Friday, December 19, 2014

The Librarians - 1.03 - And the Horns of a Dilemma - Roundtable Review

Thanks for joining us in our The Librarians roundtable review. This week we have Gavin Hetherinton, Justyna K, Robert Fruin, Suzana, and Dahne joining us. If you would like to be a part of next week's Christmas episode, let me know in the comments below. You can also find links to the questions (usually late Tuesday night) on Google+, my Twitter account, or my blog. The more the merrier, so watch the episode and then join us. As always, even if you don't want to be a part of the actual article, we would love to hear your opinions in the comments section.

This is the first solo episode for the newbies. How do you feel it went compared to the 2-part opener? Were you missing Flynn or do you feel they were able to carry the episode without him?

Gavin - Because I wasn't too invested in Flynn since I have yet to watch the movies (it's on my list of things to do over the Christmas holidays), I didn't exactly miss him in the third episode. I actually really enjoyed the episode. I thought it was on par with the 2-episode premiere and still had the right amount of fun and excitement. It's so campy and the introduction of new villains each episode seems like a promising development for me. I love a good old fashioned show with a new baddie a week. The characters were able to pull it off without Flynn. They went through some hiccups but they got there in the end and they were very good at doing their jobs. I did like Flynn, don't get me wrong, but I like how episode three showed they're not dependant on him.

Justyna - You know, as much I adore Flynn's character, I thought the others managed to carry the episode without him even better than I expected. They all had a chance to shine a little more here than in the pilot and it was nice to get to know them better. Made them all seem more interesting and mostly likeable.

Robert - I was missing Flynn a lot in the first half of the episode, and I didn't feel they carried it as well as they could have, but the second half of the episode changed my opinion on that. The second half of the episode I completely forgot about Flynn, as the others were very entertaining to watch, and each added something different to the episode. Their banter was especially good. I think the main thing about this episode was going to be getting use to a show related to The Librarian movies without Flynn. I knew it would take me a little while to adjust, but I now think I have adjusted to this new formula of having more than one librarian and having a new Judson.

Suzana - I think the newbies did pretty well. They need to carry on without Flynn, find their way. The characters' interactions are great and Jenkins does a pretty good job of being both snarky and helpful at the same time. Beside we will see Flynn soon enough.

Dahne - I didn't so much miss Flynn as some of campy swagger that he brings with him. Being their first time out, I thought the LiTs did fairly well. While I don't think this episode was as much fun as the first two, I am confident that these new characters can carry the show admirably.

What did you think was the best part of the episode (scenes, moments, characters, plot points, etc.)?

Gavin - I have read some criticisms about Rebecca Romijn's fight scenes that they don't look right, and yeah sometimes they look far too cartoonish, but honestly that's what I love about them. I loved in this episode when Eve ran towards the Minotaur with that steel-look in her eyes. She was out for blood and I can see the passion she has for her job. That moment was pretty badass though. I also loved how they never really escaped the Labyrinth. I love that mythology of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur so I was thrilled with this episode by exploiting those myths. The conflicts between them but the eventual making up of the characters was a treat to watch.

Justyna - I really enjoyed watching everyone on the team interact with each other. The most memorable moment for me would probably be the honest talk between Jake and Cassandra. It was a good opportunity to learn more about their background and different points of view. Also great, the door to everywhere!

Robert - A Few Favorite Scenes: - When they got lost in the Labyrinth for the first time. - When Baird slid under the Minotaur to shoot it. - When Jenkins first introduced the door, and they stepped through it for the first time.

Suzana - The characters' interactions were the best part of the episode. Baird with everyone, Jenkins with everyone. Everyone with everyone. Teaming up the characters was a good call too. My favourite scene was between Ezekiel and Cassandra. (see below)

Dahne - I'd have to say that Jenkins and the back door were my favorite parts of the episode. Jenkins brought that lovely snark again and I love how the back door is actually going to uncomplicate the mythology. One of my pet peeves on Warehouse 13 was how they could seemingly fly halfway around the country in minutes. This just makes sense.

Jake and Ezekiel respond to Cassandra's betrayal differently. How did you feel about their interactions?

Gavin - I guess because they both had different responses to her betrayal, it made the characters seem more real because Cassandra's betrayal wasn't exactly a black-and-white thing. She had good intentions behind them and she was desperate. I can understand how she felt so I liked that Ezekiel was very supportive and even said he would have done the same thing. Cassandra's situation is very tricky. I do agree with Jake when he said he wouldn't have thrown them under the bus if he was in her position. That's fair and it does make the betrayal thing all the more harder, but I think Cassandra needs time to grow. I think she's already starting to love her colleagues so if the opportunity to cure her presented itself, she would decline it if it meant betraying her friends. I do like that Jake was more supportive by the end of the episode though.

Justyna - Well, I'll start with saying that Ezekiel is not making the best impression on me so far. Sure, he's smart and has his moments but even Cassandra (who actually betrayed them) seems to care more about the team and what they're doing at this point. Hopefully this will change soon. Jake's response was actually a very good character moment and I like the fact that it's going to take some time for him to trust Cassandra. I really did enjoy all the interactions between these characters.

Robert - I did think that they all would quickly forget about her betrayal, so I guess I was wrong about that one. I think Cassandra knows what she did was wrong, and is trying her best to earn back their trust. The interactions were really lovely especially her heart to heart with Jake. I think they will all get past it, and I do think they will all eventually grow attached to one another.

Suzana - First of all, the show didn't ignore the matter. It's already a good point in my book. Second, I liked that in the end the one who least trusted Cassandra was Cassandra herself. I liked the finale and hearted discussion between Jake and Cassandra which has resulted in the discovery of Jake's 30-year-old trust issues. I am very intrigued. There's so much we don't know about our three Librarians. Anyway, he is not going to trust easily and even less Cassandra. And Ezekiel's speech. I think it was a beautiful moment. He was truthful in his words. He was the one reassuring her when he shoud have been the one doubting. Except he knew he would have done far worse had he been in her shoes. And he is the thief, he is the one they shoudn't trust, he said to Cassandra half joking. He is the one who needs to prove himself. Well... he is doing a pretty good job so far. I think both issues will come back, Cassandra's betrayal and Ezekiel's old line of work. Because they all need to trust each other. And because I don't like when it's too easy.

Dahne - I am the odd one out because I could not stand Cassandra in this episode. I found her to be whiny and unrealistic. The idea that she thinks they should trust her now and that she resents Jake for not trusting her just irritates me. It hasn't been that long since she almost got them all killed. I'd be ticked and suspicious too. That said, these interactions did offer a lot of insight into the characters in a way that didn't feel like an overabundance of exposition, so kudos to the writers here.

Throughout the episode, Baird struggles to figure out what her role is as guardian. Do you feel like she's come to terms with the unique situation or will she continue to struggle with balancing the danger they will inevitably face with her job as protector?

Gavin - I think she's come to terms with what she has to do but she'll always struggle to balance that danger with her job as the guardian. I think this will have a psychological effect on her because she can't protect all three of them 24/7 so when one of them gets inevitably hurt to the extent of critical endangerment, it will have an implosive reaction to Eve who will feel guilty and worthless. She may have to come to terms with the fact that she can't always protect them but she looks like the kind of character who will find that unacceptable and she will push herself beyond her limits to protect them. She takes the job seriously which is a good thing but she has her moments of light humour.

Justyna - It's hard to be both the team's guardian and protector as well as their partner so I think that her struggle is going to continue for a while. She clearly cares about these people and wants to keep them safe, all the more reason to try to figure things out even better than they are now.

Robert - I think she won't struggle anymore or be hesitant to let them go and save people after seeing what they can do, and how well they worked as a team using their unique abilities. At first she clearly struggled with letting them out of her sight, but now I think she has learnt to trust them, knowing that she can't always be there to protect them.

Suzana - She will continue to struggle. Baird has three people to guard. She has a lot to figure out. This episode allowed her to realize a few things already, but to find balance won't be that easy. The L3 are not fighters, not in the physical meaning of the word, anyway. This isn't them and her. They are a team and they need to find some sort of balance. And this doesn't only apply to Baird's protection program.

Dahne - I certainly hope she continues to struggle because it helps her character development. I like that she was able to let go enough for them to split up in the end, mostly because having them all on screen all the time would be too much. This allows some diversity in pairings. Still she is the guardian and I want her to remain the point person/leader of the team. I also don't want her to stop training the LiTs in safety and self-defense because that's just common sense.

After this episode, have your feelings about any of the characters or the show in general changed? Why or why not?

Gavin - I was taken by all of the characters straight away in the 2-part premiere so I have to say I like them even more with this episode without the guidance of Flynn. They were very dependent on him to explain things in the first two episodes so to get to see them use their own skills without that safety net was really fun to watch. It showed the strength of the characters and they can only grow from here.

Justyna - My first impression pretty much stays the same. Great, entertaining and fun show with Jake and Baird being its strongest characters in the main cast. Still not sure about Cassandra, though I think she's going to slowly grow on me. And fingers crossed we'll see some major character development for Ezekiel. Nothing specific to say about Jenkins yet.

Robert - Yes, Ezekiel Jones. The first two episode he was sidelined a lot, and I didn't really know what to make of his character, but after seeing him step up and take a bigger role this episode I really enjoyed seeing this side of him. He reminded me in a way of Flynn.

Suzana - Not really. I think it's too soon for that to happen.

Dahne - My feelings didn't change so much as deepen for most of the characters. I adore Jenkins and his snarky caring. When he told them to go away because he was working, I laughed out loud. I also liked his no-nonsense approach with Baird about getting the LiTs into the field. Baird too became more interesting to me because she had to face the fear of one of them dying on her watch, a concern not likely to go away. Jake was also more intriguing based on his conversation with Cassandra. It makes me wonder where those trust issues began. The biggest changes I felt for characters though were with Ezekiel and Cassandra. Ezekiel was kind of an unknown quantity and he's still more likely to leave after getting his cut than stay and help out. I'd like to get to know him better but for now he brings comedy and a more laissez faire attitude that grew on me. Cassandra though is the worst part of the show for me. From the moment she whined, "You're just not being fair," I wanted to smack her. She responds to everything like a preteen and it got old fast. Even her fit about calling it a brain grape felt more elementary school than adult. I need them to revamp her character quickly because naïveté and bratty temper tantrum are two different things.

The Minotaur received mixed reviews on social media. What did you think about the storyline and the special effects?

Gavin - Well the special effects weren't amazing but even bigger budget shows like Once Upon a Time don't have special effects that rival Hollywood. I didn't mind that the Minotaur didn't look 100 percent real but I really enjoyed the storyline. It reminded me of a good old-fashioned Supernatural episode. I love the mythology of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth so I was pleased to see that develop. I thought it was a well done storyline. I didn't realise that people on social media didn't enjoy it.

Justyna - I thought the storyline was okay but could be better. Probably the same with the Minotaur. I don't really expect the show to have the best special effects, so even though they could always improve, I didn't have any particular problems with them.

Robert - I thought the Minotaur was probably one of the worst special effects I have seen. It didn't look real at all. It looked like a high school mascot which it shouldn't have done. Seeing that was definitely the low point of the episode. I hope in future episodes the creatures look more authentic, and real; not like someone is dressed up inside it.

Suzana - The Minotaur itself was straight out of a toy store. I liked the idea to make him human, though. Even if the said human had to be some kind of biker... which made my eyes roll. I would have liked to see a cute little person with this giant nasal attribute. Other than the minotaur, the effects were not bad. I liked the maze. It may be because I know the myth from every conceivable angle but the storyline with the woman and the Minotaur bothered me. I found it dull. The motive is too often wealth in TV shows. Plus in that case in the Greek mythology, it wasn't about wealth.

Dahne - The special effects were laughable and NOT in a good way. Still I love how they turned the minotaur into a man in the street part of the labyrinth. It was a smart play and I thought the actor did a decent job with it. I also thought the storyline was fascinating. I love when they tweak folklore and the idea of a business literally sacrificing people for profits made for a good twist to the standard corporate greed story. It also provided a great way to lay down the canon of the series by explaining how magic works.

Tricia Helfer played this week's Big Bad. How did you think she did? If she did make it out from the minotaur, would you like to see her as a returning bad guy?

Gavin - Man I love Tricia Helfer. I met her in October for the Syfy Press Tour and had a few conversations with her and I didn't know at the time but she alluded to working on a television show when we went bowling that was unrelated to 'Ascension' which was what the event was really for. She's an incredible woman and I love her and she was so totally nice. I thought she did a great job as a villain and I would love to see her recur in the future if she made it out from the Minotaur, though to be fair that Minotaur will most likely be really pissed with her so he wouldn't let her go easily. Only thing she did wrong was not shoot Cassandra and Ezekiel when she had the chance instead of letting them overpower and confuse her. I mean I'm glad our heroes won but man villains always have a problem with talking too much.

Justyna - I'm sure Tricia did her best with the role but I wasn't really interested in the character, so not really.

Robert - I wouldn't. I love Tricia Helfer from Battlestar, but I don't think her character is someone the show needs to play a villainous role in a potential story arc. I think her character fit this episode perfectly, but that is as far as I would go with her.

Suzana - I actually think she did pretty well even though I didn't like her character storyline. And No, I wouldn't like to see her returning. She would make a terrible returning Bad Guy. Just another crazy person pushed by greed.

Dahne - I am a fan of Tricia Helfer, but not so much this character. I could see her potential given that her company has a wide reach and she now has a personal vendetta against the Librarians. She could make a powerful enemy. Still they would have to develop the character better. I would rather see a variety of smaller villains in season one before creating a cool Big Bad for future seasons.

Bruce Campbell guest stars next week. What do you think of the casting choices so far? Is there any guest star you would really love to see?

Gavin - I love that they're getting some popular actors to guest star on the show. Man, I watch so many television shows that it's hard to pick who I'd like to see on the show. Villains-wise, I guess I would love to see Sarah Michelle Gellar as a villain. She would be so awesome and fun to have on the show. I'd also love to see Mädchen Amick from Witches of East End and Twin Peaks as she is such a stunning woman and I think she would make either a fantastic villain or ally to the Librarians. There are so many I would love to see that I just can't think of any at the minute.

Justyna - I'd love to see anyone from Leverage on the show, if only to watch them back together with Christian Kane. I really miss this series, especially after a recent re-watch of some of my favorite episodes. Also, there's a great number of actors I'm a fan of and I'd be happy to see any of them here.

Robert - The guest casting has been great so far, some really well known names that can attract a large audience. As far as guest cast I would like to see, I would say Eddie McClintock is the one I would most like to see as he could play a character that adds humor to the episode similar to his role as Pete on Warehouse 13.

Dahne - I have to agree with Justyna. I would love to see Beth Riesgraf or Aldis Hodge on here. Mostly because I really wanted the Parker-Eliot- Hardison spinoff of Leverage and feel personally rooked that it didn't happen. Personally I also feel that anything with a sci-fi or fantasy bent must have Mark Sheppard in it just for street cred. I mean he's been in almost everything. I also think Anthony Head should be a recurring character because he did such a great job as Paracelsus in Warehouse 13. Female additions should include Samantha Ferris, Gabrielle Anwar, Allison Scagliotti, Crystal Reed, Lucy Lawless, or any female that can kick butt.

So far we have had King Arthur and Greek myth artifacts. What has been your favorite piece of magic? What other historical or mythological elements would you like to see incorporated?

Gavin - I have loved the Greek myth elements incorporated into the show so far. I love Greek mythology. It's sort of like Supernatural meets Percy Jackson. I have always loved the myth of Medusa. In terms of other mythological elements, I guess I'd love to see something regarding witches or the Brothers Grimm stories. An upcoming episode is called 'Fables of Doom' so that might allude to that. I was actually going to say I'd love to see Santa and have something Christmassy in the show but my Christmas wish has come true as this Sunday my prayers are answered. Honestly I love Christmas so much so the Santa episode is going to blow me away.

Justyna - Miss you, Excalibur. I love all the movies/books references and magic (in general) on my shows, so nothing in particular comes to mind. I'm very much open to the ideas the writers have in store for us.

Robert - The best part so far was seeing Excalibur again. I hope somehow they can bring the sword back. I would love to see a Cyclops show up, or see a story relating to Pandora's box.

Suzana - My favourite piece of magic was Excalibur. Rest in Peace Cal. As for what I would like to see, I don't know. The choice is rather large knowing you can do pretty much anything.

Dahne - I am good with them exploring more Greek myths, since those are the most well-known and they can twist them pretty well. I would also love to see their take on fairy tales and add some other mythology to their repertoire. Mostly though, I want them to take one of the big baddies of folklore and make it so they are really good but with a bad rap.

What grade would you give this episode and why?

Gavin - B+. Along the lines of the premiere. It might be generous but I love a show that's different and has great substance. It was an enjoyable episode yet it will need to push more boundaries to reach that A. The episode had some great scenes, great character development and a great villain in Tricia Helfer. Plus, I love Greek Mythology so that's an added bonus.

Robert - I would give this a B. I would have given it a A as I really like this week's "case" but the special effects really let me down. They were extremely poor (mainly the Minotaur). The Librarian movies had better special effects than this episode, and they were created years ago. For this time and age, I expected a lot better.

Dahne - B- for me with Cassandra bringing it down from a B. I liked the storyline and the fact that the characters are starting to gel. Still the pacing felt off from the first 2 episodes with far more exposition and a lot less action. That's to be expected as they are world-building, but more sword fighting and a bit more campy fun is what I am looking for.

Any other comments?

Gavin - Bring on the Christmas episode!!

Justyna - If you're still not watching the show, I highly recommend it. It's a great hour of pure TV entertainment and fun. Now waiting for the Christmas episode!

Suzana - As far as I am concerned this is a show for fun. So yeah, I am not a fan of the artifact of the week but honestly I didn't really care that much in the first place. To me it's all about the characters. They are great together and it's fun. The first episode did a much better job at not taking itself too seriously. I think Flynn might have something to do with that.

Dahne - I am anxiously awaiting the return of Bruce Campbell to my TV screen. I loved him as Sam and miss Burn Notice so much. The casting crew is doing a great job of adding fun people into the mix.

So what did you think of the episode? Did you like it more, less, or about the same as the 2-part opener? Have your feelings for the characters changed any? What would you like to see most happen in the future? Sound off in the comments below.

Screencaps by Tumblr, io9, Rick's Cafe Texan, Borg, Variety,and me.

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and creates polls for Sleepy Hollow, White Collar, Grimm, Teen Wolf, and others. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts the Sleepy Hollow "Headless" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
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