Sunday, December 20, 2015
The Librarians - 2.07 / 2.08 - Roundtable Review
The roundtable is back and better than ever. Thanks so much to everyone who participated. I really appreciate the time you took and hearing your opinions. Anyone interested in being part of next week's The Librarians roundtable, tweet me or e-mail. I post the questions on my blog and tweet them out so you can find the link that way too. Oh and a great big round of applause to TNT for renewing this show. It's good to see a family friendly show get picked up for season 3. Don't forget to leave your comments below and tell us what you thought.
What was your favorite thing about episode 2.07?
Blue Star - Jenkins and Dorian Gray's interaction before Eve swapped magical places with Gray and jumped off the roof was my favorite part. That and Jacob listing great American poets to the bouncer.
Emma - This episode had more humor in it. From Stone refusing to hit Dorian because it effected Eve to Eve's "Worst. Plan. Ever", I had some great laughs.
Michaela - The tactic Stone used to distract one of the bouncers. Only he would choose to play a game of My Country's Poets Are Better Than Yours to preoccupy someone.
Prpleight - I liked the take on Dorian Gray. Also it was another one of those situations where Cassandra's first timer glee was fun.
Dahne - I liked the take on digital narcissism and Jake and Ezekiel working together. Another plus was having Jenkins back in the field again.
If you could change anything about this episode, what would it be?
Emma - Two things actually. Drunk Cassandra would've quietly passed out two minutes into it and Dorian would've been a bit more physically imposing. He reminded me of one of the boys from Dead Poets Society, not the sick and sadistic narcissist of legend.
Michaela - Two words: Drunk Cassandra. Cassandra's obnoxious quirkiness has been significantly toned down this season, but it was dialed back up to a thousand with Drunk Cassandra. She was probably the most grating and annoying she's ever been on the show and I might need a heavy duty mind wipe to forget how irritating she was. Watching her was like being repeatedly flicked in the ear and if we never saw Drunk Cassandra again, it would only be too soon.
Prpleight - Baird's clubbing outfit. I had two problems with it. First she looked like a bird and secondly it looked like a 90's clubbing outfit. Though I don't go clubbing and if I did I'd be at a different club than Eve so that's only my opinion. :-) Also a lighter Ezekiel touch.
Dahne - I'm not a Cassandra fan about half the time anyway but Drunk Cassandra has to be the absolute worst. She needs to never come back again. I also wasn't feeling Dorian as much as the topics he brought up.
Episode 2.07 focuses a lot on how image-conscious people have gotten in the age of selfies. How well do you think they addressed the subject? Do you enjoy when they bring in cultural topics like this?
Emma - I think they addressed it well, particularly with the Dorian Gray persona. I do enjoy the cultural topics. It would become tiresome if it was every episode but considering who the villain of the week was, they would've been remiss not to address how overly image-conscious our society has become.
Prpleight - I always think it's great when a story can reflect an aspect of our world in the hopes that we can think about it in a new way. I did like the observation that it's not a new thing...it's just easier with cell phone. :-D
Dahne -My biggest problem with TV bringing in cultural topics is that they often feel heavy handed like an after school special or Very Special Episode. I thought that The Librarians used a lighter touch in this case but I would not want it to become an every episode thing.
Dorian Gray becomes the first new literary connection (if not a true fictional) since Frankenstein's Monster. What did you think of his role in the story?
Emma - I would've liked him to be a bit more physically imposing and perhaps a bit older. As I mentioned above, he reminded me of the boys in Dead Poets Society, not exactly the epitome of debauchery. I never had any doubt that the team would defeat him because all I could think of was "he's just a baby".
Michaela - He's one of my favorite fictionals so far. Frankenstein's Monster was a lot of fun as well, but Dorian was very enigmatic and mischievous in a way that worked well for the type of villain he was playing. His character also helped ground the story and made it seem much less like an attempt at finger-wagging than it would have otherwise.
Prpleight - I really liked the way they modernized Dorian Gray's use of the "painting."
Dahne - Modernizing the old tale really worked for me but the character did not. I'm not sure if it was the writing or the acting or a combination of both but Dorian came off as too much of a cardstock character for me.
What grade would you give this episode? Why?
Emma - C+ The casting of Dorian didn't work for me and I wanted to punch Cassandra almost every time she was onscreen. The only thing bringing this grade up was the humor.
Michaela - An A-. I really liked this episode, but not nearly as much as the next one.
Prpleight - B: Only because I didn't connect to the episode like I have with others.
Dahne - B-, a decent episode marred by the most grating Cassandra yet and some pacing and character issues
What was your favorite thing about episode 2.08?
Emma - All the Ezekiel development! To watch him go from self-absorbed to truly pained at seeing the team die was such a great way to give the character some much needed growth without it taking a lot of screen time to do so.
Michaela - Ezekiel's character was finally deepened. I've been begging for him to get some character development since the start of the season and just as I'd given up hope we'd get an Ezekiel-centric episode, we finally did and it was pretty much everything I could have asked for.
Prpleight - Speaking of connecting...I completely connected with this episode. I loved getting a glimpse of the hero Ezekiel is and what The Library saw that resulted in him getting the invitation in the first place.
Dahne - Like almost everyone, it was Ezekiel's character growth for me. We waited a long time to see it and the writing staff did a great job at delivering. I also love how it allowed John Harlan Kim to dig deep into his character and show a greater range of emotion.
If you could change anything about this episode, what would it be?
Michaela - I wish some of the character growth had stuck. It was disappointing to see Ezekiel regress back to his callous and arrogant self after all of the depth and sacrifice we'd seen from him.
Prpleight - Ezekiel would remember what he experienced in the game. I prefer for the characters in the series I love to grow and change as they are affect by their stories. I would really like to have seen a post game Ezekiel.
Twee - Ezekiel should have used the backpack strap, or a shirt, or literally anything to pull that pipe rather than his bare hand dozens of times...
Dahne - My biggest complaint is the retrograde amnesia, which is convenient and very irksome. However there was some drag in the middle as they repeated a few scenes too often, but that's typical with a Groundhog Day-type plot.
Episode 2.08 focused mostly on Ezekiel. What worked best about this focus? Was there anything that didn't work for you? What would you like to see next for Ezekiel?
Emma - We have been sorely lacking back story and development on Ezekiel. Sure we've gotten bits here and there but his character has largely been static. When he realized on the last loop how much he had changed but that the team still thought of him as "himself" it was such a huge step forward for him that I hope it leads to more forward momentum for his character.
Michaela - The focus on Ezekiel really helped humanize him in ways we've only seen glimpses of before. It helped show that he really cared about his fellow Librarians and considered them to be his friends instead of just his coworkers. I was surprised that Ezekiel seemed to realize that his selfishness and snark created a distance between him and the other Librarians. In general, he doesn't seem like a super self-aware character, so it was nice to see a glimmer of that from him. He also seemed to regret that distance and want to be liked more by the other Librarians. I often forget how young he is, but this episode really brought that youth and vulnerability to the forefront when Ezekiel told Baird how he kept letting her retell her story about bravery just so she would look at him with compassion and when he got more frustrated than anyone else about the time loop.
Prpleight - I loved understanding, in more depth, why Ezekiel was invited to be a librarian. It's not just that sometimes his skills are needed but he is actually the kind of guy who will go to the wall to do the right thing. And the writer kept it all very true to the way the character has always been written. The only thing I didn't like was the reset (huh, literally in this case) at the end. It's something I've disliked since watching Starsky and Hutch when I was a kid.
Twee - They seemed to lose a lot of the earned Team dynamic to promote this "Ezekiel is an apparent flake" mythos. Looks like Ezekiel DOES remember, so I most want him to discuss what happened with Jenkins.
Dahne - Getting any kind of character development on Ezekiel was the best part of the story. In season one, Cassandra and Ezekiel came off the worst to me for opposite reasons. They have toned Cassandra down a bit this season but Ezekiel not as much. This episode did a great job of showing the parts of Ezekiel he never shows anyone - his emotions and fears. It was necessary for the audience to connect with the character.
This episode used a familiar TV trope in the Groundhog Day time loop. Have you seen this used in TV before? How did it compare to other shows? Did you like this format?
Emma - Stargate SG-1 has a time loop episode that is by far my favorite episode of the entire series and my favorite use of the time loop trope in both movie and TV. Groundhog Day is a very close second with this episode now placing third. Excellent way to show enormous character growth without it taking a lot of screen time or using a time jump and filling in the gaps with exposition. Well written, directed and acted.
Prpleight - I was about to start ranting about the Groundhog Day cliché...when Ezekiel started to list titles it was used in. I loved the switchover to video game - which I've seen a couple of times but I'm blanking on any titles. The Groundhog Day cliché has been overused so much (even before the movie Groundhog Day)
Dahne - Groundhog Day-type episodes have a tendency to be mostly filler so I tend to not like them as much. This one was handled fairly well when it comes to repetition in that it didn't start getting old until the middle and by then they had added their own twist with the videogame component. I still don't think this one comes anywhere near the quality of Mystery Spot in Supernatural, but that is largely because of the huge twist in that episode and the major tonal turn it took mid-episode. However I think this episode is one of the better uses of a time loop I've seen on TV.
This episode introduced the fae to the world of The Librarians. What did you think about Jenkins using a fairy to get dirt on Prospero? What do you think the fairy meant when he said that Jenkins cannot be killed but can die?
Emma - I was surprised he used a fairy! That tells me that Jenkins is more worried about Prospero than he is letting on. I guess I've always assumed that Jenkins can die but he can't be killed - meaning that if he died, he'd come back to life because his soul could not move on. Like in Supernatural, the body is just a meat suit and even if the body sustains fatal wounds, the soul (demon or angel) inhabiting it would keep it "alive".
Michaela - The fairy kind of creeped me out. He seemed more like a trickster sprite than a traditional fairy to me. I liked that Jenkins used the fairy to try to figure out how to defeat Prospero, but I also kinda wish this plot had been saved for a different episode, because it felt a bit out of place here. I assume the fairy was trying to tempt Jenkins with immortality when he told him he couldn't be killed but he could die. He was most likely trying to get the upper hand after Jenkins took the power by binding him and forcing him to answer three questions.
Prpleight - Isn't the thingie in Prospero's watch a fae? That deal with the fae NEVER goes well. And, as I expected, it did NOT go well. My interpretation of what the fae told Jenkins was that while he would never die by violence he could die from, say, an infection. Sort of like the Immortals in the Highlander universe.
Dahne - I actually thought this was an unnecessary side plot. Usually Jenkins is my favorite character but using the fae in this episode felt forced, like they suddenly remembered there is a huge mytharc they've been avoiding and now they are running out of time. I think it would have been better played in the next episode. I'm also not in favor of anything that hints at Jenkins leaving. To me the faery seemed to hint at some type of Merlin twist wherein Jenkins could be trapped someplace where time and consciousness don't exist. That way he would remain literally alive but for all intents it would be as if he were dead in a permanent comatose state.
What grade would you give this episode? Why?
Emma: B+ One of my favorite episodes of the season. Loved all the Ezekiel development
Michaela: A+, mostly because I'm so grateful we finally got an Ezekiel-centric episode and I'm relieved it was so well-handled.
Prpleight: A It was, for me, the perfect Ezekiel story.
Dahne: A- for character growth and making an old plot trope feel reinvigorated
Anything you would like to add?
Michaela - Episode eight might be my favorite of the entire series and I can't wait to see what the show has in store for us in the last two episodes.
Twee - Bring back Stumpy!
Dahne - Thanks TNT for renewing this early. It's a fun show that fills the family friendly void of most TV these days.
Screencaps by The Librarians Picspam, Three if by Space, Oregon Confluence, and TV Insider.