'The Magicians' Puts Everyone In A Bad Situation In "The Bad News Bear"

It's three episodes into Season 4 of The Magicians, and the gang's memories are back! Also, everyone wants to kill them. At the beginning of the hour, the immediate threat comes from evil Eliot, who wants to torture them to death (you know, for funsies). Margo, however, deftly distracts evil Eliot by setting the monster's sights on Bacchus. While she, Eliot-Monster and Josh head off to Fillory to kill a god, however, the rest of the group still has murder problems—with Fogg's glamouring spell lifted, the McAllisters will soon hunt them down and kill them.The bulk of this episode deals with the McAllister threat, of trying to get enough magic (housed in Library-minted coins called "Deweys") to pay off Marina so she won't turn them in, and to get enough juice of their own to cast a cloaking spell hiding them from the McAllisters.Their plan to get enough Deweys becomes an elaborate heist involving Quentin playing the magical card game "Push"; Kady and Penny wearing ridiculous disguises; a master counterfeiter creating a "Magic Black Card"; and, to counterbalance the very lucky card the counterfeiter makes, a very unlucky teddy bear that Quentin must hold tightly to his chest no matter what comes after him, even if what comes after him is a giant python that has crawled out of the toilet.While the caper has some funny moments (see the python reference above, and Penny's mustache disguise is one for the ages), this storyline drags, the importance of getting the Deweys buried under the hijinks the crew undertake. The more interesting storyline this episode involves Margo, Josh and Eliot-Monster, who explore the idea of friendship while hunting down Bacchus in Fillory.The first friendship explored is between Margo and Eliot, where Margo's love for her friend causes her to forgo poisoning the monster inside him (which would destroy any chance of getting Eliot back) and offer up the location of Bacchus to save the rest of her friends instead. Friendship, our caring for others, can make us do horrible things sometimes. And Margo embodies this hard when she bullies Josh into poisoning his own friend Bacchus (the god loves Josh's margaritas). "You can be such a good friend and such a terrible friend at the exact same time!" Josh accuses her. But Josh, although he resists, becomes just like Margo—he poisons Bacchus and then must watch evil Eliot ripping the god in half and pulling out a glowing kidney-shaped organ that has more magic in it than a cart full of Deweys.And then there's Eliot-Monster and his warped view of friendship. He's a sociopath, true, but he's also lost and lonely, wishing he had friends yet killing all those around him on a regular basis. The monster is drawn to Margo though; Josh's words on how she's both the best and the worst friend possible speak to him. Evil Eliot thinks he's the same, mainly because he kills his friends when he gets bored (and isn't that the epitome of a bad friend?). Unluckily for Margo, the monster, seeing this similarity between them, now wants to be friends with her.  Last but not least, this episode also moves Alice's story along. She starts the hour still locked up in the Library next to Santa Claus. Through some magical MacGyvering, however, she breaks her and Santa out. Before they can escape through a fireplace, they need to get their books (and the rest of the magical gang's) so the Library can't read their stories and know where to find them. Santa gets his book quickly, but Alice's and her friends' books are in the Revisions section. Alice bids Santa adieu before she continues her search in the stacks (Santa escaping via fireplace and flying over the Library in a reindeer-pulled sleigh is my favorite scene this episode), but soon gets herself snatched by someone unseen.The crew is scrambling this episode, trying to keep their heads above water (and attached to the rest of their bodies) as malevolent forces work against them. Things, in a word, suck for everyone (although Kady's double-cross of Marina at least gives the crew some cute puppies to play with). After all the Dewey-stealing, Library jailbreaking and god-murdering is done, Quentin asks Julia a reasonable question: Was everything that happened—the unleashing of Eliot-Monster, Julia losing her god-powers, Quentin's dad falling sick again after magic returned—worth it to bring magic back, especially since that magic is under the control of the Library? Julia believes it was (or at least, that's what she tells Quentin). But Quentin isn't so sure. His uncertainty and regret will likely play a larger role as the season progresses, and I'd bet a couple Deweys that the gang will ultimately try make things "right" again, and end up only making things worse in the process.