It’s finally here! SyFy’s The Magicians is back after a bleak finale with Quentin (Jason Ralph), Alice (Oliva Taylor Dudley), Penny (Arjun Gupta), High King Eliot (Hale Appleman), and Margo (Summer Bishil) down for the count after getting whooped by “The Beast” aka Martin Chatwin (Charles Mesure). Julia (Stella Maeve) decides to make a deal with The Beast after remembering how she was sexually violated by a God. Julia leaves with The Beast, taking the knife Quentin and gang needs to kill him. The first episode was directed by Chris Fisher and written by Sera Gamble. Let’s do this recap and review shall we?
Picking up where we left off in the finale, Quentin goes to get help from a witch he finds in the woods. As payment he gives her his blood. When he gets back, Alice is alive (thank goodness) thanks to swallowing some of Ember’s (Dominic Burgess) essence (yuck). She helped stop Penny’s wrists from bleeding out and woke up Eliot and Margo. The witch is still going to keep Quentin’s blood even though they didn’t need her services. Something tells me that is going to bite Quentin in the butt in the future.
The gang regroups to figure out their next step. Quentin does explain Julia’s reasoning for making a deal with the Beast but Margo is still pissed about it. They attempt to drink from the wellspring water that has given The Beast increasing power but the ground shakes when they try to get a bucketful. Their next option is to check the armory in the castle, Whitespire for some battle magic. Quentin theorizes from reading one of the Fillory books that Rupert Chatwin may have found something to give him an edge before going off to fight in WWII. Once the decision is made to go to Whitespire, Penny brings up the fact that he needs his hands back. Margo goes with him to Chatwin’s torrent, a healing river, while the rest will meet them at the castle. However, Eliot, Quentin, and Alice find out that they must be crowned before hitching a carriage ride to Whitespire. The crowns are located across a rainbow bridge that’s full of colorful flowers.
Penny gets his hands sewn back in by a river watcher (JP Hanoux) then gets in the river. Penny is healed, yay! He unfortunately insults the river watcher by calling him a hustler, refusing to pay for his services. At least Margo tried to diffuse the situation but fails. In turn the guy casts a spell on the thread used to sew Penny’s hands back as he is walking away. Penny confronts him later when he notices his fingers acting on their own casting spells. The guy refuses to reverse his spell, even though he hints that Penny will be someone important in the future. Maybe you should work on your bedside manner Penny!
Margo and Penny meet up with Quentin and co just as they are about to cross the bridge. After crossing the gorgeous bridge they reach the Knight of Crowns. The guy is technically dead but is functional enough to identify himself and tells Eliot that he needs to pass a test to confirm that they are children of earth. The questions center on entertainment from the 90s. Eliot even quotes Patrick Swayze from the movie Dirty Dancing! Passed with flying colors Eliot gets his crown. Quentin insists on a ceremony that turned out to be very touching as Eliot crowns Margo High Queen, then they both crown Alice and Quentin.
After the ceremony, Quentin helps Alice get some confidence by having her grow an apple tree. Alice claims that just because he helped her doesn’t mean that they are getting back together. However she makes out with him so what is it Alice?
The Kings and Queens of Fillory finally arrive at the castle and the armory, only to find most of the books gone. One of the books look like it could contain battle magic but it has notes and no actual spells. The cover and author appear to be from Brakebills. Looks like we are going back to Earth for a little bit. Eliot stays because he is High King and married to Fen (Brittany Curran). He will miss everyone and worries about the time difference between Fillory and Earth. Quentin tries to reassure him that they won’t be gone long. Eliot will see this as an adventure!
Back on Earth
Julia lands in a kiddie ball pool with the Beast. She makes a pact with him to help her kill the God Reynard the Fox (the jerk that assaulted her) in return for the knife. They start their search and Julia finds a clue as to what the Fox has been up to. He has struck again using Richard’s (Mackenzie Astin) body killing another group trying to summon Our Lady Underground. Back at Julia’s place they strategize how they can capture Reynard since he is a God. The Beast knows of a spell that will cast a brief net. Julia will go to get the supplies he needs. They get into deep discussions about having emotions (or shade) and how The Beast got rid of his a long time ago and feels better for it. Julia is tempted to get rid of her shade and the Beast even starts the process before she changes her mind.
There you have it folks, the premiere episode!
This was a solid premiere! I appreciated that the show picked up right where we left off instead of a time jump. After the seriousness of the season 1 finale it was nice to have several moments in this episode that were fun, sweet, and touching at the same time. The Knight asking those pop questions and the crowning ceremony were my favorite scenes of this episode. I am ashamed to say that while I knew of the song “Hold On” I did not realize that the ladies that sang it were daughters from members of the hit music group Beach Boys. It was nice that both Alice and Margo knew the answer as it gives them something in common other than Quentin. There were so many 90s references I would have loved for the guy to ask but the ones selected were still good. Kudos to the show for giving a shout out to Patrick Swayze and the movie Dirty Dancing. I was expecting a little bit of the last dance as well but having Eliot quote several lines was still awesome.
We missed out on having a ceremony in the books, so it was nice for the show to include one. I also thought it was a good idea to use it have Quentin, Margo, Eliot and Alice start fresh with each other. Penny’s mannerisms and sarcasm watching this whole thing was great!
Margo had the best lines of this episode, from the dig she made at Alice and Ember’s essence to having Penny figure out how to wipe his own butt was hilarious! Alice was so disappointed when the carriage horses were rude because she loves horses. Again, there were some light moments that made this episode good.
The scene where Alice created the apple tree was to me some foreshadowing as to not only what happens in the 2nd book but the third one as well. I also love that we are going to have Julia hunt for Reynard the Fox as part of the overall story arc. Especially since I was disappointed in how it was handled in the books. I was hoping to see Kady (Jade Tailor) in this episode but I’m sure that we will see her again eventually hopefully joining the hunt.
Something tells me it was not a coincidence that while Julia was with The Beast, there were several places and references with children and innocence. From landing in a children’s play area and The Beast wanting to observe kids in the park. I have a feeling that while The Beast removed his shade, there is still a part of him that is drawn to the innocence of children because of what he lost. Even though he is bound by his agreement with Julia, I predict he is going to attempt to take advantage of the situation, as seen in this episode where he tried to remove Julia’s shade. Anything to get the knife. I also think that part of it is because they have experienced a similar trauma and he feels that was the best way to cope with it.
One thing that did disappoint me about this episode and last season is the character Fen. Not only was she replaced by another actress, but her role in the books was better than what it is currently on the TV show. Right now, I feel like she is wasted space as Eliot’s wife. I’m hoping that we see some of the abilities she has in the books.
I will need to do a more in-depth book comparison soon. What are your thoughts regarding the season premiere? For my book readers, did you do a little squeal when you saw the dragon?! What are your predictions this season? Sound off below in the comments!