DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Magicians contains more spoilers than the number of times Josh has partied his way out of a situation. Hey, when the clock is perpetually set at 4:20, what else can one do but party? You’ve been warned. Prepare for your epic quest, and enter at your own peril. 

Welcome back, Fillorians! The Magicians blessed us with a musical episode for the ages. This episode had Josh Hoberman, musical choreography and multiple references to David Bowie. Not to mention a truly wonderful rendition of “Under Pressure” to cap things off. I’m an avid Bowie fan, and this tugged at my heartstrings in the best way possible. In short, this may be one of my favorite episodes of The Magicians ever. Now, we had a few plot points briefly converge for the grand finale “Under Pressure” performance. Eliot and Margo have been sentenced to death courtesy of a wombat, and chose to perish via massive waterfall. Quentin, Kady and Alice were trapped in a world where partying was the new norm and Josh was its king. Julia and Fen met with Skye in secret to test out her potential fairy powers.

Alright, ready to delve into “All That Josh?” Just be sure to please sing everything in the key of E. Not doing so will displease Todd, and we wouldn’t want to do that, now would we? 

We open with Quentin (Jason Ralph) and Kady (Jade Tailor) returning to the Physical Kids’ cottage from their trip to the Neitherlands Library. They’re hoping against hope that Harriet and Victoria made it out safely, but Kady’s pessimism reigns supreme. She knows the mirror bridge shattered, trapping the duo in perpetual limbo. Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) joins the pair in the living room. However, Q is wary to trust her after their encounter in the library. Quentin procures the book to unlock their next quest. Said book is shaking rather violently, as books are wont to do. A long, horizontal page folds outward of its own accord, revealing some kind of code. 

Now, Alice recognizes this “code” as sheet music. She plops down at the piano and commences plunking out the notes. However, Kady swoops in and corrects her, citing that said sheet music is attributed to the Middle Ages and that Alice was playing it in the incorrect key. Apparently, our girl has had some extensive musical training thanks to her mother. Kady proceeds to play the correct key, which transports our trio to another realm…that so happens to look identical to the living room of the Physical Kids’ cottage. However, something is off. A group of mysterious strangers are dancing vibrantly all around them. 

Next, none other than the King of Partying himself, Josh (Trevor Einhorn), makes his grand entrance via musical number. And so it begins! Josh sings and dances to a rousing original number courtesy of The Magicians team. Even a small nod to Bowie exists within its folds – “Wham bam, thank you ma’am.” My heart is content. Quentin, however, believes they are in hell. Nope, sir – this is definitely paradise. 

Then, our trio questions Josh on where he’s been and where they’re at. Josh informs them that magic has returned. Todd (Adam DiMarco) appears beside Josh to confirm this. They create blunts for our trio out of thin air as proof. Quentin, Alice and Kady proceed to create magic with the smoke emanating from said blunts. They’re pleased with the results. Well, I guess the quest is off then. 

Pictured: Jade Tailor

Meanwhile, Julia (Stella Maeve) and Fen (Brittany Curran) return to the real cottage after their digging in Irene’s lab. Fen believes they should leave Skye to her fate, since the fairies she knows in Fillory are malicious and conniving. Julia feels the opposite, believing they should protect Skye. Fairies in the earthly realm may behave differently than the ones in Fillory. A light bulb goes off in Julia’s head, and she discovers a way to interact with Skye without having to make a deal. She snatches the Truth Key and heads off to Irene’s house. Once more into the breach!

Next, in Fillory, Eliot (Hale Appleman) and Margo (Summer Bishil) are being carted away to a prison cell. The wombat judge has slammed down its gavel. It ruled that the High King and High Queen deserve death as punishment for their crimes. Tick (Rizwan Manji) eagerly informs our duo that since they were highly respected Children of Earth they’ve been granted the courtesy to choose their own manner of execution. How exciting! Eliot and Margo collectively choose death by cascading down the Infinite Waterfalls, falling forever until they die. That’s better than decapitation or head smashing, I suppose. 

Then, Quentin notices that all the clocks are perpetually set at 4:20. How very “Josh.” Q and Alice are busy procuring glasses of wine and testing the waters of their now restored magical abilities. They discover that magic hasn’t truly returned – they can only perform “parlor tricks” and not concrete spells. Suddenly, the group of revelers around them stops reveling in tandem. They collectively stare down the party poopers, and slowly corner our trio. A smack down is sure to occur. Apparently, the revelers turn on whomever is not partying hard enough. So, to save their skins, our trio begins singing “Happy Birthday.” It works! Thankfully, the group backs off and proceeds to party. 

Pictured: Stella Maeve and Anja Savcic

Later, Julia uses the key so she can see Skye (Anja Savcic) and engage in conversation. She finds the fairy tidying up Irene’s extensive library. Skye is taken aback at Julia’s ability to see her. She tries to shoo Julia away, but the latter convinces Skye to meet with her. Julia wishes to experiment with whatever powers Skye may possess. She believes that Irene has been lying to Skye, using the fairy’s extremities for magic. Skye reluctantly agrees, and will meet with Julia during the free hour she has during dinner. Secret meetings are fun!

Next, Q and Alice decide to corner Josh. Kady will act as the distraction for Todd and the revelers. She transforms into a scintillating glittery gown and performs a jazz number. Tailor has the performance down pat, complete with suave dance moves and the smoky vocals to match. Meanwhile, Quentin and Alice sequester Josh away upstairs and tie him up. They ask him to attempt to escape his restraints using magic. Josh is surprised when said magic doesn’t come to him. That’s because you only have party tricks, Hoberman! 

Now, Kady appears with the trio, thanks to her little parlor trick of pretending to perform behind a screen downstairs to keep the revelers at bay. Alice grills Josh on how he first entered this realm, in the hopes that his answer will help them escape. 

Pictured: Rizwan Manji

Meanwhile, Eliot and Margo are imprisoned in the cargo hold of The Muntjac, en route to the Infinite Waterfalls. Tick visits them, and Margo pesters him on whether he nicked the key to release them from their shackles. Unfortunately, Tick refuses to help them. Suddenly, he morphs from his usual cheery self into a mustache twirling villain, hellbent on taking back the throne of Whitespire himself. No, Tick, don’t do this! The act of betrayal stings us all. He curses the Children of Earth, citing that it’s high time the Fillorians take back their land. He instructs the Heartwood of the ship to charge on full speed to the waterfalls. 


Then, Julia meets with Skye while Irene sups. They begin their magical experiments, in the hopes that Skye can unlock the powers within her. Meanwhile, Josh launches into the story of how he landed in this realm. As it turns out, Bacchus disappeared from the perma-party we last saw Josh at. Saddened that our magicians left him behind in their quest, he forlornly sat on the stairs outside the party. That is, until Todd randomly appeared and informed Josh that magic is back, baby! Oh, and Todd also has the fifth key, but Josh doesn’t know where he keeps it. 

Josh, elated at the prospect of having purpose in his life again, followed Todd back to the Physical Kids’ cottage to the party of a lifetime. Q reminds Josh that this isn’t the real Brakebills, and that he was a Natural, not a Physical kid. Josh laments that he always felt left out, and that the group never even bothered to reply to him when he sent out those group texts. They left him out of their epic quest, the gravest of friend offenses. 

Now, our group notices the partying downstairs has ceased. Todd discovers that Kady isn’t really behind the screen performing a sultry number. Thus, the group marches upstairs and prepares to wage war on our magicians. Uh oh. This could get sticky. Alice informs our group that Todd isn’t really Todd, but a demon masquerading as their roommate. Said demon’s origins lie in German lore, and he gives unsuspecting victims everything they desire, at a price. Magic always comes at a price. 

Then, we see Julia and Skye hard at work with their experimenting. Julia is using the elaborate hand motions of a train magician to elicit magic from the fairy. However, Fen points out that the fairies in Fillory were magic, and could materialize it from nothing. They didn’t need hand motions to summon it. So, Julia switches tactics and urges Skye to imagine a flower blooming in the palm of her hand. Here’s hoping this does the trick!

Meanwhile, Josh appears outside the room to greet the revelers, reassuring them that the party is still on. They form a train and dance around the cottage, Josh serenading them with song. Kady realizes that the song Josh is singing isn’t in the right key, or the key that Todd prefers. Struck with an idea, Kady plunks out the A note on the piano, which in turn opens the top of said piano. Quentin, Kady and Alice are delighted to discover the fifth key nestled within. Success! Q extracts the key. A purple neon sign saying “Questers, Exit Here” materializes, pointing to a large door that also seemed to appear out of nowhere. 

Pictured: Summer Bishil and Hale Appleman

Next, Margo and Eliot come to grips with their impending execution. We see a massive waterfall peppered with jagged rocks looming in, as The Muntjac speeds forward. Hey, they may not have been perfect rulers, but Margo and Eliot saved Fillory many times, and that must count for something. They profess their love for each other, with Eliot saying “I love you,” and Margo replying with “I know.” How very Star Wars. Also, Margo is definitely Han Solo. I love these two with all my heart. 

Suddenly, Tick orders the ship to stop at the waterfalls, but the Heartwood of The Muntjac refuses to listen. Tick, in a panic, boards a small boat with the crew and leaves the High King and Queen to their fate. The Muntjac speeds ahead, fully intent on cascading down the waterfalls. Margo tries to plead with the ship, but it too ignores her pleas. She embraces Eliot for a final time. 

Meanwhile, Skye manages to create a rose in bloom in the palm of her hand, much to Julia and Fen’s surprise. Unfortunately, blood pours from Skye’s eyes, nose and mouth. Her necklace vibrates, which triggers the blood. Julia’s eyes glow a piercing white. Skye is dying, as is the punishment if she attempts to use magic courtesy of Irene. However, Julia is able to freeze Skye in the moments before dying with her glowing eyes. Fen brings this phenomenon to Julia’s attention, which she attributes to “leveling up.” Julia is finally morphing into the demigoddess she truly is!

Pictured: Arjun Gupta

Next, Kady grabs the fifth key and attempts to communicate with Penny (Arjun Gupta). She hears him complaining, hard at work in the Neitherlands Library. Much to her surprise, they can hear each other across worlds. And not just those two – they can communicate with Eliot, Margo, Julia and Josh. Quentin comes to the conclusion that this new key has the ability to unify them. Aw, that’s sweet. Also, I’m loving this union of our magicians. Getting the gang back together has been high up on my list. 

Now, Todd and the revelers cease partying when they notice Josh is speaking with our crew, although they are unseen. Todd and his minions turn on Josh, pummeling him with kicks, punches and the like. Quentin proposes that they all unite together and sing a song, one they know all the words to, to save Josh from being tormented. They weren’t there for Hoberman before, but now they can be. The power of friendship through song will save him! Our gang breaks out into a rousing rendition of “Under Pressure,” and my Bowie loving heart effectively explodes. 

Next Quentin, Kady and Alice descend the staircase, performing the first bars of “Under Pressure.” The revelers stop beating Josh and listen intently to the song. Our magicians each belt out a line from the song, including Josh when Kady helps him up. Eliot and Margo join in as well, and I’m quickly reminded that Hale Appleman singing Bowie is all I’ll ever need in life. He has pipes for days. Julia belts out a few lines and Skye slowly unfreezes, the blood dissipating in the process. She’s brought back from the precipice of uncertain death, much to Julia’s delight. Ah, the power of song! 

Meanwhile, Eliot and Margo continue to sing their hearts out as The Muntjac plummets over the falls. However, a silver lining takes shape when their singing causes the ship to right itself and sail upward. Yes, The Muntjac is flying. They’re saved! The song ends with the entire group of revelers joining in snapping their fingers. Then, they disappear. Demon Todd (Chris Britton) shows his true form. He praises our magicians for discovering the realm wasn’t real, and that it was all a test to procure the fifth key. Even German demons are in on their quest to save magic. He grants them a safe exit. 

Pictured (L to R): Jason Ralph, Trevor Einhorn, Jade Tailor and Olivia Taylor Dudley

Suddenly, our crew is back in the real, magic-less world. Josh reunites with Julia, who was the only one to answer his group texts. I hope a romance takes bloom between these two. Julia deserves happiness. Quentin procures the book, which flips of its own volition to the sixth chapter, in accordance with the sixth key. Alice yanks the book away, but Q still doesn’t trust her. He takes it back, and we can see the negative energy manifesting between them. Josh comments that he must have missed a lot. Indeed you did, good sir. 

The Magicians pulls off yet another glorious musical episode. I sincerely hope that this will be an annual event, and we’ll be treated with another musical installment for Season 4 and beyond. “Under Pressure” was one of the best scenes of The Magicians to date, and the musical performances were interwoven within the plot in a way that made sense. Not to mention, it’s great to have Hoberman back with our heroes, questing it up. 

Where do you think the next key is hidden? Will the quest eventually take our magicians back to Fillory, so they can reunite with Margo and Eliot? How will our disgraced High King and Queen take back the throne from Tick? Join me next week as I continue to recap The Magicians, here on Geek Girl Authority. 

The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9pm on your SyFy affiliate. 



Melody McCune
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