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The Magicians: Garden Variety Homicide

“I will get out of here. And then I’ll turn you into lobsters. And eat you.”

This week on The Magicians, team Fillory plots regicide while team Brakebills tries to stave off a magical botany epidemic.

Over in Fillory, the team decides the Dark King is definitely evil, probably the source of the apocalypse, and that he needs to die. They plot his murder, with Eliot uncomfortably in the center of it. Eliot and Margo do a Freaky Friday so Eliot doesn’t have to kill another guy he’s into (remember Mike? Eliot does).

I didn’t love the Freaky Friday as much as I feel like I should’ve. Maybe it was just me, but it really pulled me out of the show. It just really seemed like they were acting as each other, instead of actually being each other. That said, the actors (Summer Bishil and Hale Appleman) do an amazing job week to week and I’m sure this was an extremely difficult task. It brought on some great lines (“You’re a really good baker. Also taller from this POV”) and I’m sure many really enjoyed it; it just didn’t quite work for me.

We also learn in Fillory that Julia’s pregnant… again. This time probably because the actress (Stella Maeve) is pregnant. I immediately was turned off by this storyline but have softened my expectations. I usually hate pregnancy storylines, but The Magicians’ two pregnancy storylines mostly worked well for me (despite the potential negative implications of taking away what was essentially Julia’s soul during her abortion). This makes me a little less weary of another. Plus, there are some interesting complications that can come up. Both Julia and Fen (who lost her baby) have had a difficult experience with pregnancy, which can lead to some interesting and emotional storylines. There’s also the issue of a baby bringing Julia down as she tries to stop another apocalypse, given that world-saving is often dangerous work.

Speaking of, pregnant Julia actually ends up being the one to kill the Dark King, which may have been a good thing if he actually died. The Dark King seemed slightly less evil this episode and I’m guessing he’s a red herring and not the source of the apocalypse. Of course, he’s still a powerful, now un-dead magician rightfully pissed off at Julia.

My guess is the real source of the apocalypse was introduced in the Brakebills story. Alice still wants to know what’s up with the page Quentin left over. New botany guy thinks he knows someone who could figure it out. Only problem is he ends up having a plant parasite, which is unleashed on Brakebills and turns its victims into zombies. The plant is trying to get to the page, but Alice doesn’t want to give it up because it was Quentin’s.

Easily the best part of this storyline is Alice and Hamish’s (botany guy) conversation about grief. The conversation is profound enough on its own, but they also do a great job weaving it back into the story. Hamish tells Alice he understands why she’s so attached to the page because he lost a partner as well (apparently pretty much everyone’s lost a love-of-their-life). He says grief doesn’t ever go away, but spreads so it takes over more space and becomes much quieter. Alice realizes she can do the same thing with the magical plant parasite. Sure, now lots of Brakebills students, including Penny, will forever have remnants of a parasite in their body, but it did make a great metaphor.

Turns out the magical plant parasite was after the page because of this evil thing called “The Couple.” They’ve got this seed and the page gives them instructions to grow whatever they want from it. Apparently what they want is likely evil. Isn’t it always? I’m guessing The Couple and their seed is the evil force that starts the apocalypse. But this is The Magicians, so who knows?

Bits and Pieces

-- This week’s episode description: “Josh returns from his nephew's bar mitzvah. Margo and Eliot share a mojito.”

-- Josh returned from his nephew’s Bar Mitzvah with a new appreciation for the sanctity of life. Also he’s still trying to have “the conversation” with Margo and Eliot kinda makes the situation worse.

-- Fen has toe worms. Everyone now thinks Julia has toe worms.

-- Julia still hasn’t decided what to do about her pregnancy, but my guess is she’ll end up keeping it because Stella Maeve’s pregnancy wasn’t going to stop.

-- One of my favorite things about the show is the way the characters support each other. Margo supporting Eliot with his love for The Dark King, who they had to kill. Fen supporting Julia with her pregnancy even though it was probably tough for her after her miscarriage. Penny allowing Alice to bring the red flagged botanist in when he realized why it was important to her.

Fen: “Nine months, what are you talking about? It’s Red Monkey month.”
Julia: “Red Monkey what?”
Fen: “Everything grows faster in Red Monkey month – healing, crop growth, weirdly, not monkeys.”
Julia: “Are you saying my pregnancy’s going to be sped up?”
Fen: “Julia, it already is, as long as you stay in Fillory.”
Julia: “Oh Jesus Christ.”

Hamish, on grief: “It starts like this tight ball in your chest, but over time it gets lighter because it just kind of spreads into the rest of you.”
Alice: “It’s like your own personal symbiote.”
Hamish: “Yeah, kind of, except not murderous and weirdly paper-focused. Just sad.”
Alice: “Yeah.”
Hamish: “Make it to a year. It’ll still suck, but it gets quieter. I promise.”

Three point twenty-five out of four toe worms?


  1. I love this show. It's also a show I'm certain I'd have trouble reviewing, so good job, Ariel -- I'm so glad you're here to do it.

    I agree that the FreakyFridayNess could have been better, and had gotten the feeling that Josh would get the story out of Eliot and he and Margo would be stuck in each other's bodies for awhile, but I still enjoyed it. I thought Hale Appleman in particular did a lot of Margo's mannerisms particularly well.


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