The Magicians: Do You Like Teeth?

Depression Monster: “This is pointless. You can't run me off. You can't eat me off. You can't drink me off. You can't jerk me off. God, you're so vulgar. We had a thing going, and you you made it unnecessarily gross.”

This episode uses magic to personify and further explore mental illness. And I am so here for it.

Quentin gets the main(ish) plot. He goes off on a solo mission to find the next key, which involves traveling by boat to The Abyss. Boat Quentin is a fun time. Everything’s looking up until he runs into Poppy and the key. Poppy slips him the key while he’s passed out because, as it turns out, the key creates a depression monster for whoever last touched it.

So the show personifies Quentin’s depression through this depression monster, which (I think) serves as a nice example of what depression can look like. We see Quentin struggle to cope with his depression monster, showing how futile it could seem. We get a glimpse into Quentin’s inner thoughts, how he sees himself physically (as a foot-face) and personality-wise (a wet-blanket, self-pitying, party-pooping, dick-wad). We learn more about his agonizing guilt; like that he blames himself for Julia’s rape and Alice’s death. These are all things we’ve seen glimpses of in the past, but Quentin’s depression monster really allows us to see and understand how his depression affects him and what kinds of things it says to him.

Quentin eventually loses the key. Poppy tries to steal it to find a way out of Fillory, Benedict stops her, but the key causes him to kill himself. As cool as it is to know the magicians will have to visit the underworld (again) to find the key, what I really liked about this whole sequence was seeing Benedict used as someone who also struggles with depression. Benedict is way different than Quentin; he’s usually perky, go-with-the-flow. It’s nice that they used him to show that sometimes people who struggle with depression are those you least expect. I also liked the line about Benedict being taught to hide his feelings. This is likely a common issue and it’s a nice (subtle) point about the importance of becoming more comfortable accepting and dealing with emotions. It also serves as a nice reminder that stigma towards mental health issues is a thing and it can be really damaging.

Along with depression, the show also explores PTSD through Julia. Julia is still traumatized knowing she has Reynard’s seed inside her. She’s so traumatized that she’s willing to perform an extremely dangerous spell to transfer the seed to Alice. Ultimately, the spell works. But, unfortunately for Julia, this isn’t a show that offers its characters easy solutions. She no longer has Reynard’s seed, but she still sees him in a nightmare. He reminds her that when she fell out of a tree her arm healed, but her fear of heights never subsided. Julia can rid herself of his seed, but she can’t rid herself of the fear, the trauma. At least, not through a quick spell.

One major thing the show seems to be saying about mental health issues through Quentin’s depression and Julia’s PTSD is it’s not something they can get rid of through some big, quick solution. It might not even be something they can ever be rid of entirely. The depression monster reminds Quentin he’ll never escape his depression; not through magic, or Brakebills, or Fillory, or a quest. Nightmare Reynard reminds Julia she can’t use a spell to transfer her PTSD away. Benedict’s family told him to bottle up his emotions, his depression, and never talk about them. I think the show is trying to say the opposite. We can’t run from our mental health issues, we need to talk about them and find a way to cope with them. It’ll be a long fight, maybe not as fun or entertaining as going up against a god or a beast or starting a magical quest, but it’s an important one.

Bits and Pieces

-- Margo and Eliot discover the fairies’ secret plan. They’re building an army of fairy fetuses on Fillory’s land. Margo kidnaps them; she’s taking hostages. Because she’s Margo and she’s the queen Fillory has and doesn’t deserve.

-- We also meet Poppy, former Brakebills student from the lost class with questionable ethics and a thing for dragons.

-- Another fun depression shout-out. The key came from The Abyss, where everything is always night. Abyss means unfathomable, infinite. Depression can feel never-ending, world-changing, unstoppable. Always night means an absence of light, hope, comfort, pleasure. All things depression can take away.

-- Penny is now using a fish toy singing “I Will Survive” to get people’s attention. Which is ironic given he didn’t survive. Sorry, too soon?

-- Margo gives Prince Fomar, her child groom, a sex-ed class to make him never want to have sex. It includes all the basics: STDs, pregnancy, and vagina teeth.

-- I’m getting tired of seeing everyone (OLU, Alice, Dean Fogg, Penny) chastise Julia for trying to rid herself of her magic because they want magic themselves. I feel like she has perfectly valid reasons for wanting it gone and if they would just try to practice empathy and to see things from her perspective, they might understand.

Dean Fogg: “I'm a Magician with no magic. A dean without a school. Just a blind, unemployed black man in America. Which, shockingly, was actually being kept 38% more tolerant through a series of enchantments which have now died.”

Eliot: “I am not going to coerce Margo into having sex with a 15-year-old. Have you never heard of statutory rape?”
Fairy Queen: “Fomar isn't a statue.”

The Incubus: “You've got two minutes.”
Julia: “Henry Fogg said that you might be able to help us power our spell. We just ... we need to use your ... thing.”
The Incubus: “My what?”
Julia: “Uh, your thing. Your ... business.”
The Incubus: “Sorry?”
Alice: “Your ‘little friend’. Uh—I mean—your big friend. Well, I'm—I'm sure your friend is perfectly proportioned to your body.”

Four out of four fake magic Johnsons.

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