The Magicians: Escape from the Happy Place

“If I ever get out of here Q, know that when I'm braver it's because I learned it from you.”

The magicians struggle with confronting their past, their fears, and their sorrow as they somewhat unwillingly plot deicide, send pedophiles to their likely death, and try to rewrite the future. So a typical day in Magicians-land.

Margo and most of the other questers (minus Kady because she’s been MIA for a while) think Eliot’s dead. When Margo tells Fen this she cries for two hours. But Fen’s surprised to find out Margo hasn’t cried at all (minus that single tear shed in the werewolf cage). Instead, Margo’s busy trying to unlock her birth-right box and let the entire castle know the terrible news. It’s easy to see why Fen would be surprised by Margo’s muted reaction; Eliot was (is?) her best friend. Somehow, more than her best friend. But we’ve seen Margo cope with sorrow. She toughed it out when Eliot was in a magic coma, she lashed out at Jane Chatwin after finding out her friends died in another timeline. Even when she cracks her shield just a little, it’s usually only when she’s alone. Here, Margo feels a huge burden of responsibility and a fear that giving in to her grief would render her useless. Her quest for an opened birth-right box ends (at least, for now) with a mute lizard. Her answers lost to the other problem she refused to confront all episode: the silenced talking animals.

Alice spends the episode desperately trying to save Quentin, which she succeeds in. The problem is that she doesn’t get the tolerance she was hoping for. Instead of getting to stick around, Quentin tells her to go off to wherever the magic book tells her to go, the book that sent Plover to die in the poison room. Alice was hoping for a redemption arc, or at least that’s what Plover thinks (thought?). She hopes that if she can save Quentin, reverse some of the damage done, she can be more accepted or, at least, tolerated. She hopes she’ll get points for killing Plover, and then questions whether that makes her better or worse. But all this fails. Notably, the entire episode she doesn’t apologize or even really mention what she did at all. Maybe this comes from fear of confronting her betrayal, why she did it, and what that makes her now. Both Santa and Plover tell her to move on, because who she is is not what she’s done. Alice doesn’t seem to believe that. But Alice also doesn’t seem to have any idea what a redemption arc would look like for her.

Finally, while trapped inside a fun and revealing creative plot device, Eliot struggles with having to confront his past and his greatest fear. Eliot, situated somewhere in the monster’s eye or soul or shade or whatever, starts the episode lost in a fantasy sequence. He’s living it up at Brakebills when Charlton (the last dude to lose his body to the monster) pulls him out, tells him where he is, and warns him of the creepy creatures lurking in the weird mind-world. Eliot hopes to find a door so he can reach out to his friends. But to find it, he needs to search through his most repressed and traumatic memories. And he fields through a lot of them. Little Eliot kicking the bullied kid while he’s down, big Eliot endangering his friends in the Neitherlands because of the special carrots, big Eliot brushing Quentin off the morning after the threesome. The door showed up in a memory with Quentin, where he turned Quentin down when asked about starting up a relationship after the mosaic quest. But it didn’t appear until he confronted the memory, his fear, his tendency to run away when he gets scared. A fear that lies beneath most of his repressed memories. After he confronts it, he can reach out. And, not only that, he can use the memory that terrified him to convince Quentin he was there, he needed saving. So Quentin saved him.

Bits and Pieces

-- It’s hard to hate the monster when he’s always so childlike and confused. Like when he told Quentin it’s okay his friend is dead because the monster is his friend now so he still has the same amount. And he really seemed to believe that. But also he kills a bunch of people, so…

-- Speaking of which, RIP Iris. But I don’t really care about her, anyway. Also, RIP Shoshana. Julia’s number of followers is limited to Penny 23 now. Unless she still has followers from her tree-growing days.

-- Speaking of Penny 23, he’s now following the Penny route of sucky circumstances. He was stabbed with a needle by some unknown stranger.

-- According to Iris, Julia has the worst of humans and gods. She’s helpless but immortal. Which sucks. But also Shoshana’s right, Iris is—or was—pretty sketchy.

-- Eliot’s repressed memories includes but is not limited to: Brakebills South (all of it), sleeping with people’s boyfriends, including Quentin, nearly got everyone killed, dog incident one and two, and camping.

-- I loved pirate-fighting Fen, Penny-fighting Quentin, and especially Welters captain Margo helping Eliot with the creepy mind-world creatures.

Eliot: “What the fuck?”
Charlton: “Tell me, I’ve been trying to understand it, I just couldn’t figure it out. What is fuck?”

Charlton: “Whatever you say, Jack Shephard.”
Eliot: “Is that a Lost reference?”
Charlton: “We watched it all one week over Christmas. I stayed in that memory for a while. What did you think of the finale?”
Eliot: “Stay on task.”

Eliot to memory Quentin: “I know you’re just a memory but you’re a very generous one.”

Four out of Four epidemics of mute talking animals.

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

Powerful episode. Especially that moment where Eliot watched himself reject Quentin. Echoed by Quentin rejecting Alice, who came to save his life.