DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Magicians episode “The Balls” contains more spoilers than the number of times our protagonists have staged heists of epic proportions. Stealing sh*t is extra fun when you have magic at your disposal. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, Fillorians! The Magicians aired its penultimate episode this week, and it just so happened to be one of the musical variety. While it was just what the doctor ordered in terms of a respite from the pandemic, I don’t want to think about the The Magicians ending next week. That this was the last musical episode ever. But here we are, folks. Bracing ourselves for impact. Anyway, our heroes teamed up with Marina to steal the world seed from the Nave Hotel. The Couple, a.k.a. The Balls, have kept said seed under heavy lock and key. Fen saved the day by stuffing the seed up her you-know-what, in true resourceful Fillorian fashion. Santa Claus also contributed. Penny reunited with his mother and yes, it was just as heartbreaking as you imagined.
Alright, ready to delve into “The Balls?” Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Marina (Kacey Rohl) giving our crew the lowdown on how to break into the Nave Hotel, where the world seed is being quarantined. The Nave Hotel specifically bars battle magic and is protected with several complex wards. Not to mention, the bellhops and guards are empaths. If they detect any sort of emotion that could be indicative of guilt, you’re ousted. Absolutely no physical fights. Marina regales everyone with her past failed heist, when Gavin (Daniel Nemes) had the tar beat out of him. He was attempting to open the safe where Marina thought the world seed lived.
However, Fen (Brittany Curran) reveals that Marina’s mission failed because the aforementioned safe would be too frigid for the seed. The world seed thrives in 99-degree heat and 99% humidity. Anything below that temperature would ultimately destroy it. Fen can interpret Quentin’s plant page, which is helpful for everyone present. Go, Fen!
Meanwhile, Julia (Stella Maeve) reveals to Penny (Arjun Gupta) that she tracked down his mother. Julia is hellbent on learning all she can regarding Penny’s mother’s pregnancy experience. Penny is reticent for the impending reunion, especially since he still believes he’s the cause of her plunge into insanity.
Now, our heist crew opens Marina’s heist book, and a huge pop-up formation of the Nave Hotel takes shape. I’m going to miss watching scenes like this. Anyway, Kady (Jade Tailor) surmises that the seed is being kept in a particular hotel room that’s a few degrees hotter than the rest. So, Eliot (Hale Appleman), Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) and Kady will descend into the basement to crank up the heat in said room.
Meanwhile, Margo (Summer Bishil), Josh (Trevor Einhorn) and Fen will venture upstairs to snag the seed. Marina and Zelda (Mageina Tovah) will stay home and navigate our protagonists through the heist proceedings. Zelda reveals that a conductor spell will help keep them in tune with one another. Marina will be said conductor, and she’ll be privy to everyone’s thoughts. As long as she holds the conductor wand, she’ll be capable of coordinating their efforts in tandem. On an unrelated note: Marina is sporting a badass black cape that’s perfect for a conductor. Her fashion sense is nothing short of magical. Alice also suggests they use a spell to bottle up their emotions, as they did a few years back. That way the empath bellhops won’t be able to detect them.
Next, Lord Effingham (Sean Maguire) enters the scene armed with a rifle. He plans on assassinating Julia, as he believes she’s the sole cause propagating Fillory’s demise. Thankfully, our heroes vehemently defend our Jules. Suddenly, Effingham, under duress, bursts into song. He starts belting out “Cruel to be Kind” by Nick Lowe. Everyone else follows suit, much to their confusion. A full dance routine takes place. Some people like Fen and Zelda are wholeheartedly enjoying themselves, while Margo and Marina are disgusted by the musical malarkey taking place. Josh feigns being Fillory’s “new savior” and kicks Effingham out with the assurance that he’ll “take care of Julia.”
Then, we see Julia approach the reception desk in a hospital. She asks for Neela Adiyodi, under the impression that Penny’s mom is a patient. However, the woman reveals that she is Neela Adiyodi. She’s a nurse at this hospital. Julia divulges this information to an already anxious Penny, and she encourages him to take a leap of faith.
Later, Pete (David Call) enters the Nave Hotel posing as a guest. Once he opens his suitcase in the safety of his hotel room, we see our heroes emerge from it Mary Poppins style. Everyone has already bottled up their emotions, so only monotonous husks remain – robots executing a dangerous task. Pete has a meeting with the Couple – George (Geoffrey Arend) and Paloma (Carmela Zumbado) Ball. He tries to keep them distracted while the remainder of the magicians steal the world seed. However, he tells one white lie and a bellhop detects it instantaneously. Pete is given the boot from the hotel – sans his handy dandy suitcase. Uh oh. This is bad.
Meanwhile, The Balls head upstairs after hearing that a disturbance is afoot. Fogg 17 (Rick Worthy) stumbles upon Margo, Fen and Josh. He promptly restrains them. Eliot makes out with Alice and Kady as a distraction once he spots The Balls making a break for the escalator. Not gonna lie…it was pretty hot. That could be the quarantine talking, though. A bellhop spots the trio roaming the corridors and is suspicious of their motives. Alice trips, and the bottle housing her emotions breaks. Suddenly, she’s accosted by an onslaught of intense feelings. The bellhop has both Kady and Eliot hanging by their necks. Alice, in an effort to save her friends, bursts into a rendition of David Bowie‘s “Afraid.” Thankfully, she subdues the bellhop.
Next, The Balls find our heroes under strict supervision by Fogg 17. Fen reveals that, as a true Fillorian, she can aid The Couple with their mission to translate the plant page and harness the power of the world seed. They acquiesce and take her with them to their room. Kady heads off to find Margo, Josh and Fen. Eliot notices that Alice is feeling down in the dumps. Unsure of herself. Not to mention, undoubtedly terrified after her last encounter with George Ball. He drinks a sip of his emotions and the pair erupt into song. We hear “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel, and it’s the perfect song for this particular scenario. Even Marina and Zelda join in. I adore Eliot and Alice’s deep bond, especially after they both lost Quentin. It warms the cold cockles of my black heart.
Later, Penny reunites with his mother. Neela starts hearing voices again, which is indicative of Penny’s abilities having a hold on her. Apparently, Travelers have the capacity to pass on their gifts to their mothers when in close contact with them. She’s excited that Penny is going to be a father, but can’t come back into his life for fear she might lose her mind again. It’s a heartbreaking situation, that’s for sure. Meanwhile, Fen is with The Couple and attempting to translate the plant page, albeit poorly. She doesn’t want them to succeed, you know. Although their motive isn’t that insidious – they only wish to give birth to children after Paloma was cursed with infertility. Thus, with the world seed, they can create a new world in which they can thrive with a family.
Then, we see Kady is captured by Fogg 17. However, she spikes his flask with the same drug that sends one to the Etheric Realm. Fogg 17 promptly disappears after taking a swig. Good thinking! Kady has been on fire this episode. Now, Kady, Margo and Josh are free to find their friends. Now, Alice and Eliot discover from Marina that Pete f*cked up and was booted from the hotel. He was their means of escape. However, Alice has a plan – she surreptitiously sends a note with a spell out the window. Its intended target? We’ll find out soon!
Then, Marina’s ex-girlfriend storms into the apartment. Anna (Nishi Munshi) is irate with Marina for succumbing to the dark side…yet again. She breaks Marina’s conductor wand, which severs the latter’s connection to our crew in the hotel. Marina insists that she’s merely helping our magicians out. She has no actual stake in their plan. As the two are bickering, Marina blurts out that if Anna can’t accept her for who she is, then they’re through. You tell her, my precious sass factory!
Meanwhile, Julia meets with Neela after the latter’s interaction with Penny. Julia reveals that magic exists, and that Neela isn’t crazy. Neela is absorbing Penny’s magical powers when they come in contact with one another. However, Neela refuses to believe this. She remains stalwart in her resolve to have no part in Penny’s life…for her safety and his. Julia relays this to Penny, and reveals that they need only figure out a way to break that magical connection. It can be done, and Julia is the gal to do it!
Now, Eliot and Alice are in the basement adjusting the temperature to the hotel room wherein the world seed resides. They encounter another bellhop. Eliot chugs his emotions so he can harness some Hulk-like strength. Alice and Eliot burst into a rousing rendition of “I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones. This may be one of my favorite musical moments from this show. Although “Under Pressure” from Season 3 is still my number one. They knock the bellhop out before heading upstairs to join their friends.
Then, we see Kady, Margo and Josh also gulping down their emotions to go full Super Saiyan. Kady belts out a line, and I’ve been waiting this whole episode for her to join the singing fray. Boy, did she not disappoint. Tailor’s voice is superb. They take down a slew of bellhops before breaking into The Ball’s hotel room. Kady grabs hold of Paloma and pushes a blade against her throat. George notices that the thermostat cannot be moved up, despite the room only being a chilly 94 degrees, which is too cold for the seed. He snags Fen and also brandishes a knife to her throat. Thankfully, Margo urges the pair to drop their weapons. Right after they do so, she whips out a gun and shoots George in the hand. Like the badass boss she is. Go, Margo!
Now, our heroes search frantically for the seed. Fen reveals, in a cryptic manner, that she knows where the seed is. However, they have to leave at that moment. Kady and co. reunite with Eliot and Alice as the crew belts out “I Wanna Be Sedated” in tandem as an encore. God, I’m gonna miss this show. That’s when Fen reveals that the world seed is safe…up her you-know-what. It’s hot and humid there, you know. That’s our Fen – taking one for the team.
Next, our gang winds up on the roof of the Nave Hotel with seemingly no means of escape. Not so! We see Santa Claus a.k.a. Alice’s friend from Library jail emerge from the shadows on his sleigh. He’s flying through the night sky thanks to his reindeer and copious amounts of magic. Santa saves the day! I never thought I’d see the day when dancing pig lords and Santa Claus would be a thing, but this is The Magicians, after all. Nothing is impossible.
Now, that’s a motherforking musical episode, Fillorians. The Magicians was never one to shy away from taboo topics, frivolity, dry humor and just plain ol’ fun. We could use a heaping dose of escapism right now, and this series is the cure for what ails us all.
Do you think this is the last we’ll see of The Balls, or will they enact their revenge in next week’s series finale? Will our heroes successfully save Fillorians in time? Will Fogg 40 make a reappearance? Join me next week as I recap the final episode of The Magicians, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Magicians will air its series finale Wednesday April 1st at 10pm on your Syfy affiliate.