Welcome back, Emeraldites! Em-Cees? Emerald Citizens? We’ll work on that. After an explosive two-hour premiere, Emerald City is back for its third installment titled “Mistress-New-Mistress.” As always, tread carefully as spoilers abound with every turn of phrase.
We open the episode with Dorothy (Adria Arjona) sleeping peacefully with trusty sidekick Toto. A gunshot pierces the air. She wakes up and notices Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is nowhere to be found. After a bit of searching, we find him standing by the sea, intently studying Dorothy’s gun. She immediately takes it away from him and scolds him for firing it. This chastisement leads to them arguing about Lucas killing the apothecary. “That woman was going to kill you so I acted on instinct,” he says defensively. Lucas also adds, in reference to the gun, “I’m not as terrifying as you with this.” The gun argument feels very topical after the year we’ve just had. I say kudos to the EC writing team for shining a light on such a contested topic.
A lion’s roar breaks them away from their row (lots of interrupting noises this episode). They go to investigate, and see it’s the Circus of Oz. Dorothy and Lucas hitch a ride with them as they make their way back to the Emerald City. As they travel along the yellow poppy road, Dorothy notices a massive tornado cloud. It is hovering above East’s castle. Their circus friends explain that East controlled the weather and after she passed Mother Nature went berserk. Lucas asks them how she died. One of the performers answers vehemently, “Murdered.” And with that, the Wizard’s guards stop them in their path.
Tip (Jordan Loughran) is feeling a bit wonky after changing genders. The apothecary was giving her medication to prevent her from transforming into a girl (a little messed up, wouldn’t you say?). Jack (Gerran Howell) makes the executive decision to take Tip to the city of Ev, where they can ask an herbalist to replicate the medication she had. Something tells me this will not end well.
We revisit Dorothy and co., where Lucas contemplates leaving her. He is under the impression the guards are going to take him back to Emerald City as a captive. Dorothy sees this as an opportunity to get answers from the Wizard – maybe he could take her home. Lucas says his goodbye and makes a hasty exit. Dorothy follows, but is pushed aside by Lucas when a pair of guards walks by. They overhear them saying the Wizard wants Dorothy dead. If you recall from the first two episodes, they believe Dorothy’s descent into Oz is a sign of the coming of the Beast Forever.
Meanwhile in Emerald City, the Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio) is ushered to a horrific scene that has the whole city buzzing. Three women who are “possessed by magic” are standing atop one of the stone giants that protects the city. The Wizard demands they speak to him, and in response they begin to levitate. They float outward, with nothing between their prone bodies and the ground below. Suddenly they fall and are yanked by an invisible force. They hang lifelessly in midair. These women committed suicide by an invisible noose.
Dorothy and Lucas manage to narrowly escape the Wizard’s guards. Dorothy wishes to go to East’s castle, as she feels she will get more answers from that. The Wizard wants her dead. He probably won’t help Lucas with his memory either, as it seems like he is a fugitive of some sort. “I came in a tornado, maybe I can leave in one,” Dorothy says.
Back in the Emerald City, the Wizard is being advised by his esteemed councilwomen. They mention that the Beast Forever took on the form of fire back in 1378, and wreaked havoc when “two moons became one” (I don’t recall that happening on Tatooine). They claim his stone giants are the only things that can stop fire. Later on Anna (Isabel Lucas), the new girl on the block, tells him that certain things the other women are predicting are incorrect. For example, the current field patterns predict snowfall, not the arrival of a beast. The Wizard takes a liking to her and believes her.
As Dorothy and Lucas make their way to East’s castle, she confides in him about her parentage. She was raised by her aunt and uncle, and the moment she met her birth mother she was taken to Oz. When they reach the entrance to the castle they are stopped by East’s head guard. Dorothy tells him they are looking for shelter. The guard refuses to let them in, launching Lucas into action as he raises his sword in confrontation. The guard also draws his blade (that escalated quickly). Dorothy holds her hands up to stop them. East’s golden/ruby gauntlets materialize on her hands. The guard, who we learn is named Sullivan, asks “Are you my new mistress?” “Yes, I am,” Dorothy replies, deciding on a whim to play along.
Tip and Jack arrive in Ev, which reminds me of Diagon Alley…and this automatically makes it cool. Jack goes off to find an herbalist, while Tip eats lunch and realizes her newfound assets have been drawing unwanted attention from creepy menfolk.
Meanwhile, back at East’s castle, Sullivan inquires his “Mistress-New-Mistress” how East passed. Dorothy lies and says it was peaceful. The head guard assumes she is here to “settle the weather,” but first she must perform the Ritual of Purification. After this comes the Ceremony of Elements, followed by settling the weather. He demands Lucas be rid of his sword, as he is the “Mistress’ blade now.” When they are alone, Lucas tells Dorothy that if she can’t do what Sullivan is asking then he will kill her. Dorothy is willing to take that risk, as she hopes the tornado will take her home to Kansas.
The Wizard discovers the three women belonged to West (Ana Ularu), so he pays her a visit. He screams at her, in a frenzy, reminding her that he banned magic in Oz. West changes the subject when she sees Anna, informing her that Anna’s mother used to work for the Wizard. According to West she was beautiful and cunning. “Don’t worry, you can taste her too,” West says cheekily to the Wizard, who pales at her statement.
Dorothy dons a beautiful red gown (Lucas is a big fan of this) for the purification aspect of the ritual. Once she is properly dressed, the three go to the tornado. There’s a lake underneath it as well. Dorothy stands there, unsure of what to do. Sullivan was under the impression East had passed on her knowledge of such things before she died. Dorothy decides to improvise, at least appear she knows what she’s doing. She walks on the water due to the power of East’s gauntlets and directly into the eye of the tornado. She disappears, along with the storm.
“My name is Frank Morgan. I was a man before I was a wizard.” We see the Wizard regale Anna of his life prior to ruling Oz. He then goes on to give her advice – that her mother does not define her. Again with the relevant themes this episode!
Dorothy is in a “weird limbo land” – possibly something akin to the Mirror Dimension? Sigh…I loved Doctor Strange. Anyway, random objects are floating around, including a work shirt bearing the name tag “K. Chaplan.” Dorothy is taken aback by it, since that’s her mother’s name.
Anna interviews West’s ladies of the night regarding the women who committed suicide, and whether West was responsible. The Wizard informs West that Anna will be the judge of her innocence in the matter. West confesses that she hates magic, and she is grateful to the Wizard for banning it. She tells him it’s a drug worse than poppy seeds and useless against the Beast Forever. I thought Ana Ularu knocked it out of the park with this monologue. I may have a new favorite…
Now we are back in Ev. Tip and Jack find an herbalist who attempts to replicate her medication. After a bit, he informs them he is unable to recreate it since it was originally constructed with black magic. He also tells Tip to never ask again for it, and that taking such medication would disturb her true nature. Why would anyone want to be someone they’re not? I give these guys all the snaps and all the kudos in all of Oz for tackling an issue like this.
Back in Emerald City, the Wizard is once again being advised by his head councilwoman, Elizabeth (Roxy Sternberg). She tells him the Beast Forever will take the form of someone he knows, and that he must use the stone giants to help defeat it. Shortly after this conversation, Anna tells him she thinks he no longer has control over said stone giants. Their power is locked away in the Prison of the Abject, which is why he asked North and West to help him open it. The Wizard did not want to hear this (therefore it must be true). He locks up Anna for the crime of telling the truth.
Our girl Dorothy returns from her trip to the Mirror Dimension (just roll with it). Sullivan is upset because not only did she fail to settle the weather, she brought back a forbidden object that belonged to an “interloper.” The Wizard himself sent her home. Dorothy tells him that the shirt belonged to her mother. He then accuses her of not being his new mistress if she is related to an interloper. Sullivan threatens to kill Lucas, until Dorothy blurts out that East killed herself, and definitely did not die peacefully. As Sullivan is overcome with grief at this news, Dorothy and Lucas make their escape. The castle is enveloped by the tornado. “I am far more dangerous than you are,” Dorothy says to Lucas. And with that statement, Dorothy decides to continue on her path to the Emerald City, to seek answers from our dear Wizard.
Meanwhile, snow begins to fall in Oz. Which means Anna was right (take that, Wiz!), and hopefully the Wizard will release her soon.
Eamonn (Mido Hamada) finds Dorothy’s medication right outside of East’s castle. He now has her full name, which brings him one step closer to finding her…
Jack finds Tip questioning everything about who she thought she was, versus who she actually is. He reassures her they will figure something out. They argue and in the heat of the moment Jack kisses her. She screams “This isn’t me!”and pushes him. He falls off the balcony they are standing on to his death. HOLY GUACAMOLE, BATMAN!
Emerald City kicked things up a notch this episode. From Dorothy discovering her mother is connected to Oz to Tip shoving Jack off a balcony. We had a nice balance of exposition and action. Here’s hoping we keep the momentum going through next week!
Emerald City airs Fridays at 8pm on your NBC affiliate.