Looking all regal with his army behind him. (David Lukacs/NBC)
ReviewsTelevision & Film

Lions and Witches and Wars on EMERALD CITY

Season 1, Episode 8 “Lions in Winter”
Written by Shaun Cassidy
Directed by Tarsem Singh

[Header image courtesy of David Lukacs/NBC]

Last week on Emerald City, Jack (Gerran Howell) got abandoned in the Screaming Forest by Lady Ev (Stefanie Martini). When his rusty metal froze up on him, she ended up oiling him up and saving him. The Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio) went on a witch hunt in Emerald City, and when he found a young witch, he used her to kill his council and turn the people of Emerald City against magic even more. Dorothy (Adria Arjona), Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), and Sylvie (Rebeka Rea) all made it to Glinda’s (Joely Richardson) tower. Unfortunately, when Glinda kissed Lucas to give him his memories back, he turned against Dorothy. My full recap and review of last week’s episode is here. This week’s are below!

We start off this week with the Wizard leaving with his army to go get the guns that Ev apparently agreed to make after he shot Anna, whom I assume is dead even though Eamonn (Mido Hamada) got shot in almost the same spot and survived. She probably would’ve been killed by the Wizard even if she did survive, though, but I digress.

West (Ana Ularu) and Tip (Jordan Loughran) pick up in the same field they were in from the last episode. The dagger that Tip has is beautiful, and some of the lines in the scene are just as beautiful and powerful! Every piece of history we learn about the Wizard just makes him worse and worse. He apparently killed the King and Queen of Pastoria to “consolidate power.” He may or may not have killed Princess Ozma, which is where Tip comes in. The dagger is Ozma’s, and she would be about the same age as Tip if she were alive.

Of course, Tip still identifies as male, so being told he may be a princess is a little hard to swallow, but I love that he fights for his ability to choose his own path. It can be so frustrating when everyone around you is telling you what you are supposed to be, and Loughran portrays that frustration excellently.

I love how West says that Ozma means “Leader of Oz.” I’m not sure what about the way she says it is so amazing to me, but her tone and slight accent just added something extra to that line. One of my favorite lines of the series so far is when West tells Tip they were born for greater things; they were born to fly. I just love it! It’s so powerful and hopeful, and I’m so excited for those two to team up and take over!

I feel an epic team-up coming! (David Lukacs/NBC)

Even though Lucas asked for leniency for Dorothy, she’s still being held as a prisoner. The first really big twist of the episode comes in the fact that Lucas/Roan is actually married to Glinda! No one really seems happy about that, viewers and characters alike. I like Dorothy and Lucas together, but as he begins to change back to Roan, it seems like he might not be a great guy. There was obviously some reason he married Glinda in the first place, and we see how he treats the young witches later in the episode, so I think it’ll be very interesting to see where he goes from here when he combines his experience with Dorothy and Sylvie to his past and who he was.

Dorothy finally starts seeing some of the bad of the Wizard. The pregnant lady in her cell tells her the father of her baby was killed by the Wizard because he had betrayed him by sleeping with a councilwoman. I immediately wondered what happened to the pregnant councilwoman from the beginning of the series and the guard she was with. Given how Glinda and the Wizard seem to handle the situation, it seems both of them were probably killed already.

The name changing is starting to get a little confusing/frustrating. Do we use Lucas or Roan? Is it Sylvie or Leith? I don’t know! Since Lucas tells Dorothy to call him Roan, I suppose that means that’s the name he’s going by now, though it seems possible to identify the Lucas type behavior versus the Roan behavior. And since I like Sylvie better than Leith, I’m sticking with that one.

After Roan tries talking Dorothy into lying to Glinda in order to save herself and she refuses, he storms off and I guess has hate sex with Glinda, cause he sure doesn’t look happy about it. When Glinda is clothed again, it’s in another gorgeous gown by Trisha Biggar, the costume designer for the show.

The doors are all magic, so they blend into the walls and can only be opened by witches. It’s pretty cool how they open and close. After Glinda drops Sylvie off with the other young witches and the magic door closes behind them, she sends her perpetually angry assistant to go get rid of Glinda.

Of course, this plan is stopped by the pregnant prisoner being in labor. Honestly, I completely forgot Dorothy was a nurse in Kansas.

Jack gets woken up by a squeaky cart in Queen Ev’s room. As we saw in the last episode, they ended up together after she saved him from the Screaming Forest. Admittedly, I thought the squeaking was Jack moving around at first. After the servants offer breakfast and a bath, which I’m sure brought back great memories of rust for Jack, they offer to oil him up. I guess when you’re at the palace, the servants do that instead of the Queen.

Surprise! (David Lukacs/NBC)

Awhile back, at East’s funeral, we saw West suck out her spells then spit them into a jar. It was pretty gross. We finally get to find out what that was all about in this episode, though. It turns out they don’t keep witches’ ashes when they die, they keep their spells. West has the great idea to have Tip drink East’s spells. Not only is that even more gross than when West spit them into the jar, it’s also dangerous, but Tip reluctantly agrees so he can hopefully turn himself back into a boy. Sprinkle on some West humor, and you’ve got the perfect witchy cocktail.

We get a flashback of the King and Queen of Pastoria carrying a baby and trying to escape an unseen threat. I think we can safely assume these are Tip’s memories as the baby Princess Ozma. I’m both sad and hopeful because of this scene. I’m sad that the King and Queen were killed, so they won’t be involved in the current events. I’m also hopeful that we’ll see and learn more about them as memories and flashbacks, because they seem like really interesting characters, even just from the very brief glimpse we got of them before they were killed by the Lion at the order of the Wizard.

This was our introduction to the Cowardly Lion, though! Aside from trailers, this is the first time we’ve seen this character. He’s not a full, actual lion, but a soldier wearing a lion head. It’s fearsome and intense, and I can’t wait to get more backstory!

I don’t like how Lucas is evolving into Roan. He doesn’t even help Sylvie when she’s getting bullied and turns her food to stone! And Glinda seems just about as evil as the Wizard when she insinuates she’s fine with the pregnant woman and her baby both dying in childbirth. When she takes away the lady’s pain, though, it makes me wonder if she did so just so she wouldn’t have to listen to her screaming or because she might care about others just a little.

Glinda’s beautiful dress can’t get messy by helping the lady in labor! (David Lukacs/NBC)

And of course, Roan runs in when he hears the screaming, thinking it’s Dorothy in trouble. It’s frustrating seeing them together when they can’t be together! They share a moment when the baby’s born, but Glinda forces him out. We find out the Glinda is a very jealous person in this episode, so having Roan in love with Dorothy really makes her mad.

After Tip’s flashback from drinking East’s magic, he apparently died! I was more expecting him to suddenly open his eyes after West thought he was dead, but that didn’t happen. West ends up carrying him to the water below the crypt and releasing his body there, letting him sink below the surface. It wasn’t sad to me because I assumed Tip would come back. It’s one of the few times something predictable has happened in this show, even if it didn’t happen completely as I expected.

We get another scene with Jane (Gina McKee) in this episode! It’s been awhile since we’ve seen her, but after Queen Ev kicked Jack out of the castle while she was inspecting the guns they made, he decides to go visit her. It turns out the Queen fired her for refusing to make the weapons, but one of the sweetest lines of the episode is when she reminds Jack he was afraid he’d lost his heart, and she tells him that’s not possible.

Glinda ends up taking Dorothy to see all the witches they’ve pushed too far, similar to the young witch that West had to kill after the Wizard used her to kill his council. They’re all locked in a room together and are stuck in various catatonic states. Since Dorothy is a healer and the Wizard thinks there’s something special enough about her to send her on a mission to kill Glinda, then Glinda wants her to heal the girls or be killed. I have no clue how she would even start doing that, considering Glinda can’t even fix them.

Yeah, Glinda’s pretty evil. (David Lukacs/NBC)

West is having such a hard time considering she just watched her last hope sink to the bottom of the crypt. She had put so much belief in Tip being Princess Ozma that it crushed her when he died. Add to that the fact Glinda is still hiding South from her, and she’s not doing well. Glinda’s interaction with her just made me dislike her even more. She also showed even more jealousy since apparently South favored West over Glinda.

Is it surprising the witch wearing all white is actually the evil one? (David Lukacs/NBC)

Back in Ev, Jack ends up fighting with the Queen for firing Jane. He accuses her of being heartless by using people for her benefit. She thinks she can prove you can’t love something unless you own it by setting him free. I think it’s a self-fulling prophecy, since he would really be leaving because she used people and not because she no longer owned him.

Roan ends up bringing another unconscious girl to the room where Dorothy is. It just doesn’t seem like the character we knew to not care that they are destroying these girls. He walked away from Sylvie once already, so now I’m curious if he really would let her be used in battle and possibly drained of her magic or killed. I’m also curious how he got through the door. He isn’t a magic wielder himself, and the witch he had was unconscious. Did someone let him in? Is it set to open for him when he approaches?

Dorothy is worried about Sylvie, too, and when her emotions flare up, her gauntlets appear. She ends up locking him in the room and heading down the hall till a door opens into Glinda’s room, where she’s sleeping. Her method of killing her was an interesting choice. She wraps her up in her sheets and hangs her in the air with the power of the gauntlets. Roan stops her, which also makes me wonder how he got out of the room. He didn’t catch her immediately, so it seems to have taken a little time to open the door, but no one stopped Dorothy in the hallway, so it doesn’t seem there was someone out there to open it for him.

Strangled by your own sheets would be pretty intense… (David Lukacs/NBC)

I’m extremely sad that Sylvie doesn’t go with Dorothy. I’m also sad that Roan kind of seems to want to get out from under the “spell” Dorothy has on him. Of course, Glinda tells him the only way to do that is to kill her. I don’t see that happening, but I guess we’ll find out!

Another twist from this episode happens at Ev when the Wizard shows up to collect his weapons. I don’t know why he expected the Queen to actually work with him after she has blamed him for her parents’ deaths multiple times and threatened him with war. I guess he thought he was all powerful and his show-of-force against Anna would make the Queen fall in line. Regardless, he was wrong. The soldiers line up along the walkways to greet the Wizard, and when he asks for his guns, they point them at him and his battalion. I’m so curious what’s going to happen here!

The finally huge twist of the episode is the reveal of who the Lion actually is! I made a joke to myself back at the beginning that it was Eamonn because his hair looks vaguely like a lion’s mane. Well, it turns out it actually is Eamonn! I really wouldn’t classify him as cowardly, though, but considering the Tin Man is partially mechanical with a metal heart and the Scarecrow isn’t lacking a brain but his memories of who he is, perhaps the Cowardly Lion isn’t so much afraid of everything, but is more spineless in that he’ll do whatever the Wizard tells him. I still love Eamonn as a character, and his being the Lion just added a whole other depth to him!

Yeah, I didn’t really see that one coming! (Emerald City Twitter)

Side note, Eamonn should go casual more often! The billowy shirt and leather pants are a perfect combination on him. It’s one of the few men’s costumes I’ve commented on, as the women’s are usually more extravagant, but it looks awesome on him, so I have to give a compliment where due.

After West flies back to her temple in Emerald City, she has really lost it. Not only is she talking to herself now, she’s also reliving her memories of when she drugged her fellow witches before sending them into battle to die. It’s such an emotional scene, and Ularu does an amazing job, as usual! I’m so sad that she’s been through so much. She ends up at least attempting to kill herself, but while she’s lying on the floor dying, we hear footsteps in the temple. As soon as I heard those, I knew it was Tip. When he stands over West, he tells her that it (the whole drinking the spells thing) worked! Now we just have to save West!!

If West dies, I riot! (David Lukacs/NBC)

What are you looking forward to in the last two episodes of the season? I know I’m very much hoping for a second season after this!


Emerald City airs on Fridays at 9/8c on NBC. You can watch all of the episodes on the NBC app or site. And don’t forget to check back each week for a new recap and review!

Kayce Taylor

Kayce Taylor nurtured a healthy love of video games from an early age. Growing up in small-town Missouri offered plenty of free time to play the likes of Kirby, Mario (of all varieties), 007, and more. Though she was raised in a Star Wars family, her husband showed her the undeniable power of Star Trek, and she's been a fan of both ever since. If she were only allowed to watch one show for the rest of her life, she would pick The Office without hesitation. She recently began exploring photography, and even more recently went to her first comicon. She loves sci-fi/fantasy and dreams of going to Hogwarts and/or meeting a Shadowhunter.

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