Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Librarians, Season 3, Episode 4: And the Self Fulfilling Prophecy

This episode is in one of my most hated formats – the broken time line. The characters are running around with random, poorly-explained amnesia with occasional flashes of memory to try and piece the story together

So Eve, and the Librarians were celebrating in Las Vegas and we have a nice touching scene where everyone is super kind to Eve because they all recognise she’s probably not feeling great since Flynn has deserted her. Again. Alas we don’t get to stay on this excellent scene of bonding to join his slighting weird story

And I think I could actually really like this whole plot of prophecy fencing and second guessing prophecy if it weren’t for the broken time line

Basically there’s this unstoppable magical assassin focusing on Eve. He also drops a prophecy cube – a kind of stored prophecy – which reveals that the assassin will kill Eve in the Library

Jenkins is firmly of the opinion she should stay in the Library and be safe because it’s the Library. In a glorious moment of self-mockery, Eve lists the 8 gajillion people who have easily infiltrated the secure Library. I always appreciate a lovely chunk of self-awareness.

Instead they follow up a random library mission to a school with lots of random luck, including the swim team passing several tests after ridiculous improvement, winning the lottery and the captain winning a trip to train in an Olympic pool in Greece – which then dumps Ezekiel, Jake and Evem, via school pool, into a strange world with odd amnesia. They’re joined by several people from the school, including the captain of the swim team, the headmaster (who has a little power play with Eve before Eve effortlessly takes control because she’s Eve) and the cleaning lady, Nina

And they have several swimming goggles which, revealed through flashbacks, are the key behind all the luck of the school swim team: they help you see a bit of the future

The gang uses these goggles to navigate past a series of traps with fun little moments – like knowing they can use a coin to find the trapped areas of the floor because they’ve seen a future of Ezekiel giving that coin to a museum – so it can’t be destroyed.

At the same time, at the Library, Cassandra and Jenkins return with a second prophecy cube and tell us the rules of prophecy (very important since Eve is prophesised to die). You can’t just run from prophecy – you either defeat it with a larger prophecy (the example given is an Oracle, who seeing that she would be murdered by one of her priestesses, made several other prophecies that each of her priestesses would be murdered by her wife – and promptly married and murdered each of them. Breaking the prophecy with more prophecy. So, yes same-sex relationship, no lots of murdering) or have someone outside the prophecy break it.

The prophecy cube they find has another prophecy from the Oracle of Delphi – that the next time she bathes in the waters of Delphi, she will die.

We see this also voiced by the people in the mystery prison, with Tyrone, the swim team captain, stopping Jake and Ezekiel attacking Eve (and vice-versa) because of prophecy. As an outsider to the prophecy Tyrone can derail it.

After much running and trap avoiding we get to the finale and Eve realises that cleaning lady Nina’s story doesn’t make a lot of sense and she’s also sopping wet because she keeps spritzing herself with water. Why? Because she is the Ancient Greek oracle with a completely unexplained English Accent! Why do Americans think everyone more than a 100 years old spoke with a posh English accent? There are ancient aliens on Mars that speak like they just finished filming a Downton Abbey episode

She’s trying to dodge her death prophecy by spraying herself with water (she doesn’t die until she finishes bathing, and she hasn’t finished bathing if she’s still wet). She’s a classic example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. To avoid her bath-related death, she fled to Seattle from Greece. But then her propheciness bathing in the pool constantly charged the pool water with prophecy magic which imbued the swim goggles, which had Tyrone win a competition to go to Greece to train where h decided to smuggle Delphi water because he heard a legend that it would make the team awesome. He put the water in the pool and lo, Oracle

Yes, it’s convoluted. But this is prophecy wars, it’s all about convoluted second guessing the way round the predictions, finding the loop holes and running into surprising self-fulfilling prophecies because fate is damn hard to dodge.

The Oracle has set up Eve to die instead because Eve has such an amazing, massive, super-fate planned that with her dead the energy of lost futures will just shatter the Oracle’s own death fate. And she’s going to die in the Library – because they’re in the prophecy cube which Jenkins and Cassandra brought back to the Library, bypassing the protections (self-fulfilling prophecy!)

But Eve has an ace up her sleeve, using a mirror she signals to Jenkins with Morse code (of course he understands, he’s the world’s oldest soldier) to throw the box to the other side of the world

He quickly does, getting the box outside the Library (an outsider to the prophecy breaking the prophecy of Eve dying to the Reaper assassin thing) and the box breaking with them all in Australia. Where the Oracle dries out – and is duly killed – and Ezekiel, the Australian makes it clear that he’s not tolerating any BBQ jokes.

But where did Eve get the mirror? It was left on her bed – but the Library. The opening question of this episode, when everyone was concerned for Eve, was who guards the Guardian. The answer is – the Librarian

It’s an interesting concept episode but unless the rules of prophecy come up again, I’m not exactly a huge fan or exactly getting the issue. There’s also a series of plot holes – yes the Oracle didn’t successfully break her prophecy, but why was she fated to die anyway? Did she summon the Reaper? Do reapers commonly turn on their summoners? And are Reapers really thwarted because someone prophesised something and the prophecy was broken?  I mean, did the Oracle expressly summon the Reaper and say “you will kill Eve. But only if she’s in the Library. Then you kill me”? If not why did the Reaper decide place was so important to his killing. Merely breaking prophecy derails him? If I go for Pizza and some prophet ambushes me and yells “THE NEXT PIZZA YOU EAT WILL HAVE PINEAPPLE ON IT, THIS I HAVE FORETOLD!” am I then magically compelled to order a Hawai’ian despite me thinking (along with all right thinking people) that pineapple on pizza is an abomination?! It doesn’t quite work.

Also pedantic nitpick - Jake refers to a statue of "a Medusa," It's either a statue of Medusa or a gorgon. Medusa is a name not a species: Jake, the ancient languages/legends/architecture expert wouldn't make this mistake