The Magicians: Divine Elimination

Eliot: “Jesus. Alice has gone full Harry Potter part seven/eight over there.”
Margo: “God, I hope we're winning.”

Well, this was a very deadly episode. The magicians finally make their moves, with very mixed results.

Things were looking up for Quentin and friends at first. They had a plan, weapons, and power. And then a royal curse, which made them all super paranoid and blood-thirsty, took away a bunch of those things. The curse is a lot of fun to watch; they all act perfectly in character, just a bit more murder-y. Penny (who’s appropriately frustrated the entire time) has to commit mass regicide before reviving them all to break the curse. But before he manages to save the day they lose three Cacodemons and Alice loses much of her god power juice.

Things don’t go well on Julia’s end either. Marina manages to summon Reynard, The Beast puts him under his freezing spell, and Julia almost has him when Penny pops in and wrecks her plan by stealing The Beast. The thing that bothers me about this whole debacle is that Julia seemed to have ample time and opportunity to kill Reynard before Penny showed up, so why didn’t she? She didn’t seem nervous about going right for the kill; she said she was more than ready to do so and she acted pretty quickly in immobilizing The Beast during last season’s finale. She knew The Beast was a time-limited asset after Quentin’s warning during the previous episode. So the only possible reason I can think of for her hesitation is plot contrivance. The writers needed her plan to fail to develop tension for future episodes. Which is fine, but I wish it all went a little smoother.

So Julia hitches a ride with Penny and The Beast to Fillory (which again, why didn’t she go right for Reynard with the knife instead of trying to take back The Beast?). Julia gets in the spell’s cross-hairs and Quentin has to protect her, messing up Alice’s aim. With Alice’s powers drying up and The Beast running off, they have to consider a plan B. Eliot and Margo go off to petition Ember for more god power (why hadn’t they tried that before?) and Quentin and Alice take a romantic carriage ride to their likely death.

Quentin tries to have a real conversation about the status of their relationship during their trip. After floundering for a little while, Quentin finally says what he means, which is that he plans to earn back Alice’s trust by showing her he isn’t just the guy who hurt her in the past. They’ve both grown. Which is true, since they’ve been through a lot since then, but it’s still not something Alice is ready to hear. Not while they’re stuck in a carriage on their way to kill a super strong magician. Especially when Alice will be the one doing all the heavy-lifting. And it’s fair of her to think that way; it was a bit selfish of Quentin to bring it up right then (he was never great at respecting hers or anyone’s boundaries). But he also knew this might be their last chance to talk ever. Which he was right about.

So Alice goes off to fight The Beast, without enough power to do the spell. When she sees The Beast hurt Quentin she decides to sacrifice herself for him, for everyone, and for magic. She purposely niffifies herself, then (with her new niffin powers) kills The Beast. When niffin Alice threatens everyone else Quentin’s forced to stop her with his Cacodemon. And the episode ends and everything sucks, as always.

Bits and Pieces

-- Things don’t turn out well for Julia, either. She doesn’t manage to reach Reynard and Marina in time and finds Marina dead in her apartment. It’s a testament to the writers that they managed to make me feel bad for a character who was largely antagonistic. She went down, but she threw a few good barbs at Reynard first, since that’s what she’s best at.

-- This show needs to stop harming and killing cute animals on screen. It is not okay.

-- It was pretty messed up of Penny not to drop Julia off at Marina’s so she could help her. He was super flippant about the imminent death of a human being. I understand it was an emotional time and Julia really messed things up for him, but he still could’ve had some compassion for the girl who was getting tortured to death. I didn’t feel bad when he lost the shackles keeping his hands together.

-- Why doesn’t Penny have a shirt on this episode? And what was with Marina’s skirt? She looked like a Goth cheerleader.

-- It’s somehow not surprising that Margo was the last to die during the spell. Alice may have been the most powerful and well-versed in magic, but I can see Margo being a vicious and clever fighter.

-- Ember left his “divine elimination” in the wellspring. That should be good for magic.

Eliot: “Benedict, right? I need your help. What do you do here again?”
Benedict: “Royal mapmaker, sire. Is your problem cartographical in nature?”
Eliot: “Not really. What I need, Benedict, is a dagger. A stiletto, really. Something I can sneak up and stab someone with. But regal.”
Benedict: “I make maps, Your Majesty.”
Eliot: “Well, surely, someone has snuck into your office and dramatically stabbed a knife into a map to make a point, no?”

Margo, after Penny saves Quentin: “You just had to let him save you, huh? You're such a girl.”
Quentin: “You know, I would like to see you dead regardless of your gender.” I thought this a nice call-back to the Quentin who interrupted his sex-dream to say that he’s a feminist.

Quentin, after Penny shoots Margo: “Why didn't you shoot her in the neck? The carotid is right there.”

Three and a half out of four shitty wellsprings.

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

This one upset me. Cat murder! Reynard completely creeped me out. And Alice! I was really upset about what happened to Alice.

percysowner said...

I do understand Julia wanting to hold onto the Beast to fight Reynard. For one thing, I'm not sure that just the knife will kill Reynard. It works on the Beast, I'm not sure it works on a God. I think the Beast was going to do whatever to conquer Reynard and Julia is just using the knife to keep him in line. Plus, Julia saw Reynard kill her friends, horribly. she has to be terrified of him. She could have needed the feeling that The Beast was backing her up to make sure she could actually take on Reynard.

This is a tough, sad episode all around.

Ariel Williams said...

Percysowner, that is a possibility and would make things make more sense. But at one point Marina asks Julia to "gut this guy" and Julia says "with pleasure". So I would assume that means her plan was to stab him with the knife. Maybe The Beast was going to perform some other spell while she did that, though?

I actually skipped over the cat murder part during my rewatch for this review because I had one of my cats cuddling next to me and I didn't want to subject him to such atrocities.