Greetings, fellow Brakebills students! Season two of The Magicians is off to a royal start with this week’s premiere episode “Knight of Crowns.” Here’s a quick blurb on the season one finale: Quentin, Eliot, Alice, Margo and Penny go toe-to-toe with The Beast and fail miserably. Julia nicks their god-killing knife and asks The Beast (aka Martin Chatwin – The Beast sounds infinitely cooler) to “f–k up a god’s s–t.” While Julia and The Beast apparate, they leave our Brakebills gang severely maimed and nearly dead. Now that you’re caught up, let’s delve back into the enchanted world of Fillory. Spoilers and colorful language lurk in the shadows, my friends, so proceed with caution!
We open the episode with an aerial shot of a forest. We see Quentin (Jason Ralphs) running through said forest. “Help! Somebody help!” he screams into the night. He takes a tumble and falls down. “There’s gotta be somebody in this motherf–king, goddamn magical forest!” I love me a good show where the characters are unfiltered. Our Quentin is very disoriented at the moment. He stumbles upon a gingerbread-esque house with lollipops adorning its surrounding yard. Stay away, Quentin! Lest you want to wind up in some witch’s stew. Speaking of which…
“Hungry, I assume?” a Kitchen Witch (Karin Konoval) asks him. She assumes he’s being chased. When Quentin admits to the contrary, the Kitchen Witch states “But you need some kind of help.” Quentin is reticent to accept her help, for obvious reasons (fairy tales and whatnot). He mentions a legend back where he’s from where a witch lives in a “cottage made of candy.” “The cottage is made of wood and I’m more of a healing and gardening enthusiast.” she responds flatly. “I need your help,” Quentin confesses. Kitchen Witch asks for payment in recompense – gold to be exact. “You would be helping the next High King of Fillory,” Quentin fibs. Kitchen Witch decides to give him her discount. He only needs to give her a vial of his blood. Quentin reluctantly accepts the deal.
Later, they run into Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) outside where the maiming and bloodshed of the finale occurred. “There you are. We were so worried,” she says with relief. Quentin is shocked to see her. A flashback shows Alice being revived as her blood travels back into her body. Alice tells Quentin she is “god-powered.” “It’s a little hard to kill me at the moment,” she adds. We see her reviving the others in said flashback with her newfound god powers. “I hesitated with The Beast. It’s my fault,” Alice says forlornly. We see the others join them. “It’s Julia’s fault,” Margo (Summer Bishil) spits out. “One small consolation is the bitch is with The Beast right now and I can’t see that going her way,” she adds. Everyone is angry with Julia, and rightfully so.
Meanwhile, Quentin asks the Kitchen Witch for his blood back, under the pretense that his “friends are fine.” Kitchen Witch refuses, saying she spent an hour of her night helping him. Quentin drops the subject. “Okay f–kers, huddle up!” Margo rallies the crew together. She asks them what the plan is in regards to The Beast. Quentin mentions they lost the blade so they need something new, especially while Alice is still “juiced up.” “We should all juice up like The Beast, or else bring smoothies stat,” Eliot (Hale Appleman) says. I like how he thinks.
Later, our magical gang is now inside, surrounding the closed entrance to the wellspring. Eliot attempts to touch it but is burned. Quentin follows suit and experiences the same consequences. Alice notices the center piece is missing. She picks it up, unscathed, and places the missing piece in its home. The board begins to rotate, opening up to reveal the wellspring below. “It looks like a major drought hit,” Eliot comments. Alice points out the bucket floating below. She pulls on the attached rope, which causes an earthquake. “I know The Beast came here everyday but is it even possible to drain the wellspring that much?” Alice asks in disbelief. Eliot says they should leave it be, since exploding all of Fillory won’t help their cause.
Meanwhile, the gang tries to formulate a new plan. Margo gives them a strange pep talk. “This isn’t a school final, and not some epic fantasy that likes to behead its heroes in season one,” she says. Well, they don’t have the knife or the wellspring to fall back on. They are screwed. Eliot passes around his flask as they drink to their failure. “Must be a Monday,” he mumbles. I feel you, Eliot. It is perpetually a Monday.
Later, we see The Beast (Charles Mesure) and Julia (Stella Maeve) emerge from a ball pit, as you do after leaving your friends in near death. “Much better!” The Beast exclaims, laughing like a giddy school girl. They find a seat to work out an agreement. “You need to kill a god. Thrilling. So you need to get near him,” The Beast says. Julia scrolls out a contract. An enchantment on the blade could kill The Beast instantly in the event he breaks it (should he not do what’s in their contract). Julia tells him the god in question is named “Reynard the Fox.” “A trickster of some sort,” The Beast muses. Now, our dapper Beast wants to add a clause stating that the blade returns to him when he kills Reynard. Julia counters that he must not hurt her or her friends for the duration of their agreement.
Meanwhile, back in Fillory, our desperate friends are still hatching a plan. Penny (Arjun Gupta), who has been silent till now, says they should kill The Beast. Alice sides with him, thus the planning of Beast killing commences. “Eliot!” Fen (Brittany Curran) exclaims, running toward Eliot. She was under the impression he died. After the pseudo-cute/awkward exchange she exits to grab them all food. “I think I like her. I hope I like her,” Eliot muses. He just gets me, you know?
Later, Quentin is researching when he stumbles upon something interesting. There is a place called “The Armory” in Castle Whitespire that contains books. He tells the story of Rupert Chatwin, a soldier from WWII who spent the night in The Armory and petitions “ember and umber for strength.” The book doesn’t detail what he found, but perhaps he conjured a powerful spell or Fillorian battle magic he could not complete without juice. He uses that power to help win the Battle of the Bulge. Quentin divulges that The Armory is only accessible to a King. Luckily for us Eliot has High King blood! In order to get access to Castle Whitespire they must ride a carriage that travels circular at the Disposal of the Gate.
Suddenly, we hear Penny yell “My hands are in a f–king box!” in frustration. He is a man of few, but quality, words. We see his poor wrists, devoid of hands. Penny decides to head to Chatwin’s Torrent, a healing river that could help attach his hands. Margo joins him.
Meanwhile, Alice, Quentin and Eliot are en route to the Disposal of the Gate. When they finally spot the carriage, it ignores them. They come to the conclusion that Eliot must have a crown on his head. There is a specific place for coronation in the forest, and 4 Kings and Queens must be crowned. In order to access even that they must cross the Rainbow Bridge. “Like where family pets go when they die?” Eliot asks sardonically. Eliot is my spirit animal. While they cannot locate any of this with a map, The Beast was able to find the bridge with a spell. Drat, that Beast!
Then, Eliot conjures a locating spell with butterflies. They feel out the direction of the bridge and lead our gang there.
While still at the arcade, Julia and The Beast burn a symbol into their hands, binding their contract. “You really think you have a fighting chance?” The Beast smirks. “I’m gonna give it my best,” Julia replies. Later, they are at her apartment, researching where Reynard could be. Julia discovers a case with 5 bodies in Florida with missing hearts. Sounds god-inflicted to me!
Julia and The Beast apparate to Florida under the guise of policemen. Julia talks to a little girl on the scene, while The Beast enters the house where the crime was committed. The Beast sees the dead bodies strewn bloodily about the floor, hearts ripped from their chests. He conjures a card from thin air.
Later, while outside the scene, Julia tells The Beast that Reynard is still in Richard’s body, and this was all a waste of time. Beast disagrees, saying he now knows what kinds of rituals/practices attracts Reynard. They flee the scene of the crime!
Meanwhile, in the Fillory forest, we see Margo and Penny reach Chatwin’s Torrent. “So what do I do?” Penny asks. “You’ll need to help him sow those back onto his wrists,” a stranger calls out. He claims his duty is to monitor the river and assist those who need it. After Penny’s hands are reattached, he wades into the river naked and submerges himself. While they wait, River Dude (JP Manoux) hits on Margo. “I love women from Earth,” he coos creepily. Penny reemerges, hands fully attached and ready for action. River Dude offers them elixirs and powders, but they politely decline. Then, River Dude wants 20 gold pieces as a tip or at least 3-5 years of labor. Penny loses it and accuses him of being a con man.
Margo apologizes for Penny’s outburst. “These are diamonds,” she says in reference to her earrings. “What the hell is ‘diamond?'” River Dude asks in bewilderment. As Penny and Margo leave, River Dude performs a spell that creates rings of light that encircle Penny’s wrists. Uh oh, somebody is feeling vengeful!
Later, back at Julia’s place, she asks The Beast what kind of net catches a god. “I assure you, it works,” The Beast tells her. He gives Julia a list of things he will need to catch/kill Reynard. She says she will hunt for these alone. “Can you drop me off at the playground? I like to watch the children play. It’s perfectly innocent,” The Beast says. Julia is rightfully perturbed by this statement.
While Eliot, Alice and Quentin hunt for the bridge, Margo and Penny catch up to them. Margo claims she received Alice’s note and “calls High Queen.” This makes Eliot smile. Meanwhile, Penny makes a branch snap by hardly touching it. Margo is suspicious but he claims his hands are working properly.
Later, our Brakebills crew walks across the Rainbow Bridge, which is adorned in colorful flowers. They come across a knight that appears to be sleeping. Or potentially dead. After a bout of arguing over how to approach him, Penny takes the reins and moves forward. Suddenly, the knight wakes up. “I am the Knight of Crowns. My apologies, I seem to have died waiting for you to come.” “I am the High King of Fillory,” Eliot proclaims, taking charge. The Knight will not allow them to continue until they pass a test in order to obtain their crowns. They must prove they are children of Earth. Our now revived knight asks them questions seeming to pertain to ’90’s entertainment. “It’s not the 1990’s on Earth anymore?” Knight of Crowns asks.
Suddenly, an idea strikes Eliot. “Ask me about Swayze,” he demands. “You know about Swayze?” Knight of Crowns asks in awe. Eliot grabs Alice and not only imitates the Swayze but performs a scene from Dirty Dancing. Fun fact: Hale Appleman had never seen Dirty Dancing until he filmed this scene! Of course, it is hilariously beautiful and further solidifies Eliot as my favorite character. Knight of Crowns is thoroughly impressed and hands them the crowns.
Later, we see Eliot take out the crowns from a chest. Quentin wants to have a ceremony. He crowns Eliot as “High King Eliot the Spectacular!” Next, Eliot crowns Margo “High Queen Margo the Destroyer.” “I’ve known what you truly are from the day we met,” he tells her. Awe, I just puked in my mouth a bit. Their friendship is sickeningly adorable. Eliot then crowns Alice as “High Queen Alice the Wise.” He apologizes to her for betraying her. Margo crowns Quentin “High King Quentin the Moderately Socially Maladjusted.” Since this is a time of cleaning slates, she apologizes to Quentin as well for how she treats him.
Meanwhile, Penny tests out his brand new hands. Finding them faulty, he tells Margo he’s going back to Chatwin’s Torrent to schmooze the River Dude.
Later, we see Alice and Quentin sitting by a fire. “If we survive this, I hope we can be friends still,” she confesses. She was angry at him for cheating, however she doesn’t want to lose him. Alice also divulges her fears of freezing when she confronts The Beast again. Quentin helps quell those fears. He wants to see what she’s capable of. “Let’s see what you an do now,” he says, placing a seed on the ground. Alice turns this into a fully rooted, fully sprouted tree! She turns to him, elated. Alice plants a kiss on him. “We’re not getting back together,” she states. “Okay,” Quentin replies. To further solidify their not-togetherness, they continue making out.
Meanwhile, back at Julia’s apartment, The Beast asks her why Reynard didn’t kill her with her friends. “Let’s not go there,” Julia answers. Beast regales Julia with a story of how a caretaker took advantage of him while growing up. “Either you’re powerful or you’re weak,” he tells her. Beast goes on to explain Julia is afflicted with what’s called a “Shade.” A Shade makes you feel your pain will burn you till there’s nothing left. “I don’t care for people as a rule, but I like you. You have promise. With the right control, you would be formidable,” The Beast says persuasively. Don’t go to the dark side, Julia! Even if they have cookies! Beast tries to convince her that she would be happier if he removed said Shade. She declines the offer.
Later, our newly minted Queens and Kings make their way to Castle Whitespire. they see people already living in it. “The crown suits you,” Fen tells Eliot when they arrive. Another family had been running things until the “Children of Earth” showed up. Eliot is introduced to the head of said family, who takes the gang to The Armory after Eliot demands it. Upon arrival, they see that The Armory is pretty empty. “Well, this is underwhelming,” Eliot murmurs. Alice finds a workbook of serious spells. “I know where we need to go,” she states. “Brakebills?” Quentin says after looking at the book cover.
Meanwhile, poor Penny is back at the healing river. “These don’t work!” he exclaims to River Dude. “Actions have consequences, Penny,” River Dude snaps. “Especially in the position you will occupy soon.” What does that mean? Penny apologizes, but it is too late.
Later, Eliot is sitting in The Armory brushing up on his newly acquired kingdom. Quentin, Alice and Margo are heading back to Brakebills for more answers. Eliot believes he is “taking one for the team to the tune of the rest of my life.” Eliot learns there have been magic issues in Fillory thanks to The Beast and his wellspring addiction. They also realize time is different on Earth. Eliot fears he will die alone. “I think you should probably hug me,” he tells Quentin. The two bros hug it out.
Then, The Beast performs a spell on Julia that wrenches her heart from her chest. Julia replies, “Put it back now, I need it.” She is afraid of who she will become without the Shade. Beast puts her heart back in its place. “Suit yourself,” he says. Beast believes that even if they catch Reynard, he will win regardless due to Julia’s inability to let go.
What an packed premiere episode! I love the snarky dialogue, especially Eliot and Margo’s witty one liners. Eliot’s Dirty Dancing impression. Their coronation ceremony. My questions: will Julia go over to the darkness and embark on a journey with The Beast? What will Penny become? Eliot+Fen= a thing? Guess I better keep watching!
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9pm on your Syfy affiliate.
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