Friday, February 16, 2018

The Librarians, Season 4, Episode 12: Echoes of Memory

Eve is the last person who remembers the Library and desperately she constructs a memory palace in her own mind - to desperately hold on to it a long as possible.

She is the only one who remembers and she is in a whole new world - a world where the Library never existed. A world where people don’t know curiosity or imagination (yet still manage to invent cars and televisions so… yeah it’s not perfect). Everything is grey. Everyone wears white. Cafes serve fat and flour (which is bland and tasteless but would also kill everyone pretty damn quickly). Everything is dull and bland and boring and mundane. We also have lots of ominous posters about the Company which is all about thought policing, and encouraging people not to think or question: be complacent, content and obedient. It’s very 1984 but more boring.

She has her tethering ring from Flynn which prompts her to go to one of the bland televisions which is quickly possessed by Flynn: who quickly tells her to make a memory palace (and acknowledges that she’s smart enough to already have figured this out). He also reveals that he never left the Library - when Nicole came to him to ask him to run away with her, he told her no. He told her that hearing she was a prisoner of the Library reminded him that he wasn’t - that he could leave - that he stayed with the Library because he wanted to, because he loved it, because it meant everything to him (which was kind of my point about Flynn’s motivations as well, the Library is his dream always was) AND because he loves Eve.

So Nicole kidnapped him.

I have to say this makes far far far more sense with his character and motivation.

Watching the television, Eve also sees an advert with Jake on it - selling average cars known for their averageness. She, goes to him and… rather easily convinces him to join her (he doesn’t remember her to the Library but has dreamed about it). The same applies to Cassandra. I’d say it’s more than a little simple to convince them both - but they are creative geniuses living in ridiculously dull, unstimulating lives. I can see them leaping on any opportunity to get away. Especially with Eve praising their specialties.

They do raise the suspicions of the Thought Police who catch up with them when trying to recruit Ezekiel. Since Ezekiel is a television celebrity of the most boring show ever (sadly, I do remember and abysmal home video show which seemed to consist of an interminable number of people falling over to a terrible canned laughter track. Alas, I had a grandparent who unreasonably loved this appalling show). Living a life of relative luxury, Ezekiel is less willing to join (and informs us that dreams are illegal) and the Thought Police capture Eve.

They take her to an asylum where the inmates are gathered and trained to suppress imagination, wonder and curiosity. Aided by medication

Naturally the person running the Company is Nicole, who is also using an artefact to prevent her losing her memory - as such giving her the intelligence and knowledge to rule the world easily. Eve defies her… but she loses the last few crumbs of memory left to her. She loses the Library and herself.

You’d think that Nicole would be intelligent enough not to lock Eve up in the same building as Flynn (or intelligent enough to just kill Eve).

But apparently not - and Flynn, babbling, semi-coherent (more so than usual) and talking randomly talks to Eve, noticing her high levels of colour next to the monochrome of everyone else. He recognises her as coming from another world and he has a fascinating idea about how worlds are defined by their words and names because this is what we call and define everyone around us with (which is, of course, very Librarian-y). The guards take him into confinement again but not before he has an almost dance number battle with them - again, very Flynn. He remembers everything because, ultimately, he is the Librarian and his memory does not fuzz easily

Nicole takes him away for some electroshock and resetting his memory all the while clearly pining after him despite his defiance and the memory reset just not working.

Eve manages to find him in his padded room and sees behind the padding Flynn has created a whole memory board of the Library - people, places artefacts, names, all to help his memory remain. And, of course, a picture of him and Eve together, kissing. Seeing this stirs Eve’s memories and they kiss - and lo all memories of both of them are restored, Librarian and Guardian

Which annoys Nicole so it’s labotomies for everyone.

But the junior Librarians have come together, with Ezekiel joining the others when it becomes clear that he is now on the Thought Police’s suspicion list due to his suspicious associations. They go to rescue Eve and each starts using their classic Librarian specialties (I also really like how they all subtly alter their bland appearances to fit their more usual look).

They rescue Eve and Flynn just as they’re about to get labotomised and it’s time to run through the corridors until they find themselves trapped. But working on the fact the Library still exists because of their memories, Eve realises they need to manifest the Library in their own thoughts

With awesome stirring speeches for each Librarian she makes them conjure the elements of the Library that is most powerfully represented by them - up to the ultimate end of Flynn, who knows every inch of the Library. With their combined memories they Library is summoned, much to Nicole’s fury, and the alternate world collapses: creativity and imagination restored.

And Jenkins is still dead…

Which is when Flynn decides to break some pesky rules using a magical toaster to re-write history. Basically, Nicole’s history. He can’t save her (apparently? Because some rules we’re not breaking?) but he can go back in time to when she was about to take her immortality potion. Again, he isn’t changing history enough to STOP her doing it - but by appearing to her, explaining why he didn’t rescue her, giving her hope and a connection he prevents her becoming bitter and angry about the Library. He gives her the book of her life (paradox be damned) and appeals to her to repeat her life - but not do it to bring down the Library, but in the name of the Library. Seeing Eve and Flynn clearly together, Nicole declares herself to be the Library’s Guardian, not Flynn’s

And… well it’s kind of simple like most of this episode. A lot of plot lines are kind of hand waved with a big magic wand of overly-ideal endings.

 I forgive it because changing the past now means Jenkins is alive and immortal

I will forgive everything for this. It also means a lot of other damage Nicole did has been reversed or more (like the cornerstones now being stored in the Library) The other three Librarians don’t remember the alternate world, same with Jenkins - only Flynn and Eve remember. And seeing what the world was like without the Library, they both insist on Tethering to the Library right away - which the Library approves of.

Ok… I have a lot of thinky thoughts and issues.

Actually I don’t. I have some thinky thoughts and issues which are largely overwhelmed by the rest of my brain which is squealing “Jenkins” in a pitch only dogs can hear, possibly accompanied by dancing.

But thinky thoughts. See, Librarians just pushed a big reset button on a season that had brought up a lot of kind of dark heavy issues. Look, I don’t expect or demand dark or deep from Librarians. I’m happy with fluff being fluff, I like fluff, I like the fun shenanigans, the glee, the joy and the silliness. So I’m not demanding Librarians be serious - far from it. But Librarians raised these issues, at which point if you’re going to raise them, they need to be addressed

As I said in the last episode review - Nicole’s machinations didn’t turn the Library evil or ruthless or uncaring. She exposed it - she showed the Librarians what institution they were working for. The junior Librarians didn’t quit because Nicole changed the Library, they quit because they saw the Library for what it was and what it was willing to do - murder Jenkins - and decided, universally, that they absolutely couldn’t tolerate that. Jenkins is alive now (yay) - but it remains that these three Librarians saw the truth of the Library and said they would not tolerate that. This applies to the locking up of Nicole fo a century or so as well. Or the Library demanding they duel to the death. All of this still applies - but the Librarians (and Jenkins for that matter!) have forgotten it… That’s got to raise some questions with Eve and Flynn - is it ok for them to keep this from the Librarians (and Jenkins)?

And if they decide that the risk of the other Librarians learning the truth and leaving is too great - especially given they’ve seen the grey world - then fine, run with that. But i’d expect Eve, especially, to have some issues about keeping that secret. It would also be interesting to examine that the newly tethered Librarian and Guardian are already making ends-justifies-the-means morally dubious decisions.

Also there’s technically a 500 year old Library avatar out there somewhere.

I’m glad we’re exploring more past of the Librarians and all three Librarians are very much equals now - including Ezekiel, my concerns of the earlier seasons largely being addressed since he’s the only regular depiction of a POC on the show (I know Christian Kane is Cherokee, but there has been no attempt to depict Jake Stone as Cherokee)

Sadly Cassandra is filling all my predictions when it comes to her bisexuality - one brief moment in one episode never to be seen again: this is depressingly common for LGBTQ inclusion with anyone approaching a protagonist