Aw, now I want a crossover with Girls With Slingshots…
A truck getting tossed into a river by a somehow unseen troll is just one of the strange happenings in a small town that, unbeknownst to all, is becoming overrun by fairy tales come to life. The Librarians are on their own again this week trying to track down the source of the magical doings and put an end to the troubles, all while slowly becoming a part of various fairy tales of yore. It’s a solid mix of magical wackiness and character involvement, though it’s sometimes more of a quick stew than a full recipe of fun.
The magical, mystical, legend/artifact/thingie:
Introducing the Libris Fabula, a magical tome long believed lost that turns any story told into reality. But, of course, magic comes with a price – to make the tales vital the book drains the life force from someone hearing the story, and maybe passes some of it along to the reader.
Into which wrong hands might it fall?
I love Rene Auberjonois, but when he crosses that line from cheerful to manically good natured you just know he’s the bad guy. Here he’s a run-of-the-mill librarian1 who kindly2 reads some Mother Goose-ish tales to a young, now bedridden, girl, and subjects the town to a series of increasingly problematic fables enacted.
Teamwork makes the team work:
This was a great episode for Team The Librarians-in-training as they continually split up and shuffled around partnerings while first trying to solve the mystery and then keep everyone alive. Everyone got to follow some thread, or help with a piece of the operation, or conduct a key interview, and then the four crashed back together once or thrice to share knowledge and put together the whole picture. Similarly, the team becoming enmeshed in various fairy tales gave everyone a chance to shine comedically and put various new skills into use.
The Librarians works best when it’s full of small details. I loved Baird’s hair getting longer and longer as she becomes more princess-like, Cassandra becoming more macho as she falls into the roll of Prince Charming, and we finally got to see why Stone wields an axe in the promos (he becomes the woodsman).3
In theory this is a development episode for Ezekiel as Jenkins points out that the only character who always gets a happy ending in fairy tales is the Jack, the ruffian with a heart of gold who live by his wits. This puts Ezekiel in the best/only position to rise above his self-interest and bring about a happy ending, which was a reasonably strong counter to last week’s ‘he thinks he doesn’t need any help’ thing with the dragons et al. The only problem I saw in this is that John Kim is the least experienced actor of all the main players, and it shows. It’s not that any of his lines are badly delivered, they just don’t have the depth that’s letting the other four spin straw-thin dialogue into gold.
Also, the rapid pace turned into a headlong rush to the climactic struggle; said struggle resolves with Ezekiel encouraging the suddenly energetic sick girl to spin a new happy ending for everything and the bad guy getting suddenly sucked into the book.4 It was fun5 but felt more slapdash than anything – which is saying something given that this episode was practically a clip show.
Giddily ridiculous moment of the week:
Jenkins, apropos of little, explaining why he loves vending machines: “They’re like miniature apartment buildings. And when you press the right numbers, the occupant of your choice leaps to his death… and becomes your snack.”6
The science checks out:
“I understand your skepticism, given that trolls are not native to the Pacific Northwest.” -Jenkins
Jenkins: (crossing possible items off of a list) “…and, of course, same for the genie’s lamp.”
Cassandra: “Why not the genie’s lamp?”
Jenkins: “It’s never the genie’s lamp.”
Dewey decimal? Do we ever!
Press materials flag this episode as 1-03. Really, the episodes don’t need to go in any particular order so long as any major plot developments aren’t contradicted, but I have to think the writers have been a bit lighter with plot- and character-arcs than they might otherwise have been to allow for this sort of shuffling.
Big, big shoutout to the writers for delightfully calling out both the (delightful) absurdity of the show’s premise and Stone’s initial failure to find a cover story with the closing exchange between the sheriff and his daughter:
D: “Who were those people?”
S: “They… were librarians.”
D: (beat) “Librarians?”
S: “Wow. Now that I say that out loud it does not make sense at all. Not a lick.”
- Zounds! An evil librarian! ↵
- Not! ↵
- His continual non-reactions to his newfound skills and animal friends were beyond priceless. ↵
- Wait… wha? Was that ever mentioned as a possibility before it happened? ↵
- Robot/Terminator Stone was worth it. ↵
- Speaking of snacks, the sheriff’s mournful “I don’t even know where they came from…” at the end while surrounded by jello containers got a guffaw. ↵