Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Librarians - 2.01/2.02 - Roundtable Review

Hello and welcome to season 2 of The Librarians Roundtable Review. Basically I send out questions about the episode and anyone who has watched it is invited to answer them. Then I compile the answers into this article. If you would like to participate, either contact me @dahne1 on Twitter, e-mail me at, or head to my blog on Tuesdays - You can of course always leave your comments below too.

Many thanks to our first roundtable reviewers: BlueStar, Kollin, Michaela, and Prpleight. They were kind enough to answer, even though I did not give them a lot of time. Thanks so much for sharing your insight and opinions. It's a great start to our new season. And now on with the review….

What was your favorite thing about these episodes?

BlueStar - Everyone is back together after spending months separated on their own adventures and Eve is persistent about getting them to recognize that working as a team is best. I also am loving the literary characters being the main plot.

Kollin - The camaraderie of the Librarians and seeing them talk about how they need each other after spending time apart. Aww

Michaela - I enjoyed how lived-in all the relationships feel at this point. It was great to see everyone come back together and pair up with different team members, like the hilarious Ezekiel-Flynn team up and the interesting contrast that was highlighted between Flynn and Baird when they worked together. Both episodes also contained the fun and sparkle that I've come to expect from the show, especially in the ways that each episode was wrapped up in the last few minutes.

Prpleight - It wasn't as evident in the first episode but by the second episode I was certain...Prospero was speaking in Shakespearean English. That detail made me grin. I also loved seeing the neophyte Librarians working on their own.

Dahne - For me, it is this overarching storyline of literary characters coming to life that is the best thing. There are so many possibilities with this direction that I cannot wait to see who pops up next. I also like how they mixed up who was working together. That always makes things more interesting.

If you could change anything about these episodes, what would it be?

Kollin - The teasing between Eve and Flynn just felt a little bit too over the top.

Michaela - The first episode was a little chaotic with every character going off in different directions in their own storylines. Overall, I thought both episodes were slightly overstuffed. As much fun as it was to watch multiple fictionals come to life and to see the Librarians defeat them, for upcoming episodes, I really hope the show focuses on one or two villains per episode instead of throwing so many at the characters. One of the things I loved so much about last season was the ways in which it was able to make a supernatural procedural work so well in such a fun way, an element I thought was somewhat missing in these last two episodes, as awesome as they were.

Prpleight - Personally, I would have liked more of the neophytes in the second episode. I'm having trouble putting my finger on exactly what makes me say that but I found myself missing them during the second episode.

Dahne - I agree that the episodes felt a little overstuffed and as such felt disjointed in many ways. The newbies on their own at first made the storyline less cohesive because so much was going on. I also think they focused way, way too much on the romance between Flynn and Eve.

This season appears to focus on literary characters coming to life. If you had the power to make any literary character real, who would it be and why?

Kollin - Sancho from Don Quixote. I just find him to be very inspiring in his loyalty and honour. He's that type of guy you would want as a friend.

Michaela - Definitely Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl. The show toned down her petty cruelty and shockingly foul mouth, but in the books series, Blair was the edgiest YA protagonist by a long shot, so the fact that she was sympathetic in the least is really a testament to her author. I'd love for her to come to life so I could listen to her talk trash about annoying people without feeling bad about myself for laughing, after all she'd be doing all of the heavy lifting, I'd just be around for the ride. She was a strangely feminist figure with her obvious flaws that made her a bit of an antiheroine and because I'm not exactly a woman of refined literary tastes, Blair was by far my favorite heroine in a novel, so I would love for her to come to life so we could hang out.

Prpleight - My first response is Joe Ledger (the main character in a series of novels by Jonathan Maberry. But if I stick to "literary" characters...The Phantom and Edmond Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo.

Dahne - Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo was the first person I thought of too. He's smart and patient, two things I love in a potential villain. I also think that Iago from Othello would be cunning enough to manipulate our characters and make things intense. Continuing with the Knights of the Round Table would be fun too, since I would love more back story on Jenkins. We also need to bring in some characters that are good with a sword. This show needs a minimum of one good swordfight per episode.

At the start, each of the librarians were working on their own. Would you like to occasionally see them working alone or do you like the team dynamic better? Why?

BlueStar - I like the team dynamic more because it is fun seeing all these characters interacting and despite their differences work together to save the world. It makes it more interesting when there is more than one person on a mission.

Kollin - I don't think the Librarians are strong enough individually; they really feed off each other. The team dynamic is truly what makes this show.

Michaela - I like the team dynamic better because I love watching the characters interact with one another and continue to build their relationships. I didn't think that the premiere handled the separate storylines especially well and the episode felt pretty chaotic and disjointed because of it. I don't need them to constantly be doing the same thing in the same room as one another, but I prefer to watch them all working as a team in some way. At the very least, they should be in pairs like they have been in previous episodes. It allows the episode to have multiple storylines and I've always found that character development tends to work best one on one as opposed to a lone focus on one character.

Prpleight - I did really enjoy seeing them working solo. I think a mix could work. Teasers
(throughout these season) where one of them returns from a solo case just before we find out what the episode case will be or perhaps having a solo case end up requiring the whole team to successfully conclude the case....sort of the paradigm of 'the Drowned Book'

Dahne - I prefer to seeing them paired up instead of on their own, mostly because their strengths come in working together. None of them seem to have a wide enough skill set to make it alone to be honest. Ezekiel needs more general knowledge and patience. Cassandra needs someone to be the human front of her operations because she often goes off into her own world. Jake needs specific skills like lock picking to round him out. If an artifact was specifically tailored to their skill sets then that would be different, but obviously it is more random. Otherwise it would have been Jake to get earring detail instead of Ezekiel.

...And the Drowned Book is the season 2 opener. How do you feel it compares to other premieres this season? How do these two episodes compare to season 1 for you?

BlueStar - The opener is actually one of the better premieres I've watched this season. It jumped right into the action and adventure and pretty much did all the right things to satisfy what I was looking forward to in season 2. To me, these two episodes were up to par with season 1.

Kollin - It's hard to compare this premiere to other premieres as it is such a different kind of show, but what I can say is that it was a solid premiere. Though I enjoyed Season 1, I hardly remember it. If these first two episodes are any indication, I think Season 2 will be more memorable as these literary characters coming to life makes for great entertainment.

Michaela - I wasn't a huge fan of And the Drowned Book, but I understand that it had a lot of expositional groundwork to lay for the rest of the season. It wasn't my favorite premiere of the fall or my favorite episode of The Librarians, but considering it took me about three episodes to get into the first season, I wasn't too worried or disappointed.

Prpleight - I don't like to compare the premieres of different shows to other shows because a lot of what I watch is apples and oranges. But I must confess that I didn't think these two episodes were as good as season 1. I hope we're not headed for a sophomore slump.

Dahne - Last season was very much up and down for me so these 2 episodes were better than some and worse than others. I did like all the action and humor but the pacing was off and some of the jokes were just bad. I felt that 2.01 worked better as a middle episode than the premiere because it was dull in some places.

...And the Broken Staff focused more on Eve and Flynn's relationship than the other 3 librarians. Did you like the spotlight on their differences or would you rather it have been more balanced between the characters?

BlueStar - I love Eve and Flynn so you'll find me hard-pressed to say anything not positive about focus being put on them and their relationship. Since Flynn won't be around for half the season I think it was fine to not have the episode balanced between all the characters. Many shows have character centered episodes every season.

Kollin - As aforementioned, the teasing and differences between Eve and Flynn was way too over the top for me and the fact they focused so much on it was overkill. A bit more balance between the characters would've improved this episode.

Michaela - I tend not to be super happy with most TV romances because the romances often seem rushed into and rarely feel well developed or earned. Considering Flynn has only been in about half the episodes of the show so far, The Librarians has managed to develop their romance pretty well and it was nice to see the contrast between their characters. I would have thought that this much focus on their relationship would feel really annoying and shoehorned in, but it didn't. I felt they had enough focus on the other characters for the relationship building to feel like a plot tumor. That said, I hope their relationship isn't always the focus of Flynn's storyline when he comes back to the show and that other characters get episodes that focus slightly more on them as well.

Prpleight - I realized that they had to get to Flynn's exit but I would have been happier if the 3 newest librarians had more balance in the episode.

Dahne - I found the constant harping on the differences between Flynn and Eve to be very irksome and it took away from my enjoyment of the show. It would have been fine if it had been one conversation but it was a conversation every 5 minutes. I was glad when Flynn left just to stop hearing them bicker about everything. They need to stop thinking of Flynn as the main character when he pops by. In this show, he's a side character at best and his plot line should reflect that.

It appears like in season 1, Flynn Carsen will only be in special episodes. Would you like it to be like last season or would you prefer to have Flynn in all the episodes?

BlueStar - This is tricky to answer. I love Flynn and I'd like to see him in more episodes so his character can develop more, but I don't think I'd want him in all the episodes because I do like having some episodes that totally focus on the other librarians.

Kollin - Flynn takes the spotlight away from the rest of the Librarians. He has too big of a presence. The last season worked in its character dynamics between the team of 4, so why mess with it!?

Michaela - He's already so good at being The Librarian that he tends to upstage the others whenever he's working with them. It's nice that he drops by to help them out every once in awhile, but he's so quirky and practiced as a Librarian that he pulls focus from the other characters. The rareness of his appearances make them more of a treat.

Prpleight - I'd love to have Flynn around for the entire season, but after 'the Broken Staff' I fear that they'd have difficulty finding the balance.

Dahne - I find Flynn to be more annoying than entertaining when he's around. He's too goofy. I would actually prefer that he not come back at all until the big showdown in the end.

What grade would you give episode 2.01?

BlueStar - I'd give it an A. I really enjoyed everyone reuniting and getting to see/hear pieces of what they'd done while they were separated, and I liked the lesson they learned about needing to work together or they will miss clues. I was happy the episode wasn't just a set up for the next episode. They saved New York in the very first hour.

Kollin - 7/10. Thoroughly entertaining episode with a fun main story.

Michaela - B-, I still enjoyed it. I just would have enjoyed it more if there had been less place setting and more non-arguing interaction between the characters. I get that pulling them apart helped illustrate why they needed to work together, this episode just felt pilot-y in a way I didn't really like. The ending was pretty great though, especially the realization that they did have a second sun at their disposal to help them get rid of the storm. Stone singeing his hand during an attempted high five with Jenkins - and having that injury carry over to the next episode were nice touches too.

Prpleight - A - Everyone was working together and bringing their different skill sets together to save the world. Plus we got to see the neophyte librarians working solo.

Dahne - I give it a B-, mostly because watching characters argue about stuff they already learned in the first season gets tiring very quickly. I hope that we don't keep having a refrain about how they work better as a team. However the fictionals were a brilliant addition and I expect this season to be more fun than the Serpent Brotherhood ever was.

What grade would you give episode 2.02?

BlueStar - I'd give an A- for this episode. Lots of exciting stuff going on again, but I'm lowering the grade for Flynn not handling things better and actually annoying me in a couple scenes (usually I love his quirks). I get he's not used to teamwork and likes to dive into adventure but the writers could have made him a bit less dramatic about it and not have him quickly run off at the end. Otherwise, I enjoyed all the characters' actions and the plot.

Kollin - 8/10. Thoroughly entertaining episode with a fun main story. Better than the first episode as I found the addition of Frankenstein and the Queen of Hearts hilarious.

Michaela - A- I liked this episode much more than the premiere. I was glad to see everyone working together again in an episode that had a more self-contained plotline that wasn't just setting up pieces of story for episodes to come. This episode reminded me of why I love the show so much even though I didn't think their case was one of the more creative dilemmas they've solved. The amount of mythology and allusions they managed to fit into one episode was impressive and it was nice to see Flynn and Ezekiel team up for the first time. They're weirdly similar in their cockiness and stubbornness even though Flynn has a nobleness and desire to help others that Ezekiel doesn't seem to have yet. Flynn choosing to hug it out with Frankenstein's monster and having that plan fail only for Ezekiel's a**-pulled plan for FM to get plastic surgery and play professional sports. Teaching Frankenstein's monster how to use Tinder was one of the better Tinder references I've seen on a show because it was integrated in a way that didn't scream of desperation to be hip. I also liked the choice to make the Tree of Knowledge an adorable little sapling instead of the giant imposing tree Flynn pretended it was.

Prpleight - C - It felt like a longer last half of an episode. It felt a little unbalanced to me.

Dahne - Another B- for me, mostly for all the times the momentum crashed to a complete halt for Eve and Flynn to fight again. It got old fast. However I thought the subplot with Frankenstein's monster was fantastic. It was my favorite scene of the two episodes.

What do you think about Prospero and Moriarty as the Big Bads of the season?

BlueStar - So far I've liked them being the Big Bads of the season. Probably about equal to last year's villains. Maybe even better. Time will tell.

Kollin - I think they are fabulous. The idea behind their dastardly plans makes for fun television.

Michaela - I like that Prospero is actually a sorcerer with magic powers. Such a powerful villain should prove to be a worthy foe for The Librarians. If he ever needs any extra magical help, he could always find Morgan Le Fey and they could wreak sweet, delicious havoc together. Moriarty I could take or leave. Sherlock Holmes stories and villains have become somewhat oversaturated in the past few years.

Prpleight - I like Moriarty, but Prospero doesn't interest me as much.

Dahne - I think they are the best thing about this new season. I adore that Prospero can pull other characters out of whatever books he wants. There's so much to explore there. I do find Prospero's talking in verse a bit vexing sometimes, like they are trying too hard, but he's a thousand times better than Dulaque from last year, even if Dulaque is a better literary character. As for Moriarty, he's a pure gem. He's smart and quick. He oozes charm and he's patient enough to sit back and watch the game before spinning it to his advantage. I expect he will be a much better villain than Prospero in the end.

Anything you want to add?

BlueStar - These two episodes were a promising start to the season and I'm looking forward to what's in store in the future.

Michaela - Based on the wikipedia synopses (that seem to have disappeared) for upcoming episodes, this season looks like it'll be much more serialized than last season was. I like that the stakes will be much higher this season but I hope that we still get some fun standalone cases this year. I look forward to discussing this season with everyone else. Hopefully it'll be even better than the first.

Dahne - The Librarians is a fun, cheesy show designed to entertain. In this, season 2 is off to a good start.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  It was great hearing your thoughts.

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/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, The 100, Grimm, How to Get Away with Murder, The Librarians, and others. She also runs the annual Character Cup. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts The 100 "Red-Shirted", 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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