arm and admits, “I haven’t been a good boy.” Henry is excited to discover that August is Pinocchio and is disappointed to learn that Emma could not see his wooden limbs because she refuses to allow herself to believe. August wishes he could have done more to help, but explains that he wants to spend the precious time he has left with his father, Marco (aka Geppetto). August bows out of “Operation Cobra” and Henry must take care of it on his own. Meanwhile, Emma also reaches out to a friend, Dr. Hopper.

Emma asks Archie about her options regarding Henry’s custody. She wonders if they can prove Regina is an unfit mother, but Dr. Hopper thinks they would not have a case against her. Although Regina is cruel and willing to hurt everyone else, she would never do anything to harm Henry. While Emma mulls over her options, Regina works with Jefferson and his hat.

Regina explains how there is still a little bit of magic left in the fairytale objects she brought with her to Storybrooke. If the hat gets magically charged enough, they will be able to reach through the hat and touch Fairytale Land. She takes Jefferson to her secret chamber under the crypt and starts tossing little trinkets into the hat so that it absorbs their magic powers. However, their magic is not enough, so Regina is forced to sacrifice her most prized possession. She remorsefully looks at Daniel’s gold ring and flings in into the hat, which finally activates its magic. Jefferson instructs her to think of a specific item, location, and time in the Fairytale world in order to get the object she desires. In another beautiful ‘Once Upon A Time’ transition, we see Regina’s hand punch through the grass as the poison apple rolls out of Snow White’s hand and into Regina’s grasp. Now all she needs to do is have Emma taste the apple.

Emma visits Regina at home to make a deal for Henry’s well-being. She promises to leave Storybrooke and give Regina sole custody, as long as Regina allows her to visit Henry. Regina agrees and offers Emma a freshly baked apple turnover for the road. Emma takes it and goes home to pack. After Emma leaves, Regina has another chat with Mr. Gold. She managed to “make magic from magic,” but Gold reminds her that all magic comes with a price. Regina does not care because she made the curse even stronger; she assuredly declares, “I won.” But has she really?

Henry runs over to Emma’s and begs her not to leave. Emma thinks she is doing what is best for everyone because whenever she challenges Regina, somebody gets hurt. Henry insists that Regina cannot be trusted; he says, “It isn’t a story, it’s real.” Emma can’t believe in the curse, so Henry bluntly exclaims, “She wants you dead!” Emma’s maternal instincts kick in and she thinks Regina only acted that way because she was fighting to keep her son. Henry suddenly notices the apple turnover on the counter and tells Emma that Regina is tricking her into eating Snow White’s poison apple. Emma still thinks Henry is being foolish, so he grabs the turnover. Henry says, “You may not believe in the curse or in me, but I believe in you.” He takes a bite and collapses onto the floor. Emma rushes to his side in shock.

“An Apple Red As Blood” is another fantastic episode with a heartbreaking cliffhanger. What did you think? Are you shocked by the ending? Do you think Henry can be saved? Will August be healed before it is too late?

Check back soon for scoop on Sunday night’s finale. Until then, share your comments below and Talk TV with Tiffany on Facebook.


  • Henry: Jared Gilmore is brilliant! This show would not be the same without him; hopefully, the mind-blowing finale will not kill-off one of our most beloved characters.
  • August: Eion Baileyhas given such a moving and heartfelt performance as August/Pinocchio. His chemistry with Jared has been so much fun to watch and his impending death is another concern to deal with in the season finale. With spoilers claiming that a character will die, August and Henry have sadly become the obvious contenders.
  • Rumpy’s clever curse: It was a genius move to add a “can’t kill the savior” clause to the curse. We know that the curse safeguards Emma, but what does it mean for Henry? Emma is the savior, but shouldn’t the fact that Henry is the savior’s son count for something? One would think he would inherently have a certain amount of protection as well. Maybe Mr. Gold can help cure Henry, unless True Love’s kiss works in more than just the romantic sense. What do you think?
  • Reginashould be crushed: The only honest thing about Regina, other than her hatred for Snow White, is her genuine love for Henry. Would she be willing to sacrifice herself to save him?
  • Emma hasto believe: Henry’s brave move gave Emma no choice but to believe. His coma is proof of the poison and when it can’t be treated by regular medicine, Emma will have no choice but to turn to magic for help.
  • Teamwork: The Fairytale flashback had its cute and humorous moments, despite the tear-jerking drama. Red has wolf-food residue on her face after transforming, Grump says how much he misses Stealthy as they prepare for battle (we miss him too!), and a swarm of tiny fairies drop dusts bombs from above. Plus, it is so nice to see how much all of these characters care for each other and how they are missing out on some deep friendships in Storybrooke.

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