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Emerald City - Everybody Lies - Review

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I can safely say “Everybody Lies” is the most enjoyable episode we’ve had since the two hour pilot of Emerald City. While our characters remain separated and scattered, it’s less frustrating since they are all within a relative vicinity of each other and will surely reunite soon. We are now at the halfway point of this first season and while I am struggling with a sort of love/hate relationship with Emerald City. “Everybody Lies” was well paced and easy to follow. Everyone being together in Oz is helping to draw all of these storylines together, though how they all fit is still a bit nebulous. I wonder if Emerald City will use the remaining five episodes to draw to a satisfying conclusion, or leave the door open for a second season. I’m hoping the latter isn’t the case as a strong back half to the season could provide a well-rounded story arc. Some of the things I praised Emerald City for when it first started are becoming weaknesses for me, mostly the show’s uniqueness. As I said last week, Emerald City no longer “takes liberties”, it’s telling its own story and while that was a refreshing change of pace, I do long for more Oz familiarity now.

So Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West finally meet and the witch pistol whips Dorothy. I’d never thought I’d have the need to write that sentence. Their meeting was a bit anticlimactic for me; we don’t gain any new knowledge on Dorothy’s end, or even West’s. The juicy secrets, or at least hints towards them, are all Glinda’s. I do enjoy how Emerald City has made her the most dubious and villainous character, one with her own agenda who seems to be doing her own thing regardless of its detriment to any other character. I look forward to learning more about her. West’s scenes had the best effects in this episode. The simple application of wire work during her scene torturing Dorothy worked well, though the dodgy CGI of Cloth Glinda was hard to ignore. My weekly complaint of not being able to sympathize with West still stands and Dorothy was rather unremarkable in this episode as well. I feel Emerald City is more about Tip and their journey rather than Dorothy’s and I find myself growing more intrigued by what Tip’s next move is. They were able to bamboozle a witch and the chip on their shoulder is slowly shrinking. Should Tip and Jack reunite, I’ll be looking forward to how these two old friends now reconcile since they’ve both radically changed.

It seems everyone has the Wizard’s number in one way or another, it’s hard to see how he’s ruled so long on the memory of his past great deed with nothing else to show for it. I don’t find him especially interesting either, though his familiarity with Dorothy is a nice twist. I’m betting he’s her father and will provide more information on Dorothy’s mother and how Dorothy came from Oz. I did enjoy the scene where he was listening to Pink Floyd, a nice shout out to the pop culture phenomenon of syncing up The Wizard of Oz to Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. If Dorothy doesn’t turn out to be the Beast Forever I will be shocked since that has been telegraphed rather early on. I wonder at the resolution of this series and what it will mean for the Wizard.

The Princess of Ev is a strange character. I felt that her change of heart, from flippant to friendly to even more than that towards Jack was rather sudden. I want to see what’s under her mask as well, though I’m sure whatever I’m imagining won’t live up to what is presented. Jack is growing into his own, but for being the Tin Man he does seem to have more compassion than expected. Speaking of Dorothy’s travelling companions, have we completed the group with little Sophie being Emerald City’s version of the Cowardly Lion, a character that is fearful but capable of great strength? Or are there more characters to meet? I feel she as to be, otherwise what would be her significance to the plot? And also, it would be a detriment to introduce another main character halfway in such a short season.

Lucas’s story is trudging along at a pace that frustrates me in a way. We don’t learn too much more about him, and I’m grateful for that, but I feel he is being fleshed out in the wrong ways. The sudden kinship with Eamonn is surprising, I actually thought I missed a scene when suddenly they were traveling together and cordial. Lucas’s mystery just doesn’t feel mysterious to me, I find myself not really caring what he’s done in the past. With his being captured, I do look forward to what his punishment or trial will consist of and how he will reunite with Dorothy, not as romantic partners but as companions.

Emerald City is building towards something, something I can and can’t predict. The audience can infer that a final conflict is coming, one that will pit everyone against Glinda, but how they get there is still up in the air. I wish the show would stop treating Dorothy’s connection to Oz as a great revelation since that has been implied since the first scene of the first episode. The entire show is starting to fall a bit flat for me; I don’t have the excitement of discovery I had while watching the pilot. Then again, there are five episodes left and plenty of time for the show to bring on many surprises, especially since it’s thrown out the traditional Wizard of Oz playbook. You can compare this to Gotham, which is “Batman without Batman”, a show that nods and winks to its audience while it plays with unfamiliar stories in a familiar universe. Emerald City is “The Wizard of Oz without anything that makes it The Wizard of Oz” which is not working as well. I know what I said while reviewing the pilot, but we need more of those winks and nods, those touchstones, to stay connected and invested in the story.

Tune in next week for “Beautiful Wickedness”!

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