Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Librarians, Season 1, Episode 10: And the Loom of Fate

Eve slowly wakes up and raises a blood covered hand. She seems quite happy to see it.

And now we’re in an Egyptian tomb fighting monsters and doing Librarian things. And Flynn has joined them as well. They’re in the tomb because Flynn asked them there and so he and Eve can flirt.

As they return to the Annex Flynn explains he thinks pyramids can create a doorway to the void where the Library disappeared to (and Cassandra has a migraine maths nosebleed moment). To get everything done though he needs a series of impossible objects…

Objects that the librarians have been acquiring all season. Nice (Jenkins rather awesomely avoids any conversation about Morgan Le Fay). They construct their device and it works very well – and Flynn praises Jenkins for his perfect notes… but Jenkins didn’t send any notes.

Yes, in comes Dulaque and Lamia in a wave of toxic smoke. He has another world shattering plan – but to get more power he says he needs blood sacrifice. Lamia turns to sacrifice Flynn – and Dulaque stabs her. (Why even do that? Why kill a minion when you have 6 helpless enemies right there? His excuse is that her loving him was required). Dulaque opens the door and Eve and Flynn chase after him

They arrive at a river – the River of Time – and a Loom of Fate with Dulaque preparing to cut the cloth that was woven where he thinks it all went wrong. He cuts the cloth to a blinding flash of light and a shockwave. He says that history now ends there

More shaking and Eve and Flynn land near some standing stones. Their clothes have changed – and a man holds them both at gunpoint. Flynn doesn’t recognise Eve. When questioned he thinks he’s the professor of an archaeological dig (and they’re in an area with a border conflict). Of course, Eve, with her NATO credentials doesn’t go down well

But they’re rescued by… The Librarian! Jake to be precise, who also greets Eve with a kiss. Eve walks off yelling “no no no no no”, yes I laughed.

Jake has been Librarian for a year and he is convinced he saw Eve die; turns out in this reality Flynn never showed up to the Library job interview. Eve tries to explain things to them and Jake is all confused and hurt – because she was his Guardian, 10 years ago. In Jake’s world, Eve died when she was stabbed. And the Library was pretty much destroyed – it’s not in the Serpent Brotherhood’s hands, but it’s all over the place and wars and monsters are rising everywhere.

Professor Flynn also has some useful knowledge and observations and Jake uses some magic stones to send them to another alternate world.

This new world is more technological, but Flynn is still professor Flynn – and Ezekiel is this world’s Librarian. And he considered Eve a mother figure (which may actually be worse for her than being involved) – and she’s dead as well in the same stabbing Library thieving incident. This world is overcome by ghosts because the evil house kind of went all wrong.

In case we’re not following, Flynn expositions about the Loom of Fate with Eve providing context -  Dulaque stopped Flynn becoming the Librarian. Yes, thank you for expositioning the bleeding obvious

Anyway, while Flynn isn’t the Librarian, he throws lots of knowledge at the problem (historical knowledge Ezekiel doesn’t have because tech and security is his thing) and depossesses the horde of ghostly humans.

Zap to next time line, this one with dragons - and they’re quickly drugged and taken to the boss by Lamia (who isn’t dead in this time line). Eve fights her – until they’re stopped by Cassie, wielding magic like a sorceress. She’s the Librarian. She’s utterly revered by the populace and Lamia is Cassie’s Guardian after Eve died.

We get more exposition – Dulaque cut the Loom of Fate at Camelot, wanting to retell history from before Camelot fell (when he was the most powerful), but he didn’t reweave it – so history is being thrown out and Flynn and Eve are just bouncing from thread to thread. Cassie is, sadly fatalistic – she thinks they’ve lost and all they can do is evacuate the world. Flynn doesn’t accept Cassie’s fatalism and proposes a plan which, with Cassie’s magic and the Minotaur twine they have, may fix things. Flynn throws out more genius and they focus on the three Librarians (with Cassie’s magic) to bring the timelines together to allow Eve to get back to her timeline and grab the twine.

Flynn points out that if they reset the world these Three Librarians will cease to exist – and they accept it.

To the loom and weaving – and a much younger Dulaque, Dulaque in his prime when Camelot was still strong. (In case your Arthurian legends aren’t strong – Flynn helpfully tells us that Dulaque is the name of Lancelot). He stabs Eve as she stands between him and Flynn and she collapses – holding up her bloody hand. He easily knocks Flynn down announcing “there’s only one swords man my equal”

And Jenkins parries his next strike. Or Galahad as Dulaque calls him. Flynn weaves the loom while Jenkins and Dulaque fight, Dulaque trying to convince Jenkins how much better Camelot was (Jenkins is far less convinced by mad wizards all powerful kings etc – Jenkins is not in favour of all powerful kings). Dulaque ages and disappears as the cloth is repaired. Flynn becomes the Librarian again.

But Eve is dying – Jenkins declares it her fate but Flynn never accepts fate. Back to the Annex they finish their plan and again access to the Library – the actual Library. The three Libarians hold Eve as she dies while Flynn grabs a potion from the shelves and returns – Eve is healed.

The Library is back. The whole mission of the series is done – and Flynn prepares graduation prizes for the librarians: graduation books, smaller versions of the Clippings books, each with its own mysteries. And yes, one each. He encourages them to team up when they want, take others solo and ask for help from the main library when necessary (but not too often that would be “disappointing” which I think is an awesome way of wording it).

Jake and Ezekiel both want to take a break before rampaging around – but Cassie wants to try a case. She sets off alone – and Ezekiel and Jake follow her.

Jenkins and Flynn both pretend they remember nothing of what happened at the Loom of Fate. Both are clearly lying. Also the reason why Eve remembered jumping between times was because she already did it with Santa Claus. Jenkins also makes a point that all the artefacts they conveniently needed were clearly guided by fate, the clipping book and Eve points out that the clipping book didn’t send them the Santa, Jenkins did. I’d be very suspicious of that Clipping Book.

And Flynn decides to take Eve on a date – fighting evil monsters. They do have chemistry.

That was FUN. I loved it – a really fun ending to a really fun season. And yes, it was fun. It wasn’t always deep, it often lacked seriously and sometimes it was too damn silly for its own good – but it was fun.

And the season also made a point of developing the characters. We had a lot of very nice, deep and touching moments of examining their pasts, their histories, identity issues, conflict, Cassie’s facing a terminal illness – these were some really great moments and a lot was lavished on these characters.

The series had a moderate gender balance – we had 2 women making up half the main team (and Eve leading the team) but the two secondary characters were also male. We also had a nice difference of portrayal – Cassie and Eve are very strong characters in very different ways which is always nice to see: not just women but different women who don’t hate each other. I liked that no-one felt the need to challenge Eve’s leadership (even Flynn accepts her as an equal) which I expected

In terms of POC, we had a limited few throughout the series – but not that many. Ezekiel is the obvious recurring POC. In some ways he’s a very interesting character in that he subverts so many East-Asian stereotypes; he isn’t sinister, he isn’t cunning, he isn’t a martial artist and he’s the least academic of them. Of course, he is still the criminal – and all those character depth moments I mentioned simply haven’t happened for him, which is kind of sad. Do we know his family? His history? Does he have any kind of issues to work through or personal growth?

Lamia is also very underused, a briefly appearing recurring bit part who they still made time to kill off rather pointlessly

While Christian Kane is Native American, his character, Jake Stone, has not once indicated any Native American connection that I can recall at all, so I can’t really put it down as portraying inclusion.

There were no LGBT characters at all in the whole season.

I actually kind of don’t mind the idea that this episode does a huge job of flying Flynn’s flag; something I expected to hate. It showed the difference between the Librarians and the Librarian – in that the Librarians, as individuals, are specialists and work amazingly as a team (probably better than Flynn does) but on his own Flynn has such a broad swathe of knowledge and experience the others don’t have; we see this with “art and history” Jake being out of his depth in the woods, “tech and security” Ezekiel knowing nothing about history and Cassie’s fatalism rearing up. At the same time it shows why the Librarians team is so awesome – because they’re an excellent team with complementary skills.

This works because Flynn is, largely, a very distant uber figure in this mythos. He is The Librarian – and involved in other things which stops him jumping all over the narrative and reducing everyone else to side kicks and backing team. As a distant, near-legendary figure who shows up now and then and reminds us WHY he’s the Librarin, he works. As a constant presence, he would rapidly become tiresome and far far far too Gary Stuish to be tolerable.

And it works because it emphasised how well the team worked together – the disaster worlds weren’t all caused by problems Flynn solved – they were caused by problems the team solved – in a really nice flashback to the whole series. I loved that, in the end, the three remained a team even while clearly expected to go their own ways (they were even perturbed about getting three books – rather than one that would force them to work together). I liked that reinforcement of the team

I there’s a second season I wonder how they will strike that balance. Too much Flynn would be a disaster – but I think the Librarians team worked well with Eve as well. So I’m curious and wary about where we go from here.