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The Magicians: Acting Dean

Todd: “Something, something Fillory, a most amazing land, butt-f--ked by catastrophe, and way before we planned. La la blah blah Fillory, a land without a god. Needs a brand new hero, a strapping lad named—”
Julia: “Todd, please stop.”

Shady people were shady, relationships were teased, broken, shown for its self-hate filled center, and answers were revealed.


Back on post averted (but still f--ked up) apocalyptic Earth, Alice, Julia, and Penny 23 try to fix magic and Brakebills. They summon who they think is their Fogg but turns out to be a “psycho” Fogg 17, who tries to steal Brakebills to bring back to his broken timeline. Luckily Julia and Penny 23 realize he’s not who he says he is and stops him. Alice manages to figure out what’s up with magic: the moon’s pissed at them (fair). Meanwhile, Julia and Penny 23 fight over whether or not to help evade another apocalypse in Fillory.

While Alice meets what I think is a potential love interest, Julia and Penny 23’s relationship breaks down. Penny 23 doesn’t want to go save the world right after saving one twice. He thinks they should get a break. Julia’s ready to dive head-first into saving Fillory without too much to go on but a need to save another world. Given the two have very different backgrounds, it makes sense they have very different views on the situation. Penny 23 comes from a timeline that was taken over by The Beast. He lost everyone he loves and, before Julia and Josh entered his timeline, spent all his time traveling around an essentially barren world, alone, trying to stay away from The Beast. It makes total sense that he’d want to retire from hero-ing; he definitely deserves it. Julia, on the other hand, has a history of having her choice taken away. Now, she definitely really values choosing her next move. On top of that, she’s always been pretty stubborn and determined to do something big with her magic. So stopping another apocalypse sounds pretty good to her.

Still, Julia’s current motivations may not be too grounded. She’d just been given a whole new life and then immediately lost her best friend before she could decide what to do with it. Julia also was powerless to help Quentin when he died, which may fuel her now unending need to save the world. But bottom line is Penny 23 and Julia are two people with very different life goals right now. Just like in a normal, non-magical relationship that doesn’t involve any apocalypses, that just doesn’t work.


With apocalypse looming over Fillory, Margo, Eliot (and Charlton), and Fen do some recon, diplomacy, and pure spying to try to figure out what’s going on. Eliot continues to spy on (and fall for) the Dark King and uncovers a conspiracy: Pickwick 300 has been the one targeting the faeries because they’re not true Fillorians. Fen has made much progress gaining the faeries’ trust when Margo comes in and threatens that with her lack of diplomacy. Luckily, Margo manages to win them back by protecting them from Pickwick 300. Then the faeries show them what the Dark King’s really been up to: creating the Takers himself.

The Dark King didn’t surprise me; I’d assumed he created the threat from the season premiere. What did surprise me was that Eliot’s lust for the Dark King stems from self-hatred. Eliot thinks he deserves someone f—ked up, probably because that’s how he views himself. And I feel incredibly stupid for not seeing this before because it makes so much sense. After Eliot turned down Quentin out of fear, he believes he only deserves (likely) toxic relationships. The Magicians has done a great job with Eliot’s character development all season, and it really shows here. Charlton said in the previous episode that he was excited to be outside the door because he had some things to say about Eliot’s life choices. Turns out, this isn’t just because he wants to help Eliot, but because he recognizes his worth and knows he deserves better. It’s easy to see how small Eliot feels next to Charlton.

So with a moody moon, a psychopathic despot, and their own inner issues to so sort out, the magicians have a lot to contend with in the coming episodes.

Bits and Pieces

-- Brakebills students sure have a ton of weird problems. I would love to see more of Dean Adiyodi hunting down the “league of mischief makers with a taste for high-end graphite.”

-- What do you guys think about Alice and the magic botanist? He seems like a cool guy, but I feel like it’s a little too soon for Alice (not that it wasn’t too soon for Eliot, that just never seemed like a necessary question given that I knew the Dark King would turn out to be evil.) Sure, Alice deserves some love, but is she ready for it yet?

-- I still maintain that Fen and Josh were terrible rulers and could have been more proactive. But Fen redeems herself when she does a great job as the sexy man on the outside.

-- Poor Dean’s still stuck in the ethereal realm. Kady and Josh are missing in action, as well. Josh is at his nephew’s Bar Mitzvah, he takes family very seriously.

-- The gold-sh--ting beetles are back! Turns out they never really left. That’s gotta be good for Fillory.

-- This week’s episode description: “Todd sings a song. Margo gives a foot bath.”

Margo: “OK, what does she think I did?”
Fen: “Well, very few fairies who knew you are still alive today, and the rest just know the story of High King Margo, which over the centuries shifted with each retelling.”
Margo: “So I’m being boned by a giant game of telephone?”
Fen: “No, no, no, no phone games are fun. This, not so much. See, you say, ‘You made peace.’ They say, ‘You destroyed their realm and allowed fairy hunts for sport.’ It’s a real potato, potato.”
Margo: “No it’s potato, po-massive fucking lie.”

Charlton: “Bick didn’t make Seb dark. He is dark.”
Eliot: “I like him, OK. Maybe I like him because I hope he’s not fucked up; maybe I like him because I hope he is, because I am too. Maybe all I deserve is fucked up.”
Charlton: “No, when you think that way, it’s all you’ll ever get.”
Eliot: “Why do you care so much?”
Charlton: “What? I don’t, but what happens to you, happens to me, and I don’t want him happening to me. I know I deserve better.”
Eliot: “Wild guess: Your mother and your father both loved you unconditionally.”
Charlton: “How did you know?”
Eliot: “How could I not?”

Three and a half out of four high-end graphite conspiracies.


  1. It's not just you, Ariel. That botany guy felt like a plant, pun intended. :) And I just laughed out loud that Brakebills has a Botany Bay. Did they mention that before?

    I'm still sort of confused about what happened to Todd. It was another timeline Todd who blew up, right?

  2. Yup! That was Todd 17 that blew up. Our Todd is still alive and well!


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