It’s hard to believe The Magicians aired its final episode ever a mere three months ago. Frankly, it feels more like a lifetime has passed since then. The Magicians was one of the quirkiest, most eclectic shows on TV. However, the series never felt forced in that regard and it never took itself too seriously. That was part of its charm. In addition, the show aired seasonal musical episodes that instantly became fan favorites. While Buffy the Vampire Slayer set the stage for future genre shows to incorporate musical episodes into their repertoire, The Magicians took it to another level.
Below, I’ve ranked each musical episode of The Magicians. Peruse at your peril, Fillorians.
“Lesser Evils” (S02E09)
Now, Eliot (Hale Appleman) and Margo (Summer Bishil) struggled to keep a lid on Fillory as Loria proved to be an enemy to the realm. Thus, a declaration of war between the two was inevitable. In “Lesser Evils,” The Magicians took a stab at injecting musical elements as our High King and Queen prepared to battle Loria. “One Day More” from Les Miserables became an anthem of the impending duel between Eliot and the King of Loria. Even Fen (Brittany Curran) blessed us with a vocal cameo.
While “One Day More” was beautifully executed and included some killer choreography, it was the only song in the entire episode. Perhaps The Powers That Be wanted to dip their toes into the pool as an experiment. Perhaps they wanted to see how the musical number would be received by fans, which is understandable. But the song fit the episode’s premise like a glove. Not to mention, Appleman proved to be quite adept in the singing department.
“The Balls” (S05E12)
“The Balls” was the final musical episode on The Magicians. Our crew broke into a hotel for magicians, where the world seed was being kept under lock and key. Since the magicians who dwelt within said hotel could sense emotion, our protagonists had to cast a spell to keep their own at bay. However, there were quite a few moments when defenses were down and those pesky feelings became overwhelming. Hence the singing!
Now, once again Appleman’s vocals were pleasing to the ear. The biggest surprise, for me, was Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley). Her performance of David Bowie‘s “Afraid” was wonderfully simplistic. While Dudley may not have the vocal prowess of Jade Tailor, she still held her own. Speaking of Tailor, her descants in “I Wanna Be Sedated” by the Ramones kicked all kinds of ass. She never fails to impress me. “I Wanna Be Sedated” was my favorite number of the episode. Having that serve as the backdrop of a fight scene certainly got the blood pumping.
“All That Hard, Glossy Armor” (S04E10)
Now, “All That Hard, Glossy Armor” served a twofold purpose — it was the season’s musical episode and Margo’s solo epic quest. Of course, Bishil gave the best performance of her tenure on the show and I still wholeheartedly believe she deserved at least an Emmy nomination. In addition, this episode’s music had a theme — the ’80s, baby! Naturally, I was caught hook, line, and sinker. I love me some ’80s tunes. This episode boasted another dreamy performance from Appleman. Tailor almost broke the sound barrier with her snazzy riffs. “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake stole the show. It was fun, quirky, and very The Magicians.
What I dug most about this episode, besides Bishil’s achingly vulnerable performance, was how the songs melded well with the story. It didn’t feel like they came out of nowhere, but rather they complemented the dialogue/scenes and catalyzed whatever was transpiring. Just like a real musical!
Side note: Appleman can sing me to sleep with “Beautiful Dreamer” any day of the week.
“All That Josh” (S03E09)
You knew “All That Josh” would be my number one. How could it not be? Exhibit A: “Under Pressure” by Queen and Bowie. That song gave me chills. Watching everyone come together and sing their way out of trouble was just magical. Even Julia (Stella Maeve) joined the melodic fun. Josh (Trevor Einhorn), Fillory’s favorite party boy, was gifted with his own song, which I enjoyed immensely. Tailor also blew me away with her sultry jazz vocals.
In addition, the premise of this episode was about Quentin (Jason Ralph), Alice, and Kady being sucked into a musical realm. Everyone is always singing…all the time. In Fillory, Margo and Eliot were sentenced to death by cascading down an essentially never-ending waterfall in the Muntjac. Julia and Fen were helping the enslaved fairies. Poor Penny (Arjun Gupta) was in the Underworld. While our core cast was scattered to the winds, they all came together for one song which required a cooperative magic spell. It’s the only musical episode with our dear Q. The only one that includes every member of the main cast.
I’ve said it once, but it bears repeating — it’s just so damn magical.
How would you rank the musical episodes of The Magicians? Sound off in the comments below!
This was originally published on 7/5/20
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