Monday, December 22, 2014

The Librarians Episode 3 Recap: Santa Campbell!

Last week's episode "...And the Horns of a Dilemma," was based on the Minotaur and Labyrinth mythos. I wasn't impressed with it - the dialogue was boring, and the situations were predictable. I started to lose hope for the series, and wondered if my fun ride was over already. Happily, it is not!

In this week's episode, "... And Santa's Midnight Run," the dialogue is much better than it was last week, and the writing overall is better. The cast is really starting to gel - their performance as a group actually feels more like a family than a bunch of strangers thrown together. Their roles are becoming much more established - the weird uncle (Jenkins), the mom (Eve), the big brother (Jake), the little sister (Cassandra), and the kid brother that you just want to slap sometimes (Ezekiel).

I really enjoyed this one - I had to pause the DVR towards the end to catch my breath during one particularly moving sequence, because I realized that I was actually feeling something. I was pleasantly surprised when I figured out that I was actually worried about the situations in the sequence, and then relieved when it all resolved.

Bruce Campbell turned in an entertaining performance as Santa/Nick. His delivery was exactly what you would expect - witty and dry. Sadly, there weren't very many opportunities to showcase all of his talents. The only thing about this episode that disappointed me was the fact that he wasn't featured as much as I thought he would be - but then, this is The Librarians, not The Bruce Campbell Show.

This week's episode opens in a soup kitchen in London. A man with a gun goes in, and fires a shot into the ceiling. He's there to rob people. Santa, dressed in street clothes - not to be confused with the guy in the red Santa suit having some dinner - talks the man out of it. Then from behind, he is stuck in the neck with a mistletoe dart and passes out.

At the Annex, The "kids" are decorating. Eve is complaining that she just spent a week clearing off "her" desk. Jenkins explains that the annex is an interface for the Library - that was Flynn's workspace, and the library will always reset it to Flynn's specifications because he's THE Librarian - he belongs here. Eve yells at the building. "And I DON'T?! Great. Now I'M talking to the building too."

Then Jenkins gets a phone call. He gets upset, and nearly yells, "Christmas is cancelled?!" When he gets off the phone, he tells the team that they have to save Christmas - Santa is missing! So the team is tasked with finding and rescuing Santa Claus. Jenkins gives them the scoop on Santa. He is an immortal Avatar of Goodwill. All year long he travels all over the world, observing and participating in acts of goodwill and absorbs all that magic. On Christmas, he releases all of that goodwill back into the world, strengthening hope.

He says that the call came from Gretchen Claus. Cassandra happily skwees, "Mrs. Clause is real?!" "Oh sweet shiny balls, yes!" Jenkins responds, exasperated. They fire up the back door - a wormhole that Jenkins figured out during last week's Greek Mythology lesson episode. Cassie and Jake 'port to the soup kitchen in London to start their investigation.

At the soup kitchen, Cassie and Jake find the guy dressed in the red Santa suit. They talk to him since he witnessed what happened. Cassie tries to figure out what the guy is saying, but she can't get the hang of his cockney speech. Jake translates a little bit and Cassie asks, "Is there any language you don't speak?" And then it happens - Jake busts out HIS cockney accent, and has a chat with the guy while poor Cassie remains confused. The guy describes the people that took the real Santa as having snake tattoos. (Personal note: I really wish Christian Kane had more dialogue in that accent. *Swoon*)

Cassie and Jake take the back door to the Annex back in Portland. Zeke had been doing an internet search for more information about the incident, but came up empty. When Jake tells Eve that it was the Brotherhood, Zeke is able to find a surveillance image of Dulaque and one of his henchmen. Cassie remembers that she met him. Jenkins knows Dulaque. He says that Dulaque kills Santa Clause.

Meanwhile, at the Brotherhood's headquarters, Dulaque (Matt Frewer) and Lamia (Lesley-Ann Brandt) have Santa hostage. Dulaque divulges his intention to kill Santa at midnight, to release the magic back into the world. Santa tells Lamia that he knows why she is doing this - because she wants to help people, but this is the wrong way. Then Dulaque stabs Santa in the neck with a mistletoe sprig and Santa passes out. I got the impression that Lamia thinks that Dulaque is releasing all the ancient magic back into the world for altruistic reasons, which of course isn't true. (When it comes to big bads, it's never for the good of all.)

Back in Portland, the group is trying to figure out where the Brotherhood's headquarters is. Cassie remembers that she was taken there, but she was blindfolded. Zeke says some stuff about traffic surveillance cameras capturing a person's image 300 times a day. Cassie uses her sense memories to give Zeke details of what she remembered. Since she was blindfolded, she had to  rely on her other sesnses  to create her memory. He takes a picture of Cassie with his phone, and runs it through a facial recognition interface. The references result in a map of the route that Cassie traveled that day (back in "...And The Sword In The Stone," part two of the pilot episode.) They set off to the location.

When they get to the building, Cassie and Zeke go down a chimney and land in the fireplace in the room where Santa is tied and gagged. They take the gag off, and Santa is amused. Cassie is ecstatic that Santa knows her name.

Eve and Jake have wandered into the main room, where they are confronted by Dulaque and Lamia. A bit of chatting, and Dulaque orders them killed - "but no daggers. There are a lot of valuable things in here." Jake picks up an antique looking vase, and starts to talk about it as he tosses it from hand to hand. He tosses it at a henchman, who catches it. Jake repeats this action with several artifacts in the room, keeping the Brotherhood busy trying to keep from damaging the antiques. All the while, Dulaque appears to be having a fret over it, worrying that things will break. As Lamia and Dulaque make their exit, Jake tosses a statue of Buddah, but they don't stop. Jake dives to catch it. Eve looks confused. He explains - "It's a one-of-a-kind..."

Cassie and Zeke take Santa and meet up with Eve and Jake. Eve wants to use a door back to the Annex, but Santa says no - he has to be at the North Pole. Eve decides she is going to take Santa to the North Pole, and the Librarians will be decoys. She makes Ezekiel wear Santa's hat. Eve and Santa head for where the sleigh was supposed to be parked - and Eve finds a doll in her boot. When they get to where the sleigh was supposed to be, it's gone. "Santa's sleigh got jacked." So they boost a truck and get going.

Wearing Santa's hat, Ezekiel is inexplicably filled with joy and goodwill, but he is not amused by that. He and the team take the long way back to the door to the Annex, stopping so that Zeke can lead a bunch of school kids in a Christmas carol while dancing up and down some stairs. When they get back to the annex, Zeke starts... baking cookies?!  And cooking other things... and he just doesn't understand why he can't stop stuffing. "I don't feel very well..."

Meanwhile, Eve is stuck on the longest road trip of her life with a man who just wants to get to the third "ho" - "You have to let Santa get to the third 'ho.' Otherwise, it gets stuck in Santa's head." She calls Jenkins to find out what she has to do, and asks what is wrong with Santa. Jenkins tells her that Santa is actually a very powerful source of magic. We find out that mistletoe is toxic to this Avatar, so he has effectively been poisoned.

Since he seems to keep changing form without his hat to anchor him to the Santa form (and because she doesn't believe in Santa), Eve decides to call Santa "Nick." Jenkins tells her not to stop moving - Santa is powerful juju and the Serpent Brotherhood can track them if they stop. So they keep going, and Santa hums Christmas carols - much to Eve's chagrin. He says he knows why she was named Eve, and proceeds to start the story of it but Eve cuts him off in a very annoyed manner.

Eve is irritated - she doesn't like Christmas. As they go on, we find out why. Then Santa tells Eve that he can get them to the Pole faster. "Santa's sleigh can fly, but Santa is the one that makes it go faster." He works some mojo, and they end up in freaking CANADA?? Out of gas, they start walking. Eve calls Jenkins, and he tells her to head for Alaska. He will arrange for Zeke and Cassie to have a plane for them. Eve and Nick get to a town, and end up going into a bar, where Nick takes on the persona of Odin.

Zeke and Cassie get to the airport and meet up with the grumpy desk agent - he had to work because they put the plane on hold, and he was supposed to be with his fiancee. Zeke is still wearing the hat, and asks the guy if it would make him happy to be with his fiancee. The desk agent happily says yes, and Zeke sends him on his way.

Meanwhile, in the bar, Nick as Odin is getting drunk. Eve says it's time to go, but he refuses. "ODIN WANTS MORE BEER!" He starts a bar fight, reverts to Santa, and they get out. They get to the airport, and Eve is frustrated - it's a cargo plane. "I don't know how to fly a cargo plane!!" Nick smiles. "Santa can fly large objects through the air." They are on their way.

When they have been airborne for a bit, Nick nearly collapses in the cockpit as an alarm starts going off. Something has opened the cargo bay door - from the outside. It turns out to be Dulaque and Lamia, in Santa's sleigh. Dulaque demands they turn over Santa. Eve does so, and Dulaque commands Lamia to disable the plane.

Eve then tricks Dulaque into taking the hat from Zeke. He puts the hat on, and happily says he's off to kill Santa. Eve says how happy it would make them if he just killed Santa right there. The other Librarians follow Eve's example and start asking for things that will stop the Brotherhood from killing Santa - like, telling him to send Lamia off alone in the sleigh. Dulaque decides to let Lamia take the sleigh, and that he will kill Santa on the plane. Cassie says it would make them very, very happy if he would tell them the Brotherhood's plan.

Dulaque takes off the hat before he reveals anything about plans, and tussles with Eve. He falls out the door, and Eve grabs his hand. She demands that he tell her how to cure Nick. He refuses, lets go of her hand, and falls away.

Jake and Eve go back into the cockpit, and try to keep the plane in the air.  Jake tells her about an abandoned air base with a working transponder  and supplies. Another alarm goes off in the cockpit - they're losing hydraulic fluid. She asks Jake, "Wanna help me out?" "Uh - yeah, sure." "Google... how to lower landing gear."

When they get the plane on the ground, Nick's health has taken a turn for the worst. The poison has weakend him badly. He says it's time for a new vessel, just for this one night. He worries that a mortal wouldn't survive that power. Jake says that the Librarians will take that risk.

They all say that they each would be the best one to be that vessel. But Nick says "there's no one here more in tune with Christmas than the baby born at the last stroke of midnight, so named by her parents as the girl born on Christmas..." Eve responds, and accepts the powers for spreading goodwill. "I give you, Eve Baird, all of humanity's goodwill... Now go. Give them back the gift - of HOPE."

Eve closes her eyes, and travels... first, she finds herself in an ambulance with a dying man and the EMT who is trying to save him with CPR and defibrillation The man dies en route to the hospital. Eve touches the EMT's shoulder, and the EMT defibrillates the man one more time. A heartbeat is registered, and hope is restored. Then, to the scene of a house fire. A baby that couldn't be found in the burning house is now found... Then to an alley where an alcoholic is inspired to pour out the bottle of liquor in the alley and quit drinking on the spot, and then to a hospital waiting room where she gives hope to an old man... And on to the Middle East, where people are protesting (I assume for peace, I couldn't read the sign in a language foreign to me) while there are bombs going off and bullets whizzing past. They are afraid, but Eve gives them hope and they chant their peace slogans louder. Then an Asian country where a girl is on a rooftop, contemplating jumping off. A police officer stands by, trying to get her to come down. Eve touches the girl's shoulder. She changes her mind, takes the officer's hands, and steps back from the edge.

When Eve finally opens her eyes, she is back with the group. Cassandra asks if it worked, because she didn't go anywhere. Nick looks in Eve's eyes and says, "She went... Everywhere."

Back at the Annex, Eve and Jenkins are on the upper walkway talking as they head towards the stairs. The "kids" downstairs yell "surprise!" and bring out a banner that says "Happy Birthday" on it. There's all kinds of cake and stuff. All's well. Merry Christmas. Yay! I love a happy ending!

Raven is a longtime TV fan, cosplayer, and avid geek. 

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  1. I am just a fan.. leaving my comment.. I love the Christmas episode of The Librarians with Bruce Campbell as Santa! What a hoot!! Will be watching each and every episode of the show with my favorite actor and singer Christian Kane