DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Magicians episode “Home Improvement” contains more spoilers than the number of times Josh has cracked jokes to alleviate tense situations. It’s not a deflection, folks. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, Fillorians! The Magicians returned this week with an intriguing episode in “Home Improvement.” No, not the Tim Allen sitcom from the ’90s. Sorry to disappoint, millennials. We saw the return of Felicia Day‘s dragon-obsessed Poppy, and of course she wreaked nothing but havoc. Penny licked a dragon egg, so there’s that. Alice found herself jealous of a flower, so there’s also that. Dear The Magicians Powers That Be: never let Judith Hoag slip from your grasp. She’s a gem and the only Stephanie Quinn I’ll accept. Oh, and that Margo + Fen team up? A dream fully realized. However, if Fen listens to that talking cat and actually dethrones/decapitates Margo then I may have to raise a smattering of hell.
Alright, ready to delve into “Home Improvement?” Just be sure to steer clear of Poppy’s dragon egg, Falcor. Well, she’s not settling on that name but it’s at least in the running.
We open with Fen (Brittany Curran) setting out on her quest to track down the elusive woman in the green cloak. Perhaps this mystery woman can unlock the secret behind Fen’s psychic dreams. Suddenly, Fen’s Spidey senses begin to tingle. She launches a knife at a potential stalker only to discover that Margo (Summer Bishil) was the one following her all along. Fen initially hoped to embark on her journey solo, however Margo feels that her destiny is entwined with Fen’s. Thus, our favorite odd couple set out together. Road trip!
Meanwhile, at Brakebills, Zelda (Mageina Tovah) explains why she needs Alice’s (Olivia Taylor Dudley) assistance. Zelda hopes Alice can aid her in cracking a hefty spell to extract Harriett from the mirror realm. She believes her daughter is trapped within, separated in fragments and unable to escape. Alice does know a spell, but it’s risky and requires an extra set of hands. Fogg (Rick Worthy) observes this exchange from the safety of his desk, most likely in a whiskey-fueled haze.
Next, we see Quentin (Jason Ralph) is paid a visit courtesy of Eliot Monster (Hale Appleman). Eliot Monster is displeased with Quentin, and growing ever impatient with the latter’s progress. He needs a body and he needs it now, you guys. Quentin urges Eliot Monster to give him one day more. Eliot Monster acquiesces and vanishes.
Later, Kady (Jade Tailor) knows someone who may be able to help Quentin and Julia (Stella Maeve) with their mission to satiate Eliot Monster. She calls in reinforcements – Pete (David Call). Julia is not too pleased to see him, but she reluctantly plays along anyway. Pete reveals that a dragon in the East River possesses a stone organ that our crew is looking for, one that is necessary to complete the Monster’s body. However, Q and Jules must get past the gatekeeper. They must also offer something of equal value to gift the dragon as a trade off. Of course, Kady is now an aficionado of magical black market artifacts, so finding a valuable item shouldn’t be an issue. Right?
Then, after Julia and Quentin leave, Pete reveals that he’ll remain loyal to Kady. Fight side-by-side with her against the Library. Since, you know, they’re slaughtering hedges left and right. Kady is taken aback by Pete’s declaration, but she regains sight of her true mission – protect her family and fight their oppressors.
Next, Penny 23 (Arjun Gupta) returns to the apartment. Julia fills him in on the scoop – that Shoshana died at the hands of Eliot Monster and she’s still not even close to figuring out what she is. Penny pulls Kady aside and relays the message from Penny 40, that the latter loves Kady and wishes her well. Naturally, Kady is upset since receiving said message is akin to picking open a scab. She’s trying desperately to move on but her refusal to grieve over Penny 40 is a hindrance. Kady storms out.
Meanwhile, Alice returns home to pay her mother Stephanie (Judith Hoag) a visit. Of course, this isn’t a loving family pit stop, but in fact a mission of the magical variety. Alice asks her mother to aid her in casting a spell, one that requires a mother and daughter to work. This should end well, especially given their tumultuous relationship.
Later, Quentin and Julia approach the gatekeeper of the East River dragon, Harold the Herald. They present their offering, but Harold dismisses it as insignificant and valueless. However, he does have a mission for Julia and Quentin, should they choose to accept it. They must find the owner of a crafty dart that was utilized to steal a priceless artifact from the dragon. Said artifact is a vial containing a bluish elixir. Harold hands Q the dart and he studies it. Then, it dawns on him – the dart is Fillorian in origin.
Now, we see Margo and Fen cross paths with someone who appears to be the famous green-hooded lady. She’s revealed to be a prophet (Tara Karsian). However, after briefly chatting with her our duo realize she’s a fraud. The Prophet was merely luring Children of Earth and Whitespire folk via dreams to her cottage to do her chores. She’s incapable of predicting the future, despite being dubbed a “prophet.” Regardless, Fen and Margo begin fixing up her lawn. Here’s hoping they at least get paid for it.
Then, Quentin arrives at the Physical Kids’ cottage at Brakebills and is surprised to find Poppy (Felicia Day) within. She reveals that she’s technically still enrolled as a student, so she’s not living there illegally. Oh, and she’s massively pregnant. Uh oh. Is Q the father? Julia arrives later and Quentin drops the bombshell – that he’s going to be a father. He actually seems rather excited as opposed to terrified, which is his m.o. Julia has a sneaking suspicion that something fishy is afoot.
Meanwhile, Kady wholeheartedly believes that Poppy stole from the dragon. It makes sense – Poppy’s obsessed with dragons, firstly. Secondly, she’s been to Fillory. We see Q fawning all over his baby mama, acting as if he’s under a spell of sorts. Penny finds the bottle of the dragon elixir inside a trash bin, completely bereft of the bluish liquid. Which begs the question: why is it empty?
Later, we see Alice and Stephanie casting the spell, but they can’t seem to get it right. Alice wishes to try again but Stephanie reveals that a friend is coming over. We see that it’s Carol from the previous season, but she looks quite different. If you’ll recall, Alice was under the impression that Carol was possessed by the lamprey and electrocuted her. But, water under the bridge, am I right? Carol now has a new business venture: sex voodoo dolls. Suddenly, Gavin (Daniel Nemes) and another Librarian are seen approaching Stephanie’s house. Alice is now under the impression that Stephanie turned her in. This is awkward. Thankfully, they can’t get in since Alice spiked up the wards protecting the house.
Meanwhile, Fen discovers that Margo has trapped the Prophet in a sea of vines using a spell. The Prophet finally reveals the identity of the real lady in green – the Napster. Fen references the music site, and Margo is colored impressed. Their bond strengthens, and I’m all for a bit of girl power magic. Time to take down the Napster!
Next, Poppy reveals that she’s growing a tiny dragon inside her womb. Dragon fetuses are inherently magical, and they bond people via touch. Since Q touched Poppy, now he’s under its spell. Kady flips open a dragon porn graphic novel penned by Poppy, and she points out the dragon elixir is illustrated on a page. Well, it’s actually…um…dragon semen. This took a weird turn, folks. But, it wouldn’t be The Magicians without a series of strange turns.
Then, we see Gavin and his Librarian cohort employ a spell meant to draw Alice and co. out of the house. However, our trio within stays put. Stephanie reveals to Alice that she didn’t turn her daughter over to the Librarians – she turned over Carol. Well, consider that friendship squashed.
Now, Poppy reveals that she stole the dragon semen and used a turkey baster to impregnate herself. She wanted to be the first woman to give birth to a dragon/human hybrid. A real Mother of Dragons! However, Penny, Julia and Kady discover an actual dragon egg sequestered away in a cabinet. Quentin is hellbent on naming their future dragon child Falcor, which is pretty bada** if you ask me. Penny inexplicably licks the dragon egg and is instantly under its sway. Julia is immune to its abilities because she’s immortal and not-a-goddess. Kady pulls a gun on the dragon lovers while her and Julia flee with the dragon egg. Poppy, Quentin and Penny follow them.
Meanwhile, Stephanie reveals that she could never turn Alice in, no matter how infuriated she became with her daughter. Alice is all the family Stephanie has left after the passing of her husband and son. It’s a beautiful mother/daughter moment, and we finally see the two begin to mend fences. Carol waltzes in with her sex voodoo dolls and proposes they enact revenge against the Librarians outside. They begin playing with the erogenous zones on the dolls’ bodies, which in turn causes some, um, side effects for the enemies at the door. They flee the scene, bereft of Carol and potentially Alice. Success! Alice and Stephanie try the mirror spell again with cracking success. Now Alice can help save Harriett. Yay!
Later, Julia and Kady arrive at the gatekeeper’s site to the dragon with the dragon egg in tow. However, Q and co. beat them to the punch. They’re holding Harold the Herald hostage. The dragon emerges from the river, irritated at all the hullabaloo outside her watery fortress. Julia offers her the dragon egg since the elixir is out of commission. The dragon knows who Julia is, and she’s aware that Julia is some kind of strange, unlabeled being. Everyone leaves, and it seems that the dragon egg spell is wearing off.
Next, Alice returns to Brakebills to inform Zelda of the news. Suddenly, Sheila waltzes in fully clad in Librarian garb. She explains to Alice that she’s happy, that the Library is giving her everything she could ever want. Magical knowledge, for one, and the opportunity to be a force for good. Alice retorts that the Library is pulling the wool over Sheila’s eyes, but the latter has made her bed. Now, she must sleep in it. Or read, if that’s her thing. It is a library, after all.
Meanwhile, we see Penny nursing a massive dragon egg hangover. Funnily enough, the cure for a dragon egg hangover is regular, run-of-the-mill chicken eggs. Julia reveals her dilemma: that she’s immortal and will definitely outlive everyone she loves. Penny shares her pain in that being a Traveler comes with its own set of cons. The two are bonding, and I’m all for a Penny 23/Julia romance. My girl deserves some happiness. You get a Penny, you get a Penny, everyone gets a Penny!
Then, we see Quentin rubbing chicken eggs on his temples, and he’s clearly in pain. Poppy informs Q that a normal human baby is growing inside her and that he’s not the father. Hooray! She plans to keep the baby, revealing that her encounter with the dragon egg has opened her eyes to the possibility of motherhood. Poppy hopes that being a mother will soften her edges and give her purpose. Good on her.
Later, Harold the Herald pays Julia a visit with a gift in twofold: the coveted stone organ for Eliot Monster and a message from the dragon. Julia must seek out her truth and reclaim her identity. She also must find the Binder, a nondescript someone who can help Julia in her quest to find out who and what she is. But, naturally, Julia is left with nary a clue as to who this Binder is.
Next, Fen is gifted a hefty dose of ambien courtesy of Margo and drifts off to sleep. She finally encounters the Napster (Lynn Andrews), who’s a cat in a green cloak. The Napster reveals that Fen has a purpose – one that cannot be ignored. A time will come when Fen will need to dethrone Margo, violently if necessary. She may also need to commit regicide by decapitation. Then, Fen must ascend to the Whitespire throne herself and reclaim Fillory for the Fillorians. Uh oh. Methinks Margo won’t go quietly into the night should this purpose of Fen’s come to fruition. Also – they’re friends!
Now, The Magicians is a show rife with risks – it takes plenty of liberties with the characters and plot while still retaining elements of the trilogy its based on. I’m wondering if we’ll start to see snippets of the books surface again, such as Margo’s quest in the desert. That would be smashing to see on screen. At least we were gifted with Quentin’s magical card duels with the hedges like in The Magician’s Land. Regardless, I’m so excited to see how the remainder of the season plays out. This show never ceases to entertain or surprise me.
Do you think Fen will go through with overthrowing Margo? How long until the Monster has enough stone organs to reconstruct his body? Will Julia learn who she is from the Binder? Join me next week as I recap The Magicians, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9pm on your SyFy affiliate.
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