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The Magicians: Heroes and Morons

Margo: “What you're doing is very heroic. Now, I mean that. But what's the difference between a live hero and a dead moron?”
Eliot: “Food tasters?”
Margo: “No, one dumb decision. So when it's be brave or be smart you know which one, okay?”

The magicians start on their quest. Involving cool sentient ships, giant dinosaurs, and magical sex orgies. So yeah, it was a fun episode.

On Earth, Quentin, Julia, Josh, and Kady try to track down Mayakovsky’s batteries. They find footage of a bear tearing apart a local hedge bar and realize it’s Mayakovsky because the bear’s a bit of a dick. From there they find out that some woman turned him into a bear, stole his battery, and wreaked magical havoc around New York.

Rumors send the magicians on fun little missions. Kady and Josh have fun with dinosaurs and pediatric hospitals and Julia and Quentin check out the mass orgy. For a while it’s just funny watching them awkwardly question orgy participants. Quentin has a fun reunion with Alice, who’s also looking for a battery. It’s all a great time until Julia finds out the battery lady asked about the nearest building to jump off of and Quentin, of course, immediately knows where it is. It’s an effective, though deeply sad, acknowledgement that Quentin has struggled and is still struggling with serious mental health issues. And of course, when they find the battery lady, Professor Lipson, Quentin’s the one who tries to talk her down.

Quentin gives a nice speech. Empathizing with Professor Lipson over how empty the world is without magic. And how they shouldn’t have taken magic for granted when they had it. He tries to get on her side, saying Mayakovsky deserved being turned into a bear and whatnot. But she still jumps. He saves her, holds onto her, but she still jumps. And that’s real and sad and something the magicians immediately have to move on from because that’s their lives.

Off in Fillory, Eliot goes on his mission to find the first key. He goes off to After Island with Fen and their super old fairy spy/possible infant daughter Frey. Once there, Eliot and his “family” realize the island’s priest is using the key to scare the island into obeying him and take the key back with them. It’s all fun and a nice twist, but the best moment from the Fillory storyline comes from Eliot and Margo’s conversation before he jets off.

Margo tells him to be smart, not brave. To come back alive. They discuss Frey and Eliot’s family and what he should do. They have a real, honest, vulnerable conversation. It’s great to see the two connecting, to see the strong bond they’ve always had, though it’s often tested. And Margo’s ponderings on bravery and heroes is an important one. One that may be explored throughout the season as our magicians continue to meet situations where they have the choice of being smart or being brave, and they need to make the right decision.

Bits and Pieces

-- I really enjoyed the way they told the story of the first key at the start of the episode. The animation was really nice and it was a nice break from The Magicians typical narration.

-- I really liked how Julia tried to consider and even understand Kady’s perspective in maybe keeping the battery away from Julia out of spite. She got it, but still held her ground in believing she did the right thing then and was doing the right thing now. It would have been easy for the show to villainize either one of them, but this seems to be the show’s way of saying no, this is complicated. And it makes sense this would come from Julia, who learned to adopt others’ perspectives and morals when she didn’t have her shade. It shows character growth and maturity in the show and I really liked it.

-- It’s cute and sad seeing Frey parent her maybe daughter.

Eliot: “Ugh, god. What a cliché.”
Margo: “The baby that becomes a teenager practically overnight?”
Eliot: “Right? Angel.”
Margo: “Twilight.”
Eliot: “Buffy.”
Margo: “Technically, Buffy's sister was never a baby. She just appeared out of nowhere. And oh my god. Two months without dick and I sound like Quentin.” I loved this entire conversation. Though I am surprised Margo read/watched Twilight. Doesn’t sound like her thing.

Quentin: “We really didn't know how good we had it, did we? We whined and complained about everything that magic couldn't do because we couldn't see that a world without it was dark and mean and pointless.”

Quentin: “Sorry, officer. Our friend's cat was sick and exploded. You know, like they do.” That was funny. This show still sucks for killing another cat. But that was funny.

Three out of four dinosaurs after vegan falafels.


  1. Well considering how ubiquitous Twilight was, I think Margo could have known about the insta-grow baby almost by osmosis. I've never read Twilight and I still know a bit about it: Edward creepily watching Bella, The Triangle between Jacob/Bella/Edward. That the triangle was because Jacob was really destined to fall for Bella's baby. So Margo knowing doesn't mean she read the books.

    Or it could have been part of the "Things fiction gets wrong about magic" course.

  2. I've read the Twilight books and enjoyed them. They're not as wonderful as Buffy and Angel but I again loved the geek-speak.


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