TV Recap: The Magicians – Thrimble, Dimble, Pickled Plum …

The Magicians
“The Losses of Magic”
January 24, 2018

Episode 3 of this third Season continued moving the plot forward while throwing up new curves and questions. I talk about it below, but the character development we are seeing this season is fantastic and everyone is in on the action.

For sure, there were some real Feels this episode with some tough emotional beats but  The Magicians delivers in making you feel everything, up and down, over the course of an hour and you can’t really ask for better TV than that.

Our recap (SPOILERS!) of “The Losses of Magic” … after the jump !

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Hey, you know who hasn’t visited or called her mom and dad since being put back into Earthly form against her will?  That’s right, Alice Quinn. With freshly caught cat in hand (I’ve hard rumor the ASPCA has her on a watch list now), Alice works up, and then loses, the courage to knock on the front door.  Never fear though, mom (Judith Hoag) catches her sneaking off.  Also, she knew Alice was alive as Quentin called them right after he went against Alice’s wishes and took her from her niffin existence.  That’s such a Q thing to do, isn’t it?  Anyway, Case de Quinn is in bad shape with the loss of magic and Carol (Kate Robbins), bereft of her normal illusion spell work, is looking the very much worse for wear and drinking … heavily.  Stephanie (that’s mama Quinn) is also imbibing freely.  Without magic, things are bleak everywhere …

(Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)

The Muntjac.  Eliot is in awe of the false priest who so expertly used the First Golden Key to fool the entire After Islands while he can’t make it do squat.   He needs to send a rabbit text to Quentin, where is the nearest islands? Interesting question as we learn from Benedict that the islands beyond the Fillorian territory don’t like being mapped very much and some times move.  Best guess? Somewhere in an impossibly large and empty area on a map.  Helpful.  Up on deck, the Admiral informs Eliot that there are pirates in the distance and they are flying the “red bones” which in pirate means “no quarter given.” “Well shit,” Eliot replies.  Pretty much.

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Earth.  Julia and Lamprey Quentin catch up on not finding Kady yet but Q has to bounce because his dad got worse and he’s leaving town. Cool? Cool.  At the cottage, Julia finds Kady, still wearing her best Bitch Face, and a very near death Penny who … guys, he doesn’t look great.  Well, he still looks great in the suit but like physically, he doesn’t look great.  Julia tries to make amends again with Kady who tells her she can help in a ritual she wants to perform (which requires a lot of magic) or she can, “fuck off.” Seems like pretty straight forward choices. What kind of ritual?   “We’re going to summon a demon.” Its a credit to Julia that she doesn’t really overreact to this.  I’d be like …

Title Card.

The Muntjac. A Pirate Fight rages on deck while the Royal Family and Admiral Lacker discuss the state of things down below. Fray is incensed that pirates think they can attack the King’s ship and Fen tells her it’s because her dad is rich (um, he’s not) that they are doing this. Fen is the ultimate wife and mother, unconditionally loving and slightly batshit crazy.  Lacker tells them to hide in their Royal Cabin and Benedict ushers them away.    Fray is still missing the bigger picture and wondering why someone would choose to make a living “pirating” while Fen whips out two short swords from her dress with some mama bear blood lust in her eyes. Can we stop and talk about how genius and functional it is to have special short sword pockets in your dress? Fen is quickly becoming an MVP on this Muntjac voyage and Brittany Curran who portrays her is just killing it this season.

(Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)

Anyway, the conversation circles over to whether Eliot is brave, a coward or a survivor. Everyone is of a different opinion but nevermind, the Royal Cabin door has sprouted a magical keyhole which Eliot thinks to stick the Golden Key inside.  Which, when writing it out, comes off way dirtier than it was in my head.  When he turns the key, the outline of the door glows yellow. And I think the Royal Family may have found a way out of this pirate mess.


Quinn House.   Alice is trying to have a private conversation with her mom but (a) mom doesn’t feel she needs to hide anything from Carol, (B) mom is quite drunk, (C) mom is hella angry at Alice for “traipsing” back into their lives without any regard for anyone’s feelings, and (D) Carol is in a fragile state so back off about her wanting to pet your kitty.  Which, I totally wrote to be more dirtier than it was originally in my mind.  Alice’s response is to ask where her father is?

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

The Cottage.  Kady and Julia are prepping for the demon summoning ritual due to lack of any better ideas.

Daddy Quinn’s House.  Alice and her dad (Tom Amandes) hug it out and dad seems much more forgiving than mom but Alice in her classic steamroller way, doesn’t let him finish his thought before blurting out a lamprey is after her and anyone connected to her (it’s not important what she did to it), she thinks its inside Carol (the cat really freaked out when Carol went to pet it), and they (as Carol is currently with mom).

Fillory, Castle Whitespire.  Tick is trying to “mansplain” to Margo how the farmers are confused at her order to dig up good food and replace it with fields of inedible mushrooms.  Margo is at wits end with everyone of these motherfuckers as well as the faeries bullshit and just wants it done.  Also, “mansplaining” is not a good ting, Tick. Gah!  Tick is continually confused by Earth-isms so offers for Margo to maybe, “womansplain” it to him. Ha! Summer Bishil, by the way, spends this entire exchange half bent over in a position that is universally understood to mean, ” I am about to lose my shit, don’t fuck with me” and she is just perfection.  Anyway, the Faerie Queen’s waterboy overhears this exchange and announces the queen will not be pleased which is bad enough but then Gillen, one of the minions, rushes in to announce that pirates have captured the Muntjac. Margo sums up the situation thusly, “Son of a twat.” That sounds about right. Tick informs the High Queen that without magic, they are a week away from the Muntjac but Margo rejects this as their best effort and orders the “dickholes” to follow her.   Margo has a much better Thesaurus available to her than I do, I need to get on that.  Commercials.

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

When we return, Margo is interrupting the FQ in her bath to request her assistance in getting to the Muntjac ASAP. She makes a compelling argument that if they can’t even protect their High King, how long will it be before Fillory is overrun with people trying to take advantage on all fronts. The Faerie Queen can forget about getting her mushroom fields planted when that happens.  She consents to take Margo by Pegasus as long as Margo is the one to negotiate with the “privateers”. Also, the minions need to come so FQ finally grants the Minions the ability to see her. The Minions immediately drop to a knee in fealty upon seeing the Faerie Queen and Margo lets out the most hysterical shock/gasp of betrayal. I don’t know how those dickholes could have switched loyalty so fast.

An interesting use of phrase and historical aside – the Faerie Queen’s says Margo is to negotiate with the “privateers”. It is an interesting turn of phrase because while most people use “pirate” and “privateer” synonymously, privateer, in fact, has a specific definition. Namely, a privateer is a pirate with a government sanction.  A hired pirate as it were, typically in the employ of 1 government to hijack the ships of a rival government.  The USA used privateers in the Revolutionary War against the British.

Quinn House.  Stephanie comes into find Alice and Daniel about to cattle prod a hogtied Carol.  I can’t believe this is the first time the Quinns have used a cattle prod on someone, nor had someone tied up in their house. However, I would imagine most of the previous times were sexual in nature. Anyway, Daniel posits that old Sumerian texts say that lampreys are susceptible to lightning, hence the cattle prod. Unfortunately, Carol just twitches around and no lamprey exits her.   Before they get to volt her again, Lamprey Quentin enters the house and Stephanie implores him to talk some sense into Alice.  Before anyone can shock her again, Carol hulks herself out of her restraints and storms out of the house. Stephanie is super bummed that Carol probably won’t be coming over anymore while Daniel questions why no Lamprey emerged from Carol?  But, the cat freaked out at Carol, Alice says, to which her mom counters that Carol is fucking train wreck and probably off putting to the cat in a general way.  Lamprey Quentin (not) helpfully suggests that maybe the Lamprey isn’t in the house at all?!? Maybe the Lamprey isn’t even real, (not) helpfully suggests Stephanie.  While Alice and Stephanie argue about what she may or may not have done to the Lamprey while she was a niffin, Daniel spies Lamprey Quentin’s neck all bulging and gross.  Before Daniel can get Alice’s attention, however, Lamprey Quentin is gone.

The Muntjac.  Fun fact, a Pegasus is made not by a horse fucking a bird but rather, the other way around. Thank you Faerie Queen for clarifying that horrifying image.  FQ is going to chill on deck for some Sun while Margo does her thing (but don’t worry, she has her “eye” on Margo … a little eyeball pun – so droll Faerie Queen, so droll)).  Turning to Pirate #1 (who we learn is named Hoop), she introduces herself as High Queen Margo the Destroyer … and the Entourage. He agrees to take Ms. Destroyer to meet the Pirate King down below. Before heading down below, Tick quietly offers that his family’s reputation as pickpockets is not unwarranted and that he may be able to loot Margo’s eye from the Faerie Queen.

“Although her Majesty lacks depth perception, she does not lack in depth or perception.”

Oh Tick, you are the very best of the bootlicking ass kissers.  Mansplaining is forgiven! Margo and Tick conspire to blame the pirates should “anything” come up missing.

Quinn House.  Alice is boarding up the house with plastic wrap, explaining that a Lamprey can enter almost anything when outside a host.  After some back and forth spit-balling about contingencies if Quentin (not Alice’s boyfriend for the record) renters the house, we all agree that having a cop kill Quentin not a great idea (including, it wouldn’t kill the Lamprey and then you’d have a gun wielding Lamprey Cop trying to kill them).  Not included among the reasons is the fact that Alice still loves Quentin.  Because she totally doesn’t. You shut up.   Stephanie makes the most sense when she admits, she’s going to need more wine.    Alice agrees to go get the car’s battery to give juice to the dead cattle prod, but not before she saran wraps herself from head to toe.  Points to Alice for using “orifice” and not laughing … the differences between boys and girls and their humor is endless.

The Streets of Earth. While Julia is out grocery shopping for the Demon Summons, a creepy homeless lady (totally possessed, all eyes rolled up in her head and everything) grabs her arms and tells her she’s missing the signs.  Possessed Homeless Lady says they thought Julia would be further along so they are going to have to push her.  Como se dice what?  But Non-Possessed Homeless Lady is back and Julia has a confused.    I think we just heard from the entities that gave Julia her spark. dunn dun dunnnn. Commercials.

Quinn House.  Saran Wrap Alice comes upon Lamprey Quentin lying on the garage floor.  He convinces her he is just regular Quentin by being absolutely befuddled as only our Quentin can be.  He tells her he was awake the whole time the Lamprey was inside and felt it searching his brain for memories. Also, he felt how angry it is with Alice and that he could have snapped her neck but the Lamprey didn’t want to kill her.  What did she do to it? This time, she answers that she doesn’t remember which is a different kind of dodge than she gave her parents so we know she’s totally lying.  If it didn’t want to kill Alice, what DOES it want?   Inside the house, we see the Lamprey watching mom and dad from a vent as mom complains that she’d like Alice to show up one day without any drama.

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

The Cottage. We see that Kady has set up a Home Alone style floor filled with do dads and jigger bobs. Also, lots of chocolate. She explains to Penny that the scent of chocolate makes the demon less like to eat them which, good to know.   Penny tries to convince Kady that Mayakovsky’s battery is an awful lot of magic to waste on him and she doesn’t owe him anything.  But she disagrees. He got poisoned trying to help her so, she kind of has to reciprocate. An ill-timed coughing fit of the dying interrupts their kiss.  He’ll try not to die while they wait for Julia to return.

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)
(Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)

The Muntjac.  Tick returns Margo’s eye to her and graciously accepts her praise …but he’d also like a country estate,  They have to table that discussion because Hoop introduces her to the Pirate King (Daniella Alonso). Who is a woman.  Because, when you’re the King you can call yourself whatever the fuck you want.  Sound logic.  Margo is cool with and is here to “motherfucking parlay, Ms. King.”  Ms. King is all about trying to “parlay” Margo in a private cabin and Margo would be cool with that except this pirate just took over her boat.  The sexy lady banter here is too hot for me. I need a moment to cool down before I continue.

Anyway, I’m back. Though all parties are decidedly DTF, Margo needs to accomplish her business first.  She needs to see High King Eliot. Now.  When “Eliot” turns around, its Benedict in Eliot’s clothing. He introduces himself to her as Eliot as to give a cue to be on board with this ruse.  Margo looks like she just ate a rotten lemon.  Commercials.

Quinn House.  Stephanie, who is still in the wine, has to pee dammit and she’s done with this Lamprey nonsense.  When Alice tells her to pee in the corner, she responds she isn’t going to pee in front of Daniel, if she wanted that kind of marriage, she could have stayed with Jean Claude. Which, doesn’t help the narrative at all but it was really funny so I included it here. You’re welcome.  When Stephanie says she’s not going to continue with the pussyfooting around just because Alice may have stepped on the Lamprey’s toes,” Alice drops some knowledge. She didn’t “step on toes” as much as she murdered the Lamprey’s entire family, performing experiments on them along the way to discover what kind of magic they had.  And she did those over and over to many creatures. Its just the Lamprey that got here first. Alice wants to clear the air just in case there was any question on who the real monster is in the room …

The Muntjac.  The Parlay. The demand: Margo must give the Pirate King 3,000 Fillorian Gold Crescents and allow the Pirate King’s deer-class boat, the Sika (which is another type of real deer just like the muntjac – the sika is also known as the spotted or Japanese deer), to fuck the Muntjac.  Oh the things you never realize you will type before you type them.  Anyway, the Sika scented the Muntjac and now, after a long, dry voyage, needs to hump the Muntjac.  Margo needs a minute.

She confers with the minions and adding on to the sentient boat concept we learned last week, it’s even more than that. The ship is a magical creature of a sort and so, has “biological urges” as we do.  Aslo, the Muntjac is under royal command so Margo could order the Muntjac to “spread its legs for their boat” and be done with it. There is one more thing though.  After such an experience, boats have been known to not be right after wards, sometimes not even being able to sail again.  Margo breaks it down as only Margo can … by ordering the Muntjac to submit to the Sika, she’d be consenting the pirate ship to rape the Muntjac.  Benedict adds on that the pirates will kill the whole crew if this doesn’t happen.

Quinn House. A saran wrapped Quentin finds Stephanie who is still being dismissive of the threat.  She’s got bigger problems than a Lamprey, including a tax bill for the house they haven’t paid in 30 years.   What are they going to do?  Get jobs? They don’t know how to do anything.  She goes so far as to say she thinks Charlie is the one that got off easy. Which is pretty fucking sad, pathetic and despicable.  Gah, I like Stephanie better as intrepid new reporter April O’Neal.

The Cottage. Let’s summon a demon, guys.  Kady and Julia go into the whole spell casting routine and the wind begins to howl, the fire flames flicker and voila. Asteroth (Julian Richings) appears. That’s with an “e”. Astaroth with an “a”, Demon of the Seventh Circle, Great Duke of the Inferno, is his cousin.  Also, no need to kneel.  This isn’t your average soul eating demon.   If Asteroth looks familiar to you, it means you’re awesome because you probably recognize him as Death from Supernatural. Commercials

When we return, Astaroth says Penny’s cancer is very advanced and hard to extract BUT those are the tastiest.  He can help .. via painful (and unsanitary) finger based surgery.  Without anesthesia. As he digs into Penny’s abdomen with his fingers, Penny astrally projects himself to watch the “surgery” and not be present in his body while the chocolate demon probes around in his body cavity with his fingers.  Oh the things you never realize you’ll type recapping this show … until you do.

Quinn House.  As Alice and her father continue to pour over literature on Lampreys, Alice confesses that, as a niffin, there isn’t anything she wouldn’t have done to gain knowledge.  She hits on a passage about the lifecycle of another magical creature, a parasite similar to the Lamprey.  She’s got an idea! But we have to wait a second to find out what it is because Margo needs to have an uncomfortable conversation with a sentient boat.

The Muntjac.  Margo introduces herself to the Muntjac … Heart Tree? (I don’t know, I am going with a Heart Tree) and explains the situation about the pirates and the boarding and the impending death of the crew if she doesn’t order the Muntjac to submit to the Sika.  She rambles a bit in that adorable way Margo has about how she thought pirates were kinda cute before all this but now, she realizes they are dirty and fucked up, both in Johnny Depp sorts of ways.  Long story short, she lets the Muntjac decide for itself what it wants to do.  Clearly the boat doesn’t respond because … it’s a boat, even if it is sentient.  But as she walks away, we see the Faerie Queen has overheard this whole exchange.

Quinn House.  Gah, drunk Stephanie throws herself at Quentin and he literally falls off the couch trying to get away from her.  Which is exactly when Alice and Daniel join them. Alice forcefully tells her mother to back da fuck up and I am quickly realizing that it’s not just because of her not feelings for Quentin.  Her neck bulges and Alice jumps on her with the cattle prod sending her mother to the floor.  Alice exposits that the Lamprey is looking to lay eggs inside of them so that when it hatches, the babies will burrow into their brain stems and kill them and then feed on the carcass. Which is really sweet when you think about it.  Daniel is puzzled why the Lamprey still hasn’t left Stephanie which is when he and Alice decide the thing still hasn’t left Quentin.  Still Saran Wrapped Q grabs the cattle prod, yelling that he is not the Lamprey which, and I agree with Daniel here, isn’t a great way to prove his innocence.  Fair point, Q acknowledges, so Quentin cattle prods himself.  Nothing leaves him so …. that leaves Daniel! He golf claps Alice’s process of elimination as she grabs the cattle prod.

Lamprey Daniel tells Alice he can tell she’s lying when she says she doesn’t even remember the torture and the killing, her father could always tell when she was lying. So, Lamprey Daniel wants to know what kind of knowledge Alice gained from her experiments.  Alice, in the most truthful reveal yet, says she didn’t kill his family for knowledge, she did it because they made “pretty little lights” when they died AND she learned they made even prettier lights when she strung out the killing.  Lamprey Daniel drops some learned knowledge of his own, things like the fact the Quentin still loves Alice and that her father has a weak heart – he probably won’t survive the cattle prodding. He is sorry he didn’t get to lay eggs in Stephanie but because he knows how much Alice hates her; he did the math and decided it was crueler to leave Stephanie alive.  He’ll be going now but NOPE, Alice shocks the shit out of him.  Which gets the Lamprey to leave her father.  Its super disgusting guys. Yuck.  Alice proceeds to fricassee the shit out of the wriggling Lamprey on the kitchen floor. The look of ecstasy she gets when she see the “pretty little lights” is … disturbing.  Oh, Alice girl. We need to talk about getting you a therapist.

The Muntjac.  Margo and the Entourage enter the Heart Room to find all the pirates dead.  The Faerie Queen was moved by her speech to the Muntjac and so killed the enemies of the High Queen. This badass is who Faerie Queen needs Margo to be.  Next time things like the mushrooms don’t get planted, Faerie Queen says, remember this moment.  But! Now its time for Faerie Queen to be a a queen to Margo and demands she give back the eyeball.  They argue over  who owns the eye (it was Margo’s but she made a deal). Who stole the eye, FQ demands to know. Margo says she did but the Faerie Queen isn’t buying that. Leaving her no choice, she begins to pick at random, “thrimble, dimble, pickle plum, catch a human by the tongue.” Landing on Gillen, she beckons him forward and whispers something in his ear.  When he leaves she explains to Margo that she placed the ear worm of a song he doesn’t like in his brain which slowly drive him mad.  Now, give me the eye.  Margo squishes her eye like boss because though it can never be fixed, at least the Faerie Queen can’t spy on her … that way anymore at least.

Quinn House.  Alice holds Quentin’s hair over the sink as he pukes. Seems she made a foul concoction that will kill all of the Lamprey eggs inside of him.  Sometime later, when the puking has stopped, he questions her on whether she really meant what she said when she left Brakebills … that she could never forgive Quentin.  He’s not sure if it was real or if she was just trying to protect him.  With Alice, either is just as likely. She’s complicated.  Real Talk.  He says he wasn’t sleeping alone, she was there too and she doesn’t deny it felt go and she admits she isn’t mad at him but she can’t go on like they were, “I’m not that girl anymore.”  Q just wants to help.  She understands that but she doesn’t know what she wants; adding to the fact that her niffin life is still part of who she is and Q just wants her to be old Alice.  Stephanie hollers from the foyer and we see Daniel, lying on the floor with Stephanie over him.  Turns out the Lamprey was telling the truth.  Daniel couldn’t take the stress.  RIP Mr. Quinn.  It’s unlikely your death will do much to bridge the gap between mother and daughter but at least you don’t have to worry about Lamprey babies burrowing into your brain stem.

The Cottage.  Astaroth finishes, saying he got the tumor out (he’s going to save it for later, yum!).  It may take Penny some time to heal.  Penny has other ideas as his unblinking eyes roll up in his head.  Astaroth apologizes, saying they called him too late.  As Kady cries over Penny, astral projection Penny appears staring dumbfoundedly at his lifeless body, “Shit.”

And scene.

Thoughts.  One thing The Magicians does so well, week in and week out, is make you experience the highs and lows, the laughter and tears and fear and exhilaration, right along with the characters. This is a combination of excellent writing which is smart and biting, funny and moving, fierce and clever but never cruel or overwrought or insincere.  But also, the actors that inhabit these roles play them to perfection. Especially the female cast.  There is a girl power ferocity on The Magicians that you will be heard pressed to find on any other show and its across the board. There are NO wispy willows among this bunch. Even the crazy Log Rearing Fen is a determined bad ass mother protector, ready to whip out short swords when danger nears.  I love shows with strong female characters who are ready to joke, kill, fuck and fight at any given moment.  And The Magicians has that in spades.

Where are we in the story?  The Epic Quest Continues and the characters are all on this voyage of self-discovery as well as the outward mission set before them by The Great Cock.  Last week, we saw the rise of High King Eliot, on his way from being just good to becoming great.  This week, Margo embraced her High Queen-ness by standing up to the Pirate King but then also, allowing the Muntjac to makes its own choice. sure, there is the heart of a dictatorial monarch beating in her chest but she has the soul of a (foul mouthed) poet and the sensibility and wisdom of Solomon.

Alice, the torture artist, had to come to terms with her actions and face her demons, er, Lamprey.  Her actions has cost her her father, the man she human she loved most in this world and that’s going to have a lasting affect on her, even as she slowly reconnects with Quentin. Also, girlfriend still has some niffin bloodlust in her which we are going to need to address as some point.

Kady and Julia are strong Magicians, each an ass kicker in their own right, but fairly unstoppable when they work together.  I was very happy to see them band together to summon the chocolate demon tonight.

Speaking of Julia, can we talk about her scene with the possessed homeless lady.  What the holy hell was that about?!? Who is the “they” and how do you think they are going to push her faster?  My first instinct was something to do with Our Lady Underground, maybe the “spark” was an additional gift for sparing Reynard but that wouldn’t be a “we” or “they” so now I am thinking its some faction of the Old Gods who think the turning off magic was an overreaction?!? I dunno but its going to be interesting to see how this develops …

Penny … I am holding judgment on this until next week which, based on the title “Be the Penny,” will deal with his “death” and perhaps resurrection?

Lastly …

Where the fuck did Eliot, Fen and Fray go?






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