Sunday, June 23, 2024

Emerald City is on Every Channel in Purgatory

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Whatever religion I’m into right now, give me strength. Emerald City premiered a new episode Friday. This train ride to cancellation refuses to pull the breaks. Last week was a coal bed of mediocrity. Prepare for a pendulum of awful with the many reveals this episode. Many can sometimes be translated to “two,” if you’re lazy like me. Buckle down, they’re all terrible. Someone send help. My writing partner begs you.

My writing partner.

This episode opens with moaning and a blowtorch. Just as I was getting a feel for what google search I had accidentally turned the safesearch off for, a random back alley surgeon is shown, prepping for surgery. The scene then cuts away. This is my new recurring nightmare. Emerald City is so angry at me for attempting to follow its continuity that it cuts away from every scene after a minute. I swear, there were at least 6 cuts before the first commercial break. I stopped counting as time went on, because I’ve always been bad at math, and I wasn’t about to break myself counting a number that was sure to approach infinity over the next few weeks.

The scene moves to Hip, a fully-realized GoT-certified empowered woman (cause she’s murdered someone you see), preparing to jump off a bridge. She has even set up a small tombstone for our now posthumous Jack by carving his name into the side of the bridge. Honestly, he deserves less. Just as she preps for the fateful jump, a random guy who was definitely not on that bridge fifteen seconds ago stops her. This is the beginning of a running theme this episode. I like to call it “the teleporting plot device.” One second, someone is completely alone, the next second a person is essentially attached to their hip. Sometimes literally. This has never in the history of ever happened to an actual living human being besides maybe Helen Keller, but I digress.

Focus on the kid on the bridge for once in your life.

Random guy is wearing…let’s call it a military uniform, although it looks more like he’s running late to a dress rehearsal of The Nutcracker. Sip informs him that she killed someone, and that if he lets her join his brigade she could kill people for him. Seeing as I’ve never worked for an HR department, maybe this complete lack of references would fly for some companies. But, if I were a mercenary company I sure as shit wouldn’t hire someone based on their random bridge-based humblebrag.

Next we’re focused on Dorothy’s group of adventurers. Dorothy somehow got back her normal clothes since last episode, though I have no idea how. Her and Sexy Jesus Scarecrow (SJS) are wandering through a set designer’s lazy afternoon, the random nondescript forest. Dorothy is currently being offended by SJS calling Toto “dog.” This is in spite of Toto literally meaning “dog.” Dorothy is every idiot who uses foreign languages ironically.

Dog doesn’t care either way. He hasn’t responded to a single command either of these two have said in three episodes. He’s just hanging around so if one of them dies, he has something to eat, I’m sure. As Dorothy and SJS continue talking, Dog somehow gets dragged in as a ham-fisted metaphor for their relationship. The music chimes in with an all too familiar “Just Fuck Already” rhythm. Just as these two are finally about to snap some tension and each others’ underwear hems, a random child is suddenly attached to one of them. Out of literally fucking nowhere. I can excuse this sudden appearance though, because I doubt Dorothy and SJS could hear anything over the mental echo of their imaginary fucking.

Frank’s guard is shown now, doing things that have been used as flashback material in the last three episodes. This is ridiculously lazy, and Emerald City thought I wouldn’t notice. You were wrong Emerald City, I own a notepad. The Wizard’s guard is torching citizen’s in Nimbo. That is a place’s name. If this was a lighthearted adaptation, I would have no problem with that. However, Nimbo is mentioned around several smoking corpses. That is the type of tonal dissonance that can cause strokes in the elderly. Nimbo has a magical spirit portal in its town’s basement. I don’t know if this has to do with why people were being burned. Maybe? The show doesn’t bother to mention why this town had people being sacrificed to the Lord of Light. Moving on.

Frank decides to spring Random Acolyte from jail to consult as he goes to visit Nimbo. That’s the entire scene. Transition time.

So, the surgical victim from the first scene is revealed. It was Jack. He is being repaired from falling several stories and doesn’t seem that hard up. I cannot believe I have to keep writing about this character. I will say that his back-alley surgeon has the best bedside manner I’ve ever seen from someone holding a buzzsaw bigger than a human arm.

Yip is now riding along with the Nutcracker extra. He sells her to…an orphan cult apparently run by Glinda? I’m going to be honest, I understand none of this infrastructure. I also have no idea how much time has passed since last episode. We’re in the uncharted territory of lazy television, mes amies.

Dorothy is now attempting to question the forest child that is acting as a dehumidifier to her and SJS’s sexual musk. I did not expect to see so many scenes of Dorothy running into children in the forest in this series, but I’m also firmly anchored in a world of sanity, so I guess all my predictions would have been for naught. Dorothy wants to return this child to her home even though this child hasn’t said a goddamn word to her. Dorothy gets distracted from her quest the way a fly gets distracted by a bug zapper. She has a goal, but she also apparently really wants to die.

It’s like she’s a magnet for unkempt toddlers.

Back to Jack and Backalley surgery. He’s the Tin Man. That’s the big reveal. They hooked him up with robot parts. He’s like a cheap ass Six Million Dollar Man. They call him the Six Dollar Man. Or, based on this show’s portrayal of him, the Bionic Date Rapist. Seriously, this guy is the worst.

We can rebuild him. Better, faster, less able to take a hint.

Dorothy again. She’s returned her new pet project to a village she thinks it may belong too. Also, she finds out the little plot burden has literal shells in her ears (magical earplugs, maybe?). When taken out, the overwhelming sound of critics decrying Emerald City from miles away hurts her ears, so Dorothy puts them back in. Smart move, Dorothy. Smart fucking move. I’m screaming so loud at the screen, my neighbors probably wish they had earplugs…I live in the country.

Random Acolyte and Frank are riding in a carriage to Nimbo, the home of whimsy, fun, Winterfell impersonations, and corpse burning. Their sexual chemistry is beginning to catch up to Dorothy’s and SJS’s. Random Acolyte lists off info that firmly implies she’s a HUGE ASS NERD.

Provided to help conceptualize Random Acolyte.

Jack has very quickly found himself undergoing physical therapy to accustom himself to his new body. I’m forced to ask myself why they decided to Frankenstein this man instead of introduce a new, less horrible character. This question has no answer. Jack says that apparently his heart was broken. I can’t say I sympathize, but I also understand other human beings. Jack’s actions in the last episode very much imply he doesn’t. His physical therapist/transformative life coach assures him that his new gear heart will never break. I have broken no less than eight geared watches in my lifetime. My lifetime has not been long. Jack’s confidante is a goddamn liar.

The next scene is Glinda giving a speech of some sort to her new Heaven’s Gate initiates. Nip is seen in the background refusing to take a bath. I have no idea why she is championing that particular brand of rebellion, because she looks like she could really use some sort of bath. I have no idea how long its been, but since this show has some sort of addiction to showing this character surrounded by suds, she has not bathed since the premier at the least. Glinda takes time away from her precious indoctrination ritual to spout cult leader gibberish at Chip. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, Whip. You’re smarter than that. I think…?

In the middle of this engaging dialogue, West struts into the scene like a groupie just returned from following a hair metal band on tour, lack of proper hygiene and all (WASH YOUR GODDAMN HANDS). She and Glinda speak one line of subtitled gibberish at each other, then the show realizes it forgot to hire a linguist and gives up. I feel you, Emerald City. Giving up would be so much easier.

Dorothy is now doing a circle pattern of whatever town she’s in to return the Amazing Eargirl to her parents. Some random nobodies walk up to her and say that they are the child’s parents. Dorothy does not accept this. She follows them back to their obviously impoverished neighborhood before asking to see the child’s room. This is an obviously impoverished family living in some sort of Middle Ages, so this privileged idiot might as well have asked to see their Rec Room. The Wizard’s Guard that has been tracking Dorothy since the first episode shows up, causing SJS to grab Dorothy before she can finish confusing the child’s parents(?) with random questions of the Middle Class. Dorothy still isn’t sure though, so she tells Sexy Jesus to get naked. I’m not sure where this is going, but porn would be a welcome reprieve in the plot department.

Lip is still standing around while West and Glinda argue. “Empowered young women are my business” is a verbatim line that comes out of West’s mouth. I rewound to be sure I wasn’t crazy. I…yeah. No, I’m not even going to touch that one. West and Glinda vie for Quip’s attention like a couple would try to get a dog to choose its legal guardian: cooing voices and useless platitudes. The whore/virgin dichotomy punches me so hard in the face that it chips a tooth.

Vip says, “So you’re saying my only choice as a girl…is nun or whore?” and the rest of my teeth now litter the floor.

Provided for anyone else out there who now needs visuals to get their insurance to pay for dentures.

Jack meets a masquerade prepper with no ball to attend in his rehabilitation/surgery room that he’s been in for months, weeks, or years. I don’t know. He doesn’t know. The showrunners certainly don’t care. The Orlesian’s masquerade masks look cheaper than any I own. Apparently her whole cabinet of masks are kept in the surgery room, which makes you wonder how Jack hasn’t met her before, unless she’s been wearing the same one for the last few…months? weeks? years?

The Wizard has finally arrived in Nimbo, and the villagers seem to be somewhat peeved about the corpse burning that Frank’s Guard was doing earlier. Frank decides that he will address some of these people directly, which amounts to him being awkward. Random Acolyte proceeds to the basement when his back is turned. She decides to fist the magic portal as foreplay, and it blows up in her face. Whether that was in arousal or anger, I’m sure another episode will tell us.

In the village that was not named, Dorothy is now wearing SJS’s clothes as a disguise so she can go back and talk to the random child that she has formed an ill-conceived emotional attachment to. I’m assuming her and SJS had a quickie offscreen before she stole his hoodie. That’s just the way things go. The Amazing Earchild’s parents(?) turned to stone, and her eyes look like her pupils decided to try and take over her whole face on a whim. Dorothy’s decides to be empathetic and smashes the girl’s parents(?) with a hammer to free her. I’m sure they’ll be fine.

Frank gets to reveal he has attachment issues in an intimate scene with Random Acolyte. That’s all.

Dip is now finally taking a bath. She submerges herself under water for a second. When she comes back up for air, another girl has joined her in the tub without her noticing. It is a small tub. This is literally impossible. In so many different ways. I haven’t taken a bath in six years, and I still know that’s impossible. New mystery girl hangs around just long enough to explain that Kip should sell her body because its super rad, and then the show reveals that it was West all along. With her immensely irritating dirty fingertips. Just get some steel wool or something, you can definitely get that off.

Seriously, it costs like four dollars for a roll of the stuff.

Dorothy is walking around with her adopted child. The hammer was a solid stand in for paperwork. She gets halted by the Wizard’s Guard, and they rip off her hood to reveal that she is in fact a woman whose face I’m pretty sure they were never shown. Quick, cut away before something interesting happens!

That was close. Jack is still in physical rehabilitation. He talks to his life coach about whoever the visiting Orlesian was, and she tells him its time for them to go see the world. Run, Forrest, run.

Glinda is loading up a bunch of her new Kool-Aid fans into a horse carriage, the windowless van of the fantasy world. West is watching from a window when Ship confronts her about being the world’s creepiest bath buddy. West seems surprised about her seeing through her super obvious deception. Yip asks her to teach her magic, probably so she can also sneak into baths with people.

“You realize that it’s super weird to get into other people’s dirty bath water, right?” “That’s my secret Cap, I’m always dirty.”

Frank has a scene where he threatens a man with semantics.

Dorothy is convicted on the spot by the head of the Wizard’s Guard, but then they see her sword that she borrowed from SJS. Since this sword looks just like their all the other Wizard’s swords, I’m assuming that the boss recognized the serial number on the blade when he starts yelling at Dorothy about the original owner of the sword. She refuses to tell him, so he backhands her in the most fake showing of stage violence I’ve ever seen. Dorothy in a panic fires her gun into the sky. As she flees with SJS, the captain of the Wizard’s Guard keeps shouting Jesus’ name at them. I didn’t care enough to turn on subtitles for this name, so I’m not going to bother telling all of you what it is. Dorothy shoots the fucker soon after, so maybe that plotline will finally stop. Based on Jack’s miracle revival, I have almost zero hope on that front though.

Jack is walking up stairs with his life coach now. He’s wearing a bunch of clothes that make it impossible to tell he’s an early model terminator, so I guess the costuming department can be lazy now. He meets Lady Ev, who looks and acts like a member of the Orlesian court. Hopefully she knows how to play The Game.

“What a scrub,” they all mutter in conspiratorial whispers

Dorothy and SJS have a moment. Every time they’re alone for more than ten seconds and open their mouth, I’ll admit it’s a moment. This one is special however, because her and Sexy Jesus Scarecrow listen to her iPod. SJS loses his shit for a second when her iPod starts. He was less startled by a woman blowing a door off its hinges in the first episode. Nothing should surprise anyone in a magical world, but whatever. “Science?” he asks. “Magic,” she responds. “Fuck you,” I mutter.

The song of choice is “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Feel free to play it for the rest of this paragraph. Maybe the rest of this review. It’s a good song. I hope the royalty checks were worth it. It has no place in this episode, but it’s definitely a good song. It plays over a slew of random nonsense, including the Nimbo’s village elder telling his village that they should support the Wizard while his pregnant daughter is is held at knifepoint in clear view behind everyone.

I’ve never been less fulfilled.

Dorothy and SJS finally mash their faces together like the horny teenagers they are. I’ve seen more subtle openings from highschoolers beneath the bleachers. They’d probably bang then and there, but they still have the Amazing Earchild with them. They wake up the next morning, both of them obviously nursing a horrible case of non-coital tension. They then run off in different directions because they heard some branches snap. Sexy Jesus Scarecrow takes the kid and immediately runs into the somehow still living captain of the Wizard’s Guard. Dorothy runs off alone and gets hit in the head by a Munchkin boomerang. A Munchkin. Boomerang. Lollipop Guild is really working to build up menace.

That’s it. That’s the episode. Next week: Gordon quits Emerald City.

Images Courtesy of NBC

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