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.


HIGHLIGHTS

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.

MIDTONES

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).

LOWLIGHTS

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.

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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.


HIGHLIGHTS

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.

LOWLIGHTS

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.


HIGHLIGHTS

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.

LOWLIGHTS

Julia
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.


HIGHLIGHTS

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.

Niffin-Alice
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.

LOWLIGHTS

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.


HIGHLIGHTS

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.

Margo
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.

Alice
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.


HIGHLIGHTS

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.

MIDTONES

Margo’s
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.

LOWLIGHTS

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.


HIGHLIGHTS

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.

Mayakovsky
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.

LOWLIGHTS

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 1

The Magicians – Season 1
Grade Average: B+

The Magicians started off incredibly. I was hooked from episode one and obsessed by episode four. It wasn’t a perfect season—it had a few lesser episodes, all still great though, but definitely improved significantly as time went on, mending all the complaints I’d been having throughout the beginning of the season in the second half. Most of those were pacing issues, connected Julia’s storyline to the main story, and needlessly adding sub-plots in episodes that bogged down the central storyline in certain episodes.

My only real issue is the ending of this season—the finale just didn’t blow me away like I wanted it to. It didn’t come to a satisfying conclusion or even end the episode well. It just sort of stopped. I’m glad that Julia’s arc did feel satisfying, it made sense and worked well with her story, but the overall storyline with the Beast didn’t quite feel finished—because it isn’t—and after all that, I was hoping that he would die and some new villain or season-arc story would pick up next season. I understand why they kept the Beast around, needing to that to keep the story moving for a entire series, but I just wanted a conclusion in some way.

Mostly there were incredible things—Eliot being hilarious and going through a lot in the second half of the season, Margo’s constant scene-stealing moments, Kady’s story, Julia’s story working out the way it did to connect to the maine arc, and all the best bits of magic throughout. The acting was always great and the visual effects were outstanding. More good than bad—and even the bad was never bad, just not great.

Because I haven’t read the books yet, I no little of what happened in it, though now I have an idea of what to expect. Overall, an incredible show with dark themes, magic, and a whole lot of humor. It’s definitely a new favorite and I’ll be sure to watch next season—even if I was a little less than thrilled with the finale cliffhanger.


HIGHLIGHTS

Margo,
though she wasn’t in the episodes quite as much as I wanted, was a scene-stealer. She is hilarious and makes every episode that much better. She quickly became my favorite character in the later half of the season when she was in more episodes.

Julia’s storyline
worked well, especially when it brought it all together in the end. Her arc felt more satisfying in the end than the rest and I can’t wait to see what she is going to get up to with the Beast going after Reynard the Fox next season.

Visual effects
were always fantastic all season and I’m glad for that. Anything under what they had and it would have been too hard to sit through and watch. The magic in the show looks great—and I love how they use hand gestures to visually show them casting rather than flicking their hands like it’s nothing; casting is hard and they showed that and never made it feel easy. Well, except maybe for Alice, who’s great at everything.

LOWLIGHTS

The cliffhanger
really did bother me. I won’t get into it here again because I’ve talked about it over and over, but I just wanted something more for the finale.

The pacing
of the first half of the season, while it had an excellent premiere, started off too quick and ate away storylines from the books (so I’ve read elsewhere) that made it more difficult to follow. It made the first half feel rushed and overloaded, then caused the middle of the season to sort of drag on, leaving the Beast and Fillory (the reason I became hooked so quickly in the first episode) as sporadic tidbits throughout, bringing them back here and there to keep us interested, instead of making the entire season about the main story arc. I’ve said it several times, but television adaptations of books should remain at ten episodes—Shadowhunters suffered from the same thing, too much in some episodes, not enough in others, leaving only a few great ones. Stretching the story too much made the pacing bounce up and down instead of staying consistent, telling a great story. With thirteen episodes, the writers were forced to create storylines to weave through the season, making it feel bloated. ten fantastic episodes would have worked better in both shows. Keeping to one storyline instead of multiple (in one episode, the Magicians featured four storylines in one following different characters) and it wasn’t needed. Sometimes keeping Julia out of an episode would have worked better. Maybe even giving her own entire episode would have worked, too. But all of it smashed into every episode just didn’t work well for episode by episode stories.

Overall, a really great show and I can’t wait for next season!

The Magicians – Season 1, Episode 13: “Have You Brought Me Little Cakes”

The Magicians – Season 1, Episode 13: “Have You Brought Me Little Cakes”
Grade: B+

The finale of The Magicians finally have our characters in Fillory, working together to defeat the Beast. But in “Have You Brought Me Little Cakes” wasn’t exactly the satisfying conclusion I was hoping for, even if it was a fantastic episode overall.

Quentin and Julia are in Fillory, during the 1940s, searching for a way to get to the future Fillory to find Alice, Eliot, Margo, and Penny. They run into Jane Chatwin and realize that in the books, two mysterious characters that save Jane as a young girl are actually them. They save her, then run into Martin Chatwin. He helps them get to a man who will make them a blade that will kill the Beast, but it will take a long time—decades—to finish as the type of material needs to be powerful and it will take a long time. His request is to be on a royal court—Quentin and Julia will likely be the king and queen, as Fillory’s royalty are non-natives—and they agree. Martin warns them that the Watcher Woman is coming and runs, leaving Quentin and Julia to run into her—she turns out to be an older Jane Chatwin. She learns of her death and tells Quentin about a block in Julia’s mind about the day they’d called upon Our Lady Underground that Julia doesn’t remember correctly, but leaves it there. She sends them to the future and they find Alice, Eliot, Margo, and Penny in a tavern—all awkward and angry at both Julia and Quentin, from her past behavior and the threesome that made them all hate each other.

After going back for the blade, the man’s son will give it to them if his daughter is married to the high king—who turns out to be Eliot when slicing the hands of the men with a blade that will only cut the true high king—and he agrees to it. Though, with the marriage, Eliot must remain loyal and may never leave Fillory. But once they get the blade, it’s incredibly hot and only a master Magician can wield it. Quentin and Julia find the ram-god Ember who gives him a jar of his semen for someone to ingest to become more powerful to wield the blade. Ember sees Julia’s blocked memory and releases it, causing Julia to become hysterical—the memory of truly happened hitting her all at once. Our Lady underground hadn’t come, the whole thing a trick from the god Reynard the Fox, who killed Richard, taking out his heart, taking over his body and killing the others except for Julia and Kady, who hid. Julia sacrifices herself for Kady, letting her run away, as Reynard raped her.

Penny and Alice are able to find the invisible castle where the Beast has the Traveler, Victoria, imprisoned. She tells them to save the other prisoner as well, who turns out to be Christopher Plover, the Beast—who they figure out is an elder Martin Chatwin—having imprisoned him for what the man did to him as a child. Alice drinks the semen as she’s more skilled and becomes powerful enough to use the blade. But when they confront the Beast, who reveals his face from the swarm mask of moths—which took away all of the mystery and terror—and he quickly is able to fight off the group. Alice goes to take the blade and kill the Beast, but it’s gone—the Beast sends her to floor bleeding from her mouth, throws Eliot and Margo at the wall, slices off Penny’s hands, and goes to Quentin next, but is stopped by Julia, the blade at his throat—after Reynard had raped her, Julia gains the same power from him that Alice gained from Ember’s semen. She says she’ll spare the Beast’s life if he helps her take her revenge on Reynard the Fox, which he agrees. The two of them disappear, leaving Quentin in shock and the others to possibly die.


HIGHLIGHTS

Julia and Quentin
working together and having her a greater part of the story is exactly what I wanted for the end of the season. Julia’s storyline has always kept my interest and I’m glad that it eventually came together with the main story of the show. The fact that she betrayed the others to get revenge is shocking and it gives a whole new storyline to follow with Julia for next season, which should be interesting.

Margo and Eliot
has been a great feature of the show. Showing Eliot grow as a character while dealing with his depression and drinking after Mike to now, doing something for the greater good and marrying some girl he doesn’t know was fantastic. Showing he and Margo’s relationship mending and the two coming together again was great. Also, them both being hilarious is constantly the best.

LOWLIGHTS

The “chapters” Quentin
narrated through the beginning (and most of) the episode annoyed me. They were funny and I understood the thought process of him writing the next Fillory book, like Jane did, but it just added nothing to episode. I wanted to be blown away and this didn’t help with that.

The cliffhanger
bothered me quite a lot. Not that I hate cliffhangers or was angry that it happened, just that it wasn’t handled well. Recently, the cliffhanger on The Walking Dead with Negan killing someone, but we the audience don’t know who he killed, didn’t go over well with the fans—I liked it, but that’s a whole other post—and thought it worked for what they were doing. And it felt like an ending of the season, of the episode. The finale of The Magicians didn’t end, it just stopped. Honestly, I thought it had gone to commercial and I didn’t notice until the next show started. It didn’t sit right with me. I didn’t feel like the season came to a satisfying conclusion, nor did the episode. With The Walking Dead cliffhanger I was going “oh no oh no oh no someone’s going to die, he’s hitting them, why did it go black someone’s dying—oh wait THEY’RE NOT GOING TO SHOW IT UNTIL NEXT SEASON? AHHHHH.” The Magicians ended with a “Alice! Penny’s hands! Margo and Eliot! Oh shit, Julia! No way! Oh man!…Oh. Wait. That was it? It’s over? What? But. What?” It just happened too quick. Despite that, I’ll be watching next season and I’m excited for it—still a fantastic show and a great finale, just not what I wanted from it or what I was expecting.

The Magicians – Season 1, Episode 11: “Thirty-Nine Graves”

The Magicians – Season 1, Episode 11: “Thirty-Nine Graves”
Grade: A

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.


HIGHLIGHTS

Fillory
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.

Margo
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.

LOWLIGHTS

Eve,
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.