Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Librarians, Season 1, Episode 9: And the City of Light

We have a ufologist in some woods looking for some strange lights – and completely missing them as they shine all around him. Through his goggles he sees some ghostly figures made of light and he runs screaming at everyone else to run as well

This doesn’t seem like a sensible method of scientific enquiry.

The creepy townspeople object and do something unpleasant and glowy to him

To the gang and lots of debate as to whether aliens exist and Eve meanly ruining all our fun and derailing Jenkin’s snark. Eve, Jenkin’s snark is the reason why this show exists. It also turns out that Ezekiel is a UFO geek (and is fully prepared to sell out the human race to our new alien overlords).

To the town and splitting up – Cassandra and Jake checking out the town’s history since the architecture seems hinky to him (Eve doesn’t get it but encourages them to follow their instincts). Jake introduces them to a local called Mable who pretty much runs everything and again uses his Librarians non-cover story in between French flirting.

Ezekiel and Eve go exploring into the woods and Eve senses they are being followed and does lots of military signalling that Ezekiel doesn’t understand. They find a gaslight – and the ufologist from the beginning who makes distressing noises and advances on Ezekiel. Eve knocks him out and is vanished by the gas light.

With a vanishing Guardian it’s time to return to the Annex to be scolded by Jenkins and having confirm Eve is still on the planet (“Magic is not an exact science. If it were, it would be science”. I love Jenkins).

At Cassandra’s suggestion they question the recovered ufologist, Victor, who unhelpfully remembers nothing and has lost time. They do use his equipment to see the lights he recorded

Jake decides to go flirt with/question Mable some more with lots of cute stories of living in very small towns and never having left them. Because of flirting he ends up bringing Mable to the gas lamp in the woods where the other Librarians and Jenkins the awesome are waiting. Ezekiel and Cassandra are not impressed

When Eve briefly appears before vanishing again they all try to pretend it’s an optical illusion – Mabel doesn’t buy it (and she and them are all kind of amazed that it has worked in the past). She is willing to delay her questions because Jake asks her to trust him.

Onwards, Jenkins adjusts some goggles to give better magic-light-seeing to Ezekiel and Cassandra- they follow the light and Cassandra does her brain thing. Ghost light Eve appears and insists Cassandra goes to the source while Ezekiel follows her with the goggles into town – where he sees lots of ghostly glowy people. And that some of them are possessing current people; right before he’s chased by several of those bodysnatchers. He learns he can stun the possessors by smacking one of the gas lamps.

Cassandra heads to a disused dam where she finds a photo and then has to club Victor to escape

Jake decides to break into Mabel’s archives and get caught. Research time – Jake has a theory that the gas lights where in the area before the town and they built the town around it and that Mabel was definitely tinkering with them.

Cassandra and Jake learn that before the current town there was an older town there – built by Nikola Tesla and they all gather in the warehouse – and poor Jake’s big reveal is completely ruined by Ezekiel’s distraction and Cassandra’s beating him to it. Cassandra also reveals that Mable is in the 1915 photo she found.

Time to gather for some exposition about Tesla’s wireless electricity using the gas lamps and how it zapped the whole town out of sync, putting them in an alternate dimension; 87 of them just stuck haunting the world. Mabel was spared and now the gas lamps keep the 87 stable or they cease to exist.

Ezekiel is much more pointedly questioning the bodysnatching and when they try to explain how and why he cuts them off because he’s far more concerned with the people whose bodies they’re stealing and the excuse of “only for a couple of hours at a time” doesn’t impress him. Ezekiel is really pissed and doesn’t listen to Jake when he asks him to back down.

Mabel has a plan to fix things – they need a body they can use for a little longer than usual so no-one will notice them gone. Mabel presents them with her plan – to use massive, 100 year charging batteries to bring them back before those batteries rot away.

After debate they agree – though Ezekiel isn’t happy because he’s so thoroughly disgusted by the townsfolk. So time to put it all together – and they work.

Jake and Mabel have a moment – Mabel didn’t travel because the gaslamps stabilise her. And Jake talks about how he didn’t travel because of his family business. And they finally kiss.

They turn on the machine and as the power surges Cassandra predicts if it fails (a 50% chance) the gas lamps will explode and destroy everything for miles – but possessed Victor won’t shut it down despite a 50% chance of slaughtering the whole town. He locks her in. So she sends out a morse code alert. They arrive along with Mabel and Cassandra explains the stakes. With difficulty, they agree to shut it down.

Jake and Mabel into action and REASONS force them to hold hands and him to carry her.

While Eve possesses Ezekiel to beat up angry possessed people – then Eve is restored. It’s working – but they can’t hear Ezekiel yell at them to stop and they turn off the machine. Mabel collapses.

In the Annex Cassandra adds again then difference between Eve (trapped for a day) and everyone else (trapped for a century). They couldn’t know it would work. Everyone is still trapped and they can’t even communicate any more. As Eve puts it – sometimes you just lose.

Jenkins does bring out a book for Eve to make a note so that future Librarians know there’s a problem to fix

Jake visits Paris as Mabel wanted to.

This show really has grown on me – the interactions between the characters makes it for me. I like how Eve maintains leadership while at the same time recognising the far greater expertise of the others and encouraging them to follow that knowledge and those instincts. It’s a really nicely nuanced bit of characterisation. It would have been easy to turn her into the muscle – but she’s so much more than that. Then of course there’s lots of fun in the way Cassandra and Jake bounce off each other

And Jenkins is awesome. Of course. And I loved Ezekiel’s moral boundary – there’s a line there, he’s not the complete immoral rogue, there are lines he adamantly will not cross and over which he is far more unforgiving than the others.

I think this episode was, obviously, sad but it was also important and necessary and something that surprised me. They lost. I mean, Jenkins offers a hope for the future, but it’s definitely a loss. Sometime you lose and I think that’s something a lot of shows, especially ones as zany as this one, miss.