Emerald City Episode 7 Review: They Came First

Emerald City makes it characters choose a side in its best episode yet.

This Emerald City review contains spoilers.

Emerald City Episode 7

“They Came First” dealt with the fallout from last week’s stakes-raising installment of Emerald City, which started to make characters choose side in this cold (probably soon to be hot) war between The Wizard and Glinda. The decisiveness of both “Beautiful Wickedness” and tonight’s “They Came First” has made this show much better. I still don’t like some of the charaters I think I am supposed to like (namely, Dorothy), don’t find the characters I am supposed to find interesting interesting (namely, The Wizard), but there’s a lot to like about this story as it ups the ante towards its inevitable climax. Just, you know, not Dorothy or The Wizard.

Here’s everything that went down in “They Came First”…

Lucas chooses Glinda (apparently).

I’m not sure if I believe that Lucas has really chosen Glinda over Dorothy (perhaps he is just playing along for now in order to get Dorothy a chance to kill Glinda?), but the final reveal was an effective one. It seemed both slightly heartless and underdeveloped when Dorothy told Lucas that she needed to return to Kansas not because she wanted to or because she loved her family there so much she couldn’t bear to live without them, but because “they came first.” I liked that character beat a lot more when it was thrown back at Dorothy in the episodes final moments. Lucas (aka Roan) tells Dorothy that he’s sorry, but Glinda and their mission to take down The Wizard came first.

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Like Dorothy before him, Lucas/Roan is being asked to choose a side. Glinda’s kiss seemed to restore his memories of the man he once was, but Lucas seemed to be head over heels for Dorothy just moments before. Surely, that kiss didn’t erase those feelings, too. Perhaps Lucas is angry that Dorothy waited until after he slept with him to mention that she made a deal with The Wizard to kill Glinda. Especially because we’ve gotten such lazy characterization for Dorothy, these moments make her seem like a thoughtless person. Hours before she planned on sneaking out without saying goodbye, she was playing with Sylvie, who needs her arguably more than Henry and Em (it’s hard to judge because we never really got to know Dorothy’s adopted parents).

Sylvie convinces Dorothy to bring her and Lucas back to Kansas with her, but who knows if Dorothy would have kept that promise? And why didn’t she think of that solution sooner? Emerald Cityhasn’t done a great job of articulating who exactly its protagonist is and that flaw, even in the show’s strongest episode, is hard not to notice.

The Wizard is starting to really lose it.

The Wizard has similarly suffered from poor characterization and unclear motivations, but after last week’s turning point that saw him shooting Anna in cold blood, his side is decidedly chosen, which has made him a much more efficient character in terms of the larger storyline.

This week, The Wizard continues his paranoid mission to destroy all magic and/or any Glinda-related plot that might threaten him. He burns his council alive, then tells the people that they made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat the Beast Forever. He gathers up all the young girls who might be witches, then tells the people that the witches are the Beast Forever. The man is heading towards a breaking point (if he hasn’t already hit it). This kind of power-hungry, paranoid mania can’t be sustained (at least rarely in fiction) and when this house of poorly constructed cards comes crashing down on The Wizard, I won’t feel bad. He’s a murderer, and a self-righteous one at that.

West mourns the loss of a young witch.

For me, West has been one of the standout characters of the season, along with Tip, who conveniently has been ushered in the same storyline. When The Wizard’s men happen to come upon a witch in their rounding up of young women, West agrees to help catch her — with the condition that The Wizard keep her safe.

As you might imagine, this is not The Wizard’s intentions, and the young witch is first trapped in some kind of fire-and-ice hole, with her power used to kill The Wizard’s council. By the time West rescues her, she is too weak to survive, and West puts her out of her misery.

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West has been one of the more clearly articulated characters on this show. She’s a drug addict who prays at the altar of opium because she can’t live with the world and her previous actions. She sees herself as implicit in the deaths of so many of her witchly kin. She hates magic because of her addiction to it.

Will the death of the young witch act as a catalyst into action after so many years of burying her head in the sand? With the ever-inquisitive Tip by her side, West may have the potential to rise again.

Jack & Ev continue to have a creepy relationship.

When we first learned Jack’s fate as Emerald City‘sTin Man, I was intrigued by its visceral implications and by the tragic fate of such a seemingly well-intentioned character. Now I’m just weirded out by the power-imbalanced sexual relationship between Lady Ev and Jack. Just because Ev is a woman doesn’t mean her sexual manipulation of Jack is any less creepy. She not only sees Jack as her property, but demonstrates in “They Came First” that she has all of the power in their relationship by leaving him in the Screaming Forest to die before “swooping in” to rescue him.

I’m not sure if Emerald Cityrealizes how uncomfortable this relationship is or not, but, for now, it is the next tragic step in the tale of poor, sweet Jack, who tries to do the right thing, but has really had a rough time of it since escaping that village he and Tip lived in back in the very first episode.

What did you think of “They Came First”? Sound off in the comments below…