The Magicians: The Wrath of the Time Bees

“My dad says when I get sad about something that’s going to end, I should just imagine this is the first page in a new book. The gift your friend gave you, it wasn’t his life; it was yours. That story just started.”

Giving us twelve-year-old baby Quentin was really just mean.

We start off where we left off last week, with Alice making an incredibly stupid and reckless, yet understandable decision in resurrecting Quentin via golem. The spell doesn’t go perfectly (as they rarely do) and she accidentally creates Baby Quentin. While adorable, Baby Quentin can’t complete the task Alice meant to create him for. With Julia’s help, Alice realizes her internal circumstances messed up the spell and created a different task.

Turns out, both Baby Quentin and Alice (and probably the rest of the magicians) suffer from transition anxiety. Baby Quentin always skips back to the beginning of a story after reading the end. He prefers beginnings, which I totally felt. I also often find I miss the beginning of stories, back when the characters weren’t changed by the twists and turns and general plot of the story. Alice doesn’t really want closure for Quentin’s death, but to return to the beginning of their story so his never truly ends. But through his dad’s advice Baby Quentin is able to help both Alice and himself take on a new perspective, one where this isn’t the end but the start of a new book.

This seems to be both the show’s advice for its viewers, as well as its mission statement for the rest of the season. This season is meant to be the start of a new story, unfortunately one without Quentin (or at least adult Quentin). I believe Penny 40 said something similar during last season’s finale; he told our Quentin this isn’t the end, but the start of his friends’ new stories. For Julia this new story involves starting her own hero’s journey as she completes a quest, Kady’s story involves leading the hedges while working through her addiction recovery, and Penny 23 becomes Professor Penny 23. And then there’s Eliot and Margo and their timey-wimey issues.

The Magicians showed how magic complicates grief in season two; back when Alice was dead (ish) and Quentin struggled to process because he was always able to conjure her through a smoke ring, a ghost sighting, even in the flesh. Now, The Magicians complicates death even more with the ability to change the past.

Eliot and Margo (mostly Margo) are understandably upset over the fate of their friends and Fillory so they make multiple attempts to change the past to fix everything. Using a letter with a magic time stamp they encourage their friends to skip 300 years into the future so they can avoid exile and/or death by the takers. This seems like a good thing, except now Eliot’s tempted to send a time letter to Quentin, pre-seam.

And the question is, would that be a bad thing? Just this episode we see or hear about three different characters (Eliot 1, Josh, and Fen) who were essentially revived with time magic and things seemed to work out okay. So when should magicians draw the line? When it messes with self-sacrifices? When it could potentially back-fire? Couldn’t it always potentially back-fire? And how could magicians ever move on and start new stories if they always have the ability to rewrite their old ones?

If these are some of the questions this season will be grappling with, I think it will be a pretty good one. This episode did a much better job of making me feel feels what with Baby Quentin, all the lives at stake (again), and Kady’s struggle with sobriety. Also, most importantly, the clock dwarf finally got his sandwich and now we can all rejoice.

Bits and Pieces

-- The episode descriptions continue to be one of the best things about this show: "Alice didn't buy enough tacos. Fen's got 3 bars."

-- The plot moved along, too. Julia’s trying to figure out circumstances so she can make moves on her quest. We got a more reliable account of what happened in past Fillory. And we learned that there’s some shady stuff going on with the hedges. Also, Quentin’s missing page is definitely going to affect the plot in a big way. All this is likely connected, somehow.

-- I don’t remember if I brought up this theory last episode, but I think The Dark King created and/or brought on the takers so that he could stop them, be the hero, and take over the kingdom; although that would also be similar to what happened on After Island, so I could be wrong. I’m also guessing that he might be heading the shady hedge witch stuff. Or it’s Marina, which would be fine because then Marina would be back.

-- I appreciate that the show hasn’t dropped Kady’s sobriety storyline and is doing something different with it. Maybe Kady and Fogg can be sober buddies.

-- It’s also nice to see the magicians support each other as they grieve Quentin. Julia and Alice this episode and what looks like Alice and Eliot next episode.

-- Brittany Curran (Fen) is basically a Disney princess come to life. That is all.

-- Yu-gin was cute. Too bad he was a sleeper assassin with a thing for his first cousin/half-sister who self-destructed himself to death.

Baby Quentin: “This is a really weird dream. Do you have a car? Can you take me to Taco Bell?”

Baby Quentin: “You look like somebody I know. My friend Julia. Maybe her grandma?”

Three? Three and a half? Out of four time bees.

2 comments:

percysowner said...

I'm hoping since Elliot saw how miserably things turned out when Margo tried to save Josh and Fen, that his letter isn't an attempt to change what Quentin did, but instead is something along the lines of "I got trapped 300 years in the future so we'll never see each other again. I just wanted you to know that we should have tried to make a life together, because I love you." That would at least let Elliot take care of his unfinished business with Quentin just like Alice did this week.

Billie Doux said...

Really liked this one, too, from Baby Q to the message behind the brick.

Percysowner, I hope you're right about the content of Eliot's letter. That would be lovely.