The series takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, in which the residents are actually characters from various fairy tales that were transported to the "real world" town by a powerful curse. In this episode, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is deputized by Storybrooke's sheriff Graham (Jamie Dornan), while an explosion causes a giant sinkhole to mysteriously appear, prompting a curious Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) to investigate to see if the sinkhole can link Storybrooke's citizens to the Enchanted Forest, and the back story of Pinocchio's conscience Jiminy Cricket (Raphael Sbarge) is revealed along with his yearning to leave the family business and transform into the person he wants to be.
It was written by Jane Espenson, while being directed by Paul Edwards.
In the Characters' Pasts
In the Enchanted Forest, a young pickpocket named Jiminy desires the chance to be a good person, but is forced by his father (Harry Groener) and mother (Carolyn Hennesy) to participate in their cons. After he finishes collecting some stolen goods, Jiminy tells them that he desires to leave the family business. Unfortunately, as years go by, the now adult Jiminy (Raphael Sbarge) is still aiding his parents, who now come up with excuses to keep him from leaving. He runs into a young boy who tells him to follow his conscience. One night, Jiminy pays a visit to see Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and is given a tonic that will set him free from his parents.
Later that evening, Jiminy and his parents convince a couple to give up some goods in exchange for a tonic that will supposedly cure them. He soon discovers that his father switched Rumpelstiltskin's tonic with the one they sold, and finds that the couple have been turned into dolls. Having realized what he has done, Jiminy makes a wish and receives an answer from The Blue Fairy, who shows up to give him his one true wish: becoming a cricket. Jiminy is also told that he has a chance to help someone in the future, starting with the young boy, who would grow up to be Gepetto. As for the cursed dolls, they end up as a collection at Mr. Gold's (Carlyle) pawn shop.
In the present day, Dr. Archie Hopper (Sbarge) continues to evaluate Henry (Jared S. Gilmore), who is still trying to convince him that he is Jiminy. Meanwhile, Sheriff Graham (Jamie Dornan) officially makes Emma (Jennifer Morrison) his new deputy. An explosion soon after causes the town to shake, followed by a sinkhole that emerges at an abandoned mine shaft. As Emma, Henry, Archie, and the sheriff show up to see the damaged area, Regina (Lana Parrilla) arrives to try and keep everyone from going any further, then comes across a certain object which looks like an ornate piece of glass and puts it in her pocket. She is also not pleased with the sheriff hiring Emma, and also reminds Archie that she can have him fired and out on the streets if he fails to succeed in dissuading Henry of the veracity of the fairy tale stories.
The next day, Archie follows through on Regina's warning by convincing Henry that the fairy tale stories are not real, upsetting Henry. This prompts Emma to pay a visit to Archie as she figures out that Regina was responsible for threatening him. Emma accuses Regina of threatening Archie, but Regina says that Henry is missing again. Archie conjectures that Henry may have gone back to the mine shaft. There, Henry begins to investigate the area and comes across a glass item similar to the one Regina found earlier that he puts into his backpack. Archie goes in to search for Henry and finds the boy, but as they try to escape, an aftershock blocks off the main entrance, leaving an injured Archie and Henry trapped. They find an elevator shaft, not knowing that above ground Emma and Regina have taken the suggestion of blasting the main entrance from Marco (Tony Amendola), which results in the elevator carrying Henry and Archie being lowered even further after the blast takes place.
Inside the elevator, Henry asks Archie why he refuses to believe that he is Jiminy Cricket. Archie acknowledges that he might share Jiminy's personality and in a similar fashion to his alternative past, yearn to be free from being told what to do. Meanwhile, above ground, Emma finds the opening of the elevator shaft and volunteers to go down the shaft, where she succeeds in rescuing Henry and Archie. Archie tells Regina that he will continue to see Henry and that if she attempts to interfere he will take action against Regina and have her declared an unfit mother. Regina backs down after Archie's threat, she looks at the object she had in her pocket and throws it down the shaft, where it lands on top of the rest of Snow White's (Ginnifer Goodwin) glass coffin.
Concurrent with these events, Mary Margaret (Goodwin) continues to visit the amnesiac David (Josh Dallas) at the hospital. At the same time, Kathryn (Anastasia Griffith) also continues to visit David, showing him pictures to jog his memory but later admits, although he claimed otherwise to Kathryn, to Mary Margaret that he doesn't remember anything that he saw in the pictures. As Mary Margaret notices David becoming more attracted to her, she still feels threatened by Kathryn's presence. This prompts Mary Margaret to submit her letter of resignation as a volunteer at the hospital.
- Jiminy's past reveals he didn't always follow his conscience due to his manipulative con artist parents.
- Archie (Jiminy) is actually older than Marco (Geppeto).
- Another sign the Dark Curse is weakening; Archie stands up to Regina and crickets return.
- It wasn't a coincidence that the mine collapsed when Emma put on the badge. Her growing commitment to the town via Henry is weakening the curse.
- Regina's attempts to trick Henry into not believing the truth ultimately nearly cost him his life.
The episode was the first of Once Upon a Time to be written by consulting producer Jane Espenson. She was drawn to the series because she believed a curse involving fairy tale characters was a "fantastic concept". She explained, "What's the modern take on Jiminy Cricket and Rumpelstiltskin? What would their issues be in the real world? The beauty of the production, the care and the effort and, honestly, the expense that was put into it just made clear that was a project done with a lot of attention and love." The episode was directed by Lost veteran Paul Edwards.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, actor Taphael Sbarge noted that they wanted to reveal the back story behind Jiminy Cricket's past and why he plays an important part in the series: “I guess this is similar to Lost in that they have a large ensemble and what they do is that they take a few characters and they kind of take them, effectively on a deep dive,” and added that “That deep dive is able to really open up that whole world.” Sbarge also noted, "When the script arrived for the Jiminy Cricket episode, I read it and then I put it down and then I had a moment of panic, because you feel kind of like, 'Oh... ' You're treading into people's imaginations and stuff and that's powerful and potentially... I mean there's no place to hide. It's like, 'Here I am!'... [but] they cast me for a reason because there are some qualities in me that they obviously recognize for the story they want to tell."
The scenes in which Henry was carrying a couple of Apollo Chocolate Candy Bars in his back pack was also the same brand of candy bars made by the DHARMA Initiative on Lost, while Archie's pet Pongo is also the name of one of the dogs in the Disney film 101 Dalmatians. It is also noted that Jiminy's parents, as evidenced by their wardrobe to their background as puppeteer/thieves and how they control Jiminy's life are loosely based on another pair of characters from Pinocchio, Gideon and the Fox.
- "Jane Espenson: Credits".
- Phillips, Jevon (October 30, 2011). "'Buffy' creator inspired writer/producer Espenson", Orlando Sentinel.
- "Once Upon a Time: "That Still Small Voice"". The Futon Critic (November 7, 2011).
- "'Once Upon A Time's' Raphael Sbarge Teases Jiminy Cricket's 'Deep Dive'" from The Hollywood Reporter (November 27, 2011)
- Halterman, Jim (October 21, 2011). "Interview: "Once Upon a Time" Co-Stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas & Lana Parrilla". The Futon Critic.
- Dove, Steve (November 28, 2011). "Storybrooke Secrets: That Still Small Voice". ABC.