It’s “The Librarians” versus the devil – well, a devil – in the Sunday, Nov. 29 episode, “And the Infernal Contract.” Though Eve goes off to visit a friend, she ends up right in the middle of another adventure when the reason for her visit turns out to exactly why the clipping book sends Jake, Cassandra and Ezekiel to the same small town she’s in.
First things first, let’s take a moment to note the amazing guest cast (Michael Trucco and John de Lancie) and director (Jonathan Frakes) of this episode because they’re a large part of why it’s so good. In a way, “The Librarians” is one of those sleeper hits. It’s not really talked about as much as it should be, but for the second winter in a row, if you tune in each week, you’re pretty much guaranteed a wild adventure, an entertaining story and lines you’ll be quoting at least until the next episode. In this case, the TNT series takes its own spin on something that has been done before: making a deal with the devil and signing away your soul. It may not be anything that original, but the fact that it is still a solid episode is why the show should come back for a third season.
The Librarians have to set aside what they’re doing (and leave the Chupacabra to continue to make jerky – only in the Library) when the clipping book sends them to Hawthorne, the same small town where Eve is visiting a friend and mayoral candidate, Sam Denning, to investigate the disappearance of one of his staffers. His opponent, Keating, might as well hold up a flashing red sign that proclaims his eagerness to blame Sam for the staffer’s disappearance with how he’s pointing out that she worked for him and the police are investigating him to the media. (He also might as well hold up a sign that he’s involved at that point. Sam also might as well just sign over his soul at this point for his proclamations that he wants to make a difference in the corrupt town because it’s obvious he’s going to sign away his soul to do just that.)
At first, Sam holds back that he interacted with the missing girl at all until Eve confronts him about a text Ezekiel uncovered on his phone, then he admits that he had her digging up dirt on Keating. When Eve and Sam run into Jake, Cassandra and Ezekiel at the same motel room where Sam would meet her and she was swept away into a fiery black hole in the ceiling, her body is returned and the signature left behind (a glyph meaning the devil) points them in the right direction.
At that point, it’s time for Eve to clue Sam in on the fact that magic is real, complete with the requisite accusation that she’s lying, and so she cleverly explains it in a way he’ll understand: by comparing it to a threat they’ve faced in the past, using military terms. The magical threat is like a loose nuke.
Meanwhile, Jenkins fills the others in on what they’re dealing with: a devil, who feeds on souls. He could be anyone. They need to find the contract; almost every demon works via one, with the promise of something you desire in exchange for your soul. In this case, as they discover, it’s the whole Keating family that is under contract with the devil. Every 44 years, there’s some big tragedy and a Keating offers aid. They even wear the devil’s glyph on things like lapel pins and handkerchiefs, and the same guy is pictured with them every time: the Devil. And they just so happen to be due another contract.
The Devil gets his power from the contract, which means they have to get their hands on it. Since they know that the Keating family would keep it close, it has to be in a building that has been around all this time. Fortunately, they’re in a building full of magical artifacts that can help them narrow it down, and as they do, Jake comments that the reason Ezekiel doesn’t use the artifact to steal is that he’s now a good guy, not for the reason the thief claims, that it would be too easy. So of course, Ezekiel has to prove him wrong by giving him back the wallet he stole (without the money inside).
Because they can’t risk the devil figuring out they’re onto him, they have to get inside the building and find the contract under the radar. That means Cassandra going in to an event with Jenkins as her “Papa Bear,” Ezekiel posing as a server, Jake sneaking in and Eve and Sam standing by for Plan B to get the contract out of the building (and therefore putting Sam in just the position to sign one himself as he wonders about using magic to do what he sees as good). However, as the Devil warns Jenkins upon finding him, the closer they get to the contract, the more their luck will turn against them, all as the contract protects itself. That means that security is looking for them as Jake discovers the secret room, and just as Ezekiel finds the contract, they have to turn to plan B with security right outside.
When Eve hands Sam the contract to give to Jenkins, Sam turns on her and the Devil appears to get his signature so he can make all his dreams come true. Sam wants his reputation back, and even as Eve tries to stop him, he signs. He wants to be a hero, and that means there has to be a disaster, something big, that the contract can manufacture with what’s around. It just so happens that the mayoral debate is in the town square, where gas lines are being repaired. If they blow, it’s a disaster. Jake, Cassandra and Ezekiel go underground to divert the gas away from the town square, knowing that the contract will try to stop them, an occupational hazard, as Jake calls it, and the contract does, trapping them in the room with the gas. The Devil appears to them, offering to save them if they just sign a contract with him. He tries appealing to each of them, to Ezekiel with promises of traveling the world, to Cassandra with her health, to Jake with defeating Prospero and saving his friends.
Meanwhile, Eve and Jenkins find Sam, who’s considering how he can save most of the people in the area, but she reminds him that they don’t just settle for “most.” He hands over the contract, Eve punches him to get even, and Jenkins heads underground to help the others. The Devil joins Eve and Sam, and while she may have signed her name over his, she still needs to make a wish or the original terms of the contract stand. In this case, a commuter jet will crash and Sam will be a hero when he saves three.
But what he wasn’t counting on was Jenkins being able to bypass everything the contract throws at him to stop him from reaching the others. It helps to be an incorruptible knight. The contract can’t kill or beat Jenkins – and the Devil can’t escape the contract when Eve wishes that he’s human. He’s mortal, which means that he can’t destroy things anymore. The day is saved, and the devil is vanquished.
Eve ends up learning a valuable lesson with the latest adventure: the real role of the Guardian. It’s scenes like this one between her and Jenkins that show why this series is more than just a fantasy series with a new adventure each week. It also has heart, and that heart is one of its greatest strengths. It’s not to protect the Librarians’ bodies, Jenkins explains to her. The greatest risk to a Librarian is the magic they’re surrounded by, the burden to not succumb to it. The Librarian before Flynn gave into it and was lost. (Please let this come up again.) The Librarians need someone to hold them steady: the Guardian. It is up to the Guardian to save their souls, and that’s exactly what she did.
“The Librarians” season 2 airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on TNT. What did you think of episode 6 “And the Infernal Contract”?