"An Apple Red as Blood" is from personal opinion tied with "That Still Small Voice" the best episode of Season 1, a solid season with mostly good to great episode with the weakest episode "Dreamy" still being decent. It recalls events from previous episodes and expands on them, while advancing development to some characters. Emma is not as stubborn here and the writers agreed seemed to drop her negativity to magic.
As to be expected, "An Apple Red as Blood" is a very handsomely mounted episode, with settings and costumes that are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie-cutter. It is photographed beautifully and there were some make-up that suited the characters perfectly and pretty good effects work. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable main theme.
It also contains some of the season's most engaging writing, with a little humour but also more pathos, heart and drama. The story is absorbing with the very dramatic events having real urgency and there is excitement and suspense in the action.
Ginnifer Goodwin, Lana Parrilla and Josh Dallas all do great jobs on the acting front and the fairy tale characters are charming. The parallel between real life and fantasy is seamlessly done.
In summary, a season high point. 10/10 Bethany Cox