Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Librarians: And the Image of Image Review


Anyone else have 50 Cent's In da Club playing in their heads?  And the Image of Image, Episode 7 of The Librarians, has a lot of humor, some real out-there plot twists, and a slow growth for one of the characters.

Wrapping up another investigation, Librarians Jacob Stone (Christian Kane) and Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth) stumble onto a strange occurrence: a man gets hit by a car, but it's a woman on the sidewalk that gets flying through the air.  Back at the Annex, Jenkins (John Larroquette) is not amused that Ezekiel Jones (John Kim) has been posting photos of himself performing skateboarding tricks on the Great Sphinx of Giza.  "Mr. Jones, please tell me you did not post this anywhere that has a tweet, a face, or a gram", Jenkins scolds him.  As it so happens, the Clippings Book puts the librarians on the case of young Kurt Cooper, a delivery boy who suffered a drug overdose...but who has no drugs in his system. 

The only connection is that both the accident victim and Cooper were at Club Effigy, a London nightclub.  With that, the Librarians are going clubbing, much to the delight of Cassandra (who has never been clubbing), and Jones (who finally has something fun to do).  The Guardian, Colonel Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn) has NO interest in clubbing (having lived out some of that and finding the whole thing distasteful), while much to his constant irritation, Stone is not seen as 'clubbing' material.

At Club Effigy, there is a strict 'no cellphone' policy, as there are no cameras allowed.  There is, however, a photographer who takes pictures and are flashed on the club's screens for everyone to enjoy.  Cassandra is having the time of her life, but oddly, she gets really drunk despite having only club soda.  Eve goes out of her way to avoid having her picture taken (worth a few points alone given it's Rebecca Romijn we're talking about), and Jones crashes the club, with poor Stone constantly left waiting (though it gives him a chance to match wits with the well-read bouncer).  Eve, while keeping Cassandra from trouble, also gets valuable information from her.  There is a pattern to the victims, and they manage to find the next one.  Stone and Jones track her down and save her from another overdose...which she didn't cause.

Eventually, even Jenkins gets into the club (irritating Stone even more, given he's the only one who hasn't found himself as part of "The Chosen Ones"), and Cassandra attracts the attention of the club's owner.  A very handsome man dressed in very curious, almost Victorian garb, he introduces himself...Dorian Gray (Luke Cook).  At first, the others believe Dorian is a Fictional, but Jenkins, who has crossed paths with Oscar Wilde and his "best friend" Dorian, tells them that Wilde based his The Picture of Dorian Gray on a real person and that Gray is real, and vain, and dangerous.

Following tradition, Stone and Jones attempt to destroy The Portrait of Dorian Gray, but unfortunately for them, Gray has adapted to the Age of the Selfie.  He has uploaded his portrait to The Cloud, and instead of a single portrait, it is based on a collage of the photos at the club, with Cassandra as the next victim.  Should they try anything to him, it will be Cassandra who will pay, as she eagerly posed for her picture.  With Cassandra's life in danger, Eve, Jenkins, Stone, and Jones all work together to stop Dorian Gray.  They do so by creating a new portrait, that of Eve Baird, out of a collage of Dorian Gray's photos, for now all those waiting outside the club, with their cellphones, take pictures of him.

And the Image of Image is a surprisingly deep episode, a wry commentary on the narcissism of the Millennial Generation.  Gray points out that more photos are taken each year than the year previous, and that most are not of others, but of the subject him/herself.  People today, he sneers, would rather look at pictures of themselves than look at each other at his club. 

The episode is also very funny.  Booth is a standout as her accidental drunkenness gets her more and more loopy.  Kane has a field day as the highly frustrated Stone, astonished that Jenkins of all people manages to get into the club but not the "cowboy" as he was called.  Romijn too has wonderful moments of humor, such as when she scolds the others for wanting to go clubbing.

"When did I turn into a grandma?" she asks everyone. 

The real highlights are Larroquette and Kim.  And the Image of Image plays with the conventions regarding Jenkins.  Both Stone and Jones laugh at the idea that Jenkins is going to give them tips on fitting in to a clubbing atmosphere.  The idea of the stuffy Jenkins being a clubbing expert is hilarious to them, but Larroquette sells the concept that someone who has lived as long as he has indeed does have some abilities that these youngsters may not be aware of.  When Gray mocks Jenkins by saying that he won't grow old and hideous like him, Jenkins in the most faux-offended manner just replies, "Ouch", showing that Gray's words in no way offended him.

Kim's Jones, for his part, appears to have evolved into a more noble person.  At the beginning of the episode, he's still the extremely narcissistic person he started out as (particularly with his habit of addressing himself in the third person, proclaiming "I'm Ezekiel Jones", almost to where he appears to doubt his own name).  In the middle of the episode, though, when he and Stone have to work furiously to save the next victim's life, Jones remarks that he knows how to restart a heart because he's seen what overdoses have done to those at the Barcelona raves he attended while Stone was laying pipeline.  Jones doesn't flinch from putting another person's life ahead of his, and he does so again when Cassandra's life is in danger.

At the end of the episode, Jones remarks that he knows why the Library picked each of them.  They are expendable, according to him, having no ties to others to get in the way.  He appears to be almost sad at the idea, and it looks like there's a bit more humility to Ezekiel Jones than when he was gleefully promoting himself on social media.  

Guest star Cook was wonderfully wicked as Dorian Gray, his cold manner hidden in a beautiful face and smooth demeanor.  It is curious that Gray quotes freely from Wilde's masterpiece and makes it sound as if they were his thoughts, not those by the author.  "The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it," he tells the inebriated Cassandra.  If anything, And the Image of Image and The Librarians in whole draws greatly from the audiences' intelligence.

It's a pity that Dorian Gray has been removed from a chance of a return, for it would have been interesting to see him match wits with the Librarians again (of whom he knows of). 

One of my favorite lines comes from Kurt Cooper's mother when she asks who these two strangers are asking questions about her son.  When told they are The Librarians, she smiles and says, "Librarians are so helpful".  It fills one with pride to see the profession so well represented.

The mixture of magic and comedy (particularly with Cassandra's non-alcoholic drunken escapades), the wit behind events (Stone's great delight in telling the bouncer that the British author he named as being the equal to any American author, T.S. Eliot, was actually born in St. Louis and thus American), the ability to mix fictional characters with 'real' characters, and the character development of Ezekiel Jones pushes And the Image of Image into a real triumph for The Librarians as a franchise.
Clever, fun, witty, and even moving with regards to how well these disparate characters fit together, And the Image of Image is as good an example as possible as to why The Librarians is the best fantasy-based show around.

Sorry, Doctor Who, but I found a new love...


Next Episode: And the Point of Salvation 

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