'The Magicians' Gets Musical Again With "All That Hard, Glossy Armor"

This season's much anticipated musical episode of The Magicians has some great song covers, which range from sweet ballads to empowering anthems. On the softer side, there's Hale Appleman serenading Summer Bishil with Al Jolson's and Bing Crosby's "Beautiful Dreamer," as well as getting his groove on to The Pretenders' "Don't Get Me Wrong." On the louder side, we have members of the gang (well, projections of the gang from Margo's mind) triumphantly singing Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again," and Gnarls Barkley's "Storm Coming."

All the songs, however, reflect Margo's introspective journey while she's in the desert searching for magic to save Eliot and, as almost an aside, liberating a desert community (and wrongly imprisoned red sand demons) from oppressive, patriarchal rulers.

The songs, as they are in every season's musical episode, are fun. How they fit into the episode, however, (Margo hallucinates song-singing versions of her friends after she licks the back of the lizard she found in her birth box) is disjointed, as if the show was working a little too hard to ram in the music at the expense of moving forward the story, particularly the season's major story arcs.

But even though the songs were a little forced, the storyline related to the music—Margo's path to self-acceptance—was a worthwhile one. During her quest to save Eliot, she comes to terms with who she is, flaws and all, including how she's suffered for being a strong, smart and beautiful woman when so many people, including her father, were only comfortable with a her being (at most) only one of those things. Margo is High King—it doesn't matter that she's been exiled from Fillory. She is strong, she is smart, and she is powerful. And she loves Eliot and will do whatever it takes to save him, even if she has to toil to collect single grains of magical black sand to create a weapon to free her best friend.

Margo succeeds, of course, and the end of the episode has her walking out of the desert to "Beautiful Dreamer", fully supplied with water and weapons to save Eliot.

Magicians All That Hard Glossy Armor ReviewBut What's Happening With the Non-Singing Versions of the Gang This Episode? Not Much.

While Margo's off on her quest, however, the rest of the characters are doing the plot-equivalent of treading water. These truncated storylines stagnate, slowing down the overall momentum of the season, and leaving the viewer impatient for more.

We start the episode on the cliffhanger from last week, where Penny reveals that the stone organs the Eliot-Monster has been collecting are to put together the monster's sister, who has been long-forgotten by her brother and long-feared by the gods that cut her up in the first place. Realizing that the sister is probably worse than the Eliot-Monster, Quentin, Julia and Penny now want to protect the last remaining stone organ, which is housed inside Enyalius. The three eventually find him (the god also goes by Angus, a Celtic god who hangs out with Leprechauns), but then to their frustration and ours (not in a good way), the three waste time solving an escape room in order to reach him. When they finally reach Angus/Enyalius, the god waxes exposition about how Julia will become an a-hole like him once she regains her powers, and then gets promptly killed by the Eliot-Monster.

The upside of all this is that by the end of the episode, the Eliot-Monster's story arc is now fully revved up: the evil entity now remembers his sister, has all of her stone organs, and has kidnapped Magda Apanowicz for some reason that I'm guessing relates to bringing his sister back (I bet a Dewey that Apanowicz's character become the female version of the Eliot-Monster in the next episode).

Other storylines also inched forward this episode: Zelda realizes her mentor Everett is a monster in his own right, while Julia receives the Binder from Alice and has a heart-to-heart with Quentin about making sure she remains empathetic if/when she becomes a god again. But these movements were incremental—small, stumbling steps that caused a hiccup in the growing tension the season had been building.

With three episodes left, the show has a lot to wrap up. The silver lining is that The Magicians excels at pulling together meaty, convoluted storylines into one satisfying-yet-cliffhanging finale. And with the Library conflict and the Eliot-Monster storyline all teed up (super teed up—I'm ready for some action!), I'm optimistic that the show will get us there in the end, and that the journey will be a spectacular one.