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REVIEW: Emerald City 1×04 “Science and Magic”

The fourth episode of Emerald City serves to expand the world of Oz a little more, but does not really contribute much to the overall story, instead taking the time to focus on characterization instead. Dorothy and Lucas’ story remains probably the least interesting part of the story, the Wizard and Anna’s strange relationship grows, while Tip deals with the consequences of her actions from the previous episode. Oh, and there is one more subplot which finally sheds some light on where the most iconic character of the Oz franchise was lurking.

Let’s start with Dorothy, Lucas, and Toto on their way to meet the Wizard. Walking through what looks like White Walker territory, Lucas criticizes the legitimacy of the coat Dorothy found belonging to her biological mother Karen, who turned out to have been in Oz at some point. Dorothy is a firm believer in the coat’s owner, and hopes the Wizard can explain the truth, as well as get Lucas’ memories back. Dorothy then expresses her gratitude for having Lucas with her. It looks like he is about to move in for a kiss, when suddenly a little girl appears out of nowhere and attached herself to Lucas for protection.

The little girl remains mute and frightened, and seems quite attached to Lucas, looking at him as if she knows him. I’d immediately go for long lost brother or father, but that would be a little cheesy. Dorothy is adamant that the girl should be looked after and decides to take her to a nearby village to track down her parents, which Lucas objects to since they are on the Wizard’s hitlist. Dorothy starts comparing the girl to her own predicament, but Lucas disagrees with such a comparison and reluctantly agrees to let Dorothy carry out her good samaritan syndrome while he hides in the woods.

Heading out into the village, Dorothy notices the girl has sea shells shoved in her ears and removes one of them. The girl’s hearing appears to be quite sensitive, and she immediately covers her ears in pain until Dorothy puts the shell back in. How curious. So far, most of the characters in the show are based on those from the books, but so far, this little girl remains a mystery. I don’t have encyclopaedic knowledge of the Oz books, so perhaps she is an original character. Dorothy asks several villagers if they know her parents, and then, surprise, surprise, her parents suddenly turn up, identifying the girl as “Sylvie”. Dorothy is sceptical since neither one of them looks like the girl, and offers to escort them home.

However, when they reach the house, Dorothy realises they are not her parents and she is shoved out the front door. Lucas appears and drags her away as Eamonn rolls into town. Finally he caught up. Dorothy decides to storm back into town to rescue Sylvie, but Lucas points out she is extremely reckless to the point of suicidal. Dorothy is smart enough to realise he is right and asks him to take his clothes off. Lucas’ reaction is priceless. Actually, she is asking him to swap their clothes so she can blend in and avoid Eamonn’s soldiers patrolling the village.

Dorothy breaks into Sylvie’s house but discovers Sylvie has magically turned her captors to stone and are trapped in their arms. Perhaps they shouldn’t have taken her for granite! Eh? Eh? Perhaps the joke could’ve been boulder. I’ve been wanting to use a rock pun for ages, don’t question me! Anyway, Sylvie has freaky black eyes and appears to having a seizure of sorts, but Dorothy calms her down and frees her by reducing her kidnappers to rubble. You could say they went to pieces…oh, go away.

Trying to sneak away with Sylvie does not go so well as Eamonn confronts her and goes to execute her. While Lucas plays a game of red light, green light, Eamonn spots his sword and claims he has been hunting its owner for ages. Lucas runs in to grab Sylvie, and Eamonn seems to recognise him, and is pretty thrilled to see him. Lucas flees with Sylvie, followed by Dorothy, while Eamonn marches after them shouting a name which unfortunately is a little hard to understand due to the audio. It’s possibly “Rowan” or begins with an N. Dorothy eventually draws out the gun and shoots Eamonn, though since he has armour, he doesn’t go down so easily. How many bullets does Dorothy have in that gun?

Dorothy and Lucas escape to the woods where they camp and watch over Sylvie and briefly discuss how cruel people can be to children. Lucas asks if there is magic in Dorothy’s world, to which she whips out her MP3 player so he can listen. Lucas freaks out when music blasts out of the headphones, but he soon realises that “Ain’t No Sunshine” is a romantic number, and quickly leads to the delayed kiss. Sure, because these two have such a bond despite only knowing each other for about three days. You know not every TV show needs to have romance as a major plotline. Plus, Lucas has displayed a rather violent, psychotic side like he did by turning Mombi’s head into tomato paste.

The next day, the two wake up to hear approaching horses. Dorothy legs it while Lucas grabs Sylvie and Toto, only to run into Eamonn. Good, we’ll get some answers. Dorothy keeps on running, only to be knocked out from behind by a well-aimed boomerang, thrown by Ojo, the lead of the Munchkin tribe. What’s his role in all of this?

Elsewhere, the Wizard and Anna are summoned to the town of Nimbo, where Dorothy found the crucified Lucas. The soldiers who are cleaning up the burnt victims of their anti-magic purge discover a magic portal in the town’s crypts. On the way, the Wizard admits to Anna that he has lost control over the stone giants around Oz. Anna claims that her studies has convinced her that the Beast of Forever will be have a brain and a heart, but it can be killed by such things. Arriving in town, the Wizard gets berated by the village elder for murdering his wife, showing that not everyone is a fan of the Great and Powerful. Anna ventures down to the crypt and touches the magic portal, only for it to implode and knock her out. The Wizard tends to Anna and they have a nice scene together. It was implied in the previous episode that Anna’s mother was a prostitute and the Wizard ma have slept with her. It wouldn’t surprise me if he actually was Anna’s father.

Anna advises the Wizard to teach the villagers to embrace science rather than enforce it. The Wizard speaks to the village leader Jeremiah, where they discuss magic and science. Jeremiah points out that magic is a part of Oz, just as the Beast of Forever is and will return many times in the future. He then asks rhetorically if the Wizard’s magic can save his grandchild. Well, how does magic help women give birth in comparison to science? That would’ve been an interesting scene where alternate measures are used if his daughter went into labour, and science would have won out. But instead the Wizard just has a guard threaten Jeremiah’s daughter with a wife, encouraging him to decry magic and instead embrace science. Well, that was a little disappointing.

After murdering Jack, Tip is about ready to throw herself off a bridge but is stopped by a soldier, who instead offers her another chance. He takes her to Glinda’s convent, where Tip’s objective rebellious attitude reminds me of the good old days of The Story of Tracy Beaker. Glinda welcomes Tip and explains to her the benefits of becoming a nun, only for West to swan in, having somehow heard of Tip’s arrival with the offer of turning her into a prostitute. Wow, what a choice. Tip even points out the limitations of her choices in the snarkiest way possible, and both witches are left speechless, though West tries to gain the upper hand by claiming her girls get to sleep in – to which Glinda glares at her in disbelief.

Tip is given a bath where she suddenly finds herself sharing it with another girl who is so obviously West in disguise it hurts. The two discuss Tip’s options, but she is drawn to West’s offers of magic. Glinda leaves with her Disney Princess brigade, while Tip remains at the nunnery and speaks with West, uninterested in becoming a prostitute but instead wants to be taught magic.

Now, in our final subplot, Jack is revealed to be a live and well. A new man, so to speak. A friendly surgeon named Jane rescued Jack and has brought him back to life with a brand new body. Jack takes it to heart…if he still had one. As you might have guessed, Jack has been given a new mechanical body and is thus the Tin Man. Hooray! I suspected they might composite some characters together and it at least still links Jack to his novel counterpart. Jack reacts to his new body as you might expect, but Jane soon has him back on his feet. He isn’t, at first, thrilled with his new body but still presses on to adapt to his limbs.

While Jack gets a grip to his body, his practice is interrupted when a beautiful masked woman walks in. This is Princess Langwidere, aka, Lady Ev (Stefanie Martini), an eccentric character who gains different personalities by switching masks that Jane keeps in her laboratory. In the book, Langwidere switches actual heads. Considering this show put all of its budget into the scenery, this replacement with the masks makes a bit more sense. Jane returns shortly after and takes Jack to meet someone. It turns out Jack was rebuilt exclusively for Langwidere who is now his new master because she “likes” him. Langwidere implied she too is a freak like Jack and may have to rely on the masks to survive. Well, at least she seems nice, as long as her mood swings don’t turn into a psychopath.

All in all, it wasn’t about episode, introducing some new characters and fleshing out the rest of the cast in the process. I think Dorothy and Lucas’ story needs some tweaking, as both characters are held back by their “mystery boxes”. Did J.J. Abrams write part of this show? The Wizard’s chapter was sadly predictable and I think actually having a comparison between magic and science would have made for a more interesting subplot. Tip didn’t really get much to do, but the highlight of the episode was Jack becoming Tin Man. In the next episode, it looks like Dorothy will finally meet the Wizard and West as well. Until the next time!

Final Score: A-

What did you make of Emerald City‘s fourth chapter? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a Tweet!

About the author

Mark Russell