Sunday, February 26, 2017

Emerald City, Season One, Episode Nine: The Villain That's Become

Image result for emerald city television show

The Villain That's Become marks the penultimate episode of season one and perhaps the series given the cancellation bears predictions for Emerald City. We've slowly been working our way through getting the characters into position into what is certain to be an epic confrontation for the future of Oz. Who wins will decide if science or magic rules the realm.  

When we last saw Tip, she had come back to life after consuming East's magic and found West trying to kill herself.  Tip begs West not to do this and says that she saw her family in the afterlife.  It's only when West is convinced that Tip does indeed have East's magic that she decides to give living a chance. Revenge it seems is a mighty fine motivator.  With West back on their feet, they still need to deal with the fact that there are only two of them. West is a cardinal witch; however, Tip is new to magic. If they are going to take on the Wizard and win, they are going to need more people.  

As they trek through the woods, Tip randomly tries to use his magic but is unsuccessful, until West guides him to dig deep.  This results in Tip's body reverting to its male form.  This is what Tip wanted from the moment his body shifted. He excitedly takes a piss standing up. West however is certain that Tip will never be accepted as a male because the people know that the king and queen had a daughter and not a son.  Tip is adamant that this is who he is and the only way that he feels like himself. West does eventually relent and agrees to try it Tip's way. Tip never should have had to argue about living in the body he is comfortable in. 

Unfortunately, after freeing the witches from the prison of the abject, the witches decide that they are pissed with both West and Glinda, for their various betrayals to the Wizard.  So much for West's plan to charm the witches into an alliance. The witches float West in the air and use magic to sew her lips shut so that they can declare her guilt. This is when Tip makes the ultimate sacrifice and turns her body back to female in order for the witches to recognise her right to rule and to free West. Using magic, Tip confirms his identity as the Princess Ozma. Even though Tip comes across as triumphant and powerful in that moment, given his previous statements about his gender identity, this has got to be a huge sacrifice.  It broke my heart to see Tip change his body back to female given that he identifies as male.  For all of the power that Tip has recently gained, he's still being denied the right to live his life as he chooses. I think it's a huge setback for Emerald City to put Tip into a position where he's forced to live in a body that doesn't match his identity. 

Dorothy has her own triumphant moment though it makes absolutely zero sense to me.  Having escaped Glinda, Dorothy heads back to the little cabin where she spent the night with Lucas.  Dorothy barely catches a breath before being attacked by Lucas, who somehow got there before her.  Dorothy tries to plead with her but Lucas is determined to free his heart from her spell.  Fortunately for Dorothy, Toto may like Lucas but not enough to allow Lucas to kill her. When the dog intervenes, Dorothy tries to escape. Unfortunately, Toto isn't able to hold off Lucas for long and Dorothy quickly finds herself on her back being choked to death. Lucas begs Dorothy to make him stop and she whines about not wanting him to die.  Bitch, dude is trying to kill you, wake the fuck up. At any rate, Dorothy finally stabs Lucas in the abdomen before stringing him up as a scarecrow once again.  Dorothy's parting words to Lucas are that he now knows his past. 

Dorothy heads off to Ojo.  Dorothy promises to free Ojo's wife from the prison of the abject if she agrees to raise the stone giants.  Dorothy says that she knows that the Wizard has no power and that it was Ojo's wife all along.  The plan however comes to a halt when they arrive at the prison to find that West has already freed all but the dying and dead, and unfortunately for Ojo, his wife is among the dying. Reesa only wants to hear about how her children have been in her absence and doesn't give a shit about the stone giants or Dorothy's request. Reesa makes it clear that freeing the stone giants is what got her in this mess in the first place.

When the Wizard arrives to pick up his guns, he's stunned to find the soldiers of Ev pointing the weapons at him.  The Wizard begins by attempting to bribe the residents of Ev by pointing out that he brought even more gold than he promised. Langwidere then turns the tables on the Wizard once again and takes the gold while still refusing to hand over the weapons. I gotta say that this is stone cold and I respect it.  What Langwidere didn't count is that the Wizard hid some of his soldiers inside the crates the gold is being held in. The soldiers of Oz manage to make their way into Langwidere's private chambers and hold her hostage. A triumphant Wizard enters the bedchamber and actually has the nerve to slap Langwidere, breaking her mask, demanding that she make herself presentable.  This is the first time that we are seeing Langwidere without a mask and it's a surprise to discover that she isn't deformed in anyway and is actually quite beautiful. 

A frantic Jack heads to see Jane, to see if Jane can do anything to help free Langwidere from the Wizard. Jack may be pissed about how Langwidere treated him but seeing her in jeopardy is enough to trigger his knight in shining armor routine. Jane heads to see the Wizard, who immediately gets his back up. It seems that Frank is not pleased that in his previous life, he had to follow Jane's orders. Jane throws some shade by reminding the Wizard that he had to follow because he worked for her. The Wizard is also pissed by what he perceives as Jane's lack of support once they arrived in Oz. A frustrated Wizard makes it clear that if Jane calls him, "Frank" one more time that he will kill her.  Realising that she's not going to get anywhere with the Wizard, Jane returns to her lab and agrees to help Jack become a weapon. 

The Wizard now has a gun to Langwidere's head and is confidant that she will agree to his demands, even though she's holding as leverage the death of troops that he will need if he is to fight Glinda. Langwidere tells her soldiers not to give in to the Wizard's demands but Jack pulls out a little derringer and unfortunately ends up shooting Langwidere in the head. Given that Jack has never shot a weapon before, this outcome actually makes sense.

A distraught Jack takes Langwidere to see Jane and pleads for Jane to somehow save Langwidere, like she saved him. Jane points out that Jack was alive when she found him but Jack is too desperate to hear. Finally, Jane takes a knife and slices off Langwidere's face, revealing that  Langwidere is an android. 
If you say that you saw that coming, I'm gonna have to call you a lying liar who lies. Holy shit batman.  Jack of course is extremely upset, even as Jane explains that Langwidere actually died years ago during the attack by the Beast Forever. She built  Langwidere for the king, who didn't want to be without his daughter. Langwidere always wore masks to hide from her people that she cannot age. Jack is overwhelmed and he starts hacking at his metal parts, assuming that he to has lost his humanity.

With Langwidere dead, The Wizard has no more leverage to use against the people of Ev. The soldiers quickly surround the Wizard and take him outside to face a firing squad. Before they can kill him however, Dorothy walks out of the woods accompanied by none other than a stone giant. And with that, the pieces are all in place for the battle to come.

Tip changing her body to suit others really deeply bothered me. He's always asserted his masculinity and is conforming to what is expected not because he wants to but because he has to. Why is it so hard to have a trans* character without all of the compromises? The fact that his sacrifice is then framed as triumphant only highlights the problem. Tip is male regardless of what gender Tip was assigned at birth. I am further disturbed that Tip's masculinity is in part being portrayed by him taking a piss standing up. It reaffirms the problematic narrative of biology being destiny. It's these restrictive limitations on gender that are causing the problem in the first place.

Someone needs to explain Lucas/Roan's behaviour.  He was told by Glinda that if he didn't kill Dorothy that she would.  While Roan was attempting to kill Dorothy, he begged her to make him stop.  Does this mean that he was under some sort of spell?  I think that Emerald City needs to do some clarifying here. Then there's the issue of Dorothy herself. At this point, she knows that Roan has a wife and that at best she's the side chick. 
 Roan has made himself absolutely clear that if it comes down to a choice, no sidechick is going to win this battle. With all of that being said, why the hell did Dorothy hesitate to take out Roan? Let's be clear, we're talking about a woman who has no problem pulling out a gun and threatening and or shooting people at random but she suddenly has qualms about dealing with a guy who she's known for a New York minute, who relegated her to sidechick status and is trying to kill her on top of it?  Paging Emerald City, don't you think that it's time to fix Dorothy already?

If that were not enough, Emerald City also needs to explain why the hell Ojo's wife decided to grant Dorothy's request and bring the stone giants to life.  Keep in mind that Dorothy is on the side of the Wizard, who is responsible for her dying in the mud.  This move makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. 

I'm going to be honest and admit that  Langwidere turning out to be an android surprised the hell out of me but given the technological advancements of Ev, I suppose I should have seen it coming.  To be clear, I really like Jack, though I find him to be naive/ I don't for the life me understand Jack's mourning over Langwidere. Yes, Langwidere is probably the first woman he slept with but she treated him like shit and forced a handjob on him.  There's nothing romantic or good about their relationship.  What I bought more was his angst about her being a robot and what it means to his own personal identity. 

Finally, to Jane and the Wizard. I loved Jane putting Frank in his place. He's like so many other small minded men, not able to handle being eclipsed by a woman and certainly not able to handle a woman refusing to stroke his ego.  It makes me wonder exactly why Jane hasn't killed this fool already?  Once again, however, Frank is going to be saved from his own incompetence by a woman, as Dorothy's march to Ev makes clear. All around Frank are exceptional women and he simply cannot deal with how small he really is. It's why he chose to slap Langwidere. It's why he thought that she would perform a service for him regardless of the history between Ev and Emerald City. If Frank was all that, he could have made his own damn guns.