Emerald City Is Broken-Hearted, Blue Since The Day They Parted -- Ozmamma Mia!
Events come to a head, as everyone follows the Yellow Brick Road to the finale.
I nitpick because it's my job, but as Emerald City heads into the home stretch, I'm liking it more and more. It's precisely because the world is so full that the areas that don't seem well thought-out are frustrating. This week's episode raises the emotional stakes quite a bit: Jack may be an idiot, but his pain is relatable and real. We finally get to see Stefanie Martini's entire face, and she uses it to full effect, betraying the fear that she didn't allow into her voice when the Wizard held her at gunpoint. West and Tip finally have what they want -- including a sense of family in each other -- and it turns out those wants may contradict each other. Dorothy must finally accept that Lucas is no longer Lucas, and never really was, and it hardens her. Even the bit player witches we've never seen before convey the pain of having been imprisoned, and betrayed by their own kind.
Not that this isn't all still wrapped in a large bow of ridonkulousness. It absolutely is. But it's not necessarily where I expected to end up eight weeks ago. I'm genuinely eager to see how it all ends next week.
But first, I have some questions.
Was the lion the symbol of the Pastorias?
This is totally unimportant, really, but just to tie up a loose end from last week, Ozma's dagger has a lion head on the handle, which suggests that it's the symbol of her royal family, which in turn suggests that Eamonn was loyal to them (hence the wildly impractical headgear) before joining the Wizard. That's actually some surprisingly subtle work there, show.
Why didn't the Wizard see that coming?
Sure, Frank is an idiot, but Langwidere literally told him she was going to wage war against Emerald City. He responded by showing her how powerful guns are (by shooting Anna) and then showing her how to make them (using Dorothy's automatic pistol as a prototype that somehow gets translated into old-timey rifles, but never mind). Why is he the least bit surprised when he comes to get the guns and Ev's army is like, "You can't have them...and you can't take them by force either because, duh, we have guns now."
How does money work in Oz?
Look, I don't want this thing to be any more like the Star Wars prequels than it already is, and it's been established that the various kingdoms (is Oz a kingdom or is Oz the whole world and Emerald City a city-state...oh who cares?) trade with each other for weapons and orange fabric. But the Wizard brings Langwidere all this gold in exchange for the guns, and she just takes it. "Let the Beast destroy his kingdom this time," she gloats, adding that now he won't have the money to rebuild it. Neither of these places exactly seems to be hurting for cash.
Why didn't anyone in Ev check the trunks?
Oh, okay, more credit to the Wizard than expected: he did see that coming! Only one of the chests of gold actually contains gold; the others contains assassins. I suppose the Wiz is the only one here who knows the story of the Trojan Horse, but still, no one bothered to open one of the 100% not-filled-with-gold chests? No one noticed the weight seemed off? Mmkay.
What's the deal with the Beast Forever?
I mean, I know we're not supposed to know, but there's a fine line between mystery/suspense and inconsistency/the-writers-don't-know-either. A while back, the Nimboans saw the Beast as part of the natural life cycle, purging and cleansing their world, and aren't cool with the Wizard "saving" them from it. Meanwhile, Langwidere was very angry that the Wizard didn't save Ev. Is this just about different local religions, and more science vs. magic stuff? We've also heard that the Beast can take different forms, and it's been suggested that Dorothy could be the Beast, or a harbinger of the Beast. And it last came twenty years ago, when Frank and company "caused a ripple effect," so is it related to Kansas? I'd say "who cares?" but they won't. stop. saying. "The Beast Forever." To the point where it's losing all meaning.
No, really, how does magic work?
Tip delivers a message from the other side from East to West: "Get up off your sorry ass and help me." And West does, her wounds closing. Was that a spell? Did West do it herself? Oh well, moving on....As they trek through the woods (they can't fly or Glinda will sense them), West teaches Tip how to find the magic deep within her. It's a little goofy to watch, but it's also some really nice character development for both West and Tip. But wait...Dorothy also has magic, and is getting better at using it. She didn't drink anything and is the child of two humans from Kansas. And while we're here, she got her magic by killing East, so don't she and Tip have the same magic? It seems like Nahara transfers some power to Dorothy too. Rules, people! We need some rules.
Is this a statement on gender fluidity or just a cool costume?
Tip finds her power and uses it to make herself a boy again. West is not pleased: "So your parents will go unavenged just so you can take a piss standing up?" But Tip's position is really quite moving: "This skin was the only thing that was ever really mine." He doesn't want to have to choose between his newfound power, and friendship with West, and finally feeling like himself again. But once West frees her army of witches from the Prison of the Abject, they're not buying any of it. They see West as a traitor for working with the Wizard at all, and they certainly don't believe that this "boy in a dress" is Ozma. Tip finds his/her real power to free West from the other witches' spell by transforming not only back into a girl, but one who fully looks the part of a Princess, and sharing the memory she recovered last week with the group, so they know she's the real deal. It's pretty intense, and I'm curious to see how/if we'll get to see Tip continue to reconcile her/his two sides (with only one episode left, I'm guessing not much).
When did Dorothy develop such a good sense of dramatic irony?
Dorothy returns to Lionel Richie's safe house, but Roan anticipated this move and is waiting for her there. A long, difficult-to-watch fight ensues, during which he tries to kill her because Glinda told him to, but he can't because he loves her, but he can't not because he's supposed to, but she won't use magic to stop him because she doesn't want to kill him. Finally, she grabs his knife off his belt and stabs him in the same spot he was wounded when she found him, then hoists him up in place of the scarecrow that happened to be in the field in which they were battling: "You got your wish. I never happened to you." Fair enough, and it'll keep him from coming after her, but also cold.
Remember when West put that little girl out of her misery?
Well, apparently she doesn't have time for euthanasia anymore, because when she frees the witches from the Prison of the Abject (offscreen), she leaves behind the dying ones to keep suffering in the mud while they expire. (Also a creepy skinless dude who, Nahara tells us, was there before any of the witches.)
Why doesn't Dorothy tell people her plan up front?
Fortunately for Dorothy (and Ojo), one of those dying prisoners is Nahara; Dorothy heads to Munchkinland to ask her to reanimate the Stone Giants to stop Glinda. (Side question: how does Dorothy know that Nahara had anything to do with that? She wasn't even born yet when that flashback happened.) She figured she'd free everyone using the Elements while she was there, but oh well!
Nahara is thrilled to hear that Glinda is rising up, since Oz is magic, and she has no interest in helping Dorothy stop her. But after what seems like a very long time, Dorothy finally tells her that if she helps the Wizard, he'll take her home, and her plan is to take him with her. The woman is dying; maybe you could have led with that? This also seems like something you might have mentioned to Glinda and Roan?
Why did Jack think that would work?!
With Langwidere held hostage by the Wizard and both their armies in a standoff, Jack goes to Jane for help. Jane appeals to the Wizard directly, but that goes very badly when she keeps calling him Frank, which he does not like. Jack suggests that, since he's a cyborg and all, Jane build a gun right into his arm so that he can sneak into the hall where Langwidere is supposed to be surrendering to the Wizard. She does this awfully quickly, and presumably Jack has had no training whatsoever. The Queen, for her part, does not surrender at all: "My life is worth nothing unless you stand with me against this man. Never surrender your weapons!" Aaaaand Jack shoots her right in the head. He's aiming for the Wizard, but you don't have to be Hawkeye to see that he doesn't have a clear shot even before the Wizard spots him and uses Langwidere as a human shield. Maybe just stay away from balconies, Jack?
Why does Jane wait so long to tell Jack the truth?
Jack brings Langwidere's body to Jane, demanding that she fix her like she fixed him. "You were alive when we found you," Jane tells him, heavily implying that she can't be revived. Only to contradict his cries of "I killed her" does Jane finally explain that the entire royal family of Ev, except for the King, was killed twenty years ago by the Beast Forever. Langwidere was a robot, and her masks were to hide the fact that she never aged. Which means she was already technically dead, and also that Jane can fix her. Maybe you should have led with that?
What is Jack planning to do with that axe?
Jack has a complete existential freak-out upon learning that Langwidere isn't "real," and therefore he's not either. You'd think he'd be comforted to know they were the same, but he can't deal with not being fully human. It's all the Wizard's fault, and he's going to kill him; he grabs an axe and heads out. I mean, I know why we're giving this man made of tin an axe, but...we just gave him a gun hand, which really seems more practical?
Maybe just shoot the Wizard anyway? Someone? Anyone?
...and also maybe unnecessary, since Ev's army captured the Wizard in the hubbub after the assassination, and he now stands before a firing squad. But before anyone can shoot, Dorothy (and Toto!) struts in with a Stone Giant. I get how that's distracting, but maybe someone could still fire? No? We're all gonna just freak out about this? No wonder your kingdom got destroyed last time.