This week's episode was pretty simple "magical artifact of the week" deal, but, as usual, was completely entertaining. It was like cotton candy: It doesn't need to be super-unique or substantial if it's delicious and exactly what you expected when you bought it.
Let's start with a question I've been getting a lot: Do I recommend this show? And the answer is... maybe. Yeah, that's a total cop-out. But there are some people who don't have the time to devote a lot of time to TV and prefer to restrict themselves to a couple of truly excellent shows. And there are others that aren't huge fans of this kind of fun, fluffy TV. For them, I wouldn't champion it as a must-watch. I might tell them it's fun and to catch it if they can, though.
However, for people who do love B-movie-style TV shows written with enough wit to make them solidly entertaining and very fun every week, then I absolutely recommend it. Another thing to recommend it are that it's an ensemble show, focusing on a team as a whole. If found family tropes are in your catnip, as it is mine, then watch it. It's bolstered by some strong performances — I'm still kind of reeling from John Larroquette's excellent comedic and dramatic turn last week — and great comedic timing in the actors and writers.
So yes, definitely join me on Sundays to watch it if that strikes your fancy.
Now, on to the actual recap. Spoilers now...
As already mentioned, the plot wasn't anything too unexpected given the realm this show operates in. There's a town experiencing fairy tales come to life, and the Librarians show up to investigate and stop it. Of course, while there, they get caught up in the magic of the stories, too.
The culprit is a book called the Libris Fabula, which drains the life of people hearing its stories while it makes them real. It also, we learn, gives life to the one reading the book. In a nice twist, we find out that the nice librarian — lower case 'l' — who has been reading to the sick girl isn't doing anything by mistake. He's honestly pissed that he's going to die of old age and no one in the town he's served will remember him. Also, he's Rene Auberjonois:
Surprise evil! Rene Auberjonois!
The town is living out the fairy tales, with the roles being matched to those who kind of fit them. So a young girl who skips out of work early in a red sweater becomes Little Red Riding Hood and is eaten by wolf, the mayor becomes the emperor in "The Emperor's New Clothes," etc. etc.
As for our characters, once the spell gets a hold of them, they, as heroes, become the heroes of the stories: Baird becomes a princess (Cinderella, if her penchant for losing shoes is any indication), Cassandra becomes Prince Charming, and Stone the Huntsman. I will treasure the double take Christian Kane makes when a bird suddenly appears on his arm forever.
Actually, I will treasure all three of their metamorphosing clothes:
Cassandra's peacoat and scarf acquired braid and became a cravat and Baird's vest became a corset and her hair left its practical bun and grew. Plus, her anguished "Why am I in heels?!" is so perfect and so true in terms of practicality.
Ezekiel gets to be himself, since Jenkins keeps saying that the only person who doesn't suffer in fairy tales is the "Jack" — the lovable thief who uses deceit to get ahead. Puss in Boots, for example. The book gives him incredible luck, leading him to the girl being used by the evil librarian and letting him help the girl re-write the story and saving everyone.
It's the little touches that make this show fun. Like Baird and Cassandra distracting a bar owner as Ezekiel and Stone sneak the Wolf out of his freezer. Or everything on Jenkin's suspects list:
And in particular: Loki's Spear:
Look, it could be that this was a reference to the mistletoe spear that Loki uses in a trick that kills Balder, but given that it's on a list of things that warp reality, I'm going to go ahead and call this one a Marvel shout-out.
(Also: Someone explain to me "Scandinavian swans," which are on the list.)
Other bits of joy are discovering that "the genie's lamp" is the Library's version of Lupus: It's never the genie's lamp and the list of fairy tale ailments the town has been seeing:
- "Farm down the way claim they heard voices from the barn full of animals" (Could be many talking animal stories, I'm pretending it was Animal Farm, which I am aware isn't a fairy tale,just because it makes me laugh the most)
- Girl went to a music festival never came back. (I think this turned out to be Red Riding Hood)
- Old Mrs. Stubbins got stuck in her pizza oven
- A boy getting sick after eating a piece of siding off of his house
- Food poisoning at a local apple farm
- Local woman paranoid that her stepchildren were trying to kill her.
And finally, the best bit of the night goes, of course, to John Larroquette and his delivery of Jenkins' dissertation on vending machines:
I adore these. They're like miniature apartment buildings. And when you hit the right numbers, the occupant of your choice leaps to his death. And becomes your snack.
I swear, if it turns out that he has to sacrifice himself to stop Dulaque and leaves the show at the end of the season, I am going to burn this show to the ground.
If I had one complaint, it would be that both this week and last week had an artifact causing the team to act out of character and the humor — seeing everyone in a different light — in both relies heavily on us knowing these characters well enough to laugh at how out of character they're acting. Because it's only been a handful of episodes, these characters are mostly still archetypes to us. So laughing at them being out of character requires much broader jokes than ones specifically tailored to them. Also, it's Ezekiel again whose nature makes him the hero of the episode.
But, overall, a strong and fun episode. Now, to go find a vending machine to play god with.