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Emerald City - Mistress-New-Mistress - Review

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Often the episode after a season premiere is a bit lacking. The plot lurches forward and the story begins in the opener so it’s up to the second entry in the season to fill in any cracks left; to provide any information or character development that will be needed later on. This can be either interesting or tedious to watch. I unfortunately found a bit of both to be true for the third episode of Emerald City. Any conclusions or revelations that were uncovered by the end of the episode were, to me, foregone. The reveal about Dorothy’s mother being from Oz and Tip truly being a female I thought were heavily implied in the two hour premiere and the audience didn’t need to see our character trudge to those conclusions. However, with each revelation came visuals and character moments that captured my interest when the main action could not.

Emerald City continues to borrow from the lesser known Oz books by introducing us to Ev, an area found within the Land of Oz. Expanding the focus of this show to include parts of the Oz canon that aren’t as familiar is a bold choice. While watching I found myself wishing to see the more familiar, comfortable aspects of The Wizard of Oz, one’s that admittedly have been run in the ground. At the same time I was intrigued by the potential for exploring characters I had only read about in passing. Things are going to get very interesting for both Tip and Jack, especially the latter if he truly is Emerald City’s version of Jack Pumpkinhead. I can’t wait to see the visuals for that. I appreciate the show taking the time to show Tip struggling with their situation, rather than having them wave away the circumstance as mundane magic. After all, this is a world where magic is illegal. I just felt that the reveal that Tip had always been female was a bit of a “well, duh” moment from a story telling standpoint. It was obvious what Mombi was doing and the audience had to wait for the characters to catch up.

In contrast to Tip’s struggle with an unusual occurrence Dorothy appeared to take her situation in this episode in stride, to say the least. She was completely nonplussed about preforming the Witch of the East’s rituals and dressing as a native of Oz would. It’s true that Dorothy is of Oz and most likely feels comfortable and at home despite her danger, but you can feel that the sense of wonder the Dorothy character usually has when encountering anything in the Land of Oz is missing. I hadn’t realized I missed that until this episode. I’m calling it now, Dorothy’s mother was the Witch of the East’s lost acolyte. Also, I am on the fence about the ruby gauntlets. On one had (pun intended) I think that they are a liberty that fits in with the aesthetics of the show and it’s refreshing not to see ruby footwear of some sort or another, though to be fair that was a change on MGM’s part; the original slippers are silver. What doesn’t work, for me at least, is that the ruby gauntlets are hidden most of the time. Making it necessary for Dorothy to hide the gauntlets from enemies could have been an interesting plot point, or at least having them leave a tattoo or marking as they fade into her skin would be better than having them appear and disappear like a deus ex machina. I will say, every single visual and location connected to Dorothy’s portion of the episode looked fantastic, particularly the odd cyclone dimension.

I’m disappointed that the most intriguing character of Emerald City, Glinda, wasn’t present in this episode. And I can’t believe I’m saying this because I love the Wicked Witch of the West, but I’m having a very hard time caring about anything related to Emerald City’s version of her. She isn’t poorly acted or portrayed, she’s just isn't interesting. I feel as if the writers had tried to do something a bit too different with her character and it’s not hitting the mark just yet. Also, I’m finding the Wizard-related portions of the story are beginning to become nebulous. It’s not that I’m having a hard time following, I just find myself wondering where it’s all going. What I am intrigued about is Anna, the flying nun-esque servant that bonded with the Wizard this episode. Clearly there is something that sets her apart and I want to see more of what she brings to the table and why she seems to be so special.

I feel as if Emerald City needs to strike a better balance in the upcoming episodes, better than they have been. The problem here is that this show relies on its audience’s familiarity with certain characters to create that bond that makes viewers care about what happens to them, which works for characters like Dorothy, Lucas, and even the Wicked Witch of the West to some extent. But when that familiarity isn’t present, it’s hard to feel an emotional tug for characters like Anna or Tip. I still think that its uniqueness is what sets Emerald City apart, however I need to for these characters, not their circumstances, to be explored more thoroughly in order to care about their journey.

Tune in next week for “Science and Magic”!

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