It’s so good to have The Librarians back. It remains one of the most fun shows on TV. As well as one which made me feel bad about the death of a mostly inanimate gargoyle.
After the first two episodes established the big threat of season 2—Prospero and his deputy, Moriarty, who have sprung into life from the land of fiction—the third episode dealt with the backstory of Stone. We met his father and understood a little bit more about why he’s been publishing his academic papers under pseudonyms: his father was a dick.
But “And the Cost of Education” is my favorite of the season so far. It showcased the team at its best and had a fair amount of character development for Cassandra. Plus, I think this episode clocked in at the most jokes per minute of any.
The mascot of Wexler University goes missing, which prompts a Jenkins lecture. to Ezekiel. Wexler is, in the show’s universe, a weirdness magnet of epic proportions. Which means that there is a list of things not to do:
The Librarians has the best blackboard comedy of any show currently on the air. Also, I think we all knew that Ezekiel would break at least one of these. (It’s the gargoyle one, which is not as sinister as it sounds, it turns out. It does mean that Ezekiel gets a little gargoyle that follows him around that he names “Stumpy” and who makes puppy noises, which is adorable. Right until the monster breaks it into pieces.)
Wexler was founded by Josiah Wexler, who was a bit of an occultist. Which he built into his school in the form of rituals and architecture. And there’s clearly some sort of weirdness filter that the students have, since Cassandra and Baird have this exchange with the head cheerleader:
Cheerleader: Yeah sure, happens all the time. Just like every other college. 1 in 5 Wexler students just disappear and transfer out in the middle of the night. The usual.
Baird: Actually super unusual.
Cheerleader: I still don’t get where Peter went though. Oh, maybe he found out where the volleyball team went after that away game. All we found was a bus full of empty clothes. Great prank, huh?
Cassandra: Prank. Terrifying conundrum.
Cheerleader: And we didn’t even have a wart outbreak this year. You know, those warts that give you screaming nightmares?
Baird: Also not a thing.
Wexler sounds like fun. I mean, you’ve got to love its founder:
As is always the case with occult-y places in fiction, the super-creepy buildings form the points of a pentagram in a magic summoning circle. In the process, Cassandra meets Lucy, her mini-me: a brilliant scientist who’s become fascinated with magic. And who has built a mini-particle accelerator, in defiance of the laws of physics. But not the laws of magic, which she’s accidentally performed and summoned one of the Elder Gods. Oops.
Lucy’s insistence on fixing what she broke also manages to attract the great tentacled one which, as per Jenkins, we find out punishes hubris by eating people who are boastful. Cassandra, fueled by her sympathy to Lucy, decides to go into the dimensional rift that the thing keeps popping out of to get her back. In order to keep it distracted while she does that, we get my new favorite thing of all time: Stone and Ezekiel on a golf cart, dodging tentacles, while Stone baits Ezekiel into talking about how awesome he is. Stone is in physical pain as he says things like “You could take me in a fight.”
Cassandra makes it into the other realm, where she saves Lucy and is in turn saved by three women in a lake, led by Beth Riesgraf. Her character may have another name, but she will always be Parker from Leverage to me. I am sad that she wasn’t in this episode as Parker, so that she and Ezekiel could have a thief-off. I guess I’ll always have fanfic.
The three lake women say that they are a group of people who have mastered magic and science, and they want Cassandra to join them. She refuses, for now, and gets a warning from Jenkins that the Lake has always been “aggressive” in their use of magic. And that the Library’s prudence when it comes to magic isn’t fear. We also saw that Lucy’s work was funded by the Lake Foundation, which speaks to them interfering all over the place. Bets that they’re behind Prospero in some way?
This season’s already shaping up to be a bit more nuanced in the “keeping magic secret” versus “aggressive use of it” debate than season one was. Good and evil was pretty black and white last year, but now we have a sense that the Library is out of whack and magic is not going back in its bottle too easily. Cassandra isn’t wrong that Lucy couldn’t be convinced magic wasn’t real. Responsible use might actually be the appropriate middle path. We’ll see, I guess.
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