The Magicians: The Girl Who Told Time

Margo: “Why am I staring at a plate of half-eaten nachos?”
Eliot: “A question I've asked myself very often at three a.m.”

This episode contemplates the never-ending question of “what if.” What if Julia had gone to Brakebills? What if things had gone differently with the Beast? What if Dean Fogg managed to actually be helpful? And, because it’s a fantasy show, our characters are actually given real answers.

We get a glimpse into a world where Julia went to Brakebills through Dean Fogg’s flashback. We learn Julia was a knowledge student, specializing in meta-composition. She was happy, eager to learn (she read ahead), and excited to begin her Brakebills experience. And then we quickly jump to our Julia: shadeless, hopeless, knowing that she should feel immensely guilty but also that she can’t. And it’s absolutely effective and depressing. Moreso for Dean Fogg, probably. Because he knows this is the life Julia could have had, that he took away that life by denying her admission into Brakebills, and that he can do nothing to change things.

So Dean Fogg does what he can: he releases Julia so that she might fix herself. Quentin, whose been trying to drown his grief in drugs and alcohol, sees Julia’s shade while tripping on a drug that allows him to see other worlds. This triggers Quentin to help Julia find her shade. Together, they learn that Dean Fogg knew someone (Alice from timeline 23) who was once obsessed with shades. Why did Dean Fogg choose to keep this information from Julia? Maybe he forgot he is actually capable of being of help to his students. Nonetheless, the three end up using a Tesla Flexion to contact Alice 23 and get some useful information on shades.

So Quentin gets to see a version of Alice from a world where she lived and he died. She seems even more worse off than him; cutting off fingers and scouring the world to find a lead on how—not even to bring her Quentin back—but to allow him to rest in peace. The two get only two minutes together and in those two minutes Quentin says what they both want to hear: that he loves her no matter what. But he’s not her Quentin and she’s not his Alice. And, like Dean Fogg, he’s powerless to fix his Alice. He spent the whole episode trying to drown out his grief, only to once again be forced to see a different version of Alice and grieve her loss all over again.

Bits and Pieces.

-- Penny and Kady get caught up in library politics (which is much more interesting than it sounds). Penny starts his service for the library, through which they meet Harriet. Harriet (who Kady sides with) argues that the library isn’t as accessible as it should be, while the librarians (who Penny sides with) argue that its accessibility needs to be limited or else dangerous knowledge could end up in the wrong hands. It’s an interesting argument with merit on both sides.

-- Eliot has become a groomzilla. He’s trying to use his wedding to boost his popularity. It’s all fun and games until Josh comes across a note indicating someone is planning to “red [their] wedding.” Maybe this is the time to put popularity on the backburner and make the wedding private? They immobilize the Foo Fighters, but there are likely plenty of other people considering regicide.

-- Shadeless Julia is struggling to make moral decisions. She regrets not considering the way her actions affected others in the past, but is still having trouble doing this now. It will be interesting to watch Shadeless Julia try to figure this out. If anyone can figure out how to make moral decisions without the emotion needed to make such judgements, it’s probably someone meant to specialize in meta-composition.

-- Dean Fogg and Bob Ross had a dark artistic rivalry. I’d love to learn more about this.

-- Kady returns as the character who can do anything the writers need someone to do. In this edition, she knows sign language.

-- Apparently half the clickbait is encoded with spells by magicians. Honestly, this would make Buzzfeed make much more sense as a thing that exists.

Quentin: “You never yell at Eliot for being drunk.”
Margo: “Because Eliot's fun. You're depressing. It's been three months.”
Quentin: “Technically, it's only been a couple of days on Earth. So...”
Margo: “Three months on Fillory. Of Emo Quentin. Not my favorite Quentin.”
Quentin: “I didn't know that you liked any of the Quentins.”
I just thought it was adorable when he said that.

Eliot: “I just don't get it. I mean, I did head off a famine – personally staved off a war. Not to mention, The Wellspring is back online. And yet the people don't like me any more than they did.”
Bayler: “How can you possibly know what they actually think of you?”
Eliot: “There's this Earth magician, Nate Silver. I adapted one of his polling spells. Right now, my approval rating is at 26%, which is not good, Bayler. Not at all.”

Josh: “One for $20, three for $50.”
Todd: “Which gets you the highest?”
Josh: “Highest? This is grown locally from heirloom seed stock, paired with the ideal pastry for a curated drug experience. This will make you levitate. This is like being hugged by a rainbow. This is like being blown by a rainbow. Do not mix these up.”

Margo: “Josh, where’s that dishwasher?”
Josh: “Still in the armoire.”
Eliot: “Why is he in the armoire?”
Josh: “‘Cause I'm not good in a crisis, okay?”
Eliot: “How were you ever a drug dealer?”

Penny: “Fuzzbeat?”
Kady: “It's like a website. They do serious news and cat videos at the same time.”
Penny: “That's fucking dumb.”

Four out of four pandas with things that look like pandas.

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