TV Recaps: The Magicians – All Aboard The Muntjac

The Magicians
“Heroes and Morons”
January 17, 2018

Following last week’s meeting with the Great Cock, the Epic Quest began in earnest tonight with Eliot and an unpredictable traveling party setting sail on the Muntjac, while Quentin, Julia, Josh and some reluctant add-ons try to track down Mayakovsky’s batteries here on Earth.

Fun fact, a muntjac is a deer. That’s not really fun but writer of The Magicians, Sera Gamble, confirmed that the muntjac is a type of deer that exists both on Earth AND in Fillory, and that IS a fun fact.  Recap full of spoilers … after the jump!

(Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)

The Magicians House.  We open on an animated sequence of the Tale of the Seven Keys. We posted it a few days ago in the First Looks for this episode but I’ll repost it below.  Watch it, its worth your time.  Quentin narrates Chapter One of the story which goes thusly: The Daughter of a brave Knight grows up always feeling like a disappointment since the Knight really wanted a son to follow in his footsteps.  One day, a witch kidnaps the Knight.  The Daughter pleads with the witch to return her father but she says no. She does, however, tell the daughter that if she is able to retrieve Seven Keys, she could free her father from the Castle at the End of the World, where he is imprisoned. The first key is on After Island, but beware, for while the voyage there would be treacherous, the destination would be even more so as nothing would be what it seems.  And that’s it, the rest of the book is currently blank.

Julia thinks they need to be on the quest with Eliot but even with the Magical Clock that Dean Fogg has had delivered via FedEx, they don’t have enough magic to use it. They need Mayakovsky’s batteries.  Luckily Google still works and they can use that to maybe find him.

Fillory.  Eliot and Margo are holding court and Eliot is explaining how the kingdom is broke.  Fillory is third world country poor. Which is a problem on a planet with only 2 1/2 countries.  Which is why Eliot will be repairing and using the fastest boat in the leaky Fillorian fleet, the Muntjac, to head to After Island to collect taxes from the wayward village. Its been 46 years, 3 months and 7 days since they have paid their fair share and its high time they contribute.  Eliot makes clear for all present this is the plan and what he intends to do. Subterfuge! The Faerie Queen is in attendance, of course, and hears “the tax plan.”

The Magicians House.  Josh, who is smoking up (of course) and surfing the web, finds a video of a brown bear tearing up a hedge witch bar.  He finds it on YouTube from Urban Freakfest … which makes me question if he was really searching for evidence of Mayakovsky’s whereabouts or just got lucky during his normal surfing habits?  Anyway, Julia doesn’t immediately connect bear and Mayakovsky so Josh spells it out: Mayakovsky is Russian, the brown bear is like the official animal of Russia, the bear is holding a battery in the video and point 4, the bear is acting like a dick … hence, Mayakovsky.

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Pet Store. Alice is shopping for a young cat, presumably this is the early warning device the Vampire told her to get last week. An overly religious pet shop owner makes Alice swear she’ll protect the animal and that Hester, the 5 month old cat, will see no evil. Yeah. Lets see how that works out.

Construction Site.  Some … thing, crawls up the leg of an unsuspecting construction worker and possesses him, I guess?  I think we just met the Lampre. Which is maybe some kind of parasite?

Cue the title card!

(Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)

The Magicians House.  Kady has been called in to see if she knows the hedgebar in question in the Bear video. She’s obviously skeptical of magic being responsible for the bear thing but more importantly, still hella- pissed off at Julia. Even after they show her Julia’s spark of magic, she’s still unmoved. That is until Q plays the “how’s Penny” card which pisses her off but convinces her to help.

HedgeBar.  The gang walks into the hedgebar where Kady and the Bartender reconnect.; she asks him about the the bear debacle. The bartender identifies Mayakovsky was the bear in question, and that he was super drunk before changing.  There was a girl with him who they get confirmation was Emily.*  The Bartender also adds that Mayakovsky was too drunk to know what he was doing so the bear thing was probably done to him.  Outside, Quentin suggests he go and see Emily alone given her tendency to be … crazy, even at the best of times.

Emily’s Apartment. She’s pretty hungover and already day drinking.  Quentin tries to focus her on the whole hedgebar/bear incident. She explains that Mayakovksy showed up at her door, said he was ” free of the bond” and that they got married and then drank really heavily to celebrate.  Sure, makes sense, says Quentin but … the bear thing? How’d that happen?  Emily isn’t clear on the details but seems to think this woman Mayakovsky may have owed a debt to who showed up at the bar maybe had something to do with changing him.  Anyway, Emily is not ok to be married to a zoo animal.  I’m not sure how that was a useful conversation but it in fact, was.

Fillory. Tick takes Eliot down to the boat dock and introduces him to his boat, the Muntjac.  The Muntjac is made from sentient trees which means its has a personality.  Before Tick can say anymore, Admiral Lacker introduces himself and takes Eliot on a tour. Down below, the Muntjac is bigger on the inside (like the TARDIS!) and fairly well appointed for such an old boat.  Lacker says the boat “designed herself to explore, do battle and deceive.”  Alsom, it can carry threescore (60 people) which may be information worth putting on the shelf for future knowledge.  The Admiral can feel the boat’s energy and says he feels the Muntjac is excited for an adventure.

Back on deck, Eliot says the Muntjac doesn’t seems so bad which is when Tick warns him that the boat has a personality he describes as an “ass-ditch”, er, “ass-trench”, er, “ass hole.” Yes, the boat is an asshole … which is when the Muntjac dumps Tick in the water. Ha!!

Fillory, Castle Whitespire. A still damp Tick is explaining that the mute guard, Bingle, will accompany Eliot on his voyage as his personal guard. Useful to know that Bingle has 72 kills to his credit so the mute thing seems to be working for him.  Fen shows up, still with her Log Baby and says that she’s joining him on the quest.  To no one’s surprise, it was the Faerie Queen’s idea!  Also coming, as the FQ’s representative, Frail Human (Fray for sure), who is not only FQ’s rep but also, Eliot and Fen’s now teenage daughter! SURPRISE!!  In the Faerie realm, time folds in on itself and accelerates, thus her advanced age. Fray, for her part, makes clear she serves only the Faerie Queen and feels nothing for her parents.  Fen is unfazed at this classic teenage rebuke,and drops Log Baby, and embraces her daughter with all  the over zealousness you’ve come to love from Crazy Fen.   Commercials.

Fillory, The Boat Dock.  Eliot is grousing that the idea of Fray being his daughter is the worst kind of TV trope, too cliche to be true, but Margo warns him that, on the off chance its true, he’s not going to be a dick to her.  But more importantly, Margo reminds him that one dumb decision is the difference between being a live hero and a dead moron. Her parting words are to remind Eliot to choose correctly if it comes down to a decision to be brave or be smart.  Then she gives him a good old smooch.  These two *sigh* they give me all the feels. I don’t even ship them together in a sexual way; I just want them to be together forever because their friendship is pure and loving and they have grown into such remarkable people because of the other.

NYC.  Kady is giving the low down on magic breaking out all over the city including an impromptu orgy in Central Park and a dinosaur being conjured at St. Brennan’s (a hospital for sick kids). Apparently a 30’s something female magician, slightly crazed looking, is responsible for both.

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

St. Brennan’s. Kady and Josh talk to one of the kids who saw the dinosaur being conjured and that it was half man, half dino … because that is what the kids asked for.  They hear the dinosaur’s roar and chase it outside to track it.

Fillory, The Muntjac.  Eliot returns from a vomit session to find Fen watching over Fray and she questions his doubts, “she has your eyes.”  Even if she is ours, he says, she’s also a spy for the Faerie Queen.  Fen has always wanted a family of her own so she’s looking past all of the red flags and doubts.  Besides, they can give Fray the one thing she’s never had before. “Manners?” “Love,” Fen replies. Awww, I love her so much. She’s so sweet.

Central Park.  An all orientations welcome orgy is in progress on the great lawn when Eliot and Julia show up to ask some questions. Quentin is able to resist the come hithers but Julia requires a little more restraint and after Q successfully cock blocks her, they get back to investigation.

After Island.  Eliot and his traveling Court make land and he declares After Island a province of Fillory. No one cheers but he’s totally cool with that, he’s got a healthy self image.  He asks the people where their leader is and learns that “Father Poe” is in prayer, getting ready to battle the monster that tries to kill them all every few days.  Not terrifying at all.

Central Park. Eliot spies Alice, who is still carrying her cat, and she’s totally not cool with seeing him and wants to talk not at all.  Julia catches up to say that no one got a name from the crazy woman but she was looking for the nearest building to jump off. Helpfully, Q knows that means the “Old Post Office on 58th.” In a surprise to no one, there was a time when Q was into such things and had scoped out the site as its very scenic, apparently.

Fillory, After Island.  Father Poe appears and he totes has the Golden Key but can’t give it to Eliot; you see, he needs the key to battle the Monster, its the only thing keeping them alive. Which is exactly when we hear the screeching of something horrible coming this way.  Commercials.

Old Post Office.  Q rushes into the building. telling Julia to call 911. As a crowd has already gathered, I would have hoped someone has done that but I digress.  Professor Lipson is the crazy lady who is contemplating to jump.  Q tries to talk her down and we learn that Mayakovsky got all the things for the battery from Lipson and then he left her for Emily and she snapped.  He tries to to sooth her with agreement and commiseration as he slowly inches closer to her and eventually is able to snag her just as she falls. Unfortunately, the battery falls to the ground and smashes into a million pieces.  But importantly for the story, Lipson had no idea what Q was talking about when he said it was brilliant of her to turn Mayakosvky into a bear. Interesting …

Fillory, After Island.  Everyone is in a hut except Father Poe who Eliot spies holding the key up and battling … something.

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Hospital.  While Kady and Josh catch the gang up on the fact that they lost the dinosaur, Quentin shares the fact the Lipson had no idea what he was talking about with the whole “turned Mayakovsky into a bear” thing which means someone else is ot there and has a battery. Alice’s cat begins to freak out in its carrier, all meowing and hissing and then it explodes into kitty pink mist.  Gross.  She sets the carrier down and bounces leaving the rest of the gang there with a police officer who is curious as to all the blood now spread on the floor.  “I’m sorry officer, our friend’s cat was sick … and exploded … as they do,” is Quentin’s reasonable explanation before he runs off as well.

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

RIP Hesther, the man in the pet shop is going to be super angry when he learns you let her see evil. We watch the construction worker Lampre pass through  the hallway.  Commercials.


Fillory, After Island.  The battle over, they find Father Poe weakened from his fight and one of the villagers dead.  Eliot asks if it the creature is dead.  Fray snots, “its a shadow bat, its not really alive so it can’t be killed” with the dripping sarcasm and attitude that only a teenage daughter can muster. God, teenagers are the worst, especially ones raised in the Faerie Realm.

Emily’s Apartment.  Kady opens the door with frozen veggies on her head, seems Kady had already beaten Q, Julia and Josh there.  And then physically beat Emily for a battery.  Yes, Emily had the battery all along. But now Kady has it.  We cut to the alley behind where Kady works to find a really bad looking Penny lying on the ground. He’s on death’s door you guys. But, Kady shows him the battery and tells him its going to be ok.

Fillory, After Island. Fray and Fen drop some knowledge on Eliot that the villager was not attacked by a shadow bat (Fray knows what the marks look like from her time in the Faerie Realm) and in fact, it was a blade killed that villager (Fen is the daughter of a blade maker, she knows).  Back in the village, Eliot confronts Father Poe and tells him to summon the smoke monster from LOST the Shadow Bat and as we cut to commercials, we see Eliot holding the Key to the sky commanding the incoming beast to cease as commanded by the King!  Commercials.

When we return, the Shadow Bat dissipates in front of Eliot, who is doing his best, “Christ Compels You” pose.  Eliot exposes Father Poe as a fraud to the village; explaining that he’s been using illusion magic to keep the villagers afraid and keep Father Poe in power.  As Father Poe is dragged away, Eliot and his court re-board the Muntjac.  On the deck, Fray confronts Eliot – he didn’t collect a single tax so what is he up to? Before he can answer, Fen speaks up that the key is gold and magic and what could be more valuable? Fray is skeptical of these parents she feels nothing for and Fen and Eliot relish in dropping some classic parenting lines such “don’t talk back” and “go to your room.”

Earth, In a Sketchy Dark Alley.  Quentin hears a rustling in his bag. When he pulls outs the “Tales of the Seven Keys,” it flips itself to Chapter Two and begins filling the page with writing.  He doesn’t get to read the next part of the story though because that Construction Worker Lampre?  Yeah, he’s there and attacks Quentin.  We see the construction worker collapse and Quentin has clearly inherited the Lampre parasite.  To his credit, the Quentin Lampre remembers to take the “Tale of the Seven Keys” with him before stalking off. And Scene.

* Emily.  We haven’t seen Emily Greenstreet in a while; to refresh your memory, I post her Wiki entry: “Emily was once a promising student at Brakebills University. While attending, she fell in love with one of the staff, Professor Mayakovsky. They had an ongoing student-teacher affair until Mayakovsky abruptly ended it. Devastated, Emily believed that if she made herself more beautiful she could win back Mayakovsky’s affection. Her attempt at such a complex and dangerous spell resulted in her disfigurement. Emily’s friend and admirer, Charlie Quinn [Ed. Note: Charlie was Alice’s older brother], attempted to reverse the damage she inflicted but could not handle the magic and was ultimately consumed by it, becoming a Niffin. After this tragic event Professor Mayakovski repaired Emily’s face and she left Brakebills and the world of magic behind her, attempting to move on and salvage a normal life for herself, carrying a lot of guilt for what happened to Charlie.”

My Thoughts.  Pretty straight forward episode thought I’d like to point out Eliot’s growth; the Great Cock told him he was a good king but this Epic Quest was necessary for him to become great. I think we definitely saw the hints of that tonight in how he resolved the Father Poe mystery and liberated (and probably earned some loyalty from) the villagers of After Island.  Also, 1 key gotten and only 6 more to go.  Of course, the Quentin Lampre will be an issue next week but our intrepid Magicians will figure it out.

Last thoughts, Kady, gah, get over your issues with Julia already. And stop stealing shit from the team – no one wins that way and you’re not a good enough magician to fix the issue on your own.

Last, last thoughts.  That opening animation sequence was amazing and I hope it wins some kind of technical award. It was beautifully rendered and reminded me of the “Tale of the Three Brothers” from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which is my single favorite part of that movie.  Just breathtaking; Jason Ralph’s narration was just icing on the cake – he has the perfect voice for that type of thing. Until we meet again after next week’s episode.

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