The three storylines lived in harmony, that is until the Lamprey, Fairy Queen, and magical cancer attacked.
Joking aside, this episode of The Magicians was so well balanced and dense with content it was one of the more satisfying episodes we’ve seen of any show in a while. Hats off to the writers for nailing this episode at every turn, and for letting a cat make it out of an episode alive.
Into the episode, there is no best storyline to start with because they were all great, so we will start with Fillory. For all the lack of Margo in episode 2 they made her a focal point of episode 3, which unfortunately meant significantly less Elliot, this episode using up his screentime early when the magic key thr found opened a random door that lead to who knows where while the Muntjac got boarded by pirates! Margo pleads with the fairy queen to let her go and help the king and it surprisingly works and the Fairy Queen even helps her get a pegasus to ride to the Muntjac.
Once there, met by the Fairy Queen that teleported, Margo delivers some hilarious dialogue about the origins of pegasi, delivers marching orders to steal.her eye back, and then meets with the Pirate King, who happens to be a badass female leader. They flirt a but (who can resist a one eyed girl?). Plot twist the the pirate ship is also sentient and wants to mount the Muntjac. In a heartening display of leadership, Margo has a heart-to-heart with the ships core asking what it wants, and this strong act of leadership moved the Fairy Queen enough to murder the pirate crew and spare the Muntjac.
Fans believe the Fairy Queen is giving Margo sadistic leader training and is actually trying to be helpful in her own twisted, fairy way. Unfortunately, the Fairy Queen demands that they return Margo’s stolen eye back to its cage, and Margo takes the fall for her valets, but one still gets punished. Margo then returns the eye, but crushes it beyond repair, earning scorn and further complicating her relationship with the Fairy Queen.
Back on Earth, Alice returns home seeking shelter and help from her family. As her mother quickly points out, she brought a cat (don’t worry, this one survives). After trying to warn her family of the impending Lamprey ambush and being practically ignored and guilt tripped, Quentin arrives, but only after Alice acts out in paranoia and electrocutes a family friend and covers herself in plastic wrap.
It doesn’t take long for them to identify the issue of Quentin being the carrier and it leaves his body. Alice admits how she murdered its whole family, at first for purpose, but then just because they made pretty lights when they died. There’s a cat and mouse game that goes from Quentin shocking himself and ends with Alice killing her own father when there is no one else left standing. It’s a hard seen and you can see Alice’s humanity, the Lamprey got its revenge but may have been an important developmental milestone.
Alice has more potential enemies but we doubt anything else actually comes for her, and she should be joining the group on the quest to bring magic back at some point as that will be a goal for her now that survival isn’t her first priority. We get to see her hold Quentin’s hair when he gets sick from the Lamprey egg removing tonic she makes him and our hearts hurt after the hard talk about old Alice vs. Niffin Alice vs. Who she is now.
Speaking of heart breaking scenes, Julia helps Kadie use an unknown amount of the batteries magic and summom a demon (played by the highky recognizable Julian Richings) to try and remove the magica cancer in Penny and save him. The scene’s high steaks and stress are broken up with humour and uncomfortableness. The procedure is a success, but unfortunately they were too late and Pemny passes….except he is also standing behind them seemingly okay as some kind of spirit or projection. We don’t know what this means, if it’s related to his traveler powers (he didn’tlose when magic was lost), his librarian contract, or an unseen force, but we will get answers in episode 4!
Also to be answered is Julia’s passing interaction with the crazy woman thatbtalked to her about her purpose — could it be OLU? Another god? Or a crazy old lady psyching her out? Plenty of reasons for us to be waiting impatiently for episode 4.