The Magicians 2.3, “Divine Elimination”

It’s only the third episode of the season, but we are getting into some season-finale levels of drama. Storylines are converging. Characters are in real danger.

There’s so much going on, and I’m sure I missed things. This might not be the most coherent analysis, but I promised a blog post, and a blog post you shall have.

Warning for language, mention of violence against humans and animals.

The Beast’s Curse on Castle Whitespire

Who knew sitting on a Fillorian throne would bring about the urge to murder the other monarchs? Martin apparently. I really enjoyed Penny as the last non-cursed man, cooperating with Fen to keep their only-recently-reconciled friends/lovers/found family from killing each other.

I’m not saying it wasn’t fun to watch, but it felt a little out of place compared to the emotional intensity of the rest of the episode.

Julia, Marina, and Martin in New York

The plan to summon Reynard works, although not exactly as Julia and Marina planned. Martin teleports Julia out of the room before Marina can finish the summoning, and then takes his sweet time unpicking the wards on her apartment (hmmm). Meanwhile, Reynard is inside horrifically torturing Marina. I appreciate the brave face that Marina puts on as Reynard turns her cat inside out and talks about eating her alive. This is some horror movie shit, you guys.

Julia and Martin drop back in just in time, prepared to kill Reynard with the knife. This is all taking place at the exact same second that Alice is powering up her battle magic in Fillory. Penny’s job is to travel to Earth, grab The Beast and bring him back so Alice can do her thing. But Penny’s lost one of the bindings that Sunderland put on his wrist and Julia is too close to The Beast. She ends up getting dragged into the fray as well, leaving Marina to grapple with Reynard.

The Aftermath

Alice manages to wound but not kill The Beast, perhaps because she was pulling her punches to not hurt Julia? I definitely need to watch this bit again. Martin disappears, one of his arms rendered useless. Everyone else blames each other or themselves for a few seconds, as is customary. Then Penny grabs Julia and transports her back to Earth, sans Martin, and she is pissed so she tears off his other bracelet, leaving him with no control over his magic.

The last shot we see of Julia is her kneeling by Marina’s bloodied body, quite likely blaming herself for another death and for letting Reynard get away. This is framed as a wound Julia won’t recover from easily. I suspect when Martin resurfaces, she might be vulnerable enough to ask him to remove her shade, as he’s been offering. I also have suspicions about how and when the knife is going to show up again, but those are influenced a bit by some things that happen in the books so I’ll keep my mouth shut for now to avoid spoilers.

Final Confrontation

Meanwhile, the kings and queens of Fillory regroup. Eliot and Margo go to petition Ember for help, but he’s not immediately available because he’s pooping in the well so Martin can’t use the water to heal himself. Totally fits with what we saw of Ember last season—he’s disgusting most of the time, but occasionally in useful ways. Is the rest of the season going to be about how the universe is out of balance because a god took a dump in the source of all magic? Tune in next time to find out.

Alice and Quentin travel by carriage to confront The Beast. Emboldened by the fact that he’s probably going to be dead soon, Quentin initiates a frank discussion about his feelings for Alice. She lets him get away with exactly zero bullshit and they kiss.

When they finally face The Beast, he’s wounded but still powerful. Quentin jumps in front of an attack and is wounded. Alice’s god powers desert her. Se resorts to the patchwork spell she invented in “Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting” to save Charlie. That’s a respectable foreshadowing game, man. The spell burns through Alice, turning her into a niffin, a being of heightened magical power and malice. She tears The Beast apart with her bare hands.

Newly absent a moral compass, Alice turns on Quentin. He probably would have tried to talk sense into her right up until she murdered him if Margo and Eliot weren’t there to draw her fire. Unable to watch his friends suffer, Quentin releases his cacodemon and watches it kill Alice. Quentin tries to move towards her body, in denial. Eliot and Margo know exactly what happened and do their best to keep him away.

So here is where we leave our intrepid heroes at the end of the episode:

Penny: MIA, not in control of any of his powers

Julia: Emotionally wrecked, allies gone

Marina: Dead

Cupcake the Cat: Dead

The Beast/Martin: Dead

Alice: Dead

Quentin: Physically wounded and responsible for the death of the woman he loves

Eliot: Alive, probably going to try to pick up the broken pieces of Quentin

Margo: Also alive, probably going to try to have sex with a talking horse

Fen: ???

Fogg: Didn’t miss him tbh

Kady: Absent from the credits, present in my heart

I could literally ramble for 1000 more words, but I need to sleep. Do come discuss the finer points of Alice’s ice cream toppings or Margo’s love of Conan the Barbarian in the comments with me, though.


The Magicians 2.2, “Hotel Spa Potions”

This was a very solid follow-up to last week’s premiere. We have a lot of different storylines already, so “Hotel Spa Potions” felt a little rushed to me. Still, it’s all good stuff, as I’ve broken down below:

The Brakebills at Brakebills

Through the fountain and to Earth we go. Quentin and co. need to learn battle magic that can kill The Beast. They go on a scavenger hunt through the library in order to track down Bigby, a former Brakebills professor and old flame of Dean Fogg’s. It’s all fun to watch, if a tad drawn out.

Alice blames herself for not killing The Beast, and her guilt combined with her waning god powers drive her to get this done. Her insistence to Quentin that “not everything that hurts is bad” is worrying.

Penny gets an assist with his out-of-control magic from Professor Sunderland. Honestly this is my favorite thing from this ep, it’s such a good companion to the scene in “The Strangled Heart.” Sunderland performs a ritual that involves tying Penny’s hands, because light bondage is the real source of magic. Penny starts trying to seduce her again, but he’s less aggressive this time, almost clumsy. By stepping in as his teacher to help him, and by turning him down in no uncertain terms, she’s re-established boundaries. Good for her.

Then we got to see the cacodemon scene and I died of happiness. In a direct shout-out to the first book, Dean Fogg give Quentin, Margo, Penny, and Alice tattoos. The tattoo serves as a portable prison for a powerful demon that the wearer can release with a word. The plan in this case is to have the demons distract The Beast, giving Alice time to deploy her battle magic.

Eliot in Fillory

In the absence of his friends, Eliot faces his first challenges as High King. Thanks to the Beast’s magical drain, the crops aren’t growing. Luckily for the starving populace, Eliot grew up on a farm. He’s well-equipped to learn them a thing or two about agriculture, mostly by hand-delivering manure to skeptical citizens who have only ever fertilized with magic. It’s funny and a little poignant to see Eliot embracing his least favorite parts of himself for the greater good.

Fen gets to have a bit more personality in this one. As Eliot said last week, I think I like her. She’s devoted to Fillory and to helping her husband succeed as a ruler. They clash, albeit politely, over sex. Eliot proposes inviting other partners into their bedroom as a sort of compromise, and Fen isn’t interested. She also points out the inherent consent issues—no one feels comfortable saying “no” to their king. I didn’t love that the last season ended with Eliot in this marriage, and I’m glad this season is tackling that problem head on. I feel for both of them here, and I hope the show continues to explore their dynamic.

There’s also the little matter of the curse that The Beast put on Castle Whitespire, but Eliot doesn’t know about that and it’s not clear if his struggles so far are curse-related or not.

Julia and Martin in New York

Julia is working on a way to summon Reynard. She’s willing to offer herself up as bait, but Martin claims Reynard won’t be tricked. They need someone new. I was expecting this to be Kady, but Martin shows up with Marina, the leader of the safe house where Julia cut her hedgewitch teeth. Julia isn’t up for holding Marina against her will, which Martin sees as a sign of weakness. He reiterates his offer to remove her shade/emotions, she makes a counter offer to remove some of his body parts.

Back on the street, Marina recognizes the threat posed by the Julia-Martin partnership and tries to team up with her West Coast counterpart to take them down. But Reynard gets there first, killing the other hedgewitch. This is the first time we’ve seen Marina truly scared, I think. She goes to Brakebills to ask for help and gets rebuffed by Dean Fogg before returning to New York. Marina has never been a favorite character for me, but I’m kind of enjoying her and Julia and their “so done with your shit” faces back together again.

Quentin and Julia have a brief reunion in New York, unbeknownst to any of their co-conspirators. They both want some of the same things, in the big picture sense—to go back to Fillory, to have magic in both worlds remain intact—but their short-term goals are at odds. Watching them admit that they’re on opposite sides again is tough, but that just seems to be the way it goes with these two.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and see you next week!

The Magicians 2.1, “Knight of Crowns”

Warning: This post contains discussion of rape, murder, and torture.

I’ve been vibrating with excitement over The Magicians premiere for like a week now, and “Knight of Crowns” did not disappoint. Lots of stuff happened in this episode, and you all know how I feel about stuff when it happens.

Julia and Martin on Earth

Julia is holding the only weapon that can kill Martin/The Beast, so she offers him a deal. She won’t kill him as long as he helps her get her revenge on Reynard, the trickster god who took over her mentor/friend/lover Richard’s body, raped her, and killed her friends. Once Reynard is dead, provided Martin hasn’t harmed Julia, Quentin, or any of Quentin’s friends, she’ll hand over the knife. They seal the agreement with a magical sigil that will automatically kill Martin if he breaks it. I’m unclear on what the consequences for Julia will be if she doesn’t hold up her part of the bargain, but let’s assume they’re also dire.

Both Julia and Martin are magically talented, both were denied their desires (Brakebills and Fillory, respectively), and both were victims of sexual assault. Martin, despite his stated desire to find a loophole in Julia’s deal, takes a bit of a shine to her. While she struggles with the aftermath of the rape, he offers her a way out of her pain—a spell that will remove her deepest self, her “shade.” Julia is clearly tempted by the offer, but she sees that Martin, cut off from his own emotions, has become a predator in his own right and refuses. For now, anyways.

These sections of this episode felt slow to me, even if they did pack an emotional punch. It was so satisfying to see Julia and Quentin’s storylines converge last season, and I’m sorry to see them separated again. New York has grown even grayer and grittier to contrast with the lush fantasyland that is Fillory.

The Brakebills in Fillory

This part of the episode was everything I could have asked for and more. The plot is basic—The Beast is still at large, and without the knife the gang needs a new weapon. Quentin, still our foremost Fillory expert, suggests the armory, a stockpile of books in Castle Whitespire that holds texts on powerful battle magic (Side note: magic that Rupert Chatwin may have used to win World War II. I’m actually very curious about Rupert. He was the only Chatwin to enter Fillory for the first time as an adult, and he’s also possibly buried there. Since the book-to-show adaptation had no problem ditching two Chatwin sisters, I imagine they must have needed Rupert around for something).

Before they can get to the castle, Eliot needs to be crowned high king, and crown his three co-rulers. This scene, with the titular knight, is both absurd and touching. The Magicians flirts with being a little too self-aware at times, and I tend to cringe at pop-culture references shoehorned into my fantasy. That said, I would not trade Eliot reciting the final speech from Dirty Dancing for anything in the world.

The whole impromptu crowning ceremony gives the group a chance to start patching up their somewhat tattered relationships. There are apologies and affirmations all around, but I particularly like Eliot’s face when Quentin asks him to kneel. It’s the perfect mix of I want to make a dirty joke right now and I’m still not totally over that time we had sex and Thank you for believing in me when I don’t believe in myself.

Penny, with his hands newly re-attached, stays in character and well out of all this sappy nonsense. Which like, okay, he’s not actually getting a crown, but maybe he has some issues he needs to talk about? Or possibly he would just like a hug and/or a forehead kiss? Anyways, I’m glad to see that he’s physically intact (let’s be honest, this show has better things to do with its budget than CGI Arjun Gupta’s hands off), but I’m also glad he doesn’t get off too easily. The least genre-savvy character, he breaks one of the cardinal rules of traveling in a magical land: always, always be polite to strangers you meet in the woods. Now Penny, who went to such lengths last season to learn control, has more unpredictable quirks to his magic.

“Knight of Crowns” puts down some groundwork for the rest of season. Here are some dangling plot threads that I sincerely hope will be picked up again:

-The vial of Quentin’s blood has to return. Otherwise, why the whole sequence in the woods with the healer/witch?

-The time-sensitivity on Alice’s godlike powers intrigues me, but mostly because it’s been implied that Julia has similar abilities. Not to be gross, but does the manner in which god-semen enters the body affect the endurance of its effects?

-I loved the tree growing scene, and that Alice initiates the kiss. An arc where Alice discovers her own strength would be fantastic, and if Quentin can be helpful and supportive without asking for anything in return, so much the better.

-The time difference between Fillory and Earth—what’s Eliot going to get up to while Quentin and co. are back at Brakebills? He might have years to rule Fillory by himself. I appreciate the poignancy of the scene between him and Quentin, but like, why not just leave Margo there too?

-What’s up with Eliot’s wife? She could be a valuable source of information, but she is mostly being ignored right now. I hope she doesn’t wind up dead just so Eliot can have feelings. Enough bad things have happened to him, guys, let’s just chill for a minute

-Okay this is digging back into season one stuff, but whatever happened to the Margolem? Is she in a closet somewhere? Is she attending classes at Brakebills, posing as Margo? There were some problematic elements of that subplot but I still want to know

-I miss Kady.

I’m predicting that from this point on, the series will continue to diverge from book canon, like Game of Thrones or True Blood did. The showrunners are doing their own thing here, and I can’t wait to see where they take it. Let me know all of your thoughts and feelings in the comments, and see you same time next week for episode two 🙂

The Magicians 1.13, “Have You Brought Me Little Cakes”

This post discusses sexual assault.

Before I get to the finale, I just want to say how happy I am that this series exists. I’ve had a blast watching the season and writing these recaps. This is the first time in years that I’ve engaged with a show’s fandom at this level, and it’s been awesome. I’m also really grateful for all the people who watch the show and/or read the books who have contacted me to talk about it. I have one friend in particular who messages me every week and lets me vent all of my book-fan nitpicking and all-caps TV yelling. You’re the best, thank you. I hope I have adequately answered the question of why there needed to be Ember jizz below.


Onwards. “Have You Brought Me Little Cakes” was a hot mess, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t on the edge of my seat the whole time. I don’t agree with all the decisions the writers made, but I was so entertained. This hour answered a few questions but raised a whole lot more, which is a good way to hook the audience’s interest for a second season.

I know I’ve whined about this roughly every other episode, but PACING. My biggest complaint is always that things feel rushed. I wish that SyFy could do what FX does and allow the show to run over an hour if they need to. A lot of episodes would have been so improved by just an extra ten minutes to flesh out the B plot. This finale could have used an extra twenty, at least. And I would have watched it cheerfully.

The structure of this episode was difficult, too. Quentin is writing down his experiences in Fillory, so a lot of the story is told through flashback with his voiceover. Flashbacks are tricky. They can provide necessary information, but they can also bog down the action. Even Quentin lampshades the technique—“Now I’m gonna do that thing I kind of hate, where the book rewinds to fill in all the blanks.”

The thing is, if you’re going to start in medias res, you need to start with something dramatic or intriguing. I’m not sure the scene in Ember’s Tomb qualifies. I think we all knew that Ember wasn’t going to be a pivotal figure; otherwise he would have killed the Beast on his own already.

Now that I’ve discounted Ember, let me write a whole paragraph about him. Even though he’s not pivotal in-universe, he’s thematically important. In the same way that Dean Fogg cannot be Dumbledore, Ember cannot be Aslan. He’s a god, but he’s not all-powerful. He’s not even very likable. I feel like Ember was deliberately made to be more of a Greco-Roman style god here. The gods of Mount Olympus has some very human foibles. They were obsessed with sex and they could be hurt or killed. Kind of a letdown for their worshipers, and in an indirect way, Quentin did worship Ember and Umber. The title of the episode made me think of ancient Romans using pastries as an offering to the gods. The choice to make Ember more of an animal-human hybrid and not just a talking ram (like the books) also recalls Greco-Roman myth, specifically the god Pan.

Interestingly enough, Pan is a trickster figure, like Reynard. In case anyone was confused, Reynard in classic folklore wasn’t actually a god, more of a legendary anti-hero. Think Brer Rabbit and Anansi at their most brutal and least Disneyfied. It makes sense in the context of The Magicians that he should have gained godlike powers at some point, though. If Martin Chatwin became more powerful than Ember and Umber in Fillory, it’s plausible that Reynard tricked his way into god-status on Earth.

The encounter with Ember establishes that gods can transfer their powers via semen. So as horrific as Julia’s rape was, she still came out of more powerful than before, which becomes a factor when facing the Beast. Although I have to wonder—did she just assume she was less powerful than the Brakebills, and therefore not try to touch the moonstone knife? Or did she touch it and get burned because Marina’s memory patch made her forget the experience? Am I stretching to cover an obvious plot hole because I like this show?

Now that I’ve brought up Reynard, let’s deal with the rape scene. Sexual assault is a difficult topic to handle. I don’t think I’m the right person to say if the show handled it well or not. I’m not a survivor or a mental health professional working with survivors. I can’t tell you if it’s tasteful or respectful. It’s not a call I can make for anyone but myself.

I’ll just say this: It was horrifying to watch, but it’s presented a way that I can live with. Both Julia and Richard/Reynard are fully clothed, which signals that this isn’t meant to titillate. Reynard inhabiting Richard’s body was devastating after Julia’s other sexual encounter with Richard was so tender and generous. That made in painful in a way I wasn’t expecting. Despite Julia’s best efforts and a hand from Marina, this event isn’t going to be brushed off or made insignificant.

Speaking of, I was both surprised and strangely pleased at Marina. I should have put it together when Jane said a hedgewitch had done the memory wipe. Julia calling Marina made sense, and Marina’s reactions felt real. We’ve established that she’s ruthless, but not devoid of all human feeling. I wonder if we’ll see her again.

Kady has never been my favorite character, but I’m curious about what’s going to happen to her next. She has no living family to speak of and she’s not welcome at Brakebills. All her friends are dead or in Fillory. What now?

Then there’s Martin, and the common ground Julia now shares with him. They’ve both been victims, so does she understand him now? Does she have the potential to become a monster too? Julia willing to bargain with the enemy was an amazing twist.

We had some tying up of emotional loose ends before the climax. Quentin and Alice aren’t back together, but they’re at least talking to each other again. Penny got to save Victoria, so that’s a big part of his emotional turmoil calmed, but she disappears with Josh so as not to cause further emotions, I guess. Eliot gets to help the cause by getting married to a stranger. I knew that he was eventually going to admit his life had hit the rails, and that Fillory was going to be the change he needed, but this is such an unsubtle way to do that. The marriage is also somehow an excuse for him to reconcile with Margo.

Maybe these moments of uplift are meant to carry us through the darkness. But would that last scene have been any less dramatic if the group had still be divided and distracted by their personal woes? Resentment and bickering among the heroes could have built tension for the final battle.

Speaking of that last scene, I was not prepared for any of it. I wasn’t even prepared for Penny’s hands getting cut off, even though it happens in the book. I wasn’t prepared for Alice. I know I’m not prepared for season two, and I can’t wait.

The Magicians 1.12, “Thirty-Nine Graves”

Two episodes left, and they made this one count.


The Free Traders

Julia and Kady open the episode by seeking out the goddess’s servant, who lives underneath a bridge. I think this is the first time anyone on the show has called the goddess Our Lady Underground. If you’re interested in how the pagan goddess evolved into the Virgin, look into Black Madonnas. When I searched “Our Lady Underground” I stumbled on a few longer reads too. If I find any good ones I will link them in my next post.

Anyways, back to New York. I was expecting a more cave-like dwelling for the servant, but instead we get a fancy subterranean house. In The Magician King, the hermit claims to be a former Catholic saint. I don’t know what to make of him here, but I think the gifts Julia and Kady bring are significant: Forsythia blooms in the springtime and symbolizes anticipation. Honeycomb was a traditional offering to gods in classical times, prized for its sweetness, usefulness, and its connotations of new life. Platinum is just a placeholder, as the hermit will accept anything of great value that must be bought dearly.

Make of all that what you will, especially combined with the hermit’s warning—“you can’t un-ring a bell.” The incantation he hands over is the goddesses phone number, and someone’s going to pick up.

Julia sleeping with Richard represents an independent choice on her part. Her previous partners didn’t reflect her own desires. James was the right kind of boyfriend for the person she was trying to be in college. Pete was willing to trade access to magic for sex. Julia’s not in love with Richard, but she trusts him. Under the circumstances, having sex with him was an affirming act. I don’t think the universe is going to punish her for it, but I think the next big decision she makes is going to have bigger consequences.

The Brakebills

It looks like Quentin learned to close his mind just in time. Alice and the participants in the drunken three-way are all pointedly Not Talking About It, and despite his psychic abilities Penny is totally out of the loop. As the least-emotionally wrecked member of the team, he’s pushing for a trip to Fillory sooner rather than later. We’ve come a ways from Penny calling Quentin’s books “nerd boy dragon porn.”

We don’t see the fallout of Quentin cheating on Alice except in short, silent flashbacks. Suffice to say it was terrible, and they are definitely broken up. Even Eliot and Margo have the decency to seem a little uncomfortable with the whole thing at first. Margo recovers quickly. “People don’t get to be mad at me because I had sex with them,” she points out, quite rightly. Quentin needs to take responsibility for his own actions, even if he was under the influence.

Alice and Penny is a less optimistic parallel to Julia and Richard. Again, this isn’t about romantic love, but they respect and care for each other. Despite Quentin’s accusation that she “aimed a weapon” by having sex with Penny, I don’t think that’s all there is to her choice. She knew how it would affect Quentin, but I like to think there was something in it for her beyond revenge.

The Neitherlands

Once everyone calms down enough to travel to the Neitherlands, things start to go even more wrong. The wandering mercenaries attack, and Quentin falls back into the Earth fountain holding the group’s only map. There’s a brief interlude at the library, but Eliot gets everyone kicked out by burning a book. The Earth fountain is blocked off and all seems lost when we get Josh.

My notes from this scene say “JOSH my beautiful nerd.” Josh is a book character, kind of a Ron Weasley-ish dude, not particularly talented but kind and doggedly loyal. He’s the average guy who, by contrast, lets you know how special the other physical kids are.

In the show, Josh is a missing member of the third-year class at Brakebills. That mystery, dropped on us back in the first episode, is finally solved. They all went to Fillory, and the Beast trapped them there. Victoria, the traveler Penny has seen being tortured by the Beast, brought everyone there is the first place. With Josh’s help, the Brakebills can get to Fillory, kill the Beast, and rescue Victoria.

Alice uses her light-bending talents to hide the group. Eliot’s foibles drive the plot again. He’s tripping on one of Josh’s psychedelic carrots and falls out of the migrating-geese V formation. Good on Margo for thinking to pack a gun. Quentin insists guns don’t belong in Fillory, but being prepared never hurt.

The group makes it to the Fillory fountain, which has two rams’ heads to represent Ember and Umber, the ram gods. Penny kills the mercenary Eve so they can pass through. We’re running out of main cast members who haven’t murdered someone.

Quentin and Julia

I was initially disappointed that Quentin decided to seek out Dean Fogg’s help, since I don’t think the “mentor with all the answers” character has much of a place in a story about making your own destiny. I was relieved that Fogg didn’t have a solution to Quentin’s current problem.

Fogg did explain what’s been going on behind the scenes all this time. Eliza/Jane Chatwin has been using time magic to try to defeat the Beast. Quentin and his friends have gone up again the Beast and failed thirty-nine times, hence the title of the episode. Jane tweaked some detail each time the loop restarted, hoping for different results. The variable in this timeline was keeping Julia out of Brakebills and allowing her to discover other types of magic. Now that Jane’s dead, this is Quentin’s last chance to kill the Beast and save his friends.

I’m sure there’s someone who can work out how this makes it possible for the books and the show to exist in the same continuity. The Order librarian calling Margo “Janet” is practically begging for a fan theory.

When Quentin showed up at Julia’s apartment I thought I had missed something. What about the ritual and summoning the goddess? But we get a little flashback, just enough to know that the goddess showed up and gave the other Free Traders a mission. Julia, feeling fulfilled and self-actualized, agrees to help Quentin get back to Fillory. I’m happy that they were able to reconcile before the end of the season. They’ve been through a lot, but they still have things in common. They haven’t changed beyond the point where they can repair their friendship—yet.

I am both excited and terrified for the finale next week. See you then!


The Magicians 1.11, “Remedial Battle Magic”

“Remedial Battle Magic” starts off as a calm interlude. We know that things are about to get real, but first everyone needs to gather their forces, gird their loins, etc. If The Magicians was a movie, this would have been the training montage.

Most training montages don’t end with my heart getting dropkicked, but you have the idea.


The Free Traders

Julia and her friends are still working on how to summon a god. I really need more of this group interacting with each other. I don’t care about anyone but Julia and Kady yet. Julia making a bad joke to diffuse the tension when Richard gets too intense was a nice touch of group dynamic, but I’m not invested.

Richard reveals that he didn’t just bring Julia in because she fits the emotional damage profile. She was able to levitate because a local goddess took a shine to her, which is rare. Julia may have an affinity for communicating with gods and supernatural creatures.

All of this seems borne out when she’s continuously drawn to goddess imagery, mostly depictions of the Virgin Mary. For The Magicians’ purposes, Mary is less the mother of Jesus and more the modern face of the mother goddess. At the end of the episode the goddess visits Julia in a dream.

Julia feels like she needs to atone, and she’s trying to find her place in the world. Taken with her rocky relationship with her real mom, all that leaves her very receptive to the kind of love, forgiveness, and power that the mother goddess offers her. But who’s this servant that lives by the bridge, and what gifts does she need to bring him? Isn’t a mother’s love supposed to be unconditional?

The Brakebills

 The Brakebills gang has, at last, acknowledged that the Beast is their most pressing problem. I’m very exited about this, because it means Quentin et. al. are now united by a common cause. As much as they fight and disagree, they’re inhabiting the same scenes and contributing to the main plot.

Penny almost backs out, but comes back to the group after the Beast tries to drive him to suicide. I see a deliberate parallel between the travellers’ reactions to constant mental noise and certain types of real-world mental illness. The feelings of helplessness, the intrusive thoughts, seeking peace through drug abuse or suicide attempts… not subtle, but effective. I like that we see Penny getting a type of intervention from Sunderland, who had similar experiences as a psychic. She’s not very comforting, but she offers a plausible solution.

The literal bottling up of emotions is another heavy-handed but nonetheless workable metaphor. Penny and Alice are both repressed in their own ways, but the magical equivalent convinces them it’s maybe not the greatest idea. Quentin, who feels so intensely, relishes having a chance to be free of that. Overwhelmed, Eliot turns back to a less magical type of bottle. Margo finds herself craving emotional honestly. When Eliot won’t give her that, she gets it from Quentin.

Which brings us to Quentin cheating on Alice.

I love Quentin and Alice together, and I hate anything that separates them or makes them unhappy. They foil each other in so many ways (logical vs. emotional, practical vs. romantic) and I know those characteristics could compliment each other if they had time to grow together. So, I hate this.

But part of me loves it. Everything we’ve learned about these four characters has led us to this point. Quentin is constantly seeking validation, and what’s more validating than a hot person who really gets you? Eliot wants to love someone he doesn’t have to kill. Margo thinks she can cheer him up and repair their friendship by delivering Quentin, meanwhile satisfying her competitive side by stealing Alice’s boyfriend. Alice, who was just beginning to trust Quentin, is shattered.

That’s my interpretation, anyway. However you slice it, there’s going to be a battle, and we’ve got serious dissention in the ranks. With two episodes left in the season, Quentin, Alice, Eliot, and Margo don’t have time to work out their personal issues before they got to Fillory. They’re going to have to forge ahead, broken hearts and all.

Other Thoughts

-What is the thing that was pretending to be Kady’s mom? I thought they called it a lamia, but the cow tail reminded me of a hulder, and neither of those creatures traditionally served a goddess or were killed by shark blood, afaik.

-For that matter, where are all these gods and monsters coming from? Are they native to New York, or did they emigrate from the old country American Gods style?

-I really never expected to like Penny as much as I do, but here we are closing in on the finale and he’s been one of my favorite characters. Despite his issues with Quentin and his creepy behavior around women, I like that he’s always nice to Alice.

Reminder that you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Shares, retweets, and reblogs are a big help and greatly appreciated.

The Magicians 1.9, “The Writing Room”

I predicted last week that “The Writing Room” was going to be about ruining Quentin’s childhood, and I was almost too on the nose. It almost retroactively ruined my childhood. Julia’s storyline was lighthearted, by comparison.



Julia is out of rehab and still hanging around with Richard. He’s introduced the idea of doing magical penance for her sins. As far as I can tell, those include (1) almost killing Quentin with the asylum dream and (2) really freaking out her friends and family by disappearing down the safe house rabbit hole. You could make a case for (3) the death of Kady’s mom, but I feel like that one is pretty squarely on Marina.

Richard’s idea is to have Julia use the spell that created Quentin’s dream to reach out to a catatonic woman. Kira is a brilliant magician and scientist, and she wants Julia to transcribe a spell she’s been working on. Once Kira and Julia have some bonding time in the dream world, Kira asks Julia to kill her in the real world. Julia tries to refuse at first, but Richard convinces her.

I have SO MANY QUESTIONS. When Kira said her “body turned on [her],” does that mean she has some kind of illness? Or was this the result of a spell gone wrong? Was the mention of her rainbow-casting girlfriend just a throwaway line, or is this woman going to show up later and want some kind of accounting from Julia? What is this spell?

Kira’s story of success sans Brakebills gives Julia hope, or maybe just false confidence. “If the world goes after you, take it as a compliment” is a nice sound bite, but the world isn’t really going after Julia. Both Marina and Fogg have let her off the hook. She’s been her own worst enemy from day one.

Julia’s happiest memory, reading Fillory books under the table with Quentin, is both super cute and retroactively sad, since Quentin’s off learning horrifying facts about the creator of the series.


Quentin and Alice are still looking for a way to protect Brakebills from The Beast. They travel to England to search the house of Fillory author Christopher Plover, hoping to find a magic button that serves as a key to Fillory. Penny comes because he’s the only one who’s read Eliza/Jane’s manuscript. Eliot comes because he’s bored and depressed in the aftermath of the Mike situation.

Quentin nerds out over the official tour of the house, predictably becoming That Guy who corrects the guide on the finer points of Plover’s biography. The Brakebills quartet sneaks back after hours, at which point the episode transforms into what Eliot calls “a vaguely whimsical horror show.” Except we are pretty light on whimsy by the end.

The ghosts of Christopher Plover, his sister Prudence, their housekeeper’s children, and Jane and Martin Chatwin are roaming the house. Quentin and co. find out that Prudence drugged, tortured, and eventually killed the housekeeper’s kids, George and Beatrix. Prudence’s ghost also kills the tour guide. Plover was sexually abusing Martin Chatwin and occasionally drugging Jane so she wouldn’t find out.

It doesn’t get too explicit on screen—this is still SyFy—but it’s not easy to watch. Martin’s desire to get away from Plover is palpable, even before we know the extent of what’s going on. Plover exhibits some classic abuser behavior, mentioning all the favors he’s done for the Chatwin family. This kind of abuse is all too common in real life, and Martin’s youth and relative powerlessness makes it even more insidious.

Quentin eventually distracts the ghosts and finds the magic button, buried with George in the basement. Alice wants to help the ghost children who are still trapped, but apparently that’s not how ghosts work, so everyone leaves. No one seems concerned by mutilated tour guide corpse, the open grave in the basement, or their fingerprints all over everything. I’m sure this will turn out fine.

As dejected as the scene is back at the Physical Kids’ cottage, the trip to England wasn’t fruitless. They learned that Plover likely faked his own death. He was trying to find a way into Fillory, and he talked about a spell that would make him grow extra fingers. A sixth finger on each hand, like The Beast had when he attacked the lecture hall.

At the end of the episode, Penny touches the button and disappears. Next week, looks like we’ve got some Neitherlands scenery and Margo’s return. If you would like to share theories about how ghosts work in this universe or squee over Qunetin calling Alice “Vix” (can the rest of the show just be them in love and nothing bad happens?) please see me in the comments.

The Magicians 1.7, “The Mayakovsky Circumstance”

This episode was a gift. Or should I say un regalo? Thank you Sera Gamble, et al., from the bottom of my heart.


I’m trying to judge the merits of this show on their own, without constant comparisons to the novels. But there are a few things from the books that are really dear to my heart, and I have been hoping that they wind up in the show. “The Mayakovsky Circumstance” does that while being wildly entertaining.


Julia plays a relatively minor role in this episode. The police question her about the death of Kady’s mom. When she’s released, her sister picks her up and tries to stage an intervention. We hear about their alcoholic mentally ill father and their controlling mother. As usual, no one who had a happy childhood can do magic.

Brakebills South

There’s some thing I love about the weird claustrophobic atmosphere of this section. They’re in Antarctica doing magic and they’re not allowed to talk. Right when Brakebills was starting to seem homelike and safe again, we get Brakebills South.

I didn’t have many teachers like Mayakovsky, bitter and unpleasant, but there were a few. In the music world, it’s often the very talented people who feel like teaching is beneath them. Mayakovsky doesn’t care about your feelings, so he’s going to tell you the truth about your abilities. He’s also going to drink you under the table while he does it.

Penny and Kady

Mayakovsky gets upset that Penny got the anti-travelling tattoo. So upset that he cuts it out of his skin and then starts teaching Penny to travel. Teacher of the year award goes to…

Kady lets Penny read her mind, so he now understands the whole Marina situation and why Kady had to lie. They make plans to steal something valuable from Mayakovsky in order to pay Marina off once and for all.

At first I thought their reconciliation was a little too easy, but then I realized I was just being set up for more sadness. Mayakovsky tells Kady that her mother is dead, so she’s free of Marina (in theory, anyways). The downside is that she’s going to be expelled from Brakebills. He encourages her to run away, but tells her that Penny needs to stay and finish his training or he might die. Penny’s face when he shows up in Kady’s cell and finds out that she left without him? Ugh my heart. Penny was the last character I expected to love, but Arjun Gupta is absolutely killing this role.

Quentin and Alice

FOX SEX YOU GUYS IT HAPPENED! This is the thing, the thing I was excited for. The way this scene was cut was a little confusing at first, jumping from indoors to outdoors and foxes to humans. But I think it imitates that feeling of being caught up in the moment, of not truly understanding that something important has happened until after it’s over.

Of course Mayakovsky has to splash cold vodka on my parade by daring Alice and Quentin to live happily ever after. Implying that they’re not, for reasons that I don’t want to think about yet. Thanks for nothing, jerk.

Eliot and Margo

They try to distill magical gin and accidentally summon a djinn. This whole plotline is based on a fantasy drinking pun and I could not be more pleased.

Eliot hooks up with Mike, a Brakebills alumnus who is lurking around the campus. They have a meet-cute in the library and make bedroom eyes at each other. Later there’s noisy sex and cuddling.

It stops short of an actual love scene, which is too bad because we’ve had several of those onscreen between the straight couples so far. What gives, SyFy? I did enjoy Margo’s face when she overhears them. We get a little more of Margo and Eliot’s relationship, including a confirmation that they do habitually share sex partners. By the end, Margo’s gotten over her jealousy of Mike, and Mike seems interested in being part of their arrangement.

Then a Fillory moth shows up and Mike’s eyes start glowing, so I’m assuming next week will just be nonstop tragedy. Tune in then to enjoy my suffering.


The Magicians 1.5, “Mendings, Major and Minor”

I fully admitted to not loving last week’s episode, “The World in the Walls.” Is anyone else watching Supergirl? I’m asking because last week’s ep, “For the Girl Who Has Everything,” also had an “it was all a dream” plotline. I won’t say Supergirl did it better, but I will say I enjoyed it much more. We basically got to spend half the episode finding out what Kara’s life might have been like if Krypton wasn’t destroyed, which is a dream she might not actually want to wake up from. She’s got all this family (biological and found) on both sides, and I had all of the feelings that I didn’t have about “The World in the Walls,” basically.

On to “Mendings, Major and Minor.”  This post contains mentions of terminal illness, and cruelty to animals.


Julia has no interaction with the Brakebills gang this week. Dean Fogg has decided to ignore her, to Quentin’s relief. Cut off by Marina, she goes back to the Internet to find more magic. I was really hoping that Julia getting kicked out of the bodega safe house meant we were done with Creepy Pete, but nope, he is here in force. I actually yelled “Ugh, no” when Julia kissed him. Luckily she only had sex with him in exchange for information about other safe houses, which is gross but still 110% in character for her. Unfortunately none of the safe houses are better than the bodega, so Julia’s adrift.

Despite the barter sex, Julia still loves James and wants to let him in on the truth about her magical double life. Pete, who is cattily pissed at Julia for rejecting his advice and his penis, gets Marina to erase Julia from James’ memory. I hope this is a prelude to Julia making some better friends.

The rest of the action takes place during Brakebills Alumni Week. Distinguished alumni visit the campus to be wined, dined, and entertained, and in exchange they consider mentoring some of the graduate students. They don’t get too deep into what the “mentoring” entails, so it’s mostly a plot device. I wouldn’t be surprised if it never came up again. Quentin gets mentored by a doctor who specializes in feet magic. Q thinks this is kind of boring, but she seems happy and it sounds like like there’s a lot of money in magical podiatry. Penny gets Stanley, a curmudgeonly old man who claims to be the last Traveller to have attended Brakebills. More about him in a minute. Eliot and Margo are adorably competing against one another to be mentored by Genjii, who runs a famous resort for high profile magicians. Also, she’s Alice’s aunt.

Alice is back! She was hiding out at some kind of commune, gardening and raising chickens. Dean Fogg tracks her down and convinces her to come back to Brakebills. It doesn’t take long. Fogg felt guilty about Charlie’s death, and he thought he was sparing the Quinn family some pain by not inviting her to take the test. He tells Alice that she’s too gifted to remain untrained. Apparently that’s enough of a stroke to her nerd-ego, because back she goes.

Alice is awkward with Quentin at first, and she hasn’t completely forgiven him for trapping the niffin that was her brother in a magical box (speaking of which, I hope he put that somewhere safe. I don’t know what happens if it gets opened or broken, but it can’t be good). She does admit that the real Charlie probably died five years ago. That’s a huge step for Alice, who spent those years focused on solving the mystery of Charlie’s death.

Quentin has other things on his mind besides mending his friendship with Alice. His dad has just been diagnosed with brain cancer and is refusing treatment. It’s hard to get a read on Quentin’s dad, since the only other time we’ve met the guy he was a figment of Q’s imagination in last episode’s dreamscape. Unfortunately the nickname Curly-Q was not just part of the dream.

The father-son relationship is a little fraught. Mr. Coldwater obviously wants to repair what he can in the time he has left, but Quentin’s first impulse is to find a magical cure. His new mentor tells him there isn’t a reliable cure, but she points him in the direction of a few experimental spells. After a disastrous experiment on “Cancer Puppy,” an unofficial mascot/class pet, Quentin admits that there is not magical cure, at least not one that would leave his dad intact. (Side note: I usually get really upset about shows that kill off animals for humor or shock value, but this just left me kind of cold.)

In the end, Quentin reveals his magical powers to his father by fixing a model airplane. I like the symbolism—you can’t fix everything, but you should try to fix what you can. It also highlights Quentin’s particular talent for mending broken things, which is an important aspect of his magic and his personality.

Some of Quentin’s rage at his own impotency comes out during an alumni week Welters match. Welters is the magical sport at Brakebills, but it’s really more a game of strategy. It’s basically magical intramural Frisbee, everyone can play but almost no one is any good. Quentin channels his frustrations into a giant magical black hole, Alice does some damage control, and the Physical Kids win the match.

Penny, not being a Physical Kid, doesn’t show up for Welters, but he does get some serious mentoring from Stanley. Stan shows Penny a tattoo that anchors his body to the Earth, only allowing him to travel via astral projection, kind of like being a ghost. Kady thinks this is a terrible idea, citing all the fun stuff that Penny could steal if he continues traveling bodily.

Later on Penny gives astral projection a try and winds up in a dungeon. A woman named Victoria, who has the same tattoo as Stanley, is chained there and being tortured by The Beast. When Penny confronts Stanley, he reveals that Victoria was a member of the third year class who mysteriously disappeared. Penny sketches a coat of arms that he saw on the dungeon doors and shows it to Quentin, who calls it the “seal of Ember.” In this universe, Ember is to Fillory what Aslan is to Narnia, a kind of animal god/protector. That means the dungeon was in Fillory, further proof that it’s not just fiction.

Eliot and Margo are continuing to be mostly supporting characters, but they’re still one of the most entertaining things about this episode. I enjoyed their rivalry for Genjii’s attentions almost as much as Alice did. I laughed out loud at Margo’s “This was supposed to be a surprise, but I like ruining things.” Truer words were never spoken. She also has a moment of genuine friendliness when she commiserates with Quentin after the Welters match. I’m very excited for when her backstory comes out. Eliot cozies up to Alice even after Genjii seems off the table as a mentor. He even mixes her a drink, which is basically his ultimate declaration of love. “Friends don’t let friends drink Long Island ice teas,” of course.


The Magicians 1.4, “The World in the Walls”

This post contains discussion of mental illness.

I was totally unprepared for this episode, because literally none of this happens in the books. The only thing that I even vaguely recognized was Quentin calling Penny a “raging dick,” because there’s a part in The Magicians that mentions all the cool kids at Brakebills say “raging” a lot. That’s a super weird detail to remember, but that’s my brain for you. The rest is new territory!


“The World in the Walls” is very clever filler. Filler is not a bad thing. It just means that it has little relation to the main plot. Episodes like this can have character development and some details that would have otherwise gotten swept under the bigger arc.

We don’t find out what happened to Alice, who had packed up and left Brakebills at the end of the last episode. There are no further encounters with the Beast, or meaningful information about Fillory. There’s some pretty significant movement in Julia’s story, but not until the very end.

Quentin wakes up in a place that looks a lot like Brakebills, sans all magic. He’s been admitted to a psychiatric hospital under a court order. He can’t do magic, because magic doesn’t exist. Brakebills was an elaborate illusion that Quentin built to avoid dealing with his mental illness.

Alice and Eliot are also inpatients at this hospital, with some pretty strong delusions of their own. Penny is there too, an orderly, but he’s acting uncharacteristically subservient and speaking in an Indian accent. Dean Fogg appears as another doctor, and the infirmary worker who healed Quentin’s arm is a nurse. Julia comes to visit, too. She’s having a wonderful semester at Yale, and she and James are engaged. It’s easy to imagine how Quentin, trapped in his own head, would have made use of all these people in his hallucinations.

Lots of shows have the “was it all just a dream?” episode, but “The World in the Walls” begs one particular comparison. I’m talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and “Normal Again.” Buffy is attacked by a demon whose poison causes extreme hallucinations. She imagines she’s in an asylum. Her doctor and her parents are telling her that the last six years of her vampire-slaying life have all been in her imagination. She’s been in the asylum the whole time.

Sounds like what Quentin’s going through, right? The thing that makes “Normal Again” great, that I think is missing from “The World in the Walls,” is the sneaking feeling that the asylum might actually be reality. The ambiguous ending caused plenty of Buffy fans to speculate that the entire series is just one long dream. There’s also the emotional drama: Buffy’s life was pretty grim at that point in the series. The asylum reality, and the possibility of not having to fight anymore, looked very appealing.

The thing is, Quentin has lived with a mental illness, and he’s even spent time in institutions like Ellsworth Downs. Why is he so convinced that Brakebills is reality? Doesn’t it make sense that he would experience some doubt about his own perceptions? I didn’t feel his uncertainty. Quentin wants to be a magician, and he’s sure that he’s trapped in a spell.

Then there’s the episode’s portrayal of mental illness itself. In some cases it’s played for laughs—nymphomaniac Alice is funny because we know she’s not like that in real life. Quentin himself veers between being pathetic and violent. It’s all overblown, caricature-like. I don’t have a mental illness, so I’m not the best person to speak to this, but I know it doesn’t always look like that.

Now, this is actually plot-justifiable, since Quentin isn’t in a real hospital. A spell puts him in his own worst nightmare. Quentin’s worked pretty hard to distance himself from mental illness of any kind. It scares him, so it makes some sense that his nightmare version would be over-the-top. I don’t think everyone in the audience necessarily gets that, though. It really plays into the already-present cultural idea of mental illness. I had hoped this show would give us a more nuanced look at a person living with depression, but it seems like we’re moving backwards with this one.

Okay, end representation rant, back to the plot. During Julia’s visit Quentin manages to make some small magical fireworks. She reveals that she can see them, and to Quentin’s view her sympathetic face is replaced by a cruel, laughing one. After Julia leaves, Quentin sees a plaque with the name of the hospital, Ellsworth Downs. Jane Chatwin shows up in his bedroom that night to tell him that the answer to his current predicament is in the Fillory books.

After his roommate shreds his Fillory books (just to keep things from being too easy, I guess) Quentin thinks that psychic Penny could be the key to escaping the spell. He co-opts a group musical therapy session to sing “Shake It Off” with the other patients, debunking my previous theory about what T-Swift song is always in Quentin’s head. I think this scene was meant to be silly and joyful, but I spent most of it cringing in second-hand embarrassment. Maybe I just hate fun, but it felt like trying too hard on the show’s part.

This has the desired affect of psychically annoying the real Penny enough that he invades Quentin’s dream. Quentin begs for help, Penny tosses him against a wall a few times for making dream-Penny a walking stereotype, and then wakes up.

At the safe house, Julia and Marina are breathing heavily and talking about how great they feel. They just did the spell that put Quentin in this dream-state. Julia seems to regard it as a harmless prank, but Maria tells her there’s a possibility Quentin won’t wake up. Kady’s there, looking uncomfortable. Marina harasses her a little before telling her to go back to Brakebills.

In the hospital, Quentin is putting the torn pages of his Fillory books back together. He finds the name of the hospital, Ellsworth Downs. Ellsworth is a character in Fillory, a magician who is cursed so he can only do “game magic,” whatever that is. There seems to be chessboards involved. Quentin can’t find the page that explains how Jane Chatwin broke the curse.

Quentin also gets a visit from his father, who we haven’t seen before. He’s sporting a scar above one eye. The doctor tells Quentin that he tried to kill his dad with a knife, and was brought in screaming about The Beast. This is one of the only times we see a crack in Quentin’s surety that Brakebills is real. He’s so disturbed by the idea that he could have hurt his dad, it forces him to re-examine his version of reality. It doesn’t really make the viewer question what’s real, though, since we already know Julia and Marina are responsible.

At Brakebills, Penny goes to the Physical Kids’ cottage to look for Quentin. Eliot is unconcerned, they had a big party and he assumes Quentin is sleeping it off somewhere. Then Kady shows up and leads them to where Q is passed out in a closet. Someone gets Dean Fogg, and he determines that Quentin is under a spell called the Scarlatti Web, and the only thing that can break it is summoning a spirit from the underworld. Fogg has to take down the wards around Brakebills to let it in.

This is exactly what Marina has been waiting for. She and Julia were waiting in the woods, and when the wards come down, they have access to the Brakebills campus. Julia thought they were playing a joke on Quentin, but this was Marina’s plan all along. Marina was expelled from Brakebills a few months shy of graduation, and she wants to go get her memories back.

Fogg and another faculty member summon the spirit, which inhabits a mechanical scorpion that crawls down Quentin’s throat Matrix-style. Quentin still needs help getting out of the dream world, so Penny uses his traveller skills to go in and help him. Quentin is strapped to a chair and about to be lobotomized by his dad, who is covered in blood, just in case anyone still thought this was the real world.

Penny convinces Quentin that nothing is real, but then everything goes black and Penny gets bumped back to real life. Quentin is still asleep. Marina has gone looking for her memories (interesting parallel that Quentin’s nightmare involves being lobotomized, while Marina is trying to reverse her own magical lobotomy), which she finds in a box. Julia is on lookout duty, but Kady finds her and convinces her to come clean before Quentin dies.

Julia goes to the cottage and confesses everything to Fogg. He says there’s nothing more they can do at this point. Julia feels terrible. Eliot calls her a “hedgebitch,” proving that he’s always going to have the best lines even if he’s barely in the episode.

Back in Quentin’s mind, he’s in a case of light with Jane Chatwin. Ellsworth Downs and his chessboard appear. Jane, more helpful than usual, reminds Quentin that Ellsworth’s real curse was that he was so afraid of losing he only played when he could win. Sounds like a good metaphor for how Quentin’s been living his life up until this point. He sweeps the pieces off the chessboard, which breaks the spell.

At the cottage, Quentin coughs up the bug spirit. Eliot fusses over him, which is cute. Quentin thanks Penny for not being too morally corrupt to let him die. Elsewhere, Marina magically pulls Julia off the Brakebills campus before the wards go back up.

Later, Fogg lectures Quentiin about keeping Julia’s failed memory wipe a secret. He also tells reminds him that magic doesn’t solve problems. Kind of rich coming from the guy who told Quentin that it was going to solve his depression. Wasn’t Quentin supposed to be on probation after that whole Beast-summoning fiasco? Have we just forgotten about that, or is he too special to be expelled, a là Harry Potter?

At the safe house, Marina has reclaimed her memories of Brakebills. She uses her powers to burn the star tattoos on Julia’s arm, which I’m assuming makes her no longer eligible to enter the safe house or similar establishments. Marina has decided to kick Julia out of the Hedge Witches for endangering her mission. She banishes Julia from the safe house, and Julia finds herself standing in the middle of the street.

I really hope some nice things happen to Julia soon. I was rereading some of her chapters in The Magician King last night and her life isn’t all bleak after Quentin goes to Brakebills. I would also like to humbly submit my headcanon that Margo wasn’t in this episode because she went to find Alice and convince her to come back to the cottage. In my head, they are off somewhere drinking wine and girl-bonding. Looking forward to having them both next time.