Previously on The Magicians, ‘Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting’
After the first episode, I couldn’t stand Julia. Her quick reversal on magic being a waste of time once she knew Brakebills existed was bad enough, but the fact that she used that dismissal of magic to make Quentin feel small took her to peak bitch levels.
Quentin wasn’t much better. He lorded his new abilities and place at Brakebills over Julia, and suggested that she had it coming for never returning his romantic feelings and pretending that they didn’t exist.
This week, the tension between the best friends comes to a head with a prank gone wrong. Or right, depending on who you ask.
Quentin awakens in a mental facility and learns Brakebills doesn’t exit – it’s something he made up in his mind and part of the reason he’s been committed. Well, that and attacking his father and claiming the real perpetrator was moth-faced man called The Beast. It also turns out that his “classmates” at Brakebills are actually fellow patients and Dean Fogg is his doctor.
During a visit from Julia, she makes a slip-of-the-tongue which seems to confirm Quentin’s insistence that none of it is real. However, he’s all but accepted his fate when Penny travels his fine-ass into Quentin’s dream state – proving it’s all a spell – to make Quentin stop singing a Taylor Swift song.
I don’t blame him one bit.
It seems Marina didn’t appreciate Quentin bopping his happy ass into her headquarters and this revenge is also Julia’s first taste of performing cooperative magic. Julia likes the tingly feeling it brings, but becomes frightened when Marina reveals she has no intention of letting Quentin out. Julia and Kady both look like they ain’t bout that life. This leads to their betrayal when Marina’s true intentions – sneaking into Brakebills to retrieve the memories they stripped from her when she was expelled – are revealed.
Their efforts bring Quentin out of his nightmare (and just in time to stop his lobotomy), but costs Julia her place with the hedge witches.
The Magicians S1E4
Each week, The Magicians gets better. I am not a fan of Quentin’s character. I find him whiny, weak, and annoying. But damn if I didn’t feel terrified for him and then heartbroken when he finally believed that magic didn’t exist and his mental issues have created an alternate reality as a coping mechanism. To think that he almost lived out the rest of his days like this is horrifying.
Julia tends to land on my shit list more often than not, but I enjoyed Stella Maeve’s acting in this episode. Her quick moment of devilish delight when Quentin wonders what kind of friend would play with his mind was delivered flawlessly. And Penny’s reaction when he realizes Quentin’s dream world version of him is an Indian stereotype has me anxious to see more of Arjun Gupta in future episodes.
The real highlight was Kacey Rohl’s Marina, who is scarier than The Beast at this point.