Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Librarians: And the Dark Secret Review


What some fans of The Librarians forget is that prior to it being a television series, The Librarian (singular) was a series of television movies.  This is both a blessing and a curse.  Blessing in that we have an already established world.  Curse in that we have an already established world.  And the Dark Secret, our fourth season opener, has that whimsy and humor that has been one of the show's qualities.  It also is working to reintegrate more of the original Librarian films into its growing mythos.

Librarian Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle) and his Guardian, Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn) are rehearsing for a special event.  If you thought it was their wedding, guess again.  It's their 'Bonding Ceremony', but bonded to the Library itself, not necessarily to each other.  Just as they continue to bumble and stumble through it all, much to the displeasure of the Library's Caretaker, Jenkins (John Larroquette), a major alarm goes off.

One of the four cornerstones of the Library at Alexandria, the original Library, has been stolen.  This is bad news, because if the Alexandria Library returns, it will plunge the world into darkness, which is what the thieves want.  They are part of a renegade Catholic order with the appropriate name of the Heretic Order of Shadows.  Formed to counter the Enlightenment, they want a return to the Dark Ages.  They had one of the stones from long ago, and now they have the second.  It's imperative that the Librarians find the last two.

Perhaps a ghost from the past can help them.  It seems that Jenkins has kept Carsen's former Guardian, Nicole Noone (Rachel Nichols) in a dungeon underneath the Library.  Why, pray tell?  She had become Immortal due to an accident involving H.G. Wells' Time Machine, an accident Flynn caused and which led him to think she was dead.  Flynn now has the Mrs. and the Ex: Nicole from their search for the Spear of Destiny, and Eve from now.

The other Librarians, Jake Stone (Christian Kane), Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth) and Ezekiel Jones (John Kim) now rush to find the other cornerstones.  As Nicole hid them based on the three Muses the Alexandria Library was dedicated to, their second stop is the Paris Opera House (Aoide, the Muse of Song, being the clue).  Unfortunately, the HOS got there too and grabbed the stone and them.

Despite Jenkins' objections, Flynn and Eve take Nicole to find the last stone, which is in Venezuela.  They do get to it, but the HOS gets there too.  As they begin their unholy rites, the Librarians work together to stop them.  Nicole appears lost again when she gets swept into a vortex, but this time Flynn won't let her go.  He does rescue her, but she slips away before she is retaken.

Still, the Tethering Ceremony awaits, but will Nicole return to cause more mayhem?

Again, The Librarians has a tricky proposition in melding what has come before with what we have now.  And the Dark Secret is the first time, at least that I can remember, where we dive into Flynn's first adventure to tie it in with the current series.  We got an explanation as to what happened to Nicole, especially since Quest for the Spear had another actress in the role (Sonya Walger) and ended with Nicole and Flynn starting a romance.  All these things probably, I figure, fly over those who either didn't watch or don't remember the three original Librarian TV movies.

I think on the whole it worked well, this tying of past and present.  It doesn't work perfectly: the way Nicole was supposed to have disappeared from Flynn's life and her reemergence seemed a bit far-fetched, even for The Librarians, but I'm not going to quibble about that.

If I do quibble about something, is the rushed manner the Heretic Order of Shadows is disposed of.  A side note: with their name, at least the Heretic Order of Shadows can't be accused of false advertising.  Given that they are in the season debut, I would figure they would be the season-long villains, as Apep, DOSA, and the double-act of Prospero & Moriarty were before.  If And the Dark Secret is any indication, they were pretty disposable as their ringleader, Monsignor Vega (John Noble) was dispatched quite quickly.

Give Noble credit for camping it up as the mad monsignor for all its worth.  Despite him being whisked off into a vortex, I'd love for him to return, as well as his aide-de-camp/main hitman, Father Giallo (German Alexander), a most wicked fellow.  Alexander and Noble make for an interesting combination, one that if written well, could actually be strong foils for the Librarians.

And the Dark Secret is setting up two future storylines: the Tethering of Eve & Flynn to the Library (and each other) and the potential return of Nicole.  Nichols as Nicole (what are the odds of that) was strong as the hurt woman who has secrets of her own, though as it's been a long time since I've seen Quest for the Spear, I cannot vouch to whether Nicole was British.

The trio of Kane, Booth and Kim still work so well together: their scene at the Opera House where they have to sing in tandem to break the glass is wonderful and light, which has been one of The Librarians' greatest strengths.

As a side note, one wonders what would have happened if Ella Fitzgerald had ever played at the Paris Opera House?

Is it live, or is it Memorex?

Most of The Librarians' viewers are simply too young to remember Ella...or that tagline...or cassettes.

Wyle also did great work as Flynn, and And the Dark Secret allowed for some dramatic moments in something as light and frothy as The Librarians.  His guilt, his regret about Nicole, and perhaps his fear of being tethered to both The Library and Eve all were played so well, along with his Flynn Carsen-like bumbling nature.

If I had an issue with And the Dark Secret, it was probably the rushed manner of how the HOS was disposed of.  I think it would be nice to have them return.

Then again, I still yearn to see Moriarty come back, so there you go.

That rushed manner brought down And the Dark Secret for me, especially given that it was the opening episode.  On the whole, however, And the Dark Secret is still holding to that zippy nature that The Librarians has cornered.

Sing it, Miss Ella...


Next Episode: And the Steal of Fortune

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