The Magicians: Mendings, Major and Minor

Dean Fogg: “Yes, you can save someone's eyes. You can even save someone's life, but you might alter their soul in the process.”
Quentin: “Then why bother? What is the point of magic if we can't fix real problems?"
Dean Fogg: “We can fix some things. So we fix what we can.”

I really like this episode. I know that it has a lot of problems, a lot of plots that come from nowhere and go nowhere, story lines that never intersect or relate to one another. But still, I like what it has to say.

The main backdrop of the episode is an alumni event. Apparently, the alumni pick students to mentor during and after their Brakebills education. There’s high competition for a good mentor because there aren’t enough quests to go around. So we see Eliot, Margo, and (briefly) Quentin desperately trying to woo an impressive mentor. The problem I have with this plot line is that Eliot and Margo make it sound like this is a huge deal that Quentin should have already known about, but we never see anyone mention anything about alumni or mentors prior. I don’t see why the alumni event was necessary for Quentin’s plot line. Plus, it seems like after this we’ll never hear about it again. Eliot and Margo lost the mentor they’d spent all episode seeking, but they’re cool with it because they can just make their own bed and breakfast.

One alumni event plot line that works a little better is Penny meeting and getting advice from his very drunk new mentor Stanley. Stanley tells Penny he better limit himself to astral projecting and he better do it quick, before he travels to Mount Everest by accident and loses his leg like Stanley did. It’s really good advice that Penny considers until he astral projects to a dungeon where a girl is being tortured by the Beast. Now the question becomes, will this cause Penny to keep all his traveling abilities? The answer obviously has to be yes (how else will the show easily move these characters to far off places?), but at least this would be a much better reason than keeping his powers because they’re cool, like Kady suggests.

What I thought made this episode worthwhile was Quentin’s struggle. Quentin finds out his dad has untreatable brain cancer and tries everything he can to use magic to save him. But everyone tells him there’s nothing to be done because the cancer is so entwined with his dad’s being. So now Quentin’s got all this power from his grief, all these spells at his disposal, but he still can’t do anything to save his dad. He asks Dean Fogg what the point of magic is if you can’t do anything important with it and the dean tells him you fix what you can. So he fixes his father’s toy plane, symbolically mending their relationship.

Quentin’s struggle with feeling useless and hopeless to help his dad was just so very human. It was easy to feel Quentin’s frustration with having so much power and education, yet nothing to do with it. How do you reconcile that uselessness? Why try anything if nothing you do makes a difference? The answer, that you do what little you can, is so simple and obvious, yet real and poignant. And it makes it so much nicer when Quentin fixes the toy plane for his dad and starts to fulfill his dad’s last wish—to fix his relationship with Quentin.

Bits and Pieces

-- We also learn that Penny may have astral projected to Fillory when he found the girl in the dungeon. That’s an exciting development.

-- Julia spends the episode trying to find a way back in with the hedge witches, going so far as sleeping with Pete to find another safe house. Of course, all this backfires when Marina takes away James’ (her boyfriend—or, ex-boyfriend now) memory of Julia. Pete tells her it’s for her own good because she never listens to anyone and is out of control. This is true, really. Hopefully this pushes Julia to assess her life choices and make some real changes. It probably won’t.

-- Apparently, Alice spent her time away from Brakebills on her aunt’s farm. Her aunt convinces her to stick around Brakebills to help her decide what she wants.

-- Quentin is glad Julia wasn’t murdered, but upset she wasn’t punished for what he did to her. Which is fair, really.

-- Dean Fogg won’t get involved with Julia or the other hedges because Brakebills isn’t the magic police. Which begs the question, is there a magic police? And if it’s not a thing, maybe it should be.

-- Dean Fogg should also think about his own responsibility in everything that’s happened. Both Julia and Margo were turned away from Brakebills, and yet still know about magic and are messing with their school and students because of it. Maybe it’s time to hire a new mind wiper or come up with new protocols for expelling students? Just a thought.

-- They also play this Welters game this episode. Eliot says it’s boring as death. He’s right.

-- Quentin wishes magic ran on love. Or cocaine.

-- Quentin meets Cancer Puppy, a 150 year old puppy thanks to an enchantment. Quentin kills Cancer Puppy.

Quentin’s dad: “Sometimes trying to fix something only makes it worse.”

Margo: “A great way to get the things you want is to be so miserable you don’t want them anymore.”

Two and a half out of four cancer puppies.

2 comments:

Mark Greig said...

I will never forgive Quentin Coldwater for killing Cancer Puppy.

Billie Doux said...

Terrific review, Ariel.

Lol, Mark. :)