DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Magicians series finale “Fillory and Further” contains more spoilers than the amount of ingredients in Josh’s inimitable ham sandwich. Just call him the Sandwich Connoisseur. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, Fillorians! Well, it’s happened. We’re officially at the end of The Magicians. “Fillory and Further” marked the last episode ever, and I’m a hot mess. All aboard the Hot Mess Express, folks. I’ll be your conductor for your impending journey. This episode brilliantly summarized what The Magicians is all about – acceptance. Learning to love every inch of yourself. Embracing every facet of who you are… the good and the bad. Alice referred to this as controlling your “Inner Circumstances,” since as magicians it’s damn near impossible to harness Outer Circumstances. We’re all of us imperfect and infallible in equal measure. But anyway, enough of my rambling. Babies were born! Worlds were destroyed! Worlds were created! We were also visited by an old friend – Martin Chatwin, a.k.a. The Beast. How fitting that he’s in the pilot episode and the final episode.
Alright, ready to delve into “Fillory and Further?” Let’s get to it.
We open with Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) stumbling into the living room of our heroes’ New York apartment. She finds it bedecked in all things Christmas. There’s a Christmas tree! Personalized stockings! Oh, and Old Saint Nick (Tom Wright) wrapping up gifts. Ho, ho, ho indeed.
Santa reveals that no, it’s not December. However, he doesn’t think the magicians will last ’til Christmas proper with their living-on-the-edge lifestyle. Nick also reveals that he already gave Alice her gift – it was the world seed page from Quentin’s belongings. He planted it in Q’s desk drawer as a present to Alice. This was her quest – not Quentin’s. Then, we see Josh (Trevor Einhorn) and Margo (Summer Bishil) stir from their slumber. Margo delivers one of my favorite lines ever: “What in the pumpkin spice f*ck?” God, I’m gonna miss her. Eliot (Hale Appleman), Julia (Stella Maeve), Penny (Arjun Gupta), Fen (Brittany Curran) and Zelda (Mageina Tovah) join our group to open their gifts. Santa disappears.
All appear to be satisfied with their presents. Penny and Julia received baby stuff, Fen a knife sharpener, Margo a necklace, Eliot a bracelet, Zelda a pipe and Josh a… something I don’t quite comprehend. Of course, some of the gifts are vague in their potential usefulness, but knowing Santa they’ll play a vital role in the events to come.
Now, Eliot rallies our crew together to formulate a game plan after a bunny from Fillory seemingly falls from the sky. Basically, sh*t is going down in our favorite otherworldly realm. Alice, Fen and Zelda are Team World Seed. They’ll sequester it away to the Neitherlands library for safekeeping. Meanwhile, Margo, Eliot and Josh will take Umber’s seahorse ark and activate it in Fillory. Thus “rapturing” all Fillorians into said ark. Then, they’ll go to the Time Dwarf who lives deep within Whitespire and urge him to turn back time as far as it will go. This will decimate Fillory. Oh, and Julia’s water will break. Okay, so that wasn’t part of the plan, but her water does break. It’s baby time!
Later, we see Kady (Jade Tailor) bring a shell-shocked Fogg 40 (Rick Worthy) into the Brakebills infirmary. Yay! I knew she would save him from the Etheric Realm. As it turned out, when she sent psychopathic Fogg 17 to said realm, it spit our Fogg out. Apparently, two versions of one person cannot coexist, even in a place like the Etheric Realm. This screwed up our Fogg’s cognitive abilities, thus the shell shock. Lipson (Keegan Connor Tracy) oversees him, but not before Julia goes into full-on labor.
Meanwhile, Eliot and Margo try to convince Hyman (Dustin Ingram) to be their Traveler – the one who whisks all Fillorians to the new world created post-Fillory. He’s not on board, especially if Fillory debris hits his precious head. Charlton (Spencer Daniels) pops up in Eliot’s head and urges the latter to proposition Hyman. What’s the proposition, you ask? Allow Charlton to take possession of Hyman’s body so the perv can return to the astral plane. Hyman emphatically agrees to this arrangement. Being tethered to a poop and humiliation machine bites the big one. Thus, Charlton will have to learn how to travel properly.
However, it proves more difficult than Charlton anticipated. The switch successfully goes off without a hitch, and we see the devious Hyman loitering about the astral plane once again. Charlton fails to harness his new abilities in time, so Margo makes the executive decision to forge ahead into Fillory without him. Eliot and Josh follow suit.
Now, we see Rafe (Sergio Osuna) spying on the Dark King, a.k.a. Rupert Chatwin (Sean Maguire), in Fillory. Naturally, the Dark King is putting the finishing touches on breaking the barrier between the living world and the Underworld. Rafe sends a bunny to Eliot, Margo and Josh. He urges them to hurry it up. We see our trio in Whitespire with a document containing a census of all beings in Fillory. Josh activates the seahorse ark, and we see the “rapture” happening in real time. Everyone vanishes and is deposited into said ark… including Eliot. Wait, what? Eliot isn’t even Fillorian.
Next, we see Rupert was the one who made Eliot disappear. He needs our El to perform the spell necessary to open the door between the living world and the Underworld. He does as he’s bid, despite his reticence. We see Lance Morrison emerge, and Rupert is beside himself with glee. However, it proves to be an illusion. Suddenly, we see Lance disappear. Martin Chatwin, a.k.a. The Beast (Charles Mesure), remains in his stead. Uh oh. Martin reveals that he was toying with Rupert all along.
Apparently, Lance passed on a handful of centuries ago. Martin recognizes Eliot and immediately uses magic to break the latter’s arms. Rupert whisks Eliot away before Martin can enact more damage. Then, Martin leads the undead pouring into the living world as they plan to overtake Fillory. I didn’t realize how much I missed Mesure’s presence on this show until this episode. I feel we’ve come full circle, Fillorians.
Then, our heroes in the Neitherlands are ambushed by Fogg as he steals the world seed. Kady goes after him, leaving Alice, Fen and Zelda alone to wait for her return. However, we hear Martin singing in the distance, and Alice is bewildered to find the villain she killed revived from the dead. We see Martin and his lackeys give the trio chase, but they hide away in a room warded out the bum with spells. Zelda urges Alice and Fen to find the Earth fountain and return home.
Meanwhile, she’ll stay in the Library and enact PermaFrost, which will seal off all fountains so Martin has nowhere to go. Zelda and Alice share a tearful goodbye. Zelda reveals that, when Librarians die, it’s not truly the end. They’re simply transferred to another branch. Perhaps she’ll see Penny 40 again. Anyway, she also urges Alice to look within herself to complete the world seed spell. Inner Circumstances are the only thing a magician can truly control, even if only one of their hands is operable for casting.
Next, after Alice and Fen leave, we see Martin bust down the door. Zelda seals off the fountains with a flourish, leaving Martin and his crew mere seconds to find the Fillory fountain before it’s impeded forever. He artfully slaughters Zelda before taking his leave. RIP to the best Librarian around. Hats off to Tovah for giving such a nuanced and memorable performance.
Then, we see Rupert and Eliot are somewhat safe within Castle Whitespire. Rupert heals Eliot’s arms with a spell, but urges the latter to refrain from casting for a while. Eliot reveals that the grand plan was to kill Rupert before he opened the doors for the undead. Suddenly, we hear a clamor arising in the distance. Most likely, it’s Martin preparing to take over Fillory. Eliot and Rupert part ways.
Meanwhile, Julia gives birth to a healthy baby girl. Success! Lipson prepares to sever the psychic link between mother and child. However, unhinged Fogg bursts into the infirmary and brusquely cuts the link with a knife. Julia’s body goes into shock. Then, Kady follows Fogg in pursuit and knocks him unconscious like the bada** battle magician she is. Penny later learns from Lipson that Julia’s unconscious, and her organs are shutting down. We see Plum (Riann Steele) emerge with food for Penny. Her job in all this was to aid in turning back the clock with her time-traveling abilities. Penny tries to persuade her to wind back time to save Julia from dying.
However, Plum reveals that they tried all of this before. Apparently, there’s another time loop at play. This current timeline is the “do-over,” since they failed the first time to get everything right. Plum divulges that she tried to prevent Martin from entering the Neitherlands, but she was too late. In addition, the mission in Fillory goes terribly awry. She made a few changes to this current do-over. But Fogg severing that psychic link was unprecedented… and unexpected. Penny gets the bright idea to consult him, since he knows a thing or two about time loops.
Now, we also see a flashback to the Clock Barrens, wherein Plum and Penny pay a visit to the former’s grandmother – Jane Chatwin (Esme Bianco). She was the one who had the idea for a time loop, as it’s also the only way to avoid being entrapped by Eliphus again. Penny and Plum reveal that they’re destroying Fillory, thus inadvertently killing Jane as well. Jane, in turn, reveals that the Clock Barrens will remain unaffected by Fillory’s destruction. It’ll just be more difficult to find her. Oh, and she’s currently pregnant with Plum’s mother, which is pretty trippy.
Next, Penny and Plum reconnect with Fogg. Lipson enacts a spell that’ll make Fogg coherent… as long as he’s holding a tabby cat that absorbs his “crazy.” Thus, said cat will also go “crazy” from the physical touch. Fogg holds the cat, and we see our favorite university dean emerge from the cognitive mayhem. He reveals that he stole the world seed to prevent Martin breaking into the Neitherlands, since he discovered that they were in a time loop. He also cut Julia’s psychic link, since he knew it killed her the first time around. Then, the gang realizes that said link can be connected to a magician powerful enough to take on psychic Traveler abilities. Hence, they connect the child to Daddy Penny. Success! Oh, and Julia will heal just fine.
Meanwhile, Alice, Fen and Kady find the world seed in one of the labs. They begin preparing for the world creation spell. Back in Fillory, Eliot reunites with Josh and Margo as they prepare to meet the Time Dwarf. Initially, Margo informed the duo of a “shortcut” she frequently used when she was High King. However, now, she reveals that she duped them. She plans on going down the slide to meet the Time Dwarf herself, rolling back the clock, and thus dying with Fillory. Cue the uninhibited onslaught of tears. No, I’m not cutting onions. Damn it, Margo. Naturally, Josh and Eliot are resistant to this plan, but they know better than to stop Margo from doing anything once she sets her mind to it. She jumps down the slide armed with Josh’s ham sandwich to entice the Time Dwarf.
Next, Julia wakes up and is on the mend with Penny faithfully at her side. Lipson brings out their baby girl. Penny holds her, and we see their psychic link in action. Penny voices Julia’s thoughts aloud. Yes, they can name their baby Hope. Oh, and her middle name can be Quentin. God, my heart. Hope Quentin Adiyodi-Wicker. I’m game! Penny reveals that his connection is only secured when he’s holding Hope. Julia muses on what else Penny can do while holding their child. Hmm.
Later, we see Margo arrive at the Time Dwarf’s lair. She gave her fairy eye to Josh ensconced within the necklace she received from Santa. That way, she can literally keep an eye on Josh and Eliot to ensure they make it home safely. The Time Dwarf was “raptured,” so Margo realizes she must turn back the clock herself. She pulls a giant lever and proceeds to munch on Josh’s ham sandwich. Josh and Eliot head home with the seahorse ark. The seahorse within is now pregnant with all the “raptured” Fillorians. We see Fillory destroyed. Like, fire and brimstone sh*t. Debris cascades all around Margo. No! I don’t want her to die!
Now, we’re in Castle Whitespire as it’s razed to the ground. Martin encounters Rupert in the throne room. He’s more than irked that Fillory is dying. Just when he finally broke out from the Underworld! Curses! We see pillars falling, and it’s safe to assume that both of them perish amidst the wreckage.
Next, we see Penny swoop in to the Time Dwarf’s lair while cradling Hope in his arms. “Come with me if you want to live,” he says to Margo. Well, it looks like Josh finally got to say that line from Terminator, albeit vicariously through Penny. Thankfully, he zaps Margo out of the Fillorian chaos. Yay!
Later, our heroes (including Margo) are in the lab at Brakebills. Margo, Josh and Fen are standing in a triangle surrounding the world seed. Eliot and Kady are observing the scene unfold from afar. Kady has never been to Fillory, and Eliot is still unable to cast after healing from two broken arms. Alice waltzes into the room and is prepared to participate in the spell. She reveals that she’s going to help with her one hand. How? By accepting her own Inner Circumstances. Now, we know the moon is still wonky, and she’s likely to provide pushback to the whole spell thing. However, Alice vows to accept everything about her fully – good and bad. This encapsulates the premise of The Magicians for me. Acceptance. Then, she urges Fen to talk to the world seed. Tell it her memories of Fillory.
Next. Fen starts rattling off locations of Fillory. Alice reasserts that Fen must proffer her own memories. Fen gets teary eyed as she recounts the first time she saw her father perform magic. The first time she encountered a unicorn. Then, she blatantly blurts out that Fillory could be really backwards. Fen begins reciting a laundry list of negative aspects to Fillory. Seems a bit counterproductive, until Fen reveals that she wants this new world to encompass the best parts of Fillory. The best traits of our crew too. This scene made me cry. It was so beautifully acted by Curran. To me, she’s the MVP of this episode based off this scene alone. Suddenly, the spell that Alice, Margo and Josh are casting kicks into overdrive. We see the world seed opening up, then… poof. Alice, Margo, Josh and Fen vanish into thin air. Only Eliot and Kady remain behind.
Later, we see Fogg is back at work. He’s dressed in his standard suit while cradling the crazy cat. Lipson is giving the dean a checkup to ensure that the cat is doing its job to absorb Fogg’s cognitive fallacies. Lipson reveals that, while the moon is worse than ever, magic still remains. Thus, our world-creating crew forged a new realm complete with a wellspring, which ensures magic’s overall flow. We see Kady and Pete (David Call) talking with a Lunatic on whether that particular night was prime for spell casting. Now, hedge witch safe houses everywhere keep a Lunatic on retainer, so they know when it’s kosher to create magic.
Meanwhile, Eliot is mixing a drink in the Physical Kids’ cottage. It’s reminiscent of one of his first scenes in the pilot, when he’s utilizing magic to make cocktails. Apparently, Eliot is now teaching at Brakebills. But he’s still miserable, ruminating over where exactly his friends went. Missing Rupert. Charlton reveals that Rupert, while he did likely perish, is now somewhere with someone who loves him. We see that he’s now in the Clock Barrens with sister Jane. At least we got a nice family reunion out of this!
Next, Charlton broaches a touchy subject. He reveals his true feelings for our El and asks if the latter would be interested in someone like him. You know, someone who knows Eliot inside and out, is emotionally available and won’t leave him. Pete helped Charlton figure out Eliot’s bracelet from Santa, and apparently it changes the identity of the wearer. Thus, we see the real Charlton (although in Hyman’s body) while he dons said bracelet. Eliot leads Charlton upstairs for some sexy fun times. The two smooch, and my heart melts. Oh, and astral plane Hyman decides to watch, which is very on brand for him.
Then, we see Julia and Penny rummaging through documents that Eliot sent them. Potential locations of our missing friends. Penny is game to go find them so, with Hope in tow, the pair vanish. Off on another quest!
Now, Margo, Alice, Fen and Josh are chilling out on an island – the new world they forged. It has a knife tree, an organic pizza oven made of wood, a field of crispy bacon and other random attractions. Of course, we know it possesses a little bit of everything that our heroes love. Oh, and the atmosphere is still rife with opium, to Margo’s delight. They ponder over whether they should let the Fillorians out of the seahorse ark. They’d have to create infrastructure from the ground up. Margo asserts that Fen should do the honors since the latter carried the world seed in her you know what. However, Fen dubs our favorite ax-wielder High King Margo the Creator. She hands the ark to Margo. We see her eagerly press the button on the underside of the ark and then… black out. It’s all over!
Holy guacamole – what a finale! The Magicians certainly left on a high note. “Fillory and Further” definitely tied up major loose ends, but still left a sliver of story line in case the series was renewed for Season 6. A few gripes: we never got to see what happened to Marina or Plum. Plum was present to aid our protagonists in the time loop debacle, but beyond that she merely vanished. Presumably back to Brakebills student life. I loved seeing the Chatwins in tandem. We started with the Beast, and we essentially ended with the Beast. Very full circle. To me, the Chatwins represented Fillory as much as Fen did. Not to mention, I loved the nods to Quentin. Thankfully, his contribution wasn’t lost in the melee of action.
Now, my MVP is most certainly Curran as Fen. Her monologue was so understated, and yet it packed a potent punch. She’s one of the hearts of The Magicians. A reminder that magic is real in anything and everything. To feverishly cling to our inner child. Margo was, as per usual, a total bada**. Alice’s story took a redemptive turn. Eliot finally found happiness! Julia and Penny also ended their story on a happy note. Kady took charge with the hedges, as I knew she would. All in all, I’m quite satisfied with how things ended.
So, raise a cocktail glass if you’ve got one. To Fillory and further. Thank you, The Magicians, for reminding us that we’re acceptable just as we are. For giving us weirdos a place to call home. That while magic comes from pain, there’s still bright light to be found even in the darkest of nights.
May we hold on to that magic, and carry it with us always.
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