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The Magicians – S1E12 – Thirty-Nine Graves

Previously on The Magicians, ‘Remedial Battle Magic’

I love where this show is going, though I don’t always like the way it chooses to get there. Some of the most interesting developments in the series happen in this episode, but they’re bogged down by relationship drama and large portions of exposition vomit.

Images: Syfy

Images: Syfy

Things get more complicated between the reluctant group of friends when Alice has revenge sex with Penny. Thankfully, Penny has more experience in these kinds of hookups so he steers things away from getting too weird afterwards. Of course, Quentin doesn’t take the news well because he’s pretty much the worst. Alice reminds him that he cheated so he should take a seat.

The group heads to the Nietherlands to travel to Fillory, but Quentin is pushed back into the fountain by Eve, and returns to Brakebills. He confronts Fogg for answers and uses a truth serum on him. Quentin learns all of this has happened before (39 times) and each time Quentin dies, unable to defeat The Beast. Eliza (Jane) kept resetting events using a time loop, hoping small changes would result in a different outcome. Now that Jane is dead, this 40th time will be Quentin’s last. And what’s the one difference from all the previous times? Julia was denied entry to Brakebills.

This is all very interesting, but the fact that it was just dumped on us in a monologue made it less so.

Quentin reconciles with Julia and asks for her help in getting to Fillory. He has enough sense to be skeptical of her newfound god magic, but Julia is high on her faith. Her group summoned the god, and she granted all of their requests including curing one’s breast cancer and sending Richard back in time to save his son. Julia agrees to help, believing it is part of fulfilling her destiny in discovering new magic. Julia and Quentin arrive in Fillory via 1940s Germany.

The Magicians - Season 1

The journey for the others isn’t as smooth. They gather research in the library, until Eliot gets them banished because he’s a drunk asshole and burns a book. Then they find one of the missing first-year students, Josh, who provides a place for them to hide while he explains what happened to the missing class. Short story: Traveling gone bad. He knows the way to Fillory and is down to help them get there when he learns Penny saw his friend, Victoria, being held by The Beast.

Good news: Alice can make them all invisible while they walk through the Neitherlands to the Fillory fountain. Bad news: Eliot is all up in his drunk feelings after reading his dead boyfriend’s (for all of three minutes) life book. He causes them to get busted and Penny is forced to kill Eve so they can escape.

The Magicians - Season 1

The Magicians S1E12
  • 7.5/10
    Plot - 7.5/10
  • 9/10
    Dialogue - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Performances - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Magic & Effects - 8/10


I really wish we’d get more Dean Fogg since he’s one of the more interesting characters and one of the few I don’t hate. While I hated the exposition dump of Eliza turning back time 39 times, I am curious to go back and watch earlier episodes to see if there’s any hint of that. This episode, the librarian remarks to Margo make me wonder if one of their previous trips included Margo’s golem instead of her. Also, does the time loop explain Julia being able to retain her memories of Brakebills after being rejected?

One of the more frustrating parts of this series is all of the relationship drama. I get that none of the students are supposed to be particularly likable (or good) people, but that just makes it harder to care about them when the show diverts from its magical course to deal with their feelings and sexual partners.

Eliot needs to get over it. Seriously. One of my favorite characters has been a complete dickhead for the past few episodes. Get that man to rehab already. Margo continues to be awesome. Of course she matched her outfit to the potion bottle. Of course she did.

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About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

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