Look everyone, it's an Apollo bar! Once Upon a Time didn't want you to forget that the writers behind Lost were working on this fantasyland series. But even the odd Lost easter egg couldn't lighten up the bleak past of the dancing and singing cricket. Who knew we'd care so much about the sad backstory of a bug?
Not too much has changed in the godforsaken land of banished, mind-wiped fairytale creatures inhabiting Storybrooke, Maine. Emma is still trotting around town pulling on her long confused face, splashing about in the murky waters between her estranged son and the Mayor. However, this week she's officially deputized by the handsome town sheriff. And speaking of that scraggily furred law dog, have we all reached the consensus that the sheriff is clearly the huntsman of fairyland? This seems most likely what with his slender "Into the Wild meets Brooklyn Bluegrass band" facade. Plus he's diddling the Mayor. All he needs is the black outline of a hatchet tattooed on his shaved horselike body and boom, real life Huntsman. But I digress.
Emma is now a deputy, but that doesn't mean she has to stop wearing tight pants (thank god for small favors). The second she slips her new shimmering badge onto her perfectly cut jeggings, the ground starts to shake. WITCH! I mean, MINES! Within in moments we're outside of an abandoned mineshaft and the mayor has popped up to address the crowd, "Look folks we all know this land is honeycombed with old mining tunnels!" Ha ha, we did? *Shrugs*
None of this really matters the second someone said "mine" on this series we knew with absolute certainty that it was meant for Henry. TV Kids and TV Mines are like cats and their own assholes — they're drawn to each other. Moving on, Henry throws a fit about needing to explore the mine to unlock the curse and no one locks him away in his room. Which is surprising, because I'm pretty sure if I was a 10-year-old with a tendency to run away blabbing on and on about how I needed to get into a mine, my mother would have just beat the ever loving piss out of me with a wooden spoon until I resigned to simply watching He-Man with some milk and cookies. But that wouldn't be an interesting TV show, so Henry is trapped in a mine with his child psychologist Jiminy Cricket.
More importantly than getting Timmy out of the well was that this episode also set up Child Psychologist and all around adorable ginger Jiminy Cricket's backstory. Played by the honied-voiced Raphael Sbarge, Jiminy's real life name is Archie Hopper (Get it?). But before he was a talking CG cricket on a real show that adults watch, he was the child of a couple of sing song thieves (who were a ton of fun to watch). Growing up around two adults without any conscience, baby ginger Jiminy developed a profound sense of right and wrong. As he stole from the good folk of fairy land, he longed to become a cricket and escape the dishonest life he was living. Yes you read that right, he LONGED TO BECOME A CRICKET.
The show then takes a swift turn from silly to serious, by introducing the delightful Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin. Carlyle fills his flick-your-wrist-and-raise-your-voice acting quota (shut up — he's delightful!) and gives human Jiminy a potion to free him from his parents. But, like all deals with Rumpel, there's a catch. Jiminy's parents swap out his potion and Jiminy accidentally gives it to a lovely young couple, who are swiftly turned into horrifying frozen scream-faced puppets. They will haunt my dreams forever
Riddled with guilt, Jiminy realizes he must right these wrongs and it's then that the big breasted fairy from the pilot returns and zaps him into a cricket, so he can right the wrongs he did to Geppetto's family. Thus starting the story of Pinocchio, and explaining why his guardian is a talking cricket with an umbrella. It was all very sweet.
Back in the real world, Child Psychologist Jiminy is bullied by the Mayor and tries to trample Henry's curse fantasy as opposed to using the boy's delusions to reach him in a safe place. Terrified of the Mayor, he goes against his better judgement and batters the poor lad. Which only pushes Henry right into the mouth of the mine. It's there that they both find peace and eventually Jiminy tells the Mayor to lay off, or he'll testify against her in a custody battle down the road. ZING! Very clever, you ginger minx. And just when you're starting to take this show seriously they let you know that his dogs name is Pongo. Yes, Pongo — like the dog in 101 Dalmatians. This is why I love Once Upon A Time: They reel you in with deeply wounded children and the odd Mayor versus Emma showdown, then throw all that stuff out the window with a Pongo! You just got Pongoed, children.
So Henry and Jiminy are saved from the mine, and Gepetto's parents are forever trapped inside a pair of wooden dolls. Naturally the whole town pulls out their flasks and starts to party on the dangerous "could collapse at any minute" mine workings.
Who are these people that you hired to pull your son out of a mine that have booze on them 24/7? How is this OK? Aren't there rules about drinking on work sites? Where is all this liquor coming from? When did everyone start bringing flasks to horrific Baby Jessica Is Trapped In The Well type scenarios? What is wrong with you people? If I was waiting for a baby to be pulled out of a mine and my friends showed me that they were bringing booze, I would stop being friends with these monsters. Immediately.
And that's it. OH WAIT — Prince Charming shows up for a bit and makes fun of his fake wife for naming their dog Ajax, which I thought was a perfectly acceptable name for a dog — kind of a dick move, hunky pants. It must have worked because Snow White puts in her resignation letter and is quitting storytown or something. This will not end well. But out of all of the characters we're rooting to get their memories back, it's Snow and Charms at the front of the line. We need a real-life hunky dowdy schoolmarm make-out session, stat. And the thing stuck in the mine that everyone was alluding to is Snow White's glass coffin — which is kind of creepy (??) or is it just useless. I don't know. Until next week, may all your wishes turn you into crickets.