The promos did not do "That Still Small Voice" justice; Sunday's episode of Once Upon a Time was a sterling example of the show at its best. ("At its best" = like a Disneyland charactor actor: gorgeous, enchanting, but operating on dream logic and possibly insane.) While the episode did go on a tangent with Jiminy Cricket's backstory, the tangent was a thoroughly entertaining mini horror movie, and the ending of the episode cemented the dual realities of the series (at long last).
The fun started when the most handsome sheriff on TV deputized Emma by giving her a badge—which she clipped to her waistband, triggering a sinkhole to appear on the outskirts of Storybrooke and settling the debate of whether or not she's actually wearing pants or whether the costume people merely have her squat in a bathtub of dark blue paint to cut costs because Mama, those jeggings are TIGHT.
The entire town gathered at the sinkhole, where Regina promised to bulldoze the new safety hazard and pocketed a shard of something. Henry called Regina out on lifting a piece of rubble and accused her of hiding something, and then she gave his child psychiatrist an ultimatum: Get rid of Henry's fairytale theory or YOUR UMBRELLA WILL BE ALL YOU HAVE LEFT! (Jiminy cricket reference)
Because Jiminy Cricket has relatively shallow folkloric roots (he is an original, minor character from the 1883 novel Le avventure di Pinocchio), the writers went to town on his backstory. OUAT's Jiminy started out human, and his parents were as scathing a takedown of Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter as I've ever wanted to see.
The family worked as traveling puppeteers/con artists, which distressed young Jiminy, but not enough to run away or stand up to his parents when he was still living with them as a 40-year-old man. The idea that he couldn't shake those steampunks as a full grown adult was beyond ridiculous, but the parents were well cast and had impressive comic timing.
Fairytale Jiminy (I cannot believe what I'm typing right now) was forced to turn to Rumpelstiltskin to free himself from his parents, who suggested splashing them with the contents of a dark vial and then Rumpelstiltskin would "come and collect them." It was a hell of a thing to depict Jiminy Cricket as so cowardly he would turn to murdering his parents. If this can be called murder:
That was probably one of the most frightening/darling murders I've ever seen on TV. This young couple drank puppet juice and then sat down and held hands while they morphed into marionettes? Kind of adorbs.
In real life, Jiminy/Archie caved to Regina's threats and told Henry that his fairytale theory was a delusion and that if he didn't give it up he'd have to be locked away, an emotional trauma to those of us hoping the writers would write Henry right off the show. (Would Emma visit him at an asylum every other episode? Don't tease me!) This caused Henry to run straight into the sinkhole with a bag of no-name candy bars. Regina and Emma teamed up to recover him and Archie ran straight in after him, risking certain death yadda yadda. The fact is, the fun sinkhole/bizarre puppet murder world of Jiminy Cricket was nothing compared to the few brief minutes we spent with these guys:
You know why they cast Josh Dallas? Because he GLOWS around Ginnifer Goodwin. Together they have more chemistry than ten thousand beakers on ten thousand Bunsen burners. "John Doe" still has no memory or connection with his past, including his "wife," but told Margaret she was the only thing that seemed real to him. The total on-screen time they shared was maybe three minutes' worth, but it made my effing day. Although Margaret turned in a resignation letter at the hospital (Margaret don't play with married men), the promos for next week point to an episode all about them, to which I say, HELLS YES.
Emma managed to wrangle her way down an airshaft and snatch up Henry moments before the elevator he and Archie were trapped in plummeted to Kingdom Come. Emma locked eyes with Archie and said "I'm sorry" right before the elevator fell, but the wily child psychiatrist hooked onto her with his umbrella, so she and Henry didn't have to watch him fall to his death. Still, Emma: You're grizzled as hell, girl.
The fairytale storyline concluded with Jiminy wishing on a star and a fairy appearing and turning him into a grasshopper. A grasshopper with subtitles is our happy ending. I don't know why the fairy was dressed like a hooker, I don't know why he didn't just wish for a horse, but now we all know that Gepetto got his love of puppets from coming home and finding his young parents turned into marionettes. Let's take from that what we can.
The most important development of "That Still Small Voice" came after Henry was pulled out of the ground, when Regina threw the shard she'd nabbed earlier back down the airshaft, where it fell and fell and fell until it landed on Snow White's glass coffin. This was our first confirmation that the fairytale world is real and that Regina remembers it, and it came at a crucial time, after the word "psychosis" had been bandied about. Even if it seems illogical that physical elements of the fairytale world would remain, the ultimate progress of the storyline will depend on concrete physical evidence. This reveal was a perfect ending and re-dedication to Once Upon A Time's addictive kind of crazy.
… Jiminy Cricket hinted at a custody battle. Season 1? Season 2?
… The thing down the airshaft: The glass coffin, right? Is everything else down there, too? I thought she transported the characters? HELP!
… According to Emma's lie-detection skills, Regina doesn't really love Henry. She also doesn't know he's Snow White's grandson. So why is she so protective of him?
… Did the Sheriff defy Regina by making Emma the deputy, or is this a joint effort to keep tabs on her?
… Does Lana Parilla have "the sexiest lips in the biz"?
… Next week's promo: Will Snow and Prince Charming get together?! AIIEEE can't wait a week!!!