Sunday, February 19, 2017

Emerald City, Season One, Episode Eight: Lions in Winter

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Next week will be the penultimate episode of this season of Emerald City.  I have to say that I've been fascinated with Emerald City from the very first episode. Unfortunately, it seems that others have not shared my interest, given the poor ratings.  It the cancellation bear is projecting that Emerald City is not likely to be renewed. If this is indeed the case, I hope that the writers thought ahead and gave us an ending which could both serve as an end to the season and the series. There's nothing worse than becoming hooked on a show and then not having any closure.

We are still waiting for the Beast Forever to appear but in the meantime, the Wizard has decided that now would be a good time to go to war.  The Wizard gathers 1000 soldiers with the intent of marching to pick up his weapons from Lady Ev, before then heading North to attack Glinda.  Eammon tries to insist on coming along but it seems that the Wizard wants him to stay to keep Emerald City safe.

In a field, West and Tip discuss who Tip really is.  West finally convinces Tip that he really is the princess Ozma by questioning what sense it would make to hide an orphan and change their sex.  West points out that if the princess were really alive, she would be exactly Tip's age and this combined with the dagger which was given the princess on her name day, is pretty damning evidence.  After informing Tip that they were born for greater things, West grabs Tip and the two soar through the air.

Now that Roan has made it clear that Glinda came first, Dorothy has been locked in a room with a heavily pregnant woman. The woman has been imprisoned for daring to love while in service to Glinda, rather than being chaste. The woman reveals that The Wizard killed the father of her child and that she believes that the true Beast Forever is in fact the Wizard himself.  She asserts that people need not fear monsters falling from the sky because the Wizard is whom they should fear.  The woman is well aware who Roan and Sylvie are and doubts Dorothy's promise to keep her and her baby safe, given that Dorothy was cavorting with Glinda's husband. That's right, Roan and Glinda are married.  

Speaking of Glinda and Roan, it's reunion time.  Glinda is so clearly happy to have her husband back but Roan clearly doesn't reciprocate those feelings. Unsurprisingly, Glinda has questions, chief among them how long Roan has been travelling with Dorothy. Roan is quick to deny that Dorothy is an assassin and explains that she saved his life and that he did the same in return when required. Roan should have explained that Dorothy isn't bright enough to be an assassin. Roan then claims that he cannot be held responsible for the things he did while he wasn't himself. Uh huh. 

Glinda is clearly not pleased with Roan's account of his activities and orders him not to come back until he's himself.  Glinda then stands up and strips naked. Umm which is it Glinda? Do you want Roan in your bed or out of it? Talk about mixed messages. 

Roan goes to see how Dorothy is doing.  Dorothy address Roan as Lucas and he is quick to reject the name that she gave him. Dorothy however isn't overly disturbed because she believes that Roan is still the man that she got to know. Dorothy goes into full on homewrecker mode and questions if Roan even loves Glinda, and if they have any children together. Roan's objective isn't to kiss and make up but to convince Dorothy that she must somehow assure Glinda that she isn't an assassin if she wants to live. Roan makes it clear to Dorothy that he loves Glinda, and that what happened between them was a mistake. 

Now that he has made his declaration to Dorothy regarding his feelings for Glinda, it's time for him to prove it by having sex with Glinda. Glinda may be enjoying the ride but it looks like Roan would rather be anyplace else.

Now that she's gotten the long awaited D, Glinda's next order of business is to introduce little Sylvie to the other witches.  Sylvie is informed that she has been tainted by listening to Roan and Dorothy but will be much better once she is back with her own kind. When Glinda introduces Sylvie to the other girls, we learn that her real name is Leith. 

Next on Glinda's to do list is to order Dorothy's death by dispatching a witch to do the deed for her.  When the witch arrives in Dorothy's cell, she finds Dorothy trying to help the pregnant woman during her labour.  It seems that the baby is breech and therefore, Dorothy is in danger of losing both mother and child. Dorothy demands that Glinda come to the cell with towels and hot water. 

West and Tip arrive at a tower which holds the magic of dead witches. West picks up the urn containing what is left of East and encourages Tip to drink it.  Tip is absolutely grossed out at the thought of drinking the dead insides of a witch. Tip however is curious if drinking the remains will allow him to turn back into a boy. West suggests that it might and adds that Tip can turn himself into anything he wants to if this works. A timid Tip starts chugging.

After a night of passion, Jack awakes alone in the royal bedroom.  The servants have brought breakfast and offer to draw a bath for him when he is done. Of course, water and Jack are not a good mix and when the servants realise this, they offer to oil his parts instead. 

Jack is clearly uncomfortable with his new elevated position and simply doesn't know what to do with himself.  Jack decides to pay Lady Ev a visit despite the servants advising him not to.  When Jack enters the room where Lady Ev is meeting with her advisers, she makes it clear that he doesn't belong there. Jack decides to go for a carriage ride instead. 

Having drunk the potion, Tip has a vision of man dressed as a lion slaughtering his parents.  It's graphic and violent.  Tip falls to the ground unconscious as West freaks the hell out.

Roan enters the room where the young witches are eating.  Upon seeing him, Sylvie opens her arms, expecting Lucas to embrace her but he simply instructs her to eat her food and keeps moving. The other witches go mean girl on Sophie and move her bowl of porridge away when she attempts to eat. Sylvie starts to vibrate but all she manages to accomplish is to turn her own food and bowl into stone.  Roan witnesses all of this but does nothing.

Glinda arrives in the cell to see Dorothy attempting to help the woman through labour.  Dorothy explains that the baby is breech and needs to be turned. This is going to be painful, so Dorothy asks if Glinda has a narcotic. Glinda uses her magic to ease the pain.  Having heard the screams, Roan enters the room and gets on his knees to help Dorothy with the delivery. Once the child is born, Dorothy and Roan share a moment which is enough to have Glinda order him out of the room. 

Certain that Tip is dead, West carries him to a river and asks his forgiveness for her part in his death.  Tip sinks in the water and disappears.  

Roan heads to see Glinda, who refuses to make eye contact with him. Glinda realises that while Roan might be there in body, his heart really isn't with her. Glinda questions the moment he shared with Dorothy and asks if it bothered him watching the child be born knowing that this is something that they could never share. Glinda then reminds Roan of the promise they made to always be honest with each other. Roan admits his love for Glinda but adds that they cannot live like this. Roan's conflict won't be a problem for long Glinda assures him because the Wizard is on his way there.  Roan will have to choose a side and one will lead to life and the other to death. 

Given that he's been given the bum rush, Jack decides to roam around and comes across Jane, the woman who gave him his metal parts. Jane is surprised to learn that Jack is now in a relationship with Lady Ev, rather than Tip, but Jack admits that he never had more than a friendship with Tip and doesn't know where they stand now. Jack is pragmatic about his relationship with Lady Ev, pointing out that he is owned by her.  As they talk, Jane packs her things and when Jack notices, Jane explains that Lady Ev told her to leave after she refused to make the guns that Lady Ev wanted.  Being from earth, Jane knows all to well the damage that a gun can do. Jack becomes very upset and says that he won't let Lady Ev simply dismiss Jane after her many years of service and devotion.  For Jane, this is proof that despite Jack's worry about the loss of his heart that he's very much in possession of it. 

It's now Glinda's turn to visit with Dorothy.  An impatient Dorothy instructs Glinda to kill her and get it over with. Glinda has had a change of heart about murdering Dorothy because Dorothy not only saved Roan's life but that of the woman in labour.  Glinda instead escorts Dorothy to yet another holding area. Dorothy asks what is going on with Sylvie and if she'll be taken to war and is informed that it depends on Sylvie's resilience. Dorothy is then taken into a room which has become a holding area for young witches who were pushed beyond their limits.  It seems that Glinda wants Dorothy to dedicate herself to using her medical knowledge to saving these women. 

Sylvie is sitting with the mean girls and once again they use magic to move her bowl.  Sylvie responds by using her magic to not only bring her bowl back but to draw the other girls bowls to her as well.  There's a pause and then the other girls cheer Sylvie. It seems as though Sylvie has passed the initiation test. 

Glinda is working in a garden type area when West flies in for a visit.  West is clearly feeling troubled after the death of Tip and at a loss as to what to do. West offers her forgiveness to Glinda from hiding the fact that Mother South is still alive, a statement which leaves Glinda incredulous.  West then states her need to meet with their mother and a desire to be of service.  After everything which has happened between the sisters, Glinda is not mood to be solicitous. Glinda goes in for the kill and reveals that West was their mother's favourite, before pronouncing that there's no light left in West and storming away. 

Lady Ev is done all of her work for the day and now finally has time to hang with Jack. Jack is feeling stung from her earlier rejection of him and the fact that Lady Ev told Jane to leave. Lady Ev explains that she released Jane because Jane said no to her.  That's it for Jack, who yells that Lady Ev cannot simply use people because they amuse her and then toss them aside once she gets bored. Lady Ev explains that people around her are either for personal pleasure or business and reminds Jack that the only reason he is standing there is because she paid for him to be fixed. Lady Ev feels free to care for Jack because she owns him. For Lady Ev, owning someone is the only way to know that someone is hers. When Jack challenges Lady Ev on this, she gives him his freedom and he heads towards the door.

Dorothy is working trying to help the sick witches when Roan enters holding yet another young woman. Dorothy is angry and tells Roan that she cannot help these young women and that he pushed them to hard.  Dorothy then asks if Roan is going to do this to Sophie. When he doesn't answer, an angry Dorothy notices that the gauntlets are back on her hands.  Using the power of East's magic jewelry, Dorothy manages to open the door to the holding area. Before Roan can figure out how Dorothy did that, she's already gone.

An enraged Dorothy makes her way to Glinda's room and uses her magic to hang Glinda by her own bedsheets. Glinda struggles to breathe and Roan rushes into the room to tell Dorothy that she will have to kill him before he allows her to kill Glinda. Dorothy wavers for a moment but releases Roan and leaves, as Glinda starts to scream about Roan not running after Dorothy and killing her.  Dorothy races through Glinda's home until she finally finds Sylvie. Unfortunately for Dorothy, Sylvie isn't interested in going with her either. A twice rejected Dorothy has no choice but to steal a horse and leave as quickly as she can, with Toto running shotgun alongside.

Glinda is absolutely destroyed that Roan didn't immediately try to kill Dorothy. Roan recognises that he is not the man he used to be and begs Glinda to bring that man back because he cannot get away from Dorothy's magic. Glinda pulls out a knife and at first Roan believes that she means to kill him but Glinda wants Roan to take the knife and kill Dorothy.  Glinda promises that if Roan doesn't kill Dorothy that she will. 

Jack reaches the outside of the castle just in time for the Wizard to arrive with his troops.  The Wizard is expecting to be handed the guns he needs to go to war with Glinda.  Instead of being handed the guns the Wizard is stunned when Ev's soldiers turn their guns on him and his men.

Back in Oz, a pensive Eammon is asked if it's true that war is coming and he answers in the affirmative. Once alone again, Eammon unlocks a drawer and a lion mask is revealed. Yes, it was Eammon who wore a lion mask as he killed the former King and Queen. I think we've found our cowardly lion.

West is absolutely despondent at being rejected by Glinda and losing Tip and she she returns to the area where she had Tip drink the remains of East.  West talks to herself, trying to comfort herself and then she uses magic to slit her own wrists. West lies down with her life blood pouring out of her arms and Tip arrives and simply announces that it worked. 

Okay, I have a few things to say.  I don't understand why the Wizard though it a good idea to march one thousand troops out of Oz, when he knows that the Beast Forever is only days away from arriving.  The only thing that this can mean is that he doesn't believe Anna's prediction. That being said, the Wizard has always known that his hold on power is tenuous at best and so it makes no sense to me that he would choose now of all time to decide to attack Glinda's forces. Yes, the Wizard has a huge inferiority complex and is determined to prove the strength of science but his behaviour should be a lot more rational. 

Roan conflict between Glinda and Dorothy felt absolutely manufactured.  I think that the writers forgot that the best form of storytelling involves showing rather than telling.  We only know that Glinda and Roan love each other because we were told and not because we were given any evidence of the fact thus making Roan's indecision a little less believable. 

Now that Tip has drunk the remains of East, I'm going to need an explanation as to how exactly magic works in Oz. We know that East died without an apprentice and therefor her magic is lost.  Does drinking a witches death essence give one a witch's magic? If that is the case, how do they explain that Dorothy seems to have magic courtesy of East's magical jewelry? 

One of the things that was really affirmed this episode is exactly how powerful magic really is.  This of course causes yet another problem with the narrative. If magic is so powerful and West at least has been allowed to use it at will, why the hell are witches in hiding from the Wizard? Yes, they are few in number now but they should still be able to take the tyrant out without breaking a sweat.  I suppose the writers had to build up some tension somehow.

And now Dorothy, the bane of Emerald City.  This week, I must admit to feeling a bit sorry for Dorothy because not only did she get rejected by Roan, she also got rejected by Sylvie. None of this will probably serve as a learning lesson for her Dorothy because she's been flying by the seat of her pants since arriving in Oz.  We all know that Dorothy and Roan are going to end up together in the end. 

Finally, Jack and Lady Ev presented a great gender role reversal this week.  It's Lady Ev who has all of the power and Jack has none.  In many ways Lady Ev's power has been used to be abusive towards Jack but this week, we saw Jack being sent out of a room because it was above his pay grade. Normally in this situations it's a powerful man telling a woman to go rest her pretty little head.  As much as I enjoyed the play on gender, Lady Ev still has a long way to go when it comes to dealing with people.  It's clear that she wants to own Jack not only because of the power it gives her but because she is insecure about losing people that she cares about.  I like that Jack is unafraid to keep calling out Lady Ev week after week.  It will be interesting to see where this goes.