Welcome, friends! I will be your guide, nitpicker and Snarkmaster-in-Chief for this season of The Librarians! This really is a fun show which probably doesn't get nearly the credit that it should.
It really has a lot going for it, especially its tongue-in-cheek humor, particularly between Noah Wyle's Flynn and Rebecca Romijn's Eve. Those two seem to have so much fun on screen together; as TV couples go, they're a hoot.
The Librarians Season 2 Episode 1 kicked off with a quick flashback to the end of last season, with the return of magic to the world. We got to see a mysterious man, later revealed as Prospero, use magic to conjure up a character (later revealed as Moriarty) out of a copy of Sherlock Holmes.
Curiously, the page Prospero opened to was from "The Adventure of the Dancing Men," a story that incidentally does not feature Moriarty at all. The titular dancing men (clearly visible in the close-up shot) are actually part of a transposition cipher that two characters used to communicate.
There are a few other Sherlock Holmes references in the episode, as well. For instance, when Flynn first met Moriarty, they engaged in a little deduction war with each other; what each of them is doing is popularly called a Sherlock scan. In the same conversation, Flynn also described his deduction of Moriarty's (false) identity as being "elementary".
One of the problems I had with the first episode was the whole idea that the Librarians had split up and basically gone independent of each other since the last season, to the point where they were each so consumed with doing their own thing that they completely and utterly missed the big picture.
My problem isn't so much that I think that this couldn't happen; my problem is that it really feels like a been-there-done-that. Team not working together, realizes that only by working together can they be truly epic and save the day.
It's an old story, one that's been done a thousand times, and I don't think they brought anything new to the table here with this episode.
In fact, it was downright frustrating when the individual Librarians each managed to screw up their part of the mission for no good reason, the most egregious being Ezekiel and the earrings. You had one job, Jones.
It's played much more effectively on an individual basis with Flynn Carsen in The Librarians Season 2 Episode 2. Flynn is a well-established character who actually has a reason for doing things a particular way and not adapting to change very well, so it made a lot more sense for him to come into conflict with Eve over planning things out versus seat-of-your-pants style of doing things.
Flynn featured heavily in these episodes; that bit at the beginning of "And the Drowned Book" with Flynn and Eve being chased by angry villagers was classic.
Flynn: Eve, trust me. They'll never know we were here. [Scene cuts to Flynn and Eve running from angry villagers.] Aaah! They know we're here!
Eve: They probably noticed when you made the volcano erupt!
Flynn: It was a very small volcano.
Unfortunately, the second episode concluded with Flynn going off under what felt like awfully contrived circumstances. Hopefully, since Falling Skies is now concluded, this will free up Noah Wyle to show up more often on The Librarians, as I really enjoy him on this show.
The Librarians Season 2 Episode 2 was actually much better than its predecessor, with the Librarians trying to stop Prospero from reaching the Heart of the Library, where he planned to acquire a new staff made from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve made a good point, though:
Seriously?! That's the third time this place has been broken into since I started working here!Eve
Even after Flynn tricked Prospero into blowing that popsicle stand, they were still left with what smells like a season arc of what's wrong with the Library. Plus, there's the question of where the pieces of Prospero's original staff are. If a past Librarian did inded take them, why didn't they end up in the Library?
Lastly, I'd like to mention briefly something that is more of a head scratcher than anything else: of all the remarkable characters the Shakespeare (metaphorically) brought to life, the one that actually does step off the page is... Prospero? Not to throw shade on "The Tempest," but I really don't think it's as popular or iconic as, say, "Hamlet" or "Romeo and Juliet."
A few assorted miscellaneous thoughts before I sign off:
- There were several direct references in "And the Drowned Book" to the first Librarian TV movie, which came out in 2004. In "The Librarian: Quest for the Spear," Flynn Carsen was first recruited to the Library and then tracked down the Spear of Destiny.
- I'm not sure Moriarty really appreciates being told to "Come, villain!" by Prospero. Sorta comes across as "Heel, boy!", doesn't it? And is it wrong that Moriarty comes across as actually rather funny?
- I wonder if Christian Kane had any flashbacks during the scene near the beginning when the Librarians all met up outside the museum . There were a couple very similar scenes in Leverage, a series I remember quite fondly.
- The whole deal with "Macbeth" being a forbidden word is an interesting bit of theater lore. It's considered bad luck to say it outside of the performance, to the point where it's called "the Scottish play" by the more superstitious.
So, what did you think of "And the Drowned Book" and "And the Broken Staff"? Do Prospero and Moriarty make an entertaining villain duo? Do you want to see more of Flynn Carsen this season? Who is responsible for the Library being out of sorts? Let us know in the comments below!
If you missed the premiere, you can watch The Librarians online to catch all the fun and games before The Librarians Season 2 Episode 3, "And What Lies Beneath the Stones (aka Coyote)" airs on November 8, 2015.