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The Librarians: 1.09 “And the City of Light” Review

Everything (including Santa) in The Librarians universe is real, but aliens aren’t?

Yet, here we are with the team going to investigate when UFO-hunter Finch disappears in Collin Falls (yet another small town).

Cassandra and Jake run into Mabel Collins (Hayley Webb, Teen Wolf), who is a descendent of the town founders and also the library archivist, volunteer fire chief, and like six other things.

She’s either the cause of the problem, or at least knows what’s going on.

Ezekiel and Eve, on the other hand, run into a possessed Finch, and Eve disappears after knocking Finch out of the lap and falls into the gas lamp herself.

And, while the others investigate Finch’s UFO gear at the Annex, Jake goes back to talk to Mabel, and their talk reveals that Jake has never left his home ever until becoming a Librarian.

The reason is probably going to be super depressing.

Jake mentions that there’s a gas lamp in the forest, which Mabel feigns no knowledge about, and they run into the others in the woods. Mabel, of course, calls them out on their “we’re just librarians doing research”, and Jake pulls the “Can you trust me because terrible things are happening?” card.

Merh, why do dude protags do this? Can you not just be like “Look, I can’t tell you because it’s my job.” instead of the “I am man; I protect you.” business? It’s extra annoying here because Jake has been presented as this guy loves art history and architecture and even writing under a pseudonym probably came across women who probably didn’t appreciate any of this chivalrous stuff if he tried it. So is he doing the “I am MAN” bit because he’s over compensating? Even though around the others and Mabel, he really shouldn’t have to because they don’t know him as the guy who got in bar fights and works on an oil rig.

At the archives, Jake finds out that the gas lamps had been in the town area before the Collins family settled, while simultaneously, Cassandra learns that the first town on this spot had been built by none other than Nikola Tesla!

And, the original townspeople? Well, Ezekiel figures out that they’re body snatchers! Well, kind of. They’re actually possessing the current townspeople. Oh so that’s why it’s not aliens. Because this is essentially the premise of It Came From Outer Space where aliens temporarily possess people to fix their ship after it crashes.

Which is nothing compared to Cassandra walking in, ruining Jake’s moment of “This is what’s happening guys!” and pointing out that Mabel—well, she’s also from the original town.

(I can just imagine if Eve was actually around, what her reaction would be.)

Aliens would probably be a better choice than hundred year old soul-energy things.

But, I’m still kind of sad the answer to “what is happening” wasn’t aliens.

Cassandra’s “stay the hell away from Mabel” followed by a photograph shoved at Jake’s chest is quite possibly the best moment; although, it’s hard to tell if Cassandra was meant to be jealous here or just really annoyed no one was listening to her. Either way, I’m glad she got the last word even though the reason why Mabel and the original townspeople are still around is super sad because Tesla.

Tesla messed up.

Tesla had been trying to utilize the mysterious gas lamps to produce <href=”#Nikola_Tesla.E2.80.99s_experiments”>wireless electricity in 1915 except that, when the system was activated, everyone got stuck in some interdimensional limbo and the original townspeople have been using the 2015 townspeople for a couple of hours at a time to work on keeping the old capacitor working because it’s going to break in a day.

This day.

No one can agree on whether they should help Mabel and Co. or not: Ezekiel is mad about bodysnatching, even as someone who straddles the line between “borrowing and taking”, while Cassandra (primarily because science) and Jake (primarily because he promised Mabel he’d do the right thing) both want to help.

Jenkins points out there isn’t really a choice because they have to try or risk losing Eve too.

So, everyone works together to fix everything necessary while Jake and Mabel have a heart-to-heart (and a kiss) in the archives, and we get Jake’s Life In A Nutshell Exposition Time because, like Mabel, family obligations kept Jake in Oklahoma. His father became a heavy drinker after becoming sick when Jake’s great grandfather’s oil rigging company started to fail. Becoming a Librarian (well besides writing under a pseudonym) was the first time that Jake really did something for himself which shows how dedicated he is to his family.

And, back at the capacitor, Cassandra figures out that it is amplifying energy exponentially, and if their plan doesn’t work, the entire town will blow.

Mabel understands that the risk is too high and volunteers to override the capacitor; however, the electricity is already running through anything conductive, so Mabel uses herself as a grounding wire to get her and Jake to the roof.

Would that actually work in real life? It is Tesla and he was a pretty advanced dude even if Edison stole his work and then destroyed his career. (Edison was a jerk.) I’m not sure, but the special effects are cool, and Jake talking her through a trip through Europe is super-sweet. Except considering Mabel literally just exists so that Jake can be developed more, it’s also pretty aggravating because she could have also just jumped the fence without Jake.

Yet this situation sucks because there isn’t going to be a happy ending with a tied up bow.

Mabel and Jake manage to turn off the capacitor leaving the original townspeople trapped forever—or, at least, for another hundred years when future Librarians can restart another capacitor.

Eve’s words of support don’t help much, but she’s right: sometimes, we can try to do everything right, but we still lose.

Even though the episode ends on a bittersweet note with Jake using the portal door to visit Europe, it’s obvious that the writers are pointing out that the good guys don’t always “win” even in a show that’s meant to be pretty campy and fun.

This episode works really well as the calm before the season finale storm. The audience learns more about one of the characters (in this case Jake), Ezekiel is again shown to be not so terrible, and Cassandra gets to be awesome at science.

And, she even works through one of her hallucinations on her own.

Eve is the only character who gets a break really since she spends most of the episode stuck in the inter-dimensional limbo but even the couple of lines she has at the end show she’s plenty experienced with crappy situations. Although, even if it’s because the Librarians need to show they can hold their own, it’s kind of gross that Eve is sidelined for so much of the episode. Even if she does help Ezekiel find out that the original townspeople are

Her skill with crappy situations will come in handy though for the season finale.

Grade: A


Image courtesy TNT

Seher
Written By

Seher obsesses over show ratings and usually writes about media representation issues. Otherwise, she's at work in the non-profit world using her anthropology and public health training.

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