The Magicians has covered a lot of ground in 3 seasons, and I don’t say this lightly, but minus a few key scenes in prior seasons this is hands down my favorite all around episode. It had drama, horror, emotional arcs, and new teams combos. It didn’t have to world build, or over-explain, or introduce too many characters, and had room to breathe and take off.
We are thankful that the Physical Kids Podcast was able to interview this episodes writer, Mike Moore, to give us even more depth into this ocean of an episode. The podcast is run by two superfans and is on SoundCloud and iTunes, listen to it here (the episode discussion starts about 30 minutes in). Hypable was able to interview Hale Appleman about the mosaic montage and he let us know that there were more dialogue and a lot more nuance that got cut for time. We hope it makes deleted scenes on the Blu-ray release but you can read about it here!
The shortest and least flashy storyline came with Kady, who couldn’t afford rehab and was thus placed in psych to detox. Things get complicated when Alice brings her the truth key and shows her Penny. Cameras catch her talking to no one and the hospital starts to believe she is actually crazy. Our theory is that Julia will bust her out in the next episode.
Speaking of Alice and Julia, the two team up to try and chase down answers to the questions surrounding Julia’s powers. They meet at a bar and Alice recommends Julia looking in the mirror for answers, which worked better than expected, as she took a mental trip to have a sit down with Our Lady Underground. OLU/Persephone tells Julia that she took Reynard’s magic and gave that spark to her, because she had suffered but still shown mercy and deserved it. Julia is against it and wants no part of Reynard, Alice has trouble understanding and the episode leaves them with implying Julia would give Alice her magic, and Alice may know a way to do it.
This scene and shows a hard deviation in character development from the books. Because of the acceleration of Julia’s acquisition of magic and we don’t see her suffer, struggle, or fight to gain magic which would have made book Julia take that magic and run with it. Show Julia willing to give up magic shows how human she still is (or confident in the key quest), but that she wouldn’t sacrifice her morals or her humanity for power makes this storyline fresh and interesting.
Margo runs into her own problems in Fillorywhen the Fairy Queen demands she marry the prince of the Formerly Floating Islands that fell and is now Filory’s neighbor and potentially powerful ally or threat. Prince Ess shows up and is accused of an assassination attempt and detained, but then exonerated when the prince is beheaded mid-wedding. Floating island law dictates the wedding must go on and she murder the awkward son (Nicholas Coombe from ABC’s 2017 sitcom Imaginary Mary) who murdered his brother to gain power, respect, and the throne. Summer Bishil acted the hell out of the scene and it was a fun, dramatic sequence.
And finally, Quentin and Eliot’s quest for the third key. After using the first key on the Plover Clock, they are transported to Fillory….a few decades in the past. They find the mosaic and take up the task of solving it, knowing it could take the rest of their lives. So starts a long montage of days turning into weeks, then months, and years, and decades. We see glimpses of their lives, Quentin needing Eliot’s strength and vigilance, his companionship, we get the Queliot we’ve all dreamed of. Quentin finds a wife and makes a family, Eliot included, and they raise his son (Rupert) together during his marriage and after his wife (Arielle) dies. They grow old, and it is when Eliot dies and the task of reflecting the beauty of all life is achieved, and attempting to dig a grave for his companion Quentin finds a single gold tile that when put in the mosaic rewards him the key. It’s power? Time manipulation. While Quentin would like to use it and go back to save Eliot, he knows he has to give it to Jane Chatwin, along with the story he knew they were there to replicate. We shed all the tears. Its everything Quentin wanted, to be part of a great story and hero of the quest. But not all is lost.
Our Margo goes to ClockBarrens Jane and asks for help. While when Jane won’t give her the key she has, she says she can take the one from her body buried at Brakebills. Margo does as she is told and goes back right before her friends make their lifelong sacrifice, but the third key is achieved. But on an unexplained note (but presumably through the keys’ powers), and featuring a perfectly timed song end song [“Evolve” by Phoria — like Ruelle meets Vancouver Sleep Clinic], Quentin and Eliot recall the life they experienced for the quest and we teared up again for the third time.
It was a nearly perfect episode and Felicia Day has a big act to follow when she enters the Magicians verse in the next episode “Do You Like Teeth”.