The creative team on Syfy’s Magicians have always made a lot of bold choices, and season 3 has seen almost every episode feature at least one experimental form of cinemtography or storytelling which has kept the season feeling fresh and exciting each week. I plan to analyze this fully when the season wraps up, but this week saw 2 bold choices–the six shirt stories narrative style(Multiperspectivity), and the MOS/soundless sign language confrontation that made us abandon our phones and left us all shattered.
The actual story revealed a few big twists and things went in unexpected directions. It is more of a Penny driven episode, following his journey to the Underworld/Library branch to find the missing key. He runs into a few friends while there, including Benedict (expected) and Sylvia (very unexpected but a pleasant surprise). Sylvia proves more useful when she takes Penny to the Alice-look-alike seer-scribe that writes all the books of people’s lives –previously assisted by the library’s magic and being driven more mad only ablw to focus on one life at a time, bouncing amongst the magicians and their very important quest. Cassandra is based on an actual greek myth (the show has focused more on greek myth than the books, but not complaining) and the decision to have her played by Olivia Taylor Dudley is discussed in the Indie Wire interview here, but mostly just mind-f*cky.
Big spoilers but Penny steals the emotional thubder from book Quentin and has a heart to heart with Benedict, who hid the key to make Penny stay and need him [didn’t work], and he gives him a pep talk and scores him a gig in the Library’s maps department which is so good guy Penny and redemption on Benedict’s suicise that we almost lost it, but we called this deviation when Penny befriended Benedict season 2 aroudn the tine of the cock barrens episode. However, what we didn’t see coming was Sylvia double crossing him and after gis role in the key quest is done she returns him to the Library to fulfill his contract. We joked that she was maybe still a little sour about being left to die in the Poison Room, and the actress joked with us about it, but we expect this isn’t the last we will see of Penny, the Library may even be able to use their magic contraband to bring him back to the physical plane?
Speaking of the Library’s contraband magic dust, we finally see what that magic dust Julia snorted in the last episode was. Irene, from the schoolboard? She has a fairy deal and it gets DARK. Remember when we saw the fairy’s watching Julia take the key? Well she also has a fairy servant that Julia can’t see because she hasn’t made a deal, but Fen can, and the unlikely duo team up to get to the bottom of it. They uncover a gruesome scene where her fairy cohort has had her leg amputated and ground/processed/turned into magic fairy dust. We have a feeling Fen and Julia are about to tap into their inner Hermione’s and run a fairy liberation, but more over we believe Candis Cayne will be back and wasn’t necessarily building a fairy army, but was growing magic livestock of her own people and was making Fillory her fairy meth lab. There are a lot fo questuons as to why, but we are here for this storyline!
Speaking of Fillory, we see very little of it or of Eliot and Margo, but that will be corrected in next week’s musical episode. We oddly didn’t get enough Quentin and Poppy either. It was teased that Felicia Day was only slated to be on 3 episodes, meaning her last appearance may be one of survival– abandoning her comrades, and almost leeaving them stranded by trying to get their hedge witch traveler companion to abandon post. We never got to love Felicia Day’s character quite as much as we’d wanted, but she was an important development device and possibly the catalyst to take both Quentin and Alice out of their slumps, and as seen by Alice’s obvious annoyance and cat-fighty, condescending dialogue (Poppy totally played her to get her to help) may have revealed Alice may still have feelings for Q, but it’s complicated.
Kady got shafted for being a Penny heavy episode and being the one that liaisoned with Harriet and the hedge traveler. Jade Tailor never gets the credit she deserves for what she brings to the show, like the hilarious “it’s not cocaine” line, but we see you Jade. She we also wholely overshadowed by Harriet’s mother of a plot twist. I’m relinking the indie wire interview here because the creators discuss it, but fun fact– this wasn’t a premeditated twist. This came in the writing of season 3 and Mageina Tovah, as Librarian boss Zelda, busted it OUT. If you haven’t seen her work as Glynnis on Joan of Arcadia go binge it now because she was everything. We saw restrained warmth, a hard dilemma, and the way her demeanor contrasts Marlie Matlins dry, blunt humour and strong will was almost as magical as their thrown spells. The artistry, the choreography, the staging and blocking all kept us mesmerized until that shatter when the silence, and our hearts, were broken by that d-bag, Ketch from Supernatural wannabe, librarian we all hate now.
Fun fact about the episode? They used Olivia Taylor Dudley’s handwriting for the Cassandra handwriting and title cards. Dudley has been a jack of all trades on the show for some time, evem standing in as the dragon in season 2 to assist Jason and Stella while filming. If you ask us they should’ve let her done the voice too. Don’t miss out on this episodes related physical kids weekly podcast, as it features a Stella(r) interview with both Stella Maeve and Brottany Curran [Julia and Fen].
This episode competes with “A Life in the Day” as our favorite so far this season, and we are dying for our next hit of Magicians magic.