The Magicians - Will You Play With Me? - Review: “The Final Quest” + POLL By Aimee Hicks (April 5, 2018, 3:00 am)
The Magicians concluded this phenomenal season with a strong season finale. Everything charged towards an epic-sized cliffhanger. Each character was left forever changed by the quest they went on. They were all put through the ringer over and over again as the quest forced them to make tough decisions. Most of them became better people for what they went through, but not all of them took the moral high road, in the end, at least two of them ended up going rogue impacting the overall outcome of the mission. The fact they were betrayed by one of their own and also betrayed by a supposed ally made the outcome all the more bittersweet. They managed to successfully conclude their quest, but none of them will get to enjoy any of the benefits from it.
The hour started off with an interesting twist as Julia was informed by Iris (Madisen Beaty) that she had leveled up to become a full-on Goddess, Our Lady Tree. All of the good deeds she did, allowed her power to grow as she nurtured Reynard’s spark into a brilliant flame of power. Julia didn’t want to leave the quest and her friends, but she reluctantly left with Iris. As she spent time with Iris she came to realize that she couldn’t shake the feeling of her friends in need. She was particularly drawn to Quentin and his struggles. Ultimately, it wound up being his courage that led Julia to abandon her mantle as new Goddess to go back and help save the quest. The scene where Julia resurrected the keys and gave all of her power to restore them was an incredible bit of acting by Stella Maeve. Julia’s plight and sacrifice were palpable as the look of pain continually flashed across her face. For everything she has been through she deserved to be a Goddess, if even for a brief moment. It was also clear that Goddess life isn’t for Julia. She genuinely cares too much about her friends to ever be able to abandon them.
On the opposite side of all this, while Julia was off worrying about her friends, Alice was off worrying about herself. She is still struggling with the idea of magic returning. She knows that she won’t be able to control her urges once magic returns, so she decided to ensure that no one ever has magic again. Using the vile of fairy dust that the Librarian gave her, Alice sabotaged the quest and destroyed the keys with the intent to erase her own memory of the event. The last bit was courtesy of Dean Fogg who gave her the vial she would have to drink to eliminate her memories of magic. Unfortunately, for her, there was still one being left strong enough to stop her in her tracks. While Julia and Alice shared some nice moments at the start of the season they ended on opposite sides of the fight. Undoing what Alice did cost Julia all of her connections and presumably drained her of every drop of her magic. But, Julia did succeed in undoing what Alice did and they were able to turn magic back on.
Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the group, back in Fillory, Fen was dealing with a fairy crisis that would end up playing a monumental part in the unfortunate ending to this hour. To save her people, the Fairy Queen made a deal with Irene to sacrifice herself in place of her people. Her sacrifice gave Irene and her minions the power they needed to claim magic for themselves and the Library. Almost all the characters underwent incredible growth this season. But when the season started it was unfathomable to think that it would be possible to feel sympathy for the Fairy Queen, but that is exactly what happened. In the incredibly skilled hands of Candis Cayne, the audience got to see who the Fairy Queen really was. At the end of the day she really was trying to do what was best for her people and it just so happened that her tactics at the start of the season made her look evil when there was way more to her. And, to be fair, she did have some sinister moments, but the writers did such a great job showing her softer, more caring side that it was heartbreaking to see Irene kill her simply for her bone marrow. The moment that Fen and the Fairy Queen shared after the latter made the deal with Irene was so beautifully done. Cayne and Brittany Curran really captured the emotions of that moment where former enemies became kindred spirits with mutual respect. For better or worse, Fen is stronger for what the Fairy Queen put her through, and she seemed to understand that. It doesn’t mean that they would have become best friends, but Fen was genuinely heartbroken over the deal that the Fairy Queen was forced to make. And, to be honest, fans should be heartbroken too because Cayne was a brilliant addition to this season.
While the Fairy Queen ended her run on the series as a hero, Irene’s story continues and as if she wasn’t enough of an evil monster she definitely secured her position as a big bad. She teamed up with the Library which wasn’t a surprise at all. And, the Library teamed up with Dean Fogg making for a powerful trifecta. While the Library and Irene turning on the group trying to claim magic for their own wasn’t a surprise, Dean Fogg’s involvement definitely was. Fogg betraying the group was one hell of a way to thank Julia for giving him back his eyesight and helping him. That was the biggest surprise of this whole ordeal. He did take care to negotiate safe lives for the group, so he clearly still somewhat cares about them. In fact, it seems like there is a lot more behind this betrayal than meets the eye. It definitely seems like a storyline for next season. He and Alice have a hell of a lot of work to do to ever be able to redeem themselves after these seemingly unforgivable betrayals. If the Fairy Queen was able to be redeemed, anyone has the potential to be redeemed, but it will not be easy for these two. The writers have their work cut out for them if the intent is to eventually redeem them.
Alice was at a crossroads at the start of the hour. She had everything coming together in her favor. She and Quentin were getting back on good terms and they were about to restore magic. Though that last bit ended up being what led her down the wrong path and ultimately led her to betray them. The group did everything they could to help Alice. Quentin went above and beyond for her, and Julia went to great lengths to help Alice cope with her post-Niffin life. The sad thing in all of this is that while Alice comes off looking like one of the bad guys she genuinely had justified to herself that what she was doing was for the greater good. Olivia Taylor Dudley was absolutely phenomenal this season and this season finale was no exception. She simultaneously makes it easy to hate Alice while also making it easy to feel bad for her. The first gut reaction to what Alice did is pure anger, but when looking at the bigger picture it’s hard to not feel for her to a degree. She started off trying to have her cake and eat it too and ended up with nothing but unbridled regret and worry for her friends. Is this the start of how this Alice becomes the Alice that Penny-40 met in the Underground? It is certainly possible, that is something that will have to be dealt with next season.
Something else that will have to be dealt with, and likely the primary storyline of Season Four, will revolve around the monster that they let out of the castle. It is interesting that this monster is so vile yet seems so childlike. It’s very easy to see why he was locked away. He jumps bodies and apparently has no qualms about murdering even his own kind. Now that he is loose in the human world there is literally no telling what he will do. And the fact that he is in possession of Eliot’s body is also not good. However, it is a tiny bit or irony and bad karma coming back to haunt Eliot, had he not fired that god-killing bullet perhaps things would have ended very differently. But, much like with Alice, he acted out because he thought what he was doing was for the greater good. His long-simmering deep feelings for Quentin led him to make a rash decision to keep Quentin from becoming the monster’s jailer.
Calypso (Michaela McManus) told the group the story of Prometheus (Georgie Daburas) and how the quest was born from him. He had a strong overwhelming belief that in a time of great need for the Gods the Magicians would come together and help save them all. As such, he crafted the quest to test them. The quest was actually to ensure that Calypso’s brilliantly crafted jail would always have the best and strongest jailers; it also served the dual purpose of helping to prepare the questers to confront whatever would one day threaten them all. Calypso remains understandably annoyed and angered by the questers because she blames them for her love, Prometheus, sacrificing his power, and ultimately his life. It’s pretty clear that she isn’t entirely sold on this group being the ones that her beloved had prophesized. But, it was also clear, that she was respecting his wishes by providing just enough help to the group to lead them to the castle at the end of the world aka her jail for the monster aka Black Spire. It was a lot to process, but through her story, Quentin realized what he had to do. He used the spark of magic that Goddess Julia gave him to offer himself up as the new jailer in order to get them inside the castle. It worked until the previously noted rogue actions by Eliot unleashed a monster that terrifies even the Gods. There is a good chance that this is not the last appearance by Calypso. She will almost certainly intervene in this whole mess in some way to ensure that her beloved Prometheus’ didn’t give his life in vain.
That leads to where the season ended. Magic is restored, but being controlled by the Library. Dean Fogg seems to have hatched some sort of consortium of his own that has enough power to leverage the Library to get what they want. All of the Magicians are out in the world, mostly separated, and with no memory of their magical lives, the quest or one another. Eliot is possessed, Quentin, as well as Julia, are living relatively mundane lives, Josh is a driver, Margo appears rich, Penny-23 is a DJ, and Kady appears to be a drug dealer. Restoring their memories and reuniting them will have to happen out of the gate pretty quickly next season.
Julia has proven that she can overcome the effects of the memory wipe, so there is a good chance the reunion could begin with her. Plus, Marina-23 is running around out there with her memories intact. She clearly has a strong interest in Julia and will likely play some part in reuniting the team. Alice is locked away but may try to redeem herself by finding some way to work the system to help them. Dean Fogg may yet prove useful, but he could also end up being just as bad as Irene, so the jury is out on him. Penny-40 may still be in play even though he is technically dead. The moment word reaches him about what has happened he may try to find a way to help. Well, at least as much as he can help given his situation. Fen is still acting High King of Fillory and there is almost a factual guarantee that she will be out for Irene’s blood in the new season. And there is no doubt that she will try to find some way in with which to help save the others.
So, when the group starts to remember and come back together how will it happen? Josh and Margo found one another. Possessed Eliot found Quentin. It’s not impossible that Kady, Julia, and Penny-23 will somehow reunite. After a season of anger and resentment, Kady finally softened to Julia again. In fact, when the episode started they were sitting on the same couch without Kady throwing any evil eye glances over at Julia. Perhaps most importantly, after Julia drained herself, both Kady and Penny were heavily concerned for her. Penny had his arms around her, helping to support her and in general, trying to protect her, but Kady was right there too. She lingered by Julia’s side longer than any of the others besides Penny. When Julia crumpled to the ground, Kady immediately went down to the ground as well to make sure she was okay. This was great acting by Jade Tailor who sold the reconciled friendship without saying a word. Her entire body language perfectly conveyed Kady's concern for her friend. There was never a great big conversation about these two being reconciled Best Bitches, but their interactions in the prior episode and this one prove that they were in good standing when they were captured by Irene and had their memories wiped. This trio shares a weird interlocked bond, so they will surely find their way back together.
Margo will likely unknowingly find her way to Quentin and Eliot. Though there is no telling what Eliot she will encounter. They share a profound bond and even without their memories they are likely to gravitate to one another. Josh is a bit of a wild card since he doesn’t have immeasurably strong ties to any of them. He has already crossed paths with Margo, so it seems likely that his story might gravitate that way as next season kicks off. Then something will force both groups back together where they will somehow regain their memories. This is just one of a million possibilities, but with these writers, it’s likely they will go some completely unimaginable route that none of us could ever dream up.
When the group regains their memories and come back together they will have a whole new set of issues to deal with. They will still not have magic as the Library will not just hand it to them. Plus, they will be up against the force of the Library and Irene, not to mention the body jumping monster. This season was epic and the best yet, so it’s hard to imagine that they could top it. However, they have a powerful setup for next season, it is possible that they could deliver a season even better than this one. Unfortunately, we now must wait who knows how long for the next chapter in the stories of this group. On the bright side, this season was so good that it can be watched many more times during the hiatus.
The writing this season was terrific and near perfection. The performers were spectacular and delivered some amazing performances. Bravo to Stella Maeve, Jade Tailor, Arjun Gupta, Summer Bishil, Hale Appleman, Brittany Curran, Jason Ralph, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Rick Worthy, Trevor Einhron, Candis Cayne, Jamie Ray Newman, Felicia Day, Marlee Matlin, Mageina Tovah, Rizwan Manji, Keegan Connor Tracy, Kacey Rohl, and every recurring, supporting, and guest performer on this show. All of you put your hearts and souls into this season and it showed. Big thanks are due to all of the writers and crew as well. Thank you to every person involved with this show for an entertaining and dynamic season full of heart, sadness, humor, music, and so much more.
Now the long wait for Season Four begins. Be sure to return to SpoilerTV regularly for updates regarding the new season. And be sure to return here for another round of weekly reviews when the show returns.
Hit the comments with your thoughts about this episode. What did you think of the episode? Who will remember first? Who will be possessed by the monster? What do you think will happen in Season Four?