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THE LIBRARIANS: Journey to the Center of the Library

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Season 2, Episode 2 “And the Broken Staff”

The team is back together, Eve is calling for all hands on deck, and Flynn is sulking. He wants Eve to himself and doesn’t want to share her with work…or with the other Librarians, either.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he’s hit puberty.  He’ll have to suck it up and be a team player, though, because although they managed to dissipate Prospero’s tempest, they were not able to catch him or his assistant, James Moriarty, before they jumped through an inter-dimensional portal at the end of the last episode.

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Prospero, Shakespeare’s wizard, has outgrown the typical rules that bind the book-born Fictionals to their stories.  Instead, he has discovered free will and is re-writing his original narrative.  To restore his powers, he needs his drowned book (check), and his broken staff.  It’s now a race to see who can get the staff first.

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Jenkins briefs the team about the broken staff, which was lost 400 years ago, and they split up to do some research about where it might be, or where Prospero might take it for repairs if he retrieves it first.  Flynn, thinking that he know exactly where it is, hopes to bring Eve with him on the more dangerous mission and leave the team to work safely in the Library on “Plan B.”

Flynn: “I can get that staff in two jiffs of a lamb’s tail—that’s a thing, right?”

Flynn and Eve go off to the ruins of John Dee’s Estate in England, a wizard friend of Shakespeare.  Flynn suspects that Shakespeare would have wanted to hide the pieces of the staff as close to the heart of his own center of power over his audience: the practice stage at John Dee’s Estate (or what’s left of it).  They find a case under the old practice stage with an unusual lock.  Eve again shows her genius by surmising that the password would probably be words, and right she is; she even knew the right words to use.

They open the case and find a note.  I was beginning to think it might be one of those “National Treasure” type scavenger hunts, but instead, they find a simple note left by a Librarian about 400 years ago, who took the staff.  This likely means that the staff is back at the Library, where they started.  At least the note wasn’t signed “R.A.B.”

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Little does the team know that Prospero has another plan.  Instead of going after his original staff, he’ll make another from the tree of knowledge that grows at the heart of the Library.  In fact, he’s already invaded the Library, manifesting himself from the original copy of The Tempest: the same book that Jenkins has gone to fetch for reference.  Prospero also calls forth Moriarty to aid him, and after some bullying that doesn’t sit well with Moriarty, he commands Ariel, the sprite in his pocket watch, to use his magic to find the heart of the Library.  Ariel is unsuccessful: the path is too well protected, and so they need another plan.  Enter Jenkins, stage left.  Jenkins explains that he cannot lead them to the heart of the Library, as it exists on another plane than the Library itself.  Prospero & Moriarty exit with a plan, trapping Jenkins in a block of ice before they disappear.

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As the team are looking for clues about the staff, one of my favorite scenes was Ezekiel combing the vast card catalog and having some trouble finding relevant references for “staff.”  Anyone who has ever used a library card catalog for research before the advent of computer databases will appreciate his frustrations.

Jacob: “Cross-reference ‘staff’ with ‘broken’”

Ezekiel: “How?!  It’s not like it’s a search engine!”

Jacob: “what do you mean…you don’t know how to use a card catalog?”

Ezekiel: “It’s the 21st century!  I don’t know how to shoe a horse, either!”

Jacob goes off to check on Jenkins and finds the Library alarm sounding and the doors locked against intruders; he can’t get in.  The team deduces that Prospero must be in there with him.  Determined to rescue Jenkins, Jacob fetches an axe to break the doors, but he’s stopped by Ezekiel, who points out that this is an alpha-level alert—a basic intruder lockdown, and not a high-level alert.  Jenkins probably did that on purpose to give them the heads up.

Jacob: “How do you know that?  You never pay attention to anything!”

Ezekiel:  “Because I read the security manual—first thing I do in any building.”

He assures Jacob and Cassandra that it’s a low-level alarm, and it has a backdoor password that he can hack.

Cassandra:  “It DOES?”

Ezekiel: “Am I the ONLY one who reads the security manuals?”

Jacob: “So stop playing with your phone and FIND IT!”

Of course, Ezekiel is not playing with the phone — he’s looking for another copy of Shakespeare’s works.  He finds what he’s looking for at the local library, and the three of them go together to check out a book. (So now they are inseparable?)  After some Shark Tank-like negotiations with the young girl who has just checked out the volume they need (and 75 dollars later), they have the book.

Flynn and Eve return to the Library, where the Librarians are trying to look up the password that will turn off the alarm and end the lock-down to get in and help Jenkins.  Flynn uses a clap to shut off the obnoxious buzzer (I guess that wasn’t in the manual), and they enter the doors without further ado.  They are in for a surprise, though, as Prospero has released some hired muscle from a couple of books.  Meet “team fiction:” the crazy Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, and Mary Shelly’s monster from Frankenstein.

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They release Jenkins from his block of ice, and the team must pursue the villains to the Library’s heart, and protect the Tree of Knowledge.  Jenkins finally admits that the Library has been going a little bonkers, what with losing artifacts and rooms shifting and all, which may make their pursuit a little more challenging.  Prospero has Ariel, who can guide him, but they are stuck without a clue as to how to get there, now that the Library is going through this evolution of sorts.  Eve is just full of ideas in these first two episodes—comparing schematics of the Library from Jenkins’ notes, she suggests that they can triangulate the location from the older, stationary rooms and navigate their way to the heart.  They split into three teams with their navigational light-beam equipment and hope to find the heart before Moriaty and Prospero can get there and do unimaginable harm.

Eve and Jacob meet the Queen of Hearts, who promptly tries to relieve them of their heads.  Jacob distracts her as Eve sets up a trap, sending her back into the looking glass when she attacks Eve through her own reflection.

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Flynn and Ezekiel must figure a way to best Frankenstein’s monster, who is set on destroying everyone because he is doomed to look this way forever.  Ezekiel suggest a little plastic surgery and a career in sports, which appeals to the monster, as does a smart phone with a dating app, and the next thing you know, the two of them are trolling for dates on Ezekiel’s phone.

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Their enemies subdued, each team gets their equipment set up and Eve & Flynn are carried like particles along the light beams to meet at the heart of the Library, which looks like a forest full of trees.  They arrive just in time to distract Prospero, and Eve steals the watch that contains Ariel, pursed by Moriarty as Flynn splits off to protect the Tree of Knowledge.  Eve knows how Moriarty’s story ends, and threatens to throw the watch over the edge of a cliff.  They both understand that he would be obliged to follow to his doom, as happened before in his original demise at Richenbach Falls; however, Moriarty appeals to her logical nature.  If she hands it over, he will take it and quit the battle.  She give in, returning the watch to him, and he is true to his word—at least for now.  (He didn’t say anything about quitting the war….)

Prospero chases Flynn to the Tree of Knowledge, and rather than let Prospero take a branch from it for a new staff, Flynn burns it to the ground.  Prospero exits, promising his vengeance.  Of course, the old and gnarly tree that Flynn destroyed wasn’t the tree of knowledge at all, but a decoy.  Flynn was uncertain what tree he burned.  Hmmm…maybe it was the tree of wisdom?

So the day is saved and the regroup at the Library, where Jenkins reports more weird disappearing artifacts and new rooms popping up.  Eve & Flynn argue over what’s more important: making the Library more secure or finding the disappearing artifacts.  They part ways: Flynn leaves to gather the missing items, and Eve is joined by the rest of the team to help improve the security system and inventory for any more missing artifacts.

Jacob generally seems a little angrier in this episode, which actually made his scenes with Ezekiel more humorous.  I’d have to say that it suits him, and it also counter-balances the group dynamics.

Eve seems to be acting more like a Librarian than a Guardian.  I was surprised that she gave in to Moriarty and handed over such a powerful magical object like the Sprite-containing watch (like that wasn’t a security risk?).  She and Moriarty must have bonded when they had their little heart-to-heart talk in the last episode.  At any rate, Eve is now solving puzzles and thinking outside the Guardian box with the best of them, which leads me to another question:  Why is there only one Guardian, now that there are 4 Librarians (5, if you count Jenkins)?  Shouldn’t there be a back-up for when they have to split up?  We’ve seen Jacob hold his own in a fight, and Ezekiel has some Oliver Twist street smarts that can help him slip through some very tight spots.  Cassandra, on the other hand, seemed to be drawn to the more intellectual activities when she was on her own (at least, we didn’t see her in any direct danger before the team re-formed), so perhaps hasn’t needed the type of protection that a Guardian provides.  Even so, it seems odd that Flynn should be allowed to go off without a Guardian (again).  Perhaps Eve will requisition another Guardian to be stationed at the Library full-time, or something like that, now that it’s under attack. Who knows what Fictionals could enter through the very books that reside within, and whether they will join Prospero, or side with those bound to protect the Library?

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