Recap: THE LIBRARIANS Play Out Ezekiel’s Longest Day EVER

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Season 2, Episode 8: “And the Point of Salvation

Things are going haywire at DARPA, where they are testing out a new quantum computer that runs “tens and tens and thousands times faster than what we have now.”  Wow — that fast, huh?  This war game machine is capable of running millions of battle simulations with high predictive accuracy, OR able to map a 3D space and use it to model quantum teleportation.

Shall we play a game?
Shall we play a game? It’s a whopper!

So, of course, a technician at this high-security facility is bored and decides to playing a military role-playing video game at his station just before a military commander gets a tour and a simulation of the system.  The simulation is a bust, and everything goes haywire — something to do with the unauthorized software in the system?  They don’t call it “Chekhov’s gun game” for nothing!

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Jenkins warns the Librarian team that they are looking to retrieve the massive computer’s new power source, Atlantian thomatite, which is rare and also highly dangerous (hey, look what happened to Atlantis).  Eve briefs the team about the military base during which Jones is reminded “no souvenirs,” and the Librarians enter the facility courtesy of the Library’s magic doors.

No souvenirs.
No souvenirs.

They are thrown into the chaotic room full of panicked staff just as the warning to evacuate is announced.  Their hasty retreat returns them to the very same room, now empty of people and completely trashed.  They abandon the idea of reaching the sanctuary of the Library when they realize that they cannot exit and have no way to contact Jenkins for help.

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Jacob: “Robert Frost said that the best way out is always through.”

Eve: “Then let’s get the hell through.”

As they progress through the facility, they meet some “rabid feral rage people,” along with various dangerous obstacles, and they end up in the same place each time a member of the team dies.  Cassandra explains these strange anomalies as a result of a “superposition state.”  Unfortunately for the team, Ezekiel is the only person who can remember what has happened in the previous iteration, so he has to assimilate and repeat all of this information every time they re-enter the room.  Why Ezekiel is unaffected becomes clear later, but he’s guessed it in one: he’s the first one through the door…oh, and because magic.

He explains to the team, each time they re-set, that they are in a time loop (just like Groundhog Day, Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files… the list goes on).  We’re no strangers to these scenarios: each come with their own twists, and turns. It’s up to Ezekiel to ensure that they move forward with the right strategy and tools.  They must now get past all of the obstacles and retrieve the thomatite to shut down the quantum computer.

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Without real consequences of mortal danger, Jones feels indestructible at first.  He takes the opportunity of unlimited do-overs to figure out puzzles, and even sets Jacob up to get electrocuted when he gets too annoying.

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But these frequent iterations eventually take their toll on Ezekiel.  In a fit of frustrated anger, he picks up a crowbar and strikes the items in the room.  To his surprise, each hit reveals health packs and grenades, and the epiphany hits him: they are in a video game.  It doesn’t take him long to explain to a thrilled Jacob that this is an escort mission-type role playing game, created by the quantum computer from the technician’s unsanctioned video game.

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Jacob understands what they are up against right away: if one person dies, the level resets, and so do their memories (except Ezekiel’s).  They are ready to move forward as a team, but Ezekiel has other ideas.  He locks his mates in a lab, loads his amazing bottomless backpack with all sorts of useful items, and explores by himself to figure the way out.

The bag... it's bigger on the inside.
The bag… it’s bigger on the inside.

Ezekiel trains from his teammates to learn their skills and grows as a leader.  They all see a change in him and begin to appreciate his perseverance when they recognize just how many times he’s gone through these iterations (including the repeat injuries) to save them all.

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Ezekiel manages to hack through the game to the end, then returns to lead his team to the finish.  They all watch in shock as Ezekiel throws himself into the crumbling infrastructure to save the rest of them.  Stunned at his selfless act of sacrifice, they refuse to give up on him when they are returned to reality.  They figure a way to restart the computer and pull Ezekiel out of the system, saving the DARPA personnel, too.  But there’s a cost:  Ezekiel doesn’t remember anything of his ordeal.  The ending felt like the Doctor-Donna from Doctor Who: after all of that gained knowledge and personal growth, he lost it all in his sacrifice to save the others.

Even though Ezekiel seems unchanged, we know that he’s got the makings of a great leader, and so does his team.  As they wrap up their adventure, Ezekiel notices that everyone seems to be treating him a little differently, but doesn’t believe their story of how he became their knight in shining armor.  (Best to leave that role to Jenkins for now.)

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John Kim was able to bring Ezekiel Jones’ character some great depth this week as he explored his innate skills, adapted to the situation, and dropped his guard a bit to reveal his own humanity (not to mention his inner hero).  The episode’s writer, Jeremy Bernstein, chimed in on Kim’s performance:

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We got a little of the Prospero story this week as Jenkins worked solo from the Library, conjuring a fairy, Puck (voiced by Brent Spiner), to answer three questions.  Jenkins learns that Prospero is struggling to use the Staff of Zarathustra to its fullest power to complete his quest.  Prospero intends to destroy the Librarians, who stand between him and his goal to rule the world, and he intends to do that… NOW!

As the last of these answers are revealed, Puck releases a spell on the Library on Prospero’s behalf.  As Jenkins runs to warn the team, he is overcome with a wave of magic, leaving him without any knowledge of the impending dangers.  These last two episodes of Season 2 should be packed!

Point of interest: Puck let it slip that he knew the secret of Jenkins’ immortality, taunting him with the idea that although Jenkins cannot be killed, he can, in fact, die.  Jenkins seemed sorely tempted by this information.  We know that he’s mentioned several times that he’s outlived many people and worked many years in isolation to protect himself from the pain of losing others.  Is this a foreshadowing of Jenkins’ leaving the show?  They wouldn’t….would they?

This episode had its share of fun stuff, like Ezekiel setting Stone up to walk across the electrocution pad and shooting him in the leg to prove a point, the game-related gags, and the team’s varied reactions in their repeated scenes.

 

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Along with the fun came lots of poignant moments that were spot-on.  Eve’s talk with Ezekiel, Ezekiel’s emotional outbursts to his team, them understanding Ezekiel’s sacrifices to get them out; these are just a few.  It was difficult to choose a favorite of these, but mine was when Eve recognized Ezekiel’s repeated self-sacrifices and tells him that he is brave.

Thanks to the fine people who put this episode together and gave it life.  Kudos to another fine job of great family entertainment, and congratulations on the go-ahead for Season 3 (more on that soon)!

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2 thoughts on “Recap: THE LIBRARIANS Play Out Ezekiel’s Longest Day EVER

  • December 16, 2015 at 5:14 pm
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    So happy The Librarians has gotten renewed for another season!! Really looking forward to more episode’s .. with my personal fav Christian Kane.. his expressions and acting are priceless Thanks !

    Reply
    • December 16, 2015 at 5:48 pm
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      Season three with more episodes! Thanks for following the fun–should be a great ride. We’ll look forward to recapping it here, complete with tweets from the fans–stay tuned!

      Reply

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