Once Upon A Time–“That Still Small Voice”

This series has surpassed every expectation I have had for it and just keeps on getting better with every episode.

Last night’s episode was just amazing as we learned of Jiminy/Archie’s back story.  Amazing!!!!

We also got to see more of Mary Margaret/Snow White and David Nolan/Prince Charming and those were some beautiful scenes.  I came close to bawling like a baby.

 

Clip from the episode.

Here is a recap from AOL TV.

[‘Once Upon a Time’ – ‘That Still Small Voice’]

Though I had an embarrassingly extensive collection of Disney movies as a child (who am I kidding, I still have them), Pinocchio was never among the VHS tapes I wore out beyond repair. Because of this, the idea of an episode centered around Jiminy Cricket didn’t exactly leave me hopping with anticipation.

Still, ‘Once Upon a Time’ already proved that it is adept at subverting expectations in its first four episodes, and ‘That Still Small Voice’ proved to be an undeniably satisfying hour of television, deepening our understanding of Archie/Jiminy’s character and giving us some welcome development in Mary Margaret and David’s tragic romance. I don’t know about you, but I really could watch a whole hour of those two playing hangman and innocently flirting and need nothing else from the show.

Thanks to our flashbacks to fairytale land, we discovered that Jiminy and his parents — played by the always-fantastic Harry Groener and Carolyn Hennessy — were travelling con-artists, who had a number of impressive tricks with which to scam all manner of unsuspecting folks.

As with Snow White’s backstory, the writer (in this case, Whedon alum Jane Espenson) tossed out any notions we might have had for a twee or predictable past, instead using Jiminy’s guilt about his parents’ lack of conscience to justify how overdeveloped his own would later become. It stands to reason that a boy who once felt trapped by his family’s questionable code of ethics would go out of his way to be a beacon of honesty for others who had lost their way.

When the young boy who gave Jiminy his umbrella (and helped set his moral compass straight) turned out to be the boy that Jiminy inadvertently orphaned, I was foolishly predicting that it would somehow be Pinocchio with a bastardized backstory, and that cricket-Jiminy would lead him to Geppetto to raise. Discovering that the boy was actually Geppetto himself was an unexpectedly poignant moment (yes, I cried), as was the inclusion of the wishing star and the Blue Fairy. And now we know where the creepy dolls in Mr. Gold’s pawn shop come from.

One thing that wasn’t so clear was what Jiminy was doing with Rumplestiltskin in the first place — it seemed as though he was giving the imp his stolen wares in exchange for gold thread, but it mostly seemed to be a bit of an easy writing fix to get Jiminy into a room with someone who could tempt him with an escape route from his parents, albeit one that would undeniably “come with a price.” Similarly, I don’t think we needed to see Mr. Gold’s pawn shop just to fit in a shot of the creepy dolls; I certainly remembered them from the last episode, so I would have preferred that the producers give the audience a little more credit, instead of needing to spoon-feed us the familiar imagery.

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Emma and Regina were still locked in a battle of alpha mom posturing, even when Henry was in mortal danger lost down a sinkhole. It was nice to see Archie gradually regaining his sense of self in our world as well as his confidence in fairytale land, and despite Regina’s anvil-tastic threats of taking away his home and basically turning him into a bug, I did appreciate her warning that the only roof he’d have over his head would be his umbrella. It was always one of Jiminy’s most memorable possessions in ‘Pinocchio,’ and it reinforced the idea that as long as the little cricket had his conscience and his umbrella to keep the rain off his head, he would be content with life, which was a beautiful message to send.

Archie isn’t quite that unfettered yet (he still has Pongo to think about, after all!), but it was great to see him standing up to Regina, especially when he used a potential custody battle as leverage against her.

Speaking of Regina — it was interesting to see her finally displaying some true emotion towards Henry, with unmistakable tears in her eyes at the prospect of losing him. We inevitably paint her as the villain in all this thanks to her fairytale alter-ego, but most of the time, her actions in Storybrooke truly do come from a place of overprotective care more than malice, and she undoubtedly does love her adopted son, even if she struggles to show it. That doesn’t excuse the bone-headed decision to use explosives to get inside a sinkhole, though; there’s no justifying the insanity of that plot point.

Even though they only shared a few scenes together, Mary Margaret and David were once again my favorite part of the episode, from their sweet game of hangman (and David’s insistence that he would never have let Mary lose) to their conversation by the lake when David insisted that Mary was the only part of the world that felt true or right. Those crazy kids are just made for each other!

It’s also refreshing that Kathryn is being portrayed as a sympathetic character (unlike the nagging princess she was in ‘Snow Falls’) so that, as Mary pointed out, crushing on her husband doesn’t feel as easy as it could otherwise. I can’t wait for next week’s Charming-centric episode, which should further deepen their relationship in both Storybrooke and fairytale land.

I only counted one “kid” from Emma tonight — but a whole mess of flasks in the final scene. If you’re not going to commit to the drinking game, ‘Once,’ then don’t play at all!

But the biggest question remains: what is at the bottom of that sinkhole? Was it Snow White’s glass coffin, or somehow part of her palace?

‘Once Upon a Time’ airs Sundays at 8PM ET on ABC.

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