Previously on The Magicians, ‘Thirty-Nine Graves’
The Magicians went to a very dark place in its first season finale. Fillory. But before we get there, here’s what you need to know about Fillory:
It began as a massive ball of magical energy in space, turned into a magical land lorded over by two gods: Ember and Umber. The Chatwin children traveled there while, to the rest of the world, it appeared as though they went missing. Their neighbor, Pulvor, author of a series of books about Fillory, also possibly disappeared there, though people believed he died of a heart attack. Pulvor was also a child molester. The Beast, the creepy moth-face man who has terrorized the Brakebills students, also resides there. He murdered Jane Chatwin (all grown up as Eliza) in search of a key to Fillory. He’s also been holding a Brakebills student, Victoria, who knew how to travel there. Now, our Magicians-in-training have also gone to Fillory to kill The Beast, and Quentin and Julia are on their way, just a few decades behind.
I think all of that’s right.
Julia and Quentin catch up with the others soon after arriving thanks to Eliza, who takes the news of her death pretty well. But present day Fillory kinda sucks compared to Fillory of the 1940s. With The Beast in control it’s a cold, dark, dreary place where cold and dark things happen. And, boy, do a lot of shitty things happen from here on out.
Oh, wait. First, there’s a wedding. Once everyone is reunited in the present, they visit the home of the man who made the dagger to kill The Beast. Julia and Quentin put in this request more than fifty years ago and the dagger still isn’t ready. Kidding. It’s ready, but the man who made it is dead and his son wants someone to marry his daughter before he’ll turn it over. A test reveals Eliot is the High King (with royal magic blood) and therefore the only one fit to be the groom. I cackled when Quentin realized he’s not all that damn special. Seriously. I hate that guy.
Though the nuptials mean he can never leave Fillory, nor can he ever have sex with anyone else, Eliot looks on the bright side and views it as a chance to do something with his life that is meaningful. After all, self-medicating with drugs, sex, and alcohol hasn’t exactly worked in his favor.
Dagger obtained! Not so fast. It can only be held by a master magician, and since our crew never takes their asses to class… they split up in search of a god while the others try to rescue Victoria from the dungeon.
Quentin obtains Ember’s essence (you really don’t wanna know) in order to be powerful enough to wield the dagger without burning his hand off. But when Ember removes a memory block from Julia (that had also replaced the stolen memories with fictional nice ones), that’s when things get truly.fucked.up.
Pulvor is not The Beast; Martin Chatwin is – and I honestly thought we’d all figured this out already so I was confused as to why everyone (including some viewers) was so shocked by this. Martin has been drawing from the Wellspring (source of all magic) every night. This source is more powerful than Ember and Umber, and in fact created them and Fillory.
So, how do you stop a juiced up evil magician? If you said, “very carefully,” you’re wrong. If you said, “You can’t,” you might be right.
Their confrontation with the beast leaves Penny without hands, Eliot and Margot unconscious, Alice bleeding out, and Quentin alone and broken because…
Julia swipes the dagger (which was supposed to be used by Alice after Quentin told her she was stronger and should be the one to bring down The Beast; I think he didn’t want to drink Ember’s essence) and holds it to The Beast’s throat.
You see, Julia and her friends were tricked. They did not summon a benevolent god. They summed an evil god (Renard the Fox), who killed Richard, took on his form, killed the others and raped Julia. Now that she remembers, she’s looking for a bit of payback.
She disappears with The Beast, the only person she knows who can trap a god (Ember) or kill one (Umber).
I’m not calling him Martin.
The Magicians S1E13
Overall, The Magicians was a great experience. The way magic works could have been fleshed out a bit more and the relationship drama (especially between Quentin and Alice) was annoying, but standout characters like Penny, Eliot, and Fogg, plus the cool effects made up for all of that. The Beast was a terrifying villain, and should have been used more, but considering how unreasonable and kill-first-ask-questions-never he is, I can understand why he wasn’t.
I’m still not sure Jane’s plan of a time loop makes much sense and I’m not clear on The Beast’s motivations: was he trying to keep everyone out of Fillory, trying to find a way out, or what? If The Beast can be summoned (like in the first episode), why wouldn’t they just summon him when they’re strong enough (and with enough magicians)?
I’m looking forward to season two. Victoria showed Penny how to take people out of Fillory, but it looks like he’ll need his hands to do it. What kind of deal with Julia strike with The Beast? I’ll be back to get those answers, and cross my fingers there’s a bit less rape and semen drinking.