EMERALD CITY has a few elements that make you go WOW.
First, the sets. I work with art departments in a purely corporate manner, but I don’t get the opportunity to visit sets to see how my work has contributed to set design, construction and dressing. From the villages to the castles to the festivals, this show’s ability to create this world is astonishing. Each scene is breathtaking. It’s just a shame that the human elements don’t perform up to that level.
I am having major issues with West (Ana Alaru). I like her character, but the acting is atrocious. I am not believing that she is heartbroken about her sister’s death. I do not believe that she’s trying to avenge her death. I just don’t believe her at all. The title of this episode is “Everybody Lies.” It shouldn’t apply to Alaru’s acting chops. But it does.
On the other hand, Glinda (Joely Richardson) is brilliant. I was so tempted to write “the good witch” after her name, but I have to remember this is Emerald City, not the Wizard of Oz. It remains to be seen whether Glinda is truly good. At the moment, she is towing the line. The all-white can fool you because of its socially constructed definition, but as she moves through this world, she’s a mystery to me and to her sister West. West suspects that there was some unknown bad blood between Glinda and her late sister. She claims that she’s determined to find out what that was and how that may have contributed to her death.
My theory: Glinda totally had something to do with the late witch’s death. We know that Dorothy (Adria Arjona) killed her, but we don’t know how that tornado ended up at Dorothy’s mother’s house to send her travelling to Oz. I think Glinda may have had something to with that in hopes that her sister would be killed. Now, why she would want that is a mystery.
Dorothy is also a mystery, but her real life story is unraveling piece by piece. She’s finally face-to-face with the Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio), and his last words to her are, “Dorothy, you’re home.” I knew it! I knew she belonged to Oz in some weird way. As this was the last scene, we will have to wait to find out how she’s related to this world. Could the Wizard be her biological father? It is a little comical that they’re both from the same “world”, and they have some type of connection. But that’s TV.
Both of them are using their magic aka science to get what they want. Dorothy uses her gun while The Wizard uses a combination of technology. He’s spear-heading a campaign to replace magic with science. While this is such an interesting idea, I can’t seem to believe that people in this world don’t know what a gun is. It may, again, come back to the acting, but when West is so transfixed by Dorothy’s gun, I thought, “Come on. It’s a gun.” Have I become so unimpressed with the gun? Or is it a combination of the acting and writing? I think it’s the latter. If I can believe in a flying dog-dragon from “The Never-Ending Story,” then I should be able to believe that a gun is magic. Actors and writers, do better, please.
Two that are excelling in making me believe their roles are Jack (Gerran Howell) aka The Tin Man and the Princess. The Princess is a little bit of a thirst trap, but it’s OK because she seems kinda sweet. Jack defends her honor in a fight, and she decides to kiss him. He says that friends don’t do that, and she responds that they should be more than friends. Keep in mind that she ordered him from a menu of freaks and geeks and commanded him to serve her. Aiightttt….It’s a wild storyline, but I totally believe it. Adds a little romance to this dark and twisted story.
Overall, “Emerald City” isn’t stellar but it’s turning into something solid, I think. Or I may have gone down a rabbit hole and drank this show’s kool-aid. Can’t tell, but I’ll keep watching (because I’m being paid to).
Season 1, Episode 5 (S01E05)
Emerald City airs Friday at 9PM on NBC
Jennifer spends her nights writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
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Jennifer Ford | Contributor