The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 11: “The Rattening”

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 11: “The Rattening”
Grade: B

In the eleventh episode of season two of The Magicians, we’re close to the end of the season and things are ramping up toward the finale. Though this episode paled slightly in comparison to the others, mostly from a view of frustration with certain plot points, overall the episode was good, though not spectacular. I’d wanted to like the episode more than I did.

The episode follows Julia and Quentin finding the dragon, an ancient one who can give them passage to the Underworld to find Julia’s shade, though once there, they find Julia’s old friends whom Reynard killed, learn that Our Lady Underground is actually Persephone, and instead of taking Julia’s shade, Julia decides to take Alice’s to help Quentin bring Alice back. Meanwhile, many people in Fillory are turned into rats, Margo finally tells the truth about her deal with the faeries and is imprisoned—then sent to the faerie realm to be trapped, and Eliot is kicked out of Fillory. And Kady and Penny deal with Reynard’s son, the Library, and a new sarcastic teen Librarian who has an important, mystery father whom I’m sure we’ll be hearing about soon.


The dragon was fucking cool
and hilarious. The show’s special effects are usually pretty great for a show, especially a Syfy one (which has been getting better and better) and the dragon, though shrouded mostly in shadow, was excellent.


Remember when Margo and Kady
would just disappear for an episode or two in the first season? They just weren’t in that episode and that was fine. Sometimes, I wish they would do this with Eliot and Margo. Sometimes what’s happening in Fillory just isn’t that interesting. Sometimes the show just isn’t great at juggling so many storylines. The whole “rattening” thing was sort of boring, but what happened within that was good: Margo finally telling the truth because of the magic serum and Eliot throwing her in the dungeon was a great scene—I don’t think we needed all the rest of it to lead to that, but it was good.

The Underworld,
though quirky and funny and very “Magicians” it didn’t quite work for me. We’ve seen the “underworld” or where you go when you die or the mid-place as a lobby or very business-like/retirement home/office setting so many times in fiction, I think it’s tired. And I didn’t care enough for Julia and Kady’s old friends who worshipped Our Lady Underground to see them again, but I liked the moment with Richard—actual Richard, not Reynard using his body Richard—which made for an interesting  on the actor playing the two characters (almost felt like I was watching Orphan Black).


First Julia and Quentin
took like eight-point-three seconds to find out what an “ancient one” is—something alt-Alice said she didn’t even know—and then we open up the next episode, presumably not long after, with Quentin and Julia finding said “ancient one.” Sometimes the show just rushes through stuff that doesn’t make any sense. Why did these seemingly take no time at all but the other Alice was clueless? It’s just not that believable that Alice, the smartest one, the one who’d been searching ever since everyone died to find everything about shades after becoming obsessed with them, hadn’t gotten that far—but Julia and Quentin did within a short period of time.

Why not both shades?
Why not take Alice and Julia’s shade back with them? They paid the dragon just for transport, not for just one shade, and unless they need something to hold a shade in place (which they didn’t explain in the show at all), then why not take both? Why did there need to be a choice for Julia at all? It just bothered me that now Julia doesn’t get her shade and giving it up to bring Alice back only made enough sense as she was doing it for Quentin—but what about her? Why not take both? They should’ve explained that. But couldn’t there have been some sort of way? If you can trap a niffin in a box, you should be able to do the same with a shade.


The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 10: “The Girl Who Told Time”

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 10: “The Girl Who Told Time”
Grade: A-

In the tenth episode of the second season of The Magicians, “The Girl Who Told Time” follows Quentin, still depressed about Alice, taking magical drugs and seeing Julia’s shade, shown as her as a young child, lost and afraid. Together, Quentin and Julia work with Fogg to speak to the only other person Fogg knew who was obsessed with shades, the only survivor of any of the 29 alternate timeline encounters with the Beast: Alice. Meanwhile, Eliot has turned into “Groom-zilla” and Margo has to deal with all his demands while doing work as the Queen, being haunted by faeries, and having to keep her secret in about trading Eliot and Fenn’s baby with them for the wellspring to be fixed. On their own quest, Penny has started work with the Neitherlands library after signing a billion-year contract and his first assignment is a overdue book by ten years, taken out by guest star Marlee Matlin, who plays the head of a BuzzFeed type website that’s a front for spells who creates a bit of chaos when she curses the book she returns.

Overall, the episode was great. Quentin and Julia are always great together and having them work together in this episode, and presumably the following, makes the show feel more cohesive with Julia’s part no longer feeling so separate.


More time with Quentin & Julia
is what the show needs. They’re close friends, growing up together, and since the beginning, have spent very little time together—understandably on separate journeys. But together, Quentin and Julia make a good team and bringing the two storylines together only work in the show’s favor.

Marlee Matlin’s
guest role was great. I hope she’s in future episodes with Penny and Kady trying to learn why she cursed the book she returned to the library to force the man into that secret room—which, I’m guessing is where they have some book called How To: Kill a God.


Barely worth noting
but why in the world would it take Alice forever and a half to figure out what an “Ancient One” is but take Julia and Quentin the small amount of time after speaking to her about them? Like, that doesn’t make any sense. Alice probably would’ve figured that out a lot sooner than Julia just looking through a book. It is possible that they’re wrong about the dragon in the next episode, but I’m pretty sure Alice would’ve thought of that.

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 9: “Lesser Evils”

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 9: “Lesser Evils”
Grade: B+

In the ninth episode of The Magicians, Eliot decides that instead of a full war, a one-on-one duel between the two kingdoms’ kings will decide the winner—though now he must learn to use a sword to win, because fighting to the death with a king who has one several times doesn’t make it look good for Eliot. Meanwhile, the other characters work on saving Quentin before he dies from having niffin-Alice inside him; Julia, Penny, and Kady find Reynard’s demigod son, a politician who is loved by all and doesn’t know his power; and Reynard breaks into Brakebills to find his son.

Overall, it was a good episode. Julia’s gone batshit, throwing Quentin to Reynard for him to be forced to release niffin-Alice to kill him, and a musical number in Fillory made the episode’s big duel both hilarious and silly. It was a very Magicians episode, which I liked.


One Day More
from Les Miserables may have been the weirdest, silliest, best part of the entire episode. Every season needs a random musical moment—last season, we had Quentin singing Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off in his Julia-controlled nightmare—and now, we have the Fillorians going off to war singing One Day More. Honestly, it it fit right in and worked surprisingly well, even if all the singing wasn’t perfect, it was a whole lot of fun.

Eliot’s duel
with the rival king was great—especially the conclusion that instead of battling to the death, a marriage between Eliot, his wife, and the other king is allowed and will happen to join the kingdoms instead of have them as enemies is incredible. This show is really great with queer characters and storylines. This also makes Eliot’s questioning sexuality a lot more literal, being married to a man and a woman at the same time, exploring that idea more fully.


without her shade was a lot of fun for a while, but, like Kady, I’ve realized that she’s now just an even more pain in the ass than before. I’m glad that the next episode will be trying to retrieve her shade because Julia without it is going to mess a lot of things up and I’ll just end up hating her character.

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 8: “Word as Bond”

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 8: “Word as Bond”
Grade: A-

In “Word as Bond,” the eight episode of The Magicians season two, Quentin deals with having niffin-Alice making a deal with him to use his body for half an hour once a day; Julia no longer has a shade since her exorcism going slightly wrong and she’s now become more free and unfeeling, so Quentin and the others force her to stay in Fillory after an encounter with Reynard, watched by Margo; as Eliot is still asleep after his gollum was killed, they work on getting him back into his rightful body; while Margo deals with getting the trees on Fillory’s side in the war, Julia screws it up by blowing up the trees, getting a stone from a magician in Fillory that will hide her from Reynard, and eventually is thrown in the dungeon by an angered Margo; and Penny and Kady, while searching for the demigod son of Dana, get back together.

Overall, I liked the episode a lot. It carries over a lot of what had transpired in the previous episode with the bank heist, keeping the characters all together and intertwining their stories, but keeping separate at the same time, though now Julia is in Fillory and Kady with Penny and Quentin searching for Dana’s demigod son, it’s working a lot better with the characters actively pursuing the same goal.


More time all together
worked incredibly well for the episode. Though not a perfect episode, we still get Julia and Kady more involved with the happenings of Fillory, allowing more time with the different characters to interact. Margo and Julia made a fun team for a while, even if they still hate each other. It was the strongest part of the episode.

is the best thing and I want more of her. I hope she never leaves, though I’d love actual-Alice back, too. Niffin-Alice is just so much devilish fun.

Julia without her shade
was much more enjoyable than normal Julia? And that was a shocking surprise. I like the more confidant, who-gives-a-fuck attitude she has. It made for a more interesting story with Julia and I’m excited to see where they go with it, whether they keep her without it, come up with a way for her to get a new one (if it’s possible), kill her, or go the book route and turn her into a dryad.


Eliot being completely unconscious
for the entire episode wasn’t enjoyable. I get it, it’s a serious he-might-not-wake-up moment, but it wasn’t. Because we knew he would. And having him out of it for the entire episode made the episode less fun, even if Margo had some great lines, them paying off each other is always better than when they’re separated.

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 7: “Plan B”

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 7: “Plan B”
Grade: A

The seventh episode of The Magicians season two, “Plan B” gives us a magical bank heist and has become one of my favorite episodes. Kady takes Julia to get an exorcism of the demigod fetus, but the woman willing to perform it wants a million dollars. Meanwhile, Fillory is at war and trying to fix the wellspring, and they’re suddenly broke—naturally, Eliot and Margo hear of Kady and Julia needing money, and the entire cast of characters work together to break into a bank to steal some bars of gold.

Overall, the episode worked on so many levels. Most importantly, we no longer had the disconnected stories of Julia and Kady on one path and Quentin and Co on the other (and even further disjointed with Penny’s journey to fix his hands and Eliot and Margo dealing with ruling Fillory). With everyone working on the same problem, letting all the characters interact with each other more, the episode felt cohesive and was just a lot of fun.


Everyone together
made this episode one of the best yet. With the aligning of Julia/Kady and Eliot & Co’s goal, the episode made everything smoother and work seamlessly. I’ve loved Julia and Kady together so far, but I think it’s time they’ve become a part of the other group’s story. Julia could use the others to kill or banish Reynard (Quentin even reiterates that he promised to do so) and Kady and Penny could get back together. They could all be woven more tightly together, their stories entwined a little more so that Julia’s story didn’t seem so distant. She and Quentin have had such few moments on screen together, that sometimes it’s like watching two different shows that have a crossover scene once in a while. This episode fixed that completely and I’m hoping for some more intertwining in the future.

having already robbed a bank being in charge and coming up with a plan was incredible. Margo is one of the best parts of the show, and watching her lay down the plan and knowing exactly what’s what in order to get the job done was hilarious and perfection. Long live the Queen.

The heist
itself was satisfying. Though not getting to it until well over the midpoint of the episode, the scenes enacting the heist was great. All the steps and obstacles and fun with a heist episode was there, and it worked so well here and I loved every minute of it.

as a niffin inside Quentin is such a great aspect of this episode. I’m obsessed with niffin-Alice so this brought the episode to a whole other level of great. It added another layer, having her messing with Quentin and nobody else being able to see her, ultimately being the one to get them inside the vault. It just worked so well and I’m excited for more niffin-Alice in the future.

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 6: “The Cock Barrens”

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 6: “The Cock Barrens”
Grade: B

In the sixth episode of The Magicians season two, “The Cock Barrens,” while Quentin follows his ghostly sightings of Dead Alice and tries to put her soul to rest along with her parents at the funeral for her, Margo and Quentin are visited by their royal neighbors of Fillory in the north, and Julia and Kady search and find the woman who had previously banished Reynard.

Overall the episode fell flat a little—usually the stronger storylines feature Quentin and the Fillory crew, however the highlight here was Julia and Kady’s part in the episode, where Quentin’s time with Alice’s parents were more boring than interesting and we didn’t get any pay off until the very end with niffin-Alice returning, but only for a moment, presumably getting more in the next episode.


Julia and Kady
search for the woman who had banished Reynard before and Julia finds her, only to be kidnapped by the woman while Kady is in search for a solution to Julia’s fetal demigod problem. While there’s sort of boring Fillory drama and Quentin being sad, Julia and Kady’s journey in killing Reynard is currently the most interesting storyline of the show, especially in this episode.


dealing with Prince Es was interesting, because on the one hand, I love Margo and everything she does, but starting a war over all of this seems very uninteresting. The only solid part about all of the Fillory drama is Margo and Eliot as characters themselves, always being a brightspot of comedic relief, otherwise I’m just not that interested in what’s happening with Fillory right now. While in Fillory, Penny’s thinking the castle is missing and being stuck with the map maker was funny, and ultimately was the way in finding out what actually was happening with Prince Es, but I feel like Penny’s story is just…not great? I’m kind of sick of listening about his hands.


Quentin with Alice’s parents
could’ve been a great, but it was just very boring and very underwhelming. I am interested in where they’re going with niffin-Alice, I’m just upset that they made us go through all of that boring, sad moments with her parents and didn’t get the pay off of anything exciting except for a brief moment with niffin-Alice’s return.

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 5: “Cheat Day”

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 5: “Cheat Day”
Grade: A-

The fifth episode of The Magicians’ second season had a beautiful, sad storyline of Quentin, having been sent back to Earth and to a desk job in an office by Dean Fogg, meeting Emily, the woman who Alice and Margo had previously met up with and had known Alice’s brother (and be the reason her turned into a niffin) and discussing magic, getting drunk, and sleeping together, both lonely and missing loved ones. Meanwhile, Julia and Kady deal with Julia learning she’s pregnant with Reynard’s child and try to get an abortion—which goes terribly wrong, Eliot and Margo deal with a man trying to assassinate Eliot, and Penny goes to Mayakovsky to help with his new hands—which won’t allow him to do any magic.

The episode had its faults (the Fillory scenes were surprisingly boring, especially since it was about a group of rebels (called Foo Fighters, hilarious to Margo) trying to assassinate a king) but it mostly great. It’s a hard episode, the heartbreaking sadness of Quentin and the horror that is Julia trying to get an abortion, a deeply disturbing scene that had nothing to do with the procedure itself.


Quentin in the real world
working at an office was really great. It worked well, was both funny and heartbreaking, and watching Quentin’s sadness after Alice’s death and his return to a normal world, back to the way his life had been before Brakebills, was sad. Coupled with Emily’s story of tragically still being in love with the Brakebills teacher (revealed to be Mayakovsky) and watching as they drunkenly use each other to feel better, which obviously doesn’t work, makes for a heavy episode. But having lighter moments and bits of magic made for an incredible episode.

Julia and Kady
dealing with the tough situation of Julia going through an abortion—or attempting to, anyway—was really a strong part of the episode. Though it derailed their plans of finding the girl who was able to trap Reynard 40 years ago, this storyline brought it to a much darker level once realized that Reynard is preventing the abortion by messing with the minds of the clinic staff, so much so that the doctor about to perform the abortion stabs out her eye and bleeds to death before she can perform the procedure, a scene which has become one of the most terrifying of the show. You know what might happen, you see the small things that seem a bit off, then it gets worse and worse. The building tension was like a horror film. Overall, Julia and Kady working together is a perfect pairing for Julia’s storyline, making cutting into time with Fillory and Quentin’s crew way more equal in interest.

helping Penny (by forcing him to untie thousands of knots and sand down an entire wood table) was funny and worked really well for the episode. It brought everything together once it was revealed that the teacher Emily had been in love with had been Mayakovsky, which is why he’d been banished from Brakebills and started Brakebills South.


Fillory drama
was surprisingly boring and out of place. I wouldn’t have minded an episode without Eliot and Margo here to better tell the other stories. Often times, when they have too many storylines, the episode suffers a little and one of them becomes the weakest link. Eliot and Margo ruling in Fillory was the weakest link in this episode. Too many storylines in one episode was a problem the show had last season.

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 4: “The Flying Forest”

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 4: “The Flying Forest”
Grade: B+

After the big battle with the Beast in the previous episode, the fourth episode of The Magicians deals with the aftermath. Quentin—after weeks of surgeries done by centaurs—now has a magic wooden shoulder to replace his wound from the Beast and as he wakes up alone, he’s confronted with all the emotion of losing Alice and then having to deal with Penny being a dick to him—who, to be fair, is dealing with a lot of bullshit with his hands. After getting Quentin to chop off his hands, they both go in search of the White Lady, a mythical deer-like creature that will grant them a wish if caught. After getting lost in the Flying Forest, which makes you completely high, they shoot the White Lady, allowing them each a wish: Penny gets his hands back and Quentin, after not being able to bring someone back from the dead, as he wanted to with Alice, asks to be returned home and leave Fillory.

Meanwhile, Julia and Kady, who has returned after hiding during Reynard’s first attack at the end of the last season, go on a hunt for a Brakebills book in order to revive the dead and frozen Marina for a few minutes after she left a code carved into her arm as a clue. Eliot and Margo struggle with being High King and Queen, so they come up with a way for Eliot to mentally leave Fillory for a break. He gets some help with ruling from Dean Fogg and Margo finds Julia copying the text of a Brakebills library book at the cottage and reluctantly helps her.

Overall a great episode for the Fillory gang, but Julia and Kady’s story, while at first and dark at the end, felt like it went almost nowhere. With the Beast dead and Reynard missing, this is the first time since the beginning of the season that the immediacy of needing to defeat a villain is gone. Reynard is presumably the next villain to go after, but with leaving that part to solely Julia, it makes the main group of characters have almost nothing to strive for anymore—now they’re just Kings and Queens in a magical land. However, having Quentin and Penny have a goal of catching the White Lady worked enough—but there characters need a goal, and if that’s helping Julia kill Reynard, that would be great. It would finally bring Julia into the rest of the group and making her the a quasi-villain of screwing up the main group’s plans for her own.


The White Lady
was incredible. The makeup used, the actress playing her, and the role the character played within the episode was all just fantastic. Definitely the best part of the episode and the entire scene worked so incredibly well for sending off Quentin into the real world as he no longer wishes to be in Fillory.

The Flying Forest
gives you a contact high, giving us a tripping Quentin and Penny  duo that was so hilarious I couldn’t even handle it. They go around in circles for so long—and “Where are my stuff touchers?” is my favorite line of this season, probably of the entire show.

Eliot’s sexuality
is being explored more with his wife and I’m wondering if they’re going in a direction of him realizing he’s bisexual—which would be a great if true. Especially great because there are not many openly bisexual men on television, though the show has Quentin so that’s great already, so if they don’t go that route it would be fine, but if they did, great.


Julia and Kady
worked well together—I loved that Kady is back and they’re working together. I don’t like how their story basically went nowhere. They revived Marina for a few seconds to get information and Marina…wasn’t that helpful? Telling them that they have to kill Reynard and some vague way of someone else being able to summon him—unless I misunderstood what she said, isn’t that already what they tried to do? Julia’s story is starting to feel like last season’s again already, separate from the main plot and away from the rest of the cast, which is one of the biggest problems I had with the first season, even though I enjoyed her journey and the show anyway.

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 3: “Divine Elimination”

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 3: “Divine Elimination”
Grade: A

In the third episode of the second season of The Magicians, the new kings and queens of Fillory are sidetracked when the curse the Beast left for the royal court—sitting on their thrones and becoming paranoid, wanting to kill each other—takes affect leaving Penny and Eliot’s bride to find a solution. Meanwhile, with the help of Marina, Julia and the Beast summon Reynard and it all goes wrong from there.

This episode was so incredible, it felt like a finale. The battle with the Beast was just as satisfying as I hoped it would be and Alice as a character, and Olivia Taylor Dudley’s performance, really shined. The majority of the episode focused on a completely unrelated storyline of the curse placed on the palace, though still great, felt slightly disjointed. Overall, it was an incredible episode—I just can’t wait to see where the show goes from here now that the Beast has been defeated.


Alice sacrificing herself
to kill the Beast was a beautiful, heartbreaking moment that had a season finale-level of intensity that put this episode as one of the best from the show so far. How they did it, with Alice tormenting the Beast while fighting, showing her turning into a niffin, and then Alice as a niffin taking down the Beast was really spectacular. They made an interesting risk placing this part of the story in the third episode of the season (rather than the finale of last season, as one would expect or midway through the current season) ending the arc of the Beast being the villain and losing a main character. A bold choice that I don’t dislike—though it’s how they handle the next few episodes and the season as a whole that will make it or break this decision for me. (I’ve only read about the first book in the trilogy, so only know what happens in that book. I don’t know much about what happens later on.)

Marina and Reynard
was such a dark, terrifying scene that left my mouth open and eyes wide. He turned her cat inside out. HER TURNED HER CAT INSIDE OUT AND THEN BIT OFF HER FINGER. I don’t know who I’m more terrified of, the Beast or Reynard.


The curse of the castle
from the Beast mentioned in the previous episode manifests itself here. I loved this idea. I loved the way it was done. I loved everything about the gang all being against each other, wanting to kill one another under the curse with only Penny there to fix the problem. The only thing is, I wish this would’ve been its own episode. I think with some rearranging with the previous episode, it could’ve made for a great second episode, moving the return to Brakebills and looking for the spell to this episode leading right into the battle with the Beast. Especially with the mention of the curse in the previous episode—though the subplot of the demons they magic into their backs wouldn’t quite work out how planned, they could’ve thought of something. However, it’s how it worked out and I don’t dislike it entirely—I just wish it wouldn’t seem as jarring going from a silly curse and Penny figuring out how to fix it and then immediately getting to the battle. It seemed off, but workable.

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 2: “Hotel Spa Potions”

The Magicians – Season 2, Episode 2: “Hotel Spa Potions”
Grade: A-

In the second episode of The Magicians season two, Quentin and the gang—sans Eliot, who can’t leave Fillory now that he’s High King, forced to do Kingly things like figure out how to feed the starving population of Fillory by reliving his traumatizing farming childhood—all return to Brakebills to find some battle magic spells to kill the Beast. Meanwhile, Julia works with the Beast to trap Reynard the Fox in order to kill him (the Beast is powerful enough to freeze a god, allowing Julia to do so) and they must use bait that isn’t Julia, so they enlist the help of a reluctant Marina, who finally agrees after she understands the danger she’s in as Reynard is killing other hedge witches.

Overall this was a great episode, returning to Brakebills, going on a quest solving riddles to find the spells, following Eliot’s time as King, and Julia’s journey of trying to find Reynard and dealing with the annoying, singing Beast.


Return to Brakebills
meant getting back to where the show started, seeing some of the teachers and Dean Fogg, and watching the gang, sans Eliot, go on a scavenger hunt to find some spells of battle magic that leads them to an old flame of Dean Fogg’s, a pixie who gives them a spell that will kill the Beast, but only Alice can do it. It was a fun storyline in the episode that brought us back to the origins of the show with Brakebills and the challenges the gang faced back when life had been a little easier for them.


Julia and the Beast’s
journey together does make Julia’s storyline more compelling that it had been in the first season, but with this episode, it didn’t move forward much. Julia continued to try to perform the perfect ritual and the Beast sang a lot—Marina is the one who shined here, more of the focus, which definitely worked in the episode’s favor.


Eliot as High King
is fantastic, as I’d hoped it would be, but on his own, the focus of him being King is just him being forced to help the crops people how to farm with manure and wanting to have sex with men—or at least have sex with his wife in the presence of other men having sex with men. Though great, and funny, it just didn’t work well for me within the episode as a whole.