This Emerald City review contains spoilers.
Emerald City Season 1, Episode 9
The season-long arc of Emerald Cityreally took shape in tonight’s penultimate episode. Much attention was paid to the way in which this show was shot: almost like a Netflix drama, in that it was given a ten-episode direct-to-series order from the get-go. Tarsem Singh not only directed all ten episodes, but he did it all before the pilot even aired. This allows for one, big story that, wherever you may fall in interest, is impressive in its determination to tell it.
There were some crazy twists in “The Villain That’s Become,” but they also made sense amidst this larger story arc. That’s kind of Emerald City’sM.O.: crazy, but with its own internal logic that somehow works? Here’s everything that went down in tonight’s episode…
Tip decides to rule.
Emerald City’sbest moments continue to lie with Tip and West and tonight’s episode was no exception. The storyline picks up seconds after the cliffhanger that saw a back-from-the-dead, magically-infused Tip standing over West’s prone body as the witch slowly bleeds out from self-inflicted wounds. Don’t go, West. You’re part of this show’s best storyline. We need you.
West eventually decides to live, after confirming that her sister’s magic lives on inside of Tip. Tip’s plea to West that she not leave him is affecting in a way that the other storyline’s big, dramatic moments fail to fully pull off. I was never sold on the Dorothy/Lucas connection, nor the Jack/Ev one, but Tip and West I believe. They have both been so vastly disappointed by life, but still feel so much. In their coming together, they are choosing to fight back. To live.
The two take off through the woods to find an army to challenge The Wizard’s and, potentially, Glinda’s, but first West has to get Tip fully on board with the plan. Tip seems casually into it until he realizes that he can turn his body back to the boy he is. It’s a powerful moment, one we have been waiting for since the season premiere, and it’s understandable that Tip is cool with stopping the mission here. For Tip, this will always be enough. He doesn’t covet power, or even necessarily revenge. He just wants to be himself. Having West recognize and accept that this is who Tip is perhaps equally powerful and makes what follows that much more heart-wrenching.
It seems like Tip might turn his back on his rightful place on the throne of Oz in favor of a less complicated, probably happier life, until West gets ambushed by the army of witches she freed from East’s muddy prison. They plan to take out all of their hate at East on West. It’s not until Tip steps in, turning himself back into a female-bodied person that they agree to stop and follow him, the Princess Ozma and the rightful ruler of Oz. It’s a big sacrifice for Tip to make, and one that will surely come back to haunt him. For now, however, I am swayed by the growing friendship between Tip and West, and the fact that, in the end, it was Tip’s choice to make.
Lucas tries to kill Dorothy.
Man, Dorothy is having a rough couple of days. After finding out that her amnesiac boyfriend is married and getting dumped by her surrogate kid, she flees Glinda’s castle and makes for the last spot she was happy: the little house where she slept in Lucas’ arms and played games with Sylvie. It’s a short-lived moment of peace for the girl from Kansas because Lucas/Roan shows up to kill her, thinking it is the only way he can be free of his conflicted heart.
It’s a real dick move, frankly, and one that only goes to demonstrate how wishy-washy of a character Roan/Lucas is. He’s only trying to kill Dorothy because Glinda suggested it might make him feel better (unless she also cast some kind of spell on him?). That is not a good reason to kill someone. Dorothy almost lets him get away with it, but is first saved by Toto (who is seemingly stabbed and then, well, not), and then stabs a pleading Lucas in the side to get him to stop choking her.
It’s a traumatic, disturbing scene and one I’m not sure Emerald Cityhas totally earned. It’s really unclear why Lucas is being such a homicidal idiot about this whole thing, and the efforts Dorothy goes to not to kill this guy she has really not known that long are a little unbelievable. Especially considering that she has killed and/or tried to kill multiple people over the course of this season.
After the light stabbing, Dorothy strings Lucas up the way she found him: as a pathetic scarecrow. I have to admit, as out-of-nowhere as this turn has been, it has succeeded in making Dorothy into a character that I am rooting for — if only because she is so much cooler than Lucas/Roan. She ends the episode by convincing Ojo’s dying wife to wake the Stone Giants for here. I’m not sure if I believe that Ojo’s wife would do something so major and potentially destructive for someone she literally just met, but she is probably very pissed at pretty much all of the ruling powers who left her to rot in that muddy prison, so…
Jack accidentally kills Lady Ev.
Um, if you thought either of the two previous storylines were kind of crazy, then you haven’t seen nothing yet…
When we last saw Lady Ev, she had ascended to queen of her kingdom and had ordered her guards to turn her newly-made guns on The Wizard just as he arrived to pick up aforementioned newly-made guns for his campaign against Glinda. This is a tangled web.
I am going to blame what comes next on the grief of a daughter in mourning for her father because it was relatively stupid. Rather than turning over the guns to The Wizard in exchange for the gold he supplied, she took the guns and the gold and left him in the cold outside. If she really wanted to commit to this heartless, but albeit not terrible plan, then she should have also shot the Wizard. (Seriously, how has no one killed The Wizard yet? He’s the worst and relatively fallible.) Instead, she lets him live, also allowing his men hidden inside chests of gold to take her hostage.
When Jack sees this, he goes to Jane for help. She arms him with a gun that he then uses to accidentally shoot Ev in the head as The Wizard was holding a knife to her throat. This is kind of realistic. Who has that good of aim when they’ve never fired a gun before? This devestates Jack whom Jane tries to comfort by peeling off Ev’s face to show that she was only ever an automaton, made by the king to be his dead daughter. It’s creepy and sad and actually kind of works within the horror of this storyline, which really began with Jack being pieced back together with tin parts. However, as I was never fully sold on the Ev/Jack relationship, the emotional punch leaves a bit to be desired, despite Gerran Howell’s great performance.
Of slightly more interest is the conversation between Jane and The Wizard, aka Frank. When Jane goes to plead with Frank for Ev’s life, The Wizard is less than receptive. He never liked Jane because she was never nice to him. She always made him do things for her. “That was your job, Frank,” Jane tells him, awesomely. Frank does not like this — or their conversation – telling Jane that, if she calls him Frank one more time, he will kill her. Seriously, how is this guy still alive?
The episode ends with Dorothy marching towards Ev (the kingdom, not the dead automaton) with a Stone Giant in tow. How will she wield her power? I’m kind of dying to find out.