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This is the official blog of Phoenix Roleplaying, a multi-genre simming site, created in August 2010.

Run by the players, we hope to achieve great things.

Where our journey takes us, who knows.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Club Magicana, drinks aren't free (Review: 'The Librarians' 2.7, "And the Image of Image")

Since I reviewed the first episodes of this TNT series last year, The Librarians, the follow-up to the TV movie trilogy starring Noah Wyle (ER, Falling Skies) has become one of my favourite shows. It's very fun to watch, doesn't take itself too seriously and has great stories, with well thought out updates on ancient stories.

The second season has if anything improved further; everyone knows what they're doing and there's something enjoyable every week.

This review contains spoilers.

****
The overall plot of the second season deals with the Librarians (plural - Flynn Carsen is now joined by the three others from the first episode, promoted to junior Librarians in their own right) having to face the threat of Prospero, the magician from The Tempest made real by the sheer number of tellings of said play and out to take over the world, with the aid of Moriarty, who seems to have a thing for Colonel Baird. You really don't need to be aware of this to enjoy this episode at all, which finds Cassandra and Jacob in London (more on that later) after a day of research heading for a drink... when a woman is hit by an 'invisible car' just outside a trendy nightclub. They soon discover that other accidents have occurred connected with it; people with no history of drug use having overdoses for example... and their magical 'clippings books' that alert them to stuff like this haven't logged it.

Thus Colonel Baird and her team of geniuses must enter a new and deadly arena of battle... they're going clubbing. At a club it turns out is owned by one Dorian Gray...

****

Flynn isn't in this episode at all, which is no loss - he's best in small doses, I've found.

Eve Baird, the Guardian (who it has been established is more there to prevent the Librarian from going power-mad than to protect his/her life; Flynn Carsen's 11 years so far in post is very long by the Library's standards, with it being mentioned here that they once went through three in eight months) continues to combine tactical skills with earthly grounding and an intense degree of snark. As well as, in this episode, a low cut corset and tight leather trousers. Rebecca Romijn was a former Victoria's Secret model (a reflection - this Victoria woman is useless at keeping secrets) but is far more than that. She's genuinely very funny in this episode, as the out of her comfort zone Eve and makes some good comments on how she's been perceived as just a sex object in the past. Also, "Worst. Plan. Ever!"

If Cassandra Cillian was in Doctor Who, the Daily Mail would be running (heavily illustrated) articles about her outfits - she wears shorter skirts than Amy Pond. Anyway... Lindy Booth is a lot more than a woman with a high Charisma stat (seriously, someone needs to make a RPG book of this), she's a superb actor and hilarious in this episode, in which Cassandra, through no fault of her own I should add, ends up very drunk, then very hungover - including some corkers when she does her hand-wavy math thing, akin to those bits in the Minority Report movie only in the air and a purple rhino turns up. Seriously, I don't know which of those Cassandra bits was funnier, drunk or hungover - an honourable mention goes to the slo-mo power walk in which Cassie ends up stacking it in heels.

Jacob Stone also has some great scenes, including an argument with a bouncer over the comparative literary talent of the US and UK, as well as having to make an ad hoc defibrillator to use on an unconscious woman. He also makes a brilliant point about selfies and historical portraits.

Eziekel Jones, resident thief and hacker (his clipping book is electronic) also gets some superb material. We learn that his way of dealing with retina scanners - hack the company that makes them so his own eyes are already logged (Hardison from Leverage is kicking himself for not thinking of that one) and that he continues to be a vain narcissist, but still on the side of the goodies.

Jenkins, the immortal caretaker of the Library, who is in fact Galahad, one of the Knights of the Round Table, whose job is to provide the team with information and guidance, as well as slightly disturbing stories about his routines and chorus scenes... Right, that's my Python reference done. He too is excellent here, played superbly by the multi-Emmy winner John Larroquette.

Humour is something that runs deep through this series; with many a comic line or moment. Things I've not mentioned are "Ezekiel. Be a comb", Cassandra's fascination with Eve's face (the show is dropping major hints that she is bisexual) and a line about Jenkins having gotten grey.

The villain is Dorian Gray, who is not in fact fictional here, but an immortal whose power is now based on selfies and the power of the Cloud to divert his sins onto others - this show is a genius at updating these stories to the present day. The way he is defeated is also clever.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner... but I do tend to pay special attention to works set there made by foreign networks. There are some howlers here - the use of some American English terms not used in British English ("blocks", "cellphones") and some of the accents are more than a bit off - the only real Brit was the bouncer.

Conclusion

Minor niggles aside, this is a superb bit of television and it's a shame we only got 10 episodes a year... but we will be getting a third season of this, something confirmed on Tuesday. This makes me very happy.

9/10

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