EMERALD CITY Review: “They Came First”

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is providing a lot of social commentary.  I’m sure it’s all just coincidence, but when The Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio) detains all the little girls in Oz, it reminds me of the travel ban that Donald Trump imposed.

The Wizard believes that magic is a threat to him.  He intends to detain all of the little girls in Oz because it’s been revealed that a few of them are witches.  We see scenes of little girls crying while being taken from their families and families desperate for The Wizard’s army to not take them away.  These are awful scenes.  The Wizard is afraid of losing his power.  He says that he comes from a line of liars and cheaters. He doesn’t consciously make the link that maybe he has continued in that tradition.  He is a con artist, and without the con, he is no one.  So, he does everything he can to protect his authority, which includes waging war on little girls.

Does any of this sound familiar in real life?  We know that any time a leader is fueled to action by fear, the shit hits the fan.  Nothing good can come from The Wizard preying on the most vulnerable and powerless.  He is not a leader of the people.  He is not a friend of Dorothy’s (Adria Arjona).  He is a coward, a twisted and screwed version of the Cowardly Lion.

EMERALD CITY -- "They Came First" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Oliver Jackson Cohen as Lucas, Adria Arjona as Dorothy -- (Photo by: David Lukacs/NBC)

In “The Wizard of Oz,” the Cowardly Lion has no courage.  He is afraid of everything, and it annoys the hell out of you because he’s a lion! But he’s charming and cute and sweet.  He just has a hard time understanding that courage was lying dormant within him.  In the end, he taps into his God-given courage and fulfills who he’s supposed to be.

The Wizard, on the other hand, is like a lion – he is big and powerful and amazing.  He roars and everyone listens.  It’s been that way for who knows how many years.  But when the idea of young witches enters his psyche, he slinks into a fear that only cowards possess.  I see him only getting worse. The Wicked Witch of the East, whom Dorothy killed, is no match for the all great and powerful Wizard. What I mean is that he will show us that he is way more evil and wicked than anything we’ve seen before.  This is not your children’s fairytale.  This is “Emerald City”.

Another type of Cowardly Lion is Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).  He has been in the dark about who he is since Dorothy discovered him battered and bruised.  He and Dorothy have gotten along quite well, which has led to a budding romance.  That is, until Glinda (Joely Richardson) shows up and destroys any kind of romantic future they have.  Glinda kisses Lucas and voila!  She restores his memory.

His “real name” is Roan, and ooh la la, he and Glinda are a thing.  They kiss passionately, and he peers at Dorothy as if looking at his little sister.  What the heck?  How did Glinda land that man?  She’s cute, but nah…I think she pulled some kind of magic on him.  I’m wondering whether her kiss put him under a spell or whether the kiss broke the spell.  Who is he?  Lucas or Roan?  I assume it’s neither.  I feel like I’ve gotten to know less and less about Lucas/Roan since this encounter, but it’s intriguing as hell.  When will he have the courage to break out of this spell and be who he really is?  Is it possible?  His heart also seems to be between two ladies – Glinda and Dorothy.  I wonder if we will see him have constant psychological battles about who he truly loves.  What I know for sure is that Lucas/Roan is a pawn. I hope that Dorothy’s love can free him.  Only love can do so.

glinda and lucas

Dorothy (Adria Arjona) felt like more of a supporting character this episode, and I like that.  Seeing others like Tip (Jordan Loughran) come into their own helped solidify all their connectedness.  She may actually be a princess, and boy, that is dope as hell.  That could put her at odds with West (Ana Ularu) and The Wizard, which I would love.

Tip’s ex-best friend, Jack (Gerran Howell), is one of the strongest characters and actors of the show. His performance this episode was impressive considering he had to “act” like his legs and arms were rusting through a screaming forest.  It reminded me of Leo DiCaprio’s drugged out performance in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Slowly but surely, this show is coming together.  The special effects continue to dazzle. It’s nice to see that the story is at least crawling to that level.

TB-TV-Grade-C+

Season 1, Episode 7 (S01E07)
Emerald City airs Friday at 9PM on NBC

Read all of our reviews of Emerald City here. 
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.


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.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @reneseford
Keep up with all of Jennifer’s reviews here.

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