After five episodes, we are now halfway through the first season of Emerald City and I can honestly say I am really conflicted about this show. Part of me finds this show a surprising guilty pleasure and another part of me can’t get past the shows many glaring flaws. This week was a perfect example. There were a few storylines that were truly engaging (even if they didn’t really add anything to the main story) and then there were other parts that were just boring and underdeveloped.
Let’s start with the obvious problem which is Dorothy. For someone who is supposed to be our main character, she is by far the least developed and frankly the most boring. We opened this week with Dorothy being delivered into West’s hands by the leader of the tribe we met in the first episode. West was told Dorothy was responsible for the death of her sister and therefore locked her in a cell and held her hostage for most the episode. She used various tricks to get information out of Dorothy but they were met with little success (mainly because Dorothy knows very little herself). After various scenes, one of which featured East disguising herself as Dorothy’s mom, Tip helped her escape through the sewers and into Emerald City. At this point in the show, it’s impossible to feel invested in Dorothy’s story because all we know about her is she loves her gun and wants to go home. This would be ok for a two-hour movie, but for a ten-episode show, it just doesn’t work. It also doesn’t help that her character is dull and shows very little emotion.
Where Emerald City shows the most promise, however, is in several of its subplots. I’ve found myself really enjoying Jack and Lady Ev’s connection, even though it is turning into a predictable love story. This week, Lady Ev and her father traveled to Emerald City for an annual celebration and to meet with the Wizard, and of course, she brought her new servant along too. In the span of one episode, their relationship went from master/servant to friends, to more than friends (I guess the threat of danger will do that to you). Although the story isn’t the most compelling, this subplot works really well because the characters feel the most real. Gerran Howell has done a great job portraying the awkward and confused Jack and a special shoutout goes to Stefanie Martini for her work as Lady Ev. Her character is the perfect mix of sweet, quirky, and mysterious and she just feels like someone worth rooting for. Together, their bond is one of the few in the show that feels genuine.
Similarly, I found myself really enjoying Lucas and his time away from Dorothy in this week’s episode. After being separated, Lucas was left defending Sylvie himself while he looked for the truth about who he really is. Even though he eventually turned himself over to the Wizards’ guard for killing several people (that’s allegedly what he’s been forgetting all this time) and left Sylvie alone on the streets of Emerald City, the two of them were perfect. Together, they are one of the rawest and most genuine duos in the show because in a way they are both lost, innocent children just looking for help and guidance. Hopefully they reunite with each other again.
Although the events of episode five were generally inconsistent, it did end on an interesting cliffhanger. After Dorothy escaped the hands of East, she found herself wandering the halls of the Emerald City palace (gun in hand of course). There, she ran into the Wizard while he was listening Pink Floyd on a Walkman (implying he isn’t originally from OZ either) and he instantly recognized her. The episode ended with the Wizard telling Dorothy she has come home. This makes for an interesting twist because a) I didn’t think Dorothy and the Wizard would meet until much later, and b) how does he know who Dorothy is?
Through five episodes, Emerald City has shown definite potential. It has an intriguing cast of characters and several stories starting to gain momentum. Unfortunately, the show’s biggest downfall is its main character and her quest to return home. Isn’t that the whole point of the story in the first place, so shouldn’t it be the strongest and most compelling story? If Emerald City can clean its main plotline up and actually make Dorothy interesting it could have a strong second half.