Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Librarians - 1.07 / 1.08 - Roundtable Review

It's a double packed review today as The Librarians races to the end of season 1. Hard to believe that next week will be the last 2 episodes. Today we have BlueStar, Emma, Gavin Hetherington, and me, Dahne, to review two rather different episodes. Just as a side note, I did not realize until this week that they are airing the episodes out of order so it explains some of the problems I had with Ezekiel in the fairy tale episode and Cassandra in the haunted house one. They were apparently intended as the fourth and fifith episode, back when their characters would have been new to the experience and Cassandra's betrayal would have been new. As always, we would love to hear your opinions so sound off in the comments below.

What was your favorite thing about episode 1.07?

BlueStar - The introduction of Morgan Le Fay and getting to know Jake's back story a little bit more. Also, the underdog getting the award at the Science Fair.
Emma - I really liked this episode so there was lots of things I liked: Jenkins and his fructose drink, introduction of Morgan Le Fay (or Morganna as I am more accustomed to hearing), Ezekiel toned down quite a bit, and everyone working as a team with an assist from a guest star (Yea Sin from Arrow!!)
Gavin - The normality of the science fair juxtaposing with the fantasy elements of the show. It was a good balance and it was nice to see the Librarians act in that environment. Also great to see more mythology with Morgan La Fey.
Dahne - It's a tossup for me between the introduction of Morgan le Fay and all that entails and the character of Amy. I may actually be more excited about the pieces of Jenkins' back story we're getting than Morgan herself, but I think she will make a great recurring villain in her own right. I wonder if she was the cause of Jenkins and Dulaque's split. Please tell me there isn't a Guinevere in this tale though. As for Amy, she was the right combination of spunky and smart. Plus it helps that I love the actress who played her. It was also a relief that they didn't have to convince her that magic was real so the plot could move along quicker.

If you could change anything about episode 1.07, what would it be?

BlueStar - I can't think of anything really. It was a well done episode in my opinion.
Emma - Jenkins getting after Baird because she chose to save everyone instead of kill Morgan. Kinda wanted to Gibbs smack him in that moment.
Gavin - It wasn't as exciting as other episodes but again, I couldn't really say what I would change about the episode.
Dahne - The problems I had with this episode are going to be the same as the next one, except to a lesser degree here. They tended to talk through a lot of scenes instead of showing action. Plus it focused more on Cassandra again. While I appreciate that it included a scene focused around Jake as well, it did lean more towards her and they have done that far too often. Other things that bothered me was Baird being oblivious to the student liking her and awarding the cheesy volcano the top prize. That was way over-the-top for me.

This episode introduced Morgan le Fay to the series mytharc and established that she has a long history with Jenkins, who sees her as absolute evil. How did you like the introduction of the character? Would you like her to be a recurring character? How do you see her fitting into the overall story?

BlueStar - I liked her introduction. She has the potential to be a great villain on this show. I would like to see her as a recurring character because I could see her becoming a "big bad" at some point. I can imagine that she might decide at some point to gain a lot more power than she was getting at that Science Fair and The Librarians needing to stop her.
Emma - Intro was great - totally not expecting that reveal, when she walked into the Annex, I was hoping for some great snark from Jenkins but not that rather weighty reveal. I really like her character and I am hoping that she is connected to Dulaque so they can share the Big Bad title. Since Morganna is often associated with Mordred in Arthurian legend then I'm betting that Dulaque is Mordred. I didn't catch what she called Jenkins - I listened to it three times and I still can't make out enough to do a Google search on the name but my guess is that it is some cultural variation on Merlin??
Gavin - I liked the introduction of her character as it was pretty unexpected. I like it when The Librarians can be clever so it was a neat little twist how she just waltzed straight into the Library and acted like nothing was wrong. I guess I would like to see her crop up later on as I wouldn't like to leave things open-ended as there needs to be some resolution there. I don't know if she'd team up with the Brotherhood since she seems more independant but I doubt we've seen the last of her.
Dahne - I thought it was a fun way to include a well-known character. I love that she evolved with the times but still was basically trying to cover her own butt. I could see her as the ultimate Big Bad of the show, especially if Flynn has some kind of history with her as well. I do want to know exactly how Jenkins and she know each other, which could be a great episode on its own.

Technopaganism is a significant part of the story with magic being used unknowingly through an app. How do you feel about this twist? Would you like to see more melding of technology with the magic the Annex faces or would you prefer that it stay more traditional?

BlueStar - I like the twist. I think it makes sense that magic would evolve and start working with technology as time went on. I love traditional magic but the occasional melding with technology is interesting as well.
Emma - I thought it was a nice twist on the traditional magic we are accustomed to seeing so far in the series and I hope at least one or two episodes every season (hopefully we get many!) deals with the repercussions of combining technology and magic. Apps are so prevalent in our lives that having an app for witchcraft is a perfect way to update it for today's techno dependent generation.
Gavin - What makes The Librarians unique to other fantasy shows such as Buffy and Charmed is that it's able to adapt to the modern world and I thought the app thing was both bizarre but brilliant. It really showed the evolution of magic in television and was pretty fascinating to see how that was explained and how it played out. Exciting things if it falls in the wrong hands.
Dahne - I have been fascinated with technopaganism since I first heard of the concept on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I find it fascinating to combine the ancient with the modern, so I liked the take here and I hope they continue it. I could see this show doing one heck of a steampunk episode. I wouldn't mind hearing more about the science of the lay lines either.

What was your favorite thing about episode 1.08?

BlueStar - Katie being super creepy when she was revealed as the evil spirit in the house, and ending twist of the house being good.
Emma - The twist on the haunted house story - I totally thought we were dealing with a typical haunting and they just needed to salt and burn that baby and move glad there was more to it than that!
Gavin - I loved the sort of horror movie feel the episode had. It was far removed from the Annex so it really made the characters, and the viewers, feel isolated and alone. It was very effective and I love haunted house stories.
Dahne - For me the best thing was the twist that the house was actually trying to be a sanctuary but it got polluted by serial killers. I haven't seen that before so it was a nice twist.

If you could change anything about episode 1.08, what would it be?

BlueStar - Cassandra not understanding at all why she was always being assigned as guard to Katie. I get she wants to prove herself but it almost seemed like she thought it was something personal.
Emma - The return of Whiny Cassandra. The "no body trusts me" pity party of one is getting old. She seemed more confident after her success with the house so I am hoping that Whiny Cassandra is gone for good
Gavin - I guess I wasn't the biggest fan of the dollhouse thing and that it granted wishes. It kind of deterred from the creepiness of the episode.
Dahne - Oh the emoangsting. I officially do not care about Cassandra's brain tumor or her lack of self-esteem. It feels like she whines through half the episode and it's driving me crazy. So far the trend is that the character I dislike most is whichever of Cassandra or Ezekiel is getting the spotlight that episode. This time we got Cassandra twice in a row to combat the two in a row we got of Ezekiel. This show has become completely unbalanced when it comes to the characters and sadly they keep giving the focus to the only two I don't like.

In this episode, Cassandra continues to doubt herself until she realizes that Katie is the evil they are seeking and then she fights back. Do you think this episode will have a lasting change on Cassandra? Do you think she will continue to assert herself in the group? Is this a positive change in your opinion?

BlueStar - I hope it has a lasting change on Cassandra. She needs to be able to handle herself better in fighting situations. I think she will continue to assert herself. I'm not sure if it is a good thing or not. She does have to understand that the only reason Baird holds her back is because she is the least trained in this area. It only makes sense that until she gets more training that she'd be more sidelined than the others.
Emma - I hope so. Whiny Cassandra needs to never be seen again. I think she finally recognized that she DID betray them and expecting them to implicitly trust her again is incredibly selfish and naive. They will eventually trust her again (well, maybe not Jake) but she needs to give them time - mopey, whiny, self-doubting Cassandra is not going to speed that process.
Gavin - I was glad to see Cassandra save the day instead of Eve or Ezekiel as it has been this season, especially when she's perceived as the weakest but she sure held her own. I think this will have a lasting impression on her as those self doubts should have been removed now. Not just anybody could do what Cassandra did so she should be very proud of herself.
Dahne - The episodes being aired out of order don't help here.  If this episode was supposed to be near the beginning and the science fair one towards the end, then I think Cassandra improves as the series was supposed to go on.  Still I'll have to wait to see what she's like in the last two episodes to judge.

Most genre shows do a haunted house episode. How did you feel about the spin The Librarians put on it?

BlueStar - I loved The Librarians haunted house episode. The girl Katie was so creepy when she was revealed to be behind everything evil going on in the house and I loved the twist at the end with the house having been created for good.
Emma - LOVED IT! I thought this was going to be just another run of the mill haunted house (girl was obviously the ghost luring the team in) but the twist of it being a house that fulfills needs that is hijacked by a serial killer would, I think, stump even the Winchesters. These kinds of twists on traditional stories are what I love the most about this series.
Gavin - I loved how it sort of moved around and Katie was the evil that drew people in. I love haunted house episodes of shows as I love that kind of horror genre and to put the Librarians characters in that situation was both funny and dire. Great spin.
Dahne - I readily admit that I am finicky about haunted house stories as a huge seasons 1-7 Supernatural fan. Now anytime anyone enters a haunted house voluntarily I think of Dean's speech in Asylum. If they don't bring lead and salt, I hear Sam saying, "Low sodium freaks." As a result I usually spend haunted house episodes wishing I was watching season 1 of SPN. So while I liked the twist of the "good" haunted house, I knew the girl was evil within 5 minutes. Creepy kids, yep that's Supernatural too. I guess the whole thing felt more humdrum than the other episodes to me.

Both in these episodes and in the previous fairy tale episode last week, the lead characters make connections with young people that either shed light on who the character is or spurs them into action. How do you feel this strategy is working to flesh out the leads? Have you liked the young guest stars and their characters?

BlueStar - Yes, I liked the young guest stars. Anyone who helps flesh out the main characters and isn't annoying is great.
Emma - I think the strategy is good to introduce the LiTs but we've had several episodes that focused on Ezekiel and Cassandra and there are only two episodes left this season - which means that Baird, Jake and Jenkins will be short changed. With this method, there are three characters grossly under-developed by comparison and we have seen very little growth between the team members. I like the guest stars - I wouldn't mind if Bex Taylor-Klaus' character became a regular and was recruited by The Library.
Gavin - The young guest stars have been pretty good so far and I've just realized that they all end up helping (or somehow pushing) the Librarians to the solution. It's working out so far but they'll need to start relying on themselves to solve the mysteries instead of being driven by these children. But I guess it fits with the theme of these myths and stories being rooted in childhood and that's what they represent.
Dahne - I think all the young adult actors have been great. The kid in the fairy tales episode made Ezekiel tolerable when nothing else could. She also helped him become the hero of that episode. Amy was easily a favorite part of the science fair episode and although I knew she was evil and she tended to be in the scenes with the most emoangsting, I thought Katie in the haunted house episode was decent too. Most importantly, they each connected on another level with the characters. Jake bonded with the young poet and a little bit of him seeped through. I enjoyed his costume speech and how he encouraged the kid to really live. You could feel the regret he had for the choices he made as a kid, hiding away his talents. I never found Cassandra more tolerable than when she completely understood where Amy was coming from. I think all of these characters were at their best when mentoring younger people.

What grade would you give these episodes and why?

BlueStar - Episode 7: A- because it was a solid case and Morgan was an interesting new character. Episode 8: I'll give it an A because I loved how they played out the haunted house story. It had a nice twist at the end too.
Emma - 1.07 I give a B+ the introduction of Morganna moved the overall mytharc ahead and each member of the team had a role to play in the solution. 1.08 I give a B. The story was great but I'm docking a full letter grade for Whiny Cassandra and no character development on Baird, Jenkins or Jake.
Gavin - Probably a C for the science fair episode as it wasn't as great as it could have, and a B for the haunted house episode as I really did enjoy how frightening it was at times. I love chase scenes.
Dahne - I gave 1.07 an A- for the introduction of both Morgan le Fay and Amy. I also liked how the attention was spread a little more evenly. For me, 1.08 was the worst episode so far so I gave it a C. The twist was good but everything else was pretty meh for me and I hated all the emoangsting.

Anything you want to add?

BlueStar - I can't wait for the season's final two episodes Sunday but at the same time I'm going to be sad it will already be over.
Emma - So sad that this weekend is the final two episodes of the season! Hopefully TNT gives us some renewal news soon.
Gavin - Cannot believe season one is almost over already. Where has the time gone?
Dahne - It's really hard to believe that by this time next week, season 1 will be over. The time flew by. Here's hoping for a season 2 announcement soon.

Screencaps by Screencapped and Tumblr.

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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