Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Librarians: And the Steal of Fortune Review


Now that's what I'm talking about.

And the Steal of Fortune, the second episode from the fourth season of The Librarians, does away with whatever season-long story arc the show plans (though in the past, the show has been clever in how it brings elements from seemingly unrelated episodes back full circle).  It has that zippy humor and whimsy that elevates the series into what it always has been: a delightful romp.

The Librarians are unhappy to hear that due to their mission in life, they won't have 'normal' lives outside the Library.  "You're not normal people.  You're Librarians," main Librarian Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle) advises.  One Librarian who won't agree to that is Jacob 'Jake' Stone (Christian Kane), so with his fellow Librarian Ezekiel Jones (John Kim) he heads to see Jake's friend Slayton (Nate Scholz).  Slayton now owns a horse, but has lost him at Fortune Downs, a racetrack and casino.

It's one of the latest set of setbacks Slayton has had, a strange string of bad luck that has left him desperate.  Unfortunately for him, a random bee sting now has left him all but dead.  Stone and Jones notice that the hospital where Slayton is at has a wide series of other unfortunates in bizarre accidents.  A one-in-a-million chance of bad luck is one thing.  A whole group of people having those million-to-one accidents, that's magic.

Convinced that magic is involved, fellow Librarian Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth) and their Guardian, Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn) go to Fortune Downs to investigate.  They zero in on the owner, Benny Konapka (Richard Kind) and his pinkie ring, convinced that the ring is a magic object that robs people of their luck.  It isn't until Cassandra uses math to win repeatedly at roulette and an examination of the ring via Librarian Skype from Flynn and Jenkins (John Larroquette) that they find the ring itself is not the object.

That object is Benny's companion, whom he calls Felicity but who in fact is Fortuna, Roman Goddess of Fortune (Sunny Mabrey).  Having grown frustrated with merely being worshiped but having no power, she has reemerged thanks to Benny's accidental help and is now determined to rule the world through luck.  Her goal is to give everyone bad luck through her method of kissing, only now she has live television to do it by blowing the world her bad-luck kiss.

It's now up to the Librarians to stop Fortuna, though they need a little luck on their side too.  How to defeat Lady Luck herself?  By cheating, of course.

With help from Benny, who realizes how dangerous Fortuna is, the Librarians work together to rig the system.  As a result of her own fortunes turning around, Fortuna is returned to her statue form, and Jenkins secures her in the bowels of the Library.

And the Steal of Fortune is a wonderfully self-contained story where our heroes do what they do best: intervene to stop a supernatural power from causing wreck and ruin.  We get the quips and funny dialogue that have made The Librarians such a hit; when Jake quotes Thomas Aquinas to counter Flynn's assertion that they as Librarians won't have a 'normal' life, Flynn scoffs that Thomas Aquinas barely made the waiting list to be a Librarian.  Wyle's straightforward manner makes this even more hilarious.

Guest stars Mabrey and Kind made And the Steal of Fortune both amusing and almost menacing.  With Mabrey, she balanced the camp nature of Fortuna with a surprising amount of menace.  Kind has always managed to make his characters fit into the spirit of the shows he's on: from the darkness of his Mayor James on Gotham to this slightly menacing but slightly cowardly Benny on The Librarians

The main cast still works so well together, whether it is Kim's Jones, determined to beat the machines that keep beating him, to Booth's Cassandra, who rolls out lines like "No scam.  Math," to explain how she kept winning at roulette, to Kane's physical humor (stumbling on wet floor in his efforts to punch Fortuna's henchmen), everything worked so well in And the Steal of Fortune.

As a side note, Kind's reply to Cassandra's protestations, "There's no math in roulette.  It's just numbers," is quite accurate and amusing.

And the Steal of Fortune is a romp, a perfect fit to The Librarians.  With a fun, unapologetically frothy story and strong performances by both the cast and the guest stars, Fortune is definitely on our side.

O Fortuna Indeed...


Next Episode: And the Christmas Thief

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