An episode that was shorter that expected on anthropomorphic crickets in top hats.
It's hard to believe that a series with such a basic storyline, return everyone to the fantasy (and interestingly enough, real) world, can be so rich. Once Upon A Time manages to move slowly through the plot, and every event is important, but nothing is as important as these characters discovering their true selves. This week, Archie Hopper (aka Jiminy Cricket), discovers that you really should always let your conscience be your guide. Sorry... I couldn't resist.
I couldn't really tell what tale they were going with at first here, because Jiminy Cricket is one of those characters that is never fully explored in the movie "Pinocchio", or in any of the Kingdom Hearts games. He's supposed to represent Pinocchio's conscience, to help him go from a wooden puppet to a real (conscience-having) boy, but how did he get so smart anyway? Well, in the opening of "That Still Small Voice" we see him robbing patrons of a puppet show. People must have worn much looser clothing back in the day, because he is the most suspicious looking pickpocket I've ever seen.
In the real world, "That Still Small Voice" starts off prosaically enough when Sheriff Graham makes Emma his deputy. But, as soon as she puts the badge on her belt the earth starts to move. This is clearly a sign from the heavens that nothing can go in her pants – sorry Sheriff. Wait, no, it's just a cave in at the old mine. The opportunity to introduce Storybrooke's hidden colony of dwarves is passed up in favor of Henry's wild idea that something is hidden within the cave.
Then we learn more of the history of Jiminy Cricket – it's not a happy one. Growing up, he wanted to be good, to stop stealing from people and make an honest living. This, of course, is the eternal plight of the ginger – how to be good in a world that has clearly decreed you are unnatural, if not evil. (Just kidding, definitely evil.) But his parents like money more than ethics, and more than that I'm pretty sure they take a sadistic pleasure in tricking people. If you've seen Les Miserable, they're the Thenardiers. If you haven't, they're the Kardashians.
Poor Jiminy is beaten down by the life of not following his conscience, especially when a young boy reminds him that there's still a lot of wonder in the world. This neatly parallels with Archie's attitude toward his treatment of Henry. Regina tells Archie that he needs to put a stop to Henry's delusions about Storybrooke because they might lead him to do something drastic – like go down into the mine. Archie complies, mainly out of fear, and plainly tells Henry that he's imagining everything. Henry gets upset and leaves, showing up at Mary Margaret's house in tears.
Speaking of Mary Margaret, she's trying her best not to be a home wrecker. It's hard, though, when the amnesiac that you rescued in the woods tells you that you're the only real thing in the whole world. Not gonna lie, I'm really rooting for these two. MM is hesitant, though, because David's wife is so nice and MM is so moral. She tenders her resignation as a volunteer at the hospital, and it looks like the Evil Queen/Regina's plan is working perfectly for the time being.
We see Jiminy working in partnership with Rumplestiltskin, though we aren't sure why. Ol' Rump is turning thread into gold (dude loves his bling), and offers to help Jiminy out with his parents. Despite their questionable choices, Jiminy is a good dude who feels beholden to them as any good son would. Rump gives him a potion that will take care of his problems, even offering to collect the bodies when they're done. Jiminy thinks that the potion will kill his parents, and being a good guy he's hesitant to go through with that plan. However, when his parents flim-flam a young and gullible couple, he acts. Unfortunately, the couple drinks the potion and is turned into puppets. Their son, the boy from earlier in the episode, shows up and is devastated.
In the real world, Archie and his dog Pongo (OMG please don't let Cruella show up any time soon, she's terrifying) show up at the mine to help out in any way they can. Archie goes into the mine to find Henry, who is still looking for proof. Henry finds a strange piece of glass, which has no business in a mine, so he holds on to it. The cave starts to collapse, and they luckily find an old elevator in which to hide. After a heart to heart, Archie decides to stand up to Regina and continue to treat Henry the way he deems most necessary.
I should mention that Regina and Emma bonded a little over the need to save Henry, which begs the question: what would happen if Henry died? After discussing this question with my fellow viewers, the answer was "Nothing, absolutely nothing." But I wonder if the show doesn't have some other purpose for Henry, other than the prime proponent of the Storybrooke conspiracy.
Pongo finds the air shaft at the top of the elevator (Right where Emma is standing! Convenient, no?) and Emma goes down the shaft to rescue him. The elevator begins to fall after Emma gets Henry out, and Jiminy manages to hook his umbrella on the cord before the whole elevator car falls. I really need an umbrella to save me from death like that – his must be one Iron Man discarded. Regina gets all possessive when Emma comes over to say how happy she is to see Henry, but she's just after the piece of glass Henry picked up in the mine.
And then, for no reason at all, everyone starts drinking. With the Mayor. On potentially collapsing earth. Awesome! Also, please note the completely gratuitous use of Little Red Slutty Hood in these scenes – what is she even doing there?
Anyway, the important part of the post-cave scene is that Archie finds a legal threat to keep Regina off his back. He warns her that one day she will probably be in a custody battle, and that the judge will call on an expert (him) to determine who is the best parent – Regina or Emma. This scares Regina enough to back off, but I mostly applaud the writers for coming up with a TOTALLY PLAUSIBLE reason to cut Regina's power trip short. Like, I'm really stunned by the retreat into reality. Thank you, writers of Once Upon A Time, for doing something awesome and making me like Archie a whole lot more than if he had just given some self-important speech about doing the right thing. That was awesome.
In the fantasy world, Jiminy agonizes over the repercussions of his actions. He wishes upon a star and the blue fairy shows up to grant his wish. He's turned into a cricket, and told that he won't age as long as Gepetto is alive. In the real world, Archie's best friend is an old man named Gepetto. It's a total bromance moment and I loved every minute of it. Once Upon A Time does a great job of tugging on the old heartstrings at the best possible moments, and this was no exception. And then, just like that, they hear the crickets start to fiddle.
But, in the middle of all this joy, we see Regina take the piece of glass and throw it down the elevator shaft. What's down there? Snow White's coffin! In case there was any remaining doubt that Henry is right, he's right. There is prettily carved, embellished, irrefutable proof... at the bottom of a collapsed mine. Time to get out the spelunking gear!
So, to recap: Archie is intelligent and good, there was a significant uptick in the cricket population of Storybrooke, and everyone better stay out of Emma's pants.
Next week, we find out more about Snow White and Prince (James) Charming. Yay!
Written or Contributed by: Tricia Long
The Outhouse is sponsored this week by Late Nite Draw. Recently featured on ComicsAlliances' Best Art Ever, he is a Chicago-based commissioned artist with a self-published Digital+Print one-shot coming out in October about the abominable snowman called ABOBAMANIMABBLE, and is also available for commissions. Check out some amazing art by clicking here or by clicking the banner at the top, and support the people who support The Outhouse.
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About the Author - Christian Hoffer
Christian Hoffer is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Hoffer is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.
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