Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play essential roles in plant development and environmental stress responses. In this study, ROS dynamics, the glutathione redox status, the expression and subcellular localization of glutathione peroxidases (GPXs), and the effects of inhibitors of ROS-mediated metabolism were investigated along with fertilization and early zygotic embryogenesis in rice (Oryza sativa). Zygotes and early embryos exhibited developmental arrest upon inhibition of ROS production. Egg cells accumulated high ROS levels, and, after fertilization, intracellular ROS levels progressively declined in zygotes in which de novo expression of GPX1 and 3 was observed through upregulation of the genes. In addition to inhibition of GPX activity, depletion of glutathione impeded early embryonic development and led to failure of the zygote to appropriately decrease H2O2 levels. Moreover, through monitoring of the glutathione redox status, the developing zygotes exhibited a progressive glutathione oxidation, which became extremely delayed under inhibited GPX activity. Our results provide insights into the importance of ROS dynamics, GPX antioxidant activity, and glutathione redox metabolism during zygotic/embryonic development.