This week on Once Upon a Time, we’re getting Jiminy Cricket/Archie Hopper’s origin story and as we’ve come to expect, it intertwines with other story book characters in unexpected ways. This episode wasn’t quite as compelling as the others, I think because it was about a thinker instead of a doer. Still, we discovered some important things from this episode.
In Fairy Tale world, Jiminy is introduced as a young boy, a pickpocket who steals from the crown while his parents perform a puppet show as distraction. Our next flashback is of Jiminy and his parents several years later, and Jiminy is chafing at his participation in the family business. He takes a load of stolen goods to Rumplestiltskin to sell, and while he’s there he obtains a vial of liquid that will turn his parents into wooden dolls so that he can break free of them. In exchange, Rumplestiltskin will collect the dolls afterward. The plan backfires, though, and an innocent couple end up taking it instead. Jiminy is heartbroken when he learns that not only is he responsible for their deaths, but they have a son. In his despair, he makes a wish. Tinkerbell appears and tells him that she cannot grant that wish – that the couple live – but allows him another wish, to break free and who he wants to be. Jiminy turns into a cricket, the soul and conscience, the still small voice, who will be a companion to the young boy to help him throughout life. The boy’s name? Gepetto.
Back in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and David are spending more time together as he recuperates, which isn’t helping Mary Margaret’s crush one bit. Kathryn brings photos in to help David recover his memories, and he lies to make her feel better, but admits that the only thing that feels real is Mary Margaret. A near kiss is interrupted when said wife arrives with cranberry muffins. Stricken by her own conscience, Mary Margaret turns in her resignation letter as a volunteer at the hospital in order to remove herself from temptation.
Madame Mayor is beyond frustrated that Archie hasn’t made any breakthroughs with Henry and demands that Archie crush his “fantasy world” once and for all. It goes against his conscience, but Archie does as he’s told or risk having everything taken from him by Regina. A devastated Henry decides to find proof that what he’s saying is real. He’s convinced that the sinkhole in the honeycomb of old mining tunnels just outside Storybrooke is the result of Emma (now a deputy) coming to town. It certainly does seem odd that as soon as Emma put on her badge, the sinkhole appeared. Archie goes in after him, but a cave-in traps them both. As the town tries to rescue them, Henry lays out his reasons for why Archie is really Jiminy Cricket (Archie is the one who tells everyone right from wrong; his best friend is Marco who Henry is convinced is Gepetto), and it starts to make sense.
Emma figures out how to get to the trapped pair and convinces Regina to let her go down, citing the old “you’ve been behind a desk for 10 years” rationale. It’s a near miss for Archie, who is saved by his umbrella (nice!) and emerges with conviction that’s been missing. Once he’s back on the surface, Archie stands up to Regina in a terrific display of moral rightness. He informs her that he’ll continue to treat Henry, but on his his terms, in the way he sees fit, or when the inevitable custody battle comes and he’s called as an expert witness to testify to her fitness as a mother, he’ll have to bring up a few things. It’s a stroke of genius, but I can’t help thinking that he just put his life in danger.
The final reveals of this episode are Mr. Gold walking through is pawn shop and glancing at the pair of dolls from the Fairy Tale world, and Regina dropping a piece of Snow White’s glass coffin into the sinkhole and it falling, falling, falling into Fairy Tale land. Just as Henry suspected.
Next week: Prince Charming’s backstory.