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Emerald City - The Villain That’s Become - Review



“The Villain That’s Become” was a rather interesting episode in that it seemed to set all the events of Emerald City back to their beginnings. Many characters are back in the state they were when they were introduced, it can be said that each also has been changed by their experiences and have grown from them. That being said, it is disappointing that those adventures felt less like a story coming full circle and more like a story that wandered back to the beginning. There were elements of “The Villain That’s Become” I enjoyed, like Jack’s story and direction it has taken. There were also elements I didn’t enjoy, such as Tip’s contribution to the episode. Tip’s rise as Ozma just didn’t create tension for me the way other elements of the story have.

However, the thing that bothered me the most is that while each set of characters has come to the conclusion that the Wizard can no longer be a part of Oz, none of these groups seem to be concerned with the others' intentions. Yes, Dorothy knows Glinda is scheming and West knows it too, but for as big a threat as Glinda was made to be in earlier on, and even though she was showcased in the previous episode, it feels like the Good Witch of the North has fallen by the wayside. The stakes and the tension would be higher if each group was actively vying against each other for the same goal without knowing it instead of vaguely working towards the same end independently.

Dorothy’s final confrontation with Lucas and her turning him back into a scarecrow she found him as via crucifixion was definitely one of the more memorable moments in this episode. This is the image that a lot of the promo material featured; it worked so well to signal to the viewers of the promos that they too were “not longer in Kansas”. In “The Villain that’s Become” it reminds the audience of how absorbing that first meeting and interaction between Dorothy and Lucas was. It didn’t feel great watching Dorothy struggle to defend herself from her former lover, but Lucas’s return to a killer trying to fight his instinct, a murderer with a conscience, is what I’ve wanted for him since we learned he had a violent past. The conflict we saw during Lucas’s brief appearance in this episode, the struggle he had between his need to kill Dorothy and his desire not to, was some of the most interesting material we’ve been given for this character in a while.

We also see how Dorothy has changed in “The Villain That’s Become”; she is wiser in the ways of Oz and surer of herself as she returns to the munchkins and commands Ojo to help her. That being said, Dorothy never felt like a character that needed a huge self confidence boost. I feel as if I know the least about her and this show of her being in charge when she returns to the munchkins rings a bit hollow since it’s not a huge leap from the person she was in the pilot. She acts more confident but we haven’t seen her actually grow. Also, there was a big deal made in the earlier episodes about her mother being from Oz and giving her up and like Glinda, I feel that’s fallen a bit to the side.

Tip and West’s portion of the story was anticlimactic. Tip’s indecision throughout this episode is what turned me off the most to their storyline. First they don’t want to rule, then they do but they want to do it while being male, then after a poignant speech about how important it is to them to be in the right skin they still shapeshift back to a female to convince the witches to follow. It just didn’t capture me, which is disappointing since I found Tip’s story to be more fascinating earlier on. I also still have mixed feelings about West. She’s softened and become less arrogant which has contributed to my growing to enjoy the character, but that line about how she used to be known as “the Wicked Witch of the West” felt empty to me since she’s done nothing to prove her power. West gets kicked around quite a bit by the other characters and even though she was responsible for allowing the deaths of many other witches the last time the Beast Forever appeared, that was still a passive act and not one to be proud of. We have been informed of her wickedness throughout Emerald City, but we’ve never really seen it and that takes most of the bite out of this character.

The events in Ev surprisingly grabbed my attention the most this episode since it wasn’t clear who had the upper hand in the conflict. First the Wizard then Lady Ev would make a move until the dangerous one-upmanship reached its natural end with someone’s death. I was surprised that it was Jack who accidentally ended Lady Ev’s life, and not so surprised but more annoyed that she turned out to be some sort of automaton. It was so out of left field for me. I guess that does explain why she oscillated between acting like a young girl and a haughty woman, as reflected in her treatment of Jack. She wanted to be bold but was still unsure of herself, spending a lifetime hiding behind masks, frozen in time. While a bit on the nose symbolism-wise, I do like that Lady Ev met her fate with her true face showing, and that she stood her ground for her kingdom to the very end.

This also brings us to Jack, whose character is the best interpretation of their Wizard of Oz counterpart on Emerald City. Again, we have the familiar elements, some grotesque like his ever beating clockwork heart. But then we also get a different interpretation of the Tin Man’s story. It’s not that he didn’t have a heart in the physical sense; it’s emotional, it’s that his heart has been broken into a million pieces as a result of guilt and loss, both thanks to his own actions. When he says he is dead, Jack doesn’t just mean it physically, that only gears and gyros keep him going. He means it emotionally as well. I love the image of him raising a woodcutter’s ax and going off to fight against the Wizard, though I’m disappointed that he didn’t get to meet up with Dorothy, nor did his idea for Jane to “make him a gun” result in anything more than a tiny derringer being put in his hand. And speaking of Jane, while I was so excited to have her back, I’m left wanting because this episode didn’t do anything with her. Even her confrontation with the Wizard was short and rather one sided; I had been looking forward to something more satisfying.

Despite my criticisms of “The Villain That’s Become” it ended on a cliffhanger that made me want more. I am interested in how everything will wrap up, especially if elements that appear to be forgotten will crop back up in the final episode. I’m most concerned with what kind of resolution will be reached. It’s too easy for Dorothy to go home again, for Tip to rule Oz, for the Wizard to repent, and for the witches to reconcile with each other. There has to be a twist somewhere, a bump in the road on the way to our character’s perfect sunset. I can’t really predict what that could be, but I know that it will be sorely missed if it doesn’t happen. With one episode left, we can only wait and see.

Tune in next week for the finale of Emerald City, “There’s No Place Like Home”!


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