Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Librarians, Season 3, Episode 9: And the Fatal Seperation

This episode returns us to the lost city of Shangri-la; and people who watched the films that preceded this series will know Flynn severely damaged it in one of his adventures back then.

It has since been repaired by the Monkey King who now runs the place and the vast well of white magic there by merit of the special magic stick he has. Sadly this being with huge roots in Chinese mythology, is pretty much reduced to an old stereotype of the old Asian man who teaches martial arts and quotes fortune cookies and passes the trite sayings off as wisdom. It’s a depiction that was pretty done 20 years ago.

And who is the mentee to this old mentor? (C’mon, you have an elderly Asia martial arts expert who dispenses wisdom you KNOW his only reason for being is to be a mentor). That would be Jake who is now a complete master martial artist to the extent that the Monkey King declares he has nothing else to teach Jake except magic (which Jake, in common with the ongoing debate, vehemently rejects). After 2 months

2 months

2 months is literally all it took before the Monkey King declared he had nothing more to teach? 2 months is all it took to make Jake a master martial artist. 2 months is all it took for this immortal being to convey all of his technique and skill. 2 months is all it took the Monkey King to train Jake to be able to beat him

Wow, bad enough you turn him into a basic mentor character but most of those mentor characters remained better than their students with their lifetime of dedicated focus and everything.

At the Library we have Cassandra dealing with her new gift and Eve’s excellent advice and reassurance around it: Eve has spent a long time helping Ezekiel and Jake become the people she saw in her visions last season – but not Cassandra; she’s just too different from Eve’s experiences and knowledge. Cassandra is concerned that her gift is open to abuse and out of control since it now has a mind control element

While Jenkins has found an old room in the Library – it’s a room of candles, each candle representing a person connected to the library. If it’s lit, they’re still alive – and Charlene’s is still lit. Of course, have some hope! More ominously, Flynn’s is burned down to a stub.

Back to Shangri-la where Jake’s training is interrupted by a legion of ninjas with drugged darts. Yes, ninjas. Sterling Lam, who Flynn has crossed with before, is a collector of supernatural objects and people because he’s rich and bored. And now he wants Shangri-la. He invades with his army of ninjas, drugs and captures the Monkey King and while all the ninjas can’t take down Jake’s amazing 2-month old skills, they drug him as well so Jake can only stagger to escape.

Y’know, if you’re a millionaire+ in the modern world and can afford a small army of goons, you can also afford to give them guns. Or tasers. Or flashbang grenades. Especially since your “ninja” resorted to blow darts anyway. And why are we throwing Japanese ninja into this Chinese mythology anyway?

This invasion worries everyone because if someone holds the Monkey King’s staff at sunset you get to be the new king of Shangri-la. And since Shangri-la is like an uber power plant of white magic, this can upset the balance, empower Apep and generally make Bad Things Happen. Clearly they need to stop this

Time for some infiltration. This involves Ezekiel and Cassandra posing as mercenaries selling shiny artefacts (which Cassandra is kind of awesome at) while Jake, Flynn and Eve sneak in and try to find the staff. And get captured.

Jake and Flynn escape thanks to genius, cunning and science and run into Charlene also imprisoned. Well, kind of. She’s hiding in his “collection” because it’s safe from Apep – if Apep finds her, the first Guardian, he can do irreparable harm to the Library so it must never happen. So much so Charlene is willing to sever her contact with the Library if she has to: something that will kill her since it’s linked to her immortality.

They put that to a side while they focus on bringing down Sterling and saving the place. This involves Jake fighting the corrupted Monkey King. And winning. Of course

While Flynn squares off against Sterling while all his minions… watch? Is there a reason they’re doing nothing while Flynn talks about the dangers of Black magic? Charlene raids Sterling’s collection for the keys to save the day and lo, Sterling is vanquished, Shangri-la saved and the Monkey King is cured and back in charge dropping trite wisdom about.

But back to Eve – she wasn’t locked up with Flynn and Jake, she was shipped off to an unknown person: General Cynthia Rockwell. Her former boss with the US government. And current head of DOSA. She reveals she set up Eve to be noticed by the Library – she arranged for she and Flynn to meet so Eve could infiltrate the Library – which she now has. Eve protests that the Librarians are not the bad guys. But from Cynthia’s viewpoint they’re unregulated people with a large stash of weapons of mass destruction and a willingness to use that magic. She kind of has a point

Of course, whether her motives are “keep these items secure” or “get them in US hands so we can use them” is a different matter

She invokes Eve’s oath and patriotism and implies she is suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome from being deep cover. She leaves – and when Ezekiel finds her we don’t have a definitive answer from Eve about what she thinks or what she’s going to do now. There’s some major story hooks there – especially with Flynn’s guttering candle as well.

That finding her involves Cassandra and Ezekiel following Eve’s captors and using Cassandra’s nifty new abilities for both analysis and telepathy… which shows her powers evolving. Is everyone aiming for a power boost here?

In the aftermath, the Monkey King puts some magical tattoos on Jake – he’s not happy given how he’s not a huge fan of magic and we don’t know what they do so expect some Deus Ex in the future

And we say goodbye to Charlene. She keeps her word to disconnect herself from the Library – having beautiful, emotional goodbyes with Flynn and Jenkins: and she is the woman Jenkins has always loved he mentioned last episode. She’s still faithful to her true love – who she plans to join in death. It’s still all sweet and moving (and makes me wonder whether the Cassandra/Jenkins relationship will progress?) and Charlene leaves in a shower of glittering light. It’s probably the nicest way they could write her character out.