Monday, January 5, 2015

The Librarians and the Fables of Doom recap!

It was brought to my attention by one of our readers (OK - my daughter) that I have been messing up the numbering of the episodes. I am one behind on my numbering, because I took the two-hour premiere as a single episode. It's considered two episodes. So I apologize for that, and it will be corrected going forward. Today, I have some thoughts that I'd like to share about the characters.

"The Librarians" has fast become one of my favorite TV shows - one that I choose to set the DVR for, as opposed to waiting for it to post online. I love how the team is becoming more cohesive and their roles are becoming more clearly defined. Their family dynamic is becoming more evident as well. Here are my observations:

Flynn Carsen is still the same Flynn that we saw in the movies, His rapid-fire speech and sudden starts and stops provide the shot of comedic effect, but his presence is a chaotic distraction from the stability that Eve is trying to provide for the team. He's like an absent father who comes back once in a while to make sure they still know he's alive and trying to be in charge. I'm thinking that this role is transitional, as are the roles of Judson and Charlene. As the series goes on we will see less and less of them.

Eve Baird is becoming a "mama bear" type, a true Guardian and protector. After all, who better to protect the kids than a mom? Moms will fight fiercely to keep the kids safe, and try to make sure that they don't have a bad day... even if it embarrasses them. Yet she does avoid becoming a helicopter mom. She remembers that the kids do have their own skills and talents, and they'll be alright.

Jake Stone is becoming the quintessential big brother, especially where Cassandra is concerned. He can get her to focus when she starts overloading, and keeps her balanced. He doesn't trust her anymore, but he does provide the kind of support she needs. He always seems to be keeping an eye on her, in spite of - or perhaps because of  his distrust. He's also a good back-up for Eve in situations where a second gun (or sword, or fist) is required. That fits in with the concept of a household with an absent father, with the oldest son taking on the role of "man of the house."

Cassandra Cillian is the little sister who keeps getting shoved to the back of the line until her skills are needed. She wants to be recognized for what she can do and hasn't figured out yet how to effectively assert herself, so she patiently waits until called upon. But don't piss her off. As we saw in the last episode, the potential for her to be really bad-ass lurks deep in her dark side. I'm hoping a way will be found to rid her of the brain tumor without taking away her skills, because her character really is a valuable part of the group.

Ezekiel Jones is definitely showing that he's more than just a snot-nosed little brother. He still wants to be the rock star, but he's learning the value of being a part of a team - and a family group. He has the street smarts to get out of sticky situations, but lacks the discipline and experience to do it in a way that doesn't have an "oops, didn't think really think that through" attached to it.

Jenkins is definitely the uncle who acts as a mentor - he's picked his favorite kid, and that would be Zeke. The growing respect between them is becoming more evident the more they learn about each other. Jenkins has both the discipline and the experience to guide Zeke through things in such a way that Zeke can learn from it and follow through, without the "oops" factor. I hope that we see more of their teamwork - and possibly some shenanigans from them too. Jenkins seems so serious sometimes, but I am sure he is hiding a wicked sense of humor in his coat pocket.

What do you think? Do my observations make sense, or am I missing something? I'd love to hear about it in the comment box below!

This week's episode - The Librarians and the Fables of Doom - brings us two Star Trek Universe alumni - director Jonathan Frakes, and guest star Rene Aberjonois. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

We open on the road, on a bridge construction traffic zone. An impatient truck driver honks his horn, then drives around a smaller car and the traffic control crewman. He swerves to avoid an oncoming car. As he clears the bridge, a large hand grabs and lifts the truck. The truck gets dumped in the river.

The Library's back door opens into a composting toilet in a park below the bridge. The Librarians stumble out. There's a lot of grumbling about the mode of transportation. Jake asks Eve how they are going to talk to these people, because she can't keep flashing her counter-terrorism badge, and they can't just walk up and say they're librarians. Cassie says, "On TV shows like Supernatural, (Everyday from 2-5 on TNT! - Ed, recognizing synergy. ) they just tell people that all the weird stuff is caused by swamp gas." (Maybe they just need a "memory flashy thingy" like in Men In Black.)

They find and talk to the sheriff. He asks where they are from and why they are there. Jake says they are from the Library and doing a traffic flow study, and more stuff about accidents. The sheriff says in his opinion, trucks drive too fast, and starts talking more about traffic and trucks. Zeke tries to start some stuff with the sheriff, and Eve says "Oh look - there's a truck." They head over to the wrecked truck in the river. She warns him not to piss off the local cops. "But it's so much fun..."

Cassie tries to analyze the truck but fails. She loses her train of thought with the scent of cereal. Jake takes the fire extinguisher off a tow truck and sprays down the vehicle's window, revealing a HUGE fingerprint. They talk to Jenkins via tablet-to-mirror video transmission. Jenkins guesses that it could be a troll but he needs better evidence to make that determination. She asks how they are supposed to get that. He says some stuff about "you don't fight a troll - you flee. But trolls are nothing but subdued... in daylight." Eve sends Cassie and Jake off with a mother's admonishment - "Work together," to which Jake replies happily "Yeah, no problem!" Zeke starts saying stuff about what he's going off to do, but Eve grabs him by the jacket collar and hauls him after her. "You're coming with me!"

Eve and Zeke walk and he is beginning to get bored. "Tree... tree... tree.. TROLL! Oh wait - nope. Tree..." Eve tells him basically that he should take being a Librarian seriously. He says that he took the job because it sounded like fun - lifting artifacts and dodging trolls. When it gets boring, he's gone. They come upon what looks like a big pile of rocks. Eve says "I think your definition of bored and mine differ greatly." Seeing the pile of rocks, she now understands what Jenkins meant earlier. Zeke stares. "it's... just a pile of rocks, right?" "Then you should have no problem reachin' in there and grabbing a few pebbles, right?" He hesitates, and Eve encourages him again.

Cassie and Jake are in town to pick up copies of traffic surveillance photos from the sheriff. Cassie thanks Jake for agreeing to work with her. With a big cowboy smile, he says, "I told you, Cassandra - I can work with you. I like you! I just don't trust you." She asks if she's supposed to just keep running around trying to regain his trust. "Nope. No, I'm cool with the way it is." The sheriff brings out the pictures. Jake looks at them and notices something. "Small car... medium car... big truck... bridge. Why does that seem familiar?"

A naked jogger (who turns out to be the mayor) stops to talk with the sheriff, and Jake and Cassie try not to stare. OK - Jake tries not to stare but Cassie can't look away. The sheriff asks the mayor why he's in his birthday suit, and the mayor says that his wife did get "this jogging suit" for his birthday, and asks the sheriff how he knew that. On the side, Jake is turning his head, avoiding eye contact, and making eye-rolling and amused faces. As the Mayor runs off, Cassie says "That is more than I ever want to see of any elected official..."

Jake guesses that the behavior of the mayor wasn't normal, and asks the sheriff if there's any other "unnatural stuff" going on there. The sheriff says "Not really, just small town stuff - there's a farm down the way, claims of hearing voices from the animals. Just last week, a girl from a local community college went to a music festival, didn't come back... and Old Mrs. Stubbins was stuck in her pizza oven. We got her out OK... There's weirder stuff in big cities, right?" Jake and Cassie both nod at the crazy sheriff and say "Sure... yeah! You bet!"

Jake and Cassie meet up with Eve and Zeke down the street. They start discussing their findings. Jake states that there's more than just a troll going on, and a very large wolf wearing a pink nightcap shows up. It corners and threatens a girl wearing a red shirt, and the police on scene are confused. Jake casually walks over to the fire engine conveniently parked nearby at the curb and grabs the axe. He throws it, and it kills the wolf. Zeke is amazed. "Where'd you learn how to do that?" Jake looks confused. "Oh, I just.. uh... I don't know."

Cassie starts analyzing the wolf's appearance and makes note of its size. Eve notices the frilly nightcap, and the group connects the clues that they found to the fairy tales that they represent - Little Red Riding Hood, The Emperor's New Clothes, and Three Billy Goats Gruff. "Fairy tales are coming to life," says Jake. Eve picks up on that and continues, "Fairy tales are attacking people - someone has weaponized fairy tales??"

Back at the Annex, Jenkins has chalk-boarded a list of magical items, curses and paradoxes that could cause fairy tales to come true and attack. They eliminate any artifacts that are already in the Library, and anything that requires displays of nature's power, since no fires or floods have been reported. Jenkins crosses off a few others, including the Genie's lamp. Cassie asks "Why not the Genii's lamp?" "Because it's... never the Genie's lamp." That leaves them with the Mother Goose Treaty, and Aesop's Lyre. Jenkins tells them they need to autopsy the wolf. The kids look confused. Jake shrugs. "Bring a big wolf... back here... Sure.. no problem... "

They find that the wolf has been hauled off to a bar and grill. Eve and Cassie go inside to distract the owner while Zeke and Jake go out back to steal the wolf's carcass. While inside, Cassie seems to be drawing lots of attention, and neither she nor Eve can figure it out. Outside, Jake and Zeke carry the wolf to a truck that some guy just conveniently pulls up and parks nearby. Jake says they aren't stealing a truck. The driver's side door is unlocked and Zeke finds the keys behind the visor. "Now, we can hardly call it stealing," he says. Jake grimaces. "Nobody gets that lucky."

They get back to the Annex, and they are evaluating the wolf with Jenkins. They find that the nightcap is bonded to the wolf and can't be removed. Jenkins figures that fact eliminates Aesop's Lyre but to be sure, they need to find out what is in the wolf's stomach. While he debates with himself over whether to use a scalpel or an obsidian blade, Jake just grabs a bigger, meaner looking blade and starts cutting. Zeke asks if he even knows what he's doing. Jake says, "Of course I do... I think... it feels right... Something's in here... " He pulls out a girl in a red shirt. She is confused, cold and scared. Jenkins is very worried now. He realizes that it's in fact the Libris Tabular causing this - a book that they had crossed off the chalkboard earlier. Meanwhile, in a hospital room, Mr. McGuire, the town librarian, is reading to a little girl. Just as he's finishing up "Little Red Riding Hood," the little girl says she loves these stories.

In the hall at the charge desk outside a different room, Eve and Zeke are talking with the sheriff. He says that girl in the red shirt told him they pulled her out of a wolf, and Zeke makes up some stuff about the girl actually being found in the woods, suffering from exposure. Eve thanks the sheriff for letting them talk to her, but he says that it wasn't up to him - that girl wouldn't let go of Cassie's hand.

In the hospital room, Jake is asking her about what happened. She is hero-worshipping Cassie. The girl asks Cassie for her number, and Jake has a "wow" moment of disbelief. He reminds her that he's the one who pulled her out of the wolf, incredulous that this girl won't even look at him after he saved her life. Back in the hall, the sheriff makes a comment that the bar owner reported the wolf missing after the group was there. Zeke says something smart-alecky and irritates the sheriff. Cassie and Jake step into the hall, and Cassie suggests they talk to Jenkins to "find out how this book works."

Jenkins is waiting in the hall, amusing himself with the vending machines. "It's like a miniature apartment building! When you hit the right numbers, the occupant of your choice leaps to its death... and becomes your snack." They ask him about the book and he explains that at first, only the stories already in the book will come to life. But as it continues to be read, those stories can be changed and added to, rewriting reality. Jake snarks on that - "Reality... just a shared narrative we agreed to believe."

Jenkins says, "as the stories get more and more powerful, they sweep up more and more people... entire towns, whole nations." Eve asks how big this thing gets. Jenkins replies, "What do you think caused the Black Death?" Cassie names the bacteria. "You're... adorable." He goes on to explain that the book's only limitation to bringing stories to life is that life needs to come from somewhere. These people who feed the stories grow weak, they get sick and they die. Eve recognizes that there would be a pattern of people getting sick for no reason, so she sends Jenkins and Cassie to search the hospital records for patient zero. She takes Stone and goes to find the book. As they head out of the hospital, Zeke goes over to the vending machine and fiddles with it then hits it. An alarm goes off, and coins start pouring out of it. Eve puts on her mom voice. "Ezekiel!" She and Jake glare at him. Exasperated, she tells him "just... stay out of jail!"

Zeke follows one of the coins up a flight of stairs. It stalls, on its edge, and Zeke tries to pick it up. It takes off down a hall. In the cafetria, Jenkins and Cassie are going over some records and having a snack. Jenkins thinks there's something odd about it all. Cassie replies that they are lucky people are just getting trapped in fairy tales - "singing, dancing... woodland creatures..." Jenkins explains that these are not the cartoon stories - these are the original fairy tales, "filled with death and dismemberment." He says that there will be many more roles to fill - ones they haven't seen yet...

Jake and Eve leave the hospital and go into a town library. She stops at the door - "I keep losing my shoe!" They meet Mr. McGuire at the circulation desk. Jake tells them they are looking for books. Old books. Older than Katniss Everdeen and Artemis Fowl. "How old?" asks the librarian. Jake notices two really old volumes on the desk. "Old like those. They should be in a museum. Those are 15th century folio..." The librarian quickly puts them away in a locked case, and explains that the books are part of a collection that was left to the library by a Mr. Dieter - a well-known rare book collector - when he died, a few weeks back. Behind the librarian's back, Jake gestures wildly to Eve that those are the books they are looking for. The town librarian mentions that it will take him a month to get through even one manuscript. Eve asks if he would like help cataloging them. "We're Librarians too." He smiles and politely declines, saying that he is the trustee and as such he has "a sacred duty to finish with these before exposing any more..." When he goes to the back, Eve tells Jake, "We need someone who can pick a lock." Jake rolls his eyes and shakes his head.

The coin leads Zeke to the little girl's room. She says hi and asks him what he's doing there. "Ezekiel Jones, world-class coin hunter. And you are...?"  "Dying," responds the kid. "But it's OK. They let me pick the flavor of my Jello." There's a bit of back and forth about how if her health gets to a certain point, she might actually get pudding.  He hangs out with the girl for a bit and learns that her name is Jamie. He teaches her how to pick locks to get pudding. She mentions that the doctors don't know what's wrong with her, and they talk about the girl who was pulled out of the wolf. While they talk, Zeke searches the room. He asks if she has any books that he could "borrow." She says no, and tells him that books aren't sterile. She also says that she's not allowed any visitors except on reading day and that she thinks her father would love it if she just stayed in her room all the time. She says she loves the stories. Ezekiel tells her that she should be able to do whatever she wants whenever she wants to. He flips the coin to her and asks her to hold on to it for him, and that he'll be right back.

So the Scoobies meet up back at the bar - Cassie has women swooning for her, and when she talks to them she has taken on a slightly masculine demeanor, rather like Prince Charming. Jake and Eve start to tell her about the books at the library, when Zeke runs in. He tries to tell them about Jamie - the little girl in the hospital who likes stories, but the sheriff comes in to try and take Zeke away. Zeke slips out of the handcuffs with ease and steps towards the rest of the group. At this point, the sherriff has taken on the demeanor of the Big Bad Wolf, and is determined to take Zeke with him. Eve tells the sheriff that he can't arrest Zeke without charging him. The sheriff says, "He comes with me - or else... " Zeke, still with his smart-ass grin, says "Or else what?" "Or I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow this whole bar down!" The sheriff blows out the windows in the bar as the Scoobies make their getaway.

On the street in town, they see the sheriff chasing them. They duck behind a vehicle. Zeke asks how many wolves were in the fairy tales. Jake says "A lot." The high school football team shows up to do the sheriff's bidding. Eve identifies them as the other wolves. The group starts to argue about whether to go to the hospital first or the library first. Eve starts singing like a classic Disney princess out for a stroll in the woods. Jake looks at her. "Were you just humming?" Eve says "What? No! No, I wasn't - " "I think you were. Cassie's a chick magnet now, and your hair - I'm pretty sure that's not regulation -" Cassie interrupts him to ask where he got the ax. He looks dumbfounded as he raises it to look at it. "I... I don't know..." They all look at each other. Jake says something about a storm coming. Eve points out that there's a bird on him. A huge owl has perched on Jake's now-gloved arm.

Eve makes a call to Jenkins. She asks if it's possible that they are getting sucked in to the fairy tales. "Fatal, yet interesting, " he says. Casually, like nothing weird is going on, he asks, "Just out of curiosity, what roles are you playing?" Eve tells him that Stone is the huntsman. Stone tells him that Cassie is Prince Charming, and Eve is a princess. Eve makes a derisive noise at that then giggles. She has Disney princess written all over her face.

Cassie asks Jenkins (in her manly Prince Charming voice) "If we're all heroes, we all live... we all get the happy ending, right?" Jenkins says no. He reminds her of what he told her earlier about death and dismemberment for all, and adds that the only one who lives is the Jack. The group is confused. "What's a Jack?" "A Jack... the nimble rogue, the lucky thief..." "Where's Ezekiel?" And of course, Zeke has taken off.

The people in the town have been transformed - a Little Bo Peep, looking for her sheep... a Pinocchio, lying to his wife about looking at another woman while his nose grows. Eve suggests they get everybody on the highway and out of town. But a giant hedge of thorns grows up, blocking off the roads. She decides on a new plan - go back to the library but bring all the civilians with them. So Cassie turns around, and goes all Sarah Connor - "Come with me if you wanna live," she calls. One of the girls at the front of the group grabs her hand. "I've been waiting for you to say that for my whole life..."

Meanwhile, Zeke has gone back to Jamie's room at the hospital. He walks in on the librarian reading out loud - a passage about "the prince, the princess and the huntsman as the wolves followed their prey down the path...." Ezekiel tells the man to stop reading. He notices that the girl is asleep, and tries to wake her. She doesn't wake, so he asks the librarian what's wrong with her. The librarian gleefully says that this happens when she's listening to the stories - "it's Reading Day!" Zeke tells him that he may think he's helping, but he's draining the life out of her. As his hands glow blue, the librarian chuckles and says he knows exactly what he's doing.

Zeke attempts to take the book from the librarian, and the old man grabs Zeke by the arm. He explains that when he started reading this book to the kids, he discovered that while it drained the listener it gave the storyteller some of its strength. "I haven't felt this good in years!" Zeke begs him to stop - he's hurting Jamie. The librarian goes on a rant about being old and forgotten about, then invites Zeke to stay and listen while the librarian takes out his friends.

The rest of the Scoobies lock the townspeople in the library for their own safety. Eve's hair has gotten much longer, Cassie has gotten more charming, and Jake has gotten more... well, huntsmanly. Eve calls Zeke and tells him he better not have left because he got bored. He tells her that he's at the hospital with the book and the not-so-nice library guy and the kid. He says he tried to tell them. Then he tells Eve that the old guy is getting some kind of juice from the book. She tells him that he is the only one the story works for, so he has to find a way to stop the mad librarian.

Meanwhile, as the old guy keeps reading, the wolf-pack - the sheriff and the high school football team - bust through the glass doors of the library. Jake stands ready. Cassie breaks a chair, climbs on top of a table and makes a rousing speech. All the ladies in the back sigh and swoon. Even Eve starts to get a little doe-eyed for Cassie's charm. Jake has to get her attention from making butterfly eyes at Cassie.

The wolves attack, and they defend their "castle." Cassie whacks away, taking down a couple of them. Eve's call with Zeke is still in progress - she yells at him to change the story. Zeke grabs the book, and starts telling his own story... "Right - so the wolves go blind... " The librarian interrupts Zeke, yanking the book from his hands. "The story has a beginning - the wolves and your friends, the middle - the wolves find your friends, and the wolves kill everyone - the end! Everyone is dead... " The coin that Zeke flipped to Jamie falls from her hand as she goes limp in her bed. As it rolls over to him, he picks it up. Looking at it, he closes his eyes. He throws it, and it banks off two walls and hits the old guy in the head, putting him into what seems to be a stasis field of some sort. Zeke grabs the book from him, and gives it to Jamie. He tells her to read her story - give it her happy ending.

She says in her story, it only looks like everybody dies. As Jamie tells her story, she regains her strength. And in the library, the Scoobies take on the attributes that Jamie has given her characters. "The Huntsman is actually a robot. And the princess is a ninja princess, and the prince is really Merlin and you can't kill Merlin. Using their combined skills, they chase the wolves away. Except for the head wolf, who is forced to pay for his crimes." Zeke questions her - "but he doesn't die either...?" Jamie says no, but he has to eat green Jello... forever. So in the library, her father - the sheriff - is sitting on the floor, surrounded by cups of green Jello. Through a mouthful of Jello, he says he doesn't even know where they came from. As Jamie ends her story, the old librarian is coming out from under the spell. He reaches for the book as Jamie says, "The End." "No! That can't be the end..." and is sucked into the pages of the book. Jamie closes the book.

The Scoobies are walking with the sheriff and his Jello, explaining that all the weird stuff in town was caused by "... swamp gas. Yeah, see, we discovered it while we were doing our... uh... traffic flow study. It was causing the whole town to mass hallucinate - but don't worry. We took care of it. That's one of the jobs of being a.. uh.. librarian does. Is. Yeah." Zeke shows up with Jamie. The sheriff is happy to see his daughter, and can't believe that she's well. He looks at Zeke. "What did you do?" Zeke just smiles. "I think this is one of those times we'll just say they lived happily ever after." As the librarians head off down the road, Jamie asks "Dad, who are those people?" "They're Librarians." "Librarians?" "Yeah, now that I say it out loud, it doesn't make sense... not one lick."

Raven is an avid cosplayer and television fan.

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  1. Loved it too! that was so creative and very distinctive episode.. can't wait for more.. Christian Kane brings his own magic to everything he does.. so no surprise how great this show is turning out to be.. want many seasons of The Librarians

    1. Yeah, I thought so too. I especially liked that they touched on his passion for animals. He owns a wolf - and does work for a wolf sanctuary, I think. So getting stuck as the huntsman... well... Its kind of like the director (Jonathan Frakes for this ep) said, "dude... just do YOU."

  2. I really like this series. The show gets better every week. It's the only show that I make a point of watching when it is on.

    1. It's awesome, for sure! I hope it keeps up the momentum. I'd like to see it stay around for a good long time - there are so many ways to explore the world with this series!