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The Magicians: Magicians Anonymous

“Whoever, whatever you love that gets ripped away from you. It stays alive inside of us and everyone you share it with.”

This episode was a bit filler-y (not to be confused with Fillory.) It mostly moved the magicians into position for next week’s apocalypse-filled two-parter. That said, I don’t actually have a problem with filler episodes as long as they’re fun and/or have something to say about our characters. I think this episode had a bit of both.

Kady and Fogg

Kady’s gotta go on an acid trip to find out what’s up with the depository and protect the hedges. She tries to get permission from her magicians AA meeting, but they surprisingly don’t go for it. Fogg does though. They take acid together, go to the ethereal realm, and find a source of answers from the Emperor. But there’s a catch: Fogg has to stay.

This is a pretty dark plotline hidden behind a fun, colorful acid trip. This episode explores Kady and Fogg’s addiction and the ways they’re still controlled by it. Kady makes it seem like she’s got a choice between her sobriety and saving the hedges with no other options. On some level, I think she believes that. But it’s telling that she never even considers asking someone else who is not addicted to substances (Julia, Josh, Margo, Penny 23…) to go on this trip for her. She wants to use again and this provides her an excuse. Fogg didn’t even try to cover up and pretty quickly took the acid. The episode gets to the root of their issues after Fogg agrees happily to stay in the acid world. He tells Kady “all the endless worry, suffering, pain both inflicted and received, it wasn’t for nothing. It guided me here.” And that’s addiction. Not the allure of the high, but the escape from suffering. It’s nice for The Magicians to get to be indulgent with its trippy gags, but it’s even better to reach the dark underbelly of the brown bunnies and hamburger and charcoal tasting cotton candy. It’s much more sobering (pun intended.)

Julia and Penny 23

Julia tries to stop the next apocalypse by summoning a god (because that always goes well.) She does and the goddess Clarion can, but only if Julia agrees to use the Binder to turn Clarion human. After much deliberation with the Binder Julia’s set to save the world, but then Penny 23 arrives in danger. His signal has gotten worse and is about to kill him. Clarion says she can either save Penny 23 or the world and Julia has to choose. Julia chooses Penny, and in the process he loses his psychic powers.

Choice comes up a whole lot here. Julia’s choices are “narrowing,” Julia threatens to just give the Binder to Clarion taking away his choice, Clarion forces Julia to choose between the world and Penny 23, Penny 23 loses his psychic powers to Julia’s choice to save him. Along with choice also comes the theme of accountability and trying to remove accountability through a claim of a lack of choice. Often people say they “don’t have a choice,” here I think The Magicians is saying we always do. Yes, Julia’s choices may have been narrowing but she still made the choice to use the Binder and to listen to Clarion. Yes, the gods may have made up a bunch of rules and restrictions for Clarion to follow, but she still chose only to fulfill one of Julia’s life-or-death requests. This all leads up to a psychic-less Penny 23 telling Julia they’re even now that they both made choices for the other. Is that a fair conclusion or just another way for them both to evade accountability for their choices?

Alice and Zelda

Alice heads to the library to get information on the harmonic convergence and runs into Zelda running from the Visigoths, barbarians who for some reason like to burn books. Zelda’s ready to die to protect the library because it’s all she has left after giving everything else up for it, but Alice tells her no. Then Zelda burns the books herself so the Visigoth can’t read everyone’s book and mess with the rest of the world.

The theme of grief returns for this short plotline. Alice tells Zelda that despite all she’s lost, she can still keep some of it alive by holding it in her heart instead of dying for the library. I imagine The Magicians are also insinuating that the memory of Quentin lives on through the season(s) that continues without him. But also, Zelda just recently saved her daughter so Alice might also point out that Zelda can still work on that relationship if she continues on. But also The Magicians has to get its grief musings in each episode.

Bits and Pieces

-- Margo and Eliot were both busy playing double agent. In the end Margo uncovered what seems to be a mass kidnapping of faeries. I’ve seen theories that the Takers were a result of the Dark King breaking the faery deal to not harm faeries. I’ve also seen some say that the Dark King uses the faeries for his immortality.

-- Looks like during the two-parter next week the magicians are going to try to move the moon to evade the apocalypse. That should go well.

-- For anyone who wants to learn more about addiction, I seriously recommend Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari. I had to read it for a class and it seriously changed my view on the subject.

-- This week’s episode description: “Julia lends a book to some lady. Fogg finds a sock.”

-- Does David Anders ever play the good guy?

-- Dean Fogg hopping like a bunny was absolutely adorable.

Clarion: “I worship you, Julia.” Who doesn’t?

Eliot, as The Dark King runs away from the takers: “I’ve seen that before. It’s a legit royal tactic. Never fear.”

Margo: “It’s fuckin fox news.”
Centurian: “Foxes are liars, who’d ever believe their news?”

Three out of Four magical acid trip brown bunnies.

1 comment:

  1. The Visgoths like to steal books, not burn them, mostly to make money on the stock market by knowing when stocks will rise and fall. I thought David Anders was an interesting casting choice, mostly because I have trouble thinking that he was cast for a small one off part. I have no hint that he will return, but he's a pretty well known actor for a one off part.


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