This Emerald City review contains spoilers.
Emerald City Season 1, Episode 4
“Science and Magic” is Emerald City‘sstrongest episode yet, giving us three plot lines to care about as Glinda and West battle over Tip’s future, Jack is given new life as a mechanical teen, and Dorothy meets a little girl with great and terrible power. Even the Wizard’s storyline serves to broaden and enrichen the world of Oz. For the first time since this show began, Oz feels like a real place populated by people other than the main characters, which only serves to give those main characters more believablility, too.
Here’s everything that went down in “Science and Magic.”
Nun or whore?
Reeling from the events of last week, which saw Tip finding out that she was born in a female body and then accidentally sending her best and only friend to his apparent death, Tip is contemplating suicide by drowning.
A man convinces her not to take the plunge, instead deliving her into the hands of Glinda and the nunnery where she trains/brainwashes girls into becoming stewards of the Wizard — or, as she explains in her recruitment speech, guards against danger to Oz that come from both the outside and within. (I’m still hoping The Order of the Ladies in Funny Hats are all secret assassins who will eventually take Oz back from the Wizard.)
Tip is forced to bathe and is seemingly destined to be forced into Glinda’s nun training program… until West shows up, giving her another option. As Tip awesomely puts it: “Are you telling me the only choice I have as a woman is nun or whore?” Fraid so, sweetheart.
Tip doesn’t seem particularly keen on either option, but knows an opportunity when she sees one. Though she dresses in Glinda’s garb, she tells West what she really wants in exchange for her servitude: not a way to forget, but access to magic. #TeamTip
The Tin Teen.
My favorite storyline of the night is also the most unsettling. We learn that Jack somehow survived his fall from the balcony — not by the grace of Oz’s magic (or at least not exclusively), but through the science of Jane, a scientist who replaces Jack’s broken body parts with mechanical version.
Jack is understandably freaked out, though also sweetly asks about Tip. Jane doesn’t give him many answers, but does try to teach him how to survive now that he is part mechanical. Jack practices walking around the laboratory (and immense kudos to Emerald City‘sproduction team for this steampunk set) before running into another one of Jane’s experiments: a beautiful, masked woman. She stops by the laboratory to find a new mask, implying that, like Jack, she is “a freak” and must wear a mask to survive.
Later, we find out that the woman in question is Lady Ev, and she seems to rule over this city. She takes a liking to Jack during their brief encounter, and Jane leaves him in her ownership. Yeah, that’s right. Lady Ev “owns” Jack. She is the one who paid for his life-saving mechanical resurrection and, apparently, that means she gets to keep Jack. Given how hard it was for Jack to climb the stairs up to Lady Ev’s castle tower, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to run away any time soon.
Dorothy and Lucas adopt a kid.
Dorothy and Lucas aren’t the most likable characters ever, but adding a troubled kid in need of help to their little makeshift family certainly gave them a few likeability points.
While wandering through the woods on their way to the Wizard, a young, mute girl named Sylvie literally attaches herself to Lucas’ leg. Does she know him? Or does he just seem like the cuddly type? It’s unclear. Either way, Dorothy decides to bring her to the nearest village, assuming someone will be looking for her.
Apparently, Dorothy isn’t a very good judge of character because she leaves Sylvie in the care of two sketchy villagers who claim to be her parents, but who look like the Thénardiers from Les Miserables. It isn’t long before Dorothy doubles back to save Sylvie. By the time she gets there, Sylvie has already “saved” herself by inadvertently turning the Thénardiers into stone with what appear to be uncontrollably magical powers. (I guess that explains the ear plugs Sylvie was wearing? They are like magical-suppression devices, maybe?)
Whatever happened, Dorothy knows it’s time to get the heck out of Dodge. She literally smashes the Thénardiers’ stony grip on Sylvie and takes off through a village now crawling with the Wizard’s men, including that Professional Thorn in Dorothy and Lucas’ Side, Eammon. Of course, Eammon sees Dorothy and Sylvie and rightly believes that they look suspicious. When he notices that Dorothy is carrying Lucas’ sword, the gig is up. He knows that sword. (Does anyone have money on Eammon and Lucas being past murder husbands? Because that would be awesome.)
Dorothy breaks out her gun just as Lucas swoops in to grab Sylvie. The three try to leave the city without trouble, but Dorothy will literally fire her gun at the slightest provocation — despite the fact that she has a finite amount of bullets and it, you know, can kill people. A desperate Eammon follows them out of the village, shouting Lucas’ real name. (Roan, I think? It’s hard to understand Eammon, even though he shouts it like an infinite amount of times.)
Dorothy’s solution to this? Shoot Eammon in the chest, which seems like an overreaction from where I’m standing. Like, I get it. Dorothy is stranded in a strange land where people — including Eammon — keep trying to kill her. But this guy wasn’t outright trying to attack her; he just wanted to talk to his long-lost friend. He is also maybe the only one who can give Lucas answers about his mysterious past. Or maybe it was the right call. I don’t know. I just think Dorothy is a little casual with her gun use. Maybe she should keep her Oz murders to a minimum? She’s still dealing with the blowback from the last time she kind of killed someone in Oz.
Actually, Eammon doesn’t end up dying (somehow), instead catching up with the gang the next morning. (You know, after Dorothy and Lucas have time to kiss and one night to cuddle.) When Dorothy and Lucas are woken up by Eammon’s approach, Lucas tells Dorothy to run and she literally just books it out of there without looking back. I don’t know, maybe this is exactly what people should do in this situation — there’s no reason all three of them should be caught — but it also makes Dorothy seem like she doesn’t care about Lucas or Sylvie. She definitely does not need to be told twice.
And, in the end, Dorothy is captured, anyway. Not by Eammon, who does catch up with Lucas and Sylvie, but by Ojo, the leader of the Tribal Freelands. Dorothy met Ojo in the Emerald Citypilot. He was pretty pissed that she hit Mombi with her car, apparently killing her, and told her never to return to the Tribal Freelands. Judging by the boomerang-like weapon he hilariously uses to knock Dorothy out, he’s not too happy that she only stayed exiled from the Tribal Freelands for like three days. Do better, Dorothy.
The Wizard is the worst.
Elsewhere in Oz, the Wizard continues to be The Worst. When magic is found in one of Oz’s villages, he orders a bunch of people there burned or something? It’s actually pretty unclear. He invites his latest crush, Anna (one of The Order of the Ladies in Funny Hats), to come with him — even though it was only last episode he had her locked up for heresy. But that was before it started snowing, so…
Anna and the Wizard make it to the village where everyone is pretty pissed that the Wizard murdered some of their men, women, and children. The Wizard has a philosophical debate with the village’s alderman about magic vs. science in the world of Oz while the alderman’s pregnant daughter just sits there silently. Seriously, she doesn’t talk for the entire episode, just sits there like the prop/plot device that she is.
The Wizard seems to listen to the alderman, but then makes him deliver a speech to the townspeople about how magic is the worst and science is the best and everyone should love the Wizard of Oz. He does this by having his guards hold a knife to the pregnant belly of his daughter, which is not only pretty obvious, but the alderman can just, like, wait for the Wizard’s guards to leave town and then tell all of his friends that he actually thinks magic is the best and science is the worst and that everyone should hate the Wizard because he is a murderer and tyrant who uses unborn babies to get his way?
I don’t know. I kind of want the show to replace the Wizard and Anna as characters with the alderman and his daughter. The Alderman’s Daughter would get to speak and we would learn what it is really like living in Oz and what everyone secretly (and sometimes not-so-secretly) thinks of having the Wizard as their tyrant. That’s probably not going to happen, though…
We did get some interesting clues during the Wizard and Anna’s trip to the village. The village had created some kind of magical portal. When Anna touches it, it explodes, but it was potentially used for some purpose before that. What were the townspeople using it for? How was it created? And how long was it there for?
The alderman and Anna also give their opinion on The Beast Forever. The alderman says The Beast Forever has always come to Oz and that his appearance is a natural part of the magical kingdom, a cleansing of sort. Anna tells the Wizard that the current incarnation of The Beast Forever has a heart, which means he (or she) can be killed. Run, Dorothy, run. Or, you know, stop wasting your bullets…