So the next few weeks of recaps from me will be a little weird because I’m covering The Librarians AND Sleepy Hollow in one post. My ratings systems for each of the shows will not change from previous recaps, although you will inevitably notice I rate each of them differently. Librarians gives us an excellent romp in a town overrun by fairytales, but Sleepy Hollow’s a (not entirely worthless) letdown involving angels and demons. Funnily enough, the title of this week’s Sleepy Hollow was actually referenced in The Librarians: Jacob Stone looks at a very old tome and geeks out. “The Annotated Paradise Lost?!” According to Jenkins, we don’t wanna know who it’s annotated by.
Is it Satan? I bet it’s Satan.
The Librarians: “And the Fables of Doom”
The Librarians continues to be a holy blessing on my TV each week. Despite the episodes airing in a different order than the minds behind the show intended, the week-to-week continuity hasn’t suffered terribly. This week the Librarians show up in a “quaint” little town that’s slowly racking up some odd incidents: a woman stuffed into her pizza oven, the mayor running naked, a giant wolf in a nightcap, and a truck driver crossing a bridge and being picked up by a troll. The Librarians know something magical is afoot, but only with Jenkins’ assistance as more events accrue do they determine what long-lost artifact is in play. The Libris Fabula is a storybook that brings tales to life, hence all the fairy-tale and fable-like events around town. But all magic comes at a cost – in this case, the Libris Fabula brings stories to life by draining the life of someone else.
Hospital incident reports help them track the start of events to three weeks back, which lines up with the death and donated collection of a rare book owner. Among those books donated is the Libris Fabula, which the town’s librarian (Rene Auberjonois) is reading to a sick young girl named Jamie. The Librarians are putting together the pieces of Jamie’s mystery illness and the collection when they realize they are are being sucked into the fairy-tales as well. Jake is the Huntsman a la Red Riding Hood, Eve is a princess, and Cassandra’s Prince Charming. But these are in the fashion of the original folklore, full of “death and dismemberment” rather than happy endings.
Luck, however, is literally on the side of Ezekiel, who finds himself in the role of the Jack: the only character who ever actually gets away unscathed. Ezekiel confronts the not-so-kindly librarian, who is using Jamie’s life force and the book to renew himself. The book is powerful enough now that he can change the stories, which he uses to kill the rest of the team. Ezekiel rolls a natural twenty on his defense and gets the book away long enough for Jamie to re-write the story and save his friends.
Verdict: 9 out of 10. Loads better than last week — which wasn’t BAD, per se, but — “Fables” has a much stronger story and better pacing. Flynn’s appearance last week threw the dynamic of the team off, particularly for Eve Baird. This week, however, she’s back in charge, at least until Cassandra fully embraces her Prince Charming role in the episode’s climax. Even when she’s slotted in the Princess role, Eve is never, not once, a damsel in distress. She’s still a fighter, even though she’s magically forced to do it in heels. Later, Jamie re-writes her as a ninja princess – +5 for feminism.
Cassandra as Prince Charming was excellent, especially since there are so many ways it could have been written wrong. There’s no expectation of heteronormativity because a woman happens to be in the prince role: all the women in town keep making eyes at Cassandra and buying her drinks. When they find Red Riding Hood in the wolf’s stomach, it’s Cassandra who gets all the credit even though Jake did the actual saving. As a prince Cassie finds confidence we really haven’t seen in her before. The closest would be last week when she was under the effect of the apple, but this time she’s devoted to protecting people rather than killing them.
Quote of the Episode:
Jenkins is probably going to be the quip-king of this show. His analogy for vending machines is pure gold.
P.S. If you love attention to detail, re-watch for the changes to the characters’ clothes as they get deeper in their roles, or Jenkins’ chalkboard full of 57 magical items.
Sleepy Hollow: “Paradise Lost”
*SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMS FROM THE ROOFTOPS* FRANK IRVING LIIIIIIIIVES AGAIIIIN!!
…Oh, right. You’re here to actually talk about the REST of the episode, aren’t you? Everything is upside down. No, for real – we even got a cinematic symbol of it when the Headless Horseman walks free down the tunnel and the camera flips upside down. In my last recap/review, I pondered pretty loudly, “What the hell happens now?” That’s the theme of the episode, re-invention: it’s been six weeks of quiet since Moloch’s destruction, and Abbie and Ichabod are forced to question what Post-Witness lives they could lead.
After avoiding it for a weeks, they don’t actually get to spend that much time on the topic. Because demons–surprise!–are looking for a master to replace Moloch, and they’ve set their sights on the Headless Horseman. This sets everyone’s allegiances topsy-turvy. Abbie and Ichabod meet an angel named Orion; having escaped from Purgatory the night of Moloch’s defeat, he’s devoted to hunting down evil, particularly the Horseman. Abbie’s gung-ho about taking their new winged buddy to the masonic cell , but Ichabod faces a dilemma when Katrina tells him of her hope to reverse the Horseman’s transformation and “save” Abraham. Since Henry’s in the wind, Abraham’s become her new cause. I’m just glad she found a new outfit during that six week time-skip.
Jenny and Hawley are unfortunately relegated to supporting roles this week. They have a sub-plot of their own, sort of. Despite previous episodic evidence that Hawley’s digging on Abbie, he’s apparently jealous that Jenny’s hitting the dating scene. Hawley, you can’t have it both ways, dude! Tell your writers they can do a better job at making you a complicated human being. The subplot is quickly pushed aside once one of Hawley’s demon artifacts helps them track down where the escaped Horseman (THANKS, KATRINA!) is hiding.
Abbie’s newfound guardian angel ends up a disappointment, though why she didn’t know right away from his Twilight eyes is beyond me. Turns out Orion’s a religious zealot who wants to purge humankind of all evil. So with his Xena Circle O’Doom he plans to take the power of the Horseman for his own, deciding who lives and who dies. Remember what I said about topsy-turvy allegiances? Suddenly the audience is rooting for the Headless Horseman to WIN. Team Witness distracts Orion long enough to shatter his chakram and save the Horseman, making the angel fly off in a huff.
Verdict: Kind of an underwhelming return from hiatus, but I don’t think the episodes were written with the break in mind. Our next episode is two weeks from now and it’s the LAST of the season. Convenient of the promo people not to say anything about that, though. Anyway, I give it a 2.5 out of 5. There were some pretty wilderness shots and good use of cameras, but not a strong story. I used to spend SH episodes feeling the tension of suspense and excitement. Not so this time. Truthfully, I was expecting Abraham to be a red herring and the shady demons were going to take Henry as their master. I miss Henry. I want more Jenny. BUT AT LEAST IRVING’S ALIVE. I mean, he’s probably among the escapees from Purgatory, but apparently he’s got no memory of it? Also, how pathetic of a fangirl am I for recognizing Orlando Jones by the bottoms of his feet? The mystery behind Irving’s return is the best thing out of this episode. I mean, it’s good that Katrina, Abbie, and Ichabod were of somewhat different minds than usual this week, but they still butted heads in a counterproductive fashion like always. At least we know God’s agender, so Orion wasn’t a total bust. Still no word on dinosaurs, though.
Quote of the Episode: So, I’m a terrible person. I cackled during Ichabod’s serious speech to Abbie about Abraham. “I saw a sliver of that man in the Gorgon’s cave. And Katrina has seen much more.”
…Damn right she has.