Jiminy Cricket's backstory is revealed as a sinkhole appears in Storybrooke

Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC

It’s been two long weeks since our baby-stealing bout with Emma, Rumpelstiltskin and the gang, and I’ve missed you, Once Upon A Time fans. I hope that you watched last night’s episode on your brand new discounted flatscreen, and that you didn’t have to endure any pepper spray to get it. In case you missed our “burning questions” story in a recently enchanting issue of Entertainment Weekly, know this: Time‘s producers have confirmed that Regina absolutely knows about the curse. Therefore, that little tête-à-tête with Mr. Hopper in the woods has me worried. I think our chipper little spiritual guide is not long for this world, friends. You don’t try to blackmail an Evil Queen and get away with it. But who knows — maybe that little Apollo Bar Easter egg just has me thinking about that other, death-happy ABC show that specialized in flashbacks and alternate realities. Let’s sink in!

Last night we finally learned all about Jiminy Cricket, who began his life in Fairy Tale as a sweet-natured ginger kid from the wrong side of the tracks. His parents were thieving old goons who used a traveling marionette show as a front for their treachery, and poor young Jiminy had no choice but to join in on the scam. “Good is another word for weak,” his mother insisted.

Jiminy’s only solace came from the chirping of the crickets that he oh-so-admired for their freedom. Unfortunately for Mr. Hopper, Jiminy’s real-world counterpart, the crickets had all mysteriously disappeared over in Storybrooke. His solace was yet to be found. Luckily, his patient-slash-curse-crusader Henry was on the case. “You’re a conscience,” Henry matter-of-factly told Hopper as he sat on the couch. “You help people see right from wrong.” Helping people see right from wrong is typically an implied part of a therapist’s job, but in this case, Henry was the one helping Hopper’s conscience.

We then cut to Emma, who was finally starting to develop a conscience of her own as she decided to accept the role of Sheriff’s deputy/savior of Storybrooke. She adorably butted heads with Sheriff Graham over his uniform requirements, which I found to be a bit ridiculous on his part. Why was a man who fights crime in skinny jeans and sweater vests boo-hooing over a leather jacket? Pot-kettle, Mr. Hipster Sheriff. Anyway, as soon as Emma pinned the badge to her street clothes, a massive explosion rattled all of Storybrooke. The explosion unearthed some old mining tunnels, and also some shattered pieces of what looked to be the Evil Queen’s old mirror. Regina, by the looks of things, was not thrilled. She had lost control of her town and her sexy Sheriff boy-toy.

“What’s down there?” Henry asked Regina in an accusatory tone as the whole town gathered round the sinkhole. Regina shooed him away, but Henry was already mapping out Operation Cobra’s next adventure in his mind. “Did you do anything different today?” he asked Emma. “Something made this happen.”

So we have already seen that Emma’s arrival made Storybrooke’s clock start ticking again, and now we know that accepting her new job literally made part of the town explode. From my perspective, Emma currently holds a lot of power. Regina has to take notice, so I’m going to predict a major power move on her part in the next few weeks. For now, she decided to stick to threatening Mr. Hopper, who was noticeably carrying around the Disney character’s token umbrella. She wasn’t happy with his therapeutic methods, and said she’d turn him into a “tiny, shrunken little creature” if he didn’t shape up.

NEXT: Hangin’ with Mr. Stiltskin

In Fairy Tale, a now-adult Jiminy was still stuck with his curiously un-aged parents. His mom sort of looked and acted like Bette Midler’s character from Hocus Pocus, so maybe sucking the youth out of children was part of their little scheme. Either way, Jiminy would never be free until those crooked old geezers croaked. As they set up their show in yet another town of unwitting targets, a beautiful little boy approached Jiminy with excitement. He was carrying an umbrella and an undying love for musical puppet theater. “Why don’t you do something else?” he asked Jiminy with confusion when the cricket-man expressed his career dissatisfaction. “Why don’t I strap on my job helmet, and squeeze down into a job cannon and fire off into job land, where jobs grow on jobbies!” he replied. No, he didn’t. But an idea had been planted, that was for sure. Jiminy was inspired by this little boy, whose simple words offered more hope than he’d probably felt in many, many years.

The becursed version of Jiminy was unable to provide similar hope for Henry. When Henry expressed his desire to visit the sinkhole, Mr. Hopper took Regina’s advice and threatened to lock him up in the loony bin. “For your own good, you have to wake up,” he insisted. Henry was devastated, and so was Hopper. This was all a side effect of the curse — Jiminy’s conscience is his main purpose in Fairy Tale, so it’s only fitting that he had lost track of it in Storybrooke.

Cut to the hospital, where we saw a beaming John Doe and Mary Margaret bonding over word games. Catherine arrived to interrupt their fun with pictures of an imaginary old dog, but the damage had clearly already been done. Doe was starting to realize that MM was the better option here. I’m interested to learn more about Catherine — do you think that she’s entirely on Regina’s payroll, or is it possible that in her cursed mind she has a history with Doe, too?

Later that night, Mary Margaret told Emma all about their hospital date. Emma was just telling her to leave the whole married guy thing alone when Henry barged in, in tears over Hopper’s cruel words. Emma stormed over to Hopper’s office to tell him what’s what, giving Henry plenty of time to sneak off into the sinkhole.

Back in Fairy Tale, we finally saw Rumpelstiltskin doing what he loves — spinning straw into gold. Jiminy approached with some stolen goods, but Rumpel could tell that he was really after something else. Something a bit more sinister. Rumpel gleefully offered a vial of a secret potion, asking only that Jiminy leave his parents behind for an undetermined purpose. Freaky! I know I ragged on Robert Carlyle initially, but his campy Rumpel is quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of this show.

NEXT: Henry continues to make terrible decisions, eats food provided by the Dharma Initiative

That night, Henry wisely explored the deserted mine shaft. Emma and Hopper arrived moments later, and they knew that Henry had been there when they found his Apollo Bar. That’s right. Happy Easter Egg on Thanksgiving, Losties! Henry pulled a piece of what I believe was the Queen’s mirror out of the mine’s unstable walls, causing another implosion that trapped him and Hopper inside. He was disturbingly unafraid.

Over in Fairy Tale, Jiminy and his parents approached an adorable little cottage in the countryside. A beautiful young couple opened the door, graciously offering their hearth to the crooked gang of travelers. Jiminy’s parents warned of a terrible plague sweeping a neighboring village, and the terrified couple bought it hook, line, and sinker. The thieves offered a solution — “elf tonic,” straight from the bottle. The couple eagerly sought the tonic, trading in many of their earthly possessions for the vial. Jiminy, of course, was troubled by this turn of events. “It’s better to be the kind of people that take…” his father said. “Instead of those that get taken from,” his mother finished.

At this point, Jiminy had had enough. He threw the contents of his vial in their face, expecting Rumpel’s magic potion to cause a big “boom!” Instead, nothin’. “We must have given whatever you had to that family!” his parents said. “I hope it wasn’t dangerous.” Jiminy ran back into the cottage, but it was already too late — the couple had been transformed into a pair of creepy shrunken monkey dolls. “New puppets for the act!” Jiminy’s mother shrieked. (Side note: What do you think happens to the evil characters in Storybrooke? Characters similar to Jiminy’s parents, who were most likely deader than dead when the curse hit, as well as Maleficient, never had happy endings to begin with. Did Regina just not even bother with them? Does the curse only affect those who didn’t deserve it?) The beautiful, theater-loving boy from earlier approached, hysterical over the death of his parents. Jiminy was crushed.

At the sinkhole, Regina and Emma agreed to temporarily put their differences aside to find Henry. Gepetto, known as Marco in Storybrooke, suggested explosives. This didn’t go so well. Thankfully, Hopper’s boy-sniffing dalmatian (A nod to 101 Dalmatians, perhaps?) led the search crew to the a slab covering the top of the elevator shaft where Hopper and Henry were currently trapped.

Hopper apologized to Henry for the Regina-inspired therapy incident. “I’m not the man I want to be,” he said. Because as long as the curse is working, Jiminy Cricket cannot be a conscience in our world. He can’t make up his mind, which is torture for a character who specializes in knowing the difference between right and wrong. Either way, Henry forgave him, saying that Jiminy had a hard time finding himself in Fairy Tale, too. When Hopper asked Henry for the second time why the fairy tales were so important to him, Henry replied: “Because this can’t be all there is.” Hopper saw the sadness on the boy’s face, and realized that this was someone who really needed him. Curse or no, Hopper was starting to remember who he was, at least on the inside.

NEXT: Down the hatch

Emma and Regina now had a way to get Henry out of the sinkhole, but one of them would have to be lowered down the shaft to do it. Both women volunteered, but Emma won out. “He’s my son too,” she insisted. Did anyone else think that Regina should have clawed at Emma’s face when she said that? I’m interested to see how and why this Evil Queen attached herself so firmly to the idea of being a mother, as it doesn’t seem right for the Queen to so readily embrace teamwork unless she truly loves Henry. At least not in episode 5.

Over in B-plot land, Mary Margaret was preparing to leave the hospital when Doe came a-knockin’, suggesting a leisurely rehabilitation stroll. “It’s like I woke up in some strange land,” he confessed. Doe had been lying to Catherine about his memories, including the lie about the dog. The only thing that currently mattered to him was Mary Margaret. “One thing does feel real,” he said. “You. You’re the only thing in this whole place that feels right.” At that moment, Catherine showed up with some moment-ruining cranberry muffins.

Finally, Emma was able to pull Henry out of the elevator shaft. It looked like we were going to lose Hopper for a quick second, as the elevator came crashing down before he could latch on safely to Emma. I was pretty disturbed by Emma and Henry’s lack of reaction to this. Luckily, Hopper was okay — saved by the handle of his own umbrella. The crowd cheered as all three rose to safety, and Henry even stopped to give Regina a hug. This was definitely the first sign of affection we’ve ever seen him give her, probably inspired by her recent partnership with Emma.

But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. “Deputy, you can clear the crowd away,” Regina sneered as Emma emerged from the elevator shaft. Hopper pulled Regina to the side, freshly inspired by his brush with fate. “I’m going to continue to treat Henry, and I’m going to do it my own way,” he said. “I will always do my best.” He threatened to testify against her in a custody battle if Regina tried to intervene, and this is where I became seriously concerned for his safety.

NEXT: Crickets!

As a Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) fan, I have to call this The Ned Stark Offense. Stark offered the main villainess of that series, Queen Cersei Lannister, a similar choice — back off, or face the consequences of her actions, which would have led to the utter destruction of her beloved family. Ever the fierce Mama Bear, Cersei had him locked in a dungeon. And, well, we all know what happened from there. My point — it is best not to threaten evil people in positions of high power, especially if you detail exactly how you plan on taking them down. Regina has already proven that she isn’t afraid to get rid of people who stand in her way, especially if they threaten her family life. Time‘s producers have been teasing an upcoming death, and this episode has me hoping that it isn’t Hopper. We’ll see.

Finally, in Fairy Tale, we saw the transformation we were all waiting for. The Blue Fairy found Jiminy as he wished upon a star, but sadly told him that she couldn’t bring back the sweet boy’s parents. Jiminy realized that he could never escape his pathetic life and his own horrible parents unless he transformed into something else — something better. The Fairy could make that come true. At Jiminy’s request, the Fairy turned him into a cricket, finally free of the chains that forever bound him. His only job now was to take care of the boy, and the Fairy would make sure that he lived until he saw this into completion. But what was his name, you ask? Gepetto! Ah, so the obsession with puppets finally makes sense.

That night, the crickets came back to Storybrooke as the real-world Jiminy and Gepetto celebrated over the sinkhole. Henry beamed, and so did I. This is a sweet relationship that I hope we can explore further. Unfortunately, Mary Margaret’s adulterous relationship wasn’t going quite as well. She turned in her letter of resignation to the hospital, resigning herself again to a life of sad singledom. For now.

As the night came to a close, we saw that Mr. Gold still had Gepetto’s shrunken-parent-puppets in his pawn shop. I still have no clue what Gold’s endgame is, or how much knowledge he has of his past life, but he’s made it perfectly clear that he enjoys collecting tiny people. The presence of the dolls make me think he knows everything, though I’m sure we’ll see some more twists and turns in Gold’s case in time goes on.

And then, finally, another big (possible) reveal: Regina dropped a shard of mirror glass down the mine, looking pensive. It fell very, very far. Journey to the Center of the Earth far. It looks like Henry may have been right again — I think that hole leads straight to Fairy Tale.

What did you think of last night’s episode, viewers? Did you enjoy Hopper’s story? Do you think he could be a goner, or am I just being paranoid? Let us know in the comments!


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