This week’s episode of Once Upon a Time focused on the soft-spoken Archie, while Jiminy Cricket’s backstoy was told in the fairytale world.
I have to admit, I’m not as familiar with the tale of Jiminy Cricket, so I can’t really speak to any liberties that the writers may have taken. But in the Once Upon a Time universe, Jiminy used to be a human boy. All of his life, his parents made a living through stealing and conning. Even at a young age, Jiminy had a desire to be free from this kind of life and was always drawn to crickets as a symbol of freedom. But his parents continued to guilt him into remaining with them and stealing to earn a living.
As it turns out, Jiminy’s family often sold their stolen goods to Rumpelstiltskin. One day, Rumpel realized that Jiminy wanted something more than just gold thread while making a trade: he wanted freedom and the opportunity to live an honest life. Rumpel offered him a potion to give to Jiminy’s parents and Jiminy decided not to ask too many questions about what it would do.
Unfortunately, after conning a couple into buying some “elf tonic” to help ward off a non-existent plague, Jiminy had enough and tried to use the potion on his parents. But they all quickly realized that the couple actually had Rumpel’s potion. After going back into the house, Jiminy realized that the potion turned the couple into wooden puppets and left their young son an orphan. Expressing a great deal of remorse, Jiminy begged a fairy to help him undo the spell on the couple, but she couldn’t do that. Instead, she turned him into a cricket and instructed him to help the young son, whose name is actually Geppetto. This was the start of the friendship between the two characters.
Meanwhile, Once Upon a Time also focused on Jiminy’s Storybrooke counterpart – Archie – in this week’s episode. Archie has continued to act as Henry’s therapist, encouraging his “fantasies” about the fairytale world. But when a sinkhole appeared at the edge of town, Henry was convinced it was a connection to the fairytale world. Regina insisted it was just the unsafe old mines underneath that area of the town. When Henry accused her of trying to cover up the truth, she instructed Archie to rid her son of his delusions, once and for all, or else she would ruin his life.
Archie gave in to the pressure and angrily told Henry to let go of his delusions. Later, Emma (now a deputy under Sheriff Graham) confronted Archie about his harsh words. The pair learned that Henry had disappeared and Archie knew he had gone into the mine to find proof of the fairytale world. Emma and Archie headed to the sinkhole and Archie rushed in after Henry just before the entrance to the mine collapsed.
As Archie and Henry waited inside the mine for help, Henry convinced Archie that he was a good man and, like Jiminy, he was the type of man that took a while to do the right thing. Despite Regina and Emma arguing about how to save Henry, Emma was eventually lowered down an air shaft and rescued both Henry and Archie. Outside the mine, Archie reunited with his good friend Marco (Geppetto’s Storybrooke counterpart), but he also had a warning for Regina: he was going to continue to treat Henry as his conscience dictated, or one day Regina could find herself on the losing end of a custody battle with his testimony. At the end of the episode, Regina threw back a piece of the fairytale world into the air shaft and we clearly saw that the shaft is Snow White’s glass coffin, so clear the area is connected to the fairytale universe.
Meanwhile, Once Upon a Time teased us this week with a few David and Mary Margaret scenes that were actually fairly significant in moving along their story. David eventually told Mary Margaret that he was lying to Kathryn about remembering anything about their old life together. He said that his “wife” and everything about their life just felt terribly wrong. The only thing that felt right was Mary Margaret. At the end of the episode, Mary Margaret resigned from the hospital, but I don’t think that will stop anything. With next week’s episode focusing on David making a decision between Kathryn and Mary Margaret, could this couple get together sooner than we thought?
Once Upon a Time’s Jiminy and Archie both struck me as sad characters. Jiminy allowed himself to be used and manipulated for so many years by his parents, never finding the guts to just stand up to them and leave. Archie behaved in the same manner, constantly bowing to Regina’s threats and demands. Everyone keeps calling Jiminy the “conscience” of the show, but I think the character is less about being a real conscience and more about being a mentor or guide.
But the thing that strikes me about so many of Once Upon a Time’s fairytale characters, is their unwillingness to think of the consequences of their choices. This show is endeavoring to provide a backstory and human characteristics to characters that can be two dimensional in storybooks. So it strikes me as odd that many of Once Upon a Time’s fairytale characters fail to use a more complex thought process when making important decisions. Last week Cinderella readily made a deal with Rumpelstiltskin, despite the fact that he murdered her fairy godmother before her eyes. Was he really the person she should have trusted? And he warned her that the magic would come with a large price. But she took the deal with only a moment’s hesitation. In this week’s episode, Rumpel offered up the potion to Jiminy. He did ask what it would do to his parents, but when Rumpel brushed off his concerns, Jiminy ended up going through with it. The effects of the potion were horrific and essentially killed the drinkers.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Jiminy’s parents were horrible people. But suspecting the potion could kill them (which Rumpel basically hinted at), should have been a red flag not to go through with it. Jiminy would rather have potentially killed his parents than simply run away and be free? Isn’t that kind of strange? This is not a big complaint I have about the show, but after seeing two characters act in much the same manner after in two consecutive episodes, it struck me as odd. What do you think, readers? Does this strike you as strange as well or am I alone in this?
Regardless, I was extremely happy with this week’s episode of Once Upon a Time, even moreso than I was last week. As I said, Jiminy and Archie were such sad characters that I was happy to see the both of them learn to stand on their own two feet and stop cowering to the demands of others. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Archie asserted himself against Regina. And while I generally pride myself on never being a ‘shipper of television characters, I am rather thrilled about a potential David and Mary Margaret romance. We need to get those two kids together so they can start fighting against the curse.
Finally, Regina’s motives still confuse me. It’s clear that she was upset about the possibility of Henry being hurt in the mine, but she’s also very bossy and makes every effort to distance him from Emma. It seems like she has an internal fight between loving her son and ensuring that the curse remains in effect. Will she be forced to choose between the two one day? If so, which would she choose?
A new episode of Once Upon a Time will air next week on December 4, with Charming and David taking the spotlight. Watch a trailer for the episode here.
Also, take a peek at an interview we posted recently with Jennifer Morrison about Emma’s journey in the show.
Note: did the LOST fans notice the easter egg in tonight’s episode? Archie picked up a candy bar dropped by Henry when he entered the mine and it happened to be an Apollo bar, which was seen quite frequently in LOST.