Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Librarians: And the Bleeding Crown Review


I had thought that the origins of The Librarian franchise was something that would be touched on in this season after watching the Fourth Season premiere storyAnd the Bleeding Crown, the fifth episode, also touches on elements that the original TV movies that spun this series introduced, most importantly the fact that technically, it must follow the Highlander Rule: There Can Be Only One.  In this case, only one Librarian.  Now we are tackling something that might be a little more complicated than our main story.  And the Bleeding Crown, however, has nice moments of humor, even a bit of spoofing of fanboys but done in a nice way.

A town suddenly finds itself having aged to where everyone is now a senior citizen.  People in their 40s and their teen children are all of a sudden geriatric thus begging the question, what exactly happened to those in this town who were actually senior citizens.  Did they stay the same age or worse?  A question no one asked, let alone answered, yet I digress.

To investigate we get our Librarians: Jacob Stone (Christian Kane), Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth) and Ezekiel Jones (John Kim) along with their Guardian, Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn) and the Head Librarian, Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle).  Jacob in particular is not happy to be surrounded by the senior set (it looks like he appreciates antiques, but not those for whom said 'antiques' were originals back in their day).  As they pursue strange hooded creatures they find themselves saved by The Librarian, but it's not Flynn.

It's Darrington Dare (Samuel Roukin), a Librarian from the past who has magically arrived in the present.  Flynn, having read up on his predecessor, is seriously fanboying out, thrilled to be meeting his hero.

The other Librarians aren't big into Darrington Dare.  "What are we, backup dancers?" one of them asks while Flynn squees with delight.  We learn that Dare has been taken out of his time by his archnemesis, Ambrose Gethic (Howard Charles), who has obtained the Crown that belonged to Elizabeth Bathory, the 'Blood Countess' who allegedly bathed in the blood of virgins to maintain her youth.

Gethic has a similar idea, taking the energy from others through electricity, which everyone in town has.  Everyone except one family who had their power shut off, hence they were immune. 

Things become dicey when the other Librarians appear to be affected, having rapidly aged.  That, however, was all a ruse to draw Dare and Flynn out for a final confrontation.  Dare has taken both Flynn and the Library's Caretaker, Jenkins (John Larroquette) to task for having so many Librarians.  However, in the end it turns out that Dare's solitary man routine is not what saves the day.  Flynn, the eternal fanboy, must decide whom to save, and with a bit of ingenuity he saves both his friends and his hero.

Darrington Dare, Librarian, returns to his own time, and instead of dying on his 40th birthday as he had, Flynn's influence on him changes history.  He reconnected with his own friends, who helped him defeat his assassins back in 1888.  Now he lives to be 102 and served as Librarian from 1880 to his retirement in 1922.  However, he leaves a note to his successor, instructing him he must fix the situation of having One Librarian, One Guardian, One Caretaker.

Dare, from the great beyond, insists there can be only one.

And the Bleeding Crown has nice moments of humor, mostly coming from Wyle's childlike enthusiasm for meeting his hero.  It's almost as if The Librarians were having a bit of lighthearted fun at their fans when and if they meet the performers.  I think Wyle excels at the youthful enthusiasm of Flynn Carsen (even if in real life, the 46-year-old Wyle is older than his 'hero', as Roukin is a mere 37).  And the Bleeding Crown is, I think Wyle's best hour this season so far, his geeking out making Flynn a nice, comic and endearing figure.

Guest star Roukin got the dashing, daring Errol Flynn-like Darrington Dare (a name that evokes an almost swashbuckling persona).  The script allows Roukin to show Dare to be quite clever.

"You're from 130 years from the past," Flynn eagerly cries out.
"Correction," Dare retorts.  "I'm from the present.  You're from 130 years in the future".

Roukin handled the comedy well, playing his perhaps excessively grandiose figure straight, especially when he attempts to explain the 'difficult' concept of 'cloning' to everyone.

The hero-worship Flynn has for Dare is played up for laughs, as is the rivalry between Dare and Gethic.  As they duel with swords, exchanging 'witty banter', even Flynn finds it overdone.

"Oh my God, you're FLIRTING!" he exclaims.  "You don't care about good and evil!  You only care about fighting each other".

Perhaps the most important aspect of And the Bleeding Crown is that it is addressing something that some Librarian movie purists may have objected: how was it that despite having established that there was only One Librarian we had up to four Librarians working at the same time.  We learn a bit of Librarian history in the story of Balthus and Zharradan, 15th-Century twins who were co-Librarians only to have them turn bitter rivals and nearly wreck the Library in their war. 

Now, this issue of how The One Librarian will work when there are four (Flynn, Jake, Cassandra, and Ezekiel) will hopefully pan out and more importantly, allow for the cast to keep working together.

There are two things I object to about And the Bleeding Crown.  One is the make-up job when Eve and the 'backup dancers' become old.   That isn't a deal-breaker.  The other thing though, I have a bit of a problem with.  The term 'ageist' came to mind, as if suggesting that old age is something that is somehow not a good thing.  Something about that just did not sit right with me.

Still, I found And the Bleeding Crown a nice, humorous Librarians story, one with real substance on an unintentional knot and hopefully, on how to resolve that dilemma.      


Next Episode: And the Graves of Time

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