"I'm telling you, it's aliens."
Ezekiel Jones

"And the City of Light" is the ninth episode of the first season of The Librarians. It aired on January 18, 2015.[1]

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

A missing-person investigation uncovers what appears to be an alien invasion in a small rural town.[1]

Plot[edit | edit source]

In a path in the woods, UFO investigator Victor Finch records himself searching for the source of mysterious lights that have been reported in the sky in the area. When his recorder stops working, he puts on a pair of custom goggles, which allow him to see energy patterns. As he reaches a clearing, he notices human-like forms made of energy, only visible when he's wearing the goggles, one of which points at him. He panics and bolts from the woods into the nearby town of Collins Falls, where he makes it into his truck, but finds himself surrounded by a number of oddly-behaved townspeople, who start glowing. One of them, a diner waitress, reaches into his truck and wraps her glowing hand around his throat.

Back at the Annex, the clippings book alerts the Librarians to the disappearance of Victor Finch, sparking a debate about the existence of aliens. While Ezekiel Jones is a firm believer in UFOs, and Cassandra Cillian finds it scientifically unlikely that humans are the only intelligent life in the galaxy, Jacob Stone says that the only people who believe in UFOs are conspiracy theorists, and Jenkins firmly insists that there is no such thing as UFOs. The team continues the debate as the use the back door to reach Collins Falls, where the waitress from earlier watches them from afar. Stone notices that the houses are in a style from the late 1800s, while the town itself was only founded in 1953, and the team takes note of the gas lamps that are all over downtown. Eve Baird splits up the team to investigate, sending Cassandra and Stone to look into the town and its history, while she and Ezekiel investigate the area where Victor Finch's truck was discovered.

Cassandra and Stone find Mabel Collins working on one of the gas lamps, and after a bit of flirting with Stone, she reveals that she's not only descended from the town's founders, but also does almost everything to keep the town running: she's the town archivist, notary, volunteer fire chief, and chancellor of the exchequer. She and Stone continue to hit it off, speaking French with each other, while Cassandra gets increasingly irritated with them and tries to keep them on track.

In the woods, Ezekiel finds one of the gas lamps in a clearing, and then finds Victor Finch, who is acting very strangely. As he approaches Ezekiel, his eyes glow yellow, like the townspeople from earlier, and he raises his arm to point at Ezekiel in the same manner as the strange energy beings Finch had seen through his goggles. Baird quickly tackles Finch, knocking him into the gas lamp; he's knocked out, but the lamp and Baird both flicker, and Baird vanishes, surrounded by an electric glow.

The team regroups at the Annex, where Ezekiel insists that Baird was beamed away by aliens and Jenkins continues to insist that aliens do not exist. Using a magical device, Jenkins determines that Baird is still on the planet, but can't tell them any more than that. The Librarians return to Collins Falls to speak to Victor Finch, who can't remember anything about what happened to him. He thinks he's only been out for a day or so, and is shocked when the team tells him he's been missing for three weeks. They collect his UFO-hunting gear and bring it to Jenkins, who realizes that the goggles can be used as an aura filter, and notices strange energy in Victor's video, in the same clearing where Baird disappeared. He suggests finding out more about the gas lamps, and Stone quickly volunteers to go talk to Mabel again, while Cassandra pokes fun at him over it.

Mabel takes Stone to the town archives, which are expansive for a small, fairly recently founded town. As they go through the archives, they bond over their similar histories: they're both from small towns, and stayed put due to family obligations. Mabel says that she has a whole warehouse full of memories from the town, and that she'd like to have some from somewhere else; Stone knows exactly what she means, and they briefly come up with memories from other places that they'd like to have. She even has a wall of postcards from other places in her workspace. When Stone gets back to the investigation and brings up the unusual gas lamp, Mabel insists on going with him to see it.

In the clearing, Jenkins, Cassandra, and Ezekiel are investigating the gas lamp where Baird disappeared, and they're not prepared for an outsider to be part of the conversation. Although they make an attempt to cover up their real investigation, they falter when Jenkins touches the post and Baird flickers back into view for a moment, and Mabel doesn't buy into their claim that it was just an optical illusion. Stone convinces her to trust them and promises her that he'll tell her everything, and she agrees to go dig up anything in the archives about the gas lamps. As she leaves, the diner waitress from earlier appears in the woods.

Jenkins re-configures Victor's goggles to be more effective, and gives them to Ezekiel in hopes of tracking down the source of the strange energy. As he and Cassandra follow the energy pattern, she realizes that it forms a circuit, flowing through all the gas lamps in the town, but can't figure out what it's meant to do. As they go through the woods, Ezekiel sees Baird, who is visible only with the goggles on. She directs Cassandra to keep following the energy, while she leads Ezekiel back into town.

Meanwhile, Stone tries to sneak into the town archives, but is quickly caught by Mabel, who isn't impressed. She agrees to show him the files on the gas lamps, however, and when he looks at the town plans, he notices that the town seems to have been built around the gas lamps, implying that they were there first. Mabel tries to dismiss the idea, but Stone discovers she's also hiding parts of a gas lamp from him, and realizes that she knows more than she's telling him. She asks him for help, and when he promises to do the right thing, she hands him a folder she'd kept hidden from him. Inside is the truth of the gas lamps: they were there before the town, because another town had been there first.

Cassandra follows the energy patterns to a dam called Wardenclyffe Falls Dam, where she finds old photos, including one of Nikola Tesla. As she looks into the dam, Victor Finch appears, once again acting strangely. She realizes he's not himself and hits him with a wrench before making a break for it.

As Ezekiel makes his way through town with the goggles on, he notices that some of the townspeople have other people overlaid on top of them, made of the same energy they've been tracking. He ends up face to face with one of them, a woman in an old-fashioned outfit, who does the pointing thing like the earlier ones had, and a number of the townsfolk start chasing him when he makes a break for it. As he nears one of the gas lamps, he remembers what it did to Victor Finch, and hits it with a fence post; the townsfolk are hit with jolts of electricity and are stunned for long enough that he can get away.

Both Cassandra and Ezekiel arrive in the archives, where they find Stone and Mabel. While Ezekiel tries to figure out how to build a barricade against the body-snatchers, Stone tries to tell Cassandra about Wardenclyffe Falls, the previous town in the same location, which had been built by Tesla. She pulls him away from Mabel, although Ezekiel can see that Mabel isn't body-snatched. Victor Finch, however, is, and as he moves towards them, Mabel stops him, calling him "Norman". Cassandra shows Stone a photo of Mabel from 1915, and when he looks up at her, she says that these are the family commitments that kept her in town.

The Librarians, Jenkins, Mabel, and a number of the townspeople gather in the diner, where Mabel proceeds to explain exactly what happened with Wardenclyffe Falls and the people who lived there. In 1915, Tesla had been conducting experiments with wireless energy transference, and the gas lamps were a prototype transmitter. However, the experiment had gone wrong, and the people in the town had been knocked out of sync with the rest of the world. Although Tesla managed to stabilize them using the circuit made from the gas lamps, they remained trapped between dimensions, unable to interact with the real world unless they borrowed someone else's body. Only Mabel remained in her own body, as she had been insulated in the control room at the time, and Tesla had anchored her to her body with a copper knob at the base of her neck, allowing her to act as a grounding wire. Ezekiel is furious with the Wardenclyffe Falls people, pointing out that they're using other people's bodies without their consent, and that they'd taken control of Victor Finch for weeks. Mabel says that they needed someone who wasn't local so they could borrow them for longer; they had nearly found a way to fix things, but were running out of time. When Jenkins asks about their plan, Mabel offers to show them.

She leads them to the dam and explains that while Tesla hadn't been able to undo the phase shift in his lifetime, he'd built a dimensional re-integration system using the dam, which had been storing up power for a hundred years. He'd also traded the government some of his patents in return for protection for the town and the dam, allowing the townspeople to stay within the circuit. Unfortunately, the capacitor and turbines were both starting to break down, potentially leaving the townspeople trapped forever. Norman had borrowed Victor's body in order to keep things running, but his ability to fix them is limited, and there are only a couple of days left for them to activate the re-intergrator. Although there is some disagreement from Ezekiel, and Cassandra has concerns about the technology involved, the Librarians agree to help when Jenkins makes the point that this may be the only way to get Baird back.

With Cassandra taking the lead, everyone gets to work on fixing up as much of the system as they can, from the capacitor to the gas lamps. As she works on the calculations, Stone asks Mabel why she didn't leave, and she reveals that the circuit keeps her stable as well. If she'd crossed the town's border, she would have vanished. She asks him why he stayed in his home town, and he tells her about the family oil rigging business, started in the 1800s by his great-grandfather, and nearly driven into the ground by his alcoholic father. At the time, he'd felt he was obliged to stay, but now he realizes it had been an excuse; he'd stayed because everyone else had stayed, and he'd let that convince him that he couldn't leave. He and Mabel kiss, and she asks how his first kiss with a 130-year-old woman was.

Everyone finishes up their preparations, and Cassandra flips the switch to start the process. As energy begins flowing through the gas lamp circuits, Cassandra notices that the power surge is much more than she was expecting, and realizes that if the capacitor fails, it won't just blow up the lamps, but everything for hundreds of miles around them. She wants to stop the process, but Norman, still inhabiting Victor's body, tells her that they can't go on like this. He breaks the control switch and flees, locking Cassandra in the control centre. Cassandra manages to rig the system to transmit a high-frequency signal that only Ezekiel can hear, as the youngest of them; Jenkins and Stone recognize it as the Morse code for L, for Librarians. Everyone rushes to the control room and she informs them of the potential for mass destruction. Though Mabel focuses on the fact that it might still work, Cassandra says that the risk is too big, even if stopping means that they'll lose Baird forever as well. Ezekiel points out that Baird would be the first to make that call, and Stone reminds Mabel that he said he would do the right thing. She agrees, and says that there's an override switch with the relay on the roof that they can use to shut the system down.

As they head towards the roof, the energy from the dam starts to build, electrifying the fence and creating a barrier on the roof. Mabel realizes that her ability to act as a grounding wire can likely get them through it, and Stone goes with her, leaving Ezekiel to deal with the townsfolk who are coming to stop them from shutting it down. Although Mabel is able to ground the electricity, it comes at a cost; Stone ends up carrying her through the centre of the build-up. To distract her, he returns to their earlier conversation about the memories she'd like to have from other places, talking about Budapest and Paris as if they were there.

Below, Baird borrows Ezekiel's body to fight off the townspeople. As the energy build up continues to get stronger, Baird separates from Ezekiel and re-integrates. Although Ezekiel tries to call up to Stone and Mabel to let them know it's working, they can't hear him, and the electricity starts to overwhelm them. Mabel manages to reach out and shut the system down, but at the cost of her life.

Baird, Cassandra, and Ezekiel gather in the Annex to discuss what happened. Ezekiel tries to argue that it was working, but Cassandra points out that they don't know that it could have held together long enough to help the townspeople, who had been trapped for so much longer than Baird. Although the power will build up again in a hundred years, the capacitor was destroyed. Only the gas lamps still work, leaving the townspeople intact but still trapped. Eve tries to reassure everyone that they did their best, but that sometimes you just lose. As Cassandra and Ezekiel leave, Jenkins brings Eve a small book: the appointment book, used to keep track of projects for future Librarians. He suggests that the Librarians could rebuild and improve on Tesla's design, and try again once enough of a charge had built up.

In the hallway of the Annex, Cassandra and Ezekiel find Stone and ask him if he'd like to come out with them for a drink. He declines, saying he has somewhere to be. He opens the back door and reveals Paris, then pulls out Mabel's postcards, matching one to the scene in front of him before stepping through the door.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Main Cast[edit | edit source]

Guest Cast[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • "The City of Light" has for several hundred years been the nickname of Paris, originally for its role in the Age of Enlightenment and later because it was one of the first major European cities to embrace gas street lighting.
  • This episode was originally intended to air eighth, between "And the Apple of Discord" and "And the Rule of Three".[2]
  • The idea came from the dam, which they found on a location scout - John Rogers wanted to use the location and asked the writers room to come up with something.[3] Rogers came up with the idea of Tesla knocking a whole town out of sync.[4]
  • Inspiration for the episode included:
    • Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a 1956 sci-fi film about aliens taking over a town by replacing its inhabitants with pod people. The dramatic pointing done by the townspeople is a reference to the film.
    • Nikola Tesla's real life experiments[4]
    • The 1954 musical Brigadoon, starring Gene Kelly, about a man who stumbles upon a city that only exists in the real world once every hundred years, and falls in love with a local girl. During the planning stages, the episode was referred to as "Tesladoon".[4]
    • The X-Files, in that it's an episode where they go to a location and find something happening, rather than being on the hunt for an artifact.[4]
    • Seeing how the team works without Baird - with the "training wheels off" as per John Rogers[4]
    • Exploring more of the idea of a parallel history to the world--a secret, magical history that runs alongside the regular history of the world.[3]
  • As with many Librarians episodes, the writers took a familiar trope--in this case, alien invasion/body-snatching--and came up with a twist.[3] It's a writers room rule that "every myth is true except aliens".[4]
  • Having an episode where the team loses was important as it reminded everyone what was at stake.[4]
  • The writers also felt they needed a Jacob Stone-centric episode, and felt that the idea of a small town and the people within it trapped in time and space was a good fit for exploring his history and issues.[4]
    • Jacob Stone's arc in this episode was partially inspired by John Rogers' experience as the only one in his family who left home to go to college and didn't move back again, and discussions of how much familiarity you can give up in order to find new experiences before you give up too much and end up lost.[4]
  • There were three keys to making this episode work:
    • The audience was meant to be confused, but needed to have enough new information that they could follow the clues, and potentially figure out what was happening.[4]
    • The town had to be its own character, so the audience would care about it and the people within it.[4]
    • There had to be a question of whether or not the attempt to bring the townspeople back was going to work or not--if it was guaranteed to fail, there would be no moral choice for the characters to make.[4]
  • In earlier versions of the script, Nikola Tesla was a character in the episode, but the writers felt that they already had the Librarians as geniuses and adding Tesla made things too complicated.[4]
  • There were also versions of the script where one of the team got body-snatched, but decided that the season already had enough episodes where the characters weren't acting as themselves.[4]
  • Baird's limited screen time was due to Rebecca Romijn having a previous commitment and only being available for part of the filming.[4]
  • Most of the outdoor scenes for Collins Falls were shot in Oregon City, OR, within a four block radius. This included the Town Hall (actually the Oregon City Public Library), the diner, the area where Victor Finch encounters the townspeople, and various street corners.[4] The same town was used for Hawthorne in "And the Infernal Contract".
  • The dam is the Willamette Falls Hydroelectric Power Reservoir, a short distance away from the area used for the town. It was also used for the Berlin warehouse in "And the Crown of King Arthur" as well as the scene with the dragons in "And the Loom of Fate".[4]
    • When they'd done the original location scout, there was plenty of water going through the dam due to the spring meltwater. When they went to film the episode, it was summer, but they were lucky enough to get half a day with the water running in the background during the shoot.[4]
  • The town archives scenes were shot in the Portland City Archives. One of the cars in the background of the archive scenes had an Oregon license plate that had to be digitally altered.[4]
  • The episode was filmed in June, just before they filmed "And Santa's Midnight Run", and the weather was over 100°F (over 37°C). Filming on the dam was especially difficult, as it was hot concrete with little shade.[4]
  • Wardenclyffe Tower was Tesla's real life lab, so the writers decided that he had a secret lab called Wardenclyffe Falls.[4]
  • As John Rogers took physics in university, he put a lot of the Tesla stuff into the episode. The timing and experiment both work with the real timeline of Tesla's work.[4]
  • This is the first time in the season where "We're the Librarians" doesn't work on someone.[4]
  • Lindy Booth accidentally hit John J. Joseph with the prop wrench at one point.[4]
  • When Ezekiel Jones gets zapped by the fence and jolted backwards, it was actually Christian Kane pulling John Kim back by the belt.[4]
  • John Kim couldn't see properly through the goggles.[4]
    • Lindy Booth found the goggles so funny that she made John Kim face away from her so she wouldn't start laughing during the scenes where he was wearing them.[4]
  • John Kim's stunt double uses a martial arts-based fighting style and had to be toned down to match Baird's more military style.[4]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

  • Jacob Stone: "The only people I know that believe in UFOs are the same ones that think that Elvis was the shooter on the grassy knoll."
  • Cassandra Cillian: "Look, current estimates put the number of habitable planets in our galaxy at 11 billion. So it is highly unlikely that we are the only intelligent life in this universe."
    Eve Baird, to Jenkins: "I'll tell you what. We'll just fill in the crack you're about to make about us and intelligent life, just skip right to the job."
    Jenkins: "Are you sure? It was quite cutting."
    Eve Baird: "I promise to be properly offended. I mean, I probably wouldn't even have understood it at first. But I'll be offended later."
    Jenkins: "Where's the fun in that?"
  • Ezekiel Jones: "I just think that if a super intelligent, powerful alien race arrives, we should be prepared."
    Eve Baird: "You're planning on selling out the human race, aren't you?"
    Ezekiel Jones: "I will absolutely sell out the human race to our new alien overlords. Don't fight them, they know what's best for us."
  • Mabel Collins: "I'm the archivist, notary, volunteer fire chief, and chancellor of the exchequer. Well, technically, treasurer, but since I ordered the business cards, too, who's going to stop me?"
  • Jenkins: "Only you people could lose a Guardian. Librarians, yes, we go through them like tissue paper, but a Guardian?"
  • Jenkins: "No one beamed her anywhere."
    Ezekiel Jones: "Says the guy with the teleporting door."
    Jenkins: "UFOs do not exist."
    Ezekiel Jones: "Says the guy with the teleporting door."
  • Jenkins: "Magic is not an exact science. If it were, it would be science."
  • Ezekiel Jones, re: body-snatching: "I made a good living walking the line between snatching and borrowing, but this? These people have gone too far."
  • Jacob Stone: "Can you imagine being stuck for a hundred years, watching the world go by? Wanting to do things, wanting to go places."
  • Mabel Collins: "You stayed to run the family company, that's a good reason."
    Jacob Stone: "It's an excuse. I mean, every year I spent not leaving, easier it was to stay. And none of my folks, none of my friends, they never got 50 miles from home. That's the way they liked it. You spend time with people who don't do something, and you start feeling like you can't do it. That's how it goes."
  • Eve Baird: "It wasn't your fault. Sometimes you just lose. You did good, all of you, but sometimes, you just lose."

Media[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Shows A-Z librarians, on the TNT - The Futon Critic
  2. Rogers, John. "LIBRARIANS #106 "Fables of Doom" answer post" Kung Fu Monkey, 10 Jan. 2015, kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2015/01/librarians-016-fables-of-doom-answer.html
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Rogers, John and Jeremy Bernstein. "Writer Vlog: And the City of Light." The Librarians, TNT, 2016.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 4.26 4.27 Rogers, John, Jeremy Bernstein, Tawnia McKiernan, Rebecca Romijn, and Lindy Booth. Audio Commentary. "And the City of Light", The Librarians, season 1, episode 9, TNT, 2016.
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