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The Librarians Liveblog: Here Be Dragons?

December 28, 2014

Last week, I promised myself I’d blog about something other than The Librarians this week, because I really do, honestly, want to get back to proper book reviewing and library blogging and the like. But: Christmas! Travel! Family! How is it Sunday already? Oh, hey, it’s Sunday. Time to see what this week has in store for The Librarians. 

The teaser promised dragons! And a reappearance of Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle, the Librarian of the earlier TV movies.)!

And the treasure of the week is sending them to the Vatican! We’re off to a promising start.

Here is The Librarians’ take on dragons. There are East and West Dragons, and they are very different, with an uneasy truce between them. “Sort of like East Coast and West Coast hip hop!” said Jenkins, the grumpy old-school Librarian character. I think I was not the only one who spluttered when he referenced Eric B. & Rakim.

Dragons like puzzles, so there are plenty of puzzles for the team to work together to solve. Jake Stone’s art/history knowledge, Cassandra’s acumen with math and puzzles, Eve Baird’s fighting badassery… They need to go track down, possibly steal, a pearl for the dragons. So, they need Ezekiel’s thievery skills.

Oh wait.  Thanks to some poor timing (and hunger) leading to Ezekiel the thief having to play arbiter with the Emissary of the dragons (“a dragon in a man suit” “Well, he is a lawyer.”) Ezekiel’s confined to the library for this one.

So, we’ve got the story split between Ezekiel and Jenkins working as arbiters for an enclave of mythical personifications, and the rest of the librarians, including The Founding Librarian (hi Noah Wyle!) tracking down the dragons’ pearl.

Which turns out to be a highly entertaining nod to the Apple of Discord from mythology. The power of the Apple of Discord turns the one who holds it evil, and makes them get up to all kinds of mischief.

I really, really like that as a character development tool. In fact, even as I’m giggling and Tweeting my way through every episode, that’s something I’ve been appreciating throughout. For a goofy adventure-cheese show (including things like breaking into museums, dragons in people-suits, arrow booby-traps), The Librarians has been consistently strong in character development. For a genre show like this, it would be tempting to let each episode be self-contained and reset characters back to 0 from week to week. But, in just a few short weeks, they’re covering a lot of ground, in both developing each character and building the relationships as an ensemble cast.

For example, in this week’s episode, I think we saw every member of the core team reveal something, whether letting loose their evil side in a monologue thanks to the Apple of Discord… I’m not sure who my favorite evil version was, honestly! They were all pretty campy/comically villainous when in the Apple’s thrall.

My one complaint is that everyone chewing the scenery in his or her evil turn talked really too fast for someone with one eye on Twitter hashtags to track properly. Bah.

Clearly going to need to rewatch all of these. Oh the hardship.

Oh wait, now that we’ve come to the end of the episode, I have a further complaint: Not nearly enough actual dragons appear on screen. We get an eye, we get some roaring. But for those hoping for Life Size Actual Dragon Battling… not so much.

Spoilers/specifics hidden behind cut.Great moments:

Jake using his evil to storm around the Vatican museum being disgruntled about historical accuracy and the placements of paintings.

Cassandra using physics and math for optimal combat effectiveness. And, fascinatingly, the way she went diabolical and destructive reflected her desire to see practical applications of the math and physics equations constantly churning in her head. I really like that as her justification for evil and destruction. More innovative than anything like ultimate power/greed/revenge. And more securely rooted in the character. (several people on #TheLibrarians hashtag noted a similarity to Fred Burkle of Angel fame, in Cassandra’s voice and mannerisms:  it came through even more as Evil!Cassandra.)

It was clear how much fun Rebecca Romijn and Noah Wyle were having with their turn at evil and discord. I really like the chemistry the two of them have playing with each other generally, developing the relationship between two strong-solo-workaholic characters who have smooched repeatedly. (Not sure either one would describe them as dating?) But I digress- their evil veered delightfully close to Bonnie and Clyde potential, and showcased them as strong characters with great mutual respect.

And Ezekiel, oh, Ezekiel with the Apple of Discord. I can’t tell whether that was played beautifully for a laugh or just played beautifully for the character. Great fun, either way. I can’t help wanting to put Ezekiel and Parker (from Dean Devlin’s earlier project, Leverage, in a room together. I imagine they’d spontaneously combust.)

The character stretch for Ezekiel came from having to run the conclave of mythical creatures, and negotiating/confronting with Jenkins. The whole plotline added some great depth for Ezekiel and how he deals with pressure and authority. I applaud the showrunners and writers for giving Ezekiel chances to learn new skills, as well as his easier role of playing self-serving and flippant for comedy. In setting him up with the pressure to save the library and make peace for the conclave, he was challenged as a library newcomer, and also challenged to work properly with Jenkins, the voice of the Library’s past. Most impressive, though, was the way the tables turned and gave Jenkins ways to learn as well. Good, juicy stuff I’d like to see more of. Also some promising tidbits of backstory on Jenkins and DuLac, all of which almost get buried in the rest of what’s going on.

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