How do you review the pinnacle of a perfect season? To tell you it was perfect may be misleading, or worse, not fully sell it for how amazing it was, but iy was the t.v. moment of the year for a lot of the fandom. Just when we think the series is tied up neatly with a bow and everyone reaches what they’ve worked so hard to get to, a Magicians season finale happens like clockwork to tear it all away and leave us with an anxiety inducing cliffhanger. So here’s where we stand.
The Brakebills kids decypher the books final clues and after consulting more Greek mythology, discover the castle they are looking for is actually Castle Blackspire in the flipside of Fillory (one of many book callbacks in the finale). The Muntjac takes the whole crew and as Quentun is about to sacrifice himself as a new warden to hold the monster -not plural, there is one monster so bad it killed all the others and requires constant attention and having its needs met or it will rampage. In the form of a disturbed man child, Quentin steps up to the task when Eliot shoots it with the god killing bullet, only problem being it isn’t a god and it can jump bodies, and this spells the worst as we see in the final moments of the finale.
Alice then goes rogue and, having realized magic is the source of their problems and they’re better off without it or the library controlling it, she desttoys the keys. Unfortunately, newly formed full goddess Julia can’t stop listening in and decides its her duty to interfere. Teleporting to Castle Blackspire, she then sacrifices her powers to create new keys, but at more cost than she realizes. A charged up Irene McAllister and the library’s evil traveler pop in and steal the magic of the wellspring, siphoning it for their own. They can’t kill our Brakebills group per Dean Fogg’s deal with “The Order”, but Alice now belongs to thr library and they’re unhappy she tried breaking her deal, so she has to live with guilt and all of her pain as her friends lose memory of magic, their lives, and eachother and wander through life powerless and in grave danger.
We see the defunct, totalitatian way the library doles out magic like a greedy utility company, not even giving Brakebills enough to properly teach, but in hindsighy their elitist anf controlling views make sense. They had practically been at war with the hedges and dealing with unauthorized magic and our magicians running amuck (losing magic, stealing from the Library), and had flaunted their disrecpect for others by previously viewing Alice as a “lowly human magician”, coupled with how they treat their employees like livestock we have all the ingredients for a self-righteous lawful evil situation (or even lawful neutral if you want to argue for it).
The creators subverted a lot of expectations with the monster in the castle, and their bold choices worked out once again. Rather than wasting time or budget on a creature, or attempting and failing at a true creepy child form, they developed a body transferring monster with obvious adult strength but the mentality of an evil child. At the end we get Eliot posessed by the Monster and tracking down the a Magicians for revenge, starting with his new favourite play thing, Quentin.
Eliot’ found post memory, magicless Quentin in a bookstore that threw off major vibes of the opening of book 3, The Magicians Land, and their were other more and less obvious book tie ins as well! Obviously Margo is now Janet, but it looks like Julia is an architect (mm smell that irony) or in a soul crushing office environment reminiscent of Quentin’s situation near the end of book one. Shworunners Sera Gamble and John McNamara have claimed season 4 will imitate the books more than prior seasons, which we can live with either way, considering how happy we are with the risks they took and the direction they took the show, but can understand since they’ve truly embodied the major thenes of the books this season and to ignore great source material that is there to help increase the imapct would be a waste. Our major prediction? Janet/Margo and Julia will reunite much in the way they met in the books, at a spa and Julia attempts to kill herself but can’t die (residual god spark?) And Margo sees it and it awakens a feeling in her? That’s what we want, but there’s also room for their Penny to interfere, for Poppy to make a comeback, for Alice to escape, or for anyone from another timeline to interfere (Quentin’s son?), or even the mystery man that was helping pull strings behind the curtain during their quest.
We don’t know, but we will be keeping an eye out for any news leading up to the season 4 premiere in January 2019! Tick tock.