Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Librarians Season One, Episodes One: And the Crown of King Arthur

The Librarians opens up in Berlin with what appears to be an American military group preparing to raid a factory to retrieve a weapon of mass destruction.  The team is being led by Eve Baird. The military confront a group of suspects and the shooting starts.  When two suspects manage to make an exit, Eve runs after them by herself. Eve catches up to them but the men have already set a bomb to explode.  Suddenly, Flynn Carson crawls through a tunnel and lands smack dab in the middle of the tense situation between Eve and the two men she has cornered.  Flynn explains that he is simply there to retrieve the opal of Samora, explaining that Teutonic Knights recovered it during the third crusade.  Flynn finds it locked in the original magical safe, adding that it summons demons but it doesn't control them. Flynn using a tuning fork on the safe, accidentally setting off a trap, which Flynn explains will turn every corpse in a three mile radius into zombies, if he doesn't disarm it within three minutes.  Eve orders Flynn to make it stop and he yells that it would be easier to concentrate if someone would turn off the beeping nuclear bomb.

The men that Eve held at bay make their move and escape.  Eve and the men exchange bullets, as she tries to disarm the bomb. Flynn tells Eve that it is easier to disarm the bomb than the safe he is working on.  Eve continues to shoot at the men and Flynn gives Eve the code to disarm the bomb and he disarms the safe as well.  A man holds a gun at Eve demanding the bomb and Flynn informs her that he is out of bullets, so Eve takes a swing at him, knocking him unconscious.  Eve questions Flynn on how he knows all of that and Flynn simply explains that he is the librarian.  Eve's men show up and she turns to address them but when she looks behind her, Flynn is gone.

In New York City, the next day, Dr. Jonas Sheir rushes through the streets as he calls the library saying that he must speak the librarian, a Mr. Flynn Carson. Flynn says that Flynn Carson was in Minneapolis and Sheir states that Flynn Carson was in Berlin recovering the Opal.  Flynn pauses and Sheir realises that he is indeed talking to Flynn, and says that Flynn won't remember him and that he is outside and is coming in.  Sheir makes his way into the library entrance, only to be stabbed in the stomach by a man who says, "the crown is mine."  Sheir drops a piece of paper, which Flynn later picks up.

Eve is back in New York, explaining to her superiors what happened in Berlin.  Eve enters her empty apartment, as she is told that she is going to have a month on leave.  Eve opens her fridge, to find even that is empty.  Suddenly, an envelope slides under her door and when she opens it, it is an invitation to interview for a prestigious position at the Metropolitan Library.  Even instantly makes the connection to the Librarian.

Eve shows up at the library with her invitation and meets Charlene who is excited that Eve has the white envelope.  Charlene quickly inspects Eve, trying to guess what branch of the military she is from and Eve explains that she from a  NATO Counter Terrorism unit and asks Charlene to stop touching here.  Eve and Charlene head towards the bookcase, as Charlene goes on about Flynn making a fuss because he hasn't had a guardian in over ten years but Charlene adds that Flynn cannot make a fuss because he cannot argue with the white envelop.  Eve asks what a guardian is and Charlene calls her adorable.  They enter an elevator and Charlene explains that each librarian has a guardian, a bit of common sense and brawn to the guardians head up in the cloud.  Eve points out that there wasn't much danger upstairs but Charlene simply replies that upstairs is the Metropolitan Library which Charlene calls it the entrance to the real library downstairs.

When the elevator doors open, Eve gets her first site of the library.  Charlene explains that the library collects ancient knowledge and assures that real magic does not wind up in the wrong hands.  Eve is speechless and sputters that this is real.  Charlene explains that Eve got the invitation because the library needs her expertise and welcomes her to the library.

Flynn comes into view and he is fencing with Excalibur.   When Excalibur sees Eve, it immediately places itself at her throat.  Eve reaches out to move the sword and Flynn stops her saying that wounds from Excalibur never heal, before sending Excalibur off on patrol. Flynn questions what Eve is doing here and Charlene introduces Eve and says that they have met before.  Flynn is shocked that Eve has an invitation and questions why, so Charlene explains that she doesn't send the invitations, the library does.  Charlene explains that Eve has been chosen to be Flynn's guardian and Flynn is adamant that he does not need a guardian and is fine.  Flynn tells Eve that there has been a misunderstanding and tells Eve not to come back.  Eve follows Flynn, telling him not to tell her what to do.  Charlene calls out that Eve is perfect.

Charlene follows Flynn further into the library and demands to be shown to another librarian, if he refuses to tell her what a guardian is.  Flynn explains that there is only one librarian and when he dies, another takes his place. Flynn once again dismisses Eve but she looks at picture of Judson, and asks if he was the librarian before Flynn. Flynn explains that Judson was more than that and that he found him, trained him and was there for him when his mother died.  Flynn adds that Judson died five years ago and is with them in spirit.  The image of Judson suddenly turns into an apparition in a mirror.  Judson explains that a guardian is a librarians partner and bodyguard in fighting evil cults and monsters.  Flynn explains that librarians tend to die, often, more than once and Judson adds that Flynn has survived for ten years, longer than anyone so far.  Judson adds that Flynn's time without a guardian has changed him.  Eve says that this is too much and that she took an oath to protect innocent people but Judson explains that being a guardian will fulfill the oath she made.  Judson adds that there is only ever one guardian in the whole world and the library thinks that it's her.

Flynn is still not impressed and tells them that he is busy trying to solve a murder.  Eve walks over to the board Flynn has put up and tells him that he is doing a terrible job.  Eve points out that Dr. Jonas Sheir was killed on the doorstep and Flynn does not have a single lead.  Flynn shows Eve the paper that Sheir dropped on the floor, adding that he has tons of leads but does not know how they all connect.  Eve questions how Sheir knew about the library and wonders if Sheir was sent a letter. Flynn rushes to the ledger to find out if Sheir was sent a letter because Sheir would have been sent an invitation with his five PHD.'s  We get a flashback to Sheir waiting in line behind Flynn for his interview for the position as librarian. Eve recognizes a second name on the sheet - Dr. Abraham Thomas.  Flynn recognizes him as a professor of physics and Eve says that she met Thomas at a NATO conference and he died in a car accident last month. They check another name on the list and find that several of the top ranked are dead.  It seems that the top ranked candidates who are not dead, didn't come in for interviews. Flynn is shocked that  Ezekiel Jones was sent an invitation and starts to rant and Eve suggests that the people who didn't interview could have been dropped from the kill list, making it a possibility that they are still alive.

Flynn and Eve are at St. Francis Episcopal hospital and he explains that he works better alone, adding that he has had partners before and they've left, or they're gone, or they're dead.  Flynn asks Eve to excuse him because he has to find Cassandra Killian.  A patient is brought in by EMT's and the attending doctor says that it could be meningitis.  Before the patient can be wheeled away, Cassandra Killian offers an alternate diagnosis.  Flynn confirms Cassandra's diagnosis and Eve shows her ID to the attending, adding that they heard Cassandra and should move along.  Cassandra starts to mumble to herself and equations appear before her eyes.  Flynn interrupts her trance and she says that she smell peanuts this time.  Flynn explains that Cassandra has a photographic memory like his but her five senses are linked to her memory.  Cassandra explains that when she does math, she smells things. Flynn tells Cassandra that she is in a lot of danger and needs to come with them.  Cassandra questions if Eve and Flynn are the police and he simply states that he is the librarian.  Eve and Flynn start to leave the hospital, with Cassandra following closely behind and Eve explains that someone is out to hurt the people on the list and that Flynn is risking their lives by not accepting her help.  Flynn tells Eve that if he cannot get rid of her, that he will make use of her.  Flynn hands Eve a name to follow up on.

In Geneva,  Ezekiel Jones is about to commit a robbery, when he is almost attacked.  Flynn stops the man and Jones questions why the guard was holding a dagger.  Flynn explains that the man is not a guard and was there to kill Jones.  Jones proceeds with the robbery telling Flynn to watch his back for ten minutes, promising to cut Flynn in on the profit.  Jones' actions set of the sensors and he realises that his escape route is cut off. Flynn says that his is not, so Jones asks Flynn what he wants. Flynn tells Jones to come to New York and find out why people are trying to kill him.

In Oklahoma,  Jacob Stone notices a woman walk in with a snake tattoo on her arm and tries to make her acquaintance at the bar. The woman tells Jacob Stone to say what it means and he will be allowed to buy her a drink.  Jacob reads the Latin on the tattoo, after looking around to make sure no one is listening and then translates it into English. The woman introduces herself and then punches Jacob in the face. Lamia pulls a knife to attack Jacob and Eve intervenes.  Suddenly, the bar is filled with ninjas and Eve and Jacob have to fight them off.

Eve and Jacob make a run for the door and by the time the ninjas and Lamia get outside, Jacob and Eve are driving away.  Eve explains to Jacob that he was targeted because of his expertise. Jacob pretends to be an oil rigger and Eve states Jacob's background. Apparently, Jacob has been playing a role of tough guy who works with his hands, while secretly publishing papers and continuing to research.

Back at the institute, Jacob, Ezekiel, and Charlotte enter the library and are amazed by what they see.  They point out the Arc of the covenant.  Flynn explains that vampires are real and that Dracula is not because he killed him.  Eve explains that 10 years ago they were all given an invitation to the library but none of them showed.  Cassandra explains that she has a tumor in her brain about the size of her brain and she is excited to have lived long enough to know magic exists.  Ezekiel says that he threw his invitation out, believing that it was a mistake and Jacob says that he already had a job. Ezekiel is not impressed with the magic and says that he is there to find out who tried to kill him.

Flynn explains about ley lines and magic, saying over centuries the magic was drained off and put into objects. Flynn says that there is very little magic left and his job is to see that what remains does not fall into the wrong hands.  Eve says that the woman who tried to kill Jacob had a servant tattoo and Flynn explains that she is from the Serpent Brotherhood.  Eve asks what Sheir found that pushed the Brotherhood to kill him and work their way down the list.  Jacob looks at the photo that Sheir dropped and says that it is the crown of King Arthur.  Flynn explains that the crown was forged by Merlin.  Eve surmises that the Brotherhood want to bring magic back but needs the crown to control it.  Flynn says that a world of wild magic is full of chaos and suffering and adds that he will begin by examining the original painting.  Ezekiel says that the original is in Munich.  The three candidates are quick to volunteer their services and when Flynn objects,  Eve says that she is taking them to Eurpoe.

They are all in the museum looking at the painting and Eve spots Lamia and tries to call Flynn's attention to her.  The librarians continue to examine the painting, as Eve sneaks off by herself.  The librarians realise that Arthur was a roman and Jacob says that the painting is a fake. Cassandra finds a binary code in the frame that cannot be moved.  When they all start talking, Flynn hushes them and Cassandra says that the coordinate code requires a key and that the museum is the key.

Eve is busy fighting off the brotherhood members, as the librarians make their way outside.  Lamia looks at the painting.  The librarians are looking at the sun dial and Flynn pronounces the crown to be real, adding that it is buried in the Black Forest.  Eve joins up with the librarians and Flynn snarks about where Eve has been.

Later, the team is in the Black Forest and when they get out of their vehicle, Cassandra says that they should stop and hydrate, listing all of the snacks that she has brought along.  A helicopter flies overhead and Flynn explains that it is the Brotherhood.  Eve questions why they don't have a helicopter and Flynn explains that Charlene only included a budget for one rental car.  Flynn however adds that they have the advantage because they are on the ground and all of the clues are on the ground.  Eve snarks that they have a very different definition of advantage.

On the helicopter, Lamia gets a call from her boss and he is not at all impressed with her progress so far.  Lamia explains that they had issues at the museum. He says that with the crown, they can remake the world in the same night.

Flynn tells Eve that he needs to stay focused and they bond over getting sick of friends and family cluttering up their lives. Eve tells Flynn that he is not nearly as weird as she thought in Berlin.  Flynn takes off running when he finds a henge in a clearing.  The helicopter flies over and Eve volunteers to go stall the Brotherhood while Flynn solves the clue.  Flynn tells Eve to take Ezekiel with her.

Flynn says that today is not the day for reading the stone but he can triangulate the suns position though it will take him awhile.  Cassandra points out that it won't take her awhile and she begins working on the problem.  Cassandra quickly points out where the shadow ends.  Cassandra gets overwhelmed by her calculations, saying that summer smells like oranges.  Jacob comes to help her and tells her to fixate on a smell with a stronger memory, as Flynn finds an opening in the stone.

Lamia is running through the woods with her men, when she hears the helicopter. At the henge, Flynn pulls a MacGyver and makes a cutting tool out of a picnic lunch.  At the helicopter, Eve and Lamia face off and Lamia says that Eve should work for her.  Flynn shows up and takes over the sword fight from Eve, saying that he will win the fight because he was trained by Excalibur.  Ezekiel takes off running, saying that they don't want to be here and so Eve grabs Flynn and they take off running, as the helicopter explodes.

Back at the henge, Flynn picks up the crown of King Arthur saying that they just completed something no librarian has been able to do in 1000 years.  Back at the library, Flynn places the crown on a cushion and Charlene points out that the group did well for their first time out.  Flynn explains that for his first time, he retrieved the sword of destiny. Cassandra asks how Flynn became the librarian and he explains that the previous librarian died.  Cassandra says that they are the last candidates and asks if one of them will become the librarian if Flynn dies.  They interrupted by the alarm going off and he says that there should be no way the Brotherhood should be able to breach the magical door. Flynn orders everyone to split up, adding that he is gong after the crown.  Eve offers to go with him but Flynn says that he has his own protection and calls for Excalibur.

Flynn stands by the cushion where the crown was and Lamia approaches with her arm wrapped around Cassandra.  Flynn demands that Lamia t let Cassandra go but then realises that Cassandra is working with the Brotherhood.  Cassandra explains that the brotherhood promised to heal her.  Flynn says that serpents lie and attacks Lamia with Excalibur.  Lamia grabs the crown and puts it on.

Charlene makes her way to Judson's apparition, enraged that the Brotherhood have invaded her library.  Together they use their powers and a bright light flares.

Lamia says that Merlin forged the crown so that Arthur could control his magic.  Lamia uses magic to draw Excalibur to her and though Flynn fights back, Excalibur stabs him in the stomach.  The brotherhood then rush off with Cassandra and Lamia gives the order to tell Doctor that they have the key. Lamia gives the order for Flynn to be killed.

Okay that was the first episode of The Librarians.  Those familiar with the movies from a few years earlier will recognize and appreciate Charlene, Judson and of course Flynn.  The first episode is very reminiscent of the movies themselves.

To enjoy this series, I think one really has to be a fan of the movies.  I am going to be honest and say that I find The Librarians ridiculously camp - Ninja's coming out of nowhere in a country bar? Then there is the whole eidetic memory which is a cheap way of inferring intelligence on a character.  I simply cannot take any of it seriously and though I am know I am not expected to, I still find it irritating.

Perhaps its the fact that in many ways, The Librarians is meant to be like an American version of Doctor Who (which does have it's incredibly camp moments) and Sherlock.  The problem is that it falls so short of that epic standard that I find myself thinking of all the things it is not.  In this case, imitation is not the highest form of flattery.

Okay some positives.  I was expecting a female guardian because of I have watched the first movie and yes, it continues to be subversive that a woman is expected to be the muscle to a male Librarian. I also like that while Eve is clearly not as bright as Flynn, she is a sensible in a down to earth way.  Then there is Charlene who is clearly knowledgeable and does not take shit.  Unfortunately, I don't think she is going to be in many episodes this season.

Of course we had Bob Newhart doing what Bob Newhart does best.  I just love that man's facial expressions and it is unfortunate that he also will only be in one more episode this season. Then we have John Kim as Ezekiel Jones, finally adding a person of colour to this all too white series.  I am further glad that for a change we have someone who is English who is not White. 

I don't know what the Librarians can do at this point to engage me, I can only say that it has a lot of work to do.