The Magicians – Season 1, Episode 3: “Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting”
Though this episode has the same grade as the previous, I feel like this episode was slightly worse of an episode in a lot aspects, but made up for it in others.
Let’s start with Julia’s storyline: a huge improvement from last week. With the bits where she’s starting to learn magic are interesting; her keeping balance with her boyfriend and hiding out in an old warehouse looks like it will become more of an issue later in the season, especially because she decides to lie to him about going to meetings for an addiction (technically true, no?). The best part is when Quentin and Eliot show up looking for the book Kady had stolen and given to the hedge witches. There’s finally a blow up between Quentin and Julia, one that’s been needed to show that tension between not only the two of them but between the folks and Brakebills and the hedge witches. There’s a difference between them and they all know it, but it isn’t fair. It’s a sad moment that they know they have lost each other, especially because Quentin is such a dick about it, but because they aren’t in the same place anymore even through Julia wants to be there so badly.
Quentin, however, doesn’t really seem to care much after their fight. He’s busy with Alice, who once again, is looking for her brother Charlie. After searching with some magic and a match, they find that the fountain at Brakebills is where someone died, possibly Charlie. As they leave, a hand emerges from the water and flips them off without them knowing (which to me, would have been a great end to the episode; but more on that later) and later attempts drowning two other students. There’s a great new friendship brewing between Margo and Alice, who go search for one of Charlie’s classmates who left the magic world and learn how he “died” giving Alice a reason to search for him instead of accepting that he’s gone and giving Margo something to do—finally!
At the end, Alice and Quentin search for a way to get Charlie back (prompting a great moment where Alice sings “Don’t You Forget About Me” from The Breakfast Club, a personal memory to make him come forth) and the Charlie that arrives isn’t the Charlie that Alice knows, but a twisted magic-consumed version who attempts killing her. The scene is quick, a bit too quick, but works well to show Quentin saving Alice after she attempts to save Charlie before it’s too late. Charlie’s now locked up in a box and Alice is pissed—she decides to take off, leaving Brakebills and Quentin behind.
Most of the episode, the students are split into what their specialty will be (physical, psychic, herbal, etc.) and Quentin is determined to be, well, undetermined. He’s placed with the other physical kids with Alice, who has to break into the front door of their house to get in—Alice using a bit of light-bending to do it. All the Eliot scenes are fantastic and there’s a lot of great character interactions.
Though, one short storyline seemed out of place: Penny being determined psychic and then finding out he’s a Traveler, literally waking up in another country while meditating. A really great introduction to his new power that’s poorly handled. Though I enjoyed Sunderland’s excitement about it and I hope it goes somewhere. I wish the revelation could have happened later, maybe in the next episode. It would have served the story better and having Penny with the other psychics for a bit could’ve been something to work with in the meantime.
That happens a lot in this episode. I wish finding Charlie would’ve slowed down. The hand flipping them off from the fountain and the two kids almost being drowned could’ve been a great end to the episode, and in the next episode have Alice find out about what happened to Charlie and then bringing him forth. It would have been paced better and had added to the story instead of making it feel rushed. Same with Penny’s newly found ability to Travel. To be honest, I wish episode two and episode three had been combined somehow, storylines and plot points stretched differently, shaped to fit better. Taking some of Julia’s scenes from this third episode and putting them into the second would have gave some room for the third to breathe. Expanding more on finding Charlie and leaving the finding of him for the next episode would have made for a nice pace, bringing the episodes into more of an arc instead of an episode-for-episode style.
Overall, the episode was great. Some more problems with pacing, but enjoyable all the same. The show is fantastic.
There’s a lot of great scenes
and moments between characters that are showing friendships forming. The character development here is shown rather than told, like the last episode, which is great.
There were a lot of funny moments
including Sunderland showing a comedic side while trying to determine Quentin’s specialty.
And the greatest moment of all: Penny hearing Quentin singing Taylor Swift in his head and Quentin hiding behind a tree from Penny.
Penny’s sudden ability
is poorly handled and would have served better in a later episode. There’s really no point to have had him learn about this ability yet. I wanted more time with him and the psychics, because he’s so out of place there, and that could have been interesting, even for one episode. The end of the episode could have been him standing on that building in another country. That would have hooked me to continue even more.
The show needs to slow down
because though I haven’t read the books, I feel like their burning through a lot of plot. (I’ve read a quick summary of the first book and I know others have the same worry that it’s going too quick.) Though this episode was paced well within itself (other than that quick end), the overall episodes so far haven’t been. The second two episodes really could have been stretched a bit more to breathe. Charlie’s defeat was rushed and finding him could’ve been more of a goal for the characters to work toward.
This episode seems to have forgotten
completely about The Beast. As far as I remember, he wasn’t even mentioned and neither was Fillory or Jane Chatwin or Quentin’s dreams leading him to some conclusion about them. Another hint to that part of the story would have given a needed pull to continue, though I will anyway.