TV Recaps: The Magicians – Long Live the King …

The Magicians
“The Fillorian Candidate”
March 28, 2018

Its Fillory’s Spring Awakening, democracy-style!! But, the real star of tonight’s episode is the continued growth of Julia’s character as she embraces her ever increasing Godhood.  Elsewhere, Kady Meets 23TL Penny and Alice and Quentin continue being Alice and Quentin.  Never have two people each been the other’s Fuck, Marry AND Kill!  *sigh*

Don’t waste a second more, jump into our deep dive recap and review of “The Fillorian Candidate” (Spoilers! Last Warning) … after the jump!

The Cottage.  Josh opens the episode with a recap of the series in general as well as the Key Quest, both for 23TL Penny’s benefit (and for us too, I guess but that’s what you have my recaps for people!).  They Key Quest info is particular useful because he gives a helpful recap of how each Key was gotten and (re) explains the whole out of order Seventh Key before the Sixth Key because the Sixth Key powers the Fairy Realm.

23TL Penny interjects some side commentary, in particular on not caring about the Josh-specific parts of the story (really, I’d be okay with the Harpies threesome footage) but definitely caring about what 40TL Penny got up to (e.g., the hands being broken; the billion contract with the Library; the dying not dying astral projection and stuck out of his body thing; and the Kady thing).  The Kady thing gets its own spot in the montage because 23TL Penny has no idea who she is. So, Josh covers their love story as well as her time with Julia as the “best bitches” hedge witch club (their term, Josh is a feminist) and their falling out.

Josh has also prepared a “Hookup/Murder” chart which is REALLY helpful and I hope the show releases a better quality picture of it because … genius! In my mind this is what the writer’s room of The Magicians is just filled with; conspiracy string boards filled all the plots of the show.

A detailed analysis of the murder web is interrupted by Kady who runs in and gives 23TL Penny a hug before sensing something is VERY wrong. “I’m not your Penny,” 23TL Penny says.

Title Card!

When we return, Alice is trying to convince Julia and Q that opening up a door with a Monster behind it, maybe isn’t the best plan?!? Quentin calls bullshit on this and cites Beast Q as a source of Bad Information. Julia splits the baby and suggests they try to investigate the Castle at the End of the World a bit before making any world ending decisions? Agreed. Alice heads off, with Quentin’s permission, to ask the Library for help on any info they may have. As soon as Alice is gone, Julia calls Q on the wisdom of involving the Library and he suggests that she task 23TL Penny to follow Alice to the Library to get the lowdown … astral projection-stealth like.  Because he’s got a thing for Julia (who doesn’t amiright?!?), 23TL Penny clearly can’t say no.

The Library.  We join Zelda and Alice already in progress. Zelda has heard of the Castle at the End of the World but it was built by the Gods and they specifically built in such a way as to keep its secrets, well, secret.  When Alice asks why they’d want to block such information from the Library, Zelda posits because maybe its something really bad or maybe the Gods are just assholes who like to torment those dedicated to cataloging information.  Does anyone else have a belly full of irony that the Library is having a cow about someone blocking them from gaining information?!?

Hypocrite Much, Zelda? How is your daughter, B T Dubs?

Anyway, Zelda suggests Alice and her friends talk to a God about what’s inside the God Fortress.  Moving on to more pressing matters, Zelda hands Alice a small, round, metal object which we learn is a siphon.  Zelda explains it needs to be charged and requires a lot of energy. Also, their original planned source hasn’t come through (clearly it was the Library that contracted the McCallisters for all the Fairy Dust in the world) sooo, you know your friend, Julia? Alice protests that Julia won’t play nice but Zelda is ready for this argument.  If Julia won’t hand it over voluntarily, Zelda hands Alice a dime bag of Fairy Dust so she can take Julia’s magic by force.  Alice doesn’t look happy about this assignment for the Library overlords (which she freely admits may kill Julia) but she also doesn’t say no either.  Some cryptic stuff from this scene: Zelda says they “need the siphon charged before …” but Alice cuts her off with an, “I know” so WE don’t get to know before what.  Also, “once magic is flowing again, you [Alice] have 30 seconds to attach the siphon.” Or else, the window will close and their chance is gone forever. WHAT IS SHE TALKING ABOUT?!?! Be LESS CRYPTIC!!

23TL Penny has watched this entire scene. Wanna guess how he is going to feel about the whole “may kill Julia stuff”?!? Commercials.

Fillory. On board the Muntjac, Josh and Fen have brought Eliot and Margo the ingredients for a bitchin’ Taco Tuesday Party, which Eliot and Margo need to reluctantly accept because Margo just can’t eat anymore pigeon. After Margo and Josh leave, Eliot and Fen have their first heart to heart in a while.  Is this really the first time they’ve seen each other since they found out fray wasn’t their child?  Eliot tells her that as he’s no longer king, she’s no longer bound to be married to him.  She raises the good point that as his wife, she’d be returning to a life where the people that sucked before would suck even worse trying to kill her as the wife of the deposed king sooo, stuck together!

Sometime later, Margo unveils a foul mouth bunny text which represents the Fairy Queen’s latest position in the ongoing negotiation for the Final Key. Hearing “Eat My Ass,” over and over again will be in your head all day. You’re welcome.  Fen suggests they do something more urgent to get her attention.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Fillorian Candidate” Episode 312 — Pictured: Madeleine Arthur as Fray — (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Humbledrum & Honeyclaw’s Pub.  For some reason, the Two Moons Inn from the book has been renamed the “Humbledrum & Honeyclaw’s Pub” but that’s fine because we finally get to meet Humbledrum, the very polite Bear!! Who, in this version of the story, is the Bartender and not just a patron.  While Margo chats up the Bear, Fen and Eliot reunite with their daughter not daughter, Fray.  Fen asks Fray to try and get the Fairy Queen to meet them but she is all, “Hell no. Bitch tried to kill me the last time she saw me.” Which, fair point but Fen isn’t done, surely there has to be some siblings or other such Fray can appeal to?  Nope, no Fairy children in the Fairy Realm … only stolen human kids. Put that on the shelf labeled, “May Be Important Later.” As only a teenager can, Fray makes this about her and how her involvement with Eliot and Fen basically ruined her life trapping her in a no where existence because she has no idea how to get along with humans (hence, the working in an animal bar).  *sigh* Kids are the worst.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Fillorian Candidate” Episode 312 — Pictured: Bear — (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Margo returns from her convo with Humbledrum pronouncing that she “loves that bear.” As does Fray. But, in Fray’s case, she means LOVES loves that bear.  Margo is all about it, free love and all that and after a minute to absorb the implications (takes a lot to make Eliot pause), he gives his blessing to Fray and Humbledrum. “Thanks Fray’s dad,” the polite Bear says.  Fen just watched this entire thing very amused.   I love everything about this sub-group of our Magician friends.  Everything.

The Cottage. Alice is reporting her Library findings, well, a version of her findings. The high points include, they need to find a god that’s been inside the Castle.  Easy peasy, except, anyone know a god that’s around?  OLU has answered Julia in weeks and Bacchus has been thrown off Facebook for violations involving too much nipple exposure. These gods = unreliable.  Alice says she’s going to check with Dean Fogg to see if he’s got any bright ideas, assuming he’s sober, and takes her leave.

As soon as she’s gone, 23TL Penny is all, “yo, she be lying.” He admits that she was square on the “need a god” stuff but that she withheld the whole “siphon out all of Julia’s power and maybe kill her” part of Alice’s Library assignment.  He admits she wasn’t exactly psyched about the assignment but also, didn’t say no to it either (which is the same point I made above … great minds think alike 23TL Penny).

Sometime later still, 23TL Penny walks in on Kady trying to make the Unity Key (the “Walkie Talkie Key” which is a great name for it, 23TL Penny).  She’s gruff with him as you can imagine, “no offense but you’re the other Penny,” but also appreciates he didn’t really bring this on himself. She’s more annoyed that everyone else is kind of just accepting him as a replacement Penny. Also, she’s frustrated that she can’t get in touch with him.  Hearing her go on about her true love, 23TL Penny remarks that Kady sounds a lot like his Timeline Julia which, “No, our Julia isn’t like me at all,” Kady scoffs (that’s a paraphrase but the tone is right). Well, let’s have a drinky drink and you can tell me how this Timeline Julia sucks, kay?

Some drinky drinks later and 23TL Penny asks about whatever happened to Reynard after OLU took him away? *Shrug* is the answer because Kady doesn’t know – no one does.  Its pretty clear to 23TL Penny that finding Reynard, a powerless god, is the best course of action here.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Fillorian Candidate” Episode 312 — Pictured: (l-r) Brittany Curan Fen, Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson, Hale Appleman as Eliot Waugh, Madeleine Arthur as Fray — (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Fillory. H&H’s Pub.  Fairy Queen arrives and immediately says she can’t give them what they want though she’s really not an asshole about it.  Her time with Julia and Fen really made a lasting impact on her; its nice character growth.  Margo gets it and she and Eliot offer the Fairies rights and land in Fillory so they don’t need to be in the Fairy Realm anymore … in exchange for the Final Key.  Interesting proposal but Fairy Queen counter offers that she can do nothing, wait for Fillory’s enemies to sack the place and then she can sweep in and take what she wants at the cost of exactly nothing.  She’s in no hurry.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Fillorian Candidate” Episode 312 — Pictured: (l-r) Anja Savic as Skye, Candis Cayne as The Fairy Queen — (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Ahem, Margo interrupts, but ya’ll can’t have kids in the Fairy Realm so there is a bit of a hurry, no? Fairy Queen doesn’t cede the point but replies that they’re in no position to bargain right now so, “[i]f you want my Key, come back with a crown or an army.” Fairy Queen out.

Brakebills.  Julia is praying to OLU when the cursing of Dean Fogg interrupts her thoughts.  A note that I hadn’t yet mentioned: Julia’s been having a buzzing all day in her ears.  Anyway, Henry says he wasn’t actually speaking out loud and together, they deduce that she is hearing inner thoughts or prayers.  Also, she totes cures his blindness because she’s a benevolent goddess like that. Love me some, God Julia!

Fillory. Eliot, Margo and Josh finish up the leftovers of Taco Tuesday (do NOT add pigeon, we learn from Josh) as they break down the current situation. Need the Key to get back Magic –> Need Thrones to get the Key –> Need Magic to get our Thrones. An Ouroboros of Ass, indeed Eliot.  Josh speaks for the people when he mentions they should try and force democracy on the situation like they had planned to way back when.

Cut to Castle Whitespire where Rafe is informing King Tick  that fliers have been falling from the sky telling of a coming election and, should Tick want to withdraw said elections, he’d have to be the one to announce that to the people.  And, given their revolutionary mood as of late … they’ve forced Tick’s hand!

THE MAGICIANS — “The Fillorian Candidate” Episode 312 — Pictured: Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson — (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Fight for Fillory 2018 is on ya’ll! Back on the Muntjac, Eliot has an awkward conversation with Margo where he makes the case that the shitty backwater, patriarchal society of Fillory isn’t ready for a Queen on the ballot so it has to be Eliot … a dick is needed for this right foot forward.  She reluctantly accepts but is NOT happy about it.  In the middle of her storm off, she runs into Josh who needs to find … Julia who has magically appeared. Its what she does now – she comes when people pray to her in their head.

Josh takes Julia out to the burned One Way Forest of Fillory and has her magic up some new sentient trees … which EXPLODE out of the ground with some bad ass Tree Force. Its an impressive scene and its not lost on some passing villagers. “Vote Children of Earth,” campaign manager Josh shouts.

For Julia, this is a poignant moment because it was just last season when she, Shadeless (following her abortion of Reynard’s demi rape baby which damaged her shade rendering it useless), blew up the entire forest in a horrifying display of magical power.   Season 2’s “Word As Bond” is an important episode for all of the characters for where they were at the time (Penny signs his billion contract in that episode) and no more so is this true than with Julia, who was at her lowest of lows in the Reynard affair.

Commercials.

Brakebills.  When we return, Quentin has had enough and confronts Alice, what is the siphon and why does it need Julia’s power?  Alice feigns outrage at being spied on but Q doesn’t even respond to this, larger issue of killing our friend at play here.  Alice makes her defense of the Library as being the proper guardian of who has access to magic.  Quentin counters that people need choice and access to information in order to change following their mistakes.

Real Talk: We have 8 Questers and only 7 Keys – You’re Out, Alice, if you don’t hand over the siphon (and get your shit together, he doesn’t say but its implied).  She hands it over but leaves him with the reminder (this is the second time she’s told him this) that if Magic returns, so does his father’s terminal cancer.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Fillorian Candidate” Episode 312 — Pictured: (l-r) Brittany Curran as Fen, Hale Appleman as Eliot Waugh, Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson — (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Fillory. Josh reports to the High Family that their ratings are through the roof following Julia’s crusade of curing ills across Fillory.  Over at the Castle, Rafe (interpreting Sloth Abigail’s words) informs Tick that the people don’t know what he stands for?!? “I stand for them,” he exclaims exasperatedly.  He issues a decree on  what exactly he’ll do as elected King which comes in the form of a very dry Policy Paper, er, Scroll, which is tacked to the posts around Fillory (literal posts in town).  Eliot responds with baseless promises of free shit and a real American style campaign begins in earnest. Eliot on one side promising all sorts of “pie in the sky” free things and Tick responding with dry, boring yet solid policy propositions.  Its eerily accurate of a modern campaign.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Fillorian Candidate” Episode 312 — Pictured: Hale Appleman as Eliot Waugh — (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

The montage goes back and forth with things looking Eliot’s way (who doesn’t like free shit) until Tick lands a fatal blow – he publishes Eliot’s testimony from his and Margo’s trial, wherein Eliot referred to Fillory as a “malodorous shit hole.” “Son of a Pickwick.” Whelp.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Fillorian Candidate” Episode 312 — Pictured: (l-r) Arjun Gupta as Penny Adiyodi, Stella Maeve as Julia Wicker, Jade Tailor as Kady Orloff-Diaz — (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Brakebills. Kady and 23TL Penny walk in on Julia in mid-Goddess prayer (she levitating a bunch of shit while trying to heal a little boy’s fever in Syracuse).  When Kady mentions going to see Reynard, the mediation is broken, the levitating objects drop, and Julia is now fully paying attention.  Kady reminds her that Julia has ALL the power and its going to be fine. They need the answers he has.  Julia agrees, because she’s enlightened now and transports them instantly to where Reynard is.  A moment of disappointment at the though of Reynard living inside the gates of the stately manor they’ve arrived at is dispelled when a bearded and broken Reynard rolls up in a pizza delivery car. “Oh shit,” is all he says before Commercials!

THE MAGICIANS — “The Fillorian Candidate” Episode 312 — Pictured: Mackenzie Astin as Richard/Reynard — (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Reynard’s Dumpy Apartment. When we return, we learn that Reynard has become a feminist! He’s changed! Still a liar, Julia, accuses and asks him about the Castle at the End of the World.  Feeling his oats a bit, he gets on his god horse and says its a place gods keep things “little guys” like them shouldn’t know about. Julia, fully in control here, tells him that from where she’s standing, he’s the little guy now. Fuck Yeah, Julia!  Reynard starts getting himself all puffed up and warns her that even with his power, she can’t handle what’s behind those Castle  doors. He goes further, saying she “should have kept your mouth shut and stayed in your place.” You think its easy being a god, he says?   Reynard continues, the Castle is where the gods keep mistakes, “mistakes like you [Julia] that never should have happened.”

A tea pot boils and in a moment of distraction, Reynard pulls a gun but Julia freezes him in place.  The single bullet inside the gun is the one Julia and Kady had made long ago to kill Reynard. Hades (Reynard’s dad) gave him the bullet so he could  kill himself but I guess he hasn’t gotten around to it.  Julia and Kady briefly discuss the possibility that said “god killing” bullet might work on the Monster in the Castle and decide to leave Reynard where he is.  23TL Penny is all, “WHATTTT?!?!” but Kady explains that Reynard has been punished for being a shitty fucker.  Time to move on with life.  Character Growth!!

THE MAGICIANS — “The Fillorian Candidate” Episode 312 — Pictured: (l-r) Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson, Hale Appleman as Eliot Waugh — (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Fillory. Rafe reads the election results and while Eliot isn’t surprised he lost, everyone is VERY surprised to learn that Tick also lost.  Seems the talking animals of Fillory, swayed by the important endorsement of Humbledrum, were very impressed with Margo.  Elected on an accidental pro-bestiality platform, Margo is your new King … long may she reign! Eliot bends the knee to his friend because they are the best relationship on TV.   Its also revealed that Rafe and Abigail (the sloth) are in love. Also, only 50,000 humans and about 1 million talking animals.  Democracy changes everything!!

We cut to Margo ascending the throne (she looks gorgeous by the way), and there is some very sweet knowing smiles of acceptance between Eliot and Margo but then an additional pointed look from Margo which tells Eliot he needs to make peace with Tick. Assuming the worst, Tick announces he wants to die by 1000 pokes but Margo wants Tick in her cabinet – he’s an asshole but he makes the trains run on time, as it were.

Another cut to King Margo negotiating the final terms of the Fairy Deal. Full citizenship and land in Fillory … for the Key.  Fairy Queen agrees and goes even further; having always seen something in Margo, Fairy Queen not only restores Margo’s vision but gives her an enhanced “Fairy Eye.” This eye, in time when she learns how to use it, will give her extraordinary abilities.  Season 4 calling, bitches!  Fairy Queen disappears and Fen, who has been standing off to the side, laments why she can’t get some Fairy Toes?!?! Love her! Love her to bits. Commercials.

The Cottage. When we return, Kady notices a hum come from the Unity Key and when she picks it up, all the Questers are reunited in voice.  As they all talk over each other, Josh’s, “are we supposed to sing again,” is the clear line of the scene and made me snort out loud. The actual important line is Margo saying they now have the last Key from the Fairies. Kady, hearing Penny’s voice, begins to make vows about getting him out the Underworld but, whelp, its 23TL Penny. She drops the Key, silencing everyone.  Geez, even the Quest has given up on Our Penny.

Still in the Cottage, Quentin and Julia turn to Chapter 8 of the Quest Book, the final Quest to unleash Magic.  Here is the part of the first page of the Chapter I can make out:

“The Knight remained imprisoned in the Castle at the End of the World. The Castle stood alone, as black as night. Stretching out for miles in all directions, dozens of dark towers reaching for the sky, not a single window on its face. Even a warrior as great as he could not break the seven bonds placed on him by the Witch. Even he could not escape.

But his daughter never gave up.  She was to a fullfledged knight.  She had fought creatures real and imagined, monsters without as well as within. She had persevered through seven quests.  She had won all seven golden keys.  And now she set sail for the Castle at the End of the World.  The girl [descended] from her ship full of confidences, her brand new armor shining in the sunlight, thick scabbard carrying a sword as big as she was. Seven keys safely on a thick golden keyring in her pocket.

[From here on, there is half a line of text too blurry to read and then] had been questing towards for [intelligeble.] The Castle at the End of the World. The girl approached” [that’s the end of the page.]

Julia, using her eyeballs as well as her god powers, picks up on Quentin’s unease.  He’s worried the Quest hasn’t made him who he’s supposed to be in order to finish the Quest.  He’s more worried about his dad and what Magic returning will do to him.  Julia says she could heal his dad but right now, today, there is nothing to heal.  And when Magic comes back, a lot of unpredictable shit may happen and she won’t promise she’ll be able to help (smart move).  Quentin muses, “what if the thing the Quest wants is me to be cold; willing to sacrifice the people I love?” “Then the Quest fucked up when it chose Quentin Coldwater,” is her simple and perfect reply.

Coldwater House. Quentin is with his father, he’s telling him that all of the Fillory stories are real and gives a quick summary of what he’s done.  “Curly Q,” his father says (OMG, Curly Q, LOVE!), “if all that’s real, what are you doing here?” Quentin replies he’s on a Quest and has reached a part where he doesn’t know what to do because someone gets hurt no matter what he chooses …

His father, being no dummy, fills in that he knows Magic is gone; he sensed it and knew it for sure when he went into remission.  Quentin says he and his friends are close to fixing it but … his father fills in that Q is here to ask his permission to Magic back on.  Quentin doesn’t answer but relates to him a specific part of the Quest, a quick summary of “A Life in the Day”, including having a son, and “what was that all for, if not for this?”

No, Quentin says, but he’s not here to ask for permission. No, he came to look his Father in the eye and apologize because Quentin’s going to do this [finish the Quest] and he doesn’t know what that means for his dad.  His father’s reply is simply to ask what he named his son? “I named him after you.” His father smiles and the episode goes dark.

I’m not crying! You’re Crying! SHUT UP!

Thoughts. God, no show makes me feel all of the fucking emotions the way The Magicians does and its in large part to the fantastic, pitch perfect writing but its also as equally in part to the amazing, fucking acting that we see across the board in every scene, week in and week out.  Even characters I don’t really care about (hey Kady, Penny, nothing but love for you), tug at me and make me feel things that I’m insane to feel for fictional television characters. And isn’t that the point? When someone asks you, what makes a show great? A show that can elicit honest to god emotion; invest you with deep emotions in something as mundane as a fucking election in a fictional world, how can that be anything else other than a great show?

Specific thoughts on tonight.  As perfect and moving and satisfying as Margo’s triumphant storyline was tonight, and really, its been a season wide arc of her asserting herself and coming in to her own sense of power and rule that was realized tonight, this episode was about Julia first and foremost.

I used to really dislike the character of Julia Wicker, for now real reason, she just turned me off.  However, watching come through the fire of Season 2 and the conclusion of the Reynard arc has been nothing short of breathtaking.  These last few episodes in particular, once she surrendered to the spark inside her, have been a master class in storytelling on how organic, well-earned, character development is supposed to happen.  Every episode lately has seen Julia doubling and tripling down on her commitment to helping.  And reaping the increasing benefits of doing so.  What better message can we put out into the world than, do good things and good things will not only happen to you but you’ll fucking thrive because of it?

In Fillory, a central theme of The Magicians played out tonight and no, I’m not talking about the storied relationship of Eliot and Margo (though, really, best relationship currently on TV). The message of acceptance; be who you’re supposed to be and people, the right people, the people who really matter in your life, will accept you and will embrace you for it. And when you accept others? Yeah, the elect you the fucking king of a country. So, again, what better message can we put out there than that?

I’m not going to get into 23TL Penny and Kady, nor Alice and Quentin because, its what it is; I don’t think there is any real subtext there. Though, Quentin, as a specific character has really turned hard into his Hero’s Journey these last few episodes – Alice has really forced him into that place. Her actions have put the Quest at jeopardy and the Quest being in jeopardy has forced Quentin into a place where he could no longer be on the sidelines. No, Q is fully engaged in this game now and making Hero moves because of it. His play call to have 23TL Penny spy on Alice; his ultimatum to hand over the siphon; and most importantly, his “not asking permission” “looking you in the eye” visit to his father?  That’s game changing, that’s Hero building Right.There. Before our eyes, he’s “becoming” as much as Julia is. He’s just becoming the Hero of his own story, whereas she’s becoming a goddess.  Its such a nice payoff for Q after years of getting by and playing it safe.

Very last thought, how great is it that the Library has a wall devoted to “Shut Up” in different languages (or Shut the Fuck Up for the English version)?

Next week is the Season Finale and I can’t imagine what’s in store though I am sure it will be a complete and utter shit show that our Magicians will need to wrestle into submission.  Join me on social media as we go through it together.  Also, eat my ass. Sorry, sorry, I can’t get the bunny’s voice out of my head.

 

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