Recap: THE LIBRARIANS Make the Tough Choices

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Season 2, Episode 8: “And the Happily Ever Afters

Flynn returns to the Library with the last of the dangerous magical objects to keep from Prospero and is ready to take a well-deserved rest.  The Library looks deserted, so he asks Jenkins where everyone else is, but Jenkins has no memory of any other Librarians, let alone a Guardian.

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The Clipping Book is going nuts about a stolen Salish totem pole on Cicely Island, WA, and Flynn goes to investigate by way of the door portal, making his grand entrance through a port-a-potty (complete with toilet paper trailing from his pants).

The island’s sheriff, Eve Baird (what?), who doesn’t recognize Flynn (whaat?), thinks that he’s been sent by the state office of tourism to investigate the missing totem pole.  She escorts him to The Final Draft, a book-filled bar co-owned by the community’s best and brightest where they meet to solve art crime (whaaat?).  Meet the team: Multi-disciplined University Professor and archaeologist/adventurer, Jacob Stone; Multi-moon visiting astronaut, physicist, TV star and pony raiser, Commander Cassandra Cillian; and Multi-talented FBI Special Agent Ezekiel Jones.

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But the team doesn’t end there—there is one other member of the crime-fighting circle of friends: Mayor James Moriarty, who enters and plants a big one on a very receptive Eve.  (Whaaaat?!)

Flynn (incredulous): “That makes no sense.  That’s the opposite of sense.  That’s Nonsense!”

Despite all of the nonsense, they, like Jenkins, have no memory of their previous lives.  Jenkins advises Flynn to play along with their self-reinforcing delusions to find the totem pole, which may be the root of all of this.  The amnesiac team explain to Flynn that the totem pole was a relatively worthless fake, although it was important for tourism, so it’s worthwhile to try and find it and who stole it.  As they investigate, Flynn observes that they are still working together as a team, and he struggles with jealous feelings at the thought of Eve having a relationship with James Moriarty.

Flynn: “And nobody has a problem with this?”

Flynn gives up trying to convince each of them that their current (fictional) lives are not possible.  Eve and James learn that the ferry has been down for three days with a “bad case of rudder flop,” and no one has been on or off the island since before the totem pole was stolen…except Flynn, and, according to Cassie, a nice lady named Ariel, played by Hayley McLaughlin, who are both now the prime suspects.

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There’s a bit of over-the-top fun with each character’s new role:  each scene with Ezekiel looks like an action adventure cop show chase scene, and Jacob and Cassie have worked out that the location of the totem pole made it hidden because of what Flynn describes as geographic solstice magic.

Jacob: “Did you say magic?”

Cassie: “Magic is just a word we use to describe things we don’t understand, right?”

Just as Jacob, Ezekiel and Cassie are working out that there might be more to this than face value voodoo, Eve catches up with them and pulls Flynn aside for questioning, disrupting their train of thought.  She demands the truth, and Flynn gives it to her, including the part about James being an evil genius sent here by a powerful wizard who has placed them under a spell, and that Flynn’s here to rescue them.  As the saying goes, the truth shall set you free, but when you give the truth to a roomful of people who are enchanted, the truth shall instead get you handcuffs.

Eve: “Yep, Cuff time!”

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Ariel is hiding from Prospero, and Flynn promises to help her escape if she can help rescue the team from this spell.  She explains that the spell is a story; a merciful alternative to what’s coming, essentially giving them each their very own story with a happy ending.

Ariel: “There’s one thing that Fictionals can do is tell a good story.”

Flynn: “But it’s not real.”

Ariel: “It will be.”

Ariel reveals that they must get each member of the team to give up their fairytale lives.  It won’t be easy, as these false lives are created from their fondest wishes.  They must give it all up to break the spell and return to their real lives.  If they don’t succeed soon, the spell may consume them, drawing on them as if they are the battery that fuels the illusion.  Flynn and Ariel set out to convince the team to give up their dream lives just as the whole island is being deployed to catch them and put them in jail.

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Their strategy is to abduct them one by one, bring them each back to the Library, and convince them of their real lives.  Flynn seems to make some headway persuading the Librarians, and finally breaks through Eve’s stubborn resolve with a kiss.

Ariel: “True love’s kiss!  That’s actually pretty good — that’s OLD SCHOOL!”

But it’s only half the battle.  Now they must return to the island via the Library portal so that they can destroy their talisman and break the enchantment.  In addition to their placed memories, which seem very real, they must face temptation as well.  Prospero places the highest enticements in their way to get them to stay.  Stone is offered the coveted Chief Curator’s position at the Louvre; Jones is approached by Interpol to become an untouchable and thwart global crime; Cassie is asked by NASA to become the first human to step foot on Mars and become an inspiration to the world.  In the end, they each remember that their friends need them here and reject their respective offers.

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Eve’s invitation was the biggest test.  As the team weakens Prospero’s hold on them all, Moriarty regains his full faculties and explains that Prospero intends to wreak havoc on the world. He confesses to Eve that in order to protect her and give her true love, he begged Prospero to make this “happily ever after” town full of their greatest dreams so that they could be together.  Smart cookie that she is, Eve explains to James that real love is hard and risky, and sometimes it breaks your heart.  She rejects his offer and leaves, after which he bitterly destroys his own talisman, clearly forming another plan to stop them from leaving.  As Ariel explained to Flynn, there is no place for a man like Moriarty in Prospero’s new world, so he’s got everything to lose if they leave.

The Librarians meet in the park and with her Sprite magic, Ariel makes the totem pole appear.  Fully convinced of what they need to do, they each place their talisman at the base of the totem and each must tell their real life stories to release themselves from the enchantment.

Ezekiel (proudly): “I’m Ezekiel Jones, and I’m a thief.  Heck, I’m THE thief!”

Just as they finish, Moriarty’s mob appears to prevent them from leaving.  Ariel, who had hoped to accompany them to flee Prospero’s hold, vanishes and the team escapes through the Library portal to safety.  But something is wrong.  Instead of entering the Annex as usual, they’ve landed outside of it, finding the gates locked.  They also find the totem has followed them, which is a bit of a puzzle.

Flynn: “This doesn’t make any sense.”

Flynn becomes obsessed with solving this puzzle, while Eve realizes that Flynn doesn’t remember Jenkins.  Lucky for the Librarians, Eve does remember him, and she recognizes that puzzle-solving is Flynn’s happily ever after:  he’s under the spell of Prospero.  After trying to convince Flynn that he’s been enchanted, Eve finally brings him around with a kiss.  She points out that he also has a talisman on him in the form of a pocket watch, which he promptly sets at the base of the totem pole.  He tells his own story, which is not one of his own solitary successes that we might expect, but that he is one of many Librarians, whom he needs very much.  His truth makes the totem disappear and Jenkins exits from the Annex, informing them that Prospero has had them distracted for three weeks.

Flynn: “Hi, I’m Flynn Carsen, and I’m The –er—I’m A Librarian; number 167, I think.”

As they begin to worry what Prospero has been up to while they’ve been out of the way, they notice an overhead grid of glowing lines in the sky.  These are the ley lines of the earth, now appearing above it in what reminded me of a giant supercharged holodeck.  That’s a heck of a cliff hanger until next week’s season finale.

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We had some insight into each of our main characters’ dreams, but the main character development this week revolved around Moriarty, Flynn and Eve as they each confronted their true feelings and motivations.  The resolution to the possible love interest between Eve and Moriarty was resolved as expected (I told you that Moriarty was from the wrong side of the book cover).  James’ offer of fulfilling her dreams smacked of self-preservation and lack of concern for the Librarians.  His fictional world and their happy relationship would never fully satisfy Eve, as it was never real enough to be a challenge for her.  Her sense of duty to protect the greater good and her need to face real challenges were too strong and won out in the end — something that a Fictional may not ever understand.

The other Librarians gave up their own appealing choices for sake of their friends who needed them.  In the end, even Flynn himself finally admitted his need for help from others, which brought his character’s journey of joining the team to a conclusion just one episode shy of the season’s close.  Flynn’s change of heart in becoming part of a team seemed a bit too quick and neat, but, as usual, they’ve packed a lot into the episode, so sometimes these things need to skip along at a crisp pace.

Whatever Prospero has in store for the world looks to be bigger than life, and I predict that Moriarty, whose whereabouts are unknown at this point, may play a key role in helping thwart the wizard’s plan to rule the world, perhaps even redeeming himself from villain status, and into a brilliant guy who’s made some poor choices in his life.

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