This Emerald City review contains spoilers.
Emerald City Season 1 Episode 6
Much of Emerald Cityso far has been compared to Game of Thrones(or, more accurately, as a wannabe Game of Thrones), but the flashbacks in tonight’s episode were all Lost. “Beautiful Wickedness” gave us a decades-old backstory about how this current sociopolitical situation in Oz came to be and it has everything to do with Frank.
Who’s Frank, you might ask? Well, as we learned earlier this season, Frank is the Wizard’s real name. Before coming to Oz, he lived in Topeka, Kansas where he worked with Karen Chapman, Dorothy mom; Roberto, Dorothy’s dad; and Jane, the woman who “fixed” Jack. While Karen, Roberto, and Jane were all seemingly respected scientist/doctors, Frank was not and his emasculated angst resulted in him sabotaging Jane’s energy experiment, thus created the first tornado to Oz.
How did Frank know this was going to happen? He just winged it, I guess. Because he definitely didn’t know about the existence of Oz before he, Jane, and a pregnant Karen ended up there. (Roberto, um, doesn’t make it, which kind of means that Frank killed Dorothy’s dad.) While the others work to negotiate with East to leave Oz, Frank has no intention of ever leaving. In our world, he was a nobody. In Oz, with his knowledge of science, he could be king.
However, as has been thematically (and, sometimes, explicitly) teased throughout this show’s run so far, Oz isn’t a land of science. It belongs to magic and, from Frank’s first attempts at earning the respect of the people who live in the magical land, magic will out. That’s not going to stop Frank from trying, though.
Meanwhile, in present-day, it becomes clear that Glinda is planning on waging war against the Wizard, sending Frank into a paranoid rage. (As West awesomely puts it: “Sober up, you fool. She’s not going to use them against the Beast. She’s going to use them against you.”)
Frank works to form an alliance with Lady Ev, but when her father ends up dead at the scared hands of baby witch Sylvie, tensions are high. To prove his commitment to the cause, as well as his feelings about Glinda (and the members of the high council), the Wizsrd uses the gun Dorothy has given him to shoot and kill Anna. This not only proves his seriousness to Ev, but puts a decisiveness exclamation mark at the end of the Wizard’s chief character motivation: power.
Anna was the closest he had to a loved one. He was worried when he thought she was killed earlier this season. Now, in the face of losing his power to Glinda and the Beast Forever, the Wizard murdered the person who arguably cared for him and had his interests at heart. Anna was critical of her fellow high council members’ allegiance to Glinda over the Wizard. The action has the feeling of sealing the deal on the Wizard’s inevitable fate. He has chosen his side, the path of power, and it will probably not end well.
Elsewhere in the episode. Tip and Jack see each other for the first time since Jack’s rebirth. It would have been nice to get much more from these two, who continue to be one of the best parts of the show. Tip is ecstatic to see Jack, though ashamed for his part in Jack’s almost-death. Jack, on the other hand, is angry at Tip for leaving him and too embarrassed to show Tip what he has become.
Tip tells Jack he loves him. Lady Ev shows up and makes Jack show a horrified Tip his clockwork heart. I still don’t completely buy that Jack would choose to stay with Ev and Tip would choose to stay with West now that they have found each other again, but apparently we have to wait until the end of the season for these two to sort things out.
What is Dorothy up to in all this? Well, as has been the case with most of her Season 1 arc, the iconic character continues to stumble around Oz without a very well-developed motivation. She heads towards Glinda with Lucas and Sylvie seemingly planning to kill Glinda so that the Wizard will send her home. It continues to be difficult to get invested in Dorothy’s journey. Why does she care so much about getting home when she seems even more attached to Lucas and Sylvie than anyone back in Kansas? (Especially now that she knows she was born in Oz.)
Still, the episode is bolstered by the larger political machinations that jump into high gear. War is coming to Oz. It’s time for everyone to pick sides. Everything that has come before feels like a prelude to what will happen next and to the choice that Dorothy inevitably makes.