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When last we left Storybrooke in “An Apple Red as Blood,” Henry (Jared Gilmore) had taken a bite of the poison apple turnover meant for Emma (Jennifer Morrison), falling to the floor, barely alive.
The apple turnover, made of The Evil Queen/Mayor Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) poison apple—the one with which she had dosed Snow White back in Fairy Tale Land—had been intended to knock Emma out of the picture. It hadn’t been meant to kill her, because killing her would immediately break the curse (as Mr. Gold points out), which would be bad for Regina (and us, since it would mean the end of the series!).
So little Henry, desperate to show Emma that the curse is real (and the apple turnover is poisoned), tries to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Phew!
How will the poison affect Henry?
True love’s kiss awakened Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), so I’m wondering if Henry is hoping that Emma will try that as a last ditch effort to save him, believing that nothing else but her belief—and that kiss—will save him. It’s a huge risk, but Henry is pretty desperate.
Even if Henry is awakened by Emma’s kiss, what exactly will that mean—and how will it set up next season (the series has just been officially renewed by ABC!)? Does Emma’s belief alone break the curse, or is that but the first step, like some elaborate video game? What’s the next challenge in the quest? Emma’s presence in Storybrooke, alone, has begun to unravel the queen’s evil magic—even her tree is dying. So can the curse’s end even be undone at this point?
What if it’s not Emma’s kiss that would wake Henry? After all, Emma is relatively new in Henry’s life—is her love yet deep enough to awaken him? Is that, in fact, the next challenge? Or could it be that Regina loves Henry—she has been his mother, after all? Is it Regina’s kiss that must awaken him? If that’s so, her kiss would prove to Emma that the curse is real—so will Regina take the risk?
And where does Mr. Gold/Rumple (Robert Carlyle) fit into all this? It’s his curse, of course. But he refuses to help Regina in her efforts to ensure it stays in place. But his motives have never been to simply do evil; his motives in designing the curse were purely personal.