“They Came First” begins with Eamonn directing The Wizard’s Guard to take girls from their families. He tells them that “A plague carried by young girls threatens the city. All of them must be seen by the medic.”
One father, who is acquainted with Eamonn, pleads that his daughter is not sick. Eamonn insists that it’s “for the medic to decide.” When the father’s little girl begs him to help her, he turns to Eamonn and first pleads, then rushes Eamonn, who punches him.
Eamonn tells the rest of the families to “go back to your homes. Shut the doors, or death will come to all of you.”
At the castle, Eamonn tells The Wizard that he’s known the girl since birth, and she’s not a witch, but The Wizard’s answer is that “Every girl must be inspected. If Glinda’s witches are hiding in emerald city, and my people find out, I’ll lose them.”
“You may be losing them now,” says Eamonn. “People are scared.”
“Good, people don’t revolt when they’re scared. They revolt when they’re angry, when they think I’ve lost control.” From a balcony overlook, they gaze upon the disgraced councilors. The Wizard tells Eamonn that the women’s fate is still up in the air. “If anyone tries to leave, kill them.”
Dorothy, Lucas, Toto, and Sylvie disembark from a carriage, and the dog and the little girl romp across a green field. Lucas says they can only spare a quick stop, and must keep moving.
Dorothy and Lucas converse about their lucky escape from Emerald City; Dorothy mentions Lucas’s connection to Glinda, and Lucas wonders if The Wizard is more than Dorothy’s protector. Dorothy assures him it is only that The Wizard is “the first real connection” that she’s had to her parents. “You know, he’s not as bad as you think,” says Dorothy.
Lucas answers her, “Apparently, Glinda thinks she’s worse,” and when he speculates on why The Wizard’s Guard aren’t pursuing them, Dorothy is silent, as we learned last episode that she is conspiring with The Wizard to assassinate Glinda with Sylvie’s petrification.
On the way back to Ev, Langwidere rests her hand on the carriage seat reserved for her father, King Ev, who was petrified.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” says Jack.
“He wasn’t my loss; he was my father,” says Lady Ev.
“I’m sorry he died.”
“He didn’t die. He was murdered!” exclaims Langwidere.
“It’s just the more I see of everything, the more I realize how hard it all is for you.”
“Why are you talking?”
“I’m trying to help,” says Jack.
“Everything you say is wrong. Everything about you is wrong.”
“I thought that’s why you liked me?”
“What about that girl back at The Wizard’s castle? Does she like you?” insinuates Lady Ev.
“Tip? No, she hates me. So do you, it seems.”
“Are you pressing me for sympathy? Yesterday, I was a princess; today, I’m an orphan and a queen, all at once! What matter is it a girl hurt your feelings?”
“It’s more than that. Look at me!”, shouts Jack.
“Stop the carriage!” shouts Langwidere.
“Leave me to feel sorry for myself.”
“I meant nothing but kindness,” insists Jack.
Jack disembarks, closes the doors, then steps back from the carriage and falls into a muddy ditch.
As he extricates himself from the mud, chilling screams roll in from the surrounding woods. “Oh great, The Screaming Forest! Thanks!” he yells after the departing carriage.
Dorothy and Lucas appear to have chosen a better location for their woodland interlude. Dorothy rests on a log, and Lucas is about to fill a bucket with water from the shaded stream, when Toto starts barking, and Dorothy and Lucas break into a run, to see wolves closing in on sleeping Sylvie.
Dorothy screams Sylvie’s name, and though the shells block the girl’s ears, either Dorothy’s screaming or her high-pitched emotion activate East’s gauntlets, and a circular nimbus of white light slashes at the wolves. Then Dorothy falls to the ground.
After the commerical break, Lucas is driving the carriage, inside which Dorothy hugs Sylvie, then wonders aloud why the witches would steal Sylvie’s hearing. Lucas answers that it may have been to protect her. The inocuous conversation that follows refers to a new stage of committment in Dorothy and Lucas’s relationship:
“Lucky for her, you learned a new trick,” says Lucas.
“I didn’t even think about it. The gauntlets, they just did something.”
“You can control them now. They’re becoming part of you.”
“Maybe. Like some other things, too.”
“Yeah, the dog. And Sylvie.”
“Ah. Glad everyone’s included.”
“They are,” she says, looking at Lucas.
The abandoned farmstead is at the half-way point, just as they’ve been told. While Lucas investigates the house, Dorothy, seeing a scarecrow in the garden, teaches Sylvie a childhood game called Somewhere. If you’re unfamiliar, Somewhere is 20 Questions with an Easy setting: one player names things, another player points at them.
Dorothy names the scarecrow and a dove, and after Sylvie indicates them, Dorothy removes Sylvie’s shells, saying that it will be ok. As the audience is likely to share Lucas’s viewpoint by now, that the shells are there for a good reason, Dorothy’s manipulation of the little girl’s witch-handicap seems needlessly callous. Sylvie claps her hands over her ears at the onrush of sound, but Dorothy encourages her to isolate the dove from the cacaphony.
Lucas exits the farmhouse and says that Sylvie will be hurt when Dorothy returns to Kansas, that it is cruel to encourage these feelings in the little girl.
West dreams of The Beast Forever in its watery incarnation: a vast, quiescent wave specked with witch corpses.
When The Wizard arrives with his guards, demanding to see West, Tip blocks the door of her chamber and says, “my mistress isn’t well.”
The Wizard gestures to his guard, who removes Tip from the doorway. After The Wizard enters West’s chamber, the guard makes sleazy advances on Tip, who rebukes him.
“Give me a whore with an attitude,” he says, but when he tries to have his way, Tip draws a dagger and puts it in his nostril.
“I’m not that kind of girl,” Tip says, then enters West’s room, where the witchis too listless to take notice of The Wizard. As Tip tries to help West to a sitting position, The Wizard says that he has imprisoned all the witch-aged girls, and that he wants West to identify the witches among them.
“I won’t help you kill them,” she stammers.
“Not me! Why, I haven’t killed a single witch in my life! Glinda has! Nearly all of them. She sent them to die against The Beast Forever!”
“And I helped her! I killed them too,” mourns the intoxicated West. “I won’t help either of you repeat the past.”
The Wizard sits down across from West. “Glinda hid your mother from you. She built an army of witches from secrets and lies.”
“Do you have a family?” asks West.
“Yes, I…Yes. They’re all cheaters and liars,” says The Wizard. “Glinda is willing to sacrifice all those little girls, just like the last time, but me, I want to help you save them.”
“If I find them,” says West, “you give them to me, to my care, with a promise to protect them from whatever comes.”
The Wizard nods, and says “I give you my word.”
“The more the merrier,” Dorothy tells Sylvie as she adds vegetables to a stew.
When Dorothy sits down next to Lucas, she confesses that she doesn’t want to give Sylvie up. When Lucas protests that the girl belongs to Glinda, Dorothy says, “Glinda isn’t even her mother, she’s just a stranger we know nothing about.”
Lucas says that’s “the way the world works,” but Dorothy is not satisfied, and says Sylvie shouldn’t fight in Glinda’s war. Lucas questions whether they’re even on the same side anymore.
West surveys the captive girls, and tells The Wizard that none are witches. “When you find one, you’ll know.”
In another part of Emerald City, The Wizard’s Guard continue taking screaming children from their family. Two guards pursue one child into a business that dyes fabrics. Long swaths of drying, yellow dyed, cloth hang above boiling cauldrons of yellow dye.
When the guards finally corner the girl, she floats straight up into the air. They swing their swords, she flings out her hands and screams, and the storefront explodes.
Jack trudges through The Screaming Forest. When he starts to have a hard time walking, the viewer might think it is simply because his boots are covered with mud, but when Jack inspects himself to find rust, the situation appears more dire, and Jack contributes a scream of his own to The Screaming Forest.
When Dorothy puts Sylvie to bed, Sylvie asks if Dorothy has a mother, to which she answers that she has an Aunt Em, which is just like a mother. When Sylvie says she has no mother, Dorothy promises that she’ll find her someday.
Lucas tells Dorothy that he’ll take first watch, and Dorothy confesses that The Wizard’s Guard are not coming because The Wizard let them go. “He wants to help me…I lied, because if you’re with Glinda, if you fight for her, we’re not on the same side.”
“There’s only one person I fight for, since the moment we met, and you for me. Remember?” Lucas kisses Dorothy.
The Wizard and Eamonn survey the damage to the dyer’s. When The Wizard tells West that the young witch died in the explosion, West reminds him that only a witch can kill a witch, enters the burning building, and returns with the witch girl. Neither of the witches are singed by the flame.
“Bring the carriage!” shouts The Wizard, and the guards wheel over a large iron wagon.
“What is this?” says West.
“I have to protect my people!”
“You’re not locking her up like an animal!”
“I’m not leaving this to chance!” The Wizard orders his men to grab the girl, but West throws a spell that collapses the ground under the young witch, who falls into the pit.
When West magically seals the hole, the girl shouts “you said you’d help me!” and flames fill the pit, but can’t pass through West’s shield.
The townspeople shout angrily and wave their fists.
“Block off the streets!” shouts The Wizard, then, to West: “You! Come with me, or the people will rip you apart.”
“You promised to protect her,” laments West.
“You should have secured her when you had the chance.”
“I had her, and then you scared her with that cage! I’m going back for her.”
“You will not! Your hands are tied, as are mine.”
“You can’t just leave her.”
“Close the gates!”
Cut to West, telling Tip how The Beast Forever swept away and drowned countless witches. “That’s how I killed all my sisters. I took away their fear. I gave them milk of the poppy and they forgot their pain. And then I sent them out to fight. And none returned, because of me. Now I’ve betrayed another.”
Jack, still in the Screaming Forest, hears a horse’s whinny cut through the screams, and then Langwidere rides up to Jack and laughs.
“I knew you couldn’t be so mean to leave me out here.” he says.
“But I am. I did,” Lady Ev responds.
“Are you gonna help me or not!…What’s that?”
Lady Ev brought an oil can, because “some of her masks have moving parts…grease them up, get them moving, since you’ve stopped.”
“Uh uh,” says Jack, who seems intimidated by the thought of this imperious woman giving his machine parts a lube job.
“I could leave you to the forest, and the things that go bump in it.”
“Stop! All right, do it!”
Langwidere ministers to him with the oil can for a few moments, and then says, suggestively, “Top done. Bottom time.”
“Give me your word,” Jack says, “not to go anywhere you shouldn’t.”
“I give my word as a lady.”
“Cold…” is Jack’s answer, as she stoops to oil his lower body. Then he accuses her, “you gave your word as a lady!”
“But I’m Queen now!”
“Ok…” Jack is in ecstacy, and Langwidere has the broadest smile we’ve yet seen from her, and possibly from any character in all seven episodes of Emerald City to date. Probably the most interesting thing in all this, however, is the suggestion that the machine parts which Jane made for Jack not only have a sense of touch, they have the ability to convey ecstatic pleasure.
“You rell me?” asks Langwidere.
Jack tests his ability to walk.
“Everything’s working properly, then?”
“Yeah, it is.” But when Jack turns back to her, he’s found his mad face again.
The sun rises on Dorothy and Lucas in bed together. Lucas suggests that they could “screw the witches and damn the beast,” and stay at the farmstead. “Batten down the hatches here and take care of each other.”
Dorothy answers that she’s never been this happy, and Lucas scoffs that her face doesn’t look like happy. Dorothy says that she’s going home soon, and reveals some of the points of her deal with The Wizard, except instead of painting herself as an assassin, she tells Lucas that she wants to persuade Glinda not to go to war.
Lucas’s answer is “How could you let Sylvie love you if you knew you were leaving? How could you let me?”
“If you’re on my side, stay here and keep her safe.” Dorothy puts on her clothes and packs. They argue, and when Dorothy says she’ll kill Glinda in order to go home, Lucas accuses her of running away for fear of being loved. Dorothy answers that Em and Henry came first.
However, the door won’t budge, and when Dorothy rattles the knob, the house rolls like a barrel, so that the furnishings tumble from floor to wall to ceiling.
“Sylvie!” she screams. “Where’s Sylvie? Sylvie?”
They find the witch girl concealed by a blanket, and when Dorothy pulls it off her, they see the little girl’s body shivering, indicating she has overheard their conversation, and moved the house by a magical reflex.
Dorothy tells Sylvie that they’ll figure out a way to stay together, that they can go to Kansas with her, and Sylvie stops shuddering. “It’s not running away if you come too,” she says to Lucas, who nonetheless doesn’t look very happy at Dorothy.
Lady Ev’s horse, carrying both Langwidere and Jack, arrives at Ev. Langwidere hands the reins to an attendant, and then she and Jack ride an incline train up to the castle.
“My father’s suite,” she says, as they step into the King’s master bedroom. “They’ve made it mine.”
“it’s nice,” Jack answers. The doors close behind them.
Langwidere sits on her bed, and takes off her hat. “When I was younger, I used to play with his crown, put it on my head, but it was just a game, and it’s not what I wanted.” When Jack moves towards the door, she exclaims “No, please, stay!”, and Jack sits on the bed next to her.
“My father was the only one to see me as I truly am. I need someone to see me now,” says Langwidere, holding the rim of her mask.
Overcome, Jack says, “Wait. You don’t have to do that. I do see you.” When he kisses her, Lady Ev does not remove the mask, and disrobes instead.
As the Wizard addresses a crowd, Eamonn gestures, and the girls are freed.
I lied to you–all of you–about your daughters, and for that I am ashamed. I am deeply ashamed. I thought that I could control magic, but magic cannot be controlled, it must be extinguished. Last night, the ones closest to me made the ultimate sacrifice. My beloved council. They have given their lives trying to apprehend this threat. At least now, we know the hard truth. Witches are The Beast Forever.
A scene from the prior evening is intercut with The Wizard’s speech. At night, the councilors are removed from their cells and taken to the witch’s pit. “It was only me!” shouts Elizabeth. “I alone was Glinda’s spy. The rest were innocent. Anna loved you.” With an enormous pulley, the women are yanked into the pit by the chains on their wrists, and the witch fire consumes them.
Having listening to The Wizard’s speech, Tip goes to the pit and sees the charred bodies of the councilors above the shivering, frightened, witch girl.
Cut to a grassy field, in which Tip gives a wide berth to West, as the latter apologizes to the dying witch girl. We can only speculate as to whether West and The Wizard are still on good terms in this scene, as we haven’t seen what precipitated the witch’s departure from Emerald City with the witch girl. The only thing that is certain is that in the last scene West, Tip, and the witch girl were all in Emerald City, and now they are not. It may be that West and Tip have stolen away the witch girl in defiance of The Wizard, but it could also be equally likely, given how much scheming goes on in this show, that The Wizard and West have hatched another plot.
“You were too young. The Wizard exhausted your magic…I break my vow, to ease your suffering. Forgive me.” West puts her hand on the girl’s mouth, and takes her spirit, or her magic, and casts it into the wind. “You’re free my child.”
West is quickly distracted from the girl’s death by the sight of Tip holding Mombi’s jeweled dagger. “Where’d you get that from?”
“It’s mine,” says Tip.
“That’s not true.”
“I took it from the place where I grew up.”
“The kris is King Pastoria’s, handed down to his daughter at birth,” says West, “…The Princess…Ozma.”
Having arrived at the grounds of Glinda’s castle, Lucas reins in the carriage. Dorothy says that she’s trusting to East’s gauntlets, but when Lucas questions this plan, she doesn’t look so sure.
Glinda’s castle interior is bright white stone. When they enter a large amphitheater, the passageway seals behind them. Glinda enters, saying “Rowan! Young lady, I’m grateful for what you’ve done. You’ve returned two very important people to me.”
“I’m not returning them,” insists Dorothy. “Lucas and Sylvie will decide for themselves.”
“Are those the names you’ve given them? How sweet. There are many questions, to be sure, but let me begin to offer answers.” Glinda kisses Lucas, and there is a tinkling sound.
“Glinda!” he says.
“Lucas? Lucas?” says Dorothy.
“That’s not my name,” says Rowan. Glinda’s witches enter the room and surround them. He continues:
I return to our fight against The Wizard. I seek leniency for Dorothy, a healer who spared my life at Nimbo and countless other times, even if she was sent by The Wizard to kill you. Sorry, Dorothy, but they came first.