AND THE FABLES OF DOOM
"Fairy tales can come true/it can happen to you/if you're Young at Heart..."
I admit to hearing this song in my head during And the Fables of Doom. This, however, I doubt was what The Librarians had in mind in And the Fables of Doom, where fairy tales were coming true, and trying to kill them. And the Fables of Doom went by a bit too quickly and I think resolved things too quickly, but we got to see another fun story that played with both magic and the characters. We also got a small but impressive turn by guest star Rene Auberjonois, whom I would like to make a return appearance, but more on that later.
The Librarians, Jake Stone (Christian Kane), Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth), Ezekiel Jones (John Kim), and their Guardian Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijin), go to Washington State to investigate a traffic accident. The local sheriff, Sheriff Heyer (Ted Rooney) doesn't get why librarians want to look into an accident, but Jake spins some long talk about studying traffic patterns. At the Annex, Librarian Jenkins (John Larroquette) tells them that the accident looks like the work of trolls (and not the Internet ones). Jones is dismissive, and Jenkins completely understands the reason for their skepticism: trolls aren't indigenous to the Pacific Northwest.
As they continue to look in on this matter, they are treated to some truly bizarre sights, none more horrifying than seeing the Mayor taking a jog completely in the nude. Jake senses something familiar in the pattern of the accident on the bridge involving the troll: small car, medium car, big truck (the one the troll picked up and threw out). Soon, they work out what has happened: to Eve's horror, someone has weaponized fairy tales.
Back at the Annex, Jenkins helps them narrow down what magical object could be affecting the town to where we see a live version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Emperor's New Clothes (that would be the Mayor's Streak). It could be the Mother Goose Treaty of 1918 (which I think was written by Beatrix Potter) or perhaps Aesop's Lyre. However, we find that it is neither, but something far more dangerous: The Libras Fabula, an old text that has the power of bringing fairy stories to life. Not only does it bring such creatures as the Wolf of Little Red Riding Hood to life (complete with bonnet and a 'red riding hood' within its corpse) but it also drains the life of the listener.
Unfortunately for Jamie (Sophia Mitri Schloss), a little girl who has fairy tales read to her by the local librarian Mr. McGuire (Auberjonois), this could spell the end of her life. This would not be good for the Sheriff, whom we discover is her father.
He is the only one in a position of taking on McGuire himself, who is growing more powerful and angrier at how the town is dismissive of the local library. Thanks to a coin Jones has, he manages to neutralize McGuire and saves Jamie, whom he encourages to come up with her own story. This story has the Huntsman turn into a robot, the Princess into a Ninja Princess, and Prince Charming into Merlin, saving them and the town. She even has the Big Bad Wolf cursed...by having him eat green Jello for life. The Librarians come across Sheriff Heyer munching on green Jello. The Libras Fabula recovered, the Sheriff and his daughter look on as they walk away. "Who were they?" Jamie asks. "Those were the librarians," the Sheriff tells her, adding that once he said that, it sounded very odd.
Now, allow me a little technical glitch regarding the donated books that caused all this. As part of And the Fables of Doom, Mr. McGuire receives a donation of old books that Stone knows should be in a museum from a Mr. Thompson Dieter. McGuire told them that he had to go through all the donations before deciding what to do with them. As someone who does work at an actual library, I would say that should such a collection be donated to the El Paso Public Library, we would never put first editions that old in circulation. They would go to the Main Library where they would be stored in a temperature controlled room, exhibited to the public, or indeed donated to either the El Paso Museum of Art or History.
Granted, this is just a little technical thing a real librarians would notice, but that's how I roll.
What I enjoyed about And the Fables of Doom was the excellent teamwork between the cast. A particular highlight was Larroquette, who has a wonderful droll and slightly unaware manner to his Jenkins. That line about understanding why Jones doesn't believe trolls were behind the accident because 'trolls aren't indigenous to the Pacific Northwest' was done without a hint of irony or sarcasm, but completely straight, making it funnier. Similarly, his odd explanation as to why he likes vending machines down to his use of old-style phones to communicate with the other Librarians makes Larroquette one of the funniest members of the group.
We also see that when they split, the cast works so well together. Booth and Kane excel together as Cassandra and Jake, two people who are still dealing with the fallout from when they first met. "I like you," Stone tells Cillian, "I just don't trust you". Kane's delivery is as the character is: straightforward, honest, and without pretense. Booth had great moments of puzzlement and comedy in her confusion as to why all the women found her charming, and Kane equally played up the fact that no one was finding HIM charming (even the woman he rescued from the Wolf). Kim showed a slightly softer side when he was with Schloss, showing that one can work with children and still be effective.
I liked Auberjonois who played up the stereotype of librarians as more meek and bookish and who was also the dangerous enemy to be fought. While I agree with him that today's kids appear to be more into Katniss Everdeen and Artemis Fowl than into Bronte or Dickens, I wouldn't go so far as to murder people through magic books to punish them for their poor choice in reading. Still, Auberjonois did excellent work as the seemingly sweet reader who quickly turns evil.
About the only things that I wasn't too crazy about were Romijin, whose character by now should accept that things really are outlandish. It was unfortunate that her turn as a Princess was done rather quickly, as was the resolution with the magic coin (which I still can't connect to a particular fairy tale). The town turning into fairy tales themselves was also slightly rushed (though Little Bo Peep was amusing).
I enjoyed how And the Fables of Doom made the premise work, how we got comedy, fantasy and action to tie together, and minus an ending a bit rushed the story was amusing and clever.
|MY idea of Little Bo Peep...
Next Episode: And the Rule of Three