Season 4 of The Magicians returns to SyFy on January 23rd, so we thought it was the right time to undergo the ups and downs of season three, which is obtainable now on Netflix.
The Mary Sue’s Kaila Hale-Stern and Princess Weekes have simply returned from an extended journey of binge-watching the newest season. Right here’s what we liked and, nicely, what we took to only about in addition to Alice on Julia’s magic.
Silence Is Golden:
The greatest episode of the season is unquestionably “Six Short Stories About Magic,” in a daring non-linear format that exhibits the identical occasions from six totally different characters’ views. By the point we arrive at Harriet (Marlee Matlin)’s story, the episode has constructed up appreciable rigidity and raised the dramatic stakes. Then we get a unprecedented silent sequence, advised totally in signal language and subtitles.
I’ve by no means seen something fairly prefer it, and on a present about magical powers with storylines which have concerned gods and monsters, this was its most gripping second so far. It was additionally unimaginable to observe the masterful Matlin, an Academy Award-winning actress for 1987’s Youngsters of a Lesser God, reveal Harriet’s truths as a deaf character whose deafness doesn’t play into her plot however is just one other factor of her characterization. We obtained to witness what unfolded whereas immersed in her perspective, and it’s not an expertise I’m going to overlook.
Penny, Penny, Penny:
Princess goes into this additional, however the charming Arjun Gupta actually obtained to face out this season as Penny, particularly within the episode “Be the Penny.” The dangers that The Magicians took this season with offbeat and boundary-breaking episodes actually paid off. As has been the case in earlier seasons, episodes like Penny’s, “Six Short Stories About Magic” and “A Life In the Day” show that the present is at its greatest when it focuses on character and character interactions as an alternative of convoluted bigger-picture items. There was additionally nice improvement for beforehand “supporting” characters like Kady, Fen, and Josh this season, and they turned a part of the group.
I really like that The Magicians discovered a strategy to give us but extra Penny by bringing Penny 23 into the combination, thus neatly sidestepping the difficulty of “our” Penny being caught within the Underworld and out of motion, at the least in the intervening time. I’d watch an episode comprised solely of Pennys from totally different timelines interacting with one another. Hey, if we will have a number of Quentins and a number of Joshes, they will make this occur.
Queliot For the Win, or When Shippers’ Goals Come True
Quentin and Eliot slept collectively in a threesome with Margo in season one, and there’s all the time been a charged high quality to their friendship. However probably the most implausible issues about The Magicians is that it appears to know the fluid sexuality of its post-collegiate set, and hooking up with somebody of the identical intercourse is handled as completely regular and typically goes unremarked upon.
That’s unbelievably refreshing, particularly when you think about that Jason Ralph’s Quentin Coldwater is the “romantic lead” of the present, even when The Magicians has turn out to be a compelling ensemble drama. There aren’t many exhibits that might depict their male lead as bisexual, and even higher, bisexual with none angst about it. Quentin’s different relationships are marked with drama, however his bond with Eliot is unfailing.
That’s why the season three episode “A Life In the Day” seems like a unprecedented end result of those themes. Within the episode, Quentin and Eliot journey again in time and find yourself spending a whole lifetime collectively as they attempt to clear up one of many quest’s puzzles. It’s not lengthy earlier than they’re resigned to their destiny to stay there, and Quentin kisses Eliot one night time, who embraces him in return. Whereas Quentin goes on to have a son with a lady, it’s Eliot who raises the boy with him, and it’s clear that theirs is the true partnership. “We had a family,” they understand upon being restored to their timeline. The montage of their life collectively is gorgeous and heartbreaking.
As Michael Ahr wrote over at Den of Geek, “What show other than The Magicians could get away with showing an entire lifetime of existence catering to a specific ‘ship’ in its fandom while still beautifully serving the overall story?” I truthfully can’t consider one other present that might have or might have accomplished so, or would have had the braveness and confidence to tug it off. And sexual relationship apart, Quentin and Eliot are an exquisite instance of a loving and supportive male friendship. Extra of all of this, please.
I’ve discovered it arduous to care about The Magicians‘ Narnia knock-off for some time. Fillory is a joke that doesn’t get higher with the telling, and a lot of the time there this season felt just like the present was dragging its ft. The countless political machinations weren’t actually value it till the second-to-last episode with its cheeky electoral politics.
Margo was the brilliant spot of Fillory this season as she got here more and more into her personal and “got shit done,” to paraphrase Penny. However the countless again and forth with the Fairies, the Fillorians, and the bizarre segway with the “Floater” individuals felt tiresome when the plots occurring elsewhere have been rather more intriguing. Typically the present appears to need to make Fillory a humorous place, and typically it needs Fillory to be its Westeros, just like the weird storyline the place Margo’s husband-to-be is murdered on the altar by his creepy little brother. When one of the best a part of your alternate universe is foul-mouthed messenger bunnies, it might be time to maneuver on.
Alice Or Ought to I Say Willow:
Alice is a sophisticated character who has gone via lots, nevertheless it felt like this season, she was principally trapped in echoes of plots from earlier exhibits. Like Buffy‘s Willow, she was a massively highly effective and intelligent witch who principally turned corrupted by magic, and as with Willow’s tiresome magic = medicine arc, there have been a number of Alice is jonesing for magic bits (like paying to suck a vampire’s blood in a shady again alley), her willingness to endure bodily for Julia’s magic, and her overwrought remaining flip that since she couldn’t deal with magic, everybody was higher off not having it.
Like several good-person-turned-into-a-bad-creature story beforehand informed on Buffy or The Vampire Diaries, Alice additionally struggled with what she did as a niffin, together with a shifting episode the place her father pays for her transgressions, however she was everywhere this season. I do know her personal wrestle together with her id is supposed to be a part of what’s happening, nevertheless it began to really feel exhausting and complicated. It wasn’t till we obtained a glimpse of “old” Alice within the 23 timeline that I noticed how a lot I missed understanding what she stood for.
And talking of by-product, each Princess and I felt let down by the final episode’s conclusion. Not Eliot’s reveal—that appears prefer it’ll be enjoyable, and the extra Eliot the merrier—however the truth that the reminiscence wipe was principally the finale of The Good Place season two. These episodes aired three months aside, so it’s possible The Magicians had already plotted and filmed their final episode at that time, nevertheless it nonetheless didn’t really feel notably progressive. Kudos for calling Margo “Janet,” although, in a nod to her identify within the books.
Fairy Lives Matter At this time* (This can be a Blight reference, I’m sorry):
In case you’d informed me that on the finish of the third season, I might be rooting for the Fairy Queen, I might have referred to as you a liar, however on this storyline, the writers of The Magicians actually kicked ass at subverting our expectations. For a lot of the season, the fairies are a thorn in Margo and Eliot’s aspect, which contemplating how a lot we love them, immediately made us need to kick their ass.
Nevertheless, every part modified in episodes “All That Josh” and “The Art of the Deal,” once we uncover that the rationale that fairies exist in Fillory is that human Magicians hunted fairies to close extinction as a result of their bones might be floor up into magic mud. The fairies that stay in our world are these few who sacrificed themselves in order that the remaining might escape demise/enslavement. Consequently, the fairies of Earth are servants to Magicians, who abuse and kill them. This twist transforms the Fairy Queen from a pure malevolent drive to a very highly effective character. All that she has completed has been the results of making an attempt to make sure the survival of her species and the individuals she screws over are the very ones who would have continued to enslave her sort.
As she tells Julia: “Short memories are the privilege of the oppressor.”
Be the Penny:
Penny is likely one of the greatest enhancements from the ebook’s supply materials to the present. Not solely is Arjun Gupta tremendous beautiful, however he brings a much-needed comedic commentary to the present. Penny’s “death” episode is likely one of the nice experimental episodes of the present. As an astral projection, he can go round and see the reactions to his dying and they don’t seem to be nice. Nobody cries and nobody can pronounce his final identify. The solely one of many most important forged to cry for him his Margo (who’s the opposite main POC on the present so factors for that humorous subtext), who says she all the time thought they have been going to bang.
Our Woman of the Tree:
Julia’s rape is among the darkish factors of The Magicians. Whereas canonical to the books, watching it on display was particularly troublesome contemplating all of the sexual assault on tv we’d skilled. It was additionally heartbreaking to see Julia, a personality who had labored so exhausting to seek out magic, be tricked and harmed in such a method.
The trauma added on when it turned clear this season that having Reynard the Fox’s seed (the rape god in query) gave Julia additional energy. It was a sophisticated storyline, however The Magicians did take the time to discover the psychological ramifications of that, and season three actually introduced all of it collectively in a superb method.
Regardless of magic being turned off, Julia nonetheless has a spark of it, and that’s as a result of Our Woman of the Underground gave Julia Reynard’s spark. At first, Julia rejects it as a result of she doesn’t need her energy to return from him. Slowly, it turns into clear that the Spark not belongs to Reynard. All through the season, Julia grows it via performing acts of penance and goodness till she ascends right into a full-on goddess. Even then, Julia provides up that godhood to assist activate magic for everybody displaying that Julia is one of the best and whereas I needed her to stay Out Woman of the Tree, I’m glad she used her energy to assist others. Julia was unquestionably probably the most highly effective character this season.
It was additionally wonderful getting to observe Reynard be torn down and left with nothing. Screw him and his “feminist bookshelf.”
Go Ask Alice:
In contrast to Kaila, I truly actually loved Alice’s storyline. Whereas I do get the Willow comparisons, I feel that Alice will get referred to as out an entire lot extra for her dangerous conduct than Willow actually ever did. Alice has skilled a serious trauma. She sacrificed herself to save lots of everybody from The Beast and consequently, turned a niffin, a spirit of pure magic. As a niffin, she was highly effective and amoral, killing for no matter she needed, together with slaughtering a whole household of creatures to see them die fairly. Then Quentin brings her again and Alice is pressured to surrender all that energy and information with out her consent as a result of Quentin needs “his Alice” again.
In season three, Alice is coping with making an attempt to redefine who she is, and being torn between who she was as a niffin and the individual she was earlier than all of that. This results in not solely a bunch of errors on her half, however I feel it comes from an actual emotional battle. That massive change, magic being gone, and the demise of her father all occur inside a brief time period. For somebody like Alice, who has all the time been a strong and clever Magician, she is coping with a whole lot of issues she will’t simply repair anymore.
Nonetheless, she shouldn’t have trusted the Library.
After an episode watching Quintin and Eliot have a life-time collectively, swiftly Felicia Day’s character seems as Poppy Kline. She’s there to have some details about dragons, selfishly give Quintin one of many seven keys that brings about deep, suicidal melancholy and simply be … quirky? It’s Felicia Day so I do know that’s an enormous nerd get, however her character provides little or no and is gone shortly. It is rather irritating to have a personality like Quentin discover their bisexuality and then instantly be given an opposite-sex love curiosity. Whereas I’m glad the present doesn’t draw back from exploring “Queliot,” it additionally all the time appears to yank it out of attain simply when it’s getting good.
We critique The Magicians as a result of we completely take pleasure in it, and so we need to reward when it excels and level out when it wanders from the fairy path. There’s no denying that this is among the most enjoyable and watchable exhibits in style TV, and that it’s ageing like a fantastic wine that might be quick swallowed down by the Bodily Youngsters.
The Magicians succeeds in being fantastical and but extra true to the character of human beings than an excellent many properties presently streaming on the market. It’s undoubtedly one of the crucial self-aware and tongue-in-cheek, and each season, the forged and their characters develop stronger. If that’s not magic, we don’t know what’s.
What did you consider The Magicians‘ third season? Will you be tuning in for the fourth?
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