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The Magicians: Twenty-Three

Josh: “I will freely admit I was getting excited at the idea of a Josh-Julia solo adventure.”
Julia: “Sorry.”
Josh: “Yeah, what would the shippers even call us? Josh? Julia? See? You couldn't even tell that I swapped the first letters.”

A Josh Julia solo adventure is something I’d never think to ask for but am so glad we got.

Josh and Julia find themselves in timeline 23, where everything sucks even more than it sucks in our timeline. Almost everyone’s dead, Josh 23 suffers from something called the quickening which turned him into a dick, Fogg 23 is even more heavily medicated, Alice 23 is serving bunnies and gave up her soul in a creepy Weinstein type situation. But Marina’s alive here, so that’s kinda nice.

Ever since learning about the different timelines I’ve always wanted to see a glimpse into the others, and this episode only makes me want to see more. It’s so cool to hear how things might’ve changed had events gone differently. Like, Julia would’ve been a popular and powerful Hermione type. She would’ve had a relationship with Penny, who would’ve become super dull.

Even better than hearing about these changes is seeing our characters confronted by these changes. Seeing Julia struggle to explain their complicated relationship to Marina 23, and then later struggle to explain why she feels so reluctant about using someone as bait. It’s a nice way of showing Julia still feels guilty over what happened and that she’s changed her ways because of it. Also interesting is seeing Josh 40 upset over how dick-ish Josh 23’s become. Apparently, Josh 23 went all lone wolf after everyone abandoned him in the Neitherlands and the Quickening made him super dangerous. After learning more about Josh last episode it’s easy to believe this might’ve been a possible future for him. And maybe Josh sees this himself, and it’s part of what’s making him so upset.

Of course, the biggest change between timelines is Quentin. After meeting our Quentin through the tesla flexion, Alice 23 decided to bring her Quentin back without a shade, thinking a shadeless Quentin can help her find his shade after. But that didn’t work out because Quentin 23 became super evil, even worse and more powerful than Martin. He took on Martin’s look and became The Beast (2.0).

It actually kind of makes sense that a shadeless Quentin would become similar to shadeless Martin. Martin was first introduced as a child of a “gloomy nature,” which he combatted through “stories of childish wonder.” Sound familiar? Quentin 23 even creates a shrine to the Fillory books, his escape from his gloomy nature. Of course, he’s disgusted with himself when Julia gives him her shade and he really sees everything he’s done. And then he kills himself. And it’s all very tragic.

Before Quentin 23 kills himself, he tells Julia the reason The Beast wanted to see her. Apparently the vision key he was wearing showed him Julia (our Julia) opening the door to the castle at the end of the world, bringing back magic but also letting in a terrifying monster. So that can’t be good.

Bits and Pieces

-- The questers now have six out of seven keys!

-- Julia momentarily transfers her shade to Quentin 23, saving the day, because she can live without it. Which is a nice reminder of how strong our Julia’s become; how much she’s learned and overcome.

-- I now have even more questions about the timelines. Like, if the questers bring magic back to their timeline, will it also restore timeline 23’s magic? Is there one Underground Library per timeline, or one across all of them? And, if there’s one across all of them, could dead Julia 23 be chilling somewhere with Penny 40? I feel like she’d actually enjoy being there, given how excited she was to live above the Brakebills Library.

Margo, upon hearing the Fairy Queen might be a good guy: “Fuck Tinkerbitch. Fuck her right in the Egg McMuffin.”

Julia: “This doesn't make sense. The key was supposed to take us to Fillory. It just decided to send us back here? What even are the rules?”
Josh: “Beats me. They're weirdly inconsistent.”

Josh 23: “Act out.”
Josh 40: “Easy, cowboy.”

Marina 23: “Enjoy swapping puberty stories.”
Josh 40: “They're the same stories.”

Margo 23: “You are not gonna cock out on me.”
Eliot 23: “Cock out?”
Margo 23: “I'd say pussy, but let's be honest. Which one is tougher?”
Eliot 23: “Point made.”

Alice 23: “I'll tell Captain Hopps I'm leaving.”

Four out of four depressing alternate timelines.


  1. Bunnies. As radish smugglers. OMG, I had to pause because I was laughing so much.

    Julia and Penny. What an interesting surprise. I like it.

    And the ghosts of Margo 23 and Eliot 23 freaked me out.

  2. I really like that the show took us back to Timeline 23 because I felt that Quentin talking to Alice did change things for her...though I never imagined the direction it would take. I couldn't help thinking of Apocalypse World in Supernatural. And now Timeline 23 Marina and Penny are crossing over. I wonder what Timeline 23 Kady's relationship to them is.


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