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The Magicians: A Flock of Lost Birds

“The moment that I found out magic was real that was the moment that I discovered who I am.”

Once again, The Magicians resets their entire show for the season premiere. Most of the questers don’t know who they are, what danger they’re in, or even that magic exists. But the show still gets to have fun with identity crises, kittens (who don’t even explode!), and Santa Claus.

The majority of the questers spend the episode trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Kady/Sam Cunningham really moves things along using her detective skills. Surprisingly, by the end of the episode four out of the six amnesic questers know magic exists and are in a position for someone or something to force them to figure stuff out (Marina 23 or Margo-ruled Fillory).

Quickly and realistically the show pushes the questers to start figuring things out while also introducing us to their false identities. Penny/Hansel the chill DJ who may or may not have hooked-up with Taylor Swift. Josh/Isaac the anxious Uber driver with bad breath. Kady/Sam the tough, expert detective. And Margo/Janet, who kind of just acts like how Margo probably would if she knew nothing about magic. They all seem fun to hang around with for a little while, but I’m definitely eager to have our magicians back.

Elsewhere, we see our Julia finally get to go to Brakebills! Except it isn’t really our Julia, it’s Kimber D’Antoni. And everyone thinks she’s a squib including Julia/Kim herself because she can’t do any actual magic. Fogg let her into Brakebills because he feels guilty about what happened to her when he turned her away the last time. And really he should. He spent all first season telling his students how dangerous magic could be if unregulated, while knowingly casting one student out, hoping that would save them all. So now he’s using this version of Julia to make up for what he did, which as part of the elaborate mental gymnastics he’s doing to try to rid himself of his guilt and responsibility for the dangerous situation he left all the questers in; like telling the head librarian he’s doing his best to protect them so if he fails it will be her fault. The problem is, even if he makes different choices with this Julia and uses protection charms on all the other questers, he still made those choices in the past and the consequences for those choices will still stand.

In the library, Alice and the head librarian also try to rid themselves of their own guilt. Alice refuses to let herself off the hook so easily, but Santa Claus (!) tells her she’s good. Because she was good as a child despite being smart and even though he hurt others it doesn’t mean she should hurt as well. This raises some more interesting questions about identity and responsibility. Is a person always good or bad? Or do your actions and experiences change your identity? And should she hurt because she hurt others? Alice seems to agree with Santa Claus and uses his encouragement as motivation to escape. Through a cockroach? Maybe? I don’t know.

The head librarian, maybe feeling guilty after what happened with Alice and the others and with her daughter Harriet, tries to have a nice moment with Alice. She tells her not to kill herself again (sound advice) and that she hopes she’ll join the library to enhance her magician skills. Once again, the librarian asks people only to grow the way she sees fit. Harriet needed to stay with the library, Alice can only have semi-freedom if she joins the library, and now she’s regulating all of magic, doling it out based on who she deems worthy and who doesn’t piss the library off.

Finally, we get to spend a few minutes with Quentin/Brian and the monster. The monster’s super murder-happy. He killed a waiter off-screen, kills an ice cream man for giving him jimmies instead of sprinkles (not realizing they’re the same thing), and he plans to kill all of Quentin’s friends. And he does all this with a childlike splendor. We’ve seen so many people try to kill our magicians before, and even though they don’t know who they are yet, they’re all (minus Julia/Kim) well on their way to figuring that out. But the way the monster kills almost on a whim is just terrifying. Hale Appleman does a great job showcasing that creepiness in the few minutes he’s on screen this episode. I can’t imagine the creepiness to come.

Bits and Pieces

-- The Magicians is already renewed for season five!!!

-- I loved all the Ember-plus-kittens-warning-alarm dreams. Ember-plus-kittens should show up in every episode. I’d settle for just kittens. Just kittens who don’t explode.

-- The name Sam Cunningham does sound like it belongs in a comic book.

-- Margo/Janet’s still sporting the eye-patch because of the wonky colors she sees with her fairy eye.

-- The librarians imprisoned Santa; they must be evil! Except, Santa also watches kids while they sleep and gives them unsolicited gifts. Maybe he should be imprisoned…

Dream Ember on undead uprisings: “Not sure they'd be able to do much, the dead. They're sort of feeble and rotting. It just struck me as creepy and I’d rather you put a stop to it.”

Margo/Janet: “My boobs look insane in this drawing. A man wrote this, correct?”

Three out of four crazy witness protection spells.

1 comment:

  1. It's a bit frustrating. I hate seeing Eliot so creepy. I especially didn't like Margo as an ordinary person. She really needs to be a high king. And I keep thinking of what I'd do if *I* were running that library.

    Loved the kittens. It helped make up for the all of the previous gratuitous cat killings.


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