The Magicians – Season 1, Episode 11: “Thirty-Nine Graves”
The Magicians’ eleventh episode, “Thirty-Nine Graves,” is fantastic. It’s the perfect mix of what we’ve already seen on the show, bringing Julia and Quentin’s stories together again and making sense of all the hints and details we’ve received so far, and—we finally go to Fillory.
After Julia and Kady offer their gifts to the man who’d served Our Lady Underground. The man gets rid of some of Kady’s anger and grief about her mother, giving her enough faith to be accepted as their third gift. They’re given the prayer to call upon her. Richard’s entire group celebrates, all of them partying at Julia’s apartment, though Julia is feeling doubt. She and Richard sleep together before they all clear the apartment, set up the prayer, and call upon the goddess.
Meanwhile, at Brakebills, the aftermath of the threesome leaves the group a mess. Penny is the only one out of the loop, attempting to set a plan in motion, while Alice is angry at Quentin, and Quentin blaming Margo—and Eliot, who’s too drunk to care—for what they did. Penny comforts Alice and they end up having sex, which Quentin hears. He’s upset, but Alice tells him that he has no right to be. Quentin, Alice, Margo, and Eliot all bottle their emotions and head to the Neitherlands with Penny. But after their map falls back into the fountain, the guardians show up, and Quentin goes to retrieve the map and falls back through. The other run from Eve and the guardians, having to leave Quentin behind. Quentin goes to Dean Fogg, who explains that Eliza was Jane Chatwin and that she had been resetting time and changing something in order to kill the Beast, each time before has failed as Quentin dies—39 times. Dean Fogg is powerful enough to know about them, but can’t do anything to change them, and now that Jane is dead, this is their last chance.
Quentin goes to Julia and tells her everything, explaining that the thing that Jane had changed was her. She’d kept Julia from Brakebills the last time around, letting her grow and become stronger on her own, seemingly the key to defeating the Beast. Julia explains that she summoned a goddess with the others—who all received what they wanted, including Kady who’s off somewhere—while Julia was told she was to find a new magic, and she believes it’s in Fillory.
Back at the Neitherlands, Penny brings them to the Library and the Librarian takes Eliot’s flask and destroys their emotion bottles—no food or drinks allowed—but allows them to stay. After hiding out for a while, Eliot finds Mike’s book and starts the book on fire. The Librarian kicks them all out of the Library, bringing them back the fountains. There they hide from the guardians, running into Josh, a Brakebills student from the class that had gone missing—the same class Victoria, the girl the Beast has chained up in the dungeon—and he’s been hiding out in a basement with psychedelic carrots and fruit that tastes like pizza. He tells them about the class having all gone to Fillory, his Traveler friend Victoria finding a way to get there, but he’s been waiting for her to return for him all that time—two weeks for him, two years in real life. Josh knows which fountain is Fillory’s but it’s heavily guarded. Alice later figures out that she can use her ability to bend light, turning them all invisible to get to the fountain, but they have to stay close to her in a formation. While they get to the fountain, Eliot—having eaten one of the carrots—breaks formation and is nearly killed before Margo shoots the guardian about to attack him, having brought a gun, just in case. They make a break for it, all running the rest of the way to the fountain. Alice kills another guardian and Penny kills Eve, then they all jump into the fountain to Fillory.
To get to Fillory, Quentin and Julia need to go back in time to follow Jane through to the other world. In order to do that, they go to Brakebills, finding a time bridge to 1942—a failed plan from a previous students to go back and kill Hitler—just a few days before Jane went to Fillory once in the books. The plan is to make a deal with someone in Fillory to send them through time forward to present-day Fillory. After making it to 1942, they find Jane and follow her through, finally making it to Fillory, together.
“Thirty-Nine Graves” was a near-perfect episode and one of the best of this first season. Bringing Quinten and Julia back together, getting more Fillory, and having all the tiny details that had been woven through the show coming together and making sense, made this episode fantastic and a new favorite. Especially the scenes with Margo, that were extra good this week.
is featured heavily in this episode—we actually get to go there for the first time, other than the dungeon scene with Penny in an earlier episode—and I was thrilled. This episode is what I’ve wanted from the show all along, even though I’ve loved the journey to get here, this is the best of what the show is about.
Julia and Quentin’s
reunion is perfect. I think having their friendship nearly end, and the two being separated for so long, made it difficult for the two stories to feel connected. There were few moments throughout the whole season connecting Julia and Quentin. I much prefer them together on a journey to Fillory.
consistently remains my favorite character. She’s hilarious and Summer Bishil plays her just right. In this episode, she had some incredibly funny moments that I laughed out loud at: [upon having her emotion bottle shattered by the Librarian] “I PLANNED MY WHOLE OUTFIT AROUND THAT BOTTLE!” — [after shooting one of the guardians, saving Eliot] “Yeah. I brought a gun. You’re welcome. I saved your life.” She’s just the best.
the guardian in the Neitherlands, played by Katie Findlay, had not a single line in the episode. She had a brilliant scene in the first episode featuring the Neitherlands and then nothing afterward. Now, she’s killed without even a line leading up to it. She’s just toast. That’s it. Done. I wanted a little more from her, especially casting such a great actress like Katie.