DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Magicians contains more spoilers than the number of times Eliot and Margo throw out pop culture references at any given moment. Our High King and Queen sure do love them some earthly pop culture. You’ve been warned. Enter at your own risk.
Welcome back, Fillorians! Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, The Magicians returned to us. SyFy’s magical darling pulled no punches in its season premiere. Remember that fantastic trailer from a few months ago? The Powers that Be certainly delivered on their promise of en epic quest. Margo and Eliot dealt with a fairy invasion, while blessing us with a scene saturated in pop culture references as only they can. Quentin and Julia partied hard with Bacchus, the god (in this case) of revelry, in the hopes of acquiring answers from him regarding the old gods. Penny is still dying. However, Kady may finally have the tools to save him, so yay Team Save Penny! Alice is still on the run from the lamprey. We know this because she’s consuming on-the-run diner bacon.
Alright, ready to delve into “The Tales of the Seven Keys?” Just be sure to take a few jello shots with Bacchus. He gets very offended if one does not imbibe while in his presence.
We open with Quentin (Jason Ralph) and Julia (Stella Maeve) attempting to harness the latter’s tiny spark of magic via spell work. Hopefully, if they’re successful, they can utilize whatever she has to bring magic back. Julia surmises that Our Lady Underground accidentally left a trace of magic whenever she touched the former. Quentin believes Reynard may have had something to do with it. Regardless, they’re ready and willing to explore this further. To Fillory and beyond! Quentin reveals that Julia lit a much needed fire under his bum, and he’s more than willing to be her trusty sidekick in this quest.
Meanwhile, Penny (Arjun Gupta) wakes up bound in a chair in a mystery man’s basement. Penny reveals he’s here on business from The Order. Mystery man has an overdue library book, and Penny has come to collect. Seriously, The Order of The Neitherlands doesn’t mess around when it comes to overdue books. Penny notices an apparatus in the corner that reeks of Mayakovsky’s work. If you recall, the Brakebills South professor was attempting to create a battery that could house massive amounts of magic. Penny informs mystery man that Mayakovsky’s project failed. Mystery man takes it a step further and blames the professor for everything – magic being zapped entirely, for starters. During his tirade, Penny spots the overdue library book in question. He “travels” out of his restraints, much to the surprise of his captor. Then, like a boss, Penny travels out of the room with said book in tow.
Later, Penny pays Kady (Jade Tailor) a visit. She’s sitting forlornly outside a diner, smoking. Essentially, she’s the poster child for every 20 something ever. Kady is taken aback at the sight of her boyfriend, considering he’s still dying and cannot afford to expend his energies travelling. However, Penny just really wanted to do the horizontal tango in the backseat of her car. Priorities. Anyway, Kady sends him packing. He needs to spend what little time he has left resting.
Then, we’re in Fillory. Eliot (Hale Appleman) and Margo (Summer Bishil) are holding court at Castle Whitespire. Apparently, Fillory is still broke. Eliot refuses to make any sound decisions on an empty stomach, so he dismisses the council for lunch. A man after my own heart. We see the Fairy Queen (Candis Cayne) is sitting next to Margo, along with her own court. Of course, she’s only visible to our High King and Queen. Meanwhile, Fen (Brittany Curran) is cradling a log, having gone a bit off her rocker. We see she has wooden toes in place of the real toes the Fairy Queen snatched. Wooden replacements are all the rage in Fillory.
Next, the Fairy Queen gives Margo a task. Collect a special breed of earthworms that only thrive in the soil surrounding Whitespire. Margo retorts that she’s trying to save a kingdom from starvation and doesn’t have time for petty games. However, the Fairy Queen is insistent and is an expert at serving thinly veiled threats. Margo reluctantly acquiesces.
Meanwhile, Penny returns to The Neitherlands library very much the worse for the wear. The Librarian (Mageina Tovah) retrieves the overdue book from Penny and orders he rest. Since time doesn’t exist in The Neitherlands, there’s a chance Penny may be able to prolong his life. The Librarian asks him how things are going in the outside world. Penny replies that the universe, now deprived of magic, has gone to poo. Well, I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist.
Later, we see Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy) heading to his office at Brakebills. Irene McAllistair (Jaime Ray Newman), a member of the school board, awaits him. She urges Fogg to find answers to the magical blackout, and find them quickly. Fogg agrees that solving the magical crisis is of the utmost importance, but continuing to teach magical theory at Brakebills is also crucial. Otherwise, even theory may disappear. Irene informs him that the school board is considering closing Brakebills. That’s what’s at stake here. Operation Save Brakebills is a go!
Meanwhile, Quentin reveals his plan to speak with the old gods to Julia. It’s a shot in the dark, of course, but that’s all our heroes have at this point. He hopes to start with the lesser gods and work his way up. Josh (Trevor Einhorn) arrives on the scene and offers to help our duo with their mission. Josh to the rescue!
Next, Harriet (Marlee Matlin) meets Kady with a gift – a book that may hold the cure to Penny’s “worse than cancer” terminal illness. Of course, Kady owes Harriet big time for all the trouble the latter went through to procure said book. Finally, a ray of hope in this bleak, magic-less new world.
Then, we see Margo set one of her guards on the task of digging up the special earthworms for the Fairy Queen. Pleased with her ability to delegate, Margo meets Eliot so they can, you know, manage their kingdom. However, the Fairy Queen appears and is displeased that Margo did not unearth the worms herself. The Fairy Queen expressly wanted her hands to do it, otherwise she won’t keep them. Again with the threats! After the Fairy Queen leaves, Margo and Eliot launch into action mode, hoping to discover a way to boot out their unwanted fairy guests.
Meanwhile, Quentin, Josh and Julia arrive at a house party. Apparently, Josh has been partying with Bacchus, the god of revelry. Said god throws massive parties that can last for weeks. Bacchus (Ryan McDonald) ushers Josh inside with open arms, but promptly rejects Quentin and Julia. He urges them to return when they’re “more fun.” Meaning drunk, of course.
Later, Rafe (Sergio Osuna) reveals critical information to Eliot. There’s a special kind of fairy repellent stone that exists within Castle Whitespire. It was forged many years ago by another Child of Earth. Perhaps our King and Queen can use said stone to drive out their fairy guests? Eliot meets with Margo and they discuss their options. Strangely, all books on killing fairies have disappeared from their library. Eliot muses on whether Loria is aware of the fairy invasion in Fillory. Perhaps he can send a message to King Idri for assistance.
Next, Eliot and Margo enter the throne room to find the Fairy Queen waiting for them. She is well aware of their plans to expel her. Eliot notices Margo’s eyeball adorning the Fairy Queen’s wrist like a bracelet. The Fairy Queen urges them not to disrespect or underestimate her again. Eliot and Margo inform her they’re going to take a good, long walk so they can ruminate on their actions.
Meanwhile, Q and Julia are lounging about on the staircase outside Bacchus’ party. They’re inebriated, getting drunk all in the name of saving magic. How noble of them. Bacchus, of course, allows them entry now that they’re sloshed. We see a party filled with debauchery and, well, revelry. Bacchus materializes shots out of thin air for our duo. He knows they’re magicians. Quentin tries to pester the god with questions of the old gods and bringing magic back. However, Bacchus urges them to drink and party. He slips Q a pill that triggers a massive trip.
During said trip, Quentin flashes back to a memory of Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) leaving him. She claims she thought she could sleep with him and pretend all is normal. However, Alice still can’t forgive him. Of course, we know she’s really trying to escape the lamprey, who she royally pissed off when she was a niffin.
Next, we see Julia is also forging ahead on a trip of her own. She lays down on a mattress and hallucinates Reynard (Mackenzie Astin) beside her. Utterly shaken by the hallucination, Julia wanders into another room and sits with Josh. Josh explains that without magic, life is pointless for him. Magic was his whole life, as it was for all of our magicians. Julia is touched by Josh’s honest, vulnerable display of emotion. She creates a smoke ring out of nothing, a trivial magical trick. However, it instills a great deal of hope in our Josh. Julia vows that they will bring magic back.
Then, Quentin pulls Julia aside after her smoke ring act. He urges her not to show off in front of anyone, lest they try to do anything to jeopardize their mission. Julia just wanted to give Josh hope, just like General Organa to a galaxy ravaged by the First Order.
Later, we see Eliot and Margo on their walk. What unfolds is, hands down, the best scene in the entire episode. They begin spit balling on how to fix their fairy problem, but they’re conversing in pop culture references from Earth. What Fillorian would understand references to Battlestar Galactica and Game of Thrones? We see the translations of said references on screen. Of course, they refer to the Fairy Queen as Cersei Lannister. Margo is Grace Park‘s character from Season 1 of Battlestar Galactica, meaning she’s an unwitting spy of sorts. The Fairy Queen knows of everything they’re doing because of Margo’s eyeball, which is enchanted to view the world from our High Queen’s perspective. After this revelation, they use a Harry Potter reference to ask what Quentin would do. They decide to reach out to him. God, I love this show so much.
Next, Eliot is out with Tick Pickwick (Rizwan Manji), attempting to hunt down The White Lady. If you recall, Quentin and Penny hunted her down last season to procure a series of wishes from the magical creature. Eliot intends to do the same – to wish for driving out the fairies. Solid plan, my King.
Meanwhile, Quentin finally gets Bacchus alone and reveals his mission to bring back magic. Of course, Bacchus reveals the futility of said mission. Then, he talks of Prometheus, a god he met in Athens that loved magicians and would probably want to help Quentin. However, that was a millennia ago and Prometheus is now dead. Way to get our hopes up, Bacchus!
Then, Eliot thinks he spots The White Lady and brandishes his bow and arrow at the ready. However, another creature steps into the light. He reveals he’s The Great Cock of the Darkling Woods (Faran Tahir). His massive feathers protrude outward like a majestic peacock. He ushers Eliot into an opulent dining area in the middle of the Darkling Woods. He wishes to hear Eliot’s petition, whatever that may entail. Eliot informs The Great Cock of his desire to procure wishes from The White Lady. However, The Great Cock reveals a problem far greater than fairies exists – the lack of magic. He’ll send Eliot and his friends on an epic quest to save all of magic, which will in turn solve the fairy problem.
Now, Eliot has no way of contacting Quentin and company. Fear not, says The Great Cock. He must procure the book without an author from the public library in New Jersey. Said book will contain the knowledge necessary to tracking down seven keys that will bring back magic. Huzzah!
Later, Eliot finds Rafe and Abigail the Sloth speaking in hushed tones at Castle Whitespire. They discuss the messenger abilities of rabbits, and how the Fairy Queen uses them to send messages between worlds. Eliot sends a bunny to Earth for Quentin and Julia, with a message asking for assistance. From now on, I will only use bunnies to communicate with my friends and family.
Next, we see Julia emerging from the public library in New Jersey with the prized book in tow. Said book is indeed The Tale of the Seven Keys. Quentin is overjoyed at the prospect of their epic quest. They’re bringing magic back!
Then, Eliot and Rafe, amidst a sea of rabbits, pinpoint the exact bunny sent by Quentin and Julia. Rafe reveals that Eliot’s quest will take him to After Island, a land beyond the borders of Fillory. The sea surrounding said island is notorious for sinking boats containing royalty, and wishes ill upon the Children of Earth. However, Fen arrives on the scene and knows perfect the boat Eliot can use. Fen to the rescue!
Meanwhile, we’re at a diner back on Earth. A vampire is feeding off Alice’s wrist within. This is the first we’ve really seen other supernatural creatures in action on this show. In exchange for blood, the vampire gives Alice information on how to evade the lamprey. Since she can’t do magic, he suggests she get an alarm system to keep on her person at all times. It’ll notify her when the lamprey is close by, and hopefully give her ample time to run. After the vampire leaves, Alice orders a plate of bacon in the diner and forlornly munches away. Our former niffin is on the run.
Thank the deceased Ember and Umber that The Magicians is back, and better than ever! Its absence left a Fillory-shaped hole where my heart used to be. And, judging by the rock solid premiere, this season is shaping up to be one of epic proportions. Everyone is in top form here, and every loose thread from last season was given the attention it deserved.
Do you think Eliot will be able to rally everyone to his cause? Will Kady truly be able to save Penny from certain death? How will Margo and Eliot prevent the Fairy Queen from discovering their plans, since the latter possesses Margo’s eyeball? Will Alice successfully evade the lamprey, or will she turn to her former friends for help? Can we expect Margo to go full ’07 Britney as promised? 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.