The second season of The Librarians focuses on character—both in the sense that we learn more about the main characters and see them evolve, and in the sense that the season’s main antagonists are “fictionals”—fictional characters brought to living reality. And it’s all a lot of fun.
1—The Blood of a Stone
I refuse to regret that pun. But on to Mr. Stone. Jacob Stone, good old boy and master of Art History and Architecture, is finally forced to confront his demons. Or rather, an demonic shapeshifter that feeds on lies forces him to confront the false life he’s constructed. Also, his alcoholic father. A father who’s never respected or listened to him, and whose acceptance and love Jake has craved all his life.
This story doesn’t have what I’d call a classic happy ending—with daddy realizing the error of his ways and accepting his son. But the ending is happy, if also painful, and far more realistic: Jacob realizes his father won’t change or get better and instead of pining for the acceptance of a man who’ll never give it, to instead embrace the acceptance of the family he’s made—with Eve and Cassandra and Ezekiel, and Jenkins (and even Flynn). This also allows Jacob to finally start claiming credit for his own work, of which he’s deservedly proud, instead of publishing under fictional names and lives. As Jake says in the final confrontation, it’s about accepting yourself.
Since the first season, Cassandra Cillian has blossomed into a confident Librarian but she still disagrees with the Library’s policy of locking away magical artifacts and knowledge. Finding a kindred spirit, a brilliant young woman seeking out both scientific and magical knowledge, while investigating disappearances at Lovecraftian college only strengthens that opinion. And it’s during this adventure that Cassandra is offered the chance to join The Lake—the ladies of the lake, apparently they’re a collective rather than one woman—in their quest to bring together magical and scientific knowledge.
A chance she declines (though the offers remains open if she later changes her mind) in favor of rejoining the Librarians, despite the continued dispute of opinion—though she does see the other side of the argument as magic is freaking dangerous. But during this discussion with Jenkins, Cassandra reveals that she’s already picked a date for her death, that she’s determined to both live and die on her own terms. Both embracing and defying her fate.
Cassandra is the bubbliest and sweetest character in the series while also having the darkest depths. I fucking love it.
3—Not Expecting to Become a Hero
The thing I hate most about time travel in stories (and there’s so much—I’ll do a full rant when I do another “pet peeves” post sometime) is that it erases everything you’ve just invested in. The episode “And the Point of Salvation” almost does this—almost, but does it in such a way that it’s perfect.
Ezekiel Jones, arrogant and flippant thief, finds himself the only person aware that the military base the Librarians are investigating is trapped in a time loop—though it turns out to also be a video game (there’s a reason you should be careful mixing magic and technology). It’s fun and games at first (and I don’t regret that pun either) but quickly turns less fun as Jones watches his friends—his family—repeatedly die.
One thing that stuck in my memory—and there were plenty of good things that did that in this episode—is when Jones grabs a scalding hot pipe with his bare hand in order to save everyone. As Colonel Baird is bandaging up his hand and remarks how brave it was, Jones attempts to joke, saying that if he’d known how much it would hurt, he wouldn’t have done it. And then, as the time loop/level repeats, he does it again and again and again. We see it, as we see him gain that thousand yard stare while trying to maintain that light demeanor, the trickster personality. But Jones is permanently altered by the war he’s lived through.
Only not. The very last play through the level, with the game world literally falling apart around them, Ezekiel finally manages to save the others, to get them to the save point. But as he fails to make that last jump himself, when the other Librarians manage to put things right, Ezekiel is “reloaded” from scratch—the unsaved version of himself that first entered the facility and before the game began. So yeah, I normally hate this shit. But in this case, the others remember that last play through, remember meeting that version of Jones. And Eve tells him what he did. Jones seems to disbelieve at first—that doesn’t sound like him at all—but as he thinks about it we can see still see the man that made those hard choices, even if the man himself doesn’t. So I don’t hate this instance of this trope because Jones would still make those choices, those sacrifices for his friends and his friends know that. So something did change.
4—Eve and Flynn
Eve and Flynn’s character growth is based around their relationship together—and how it’s not quite working. Flynn is set in his by-the-seat-of-the-pants ways of adventuring, which is less than appealing the the tactical Colonel Baird. Flynn has also been basically a hermit for the past decade and is having trouble with the notion that he isn’t alone anymore, more in the sense of their being other Librarians than the relationship thing. But as Flynn tries to take on their newest nemesis Prospero (from The Tempest—I did mention those fictionals) alone instead of with the team, Eve confronts him on it. Not that she hasn’t been trying to get her unhappiness through Flynn’s thick skull before that point.
And despite all that talking about Flynn, the character growth isn’t centered on him. Both Flynn and Eve are catalysts for each other to realize things about themselves. For Eve, it’s the realization that she doesn’t want to wander forever, that she wants to put down roots after a rootless life going from military brat to military personnel. Eve wants a home, which is what the Annex had become for her and so that’s where she returns, working with the other Librarians as Flynn sets off once again on his own, unable—for now—to change.
But Flynn does come to realize he’s not alone anymore, in his personal or professional life, and that it’s ok for this to change. When telling his story correcting from “the Librarian” to “a Librarian”, from “his” Library to “Our Library”, that’s the moment he knows. And this is the point that Flynn and Eve can reconnect because they’ve reconciled the differences in themselves.
5—The Story of a Story
The second season of the Librarians does get kind of meta, and I freaking love it. Prospero, Moriarty, fictionals, Shakespeare, not to mention Dorian Grey and that Lovecraftian college. And so many more thing. It’s just awesome. The rejecting of created happy endings for the characters’s true lives, and they even do “true love’s kiss” in a way I liked—twice! There are so many layers of story and stories, I could spend hours talking about it all—yes, that’s the kind of thing I do for fun—and that’s before we find out Prospero isn’t just a fictional but actually possessing Shakespeare. Which was such an awesome twist and set up another time travel plot that I also loved instead of hated!
And last but not least, this season, like the one before it, actually has an ending! I cannot stress enough how much I love this. I’ve mentioned before I’ve stopped watching shows because I don’t believe they’ll ever have any kind of resolution. With The Librarians, the seasons have been complete, like finishing a good book. The world doesn’t end and there’s plenty more adventures to be had, but the main problem of the book/season has been resolved. If there isn’t another season (which I really hope there will be) I’ll still be satisfied. And as I’ve said, my only completely hard rule for a story is that it be satisfying. And The Librarians is a thoroughly satisfying show.