The Librarians: And the Point of Salvation – Best Episode Ever?

The Librarians and the Point of Salvation may just be the best episode ever in this TNT offering of mirth, magic and mayhem. Starting with a touch of Groundhog Day, then segueing into Edge of Tomorrow with a swift shift into Wreck it Ralph, this installment was great fun all the way through.

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The Librarians and the Point of Salvation may just be the best episode ever in this TNT offering of mirth, magic and mayhem. Starting with a touch of Groundhog Day, then segueing into Edge of Tomorrow with a swift shift into Wreck-It Ralph, this installment was great fun all the way through.

Granted there were moments that were touching as well and the episode contained enough references to video game genres to satisfy the geek fanboy/girl in every gamer.  Jake Stone excitedly mentions survival horror games and Ezekiel’s “backpack” references the Capcom classic “action horror franchise Resident Evil. (As well as a host of other video games, and their many devices, like   health packs, escort missions and so on.)  All things which are integral to video games in general are included in this loving look at gaming. Jake asks whether they are in a sandbox or railroad and later states that they are in a platform game.)

The episode starts with a video game being played on a computer screen in a control room of a quantum physics computer. The technician appears to be playing a version of CoD (Call of Duty) or another “first person shooter” (FPS) game. (This is the one plot hole in the entire show’s premise. While Resident Evil is essentially a FPS video game – which is what the episode is tipping its hat to, the “rules” in CoD do not emulate those of the action horror genre of RE…or any other action horror, except maybe F.E.A.R….just saying)

The technician’s boss requests he start up the computer, for a bit of “show and tell” and after the man hides his game, he powers up the machine. Everything goes wrong and the librarians come to the rescue.  Just prior to the event, Cassandra works out that the facility have been using Atlantean Thaumatite which has given their computer magical capabilities.

Before the Librarians head to the facility we learn that Jenkins is really, or also known as Galeas (the Grail Knight of Virtue).  This tidbit of information given by the summoned Faery Puck who, in the other plot line of the episode, is meant to tell Jenkins/Galeas what Prospero is up to.

After Ezekiel, Stone, Cillian and Baird arrive at the computer facility, they find everything in ruins and the place is deserted, except for a military “rage person” who attacks, and like the creatures in the Resident Evil verse, cannot be stopped by shooting into their body,  they must be struck in the head.  After getting the group killed a number of times, Ezekiel, who is player one as he was first into the lab, guesses that they are in a time loop.

Like Edge of Tomorrow (taken from the Japanese book All You Need is Kill) the plot device is made clearer to the “master thief” who understands quickly that they are in a video game and not in a time loop. Their initial entrance into the lab/facility is the first “save point” in the “game” and he must get them all to the next save point so they can escape.

The Librarians and the Point of Salvation does borrow very heavily from the Tom Cruise vehicle (Edge of Tomorrow, aka Live, Die, Repeat) in that Jones also stops, at one point in the game, and stores his mates in a “safe room.” He literally cannot stand seeing them die yet again.  In EoT Cruises character, after trying a scenario hundreds (if not thousands of times) tires of seeing Emily Blunt’s character dying repeatedly leaves his colleague behind to head on alone.

There are some drawbacks to the episode, most specifically the tired trope that the male of the species is “into” video games and that the female, in the team at least, are not. This can be forgiven to a degree because essentially the characters in the show react logically. It is an understood that to Ezekiel Jones, video games would be addictive, as they would to Jake Stone, albeit for different reasons.

To Cassandra, with her uber analytical mind, that focusses upon magic and mathematics, the idea of video game would be anathema to her sensibilities. Baird is too pragmatic and “action oriented” although one feels that if given the chance, Eve could rock a controller just fine.

After his repeated  run through of  the facility via Resident Evil, a’la Edge of Tomorrow, Jones attempts a cheat which causes a glitch in the system, a’la Wreck-It Ralph. In the end, Ezekiel pulls a sacrifice play to save his friends and they “bring him back.”  The end of the episode has Jenkins learning that Prospero intends to kill his “heroes” (the Librarians) “now.” As the end credits roll, it appears that the fictional villain has won.

This was  a highly entertaining episode. Christian Kane, as Jake Stone, proves that he can do “infectious  enthusiasm” quite well, thank you and Eve Baird can give a motivational speech at the drop of a hat.  Cassandra, Lindy Booth, had little to do as this episode was really all about Ezekiel.

Standout Moment:

“Some master thief.”

Honorable Mention:

Jone shooting Stone in the leg and “magically” healing him with the health pack.

It could be argued that relying so heavily on a plot device already used, in at  least one film, points could, and should be taken off for lack of originality. That said, the premise worked brilliantly and was great fun to watch. It also endeared Ezekiel Jones to all and went to explain much about both his, and Christian Kane’s character.

The Librarians airs Sundays on TNT and is great family fun. This episode could just be the best episode ever since the series’ inception but the show’s makers could best themselves. Tune in and treat yourself.

 

 

Agent X: Sacrifice – Moving on Up (Review)

After Agent X has spent a lot of time building up John Case (the agent is one tough customer) a Mayan battle axe takes the man down. Surprises all around as the vice president’s personal weapon of choice seemed, apart from his poisoning last week, pretty much too tough to tackle.

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After  Agent X has spent a lot of time building up John Case (the agent is one tough customer) a Mayan battle axe takes the man down. Surprises all around as the vice president’s personal weapon of choice seemed, apart from his poisoning last week, pretty much too tough to tackle.  Sharon Stone finally moves up and out of the White House and into a helicopter which allows her to move away from the somnambulistic acting style that the Oscar nominated actress has adopted thus far.

Before going into a closer look at the show, mad props to whoever decided to make John Case (Jeff Hephner) a disciple of MacGyver (for those who have not had a television glued to their face since birth, MacGyver, played by Richard Dean Anderson, was the all time master at improvisational weapon making) as proven when he boobytraps the crashed chopper with petrol, a flare gun and the fire extinguisher. What ever else happened in this episode, this was its crowning moment. 

A flashback, which becomes very important later on, has John and Millar (Gerald McRaney)  in a marina observing a takedown being orchestrated by fellow agent, and friend of Case, Ray – whose face we never see. Ray is blown up while onboard his sailing vessel, via a purse bomb and his body is charred beyond recognition.  John feels responsible and Millar lets him.  Malcolm tells the then vice president and later president, Eckhart that he will be of more use “that way.” 

Fast forward and Natalie Maccabee takes on the task of mediator when negotiations break down between the Mexican president and an insurgent who sells drugs to buy weapons.  The VP take the two parties on a helicopter ride, over Mexico,  where they cannot just leave when things get rough.

Unfortunately, Nicolas Volker (Andrew Howard) and his team steal an E.M.P cannon and shoot both Maccabee’s chopper and their escort bird out of the air.  Luckily for all on board the vice president’s ride (except for the pilot and co-pilot who die in the crash)  Case is on hand.

The Mexican president is badly injured and the insurgent, along with his daughter (played brilliantly by Gabrielle Walsh), and  Maccabee move the wounded man to a Mayan archeological site for treatment and to call for help. Case stops off to “arm” the fallen chopper and takes out most of the villainous Volker’s crew. 

Another “mad props” moment is when, after the explosion, only Nicolas and one henchman are left alive. The henchman has a leg that has been pretty much shredded by the blast.  Cue a The Wild Bunch moment.  In true Sam Peckinpah style, the wounded baddy tells his boss that “I can walk.”

Staggering and falling the wounded man moves away from Volker. While this leader does not shoot his injured minion in the face, he does smash his skull with a rock. The implication is different in Agent X than in the Peckinpah film.  Pike  shoots his gang member for two reasons, to put him out of his suffering and because he will slow them up.

Nicolas kills his one surviving team member, one feels, just because the man will hinder his mission, both acts are cold-blooded and shocking.

Volker, who would make any Bond villain proud, was at the Mayan dig  before the survivors – they shot down the helicopters from the  site, and Maccabee and co.  find all the workers dead, murdered by Volker and his men.  The villain shows up later and when he leaves, Case is his unwilling travel partner.

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Gerald McRaney and Sharon Stone

This episode marks a turning point for Agent X. While it still shows off Gerald McRaney and star Hephner in a good light, it also allowed Sharon Stone to drop the sleep walking performance that has marred the series thus far.  For a start, her Maccabee is allowed to get out of the White House, or that secret office, and do something other than be a figurehead.

She works well in the negotiation scenes and later, as they all scramble for safety, Stone rises to the occasion as Maccabee.  The VP is even allowed to use Case’s service pistol to shoot, and wing, Volker.

Up north of the border, McRaney discovers that a trusted colleague “betrayed” the brotherhood, by leaving a hole in their computer system’s security software.  This realization leads to a discovery that Case has already made.

An interteresting note is that Eckhart (John Shea) turns up when Maccabee goes missing, it seems that when the current VP dies, or is “lost” the previous one steps in. While this facilitated the plot of Sacrifice, it also screams “plot-hole.”  Trying to imaging a prior VP, who could well be from another political party and no longer in office suddenly being in charge of Agent X again is stretching the old suspension of disbelief envelope to breaking.

Overall this episode worked, despite the show makers putting John Case in peril again. After last week’s episode also put Case in a life or death situation, this could be seen as a lack of creativity. This is not, however, the case (no pun intended) this  week’s plot device makes sense when the flashback and the storyline are all put together.

While Olga Petrovka’s absence is still keenly  felt, Nicolas Volker as villain is fun to watch and his larger than life “Big Bad” actions make him a real treat. Hephner still sells it as the “super” agent, who is more Jason Bourne than James Bond, although a bit more “human” than Bourne.

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Jeff Hephner

Agent X  is moving up the scale.  The actors are settling in and hitting their stride, some quicker than others but this is starting to come together. The series airs Sundays on TNT;  tune in and see how the Yank’s do “licensed to kill.” Cracking entertainment that just leapt up a notch.

 

The Librarians: And the Image of Image (Review)

The week’s episode of The Librarians (and the Image of Image) takes place in London, or Portland, Oregon where the series is filmed. The Librarians take on a technologically advanced Dorian Gray, Lindy Booth and Christian Kane show the flair for comedy.

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The week’s episode of The Librarians (and the Image of Image) takes place in London, or Portland, Oregon where the series is filmed. The Librarians take on a technologically advanced Dorian Gray, Lindy Booth and Christian Kane show a flair for comedy. Booth is truly hysterical as a high Cassandra  and Kane, as Jake Stone, takes frustration to new levels  while  Eve Baird makes a reference to Snowpiercer.

Eve: “Ezekiel. Be a comb,”

This is obviously a huge nod to the Tilda Swinton character in the Joon Ho Bong Chris Evans post apocalyptic film Mason, who explains how the train’s hierarchy works:

Mason: “Be a shoe.”

Clever homage moments aside,  this episode did have a few clunkers in it.  (Forgivable for a show that usually gets a lot of things right.)  The “English” or “London” accents were so watered down (except for that waitress)  that they lost any authenticity and some of the dialogue was “off.”

After the woman is “hit” by the car one of the clubbers outside “Club e” say “Call 9-9-9.” In England it would have been “Ring 9-9-9.” Inside the club later, the bouncer states that everyone must relinquish their phones before entering the club proper, in London, he would have referred to the cell phones as “mobiles,” not phones.

*Sidenote:* And speaking of that 9-9-9 incident…While the steering wheel was on the “right side of the car” the car itself was on the wrong side of the road.  Come on chaps…

Okay pointless and picayune moaning finished.  Although not before having a moan about the “waitress” with the dodgy London accent, while not as bad as the illustrious Dick Van Dyke “mockney” in Mary Poppins, it came damn close.  Part of the problem with the actors portraying “Brits”in this episode  was that at least two are from down under, one Kiwi (New Zealander) and one Aussie (Aussie).  At least the dialogue with the one real “Brit” (the bouncer) featured Stone being called Yank, although once more the London was dampened quite a lot…

The plot was great; with the idea that Dorian Gray was real and still alive managing to overcome the destruction of the painting by using the vanity of selfies and the age of narcissism to keep himself forever ageless.   We learn that little bit more about Jenkins and Eve in this episode was well.

The sight of a stoned Cillian doing her math thing in mid air was funny as was her drunken mumblings.  Overt comedic performance times Lindy Booth equals win to the nth degree. This episode allowed the ladies to shine. It was ladies night and Rebecca Romijn also took center stage to prove that she was more than up to the challenge of protecting her charges.

Later Jenkins hints that the Guardian will have a big battle to face later.  Colonel Baird takes a moment to look at some pictures of Carson Flynn (Noah Wyle) whom she still apparently is attracted to.  This may also be a clue that the big battle will include Flynn…

There is a reveal at the end of the show, where Jenkins and Evie are talking about  the library and Dorian Gray and the caretaker reveals that the Librarians themselves have almost figured out why they were chosen. This after Ezekiel gives a little expository rundown about each of the new members.

The Librarians airs Sundays on  TNT and still provides great family entertainment. Even the “sins” committed by Luke Cook as Gray were not too bad, the drug taking hinted at, as was the drinking to excess.  

Agent X: Truth, Lies and Consequences (Review)

Perhaps the best thing that can be said about this week’s Agent X: Truth, Lies and Consequences is the cameo by former Hunter star Fred Dryer, all that was needed to make this a complete fanboy moment would have been the presence of Dryer’s co-star from the small screen version of “Dirty Harry” Stepfanie Kramer.

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Perhaps the best thing that can be said about this week’s Agent X: Truth, Lies and Consequences is the cameo by former  Hunter star Fred Dryer, all that was needed to make this a complete fanboy moment would have been the presence of Dryer’s co-star from the small screen version of “Dirty Harry” Stepfanie Kramer.  In terms of guest starring cameos, even though Dryer is not on long, Fred has not lost his ease and conviction in front of the camera.

The storyline this week has John Case (Jeff Hephner) being exposed to a biological agent which induces a heart attack to those infected by “Husk” after 12 hours.  This gives the vice president’s agent a very limited time to catch the villains responsible and to stop them from infecting thousands of innocent civilians. 

Sharon Stone, as Natalie Maccabee, widow and new vice president to John Shea‘s President Eckhart, seems to be trapped into underplaying her government official to the maximum extent possible.  While this somnambulistic approach works well in many cases on the big screen, it makes for a pretty underwhelming experience on television.

The main problem may well be that Stone is the mast which this series has been hoist upon, in other words, she is the draw…the figurehead, the “name” meant to pull in  viewers. With little to do, apart from assigning her agent to various “world saving missions” the star, who has, incidentally, massive acting chops, is being dangerously underused.

Thus far, her “right-hand man” Gerald McRaney as Malcolm Millar is infinitely more entertaining and watchable. Take the episode open where Case is annihilating the practice dummies in his workout room. Millar comes in and stares down at Agent X beating the thing into submission.

Millar to Case: “Hey! You keep killing em all, we’ll never get any intel.”

McRaney specializes in these type of roles, the sage and clever advisor who has seen it all and done it all and can crack a decent joke about it.  However, having a righthand man who can dominate a scene does not help Stone, or the show since McRaney is never on screen that much or that often.

Leaving aside shortfalls of the cast’s main protagonists, or misuse of same, the plot has Case rushing to save the day while turning down help, in the form of an anecdote, which will keep him from dying. Sadly we as viewers have not yet bonded enough with Hephner’s John Case to be too worried about his possible demise.

The threat of an airborne virus to be released from a rocket also never really takes off either. A young woman, whose whistle-blower parents were murdered by the government to keep their biological weapon in their control may be a variation on an old theme, but not enough of one to make a difference.

The viewer does not connect with the woman who wants revenge, or her nerdish “boyfriend” that she uses to make her weapon work.  This year has seen a plethora of “nebbish” young men in other shows, NBC’s The Player to mention just one, and it is awfully early in the season to see this much “lack of originality” in a storyline.

Agent X does have some things going for it. Unfortunately none of them were apparent in this episode.  The writers,  under the guidance of show creator W. Blake Herron have given us a hero in peril too soon. We have not yet warmed to this taciturn secret agent/assassin who is the agent of good for the vice president.

Bring back Olga Petrovka (Olga Fonda) , a  bigger than life villain who has an uneasy alliance, and great chemistry, with Hephner. These two maintain interest when they share the screen and please, would someone wake Sharon Stone up, or give her some decent lines?  At the very least…More McRaney please.

Agent X airs Sundays on TNT. Tune in and see what you think of the sleepwalking vice president and her “pet” agent.

The Librarians: And the Infernal Contract (Review)

The Librarians: And the Infernal Contract focusses on Colonel Baird (Rebecca Romijn) and features John de Lancie (best known for his recurring role as the omnipotent Q in Star Trek) and as a variation on his career defining character, instead of portraying an all powerful being, he, in essence, the devil.

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The Librarians: And the Infernal Contract focusses on Colonel Baird (Rebecca Romijn) and features John de Lancie (best known for his recurring role as the omnipotent Q in Star Trek)  and as a variation on his career defining character, instead of portraying an all powerful being, he, in essence, the devil.  The urge to “be cute” with the show’s theme, “The Devil is in the Deal” may be the best one, as Baird not only comes to the rescue, but learns her true purpose as  “guardian” of the librarians.

The episode begins with a young lady running from some unseen menace. She ends up in a hotel room where a burning hole appears in the ceiling to suck the women up and out of her sanctuary.  Colonel Baird is in the town, visiting an old colleague and friend, and the librarians show up after being directed to the place by the library’s clippings.

Before John de Lancie shows up, each of the librarians have a chance to do a few comic turns.  Lindy Booth does a Charlotte La Bouff impression (from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog 2009) when she squeakily refers to John Larroquette’s caretaker as “Big Daddy,” and Christian Kane does an English accent.

Comic turns aside the plot can be seen as variation on The Devil and Daniel Webster or even Faust.  Nods to classic tales of “soul selling” and deals with the devil aside, Romijn’s character explains to her friend, former Captain Denning (Michael Trucco), that “magic is real” and that the librarians are there to control it.

A small town politician, Jefferson Keating (Matt Nolan) is running against Denning for mayor, and he has signed a contract with “Mr. Sesselman” who has set up contracts with the politician’s family for decades.  Each Keating signatory has been successful at the price of a major catastrophe in the town.

The librarians learn of Sesselman and go to  retrieve the contract and save the town from the latest disaster which will affect the burg’s citizens.

This week’s episode was one that defined the characters of both Eve Baird and Ezekiel Jones.  It is pointed out by Jake Stone (Kane) that Jones is turning into a good guy versus the thief he was before.  Jenkins points out that Baird is not there to save the librarians’ lives but their souls. It is also pointed out, somewhat fittingly by Ezekiel, that “The colonel sees the good in everyone.”

It is always a treat to see award winning actor John de Lancie on any program. The performer has been on several different versions of the Star Trek verse and, on an interesting note, another Star Trek alumnus Jonathan Frakes (Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation where de Lancie played Q eight times through the series’ seven seasons) directs this particular episode.

Before the end credits roll, Baird saves, Jake, Cassandra and Ezekiel as well as her old friend Sam.  Jenkins turns out to be far from just an eccentric caretaker and more of a formidable foe, for Sesselman, at least on a temporary basis, although it is Eve that defeats the “devil.”

The Librarians continues to be a show that specializes in family fun and entertainment that does not rely upon gore or gratuitous violence to make a show that is a must see for a Sunday evening on TNT.  This episode left the running storyline of Prospero and Moriarty, as well as Carson Flynn (Noah Wyle) out of the proceedings.

Rather interestingly, Jenkins reveals that Eve is there not to protect the librarians from dying, but she is, instead, there to keep them from falling for the temptation of the facility itself and the magic it contains. He tells Baird that Flynn’s predecessor did not die, he was lost to the library’s magic.

Tune in on Sunday for G rated entertainment on TNT and enjoy the magic of the show and its cast.