“uhhhh guys? I think we just broke the moon….” – Julia
We’re diving into this week’s episode and continue immediately from the cliff hanger we were dealt with last week. Zelda now on the team recounts everything she knows about the ominous apocalypse and what options the group has to stop it: “The Harmonic Convergence – this constellation forms a cosmic sigil that increases magical intensity – it has happened in the past without causing an apocalypse. [Alice: But now there’s surges of magic] The Convergence will only occur during this perfect alignment. If we move the moon out of position – no convergence, no circumstance, no apocalypse. The moon is not just a rock in space it has certain properties. Magic doesn’t work on it, thanks to magicians casting haphazardly on it for a millennia. The moon is now covered by a crust of spell debris, blocking new spells. Could this be a loose analogy about the social phenomenon that when one single piece on a chessboard, a person entering or exiting another person’s life, new circumstance or opportunity in life – terrible things can be prevented from occurring?
So the gang has only one course to plot – to consult the Lunatics* [The Lunatics – aka the Lunar-Fanatics. In the middle ages, people thought insanity was caused by changing phases of the moon. In fact, it was often a lunatic in the throes of worship. They claim to be able to achieve a magical connection with the moon; and even under some circumstance, move it.] This historical re-write is particularly enjoyable – mistaking people who had ‘gone mad’ with those who were in the midst of their five days of sleep deprivation in order to commune with their beloved moon. After meeting with a Lunatic, they find out that they have to spend 5 days and nights awake in order to achieve “Moon Brain” which will allow the magicians (and it requires three) to talk to the moon herself and ask her to move.
We jump back to Fillory where Margo is filling Elliot in on the reality of what’s happening during and after the official “Hunt for the Takers”. In the last episode, we saw the hunters searching a hose only to extricate a fairy found hiding under the floorboards. As far as we were aware – this group and the Dark King were only hunting down and killing The Takers. But we see them haul a fairy into chains. Margo tells Elliot “I’ve been on the inside and I’m telling you it’s a goddamn goose-stepping fairy-snatching ethnic cleanse.” Ethnic cleansing being something homo-sapiens have partaken in – in no small way. Challenging sociological occurrences through a fantasy medium tends to nudge those watching who may harbor similar tendencies that this line of thinking is as illogical and reprehensible as you can get. Margo’s bloodthirsty behavior also get a little surge after witnessing the Fairy-cleansing.*
Throughout the episode we are continually witnessing Elliot hearing a voice, calling his name – and asking him to “Let me out”. Seeming alarmingly similar to when Elliot’s body was taken over by NotElliot. On top of the attempted moon-brain meaning, they have gone over 120 hours without any sleep, he is also dealing with recurrences of PTSD and hearing this eerie voice. And seeing the words “Let me out” painted on the walls in what looks like blood. Julia attempts to get him to open up, knowing well what the root of the problem is – if not the exact specificities of it. For the first time, she tells that she remembers every single second of what happened when the Sister was in her. “Every. Bloody. Second of it. And usually, I’m good at pushing it away but right now – it’s like a constant slideshow in the background.”
What I have really appreciated about the Magicians series straight through from the first season, hell the first episode. Is that it doesn’t shy away from talking about things that for too many decades, were taboo and shameful to the general populace. Mental illnesses, crippling depression, and anxiety, PTSD is a near-constant subject matter throughout the series as literally everyone experiences traumatic events – it’s starting a public conversation and normalizing these things all at once. And by normalizing – I don’t mean belittling it or making it sounds as if, well everyone deals with this get over it. But normalizing it, in a communicative sense. Making it easier for people to open up about their struggles to another actual human, feeling like you have friends and kindred traumas in the characters. It’s possibly the best progressive and norm-breaking supernatural series that exists currently. Knowing that this is the last season also definitely adds to the appreciation of each episode – and the social and cultural commentary that it is not so subtly making.
Surprisingly we have a guest appearance – a freshly-coiffed new blonde Marina. Who is another person attempting to steal the moon rock – though her reasoning was to inhibit the Magicians from successfully avoiding the Harmonic Convergence – planning to exploit those left on earth and profit from the tragedy? As she and Elliot cast their counterspells – they end up with neither side winning. Instead of the moon either moving (meaning the world is safe from the Convergence) or it doesn’t, and the Convergence occurs, killing millions or billions. But because of the split appeals between the pair – something undeniably worse occurs… Leaving us on another huge cliff-hanger*