I can’t be the only headline writer to come up with that joke, right?
It’s Christmas time at the Annex and Baird is all bah humbug-ing, but in a pretty grounded way. Her military career left her with a tinge of disbelief over the whole ‘All that matters is we’re together at the holidays’ sentiment, but she and the rest of the team gamely jump into the fray when ye olde Brotherhood of Serpents1 kidnaps Santa. That’s pretty much the episode, an hour that could have been shmaltzy but instead (continued to) hit all the right notes.
The magical, mystical, legend/artifact/thingie:
Santa! Or St. Nick, or even Odin, depending on your point in history. He’s both the collector and embodiment of humanity’s good will, dispersing it back to the world each holiday season.
Oh, and he’s played by Bruce Campbell, hitting avuncular much more than mugging. It was a fun episode.
Into which wrong hands might it fall?
Those tattoo’d baddies are back after a week2 off, targeting dear old Nick for the raw power he holds at this time of year. Specifically, they’re planning to something something they’re the bad guys so it can’t be good. But you know what can be good? Delicious villain speeching from the head villain! Not only does it happen thrice in the episode, Santa’s hat (which causes the wearer to want to give people what they ask for) almost causes him to spill the beans on the entire operation.3
They’re conniving baddies too: they draw out Santa by faking a holdup at a soup kitchen and then hitting him with a mistletoe dart.4 Insert naughty list reference here.
Teamwork makes the team work:
A solid outing for all involved – Stone’s art history knowledge provides some context, and Cassandra’s photographic synesthetic memory is supplemented by Edison’s techno-wizardry5 as they track down the Serpents’ London lair. Baird gets to run the best asset-extraction ever, sending the team out on diversions while she hauls St. Nick out the back door to find his sleigh.
Edison gets a bit more shading in his character as he struggles with his generally naughty intentions while guided by the niceness in Santa’s hat. Baird is the episode’s emotional focus, retreading some territory covered just last week (she don’t fit in, she has to learn to rely on others more, etc etc.) but without dawdling in maudlin territory. Which is good. So very, very good.
Incidentally, this seeming repetition of plotlines might have to do with the fact that this episode is labeled 1-07 in the press materials. It’s possible TNT planned on starting The Librarians‘ run earlier in the fall; either way, having what amounts to a one-off episode drop right in time for Christmas doesn’t mess up the flow.
Giddily ridiculous moment of the week:
Not ridiculous, just giddy – Cassandra’s squeals at hearing that Santa and Mrs. Clause are real were beyond adorable. She’s getting the most to work with character-wise, but she’s also making the most of everything given.
The science checks out:
“Architecture is just art that we live in – why does nobody get this?!” – Stone
Dewey decimal? Do we ever!
Plagarism is certainly not accepted librarians behavior… so having the climactic sequence be a copy of Touched By An Angel was muy disappointing. Even if there were a couple of touching moments in there.
- Serpent Brotherhood? I’m guessing it’s written both ways in various companion material. ↵
- See next section… ↵
- It was a womp-womp set of lines, but the whole thing is barely yet wonderfully held together by Matt Frewer’s Dulaque. ↵
- Holly and poinsettia were reportedly also involved, but only mentioned at the very beginning. It wasn’t a great episode for continuity, actually. ↵
- Lest we forget that Edison is not just a thief but a world class hacker as well. ↵