Emerald City: "Science and Magic"

Emerald City is a reimagining of the L. Frank Baum books for a GoT generation, airs on Friday nights on NBC (on Fridays at 9/8c). All images belong to their respective owners. No infringement intended. This week’s discussion contains spoilers so fair warning…

“Princess Langwidere of Ev” aka “Princess Mombi”

I was wondering whether they’d introduce Princess Langwidere of Ev into the Emerald City canon, given that in last week’s episode, Tip and Jack are both in Ev, looking for a magical cure for Tip’s condition.


Princess Mombi as portrayed in Return to Oz (1985).

For anyone familiar with the cult classic Return to Oz (1985), the wicked witch Mombi, was combined with Princess Langwidere, who became Princess Mombi, the leader of the Wheelers, and the magical princess with the many heads. Return to Oz, coincidentally, was released on my 2nd birthday, and while I didn’t see the initial release, I did see it before the age of 10 so you can imagine how terrifying the film was. Get used to me referring to it when discussing Emerald City.

One of Princess Mombi's many heads, in Return to Oz (1985).

One of Mombi’s heads, in Return to Oz (1985).

In the film, it is at Princess Mombi’s castle where Dorothy is imprisoned and meets Jack Pumpkinhead and the Gump.

Langwidere first makes her appearance in Baum’s third book, Ozma of Oz and she’s quite a vicious, spoiled and vain character. So, it was no surprise to see the exquisitely vain creature visiting the laboratory and trying on different masks and my reaction of course was, “oh, so that’s how they’re doing this…”

A brief shout-out to “Jane”, the lovely Gina McKee in a cameo performance, and who I remember with fondness from Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask (2005). First Fiona Shaw, now Gina McKee. Emerald City, you do know how to make this fan girl happy.

“Jack” aka “Jack Pumpkinhead”

Jack Pumpkinhead as portrayed in Return To Oz (1985).

Jack Pumpkinhead as portrayed in Return To Oz (1985).

Now to the bad. What in the hell were you thinking combining Jack with the Tin Man? Seriously?! This was so not where I thought the series was going with this.

While I’ll admit that I didn’t expect a CGI pumpkin character to walk around Oz, (or tin creature for that matter), I thought perhaps that maybe there’d be a play on one of the Wizards Guard (in all that shiny armor!) and perhaps a redemption of one of the characters, drawing in Lucas’ past history.

Jack is such a delightfully sweet character and I don’t want to see his development get shafted because they’re squeezing too much into the story at once. Take your time, and trust that you’ll find the right audience for this.

“The Beast Forever” aka “The Nome King”

The Nome King as portrayed in Return to Oz (1985).

The Nome King as portrayed in Return to Oz (1985).

This episode felt like filler to me and the coming attractions hint of a more plot-driven episode coming up next in the season. For those following along with my theories, it certainly seems like I’m wrong (at this point) in terms of the Nome King — Dorothy is being painted out to be more and more as “The Beast Forever” although the writer in me bristles at the idea of this being such a simple solution. It feels more like a sleight-of-hand technique to distract us for a bigger reveal down the road.

With 7 episodes left in the season (if my math’s right), there’s certainly time enough for my theory to be proven right, or completely undone. But with the introduction of young Sylvie, a girl with powers to transform people into stone, there could definitely be some Nome King magic going on there, so I’m choosing to hold out hope.

What’s your theory? Where do you think the story is headed? Leave a comment below. Oh, and don’t mouse over the “Addendum” at the end unless you want a major series spoiler.

For some fun background facts on the Oz books and film adaptations, check out the Oz Wiki at: http://oz.wikia.com/wiki/The_Wizard_of_Oz_Wiki

For some great clips and photos from the series, check out the official website at: http://www.nbc.com/emerald-city

Addendum: After writing this article, I took a look at IMDB to confirm some of the actor/character names and blast it all, never look too closely at the full cast list … sneaky, IMDB, very sneaky. Off to get breakfast. Eggs, anyone?



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