The Magicians - Heroes and Morons - Review: “The Quest Begins” + POLL By Aimee Hicks (January 18, 2018, 3:00 am)
The quest to restore magic is beginning and it’s off to a bit of a rocky start. They made some progress, but they also lost a little ground as well. They had to deal with spies and betrayals and a little bit of everything else in-between. There is distrust amongst the ranks and uncertainty amongst them all. They are all striving to revive magic, but until they can find a way to put aside differences and accept fundamental truths all they are doing is making things harder on one another. But they are all trying and at this point that’s a step in the right direction.
Amongst the new wrenches in the plan was the arrival of Fen (Brittany Curran) and Eliot’s now magically grown daughter Fray (Madeleine Arthur). They can thank the Fairy Queen for suddenly being forced to deal with the teenage years much earlier than anticipated. There is still some uncertainty if this young woman is who the Fairy Queen claims her to be, but she does share a few similarities with her possible parents. If having a teenager thrust onto them wasn’t tricky enough a situation to deal with they also have to figure out how to handle the fact that their daughter isn’t loyal to them but their enemy. Thanks to her, even when they leave the palace, they are still under the surveillance of the Fairy Queen. Fray doesn’t seem like a total lost cause. She is smart and swift to act when necessary. There is no real longing on her part to be a daughter, but hopefully, throughout their adventures, Eliot and Fen will sway her to their side. Hopefully, blood will prove thicker than fairy magic. But, until that moment, they have to be cautious around her and the scene near the end where they scold her and send her to her room shows that this pieced together wayward family isn’t beyond hope.
Their adventure to the far end of the kingdom did introduce the sentient ship Muntjac. It also provided Eliot with his shot at the first of the quest keys. In a surprising moment of heroism not only did he retrieve the key, but he did so at great risk to his own life. Though, to be fair, he had more or less already figured out the ploy that the priest had been using against his own people before he put himself in the line of fire. Still, even knowing what was going on, things could have turned south for him very fast had even one thing not gone right. Ultimately he was heroic and even though his daughter still doesn’t much trust her father it did seem like there was a very brief moment of pride from her when she saw what he did. Brief is the key word because by the time they were back on the ship she returned to not trusting them and being on the side of the Fairy Queen.
Even though Eliot and Fen were able to get away from the Fairy Queen they had to leave Margo behind. As they parted ways, Margo gave Eliot some of the best advice possible when she told him the difference between a live hero and a dead moron. It marked, for the second week in a row, where the defining scene of the episode happened between Margo and Eliot. Thanks to Summer Bishil and Hale Appleman’s impeccable chemistry these scenes just pop off the screen. It was a terrific way to send Eliot off on his quest. It’s actually a bit sad that the writers are splitting up Eliot and Margo so early on, but at the same time, it’ll be nice to see them both tackle their own journeys. Eliot has a lot riding on his success so knowing Margo is behind trying to hold the kingdom together despite the fairy invasion will hopefully allow him to focus more entirely on the task at hand. There is a great maturity to Margo that is really being brought to the forefront this season and Bishil is dominating these moments. While Margo is a brilliant Queen to Eliot’s King she is a strong leader all in her own right. Having her stay behind will give the writers a great opportunity to really dive into how powerful of a leader she can be even on her own. She will have to overcome the fairy issues and that should provide some terrific material. It’ll be nice to have Margo and Eliot reunite and take the Fairy Queen down, but until then it should be quite intriguing to watch each of their individual journey’s play out.
While all of this was going on in Fillory there was plenty going on right here on Earth. In a desperate plea to track down any sign of magic Quentin, Julia, and Josh stumbled upon a video showing a rather interesting occurrence of a bear attack in a hedge bar. That one short video clip then propelled them on a fascinating mission when they realized that at least one of Mayakovsky’s magical batteries was out there. Unfortunately, for those three they have no pull in the hedge community. Fortunately for them, Kady does, however, getting her to help wasn’t all that easy a task. Julia being present immediately put Kady in defensive mode. One can’t really blame her for the way she acted. The last time she teamed up with Julia things went wrong on an epic level. Still, despite their current rift, there is an argument to be made that no one, not even Penny, knows Kady, as well as Julia, does. She used what she knew about her friend to force her hand and got her to help them. Kady ended up being a valuable asset as her connections led them to Emily (Abby Miller). After Quentin had to suffer through a rather awkward meeting with her she put them on the right track towards the magical power generator they were seeking.
hat forced the team to split up and if the Julia and Kady dynamic didn’t infuse enough tension into the group then the reappearance of Alice certainly did. When the group split off, Kady went with Josh to look into a sighting of a dinosaur while Quentin and Julia went off to check out a report of a magic-fueled orgy at a park. It is there where they encounter Alice who is also looking into these random bursts of magic. She also needs to find some magic in order to protect herself. Just because they are on the same mission doesn’t mean that Alice and Quentin are okay. They still have issues they need to work through and even though Alice is looking for the same battery as the others she doesn’t seem entirely keen to team up with them.
They don’t get time to work through any of their many issues before they finally come across one of the batteries in the hands of the suicidal Professor Lipson (Keegan Connor Tracy). While Quentin is able to save her he isn’t able to save the battery she had. When all five of them reconvene together they realize that there is still another battery out there. They come to realize that it’s likely in Emily’s custody, but before they can formulate a plan Alice’s troubles catch up to her and her sweet little kitten ends up exploding. Just a quick question, why do the writers of this show dislike cats so much? Things never end well for any cat or kitten that finds its way into the story. Fortunately for Kady the confusion caused by the exploding kitten allowed her to get a head start on the others. After an apparent assault on Emily, Kady takes possession of the battery and takes off leaving the others now trying to find her.
The fact that Kady stole the battery for herself was really no big surprise, the entire time she was off with Josh on their dinosaur hunting mission she was almost frantic at times. That fact made her being paired up with Josh a smart choice by the writers as it was good to have his lighter personality to counter her intensity. The entire time Kady knew the dire situation Penny was in and she knew his best chance was with that battery. Given how horribly sick he looked when he appeared behind her work it would appear that her eagerness was warranted. Penny doesn’t look long for this world unless Kady can pull off some big miracle with her new source of magic. So, here comes the big question, will anyone find her before she uses up all the magic? If one of them does find her will they be sympathetic enough to Penny’s situation to try and help her save him or will they retake the battery for the greater good?
Since Quentin ended the episode in his own peril thanks to Alice it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be all that interested in finding Kady now. Josh seems highly unlikely, which leaves Julia. Let's face it, there is very little doubt that the person that finds Kady will be Julia. After all seeing these two have to deal with each other alone without anyone to mediate is the better story anyway. Their interactions throughout this episode showed just how troubled their friendship is after last season. Kady feels betrayed by Julia and to a degree that feeling is very warranted. What is nice about how the writers are handling this is that they allowed Julia to be understanding. Julia understands why Kady feels the way she does. Most importantly she didn’t try to make things right with some big apology or expect forgiveness. They are writing Julia in a way that shows her owning what she did at the end of the season without making her in the wrong. She made the right choices even if they were the hard ones that cost her a best friend. At the same time, they are allowing Kady to be justifiably angry over her feelings of betrayal. They are allowing them to work through all these complex issues in a well-paced and real-world way.
When Julia inevitably tracks down Kady how will that go down? Will she help in the hopes of putting their friendship back on track towards some sort of forgiveness? Or, will these two end up doing battle for control of the battery? Knowing Julia, and the fact that these two have a back and forth of constantly owing one another, she’ll offer to help out of a sense of responsibility. Penny isn’t exactly a big Julia fan, but for the sake of Kady saving him might just be what gets these two back onto at least civil terms. Friendship still seems a ways off. It will take something very drastic to give any hope to restore their friendship, but if Julia can use her tiny bit of magic paired up with the battery to do something to help then at least it would be a step in the right direction. Jade Tailor and Stella Maeve have done some incredible things with these two, so it’ll be interesting to watch what comes next with these two characters. Penny’s time seems to be just about up, so for his sake he’d better hope that Kady and Julia can at least be civil long enough to save him.
This episode ended with Quentin seemingly possessed by the creepy creature stalking Alice. Meaning there is likely some great Quentin and Alice stuff forthcoming. Penny is near death. Kady is on the run with the battery while Julia is trying to find her. Eliot has one key. Margo is still surrounded by fairies. They had a few wins in this episode but just as main slipups that could put the quest at risk. This was a fast-paced episode that kept the characters moving and charging forward trying to solve the problems at hand. The search for the battery and Eliot’s encounter with the first key proved to be very compelling adventures. This episode really felt like they were all on a quest. It will be interesting to see what will happen when and if they can all manage to get to the same place at the same time in order to truly quest together. In the meantime, there are a lot of things to keep them all busy. This season is off to a strong start and things don’t look like they are going to slow up anytime soon.
Be sure to tune into the next episode next Wednesday, January 24th at 9/8c on SyFy to see where the quest leads them next.
Hit the comments with your thoughts on this episode. Did you like Margo’s speech to Eliot? Can Julia and Kady put aside their differences to save Penny? What will happen to Quentin now that he’s possessed by some magical being? Will Fray be convinced to become loyal to her parents? Is Fray even their actual daughter?