It's an old story: a young person is rejected by the object of their affections, grows up only to have their entire life revolve around that single particular moment in denial of the rejection. Sounds like an episode of Criminal Minds, yes? In fact, that was what happened in The Librarians Season 3 Episode 5, which no doubt gave coulrophobes everywhere nightmares.
Unfortunately, this episode suffered in several major regards, despite guest appearances by none other than Sean Astin and Felicia Day.
The first segment of the episode starred Jenkins out in the field trying to track down the missing Librarians. They should probably start tallying the number of times that he's had to personally save their skins despite his nominal job of serving as mission control!
He probably traumatized that kid for life, but it gave us several absolutely hilarious moments such as this:
Vern: The lady on your phone. Is she your daughter?
Jenkins [taken aback]: No. My friend.
Vern: Ooh, my grandfather has a younger friend, too. My mom doesn't like her, though.
I couldn't help but laugh at the expression on Jenkins's face during that exchange. John Larroquette is an excellent actor, and I think I'd watch The Librarians just for him, even without the rest of the series's appeal.
It makes me wonder if they shouldn't have gone whole-hog and made this a Jenkins-centric episode, with him having to solve the mystery on his own, track down the clues and figure out the answer, instead of completely changing tracks midway through back to the more standard team-driven story.
The basic plot, as laid out above, isn't exactly a new story, either. And, was pointed out a couple of times during the episode, Kirby basically amounted to little more than a serial killer (albeit one empowered by genuine magic):
Charlotte: Oh, Kirby... we could never be friends again.
Kirby: Why not?
Charlotte: Because you're a total psycho now!
One question I do put to you, though, is whether the Librarians' discussion about the corrupting power of magic actually applied to Kirby. Was the artifact actually corrupting him, making him do bad things, or did it merely give him a tool with which to act out his preexisting delusions?
It was really rather disappointing that they took the easy way out and killed Kirby, rather than actually have to deal with the fallout with an obviously troubled individual coming off a magic "high."
They made no bones about the clear setup for a larger arc:
Brand new artifacts are being created everyday?Cassandra [alarmed]
Geek legend Felicia Day certainly shone as Charlotte, the object of Kirby's affections. Once she got past her rather understandable fear, it was definitely impressive how Charlotte managed to turn the tables and convince Kirby to unwittingly give up the very source of his powers.
Kirby, meanwhile, was played by Sean Astin, who I will always remember fondly as the brave and faithful Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings. There was a definite sense of tragedy when Charlotte revealed the truth about the original carnival.
Too bad Kirby had let his heartbreak turn into full-blown murderous insanity. On a related note: Charlotte and Kirby shared a class. Why didn't either one of them ask the other what had happened in the first place? Okay, fine, Kirby was hurt... but Charlotte never asked where he got to?
Is it possible she was actually lying with her tale about her intent to bring back tickets at the original carnival? If that is the case... she is either the bravest or the coldest kidnap victim ever. (Quick, someone write a fanfiction where Charlotte is a manipulative sociopath!)
A few final thoughts before I turn the discussion over to you, my friends:
- The Department of Statistical Anomalies returned briefly at the end of the episode, again demonstrating their stereotypical men-in-black-suits behavior and apparent lack of competence.
- What happened to Kirby's body in the wax vat after all the magic was dispelled? And did the Librarians remember to retrieve their magic detecting device before DOSA showed up?
- The grainy filter on the "flashback" footage at the beginning of the episode was a little odd, given that the setting was only 1996 and not, say, 1956.
- Hop on over to our Librarians quotes page to check out some of the interesting quotes from this episode!
- Coulrophobia, for the vocabulary-minded, is the fear of clowns. Curiously, the term itself is a neologism and only came into use in the 1980s-90s. On a side note, I really did like our Librarians' clown costumes.
Don't forget to watch The Librarians online if you have not already! And rejoice, for The Librarians Season 3 Holiday Marathon is slated to start Friday, December 23, 2016 at 8/7c on TNT!
Catch up with all five episodes that have already before The Librarians Season 3 Episode 6, "And the Trial of the Triangle," hits screens at 8/7c on Christmas Day!
What did you think of "And the Tears of a Clown"? Did you enjoy Jenkins's foray into the carnival? Were you surprised at the resolution to the story? Are you worried about what trouble DOSA will cause our heroes? Let us know in the comments section below!