emerald city

emerald-city-no-place-like-home

Emerald City closes out its First Season with major changes in Oz. Dorothy‘s (Adria Arjona) plan succeeds in momentarily halting the war between the Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio) and the witches, but also leads to the unexpected release of the long-discussed Beast Forever who will likely be a major player should the show return for a Second Season. Dorothy’s reunion with her birth mother (Gina McKee) is short-lived but it does allow the girl from Kansas to leave Oz and make the trip home… for however long that lasts. Tip (Jordan Loughran), now revealed to be Ozma, reclaims her birthright and takes pleasure in exacting a measure of revenge against the man (Mido Hamada) responsible for her parents’ death. And West (Ana Ularu) and Glinda (Joely Richardson) are apparently on the same side again. Should Dorothy return to Oz she may find it a very different place.

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emerald-city-the-villain-thats-become

Big changes and revelations are in store in “The Villain That’s Become” setting up next week’s season finale. For Dorothy (Adria Arjona) this means accepting the magic given to her and picking a side – her own. For Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) this means the end of his days as Dorothy’s traveling companion. For the Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio) that means turning the tables on Lady Ev (Stefanie Martini). And for Tip (Jordan Loughran) this means giving up the thing she most desires in order to assume her role as Ozma, heir to the throne of Oz, and lead the army of witches assembled by West (Ana Ularu).

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emerald-city-lions-in-winter

As Oz prepares for war allegiances continue to shift. Now a prisoner of Glinda (Joely Richardson), Dorothy (Adria Arjona) struggles with the truth about Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) now revealed to be Glinda‘s (Joely Richardson) husband Rowan. Glinda can see her husband is conflicted, and urges Rowan to take the only possible step to end his feelings for Dorothy – by killing her. It appears Lucas/Rowan will need to choose between the love he remembers and the new feelings which he can’t seem to reconcile with Glinda and their life together.

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emerald-city-they-came-first

“They Came First” is a turning point for several characters while setting Oz on the path to war. On meeting Glinda (Joely Richardson) and having his memory restored, Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) chooses the witch over Dorothy (Adria Arjona) who sees her dreams of preventing a war and returning to Kansas vanish before her eyes. What that means for Dorothy herself isn’t quite certain, but it certainly appears she isn’t going home any time soon. All isn’t good news for the witches, however, as the Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio) chooses to make a public display of their betrayal by executing the entire council and declaring a war on magic.

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emerald-city-beautiful-wickedness-1

“Beautiful Wickedness” begins to fill us in on the backstory of the Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio) as current events push Oz closer to war. In flashbacks we see the events which brought the Wizard and the two scientists (Gina McKee, Gina Bellman) to Oz all those years ago. Through the help of West (Ana Ularu) we also learn more about Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and the wagon full of young witches he was transporting to Glinda (Joely Richardson), suggesting that the good witch is equally deceptive and tarnished in this morally ambiguous version of Oz.

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emerald-city-science-and-magic

The fourth episode of Emerald City reveals the identity of a the Tin Man to be Jack (Gerran Howell), who turns out to be less a dead boy then a living cyborg thanks to the intervention of a scientist (Gina McKee) and the interest of the mysterious Lady Ev (Stefanie Martini). In plot threads that mostly flounder, Tip (Jordan Loughran) is given the opportunity to join either Glinda (Joely Richardson) or West (Ana Ularu), but neither makes a very convincing case for their side, and the Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio) investigates the use of forbidden magic.

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emerald-city-mistress-new-mistress-1

Three episodes in I can already see a problem with Emerald City and how each story is constructed. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is the stand-in for the audience. As she is introduced to the bizarre new world so are we. We never learn information or specifics about Oz which Dorothy herself isn’t subject to. The construction of Emerald City, which feels much more like a book with different chapters from different characters’ point-of-view, proves problematic as it chooses instead for a rotating narrative as we see the world from the perspectives of Dorothy, but also the Wizard, the witches, and Tip. While this might help balance the screentime for the series’ cast, it creates a less cohesive narrative structure.

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