Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Librarians: And The Trial of The One Review



THE LIBRARIANS: AND THE 
TRIAL OF THE ONE

As we get closer to the season finale of The Librarians, I find that it is not only picking up steam, but actually making it worthwhile to watch.  And the Trial of The One has many twists and turns that surprisingly fit well within the hour's running time.  There were a few times I checked to see if it was running over because it was so packed.  That was a good thing in this case, as And the Trial of the One has moments of surprising heaviness.

We start out with a 'Previously on The Librarians', an opening I don't think the show has used before.  The cloister bells are ringing (OK, they were something else, but The Librarians unashamedly borrows a lot from Doctor Who).  There is still no one to tether to, and time is running out.  Jenkins (John Larroquette) attempts to hold this off by temporarily tethering everyone to the oldest book in The Library, but warns them not to look at it.

As in The Bible, it is The Woman who falls first into temptation.  Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth), who is firmly into the 'magic is a source for good' line of thinking, opens it up.  As in The Bible, it is The Man who cements this deadly deal.  She asks Jacob Stone (Christian Kane) to read it, and read it he does.  With that, they find themselves swept up into a strange world.

The text is on The Trial of The One (the original translation of 'The Selection of The One' being off).  The Library has taken on physical form in the shape of Jenkins, whose body they are holding hostage.  The other Librarians, Cassandra, Jake, Ezekiel Jones (John Kim) and their Guardian Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn), now must fight a battle to the Death, or the Library will kill the now-mortal Jenkins.  They must first wear a Ring of Nightmare, which will show each of them their greatest fears which they must first confront before the Final Hunger Games.


Each Librarian must now confront their own fear and past: Cassandra's fears of bullying from when she was young, Stone's fear of magic through greater tattoos overpowering him, and Jones' fear of actually being caught.  To make things more interesting, the other Librarians in these visions are no longer their friends, but their worst enemies.  They had failed to realize that in these alternate worlds, they did not know each other.  There is a way out, by pressing another red button, and once they do, the find themselves with a seemingly simple task: get to the center of a circle and press a golden button. 

However, each now only remembers that he/she was a Librarian, not that he/she had others who worked with them.  Hearing Jenkins voice and knowing the danger he is in, they must now stop the others from getting to that button.  It's a race to the bitter end to see which of the two Librarians would die, leaving one to which to tether to.

Baird is helpless, only able to watch.  Just in the nick of time, she realizes that standing by helpless and watching is her nightmare.  Realizing that her reality is just as false as the ones she sees, she pulls off her own ring that she sees thanks to the Eye of Ampyx, a magical artifact that always reveals the truth, she gets to the center of the field first before the others can kill.  She convinces them of who they are and they drop their weapons.

Not good enough for the Library, as it must have The One.  At first it looks like Baird has outwitted the Library itself, but it is not to be.  The Library manages to stab Jenkins, who as a mortal now must die.  Jenkins' death so upsets the others that they resign in unison from the Library, heartbroken over their beloved Caretaker's death.

Baird too is devastated, until who should show up but Nicole Noone (Rachel Nichols).  In the slinkiest of dresses, she reveals that all of this was her elaborate plan for revenge.  She tells Baird that Jenkins was right about her all along, and that she had manipulated everything from the get-go in order to get the Library to break from reality itself.  Now, with victory at hand and no Librarian, the Library disappears around Baird, into a world of black and white.


And the Trial of The One has, as I've said, a lot of story packed into it.  We get flashbacks and fantasy sequences well-filmed: each section getting a distinct visual style that lends the sense of menace and danger to their situations.  There is no real sense of relief in this dark episode.  The closest to it comes at Jenkins' death, when he comments that Miss Cillian's cucumber sandwiches at the High Tea party she had were worth becoming mortal for.

This episode gave everyone a chance to extend on their acting as they played a variety of characters in each other's dream/fantasy sequences. Of particular note was Booth, who excelled in all her sequences: the frightened and bullied Cassandra, the tough officer to Jones, the witch to Stone.  Maybe the witch was a trifle camp, but you could roll with it.  Kane and Kim's best scenes were when they were Cassandra's bullies.

Nichols was on screen just at the end, but she was vamping it up for all its worth.

The curious thing is that And the Trial of the One was really heavy emotionally.  At the top of this is Jenkins' death, down to having the others wearing black as they carried his urn to his desk.  Cassandra seems the most affected, which is not surprising as she had a special fondness for him.  Stone, to be fair, wore grey, but he let the genuine pain slip through Stone's generally tough exterior, and Jones, all in black, showed that despite his generally blase manner he too felt Jenkins' loss greatly.  Jones, curiously, did something he rarely ever does: show he does care about the others.

"Librarians Together, Librarians Forever," he calls before they all push their red buttons, a rare admission that he holds team unity to heart. 

Even I felt a twinge of sadness to see Jenkins go and really am pulling for him to be brought back somehow.  It just would not feel like the Library without our cantankerous, crusty yet lovable Caretaker.

It seems strange that And the Trial of The One should follow And Some Dude Named Jeff given how wildly different they were.  And Some Dude Named Jeff was frothy fun, something The Librarians specializes in.  And the Trial of The One was very dark and downbeat, almost tragic.  It was a good episode, especially as it leaves one wanting more.

I will say however, this is the first Librarians episode where I would have slight trepidation about watching with younger kids, primarily elementary school children who may not be acquainted with death.  It seems a bit down for them, and one thing The Librarians should never be is sad. 

Here's hoping the season finale brings us a bit of joy and unexpected twists.

9/10

Next Episode: And the Echoes of Memory

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