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Once Upon a Time: An Apple Red as Blood

“It would appear sacrifice is overrated.”

Hear that sound? It’s the sound of everything falling into place. By bringing together characters, past and present, bringing the season’s largest story to a climax and capping it off with a nice twist, Once Upon a Time has achieved all of the right things it needed to before its season finale next week. The stage is set, the stakes are high, and everyone has a part to play.

Everything about this episode screamed set-up but in the greatest way possible. Though some aspects were a little dodgy, and it took a while to get going, the episode itself seemed to go from high to high, bringing so many stories into the fold and tying them neatly together. Who knows about the curse? Who needs it to be broken? And, most importantly, whose life hangs in the balance?

Emma’s screen-time isn’t diminished this week, which is especially important given the significance that’s being placed on her role as saviour these past few weeks. She’s the key, and though it’s been a long time coming, all of the build-up and teases seem completely worthwhile and necessary. She’s still facing some sort of fear of taking on responsibility, but here its responsibility for making Henry’s life too distracting and difficult. It’s great seeing how well the writers have handled that bond between Emma and Henry that’s grown from easy friendship to something a lot deeper. It’s not parental yet, but to say it’s familial isn’t too much of a stretch.

A lot of ‘An Apple Red as Blood’ was dedicated to Regina’s motivations, and her desperation to keep the curse intact, the first few minutes even going so far as to highlight a sense of fear Regina feels over the town’s unknowing vengeance towards her. I don’t think for a second that any of her feels guilt over what she’s created, but the fear, that weaker, more human side to her, is what’s going to make her characterization more believable over the course of the next few seasons.

Flashbacks and present day antics meshed together as wonderfully as they ever have, too. Not just with regards to the great visuals of Snow and Henry’s fruity intolerance, but the episode’s little call-backs to small character developments that have been given to us already, like Red’s wolfy instincts and Grumpy’s call-in to the fairies. It made it clearer than ever that this is just as much a character orientated show as it is a high concept fantasy.

There’s a great sense of excitement building on both sides this week, with the fight for Snow’s life driving the flashbacks forward, and the curse’s unraveling bringing the present day story to a swift climax. It seems as though the writers have played their cards just right, and haven’t dropped the ball like I had initially worried they would after ‘Heart of Darkness.’ My excitement for the finale is palpable, but I still need some big event to change the show up significantly next season. Sticking to a winning formula isn’t always the best course of action, especially where potential long-running TV shows are concerned.

Plus

I still agree with those who say the full Snow White/Regina story hasn’t been told yet. The bones of it are there, but there’s still a dense amount of background to explore.

Mr Gold/Rumpie is still hiding something. He must have something up his sleeve.

Sebastian Stan is mine. You will all just have to deal.

He Said, She Said

Snow: “Is this always going to be our life? Taking turns finding each other?”

Regina: “Hope you bought travel insurance, because no one’s going anywhere.”

Emma: “This isn’t a story. This is reality. And things have to change.”

4 out of 4 poison apples.

Previously posted at PandaTV.

10 comments:

  1. "Sebastian Stan is mine. You will all just have to deal."

    I'll fight ya for him.


    I liked this episode so much. The fairy aerial bombardment was so cheesy...and then I got goosebumps. Ditto Snow's "We happy few..." speech.

    So excited for the finale!

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  2. Josie and Panda, you can keep Sebastian Stan. Give me Jamie Dornan any day.

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  3. Dibs on Josh Dallas! After Ginnifer Goodwin is done with him...
    It was new information this week that Emma's death would end the curse, right? Do we think there is another, more Disney-approved way or will Emma eventually have to pay the ultimate sacrifice, truly becoming a savior?

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  4. No mention of the wonderful mother-teenage daughter moment between Mary Margaret and Emma?

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  5. Carlyle is mine. The fangirls will be so mad. Wonderful episode and review. Can't wait for the finale.
    Anna

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  6. Well, since all the men are taken I guess I'm going to have to settle for either Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison or Lana Parrilla. Do I have to pick one or is it possible to have all three?

    Also, can someone tell me when Regina found out that Emma was the saviour? Feels like we've missed a big revelation scene.

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  7. Bring it Josie!

    Mark, I think that was obvious duirng 'What you love Most' when she and carlyle had their, "I think you know" moment. I think she's always known, right? Am I wrong?

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  8. I was confused. I thought Sebastian Stan's Mad Hatter ended up back in Wonderland at then end of his first episode. Did I miss/misread something?

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  9. WOW, WOW, and WOW! I've enjoyed this series, but never felt particularly engaged, until this episode. The entire series just seemed to click together in this one episode and I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning, I finally see what all the fuss was about! Great setup for the finale, looking forward to what will happen, and hoping there will be a big switch-up to lead us into the second season.

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  10. I'm with Anna and Carlyle...

    What a great episode of television! If Henry's being asleep doesn't convince Emma, I'm not sure what will.

    Everything about this one was well put together. I have really enjoyed this series, but this was the one that I realized how invested I have become in it. All the stories came together beautifully and I am anxious to see where they are going to take it.

    As a PS, I simply love the opening shot with the title of the show and how they change the character(s) in it every week. Really clever entry into an episode.

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