TV Recap: The Magicians – Questionable Ethics

The Magicians
“Do You Like Teeth?”
February 14, 2018

As a Valentine’s Day episode, this was horrible but as a normal installment of The Magicians, its everything you’re looking for from this show which continues to be on fire this season! Specifically, Felicia Day joins the show tonight and she’s amazing as the book fan favorite, Poppy.  But like the Depression Monster, she’s also kind of a dick. Or at least a person of “questionable ethics” as she freely admits early in the episode.

Read on for our (Spoiler Warning!!) deep dive recap of The Magicians‘ “Do You Like Teeth?” … after the jump!

The Cottage. We open the episode on Julia and Alice still trying to figure out a way to transfer Julia’s tiny spark of magic to Alice. Using a collection of kids toys and vague hedge witch urban legend spell, they get to work.   Nothing much is happening until the Big Mouth Billy Bass on the table comes alive singing Gloria Gaynor’s classic, I Will Survive!  Which can only mean, Penny!!

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

He’s been trying to “Be the” everything in the room for an hour, the fish button was the first thing to work.  He’s seen this spell they are trying in person and it ended with everyone on fire so … DON’T.DO.THE.SPELL.  He lets spill that Fogg agrees the spell is a bad idea and the girls’ ears perk up at the mention of the Dean.  Cut to …

Dean Fogg’s Office.  Henry is a little pissed off they didn’t tell him about Julia’s magic sooner and they reasonably counters that he’s been a little drunk … and unreliable.  He counters this with admitting to definitely being drunk but being completely reliable!! Alice says they should get back to learning Marina’s spell and Fogg lets them know its actually HIS spell and Marina stole it from him. And, further, its called the Voltaic Transfer and its extremely delicate.  Julia acknowledges this but before she can continue, Dean Fogg questions why you’d want to get rid of something everyone else desperately wants?!?  And he’s just getting going.

The Dean continues, He’s a Magician without magic and a Dean without a School AND, AND! An unemployed blind black man in America which is not a great combination.  Alice’s retort that he’s really drunk is met with an emphatic “SO WHAT?” Which, fair.  He scolds Alice saying she of all people knows how dangerous this spell is and asks if they really want to blow themselves up? As he takes another drink.

Julia, in a sincere act of kindness which she does so well, she finds the Dean’s glasses and enchants them so he can see again … albeit temporarily. Alice will re-juice them … wants the transfer of magic is complete.  This has the effect of focusing Dean Fogg and calming him down somewhat.  He tells the two “utter idiots” what they need is an incubus.

No, not that kind of Incubus.  Fogg means Incubus in the magical creature sense – a “potent energy drainer”, the flesh of which will act as a semi-conductor.

Fillory.  In the hallways of Castle Whitespire, the Stone Queen tries pitching  Margo on a team up to take down the Faerie Queen; she’s on to what Tick is doing in the hallways with the wall shaving and assures Margo that she is working on a weapon of her own to bring down their mutual enemy. Margo, sensing a trap, plays dumb as to knowing anything about anything.  They come to a bedroom chamber, on the other side of which is Prince Fomar who is ready to get down to some good old fashion marriage consummation! Margo be like …

She tries screaming for her guards but no one comes running and the Stone Queen has her locked inside with her very young husband.  As the Stone Queen walks away very happy with herself, we hear Margo continuing to bellow from inside the bedroom.  This will not end well for anyone.

The Incubus.  The Incubus (Ben Wilkinson) is a Wall Street Investment Banker as it turns out and the girls steel themselves to talking with him while he finishes berating someone on the phone.  Turning to Julia and Alice, he lets them know they’ve got 2 minutes.  They explain Henry Fogg sent them and they kindly need to use his large penis to help power their spell, mmm kay? Finally catching on, he cracks up saying he convinced Fogg he had a magic penis 25 years ago and he can’t believe it worked.  Confused, Julia thought sex was kind of the Incubus thing but he confesses its stress that really gets him off and “mmm,” these 2 ladies have lots of stress. In exchange for some good sniffs, he gives the girls his tail; just rips it off right there in his office … no biggie, he grows a new one every year.

Fillory. Eliot has finally made his way back to the High Court and is attending the Faerie Queen. At her jibing, he confesses its easy to lose people like wife and child, when your mind is on things like tax collection and sea faring confusion … He offers to go back out and find his missing family but nope, Faerie Queen has more pressing matters. She catches Eliot up on the bedroom imprisonment happening downstairs and she tells him she needs the marriage consummated as badly as the “Floaters” (who no longer float!) do.  Eliot senses the issue immediately and tells FQ that she needs to let Margo out Stat before there is bloodshed.  She counters that eliot needs to coerce Margo into doing Fomar and he replies, he’s not going to coerce Margo into sex with a 15 year old … think of the statutory rape laws. This puzzles the Faerie Queen as Fomar is not a status (which, I add that line only because the exchange really made me laugh).  Anyway, Faerie Queen threatens Eliot that she’ll take his eye for her collection if he doesn’t do her bidding.

The Bedroom Prison.  Margo bangs away on the metal bars blocking the window like a prisoner in an old-timey movie while Fomar laments his position as the younger son. What else could he do to get laid besides killing his older brother so she’d have to marry him instead?!? Fillorians are so fucked up as to be amusing.   You can imagine her lack of sympathy. He continues that they are married and so she has to do her duty and she suggests he doesn’t need a wife so much as a pile of socks and a sex ed class? What is this Sex Class you speak of, Fomar asks?  And who is Ed?  She offers to show him and proceeds to give the kind of sex education class that would warn off even the horniest male. She opens by saying vaginas are the leading cause of death in men … what with the exploding in childbirth and bleeding every month; hers is bleeding right now in fact.  Fomar is cool with all of this, he likes blood and is a freak to boot! “But do you like teeth,” Margo asks?  This finally causes Fomar’s enthusiastic face to fall.

Castle Whitespire Hallway. Eliot meets up with Quentin, who is done up as a Fillorian Guardsman.  They discuss the location of the fourth Golden Key which Q has put in the Abyss, an uncharted area of Fillory where it is permanently night.  Sounds lovely.  But, the idea of a quest on a magical boat appeals to Q so he’s game! Eliot tells him he can’t go due to the Margo situation and Q has a sad that the two of them can’t go on another question together.  Eliot is also depressed and tells him to take Benedict and be life partners with someone else for a while. these two = Love Them.  They kiss and hug good bye and go on their respective ways.  So sweet..

The Muntjac. Cue the “Quentin Enthusiastically Works on a Boat” music montage.  The sea air is good for Q and he even acknowledges this, telling Benedict that being on a mission is a “hell of an anti-depressant” … oh foreshadowing monster, how I hate thee.  No sooner does he utter these words than the Muntjac enters The Abyss and instant night falls over the ship.  On deck, Benedict explains that they are stuck now until they can find a safe passage. Out in the water, Q hears someone calling for help.  They make their way and pull a woman on board.  “Poppy Klein, dragonologist, post graduate fellow and field researcher, at your service.” Noticing her jacket, Quentin replies, “Holy shit, you’re from Brakebills.” Commercials!

When we return, Poppy (Felicia Day) is explaining to Quentin that she was down here on Spring Break and she totes knows Josh Hoberman, loves him! Get me a drink, she says, and she’ll tell him the whole story of how she came to be on a raft.  Once Q turns her back, she looks around … suspiciously.

Castle Whitespire.  Eliot gets a message from Prince Ess. Next we see, Eliot is pitching to the Faerie Queen that humans don’t “mate in captivity” so FQ will need to let Eliot take Margo and Fomar on a romantic Honeymoon outing so they can do the dirty.  Sure but if you fail … yes, yes, he understands.

(Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)

Muntjac. Back aboard, Poppy is telling Quentin that she was on her ship for 2 years studying dragons (she loves them!) when it wrecked off the coast of the Truth Waters. That was three weeks ago and she was on the raft ever since.  Which sucked and was made doubly so by their being no magic … you know why magic went out by any chance, Poppy asks Quentin? Before he can answer, she says whatevs, she just hope someone is fixing it.  Which is when Q tells her about his quest for Golden Keys … just like the one she is wearing around her neck! Poppy explains that she found a mountain of treasure in a dragon breeding ground (Fun Fact: There are only 2 species of dragons that build treasure nests).  While the dragons were all horny and distracted, she plucked the key – she could “feel” something coming off of it.  Quentin seems a mixture of shocked and impressed that she stole it just like that but she explains that she is a person of “Questionable Ethics.”

She hands the Key over to him, one quester to another, but sadly doesn’t know what the Key “does” when Quentin asks what its power is.  They toast some more to figuring out its power!

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

The Cottage.  The girls start the Voltaic Transfer spell again while Penny looks on in angry and annoyed horror, positive they are going to kill themselves.  Hyman Cooper (we’ve missed you!) appears and he agrees.  Hyman is checking in as there is no one to watch shower other than Fogg and oh howdy, he’s seen that already and its amazed at how “well preserved” he is. Gross.  Anyway, Fogg got drunk (even Penny thinks he needs help) and passed out so … here Hyman is.  Penny grouses more about not being able to watch them kill themselves and Hyman says “THAT” is what he loves about Penny.  He plays this whole “too cool for school” character but really, he cares the most about everyone in the story. That being said, if no one is treating him like he’s a part of the story anymore, maybe its time for Penny to “blouse this Popsicle stand” which Penny correctly takes to mean, Maybe its time to Leave.  This gets Penny thinking as the ladies finish the spell behind them and seemingly have transferred their magical power.  More on that soon because now, its time to check in on Q and Poppy …

The Muntjac.  A very drunk Quentin tells Poppy he is having a good time before passing out.  Once asleep, a not nearly as drunk Poppy sticks the Golden key into Q’s hand before sitting back looking quite satisfied.  Very suspicious, Poppy! Commercials.

When we return, Quentin is rudely awakened by a Depression Monster version of himself. A befuddled Q can’t really process what’s happening but Depression Q really should be asking how he passed out after only 5 drinks. He also calls him Dipshit. Depression Monster Quentin is pretty fucking mean.  Quentin keeps backing away, even tries dropping the key, but nothing doing, Depression Q is still there.  And no, the ship crewmen can’t see Depression Quentin either, they have actual jobs to do on board and don’t care about Q and his issues.

Quentin proceeds to Poppy’s cabin to bitch her out and she tries telling him it’ll be alright. NOTHING about this is alright, Quentin says, because Depression Q is mean as fuck and no one else can see him.  she breaks it down for him: The Keys power is to generate a Depression Monster BUT, it can’t hurt you. Well, not  really. Not unless it can convince you to hurt yourself but Poppy is all, “you’re cool, no worries Q, just pass along the key to someone else and it’ll effect them and it’ll be done with Quentin.” Poppy elaborates that on her ship, the Key caused about half her shipmates to kill themselves before it made its way to her.  But she was badass about it so … She feels good about Q, her shipmates were psychologically damaged, not like Q who she can tell is so happy and well adjusted and positive!

HAHAHAHAHA, Poppy hasn’t seen this show before.

Q fills her in and tells her that he’s only happy because they are on a boat on a quest, this is NOT who he normally is.  Depression Quentin helpfully adds that he’s normally a “wet blanket, self-pitying, party pooping dickwad.” “SHUT UP!,” Q yells at his doppleganger. Poppy sees where she went wrong here and advises him to pass the Key along fast! Quentin, always the hero, says he can’t give the Key to someone else when it has a 50% chance of killing them so he’ll just hold on to it until they return to Whitespire.  He can do this. “No you can’t,” Depression Quentin, (un)helpfully adds.  Quentin wheels around on him getting in his face telling him he’s got a Black Belt in dealing with depression so, “Come At Me,” he challenges.  Cue the Depression Monster Meanness Montage featuring shitty comments including: your face looks like a foot and you’re definitely aging prematurely which is a symptom of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease which you will definitely get. In response to Quentin’s attempts to banish Depress Q for a bit, we learn you can’t run him off (Q is seen jogging) or eat him off (Q is seen eating) or drink him off (Q is seen drinking) or, sadly, jerk him off (Q is seen … well, jerking off). At this last, Depress Monster Quentin is offended at Q’s vulgarity – they had a thing going and he’s made it weird now.  This show .. the writing is so so so good.

After the preliminaries, Depression Q really starts to dig into Quentin, telling him everything that happened to Julia was his fault; and Alice? yeah, Quentin killed Alice and she’ll never be the girl she was. “How many people have to pay the price for your heroics?”  Quentin finally starts to break, pleading to get out of his head. Depression Quentin reminds him that he IS Quentin’s head and as such, he knows he’s right.

Fillory.  Eliot, Margo and Prince Fomar are in a carriage, headed to the honeymoon spot. Margo doesn’t feel like the celebratory drink Eliot has provided but he must insist. Drink the damn drink, Margo. She does, then Fomar does and then Fomar passes out.  A plan is a foot! Margo is all pissy at Eliot for not interceding faster in the Bedroom Prison sequence but he tells her bigger problems are at hand.  He relates the message from Ess that the Faeries are planning something in the Northern Orchards of the Kingdom, something bad.  Eliot thinks the Faeries might be poisoning the eco-system.  Well, now she’s mad at Eliot because she can’t be mad at him.  She says they used to be “glamorous mega-bitches, and now?” “We have depth and character” he offers … which doesn’t sound nearly as sexy. But, I think they can be both! He vows they’ll fund “us” again when they are done saving Fillory.  Now, let’s go check on these orchards which, as they step out of the carriage … are no longer there. There is a fuck-ton of mushrooms though.  Commercials.

The Muntjac.  When we return, Depression Q has Quentin just about ready to jump off the boat … into the mouth of a dragon we see waiting just below the surface.  At the last second, Benedict arrives and pulls him back, saving his life.  Having read the situation correctly, Benedict admits to also having considered suicide but he’s never spoken about it.  Why, Quentin asks? You know, Benedict answers, how parents teach us to bottle up our emotions and never talk about them.  Oh, that’s very well adjusted Fillorian thinking.  Quentin is temporarily relieved of his own issues and tells Benedict they need to talk about this. Sure, Benedict replies but how about we do that away from the edge of the boat.  Benedict mentions that in olden times, when a crew member went crazy, the shipmates would tie him to the mast. Which, Quentin seizes on with a flourish! He convinces Benedict to tie him up and not let him go for any reason no matter what things he might say.  Oh, foreshadow monster, I see you again!!!

The Cottage.  Alice performs some simple magic and the ladies confirm that she has now received Julia’s magic.  Alice heads to Dean Fogg and re-enchants his classes, as Julia promised earlier.  He advises her to proceed carefully as she tries to grow her magic ability and then says, fixing his glasses won’t fix him. She acknowledges this but says it makes “all of this, one speck less shitty.”

(Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)

Fillory, the Orchards.  Margo and Eliot discuss the gross moist air and how it should be much cooler given how North they are.  They realize the Faeries are terra-forming their land which is when they notice one of the mushrooms quiver.  Margo uproots one and sees the mush room is really a Faerie embryo sack.  Its a field of baby Faeries. They are growing an army!! Commercials!

When we return, Eliot makes clear that the faeries are officially the Big Bads (of the season … he leaves unsaid but the meta comment is appreciated!). He says they need a plan bigger than just assassinating the Faerie Queen but Margo is already ahead of him … she runs back into frame with an arm load of embryos.  She pants out, as he exclaims “What the fuck”: “Kidnapping .. Hostages … Clever Don’t Ask Question .. Go! GOOO!!” And he goes!

The Muntjac.  Poppy heads round to check on Quentin and asks if he’s tired distracting his Depression Monster. He just wants her to fuck off but she’s undeterred.  She says that 3 people killed themselves in the first day alone with the Key.  She offers to take the Key for a spell but he says no because he doesn’t trust that she won’t give it to someone else plus he needs to key for the quest.  She calls him  a “suffer martyr” and he explains that hey sometimes help too. Which is where he lets slip that they sometimes allow you to transport to different places like Earth or the Neitherlands.  Her ears perk up at this and she rummages his pocket for the Key. Once found, she grabs it and sets off in search of a portal out of there.  As Poppy runs off, Depression Monster Quentin takes this opportunity to remind Quentin that he should have definitely killed himself.

Fillory, The Carriage.  Eliot reminds Margo she still has to fuck her husband but she’s got that covered. She’s brought one of the local toads on board and Ess was right, they have fangs! Coming out of his confused sleep, Fomar realizes something bit his manhood and Eliot congratulates the Prince on having had sex with Margo. The first time is always painful, its all those “teeth they have down there” Eliot says.  But hey, “you were amazing,” Eliot reassures him … “what, I like to watch,” Eliot says which, by the way, I totally believe.  Margo purrs to Fomar, “wanna go again” as he checks on his penis, horrified.

The Muntjac.  As Q struggles to get free of the mast, Benedict reminds him that he told him not to untie Quentin no matter what he said.  In that case, Q tells Benedict and stop her from leaving the ship with the Key no matter what.  Down below, Benedict and Poppy tussle and we immediately cut back to the main deck where Benedict returns and apologizes to Q for being a terrible failure.

Q says its alright and they’ll think of something but the look of horror and sadness on Benedict’s face continues to worsen.  Quentin realizes, too late, what’s happening and tries to stop his squire.  With little fan fare, Benedict walks to the edge of the ship and with a sad and whimpered, “I’m sorry,” throws himself over the side of the ship into the mouth of the waiting Water Dragon. “Mmm, yummy” the Water Dragon says (Sera Gamble, writer and producer of the show, is providing the voice here) before diving back into the deep.  RIP Benedict, I hope we see you again soon! Commercials.

The Cottage.  Julia is humming to herself, looking as content as we’ve seen her the last few episodes, when Big Mouth Billy Bass starts to sing. Penny has come to say “bye” and Julia is confused, why is he leaving?  He tells her not to act like she cares, they barely know each other but she does care and doesn’t want to see him “give up.” O RLY, he says?!? Give up? You mean like how she gave up magic he bites back at her.  What, are you going to go to law  school and live off your  trust fund, he snipes at her to rub it in deep. She keeps her cool and says no, she’s going to try to remember what life was like before a god raped her and she had to do quests and dead assholes were bothering her. Beyond that, its none of his business what she does. And he gets the final shot reminding her that she’s got nothing else beyond that.  Alice enters and Julia hands off the Key, saying Penny wants to say bye.

Alice, now feeling emboldened with magic again, tells Penny she’ll just make him a new body, like what Mayakovsky did for her (that was really Quentin as much as anyone else but she’s never one to really give Q his props).  Penny’s determination seems less so at this prospect …

The Park.  Julia is laying out in the park with a book, living that normal non-Magician life, when she sees Reynard the Fox lying next to her, “A Plus job getting rid of me, gorgeous.” She calls him a dream to which he replies via metaphor that he’s an intangible feeling that lives inside her and not a physical thing she can banish but he appreciates how she keeps trying.  She awakens with a start on that same blanket in the park but luckily, no Reynard this time.  I guess giving up that Magician life won’t be so easy as wishing it so.

The Muntjac.  Poppy returns to the main deck with a bloody nose and looking to settle the score with Benedict.  Down below, Q has been freed from the mast and breaks down where they are: Benedict is dead and in a best case scenario, the Water Dragon has shit the Key on to the ocean floor.  “Dragons don’t shit,” Poppy shares.  Thanks for the fun fact, Q replies, but no, he’s missing the point. They don’t shit – what they ingest goes “elsewhere,” Poppy says.  She calls Dragons gatekeepers and putting two and two together, Quentin realizes that the best case scenario is that that the Key went to the underworld … with Benedict hopefully!  “Oh my God,” Q exclaims realizing where next week’s quest will take them!

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

The Cottage.  Alice narrates for an unseen Penny (and us) that she is working on a bone knitting spell. “I’m here. Thanks for giving a shit about me,” Penny tells her though she can’t see him (she’s not holding the Truth Key while doing her magic). She starts to convulse and falls over, full on foaming at the mouth.  Desperate to do something but not sure what he can do, the episode closes as the Big Mouth Billy Bass comes alive and the episode goes dark on “I Will Survive” because this show and Irony are never far apart.

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)


Thoughts. Coming off of last week’s magnum opus, I was worried that I’d be let down by this week’s installment. Knowing that Felicia Day was coming on board as Poppy gave me hope and all in all, there was no let down to be had.  Did we have the same emotional arcs as last week? No but how could you really.

What we got this week was solid storytelling in the season Big Bad arc in Fillory with Eliot and Margo (reunited at last) being their best teammate selves as they discovered the Faerie plot.  Eliot works great with both Margo and with Quentin but no one works as well with Margo, than Eliot. She is his soul mate across the board and her spark is never brighter than when they are conniving together.   Her out of breath hostage taking was the hands down funniest moment of the episode.

While over on the Muntjac, Quentin battles his Depression Monster. He overcomes after a fashion but this is a recurring theme in this show that they literally anthropomorphisized this week through the Depression Monster Quentin.  But, even with all the growth Q has had over the course of this show, he finally succumbs to those pulsing beats inside his brain of self doubt and self loathing and, if not for Benedict, he would have given into his depression in a very final way.   Which is not a flaw in Quentin as much as its a reality for so many people. Even the bravest and strongest of us in the world, have our moments where our own Depression Monsters have us pinned and its no failing to say “enough, I am tired and I have had enough.”  Everyone has depression and like Quentin tells Benedict, we need to talk about this.  Benedict never gets that chance though and kills himself while in the throes of the power of the Depression Key.

Just a note here that Harvey Guillen, who plays Benedict, absolutely broke my heart with his final scene tonight and his whispered, whimpered “I’m sorry.” It made me tear up. But Jason Ralph, for a second week in the row, has just been solid fucking gold as Quentin.  Always prone to emo-moodiness, Q has really grown into what it means to be a hero and yet still wrestles with that as well.  Ralph could not have portrayed better the two sides of his depression tonight,  both as the antagonizer and as the antagonized.  The depth of character and nuance of Quentin’s moods as he tries to figure out what his strengths and weaknesses are, and his abilities and flaws, has been masterful to watch. Between “A Life in the Day” and tonight’s installment, I have to think someone is submitting him for Emmy consideration – that’s how strong his performances have been these last two weeks.

Its a sad, miserable state of our life where we can’t find everyone who is at the end of their battle with their Depression Monster. But, please look for the signs because someone in pain may not be able to take the first step to talking about it.  If you know someone struggling, please engage them, you may be able to save their life.

Elsewhere, the Julia/Alice/Penny storyline is moving though given the stakes at play elsewhere in the show, their plot line seems less important and more like treading water. I like Julia trying to move on from her ordeals and take a breather because that seems real to me; but she has to realize that she can’t just walk away from the life without consequence or finishing the story.

And Alice, I’m sure she’ll be fine when next week picks up but you have to wonder what caused her seizure. She has had magic back now for a little while so why now is she convulsing? Is it because she was trying to do something significant with her power?    Interesting question to be explored at a later date.

And last, where the fuck are Fray, Fen and Todd?!? That’s the longest day trip to the City that anyone has ever taken.  On social media, I have joked that Fen has been arrested for drawing her short swords on panhandlers that have approached them but I imagine we are due for a return of our Fillorian ladies sooner rather than later!

Until next week, Magicians!

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