The Magicians – Season 1, Episode 11: “Remedial Battle Magic”

The Magicians – Season 1, Episode 11: “Remedial Battle Magic”
Grade: A

The eleventh of the Magicians is my new favorite episode of the show. It balanced everything well, it focused more on the Beast and Fillory, and it even crossed over with Julia’s storyline a little. And it was funny. And it was cool. And it had a threesome at the end. It’s like the episode I’ve always wanted!

Quentin, Alice, Penny, Margo, and Eliot attempt to come up with a plan. Quentin reads from the pages Penny received from the library in the Neitherlands about Martin Chatwin’s life, and reads about a blade that could kill the Beast—but it’s likely in Fillory, where he is. They can either go through the Neitherlands to get to Fillory or make a deal with the Beast, giving him the button, and they’ll leave them all alone—except for Penny. They vote and cast a spell to help predict scenarios of what could happen—they show an incredible scene of one scenario, where everyone dies by the hands of the Beast, but we don’t know it’s not real—and in all but one scenario they all die. The other one, they get to Fillory and it all goes white—they’re only shot.

Penny—and every other Traveler, “walking buttons”—can hear the Beast in their heads, and he’s making it as loud as possible to get them to do what he wants. Penny attempts to ignore it and goes to his mentor from a previous episode, also a Traveler, who shoots himself in front of Penny to make it stop, to keep the Beast from getting to him. Alice learns that Joe, the Traveler and lover of her parents, committed suicide as well. Penny does as much drugs as he can to get the Beast’s voice to quiet, an eventually overdoses and wakes in the infirmary. Sunderland tells him that she’s had a drug problem, too, and helps him with a patch on his neck that will quiet the Beast’s voice.

Quentin, Alice, Margo, and Eliot attempt to do battle magic, but it doesn’t work. It’s difficult to do and only Eliot could kill Mike with a random burst of pain to accomplish it. They find Kady at Julia’s apartment while Julia is out. Kady’s studied it for years and they don’t have enough time to learn it, but she suggests something that other hedges have done, but she doesn’t recommend: literally bottling up their emotions to be able to do the battle magic. Before leaving, Quentin asks Kady how Julia is doing and she asks the same about Penny.

Penny agrees to help Quentin, Alice, Eliot, and Margo to learn battle magic—which they can only bottle up their emotions for a few hours at a time—if they help get the girl out of the dungeon in Fillory when they go. Getting rid of their emotions is hilarious (Penny compliments Quentin’s sweater) and they practice the battle magic. Once finished, they drink the bottles and all of their emotions rush back at once. Alice sobs, Penny burst out laughing, and Quentin becomes paranoid and depressed. Margo talks to Eliot, feeling like they’ve drifted apart since Mike. They have emotional/actual hangovers the next day. Even afterward, they can’t do battle magic right away. They go to try again, but Penny and Alice work on practice without bottling their emotions, while Eliot, Quentin, and Margo use the bottles again. Alice is able to knock the bottle off the stump, doing better without bottling emotions—a great scene with Penny and Alice bonding. Quentin, Eliot, and Margo get drunk after their emotions return, Eliot passing out and Margo and Quentin talk. Margo, to Quentin: “You believe in magic. We all know it’s real but you believe in it. You love it. I’ve never loved something like that.” Margo cries in Quentin’s shoulders on the bed, upset about her relationship with Eliot changed.

The next morning, Quentin wakes up in bed with Eliot and Margo, naked—a flashback shows them having a threesome the night before. Quentin looks over to see Alice sitting at the end of the bed, clearly upset that he cheated on her, and she leaves without saying a word.

Meanwhile, back at Julia’s apartment, Richard and Co. want to summon a god. Gods used to be more involved with human lives, but vanished centuries ago. Wanting to contact one, they have Julia and Kady search for an ancient creature who would know more about them—Julia having a special connection, as the prayer he’d given her worked, which it hadn’t for others. Julia and Kady visit a vampire, giving him blood for a name of someone who can help them. They meet an immortal woman, once a servant to a god, who tells them they’re all dead. Richard refuses that answer, saying he’s still going to keep trying, and Julia says she will, too. While the others work, Julia goes into the bathroom to pray to a god. Later, she has a dream of someone whispering her name. The light in the kitchen is bright and ethereal, she puts her hands in it and milk pours into her hands. She removes them and places them again to have silver coins dropped into them. A woman appears in white, telling her that she can be found, telling Julia to find her and give the man who had served her for thousands of years three gifts at a bridge, showing her a map.


Predicting scenarios
was done incredibly well, showing one scenario where everyone dies felt like it was actually happening and I was genuinely excited that it was happening! But I was equally excited to see such a well done concept play out, because it just worked so well.

Bottling up emotion
for the other characters was both hilarious and interesting. Seeing them try to learn battle magic to defeat the Beast felt like the teaming up kind of episode I’ve been wanting to see. This episode did well with balancing humor and really dark moments.

Julia’s story
fit with the episode, kept my interest throughout, and grew the world a little more, which I think was needed for the show.

The Quentin/Margo/Eliot
threesome made this episode my new favorite. Seeing a character like Quentin, who I relate to a lot, having a threesome with another man and a woman was great. And the fact that the shocking part of it wasn’t that the main male character’s sexuality is more fluid than we’d thought, it was that he drunkenly cheated on Alice. I enjoyed that a lot and hope they handle the aftermath well in the next episode.


Julia’s dream,
while actually interesting and amazingly done, showed the goddess all in white. In a dress that looked like she bought it at any department store. She looked like she was playing an angel at a church Christmas play or something. Maybe it was just Julia’s interpretation in her own head, but it felt cheap and stupid.


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