DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Magicians contains more spoilers than the number of twists in this very episode. Spoilers are twists, and twists are spoilers. Wrap your mind around that…I’ll wait. You’ve been warned. Prepare for your epic quest, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome back, Fillorians! The Magicians aired its season finale and, boy, was it a doozy. Our protagonists were able to salvage magic with the help of a fully-powered god Julia. So, yay to that! However, Fogg and the Library swooped in with their special siphon, granting them the ability to control magic. So, nay to that.
Not only are our heroes still bereft of their magical abilities, but they no longer remember who they are or each other thanks to Fogg’s memory zapping potion. Fogg, how could you betray our gang? How can you even look at yourself in the mirror with your newly restored eyesight? Oh, and the monster inside the Castle at the End of the World can jump bodies. Its current residency? Inside our dear Eliot! Not to mention, the Fairy Queen sacrificed herself for the good of her people, falling on Irene’s fairy-slaughtering blade. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.
Alright, ready to delve into “Will You Play With Me?” Just be sure to stash enough alcohol for Eliot and Margo. They require alcohol for mental stimulation, and generally putting up with other people’s antics.
We open with Quentin (Jason Ralph) regaling our heroes with the final chapter of the golden key saga. The old knight is still under lock and key in the castle courtesy of the formidable witch, but the knight’s daughter now possesses all seven keys meant to unlock his prison cell. She slips each key through the mouths of seven heads erected on the door of her father’s cell, and they disappear. However, once she’s within the keys reappear, as she now utilizes said keys to unlock seven chains restraining the old knight. Hmm. Eliot (Hale Appleman) comments that he’s sober enough to know that’s a storytelling flaw. Plot hole! Josh (Trevor Einhorn) ponders aloud if the whole story is simply metaphorical. Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) sulks in the corner. Even Kady (Jade Tailor) and Penny 23 (Arjun Gupta) are present.
Suddenly, Julia (Stella Maeve), our resident demigoddess, experiences a sensory overload as she hears a chorus of prayers rise up all around her. A new face swims into view – Iris (Madisen Beaty), a messenger god, arrives to inform Julia that she’s officially ascended to full-fledged god status. Get it, girl! Our Lady Underground (otherwise known as Persephone) has dubbed our Jules “Our Lady of the Trees,” which is rather fitting considering her restoration act of the forest in Fillory.
Now, it should be noted that book Julia morphed into a dryad, so I’m tickled pink to hear the subtle nod from Lev Grossman‘s trilogy. Anyway, Iris informs Julia that there’s much work to be done in the divinity field, so it’s time the latter say her goodbyes to her friends. Epic quest be damned! Iris dismisses Julia’s involvement in said quest, claiming that Quentin and co. will do just fine without her.
Next, we see Quentin and Julia having a touching moment prior to the latter’s ascension. Seriously, who keeps cutting onions in close proximity to me? They chuckle over Julia’s new name, “Our Lady of the Trees,” and it’s so refreshing to see our duo laugh for once. After everything they’ve been through, they deserve a much-needed chuckle. They share an embrace, exchange “I love yous” and with that…Julia disappears.
Later, Josh and Q are engaged in some heavy duty research when the former has an epiphany. Josh recalls seeing an illustration in the book with the witch, a table and various architectural tools. Perhaps the witch in this story is the architect Reynard was referring to. Bingo! Our group comes together to brainstorm, and my heart grew three sizes at the sight of everyone (well, minus Julia) together again. Sitting in the living room of the Physical Kids’ cottage, dressed in earthling clothes. Such a wave of nostalgia for simpler days. Anyway, they delve into architectural gods and discover Calypso. Now, where might Calypso be? At a tech company, of all places. Double bingo!
Then, our gang heads into NYC proper to meet with Calypso (Michaela McManus). Now, she blames them for Prometheus’ (Georgie Daburas) death, even though he perished long before our magicians ever came to be. Calypso launches into the origin story of the seven keys, and we see flashbacks of Prometheus essentially “Horcruxing” (that’s for all you Harry Potter fans) himself into said keys. Yes, all seven keys were created from Prometheus’ own godly flesh. Unfortunately, the act itself is what killed Prometheus. We also saw the beginning stages of Calypso crafting the Castle at the End of the World. Prometheus knew that one day humans would need to save magic. Thus, he created the “quest” so only the worthy could soldier on and restore magic. He loved humans deeply, and that was his downfall.
Next, Calypso reveals sketches of Fillory, and Castle Whitespire. So, where exactly is the Castle at the End of the World? It’s underneath Castle Whitespire. That’s right, the castle exists on the flip side of Fillory. Castle Blackspire! Now, the daughter of the knight still resides there, standing guard over the menacing creature within. You know, the one crafted by the gods that even they fear. Quentin and his friends just need to figure out how to break in. Should be a walk in the park, right?
Meanwhile, Fen (Brittany Curran) is acting High King while Margo (Summer Bishil) is away. Tick (Rizwan Manji) and the council approach Fen with matters of state, and she incessantly apologizes while simultaneously doling out orders. Fen is clearly nervous about all the responsibility heaped on her plate. The Fairy Queen (Candis Cayne) urges Fen to stop apologizing and firmly stand her ground. She is the voice of Margo, after all. Now, the Fairy Queen has a request for Acting High King Fen – discover who is slaughtering fairies. Six fairies are missing from the kingdom, and the Fairy Queen believes someone is to blame. Time to solve a mystery!
Next, Iris takes Julia to her “lab,” where the former crafts other worlds, answers prayers, twirls her umbrella in godlike fashion, etc. Julia is eager to create her own world, but is dismayed to discover her friends are still struggling to complete the quest. Iris urges Julia to ignore their cries, as the bond she shares with them will fade over time. However, our Jules is never one to ignore anyone’s pain…
Later, Q pops into Castle Blackspire for a visit courtesy of the magical boost Julia bestowed on him prior to disappearing. He meets Ora (Alexandra Metz), the knight’s daughter who still resides there. She’s shocked that he possesses magic, but he informs her it’s merely a “one-off.” He beseeches her help with gaining access to the castle. They have all the keys now and intend to restore magic once and for all. She agrees to help them, as long as they don’t disturb the creature within the walls.
Next, Quentin informs our gang that he used up his magical boost from Julia to correspond with Ora. Ora has agreed to open the door for them, but for a price. Quentin has volunteered to swap places with her, so she can finally rest. He will now be the sole guardian of the monster even the gods fear. Everyone protests at this, and Eliot suggests they utilize the god-killing bullet on the beast and be done with it. However, Q retorts that he promised Ora they would protect the monster. No tricks. Everyone reluctantly abides by Q’s wishes. I’m with Eliot on this – kill the beast.
Meanwhile, Fen disguises herself as a fairy and roams the wild woods of Fillory under cover of night. She encounters Gavin (Daniel Nemes), the traveling Librarian and Irene (Jaime Ray Newman). Apparently, they are responsible for the fairy murders. Not surprising, considering Irene is now bereft of fairy captives (and magical juice) herself. Also, it’s not surprising that Irene is working in tandem with the Library.
Next, the duo are sequestered away to Castle Whitespire, where the Fairy Queen decides to strike a deal with Irene and Gavin. She will offer herself to them, and in exchange they’ll leave the remainder of the fair folk alone. Our Fairy Queen possesses the power of 50 fairies, so Irene will have all the juice she desires and more. Irene and Gavin agree to the deal. Fen is distraught, convinced there’s another way to go about this. However, our Fairy Queen’s mind is made up. No! I’m just starting to like you now!
Later, Alice pays Fogg (Rick Worthy) a visit in his renovated Dean’s office. Newly restored eyesight, new man. She waves the bottle of fairy dust, admitting that her desire to use it again is overwhelming. She asks Fogg if he still possesses a memory erasure potion, one that will wipe her memories clean and craft a new persona for her. Fogg does, but he’s reluctant to give it to Alice. She’s the best magician he knows. However, Alice doesn’t wish to harbor all that power. Her time as a niffin changed her. Now she doesn’t think anyone should have access to an exorbitant amount of magic. Fogg hands over the potion, resigned.
Then, we see Fogg strolling inside the Brakebills library. The Head Librarian (Mageina Tovah) is waiting for him. He wishes to discuss his end of the bargain. Uh oh. Fogg is in cahoots with the Library! Betrayer!
Next, our crew is soaring through the air on The Muntjac, heading for Castle Blackspire. Alice divulges her plans to Q, and how she hopes to erase all memory of her time as a magician. The potion will especially help with her sorrow over Quentin taking permanent residency in an essentially underground castle. Kill two birds with one stone, as it were. Our former lovebirds still love each other madly, and launch into one last horizontal tango as a show of said love. Let’s get it on…one last time.
Meanwhile, the Fairy Queen is strapped to a table, preparing for her inevitable death. Irene and Gavin are looming above her, various instruments of torture in hand. Our Queen gets in one last jab at Irene, claiming that at least she’ll die a queen and not a desperate little girl like the last McAllister. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. We’ll miss you and your bad*** ways.
Later, our gang makes it to Castle Blackspire, and it looks like Mordor from Lord of the Rings. Quentin meets Ora in person this time, and she takes him to where the monster dwells. She spends most of her time playing games with him, showering him with affection. He craves love, apparently. Interesting. The monster in question (Spencer Daniels), the mistake of the gods, steps out of the shadows. His eyes glow a burning yellow, and he asks Quentin if he will play with him. Q procures a deck of cards and tosses them about. Suddenly, Eliot fires the god-killing bullet, and it pierces the monster’s chest. The monster falls backward, lifeless, and Q is enraged that Eliot would do such a thing. Hey, Eliot did what had to be done.
Next, our crew takes each key in hand and places them in seven locks erected around a fountain. Suddenly Alice, who’s hopped up on the fairy juice she initially struggled with not inhaling, uses a burst of magic to melt the keys. Everyone is furious with her. Come on, Alice! Get with the magic restoring program! However, Alice cites that no human should have access to magic, and that it belongs with the gods. Everyone experiences an overwhelming surge of resigned defeat, particularly Quentin who invested so much of his soul into this quest.
Then, Julia defies Iris’ suggestions of ignoring her friends and arrives at Castle Blackspire. She restrains Alice with the flick of her hand. Then, she pulls a Prometheus. She creates seven keys from her own body, Voldemort-ing it all over the place. Well, except she’s good. Of course, this could potentially kill our newly crowned god. Julia’s screams increase with each new key that’s forged, but finally all seven are crafted. Penny 23 rushes to her side and holds her steady. Now, our gang places all seven keys back in the locks surrounding the fountain. Suddenly, ice blue water flows aplenty. Back in the Library, the Head Librarian notices her fountain also flows with magic. Success! Everyone shares a moment of pure bliss, of an intangible weight that’s been lifted off their shoulders.
However, this success is shortlived. Irene, Gavin and Fogg appear. Gavin barges forward and places the siphon on the crown of the fountain, absorbing all the magic within. Now, it belongs to the Library. Our heroes watch helplessly, restrained courtesy of Irene. Fogg waltzes forward with the memory erasure potion in hand. Uh oh. S**t just keeps hitting the fan.
Next, we see that Brakebills is restored to its former glory, with classes back in session. However, their own magical reserves, bestowed via the Library, are in short supply. Fogg pays the Head Librarian a visit, asking for more magical juice. She claims the Library will honor his request in time. He also asks to see Alice, who is being held captive for breaking her deal with the Library. Fogg notices a frantic Alice pacing back and forth in her cell. She claims that the monster within Blackspire is not deceased – rather, it can jump bodies. She saw it jump into Ora’s body after Eliot shot it. Alice fears for her friends, who are now living in the real world without magic and bereft of their memories. Fogg insists that they’re safe, dismissing Alice’s fears.
Now, we see Josh pick up Margo from the airport, who now goes by Janet. Another trilogy reference that makes my heart sing. Margo is actually called Janet in The Magicians books. Of course, all of our magicians have completely different personas now, thanks to Fogg’s potion. Julia is an art teacher. Kady is dealing drugs. Penny 23 is a DJ at a club, sporting some serious scruff that I’m a huge fan of.
Lastly, Quentin is roaming through a library, coffee and books in hand. His name is now Brian. He runs into Eliot on the street, who calls the former by his real name. Eliot badgers Q to show him a card trick. Q is, rightly so, alarmed at this stranger referring to him by a strange name. Eliot stalks Q down the street, and we see that he’s not really Eliot at all. Our El has been overtaken by the monster from Blackspire – the body-shifting monster feared by all. He hopes to recruit Q to join his cause – to exact vengeance on those who wronged him. Yup, s**t has hit the fan tenfold.
The Magicians truly outdid itself this season. So many wonderful twists and turns in the finale alone! This season was a truly magical exploration of different facets – time travel, gods, fairies, etc. The Magicians raised the bar and soared over it. Margo is the MVP of the season for me, with Bishil giving a truly mesmerizing, nuanced performance. Margo’s rise to High King and her resounding strength is an inspiration to women everywhere. Not to mention, Cayne delivered a beautifully layered performance as the Fairy Queen, and I’ll miss seeing her in Fillory. Now, I have so many questions on where Season 4 will take us, but one question booms louder than the rest: where is our Penny? What is he doing in the Underworld? Will he eventually resurface on Earth?
How long do you think it will take our gang to remember who they are? What exactly does the monster inhabiting Eliot want? Does Julia still possess god powers, or are they lost in the ether forever? Will the Library punish Alice in other ways for her crime? And will the Library continue to maintain its iron grip on magic? So many questions, and Season 4 is a year away! I suppose we’ll have to binge watch Seasons 1-3 of The Magicians to heal that magic-sized hole in our collective heart.
The Magicians will return for Season 4 in 2019 on your SyFy affiliate.
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