Thursday, July 18, 2024

Emerald City is a Bland Assortment of Nothing

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Friday has come and gone. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events premiered on Netflix! I wanted to watch it. Unfortunately I’m here for this season’s ride and will continue writing about the crime of mediocrity that is Emerald City.

What could’ve been…

This is the third episode of Emerald City, according to Hulu, which means that NBC wants this show to end just as quickly as I do and debuted two episodes as one. Cool. Whatever. “Mistress-New-Mistress” is the title, punctuation provided by the show itself, who apparently doesn’t actually understand how punctuation works. Granted, it has given me a wonderful idea for a needlessly complicated dog name to throw off my neighbors. Anyway, content.

This episode opens with Dorothy sleeping on top of Toto, making Dog either the worst police dog ever, or the best. Jury’s still out. She realizes Sexy Jesus Scarecrow is gone, and freaks out. Seeing as she ended the last episode unwilling to talk to him, I’m not sure where this concern is coming from. Maybe he owes her some money or she read the script. Fuck if I know. She finds him contemplating an ocean that really raises so many fucking questions about the geography of this fantasy world.

It’s probably just because he looks sexy…Stupid Sexy Jesus.

Sexy Jesus Scarecrow has decided that guns are bad, and that Dorothy shouldn’t have that much power. Dorothy has yet to actually even show she knows how to use a gun, so I’m assuming SJS has attended a ton of gun safety courses and knows that Dorothy is an idiot who doesn’t know the safety from the trigger. He’s probably not wrong. I’m definitely not drunk enough to listen to two people argue the semantics of guns in a world with actual fucking murder magic.

Their argument peters out with no clear winner, as most couple’s arguments tend to do after three or four years of commitment, and they catch a ride with the Circus of Oz. There is yet another moment where I’m left wishing there was a scene depicting a negotiation that leads to this situation, and am once again forced to assume SJS showed off his sweaty stab abs until they decided they could sell him in the next city.

Dialogue happens with amazingly chatty nobodies. The Witch of the East apparently controlled the weather. Makes you wonder why she let the weather drop a fucking car on top of her in the first episode, but hey, I’m not a witch, I can’t pretend I understand their devious minds. Apparently the weather is on the fritz now as a result, despite it being generally sunny and boring everywhere. I guess the weather being erratic makes Oz more boring instead of less.

The Circus gets stopped by the Wizard’s guard that were tracking Dorothy in the premiere. They still have no character. SJS decides that he needs to run away from them, but Dorothy just wants to go see the Wizard. Jesus runs. Then Dog also runs off, because…yeah. He just does. I’m assuming he finally realized Dorothy wasn’t a cop, despite her amazingly convincing jacket. Dorothy goes after Dog (because he is the only actor actively trying to escape this career death trap) and is grabbed by SJS and dragged into the bushes to hide from the Wizard’s Guard. They hide in the bushes and listen to the boss of the men shout that they’re supposed to kill Dorothy when they find her. Why this wasn’t discussed before they arrived at the caravan is beyond me. I also forget to tell my subordinates key pieces of information before they start an assignment. The guardsman must be a terrible micro manager.

Pip (Tim? Pim? Pit? Bip? Sip? Lip? Biff Tannen?) and Jack are shown still hanging out in a random nondescript wood. Jack suggests they go somewhere.  Bip grudgingly agrees. Nobody is sure why this scene even bothers existing.

We’re now following the Wizard of Oz (Vincent D’Onofrio, blink twice if they have someone precious to you. We can still save you from this. You were doing so well) as he runs to one of his giant town statues to find three people climbed it. Apparently, they did it with magic(!) and are now dancing on it like its fucking Burning Man. They then commit suicide.

Surprisingly, Burning Man is more visually interesting even without the addition of magic.

This suicide has a lot of layers of stupid to me, so I’m just going to take a second because this is my article and you guys have no control here. First, these idiots had to climb up on top of this statue to commit their magical suicide. Why did no one stop them? Why did they have to do it on the statue? Why not just do it in front of it? Second, they finish their dance by jumping off of the statue. This is not bugfuckery stupid on its own, but the fact that the death is by hanging is. They are killed by mystical hanging ropes. That are invisible. And essentially do the exact same fucking job that the pavement would have done if they’d fucked up whatever coven dance they were doing on the statue in the first place. None of this will be addressed, it’s just the setup for Law & Order: Emerald City that makes up the rest of the Wizard plotline for this episode. I’m regretting not getting drunk beforehand on this one.

Dorothy in the next scene has made a decision. Sure, she killed the Witch of the East (technically and with very little effort) and stole her jewelry while her corpse was still warm, but she hasn’t truly fucked up her house. A destination is set by the dynamic duo (and Dog, who is better than both of them. He’s such a good dog).

More Wizard plotline, except everyone is spouting bullshit about the Beast who is essentially just a doomsday concept, nonsense prophecies that I have no idea what they mean, and fucking crop circles like this is a somehow worse version of Signs. Field pattern analysis is legitimately a major plot thread for this episode. I’m not going to talk about it, because I was completely unable to pay attention to something so fucking lame that was only shown in photos to other characters. They also visit realize all the suicide victims worked at West’s brothel, because apparently no one who works there ever washes their disgusting hands, like children. This includes West herself. Ugh.

Dorothy arrives at the East’s crib to find the only-other-black-person-in-oz-with-a-distinct-speaking-role guarding the door. I know that’s a long title, but hey, blame the showrunners for not casting a single fucking black person that survives an episode. Oops, spoiler alert, this motherfucker dies by the end of this episode. Got to keep that budget low, he wasn’t playing a slave or gangbanger and therefore was in breach of some union contract, I’m sure. GAAAHHH.

Only-other-black-person-in-Oz-with-a-distinct-speaking-role says he’s going to kill Dorothy and her pet Jesus, but then he finds out they are the ones who pickpocketed his mistress’s corpse and apparently that makes them cool. I also plan on greeting the woman who pilfers my mother’s corpse, but I was under the impression that was a personal choice and not a universal thing.

Back to Biff and Jack, my least favorite plot point struggling to be something more. They’re in some random city that hit the Industrial Age before anything else in Oz. Jack won’t stop staring at Rip’s cleavage, a problem I’m sure every adolescent boy has had but also I’m sure every adolescent boy overcame, because they weren’t an asshole. Jack is an asshole and most of the convo is made up of him staring at tits. This somehow makes me feel dirty, and I wasn’t even looking at Pip’s cleavage. Good job, Jack, you objectifying piece of shit.

Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom, Dorothy is being lead around East’s crib by her new friend, and he keeps calling her Mistress-New-Mistress, a moniker that became annoying after I read the title of this episode and only has room to descend. New bro/walking dead man informs Dorothy that since she’s obviously an acolyte of the East that she should fix all the weather bullshit (I also hate generic sunny days, they make me feel at peace and then I don’t have an excuse to drink).

Honestly, they probably have a weather controller as well.

He also asks for Jesus’s sword after leading him on a full tour of the palace, and the music ramps up for no reason like a fight is going to happen. then Jesus hands over his sword, because its not the book of Revelation yet and he needs to stay cool.

I tried to look up how Law & Order does their scene transitions, but that takes a distinct style, and Emerald City refuses to be seen in the same room as the words “distinct” or “style”. The Wizard is now at West’s brothel with some random acolyte whose name was definitely said, and that I remember, but fuck you, no one actually cares. West slutshames the random acolyte for her mother being a sex worker. I’ve heard tales of the cross-generation slutshame, but never did I expect to see it used to such little narrative avail. Truly, I am blessed to see such miracles transpire in Emerald City.

Back to East’s castle, because Emerald City has a deathly allergy to letting any scene last long enough for all of its information to be conveyed. It lives another day. Dorothy gets dressed up to go into a room that houses the weather, but looks suspiciously like a Turkish bath house. With a touch more tastefully obscured lake monster than is normal in those type of environments. Dorothy proceeds to easily beat this magical trial due to her normally invisible ruby gloves, then teleports away into the weather room’s resident tornado.

The Wizard’s name is Frank Morgan. That is a lame name, I understand why he has a complex. Not nearly as assertive as Glinda, or Lucas, or Gordon. He reveals this to the acolyte whose feelings were hurt by being told that everyone and their friends in the room at the time had fucked her mother. West continues to maintain her seat as Queen Bee of high school. Frank (which is the only thing I will be calling him from now on) also reveals megalomaniac tendencies, and hints of being generally impotent. I’m starting to feel like I’m watching Kingpin work through his issues in therapy.

Sip and Jack have wandered onto a Harry Potter set to find more Boy Juice for the former. Great. Next.

Sure, yeah, this is the scene, whatever. Leave me alone.

The next scene opens on a baby doll floating in a snow river. I instantly became enamored with the Toy Story-esque prologue for this doll. I am interrupted by Dorothy appearing in the scene, still wearing an absurd dress. The whole scene is filled with snow, so I’m instantly jealous of Dorothy’s ability to withstand the cold. I can’t stand outside in freezing weather without three jackets and a clear destination. She sees a jacket with her real mom’s name on it. This is not so much a reveal is it is this show aggressively slapping me in the face with concepts it hasn’t properly seeded. It’s fun for the whole family!

Frank is still investigating West’s brothel, now with his newly invigorated acolyte. Apparently his pep talk about punishing those who refused to call him by his self-chosen nickname (which is asinine, everyone knows you’re not allowed to choose your own nickname) really helped her pick herself up by her bootstraps. They’re now questioning random sex workers, and I’m tuning out because no main character has said a line in over four minutes. Frank and West have a conversation about the addictive nature of magic or something, but all I can notice is that West looks like she’s trying really hard to pretend she’s not high in front of her parents in almost every scene.

Queen Bee West, may she reign eternal.

Lip and Jack again, and there’s this infinitely nuanced gender identity narrative hiding somewhere in this dialogue. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to see through the muddied water of “black magic.”

Frank has a balcony conversation with random acolyte that ends with her in prison. No, I didn’t pay attention to this conversation, and you wouldn’t have either. She’s in prison now though, so if we’re lucky she’ll die and we can have one less character to keep track of.

Dorothy appears back in East’s crib, but she didn’t fix the weather at all because she’s an idiot. She’s also terrible at lying, as she somehow manages to admit she’s not a witch, East killed herself (technically not true), and that she’s from another world in the space of one conversation with only-other-black-person-in-Oz-with-a-distinct-speaking-role. He then dies as the weather eats the East’s house. Dorothy finds new motivation from this utter fucking dead end and decides that the Wizard is her greatest hope, strutting off in heels that I am sure will be the death of her in the next episode.

It starts snowing in the next scene, and all I really got out of this is A) Winter is Coming (three episodes instead of six season GoT, eat your heart out), and B) not a single fucking room in the Wizard’s castle has windows that can be closed.

The Wizard’s Guard are also shown still being a thing. You don’t care. I don’t care. The actors in the scene don’t care.

Presented so you can conceptualize the Wizard’s Guard.

Finally, Hip and Jack get to have an  emotional heart-to-heart about Hip’s emotional state during this tumultous time in her life. Hahaha, fucking jk, he forces a kiss on her in the middle of her panic. She reasonably pushes him back, because fuck Jack and his non-consenting ass, and he breaks through the world’s shittiest metal guardrail to plunge to his death. There’s a lesson buried in there somewhere, but Hip’s traumatized face makes a little hard to find. On the plus side, I now have one less character to keep track of. Small blessings.

Tune in next week for Emerald City: I have no idea what the episode title is. I refuse to do research for this.

Images Courtesy of NBC, ABCnews, Netflix,  and Hannah-Barbara Cartoons

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