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The Librarians: 1.04 “And Santa’s Midnight Run” Review

You better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus has been adultnapped!
Serpent Brotherhood really sucks!

Okay, so maybe it doesn’t work as well as the original, but our titular characters and Eve must rescue Santa to help accomplish the true, secret purpose of Christmas: goodwill. Everyone gets goodwill which is why we’re all so cranky during the holidays. Our goodwill has been used up.

Santa (Bruce Campbell) is a well-dressed man that cold reads a guy (in the third person, which is something he does all episode) trying to steal money from a soup kitchen, actually a decoy sent by the Brotherhood in order to find him. (Did they just go around stealing from places hoping to catch Santa? What even?)

Still, a Christmas episode isn’t a Christmas episode until there’s a sappy lesson for at least one character (and, thereby, the audience) because Eve hates Christmas.

Eve hates Christmas because she has spent all her time in warzones or as a kid on army bases, so Christmas was never about family for her like with Jake, and she definitely doesn’t steal like Ezekiel (who, remember, we still know nothing about) while Cassandra just likes the holiday in general. So, when Jenkins tells them that Santa is missing, everyone freaks out. Without him, there will be no goodwill, and everyone will turn on each other by Groundhog’s Day.

Jake and Cassandra go to the soup kitchen, and through a really great scene with Jake translating cockney English, they find out that Santa’s been grabbed by the Brotherhood.

These bad guys are so textbook: reintroduce magic to the world; kill the guy who has been harnessing everyone’s karma in order to harness his power; profit.

Well—that’s what Dulaque wants anyways.

Yet we saw in the pilot that Lamia does want to help others. She’s just going about it the wrong way, and Santa reinforces that notion in his comments to her. Does this mean Lamia will join the Librarians at some point in the future? I hope so because I bet she and Eve would have the best scenes together (and the good side needs way more ladies).

Plus, the usual white guy, white girl, and dude of color in a trio (plus Eve) could do a little to add more diversity in general. (MORE POC!!!)

Ezekiel and Cassandra figure out where Dulaque’s hideout is by using surveillance of Cassandra when she was in London the first time. They all see Dulaque face-to-face, and Jake starts throwing all of the priceless art at the bad guys to stall while Ezekiel and Cassandra go down the chimney (HAH) and get Santa out.

Unfortunately the poison that Dulaque had used to subdue Santa (hedge magic) is causing his various incarnations to manifest, and St. Nicholas the Wondermaker (a prankster) is the first to show. Then, when Eve and Santa are waiting to meet Jake after running out of gas on their way to the North Pole, Santa changes again into Odin, the Viking god of battle and death who influenced concepts of St. Nicholas due to his long white beard and gray horse for nightly rides. (Which really isn’t even the start of it. Definitely check the wiki page out if you have time.)

Jake, however, is able to stop an impending bar brawl, and they get to the plane meant to take Santa to Alaska to release all the goodwill.

Okay, I appreciate that they’ve explained Santa has many incarnations and backgrounds, but this episode is also super-cheesy. While this show is meant to be silly, I feel like it went a bit too far.

Maybe, I’m just a Grinch. (I did tell a kid Santa wasn’t real when I was six so—)

After Dulaque and Lamia arrive using Santa’s stolen sleigh to kill Santa, and Eve tricks Dulaque into putting on Santa’s hat in order to command Lamia to leave and Eve subdues Dulaque, who then lets go when Eve tries to keep him from falling, everyone is able to land at an abandoned survey station so that Santa can release the goodwill.

Too bad Santa can’t focus because of the poison, so someone else must be Santa for the night—and it’s EVE!

She was born on the Christmas Eve, yet another reason to be cranky about the holiday.

The Christmas lesson is heavy in this episode: “When someone creates an act of goodwill, it spreads and turns into something more. Hope.”

Not verbatim, of course, but damn if Bruce Campbell didn’t sell that.

So, Santa!Eve helps an EMT save a dying guy, helps a firefighter save a baby, stops a mom from drinking, gives a hopeless person hope, energizes a Muslim group of protesters to continue protesting (props to the writers especially in a Christmas episode), and stops a woman from committing suicide. This montage of hope is actually pretty heartwarming even for the most bah-humbug of people.

The end.

Well—not really because—back at the Annex—the Librarians surprise Eve for her birthday/Christmas, and she gets her wish of peace and quiet.

Now what’s really important from the ending is that Eve mentions to Jenkins that Dulaque fell to his death, but Jenkins responds that “We, my, uh—he’s much tougher than that.”

So does this mean that Jenkins is immortal too? Like Judson?

Does that mean Dulaque used to be a Librarian?!

Overall, this episode isn’t bad. Bruce Campbell as Santa might be the best part of the entire episode because he just sells it—even with the consistent in-third-person speech—but it’s not my favorite. However, I did really appreciated learning more about Eve’s background. It was pretty obvious that she has a type-A personality and expects people to listen to her, but being an Army Brat must have been really difficult as a kid.

Additionally, Jake again keeps Cassandra focused when she tries to remember everything about her first time in London. So if the show plans on adding a secondary romance, Cassandra will probably end up with Jake and Ezekiel will come to care about them begrudgingly but won’t necessarily be BFFs.

Unfortunately, TNT is terrible at LGBTQIA+ representation, so we weren’t going to see Jake/Ezekiel even if they were meant to be friends, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! Like actually at the end. According to John Rogers in his post episode discussion, the season finale will have a non-heteronormative character. Not sure if it will be one of the main people, but anything is better than nothing (well to a point), and I have faith that he and his writers team will present the character well.

(The post ep discussions may have vague spoilers, but he answers every single question in the comments, so they’re great reads.)

Mostly, though, I just wanna know what’s up with Dulaque.

But for now, I’m going to replay the promo for next week because DRAGONS.

Grade: B-


Image courtesy TNT

Seher
Written By

Seher obsesses over show ratings and usually writes about media representation issues. Otherwise, she's reading away for her graduate program in anthropology.

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