Monday, February 12, 2018

Librarians, Season 4, Episode 11: And the Trial of One

Well, things really came to a head this episode, with the villain finally revealing herself, everyone rising up and everything kind of falling apart - in other words, a perfect pentultimate episode

The deadline for tethering has arrived. They have only 24 hours to tether someone to the Library or it uncouples from reality. Jenkins even resorts to using the very first scroll in the Library to create a temporary tether. If it isn’t tethered to a Librarian soon not only will it uncouple but it will revert to its basic purpose: protecting the artefacts within the Library. Not aiding, helping or protecting humanity - just the artefacts within its halls. Eve needs to pick someone. And it can’t be Jenkins

Damn it

But none of the Librarians are especially eager to become immortal - and they think they find a way out when Cassandra (against Jenkins orders) opens the scroll and finds a spell of picking the one true Librarian - just what they need

Of course they cast it

Of course it has unforeseen consequences

Because that “test” for the one true librarian is more a trial and by trial we mean fight to the death between the candidates - officiated by Jenkins who is possessed by the Library itself

And the untethered Library is a bastard. While Eve and the Librarians all protest that they don’t believe that the Library can be so cruel or uncaring the Library is completely dismissive of them. When Eve appeals about the Librarians, the library makes it clear it only cares about Artefacts. And Librarians are not artefacts. The Library doesn’t care about people, it’s custodian or librarians - it isn’t nice, it isn’t kind.

They are magically transported to the testing zone and Library Jenkins is wearing a magical suicide vest - they obey or Jenkins dies. Everyone is forced to go along but they still insist they’re far too loyal to each other to ever hurt each other

The Library admires loyalty. To the Library. Not to people. Because the Library is an arsehole.

Each librarian is forced to put on a ring which forces them to confront their greatest fear (Cassandra’s fear is bullies? Really? C’mon, she’s had 4 seasons of facing the worst supernatural monsters she could vanquish, she was literally terminally ill - but her fear is bullies? Can we stop infantilising her like this?). In their fears they face enemies trying to torture them - enemies that resemble the other two Librarians. They’re each set up to fight the others to escape their fears - and the only way they can do this is tom press a button which makes them forget who the other two are

Each presses a button and move to the final arena where the disembodied voice of Jenkins appeals to them to press the final button - and stop the other two. The other two Librarians who they can’t remember: and who they will kill if it means saving Jenkins

All this time Eve has been desperately trying to appeal to the Library - and each time it’s clearer and clearer that the Library is The Worst and Eve is doomed to helplessly watch the Librarians struggle and fight without being able to help them… and she realises this is her worst fear. And proving the Guardian can be as smart as a Librarian, she figures out she has been made to put on a nightmare ring as well and uses the artefacts in the library to show the truth and remove it from her finger

Now free of her nightmare, she can intervene with the Librarians who have been outbraining each other in the field. She steps in, makes them remember each other and ensures there are no Librarian deaths.

But there’s still an issue - only one Librarian can leave. And now all the Librarians volunteer to be the ones to die, each holds up the others, each is willing to sacrifice. The Librarian won’t hear it: he needs one.

Eve pulls out another Librarian-level plan and plants an artefact on Jenkins - one that should hold his suicide vest in place. They all return to the Library, apparently victorious

It looks like a win… and then the Library stabs Jenkins anyway. It’s not to be stopped by even Eve’s excellent cunning. The Librarians work together as an excellent team, desperately trying to heal him. But it’s not enough - they can only delay the inevitable and give him chance to make a beautiful, excellent, powerful goodbye.

And it is goodbye… Jenkins dies. We even see his urn when they have a funeral for him… Jenkins is dead.

This. Better. Be. Reversable.

In the aftermath they look at who to anchor to the Library -and all the Librarians opt out. The Library killed Jenkins. The Library showed no care or compassion for any of them. They have lost utter faith in the Library and can no longer be tethered to it. In another powerful, painful scene, each Librarian writes their resignation and leaves, leaving Eve alone

It’s devastating and cruel and painful and everyone is gone and Jenkins is dead and Eve throws a Truth amulet at the magic mirror in rage and despair… and Nicole steps out

Because Jenkins was right about her. She’s evil, she’s been gunning for the Library from day one. And this is all her plan - from engineering her own capture by the Library in order to set doubt in Flynn’s mind, to driving him to resign, to tricking Jenkins into giving up his immortality: it was all her, all of it. And now the Library is dying, not by the simple ploys before, but by all humans losing faith in it and in doing so they all forget it - dooming it to disappear. Now only one person remembers the Library - Eve - and it’s too much. She drops to her knees as the tethering window closes

She falls to the floor, the Library vanished - and presumably forgotten

I’m not quite sure why the Library dies if it’s forgotten or if it cannot tap new Librarians but ok, so be it. Let’s run with it.

What I’m curious about is how much is Nicole’s doing and how much she facilitated. Like she engineered her own imprisonment which caused Flynn to doubt the Library - but while she set herself up, she didn’t make the choice to keep herself imprisoned for a century or so? Or like Jenkings being possessed by the Library - she may have set things in motion to have the Library take over Jenkins, but was she the one directly having the Library kill Jenkins and demand one Librarian and generally declare its complete indifference to human kind? Unless she arranged for Jenkins to be possessed by a demon, he was possessed by the Library. She didn’t create this evil - she merely exposed it

For that matter, was she the one who convinced Dare that there could only be one librarian? I mean, has Nicole caused all this directly - or caused it by exposing the flaws and troubles with the Library? (And points to the excellent depiction of the Library here - harsh, unyielding, utterly focused and lacking even the slightest shreds of compassion)

Defeating Nicole doesn’t mean these flaws go away or are resolved or there isn’t an issue.

And she killed Jenkins. There better be a resurrection in the near future.