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The Magicians: Marry, Fuck, Kill

“You know I’m not broken, right? I’m not some flower or a delicate piece of glass. I’m a person. And people heal.”

So many crazy things happened this episode—just so many things! And also, RIP Kanye West’s lizard.

So, Julia’s still a Goddess, Margo’s got Werewolf Herpes, Margo and Josh may be a thing (Marsh? Jargo?), Quentin’s gonna die next week, Eliot’s already dead, or he isn’t. Plover’s still alive (why?!). Just a lot of things.

Thematically, this episode seems mostly concerned with break-ability. Each of these “broken” characters are paired off with someone else—usually with someone who tells them they’re stupid for ever thinking they were broken in the first place.

For Quentin, that’s the monster. Quentin’s mourning his dead father, putting all his things away. The monster thinks this is a weird game. He doesn’t get why Quentin would care about a dead guy’s things. Quentin’s frustrated with having to explain it to him, but he tells him. Quentin broke an ash tray as a child so his mom thinks he breaks everything. Now Quentin thinks the same. The monster simply tells him to break things on purpose. In a beautiful and cathartic scene, Quentin and the monster break Quentin’s dad’s model planes. It’s made even more powerful seeing Quentin feeling relief with the weird, child-like, sociopathic monster who stole his best friend’s body. Who later says he killed Quentin’s best friend, breaking Quentin further.

Josh starts believing he’s unfixable after his struggle against the quickening. Turns out, the quickening crops up every thirty years and forces werewolves to either kill or sleep with someone else, or kill themselves. A game of Fuck, Marry, Kill, but without the Marry, as Josh puts it. After the lizard-killing ritual fails, Josh thinks he’s just broken and out of options, so he seals himself in a cage. Margo tells him his noble sacrifice is stupid, then makes a noble sacrifice of her own. She sleeps with him, consensually, accepting the werewolf consequences.

A Josh-Margo relationship feels kind of out of nowhere, and yet kind of not. Margo did say in season two or something that she was thinking about sleeping with him. And it’s very Margo to do the impulsive and practical thing and sleep with Josh so he wouldn’t die. Especially after potentially losing Eliot. The way the final scene with the two switches from their rom-com romance to Margo’s distraught look when Josh brings up Eliot is beautiful and heart-breaking. She’ll need support now that she thinks her friend is dead and Josh is great at being supportive (apparently he makes great condolence muffins, or at least he does in his dreams). They can help heal each other.

Alice is told by the second creepy pedophile (sorry Santa, but you do watch kids as they sleep, which is creepy, objectively speaking) she finds in the library that she is not broken by her actions. Plover says that they are not they’re actions and they both deserve happiness. Alice says they don’t. None of this is really resolved, which is fair. She’ll continue to feel like she’s messed things up irreparably, she’ll continue to torture herself. Maybe eventually she’ll heal.

Julia’s the only character to insist that she is not broken, despite what others may think. This is pretty huge for Julia, who spent much of The Magicians in various phases of PTSD. She declares that she is no longer fragile, she can handle intimacy, even discomfort. During her crazy intimate, awkward ritual with Penny 23 she doesn’t flinch, stammer, pretend like it’s all normal and like it doesn’t feel weird. She’s open with herself, with Penny 23. She finds out that, despite everything, she’s still a Goddess, still powerful. Despite everything, she is healing. Because people heal. Hopefully so will everyone else.

Bits and Pieces

-- According to Sera Gamble’s (co-showrunner) twitter account, this episode is titled “Marry, Fuck, Kill” despite what IMDB and DVR and whatever other TV service might say.

-- So there’s no way Quentin’s going to die, right? They’ll be some loophole or they’ll change his fate or something. And Eliot’s definitely alive and going to escape The Monster’s body... or Eliot’s body and The Monster’s soul? But they’ll both make it out of the season alive. They have to. They will. I think.

-- That whole dream sequence definitely had me. I’m glad Josh didn’t actually werewolf out and almost kill Margo. But I thought it was nice the way he offered her the muffin and said he wasn’t happy about what happened with Bacchus, but was sorry about Eliot, too. It’s too bad that wasn’t real.

-- Props to Josh for always disclosing his sexually transmitted lycanthropy to his potential sexual partners. Or, really, no props should be necessary. Because that should just be what everyone does when they have an STD, an act of basic human decency.

-- I like that Quentin says Penny’s “sweating” Julia. I don’t even really know what that is, but it’s very Quentin. I loved their whole scene together; they really seemed like old, loving friends.

-- Added to the long list of ways Brakebills is messed up: Josh’s magic zoology professor is like the twentieth to sleep with their student. Does Brakebills have a Human Resources department? Because if it does it has to be overwhelmed by cases.

-- Added to the long list of characters who can really use a good therapist (so far including Quentin, Julia, Kady, Alice, Eliot especially after he comes out of this which he will): Christopher Plover and The Monster. Christopher Plover to learn ways to cope with his urges, The Monster to learn any coping technique other than killing people. Are there any magician therapists? There should be.

-- I loved all the weird rituals. Especially the cut from Julia and Penny 23's sensual ritual to Margo’s weird chanting over a lizard heart.

Christopher Plover: “I found a spell for automatic writing. Now, you feed it a premise and it constructs an airtight storyline. I gather they use it in Hollywood all the time.”
Alice: “That explains Netflix.”

Plover: “You think that what you’ve done and who you are are the same thing. When they don’t match up you hate yourself. Alice, they’ll never match up.”

Julia, seeing the remains of Bacchus’ rule: “Is it possible for an entire forest to do the walk of shame?”

Four out of four vulnerable (not endangered!) lizard hearts stolen from Kanye West.


  1. I had all sorts of reactions to this one. Julia/Penny 23, yes. Margo/Josh, ick. I don't think I like Josh. While it was certainly cathartic for Quentin, I didn't care much for Quentin and the Monster breaking his father's model planes.

    But I was really happy that they finally showed us that Eliot still exists. Of course he does. I also loved:

    "Jesus K. LeChrist."
    "I get sleigh-sick."
    "That explains Netflix."

  2. Coming from the future, I think it's pretty hilarious that Netflix is streaming The Magicians now. That joke made me chuckle. Also, I must have missed it but how and when did Josh become a werewolf??


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