DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Magicians episode “A Flock of Lost Birds” contains more spoilers than the number of times Margo has donned a fashionable eye patch. Only our High King Margo the Destroyer could make such a statement with grace. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, Fillorians! The Magicians finally made Wednesdays magical again. The Season 4 premiere reminded me just how weird and wonderful this series is. Our protagonists are living their lives on Earth sans memories and the knowledge of magic. However, Kady (aka Sam) began to peel back the layers of her orchestrated life, slowly learning of her true identity as a bad*** battle magician. Thankfully, Marina 23 stepped in to save the day. Meanwhile, Alice made a new companion while locked away in the Library. You may know him as Santa, but he prefers to be called Nick. Yes, Santa Claus is a magician, and this is now cannonically true.
Alright, ready to delve into “A Flock of Lost Birds?” Just be sure to supply Eliot/The Monster with as many sprinkled confections as possible. Lives depend on it.
We open with a mysterious blonde woman in NYC stumbling upon the entrance to Brakebills in the same fashion as Quentin Coldwater. She meets Todd (Adam DiMarco) outside the university, who is attempting to emulate Eliot Waugh’s effortless swagger…and failing. Oh Todd. He escorts her inside for her test. Kim sits down to take the entrance exam. Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy) and Professor Lipson (Keegan Connor Tracy) notice that she’s failing every subject in said exam. However, Fogg believes her to be a valuable asset as she “shorted the globe” with immense untapped power. She’s got potential. He studies her through a shard of glass meant to examine wards, and we see it’s really Julia (Stella Maeve) underneath the disguise. Plot twist!
Meanwhile, Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) is sequestered away inside her cell at the Library. Zelda (Mageina Tovah) enters with her lunch, and urges Alice to eat it this time. But our Alice is stubborn and resistent. Zelda tries to convince the latter that she’s really not a prisoner. Alice has the whole Library at her disposal, and what could be better than an overabundance of literature? After Zelda leaves we hear another prisoner talking aloud to Alice.
Next, Fogg meets with Zelda to review the next crop of Brakebills students. Now the Library must oversee and approve any new entries into the magical college. For the good of society, of course.
Later, we see Kady (Jade Tailor), aka Sam Cunningham, working as a detective in Seattle. She too physically appears to be someone else, but we’re privy to her real appearance. She stumbles upon a hedge witch criminal who’s donning a mysterious amulet, one meant to ward off ominous spellwork. Kady notices that every time she or the hedge witch mentions magic something short circuits around her. It’s almost as if the universe is preventing her from discovering magic.
Meanwhile, Margo (Summer Bishil), aka Janet, works as a fashion editor at a publication called HipBone. Margo’s assistant gives her an eye patch for her “wonky eye,” courtesy of an optometrist. If you’ll recall, the Fairy Queen bestowed a newly minted eyeball upon Margo in Season 3. It’s a fairy eye, highly advanced by way of sight. Margo falls asleep at her desk and dreams of Fillory. In said dream, she’s in her throne room before Ember (Dominic Burgess). Ember, despite being dead, is sent as an “alarm” to notify Margo of impending danger. However, Margo/Janet hasn’t the slightest clue of what that entails, nor does she know why Ember keeps referring to her as “King.” Margo wakes up confused and utterly bewildered in her office.
Next, we see Kady in her office searching herself on the internet, which is something I’ve definitely not done (yes, I have). She notices a comic book titled “A Flock of Lost Birds – A Sam Cunningham Story” pops up. Her whole life story is scribes within the pages. The author is unknown. This isn’t strange at all.
Then, Kady tracks down Margo at her office. She explains to the latter that Janet is also in the comic book. Initially, Margo is reticent to believe this stranger, however she changes her tune when the lights begin to short and the universe appears to implode whenever Kady mentions magic. That, and Margo’s incredulous dreams about the the goat dude. Oh, and her wonky eye. In short, things be crazy.
Meanwhile, Julia is ushered into Fogg’s office. She’s concerned that she’ll never have a proper magical focus i.e. Physical, Natural, Knowledge, etc. Fogg urges her to continue with her studies, and regales her with a story of when he classified Julia as a Knowledge student in another timeline. Of course, he knows that Kim really is Julia.
Later, Alice is conversing with her cell neighbor, who turns out to be Santa. Yes, that Santa. I want it to be universally known that Santa Claus is a magician who wound up in Library jail for attempting to steal a risky spell from the Poison Room. St. Nick is a bona fide bad***. He urges Alice to keep her head up, to never lose hope. However, Zelda later discovers Alice has slit her wrists and is slowly bleeding out on her cell floor. Thankfully, the Library was able to hastily pull Alice back from the brink of death. Zelda encourages Alice to embrace all that the Library has to offer. We also see Alice shove a cockroach in her mouth for an inexplicable, hopefully to be explained later reason. Maybe it tastes like chicken?
Then, Alice is healed of her wounds and returned to her shabby cell. We see her spit the cockroach back up and place it into a bowl. Nick chastises her for contemplating suicide, but Alice was merely exploring her options for escape.
Next, Margo is informed by her assistant that Kady is in the building…with some friends. It’s Penny 23 (Arjun Gupta) aka DJ Hansel and Josh (Trevor Einhorn) aka Isaac the Uber driver! Both men are also ascribed within the comic book’s pages. Kady hopes to track down the elusive author and shake them up for information. Suddenly, Marina 23 (Kacey Rohl) steps out of the shadows and offers her assistance. God, I missed my sass factory.
Later, we see Eliot (Hale Appleman) aka the Monster holding Quentin (Jason Ralph) aka Brian the teacher hostage. They’re standing in front of an ice cream truck, and Eliot has slain the employee within for not giving him a generous helping of sprinkles on his ice cream. Quentin has already learned how to appease Eliot – by playing games with him. Eliot vows to slaughter his friends, despite Quentin not knowing who his “friends” are. How ominous!
Meanwhile, Marina 23 brings our crew back to her lavish apartment. She poses them in a circle and attempts a hefty spell to reveal their true identities. We see it start to work, but unfortunately the wards utilized to shield our heroes are too powerful. Suddenly, Margo is reeled back into the throne room at Fillory. She stands before Ember, who incessantly insists that Margo must face the impending danger to her kingdom. Finally, Margo reveals that she’s on Earth, in Manhattan. Ember then zaps her to Fillory proper. Margo wakes up in one of the forests of Fillory, utterly confused as to how she arrived there.
What a cliffhanger, Fillorians! The Magicians has always been adept at keeping us on the edge of our seats. While the majority of this episode was on the slower side, it was merely establishing the groundwork for what’s surely to be a Grade A season. The stakes are incredibly high, especially with Eliot/the Monster promising to wreak havoc on our heroes, who are currently bereft of their memories. I’m also curious to see where Alice’s story goes this season. My body is ready, y’all.
Do you think the magicians will recover their identities soon? How will Margo get back home? Will Julia and Quentin reunite with the remainder of our crew? 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.