Friday, December 2, 2016

The Librarians: And the Fangs of Death Review


With the second episode of The Librarians Season Three, we go back to what we love about the show: a mix of magic and humor, with nods to the past and hints of the future.  We also see how Flynn Carsen is taken out of the show (something The Librarians really, really needs to work on) but on the whole, another delightful romp.

Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle) has a dream of an apocalyptic future where he's guided by a spirit from the past.  Along with the Guardian Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn), they follow that dream to an Incan temple, where they find that spirit very much alive.  It's Charlene (guest star Jane Curtin), the Library's very picky finance manager.  Instead of being in danger, she is being attended to by a group of hunky Incans under an enchantment spell. 

Charlene doesn't want to leave her retirement, but when told that Apep, Egyptian God of Chaos has returned, she agrees to help.  Apep, however, has gotten to her, as she's disappeared and her retinue all dead, leaving behind only the pendant gifted by Flynn, which she has never taken off.

Now all the librarians: Jake Stone (Christian Kane), Ezekiel Jones (John Kim), and Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth), along with Flynn, begin a search for Charlene, rejigging the travel device to locate a person rather than a place.  Their search leads them to a supercollider in Canada deep underground, but under siege by mysterious forces.  Only Security head Becker (Usman Ally), scientist Kelly Nelson (Hannah Barefoot), and slightly inebriated nurse (Brian Adrian Koch) are left alive...and terrified.

Working in tandem, they work to stop the supercollider from unleashing total chaos while fighting the rest of the crew, which have been turned into werewolves by the Egyptian god Anubis, the original werewolf.  To Eve's surprise, Jenkins (John Larroquette), the cantankerous Caretaker at the Library Annex, goes along with her to Canada, something he rarely if ever does.

They meet a very friendly Canadian soldier (Dana Green), who turns out to be Apep in disguise.  She wants Charlene and all the Librarians dead, but she is defeated by all the Librarians working together.  Jones, who earlier had been bitten by a werewolf and was slowly turning into one, is saved, and we learn the truth about Charlene.

Charlene was not just the Accounts Manager at the Library.  She was the Original Guardian to the Original Librarian, Judson, back when the first Library at Alexandria was around.  Apep wants to kill Charlene because she is the only one who knows how to defeat him.  Apep has been temporarily defeated, but he will return.

One who might return is Flynn.  He has gone off to search for Charlene (who managed to escape Apep's trap, leaving her pendant as a clue), and to absolve himself from the guilt he has over the deaths of the supercollider crew which he feels responsible for.  He finds leaving Eve the hardest, but promises that once Charlene is found and Apep defeated, they will go on a long-desired vacation.

It's a bit of 'here we go again' with how Flynn departed.  This is the third time where Flynn is written out to search on his own.  The first time was when searching for The Library itself, the second for artifacts missing from The Library, and now for Charlene.

The Librarians went to a tried and true method to get Flynn out of the way from the main cast while extending the main story (I imagine Curtin will make another guest appearance, and who knows...maybe they'll get Bob Newhart to appear as Judson).  I don't particularly object to having a search for Charlene, but how often will Flynn pop in to The Librarians to have him leave just to 'search' on his own?  For me, this habit of having Flynn pop in and out eventually has to be addressed.

As a side note, I wonder if there will be The Librarian web series or comics detailing Flynn's adventures during his absences on the show.

This isn't to say that having Curtin back is a bad thing.  Far from it: she is a welcome presence in The Librarians, her brief appearance a comic delight and a nod to The Librarian TV movies that spawned the series.  If memory serves correct, Curtin's only appearance on The Librarians was in the pilot episode (and a brief one at that), so some Librarians fans may not be aware who Charlene is.  And the Fangs of Death does a good job of filling in some gaps, and adding new details.

Those of us who have seen The Librarian movies would not have guessed Charlene was a Guardian herself.  This doesn't quite go against everything we've seen prior to The Librarians debut, but it is a nice twist should anyone revisit the three television movies.

In terms of performances one of the highlights is Wyle, who has such a wonderful face of innocence as Flynn. 

Going on a bit of a tangent, I understand that The Librarians has in its production crew fans of Doctor Who (last week's episode had a very similar feel to Rose, the debut story of the revived Doctor Who).  I don't know if people remember, but the 'base under siege' storyline was a familiar story during the Second Doctor stories (to where it was seen almost as cliché during the Troughton Era).  Flynn Carsen, in a way, is a bit like The Doctor: brilliant, eccentric, not prone to use violence or weapons but intelligence to defeat his enemies, complete with Companions (the other Librarians).  Yet I digress.

Wyle was wonderful in the episode, bringing that mixture of innocence, humor, and regret--a total performance.  He has a great charm when telling people, "We're Librarians", to which an astonished Stone retorts is a phrase that never works for them. 

Almost seems a shame that he has to go.

Guest star Curtin, sadly not a big part of And the Fangs of Death, was equally adept at the humor (something The Librarians specializes in).  She is nonplussed when stating that Even and Flynn would have no issue sharing a bed, to which Eve and Flynn appear slightly surprised anyone would even suggest the obvious.

The comedy with our very eager and peppy Canadian soldier (which would explain Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's foreign policy of 'killing your enemies with kindness') and the interplay between Larroquette and Romijn was also amusing.     

The mix of humor and danger makes And the Fangs of Death a welcome return to one of my favorite shows.  I'm knocking down a couple of points due to having Flynn disappear...yet search for something/someone on his own...yet again.  I have confidence that it will tie things together (and maybe even bring Newhart back for a guest turn himself), but having seen this again I can't say I like how it was done.

Granted, at the moment I can't find another way to have that done, but apart from that And the Fangs of Death was a strong, exciting, amusing episode: all things The Librarians has in spades. 


Next Episode: And the Reunion of Evil

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