Television The Magicians

The Magicians – S05 E01 Review

Now, The Magicians series is certainly back with a bang. And, as far as we know this will be the penultimate series (the second last) – We’re happy to report that it’s starting out strong. With last night’s premiere, we dive into the depths of Fillory amongst other words. After a short recap of the previous season, We delve into the new – we finally get to see Penny and Julia together after what felt like an eternity of waiting, and as sweet and blissful some of their moments are they are interspersed and interrupted with calamity and chaos, but sure, we’re at season five so we know by now to expect romance with some interludes of catastrophe. Such is life. Penny arrives to take Julia on a surprise date – there are some serious perks of dating a traveler.

One of the first conversations that take place in the episode resonates a little in regard to the age-old debate against the use of things. Anything can be used for good or bad – it depends on the intentions. Drugs can be used during surgeries to help or recreationally which can be dangerous. A lot of the best technological inventions have glorious applications when created but then can be taken and used in warfare and violence. The previous season sees the magicians trying to find a way to get back magic. [Since the library started controlling the flow of magic and rationing it – not too surprisingly, the wealthy got as much as they would like and the unregistered hedge witches got mere pebbles or none at all. With magic restored, thanks to Q and his eventual sacrifice – there’s now a new problem… there’s too much magic. It’s unstable and at times uncontrollable. All spells, enchantments, wards are messed up and twisted and confused. There are huge surges that can occur at any time and make what is a soft easy incantation into a thunderous roar. Our first example – a created meteor shower that’s stunning and aesthetic, then turns into flaming balls of meteors that multiple and crash into the earth, setting fire to the grounds and trees and threaten humans and animals alike. Therein lies our problem, there’s now a surplus of magic, which complicates things in new and different ways. Penny’s comment that “There are a lot of ways to use magic to make the world a better place” lines the pockets of this belief system – things can be neutral, and its how they’re used that decides whether they’re inherently good or bad. Quite the philosophical beginning to the episode, no complaints here.

GIF made by Mia for TGON

Penny being cast into the role of teacher is quite a delightfully cheeky path – I can safely say it’s not one I would have predicted given his general attitude whilst he was attending Brakebills. His journey toward the role of teacher evolves as he himself does, returning to the students to take upon himself the very profession that he spent his youth revolting against. Though it’s safe to say that his fieldtrips will undoubtedly be pretty bitchin. Interestingly, on the first field trip one of his students seeks him out and asks about hearing other people’s thoughts from other worlds, and relays to him that she seems to be getting, not a voice necessarily, but a signal of some sort. Penny drops his wards and enters her mind in order to help her figure out what’s happening. Things go pear-shaped quickly and he is unable to put back up the wards on his mind, in the blink of an eye he disappears. Only to come back startled and temporarily confused. Of course there is a temptation to think that it is a Fillorian signal that either Margo or Elliot attempt to make – but they wouldn’t have anything sinister in mind, which leads us to the conclusion that it must be something nefarious that will be delved into throughout the episodes.

Margo and Elliot having made their way to Fillory only to discover that over 300 years have passed there, and their friends Josh and Fen had been usurped and murdered. Happening across a festival rejoicing “The Great Unshackling” – performed in a play at the caste, which tells the story of Fillory, from its creation with Ember & Umber – the rules that only children of earth should be its rulers, all the way to the beginning of “The Dark King’s” reign. Upon discovering that Josh and Fen were murdered Margo seeks out the Clock Dwarf that lives in the center of Fillory with hopes of returning to the past. This is done with some tasteful and enjoyable references to the film-world of 2019 with an allusion to the finale of Marvel’s Avengers buildup.

GIF made by Mia for TGON

A highly entertaining conversation occurs between Julia and a Fillorian Pig in which you can visibly witness the challenging of the outdated, antiquated and phallocentric world (personified in this literal and metaphorical pig) – meeting with the current, liberal and progressive thoughts (personified by our literal goddess Julia) On top of the already insanity that is the fast-approaching apocalypse… This antiquated swine is adamant that it is a catastrophe that only a man can solve. In particular, Quentin. Although, to those who know Q… you could argue the use of the word ‘boy’ might be more applicable. Happily, regardless of the piglet’s decision, Julia declares that this will be what she’ll do with the magic she retrieved after enduring Quentin’s death. To figure out what’s causing the apocalypse and stop it.

Julia – “Well maybe I could help you save the world.”

Pig – [Chuckles..] “Look the nature of the quest that I must deliver, it requires a certain kind of hero.”

Julia – “And what kind of hero would that be?”

Pig – “Well, that is to say, uh… To use the common tongue… A hero with a… pork loin?”

Julia – “So.. The apocalypse is happening, and this little piggy comes all this way…

GIF made by Mia for TGON

Each member of the Magicians seems to be representing a different stage of Grief – the episode showing a tapestry of the different ways people attempt to manage and deal with real loss. Elliot and Margo’s responses are fairly predictable, the former sinks into self-medicating and the later feeling fueled by rage and the desire for vengeance. Alice slowly spiraling and becoming more and more dejected, Julia walking blindly, trying to feel her way to something that could give her life meaning again. It’s a solid start of the newest series, and we’re looking forward to seeing how things progress.

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