DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Magicians contains more spoilers than the number of times Margo has smashed the patriarchy. She’s not called “Margo the Destroyer” for nothing. You’ve been warned. Prepare for your epic quest, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome back, Children of Earth! The Magicians returned this week with the penultimate episode to end all penultimate episodes. Julia embraced her demigoddess powers and utilized them for good. She healed Fogg’s eyes! Stood her ground against a taunting (albeit powerless) Reynard! Teleported effortlessly like a boss! In short, I now fall prostrate before the Alter de Julia. In Fillory, Margo was crowned High King, effectively dethroning the backstabbing Tick Pickwick. As a reward for Margo’s kindness toward the fairies, the Fairy Queen restored her missing eye. Part of me hopes Margo will still don the occasional eye patch, for fashionable and formidable reasons. Eye patches are inherently bad***. Oh, and our crew now has the sixth golden key, which means they can set out for the Castle at the End of the World. Time to finally reignite magic!
Alright, ready to delve into “The Fillorian Candidate?” Just be sure to monitor Humbledrum’s alcohol consumption. He may be an actual bear, but he’s actually quite the lightweight.
We open with Josh (Trevor Einhorn) giving Penny 23 (Arjun Gupta) the lowdown on everything that’s happened so far in Timeline 40 (the present timeline). Penny 23 seems less than enthused to listen to Josh’s prattling, very much like our own Penny. Well, technically they are the same person. Josh even has a detailed graph of who forked who in the group to help ease Penny 23 into the current timeline. Our favorite stoner is nothing if not prepared.
Suddenly Kady (Jade Tailor), overcome with pure joy at the sight of Penny 23, envelopes our Traveler in a bear hug. Unfortunately, Penny 23 reveals that he isn’t her Penny. Kady, naturally, is bewildered.
Next, we see Julia (Stella Maeve), Quentin (Jason Ralph) and Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) discussing the intel they received from Timeline 23. Said intel involves our group, once they’ve obtained all seven keys, traveling to the “End of the World” to unlock a door that’ll restore magic. Alice is reticent to trust the information, especially since it came from the Quentin who was also The Beast. Julia and Q, however, wholeheartedly believe they should press on as planned. Alice suggests she zap over to the Neitherlands Library to confer with the Librarian. Perhaps the Library knows more about what awaits them inside the Castle at the End of the World? It couldn’t hurt to check. Alice scampers off.
Later, Julia seeks Penny 23 for a favor. She would like him to track Alice into the Neitherlands Library to make sure she isn’t doing anything shady. Penny 23 can astral project as a means to keep himself concealed. Penny 23, being in love with Julia, agrees to the favor with gusto. He’s got it bad, folks.
Then, Alice is conversing with the Librarian (Mageina Tovah) in the Neitherlands. The Librarian suggests they speak with a god, since the castle contains everything the gods created prior to humans. All the mistakes, the experiments, everything that led to the them perfecting their formula for creation. Interesting. Of course, contents of the Castle at the End of the World isn’t meant to be seen by mortal eyes. The Librarian hands Alice a circular metal siphon, meant to harness magical energies. She urges Alice to utilize it to harness Julia’s powers. That’s what’s needed to restore magic. Alice only has thirty seconds to complete this task, otherwise magic will be lost forever. No pressure. Also, this act could potentially kill Julia, but that’s no big either (it is). Alice, although not thrilled at the prospect of committing divine murder, takes the siphon anyway and trudges off.
Meanwhile, Josh and Fen (Brittany Curran) board The Muntjac with groceries. Hey, when in Fillory…eat tacos like it’s Tuesday. Eliot (Hale Appleman) gives Fen the okay to leave if she wants to, especially since he’s no longer High King. However, Fen reveals that she could never return to her old life, so he’s stuck with her.
Later, Margo (Summer Bishil) unveils a rabbit that was sent to them courtesy of the Fairy Queen. Its message is rather unsavory, one in defiance to Margo’s incessant attempts at negotiating with the Fairy Queen for the sixth and final key. Fen ponders whether they can do something to get her attention. What attracts the attention of fairies? Bathtubs? A field of mushrooms? Dark, moist caverns?
Next, our heroes head to a pub that exclusively caters to Animals (you know, the talking ones) in pursuit of Fray (Madeleine Arthur). Fray is behind the bar slinging drinks. Apparently, the best place to conceal one’s self from the Fairy Queen is an Animal pub. Eliot and Fen ask Fray to summon the Fairy Queen, but the latter refuses. The Queen wants Fray dead, presumably. Eliot questions whether Fray has fairy stepsisters, but only human children live in the fairy realm. Interesting. That’s why the fairies are taking over Fillory – they’re incapable of reproducing in the fairy realm.
Meanwhile, Margo is trading barbs with a Bear named Humbledrum, and my Fillorian heart is tickled red. Humbledrum exists in The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman, so seeing him on the show was immensely gratifying. I love finding the little Easter eggs our Powers That Be leave for the book readers. Anyway, Margo has gained a new drinking buddy in Humbledrum. The stories these two could tell…
Now, Fray reveals that Humbledrum is her boo Bear (figuratively and literally), so Eliot’s approval of the pair would be most appreciated. Humbledrum believes Eliot to be Fray’s father, and he’s an old fashioned Bear. Eliot grants his blessing, and love can live another day.
Later, Alice returns from the Neitherlands to inform our gang of her conversation with the Librarian. They have to track down a god, one that can inform them of what’s inside the Castle at the End of the World. Of course, tracking gods ain’t easy. Our Lady Underground hasn’t answered Julia in weeks. Q found Bacchus on Instagram partying hard, but unfortunately his account was suspended. Alice decides to find Fogg to see what information she can glean from the former dean.
After Alice takes her leave, Penny 23 reveals that she left out quite a bit from her interaction with the Librarian. Alice has the circular metal siphon meant to extract Julia’s powers. This act could kill her. Uh oh. Secrets don’t make friends, Alice.
Next, Penny 23 finds Kady in her room with the unity key in hand. She’s attempting to reach out to her Penny. Kady claims she harbors no resentment toward Penny 23, but he’s not the true Penny of this timeline. Penny 23 asks Kady to give him the 411 on how the current Julia is different than Julia 23. The two share drinks as Kady divulges our Julia’s origins story – everything from her rise through the hedge witch ranks to Reynard. Penny 23 questions whether they can track down Reynard. He’s still a god, albeit powerless. Perhaps he knows what’s inside the castle. Kady isn’t a fan of this idea, but she goes along with it regardless.
Meanwhile, our heroes at the Animal pub summon the Fairy Queen (Candis Cayne) to parlay. She refuses to relinquish the sixth key, especially since Eliot and Margo were dethroned. However, if they manage to take back their crowns, she may reconsider. Eliot and Margo grant her the ability to lay her fairy eggs (which are also free range and hormone free) all over Fillory, since the climate in the fairy realm isn’t conducive with reproduction. However, the Fairy Queen doesn’t need permission to do whatever she wants. Boom!
Then, Julia pays Fogg (Rick Worthy) a visit. She heard him cry out in pain. Apparently, our Jules can now hear prays. She’s becoming a true demigoddess. They grow up so fast! Anyway, she lays her hands on Fogg’s sightless eyes and restores his sight. He can see! You go Julia, using your powers for good.
Meanwhile Eliot, Josh and Margo are enjoying a smorgasbord of tacos aboard the flying Muntjac. They ponder their next move. El and Bambi are all about death and destruction, while Josh throws out the idea of democracy. Our deposed rulers should run for reelection against Tick. Give the Fillorian people a chance to vote for who they want on the throne at Whitespire. Novel idea, Sir Joshua of House Hoberman.
Later, Rafe (Sergio Osuna) approaches Tick (Rizwan Manji) with disturbing news: a plethora of posters fell from the sky announcing Eliot and Margo’s bid for reelection. Tick better get his ducks in a row! For he’ll rue the day he double crossed Eliot the Spectacular and Margo the Destroyer. Tick decides to put up his own posters declaring his newest policies.
Now, Eliot takes Margo aside and tells her something quite unsettling – he believes he should run solo for the crown. Fillory is still a patriarchal society, barely stepping into the 20th century in terms of ideals (and that’s still antiquated in and of itself). Margo despises this idea, as do I. However, she reluctantly agrees.
Next, Josh takes Julia to the sight where a soulless Jules burned down the Talking Trees. Now, she utilizes her god touched powers to bring the trees back to life. We see full-grown pines shoot through the scorched soil, reinvigorating the air around them. Two passersby witness the spectacle in utter amazement. Josh eagerly hands then flyers, telling them to vote for the Children of Earth. This will do wonders for their campaign.
Then, Quentin confronts Alice on why she hid the knowledge of the siphon from the group. Alice claims harnessing Julia’s powers is for the good of restoring magic. The Library will then gain control of magic itself, and will be able to grant access to those deserving of its power. Q inquires why the Library should pull the strings of all magic. He orders her to give up the siphon, or she’ll be booted from the quest altogether. Alice reluctantly acquiesces, handing over the metal device. Alice is walking on thin ice, guys.
Later, Josh excitedly reveals all the good Julia is doing for Eliot’s campaign. She’s a modern day Jesus, healing head lice and restoring Fillory to its former glory. Everyone seems to be on Team Children of Earth. We see a montage of Eliot and Tick going back and forth on policies. Posters proposing their planned changes for the prosperity of Fillory are plastered everywhere. Eliot is all about the fun, while Tick’s ideas are quite boring.
Meanwhile, Kady and Penny 23 find Julia in prayer mode, answering the pleas of those reaching out in need to her. They propose the idea of tracking down Reynard in the hopes he’ll know what awaits them inside the castle. Initially, Julia is opposed to the idea and rightfully so. However, she refuses to let them visit him alone. She zaps the trio outside his current place of residence. Reynard (Mackenzie Astin) is less than thrilled to see them.
However, the former god claims he’s changed since falling from grace. Humanity has grounded the once pompous and conniving immortal. Our trio immediately gets down to brass tacks – the question of what’s inside the Castle at the End of the World. Reynard refuses to divulge that information, citing it’s not for mere mortals like them. Julia towers above Reynard, reminding him that she holds his power now. You go, girl! Reynard hastily pulls out a gun and tries to shoot Julia.
Next, she freezes him and dislodges the god-killing bullet from within said gun. If you recall, Julia crafted the bullet to use on Reynard last season. Reynard claims Hades gave it to him so the former could commit suicide, should he decide he can no longer stand mortal life. Julia snatches the bullet, thinking they can use it on whatever or whomever is locked inside the castle. Problem solved! They leave Reynard to live out the rest of his days in pure monotony. That’s punishment enough.
Later, Rafe boards The Muntjac with news of the election results. Eliot lost, but so did Tick. The new High King is Margo, who won by sheer volume of write-in ballots. Get it, girl! Apparently she scored big with Humbledrum, and Talking Animals far outnumber humans in terms of population. All hail High King Margo! Eliot is elated at Bambi’s victory, vowing to stand by her side forever. I love these two.
Next, Margo is crowned at a lavish ceremony at Castle Whitespire. Eliot approaches a forlorn Tick, who’s lurking off to the side. He informs Tick that Margo doesn’t want to execute him, but instead wishes to promote him to her council. He would need 24-hour surveillance, of course, but Tick has pragmatism and well thought out policies on his side. Tick eagerly accepts the promotion.
Then, High King Margo parlays with the Fairy Queen once again. She orders that the fair folk become recognized residents of Fillory and she plans to grant them a place on her council. The Fairy Queen is thrilled, or as much as her stoicism will allow. In a show of gratitude, she not only gives our heroes the sixth and final key, she restores Margo’s missing eye. It’s a fairy eye, so Margo’s vision is elevated beyond normal human sight. Does this mean she won’t don any fashionable eye patches? Knowing Margo, she may just use them as a show of power.
Meanwhile, Kady is holding the unity key when she hears Penny’s voice – her Penny. She urgently demands everyone around her cease speaking so she can hear him. Unfortunately, it’s Penny 23. She no longer has contact with the real Penny. Kady feels an overwhelming sense of defeat. Don’t worry, you’ll find our Penny!
Later, Q and Julia ponder their next move now that they possess all seven keys. Quentin questions why the quest hasn’t changed him. He still feels like the jaded and morose Quentin he was from the start. Julia reveals that he’s worried about his father, whose cancer went in remission when magic was switched off. Thus, his cancer might return when they restore said magic. Julia is unsure of whether she has the ability to heal cancer. Quentin feels like he owes it to his father to inform him of what they’re doing.
Next, Q visits his father Ted (Spencer Garrett). He divulges of his extensive adventures in Fillory which, as we know, is real. Q reveals the massive quest he embarked on with his friends to save magic, and how he lived an entire life with Eliot. Ted surmises that, while he isn’t a magician like Quentin, magic being switched off was the reason his cancer dissipated. So, with Q on the last leg of his quest, Ted understands that his cancer may return when magic does. It’s an emotional scene between father and son, which is played beautifully by Ralph and Garrett. Thus, the restoration of magic is a bittersweet one for Quentin Coldwater.
The Magicians never fails to deliver, and this season has had a string of A+ episodes. The show is in top form, and I can’t wait to see what next week’s season finale holds for us. Episodic MVP goes to, once again, Bishil as Margo. Her talent never ceases to impress me. Her ability to infuse Margo with so many intricate layers is astounding. Seeing Margo regain her missing eye and the true joy she experienced when snagging the title of High King was gratifying. Long may she reign.
Do you think our heroes will finally restore magic in the season finale? Can Kady successfully find her Penny? Where’s Marina 23? Will Julia continue to evolve as a demigoddess? 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.
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