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Emerald City - Science and Magic - Review

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I found “Science and Magic” to be much more intriguing than the episode that preceded it, however that doesn’t stop me from finding the Emerald City plot as a whole to be a big murky. It’s unfortunate that Dorothy’s portion of the story here is the least engaging; I constantly found myself wonder more what Jack and Tip were up to. I did love the addition of the snow carrying over from last episode, it gave the Land of Oz and ethereal and dream-like quality. Overall, I’m just a bit mystified as to where this is all going now. We surely are in unfamiliar territory.

The biggest thing that I gleaned from Tip’s adventure in this episode is that the Wicked Witch of the West isn’t vulnerable to water. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Actually, joking aside I appreciated Tip’s story in “Science and Magic”, particularly her comment on how girls are either expected to be “nuns or whores”. Seemed a bit on the nose, but Glinda and West’s reactions made it worth it. I was so excited to have Glinda back with the cold, benevolent, evil-ish presence she brings with her when she enters the room. They seem to be using Glinda sparingly on Emerald City, which I approve of. I find this version of the good witch to be so intriguing that I yearn to learn more, and yet we only get bits and pieces, a sure way to keep my attention. The way she barked out “baptize her” grabbed my full attention. What caused it to wain was when her sister arrived. I truly don’t know specifically what it is about this version of the Wicked Witch of the West that rubs me the wrong way, other than her lack of substance beyond the rebellious teen fa├žade, but I was not pleased to see her. However, she was much more subdued in “Science and Magic” and if we can just tease out why she is in her rebellious phase, I may warm up to her.

I found Dorothy and Lucas’s outing in this episode to be dull. The romance they have been hinting at for the past few episodes came to fruition by the end of “Science and Magic” and it just doesn’t do it for me. I liked Lucas better when he was presented as a one word grunting shell who is gentle but capable of mindless violence when his instincts are triggered, rather than how he came off in this episode, which was just a guy with amnesia. Emerald City presented a very tantalizing way of looking at the Scarecrow and now they seem to be focusing more on the romantic side of things. I hope I’m proved wrong and we get more substantial glimpses into his past in future episodes. I will say, the more that I thing about it, the idea that Eamonn seems to see Lucas as an enemy is intriguing. Personally, I did not care for the inclusion of the child in their party or her contribution to the plot. It seemed very run of the mill fantasy to me, though the detail about the shells in her ears does cause me to wonder. This is the problem I have with this episode. It presents a small intriguing detail that plants the seeds for the rest of the plot. But then the rest of the episode is vanilla enough to make you struggle to watch.

The same goes for the Wizard and Anna in this episode. We see how the Wizard rules, how he uses politics and force to his advantage, but I’d prefer to see him paired up with the witches in scenes than on his own. That is the true juxtaposition of science and magic I’m interested in, the power struggle between Glinda and the Wizard. Also, while we knew that the Wizard had no control over the giants, we’ve get to see any of his science in action. I hope in future episodes that there are opportunities to see this, to see how he is perceived powerful enough to rise to power and outlaw magic.

I saved my favorite part of this week’s Emerald City for last. I love what they’ve done with the Tin Man. The effects and make up stand out and give this character a unique yet recognizable form. I particularly enjoy the clockwork heart spinning away on his chest and the fact that he is not wholly made of metal. Not only does this allow the actor to emote, but it gives this character a real identity aside from “metal man”. Jack’s portions of “Science and Magic” truly showcased the detailed, intricate, and beautiful set design and aesthetic of the show. The introduction to his operation, especially when that saw was brandished, was straight out of a horror story and yet I still was straining to see a glimpse or a clue as to what was being done. I am quite surprised that Jack is our Tin Man and not Jack Pumpkinhead, as one would expect if you had read The Marvelous Land of Oz. I wouldn’t even call the changes that are being made on Emerald City liberties anymore; they are completely doing their own thing, which can be both exciting and frustrating. I will definitely be watching next week to see what becomes of Jack.

Tune in next week for “Everybody Lies”!

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