'The Magicians' Offers A Gripping Double Feature With "Apocalypse? Now?!" And "Oops! I Did It Again"

Last night The Magicians gave us the gift of a two-parter, back-to-back episodes to entertain us and save us from the indignity of biting our nails while we waiting for days to find out how the cliffhanger at the end of "Apocalypse? Now?!" turns out. And what a cliffhanger it was—the gang in attempt to stop the harmonic convergence ends up accidently destroying the moon and setting Earth up for complete annihilation. How did the gang mess up so badly? They were sleep deprived, for one thing. In order to move the moon, the best option they had to stop the harmonic convergence, they three of them had to cast a spell with "moon brain," which requires them to stay awake for five days straight. In order to achieve that moon brain, the gang holes up in their NYC headquarters to keep each other awake, although some are more successful than others in doing so. Enough of the gang gets moon brained up, however, and while they're not sleeping, they manage to execute a heist to steal a piece of moon rock (another key component of the spell) from a billionaire magician most likely inspired by real-life Elon Musk.The good news is their heist almost works! The bad news, however, is that almost working causes the moon to blow up instead.  So what went wrong? First there was Eliot, who thinks he's being haunted by the Monster. This fear distracts him at the worst possible moment, and before he comes back to completely the spell, Marina comes in and mucks things up even more. That's right, Marina the evil hedge witch is back—she's the mastermind behind stealing the Library depository, and she (like the moon-loving Elon-wannabe) wants the harmonic convergence to happen. Millions will die, sure, but those who survive can profit from the disaster. Everyone fights, and in the fray, the moon spell goes sideways, causing the celestial orb to fracture into millions of pieces about to pummel Earth.And that leads us directly to the next episode: "Oops! I Did It Again." As the title suggests, there's a time loop involved, one that Eliot and Margo are trapped in, which forces them to relive the destruction of the planet over and over. The two try multiple ways to save the world (all of which fail), and then they spend more than a few loops getting wasted at the Physical House to "clear their heads." Margo snaps out of it sooner than Eliot, who is becoming more and more haunted by that voice in his head. But when she follows a lead on her own, Eliot finds out she's been knocked out of the time loop—he's on his own now to save the world. It's this point, this moment where Eliot is in every practical sense completely alone, where we get another chance to delve into his psyche and his suffering. It's also this moment that hammers home that Eliot is becoming more of a lead in this ensemble show, a role that Quentin held in previous years. This new position is a welcome one. Hale Appleman's nuanced portrayal of Eliot is fantastic, and the meat the writers give him to chew on is substantial—not only does Eliot have to deal with the grief of losing the man he loves, he also has to deal with the memories of what the Monster did to others when it had control of his body. Eliot works through his own demons with a heart-to-heart with Josh in one loop. It's Josh's idea to have Eliot let the voice he hears "out," and when he does he finds not the Monster but Charlton, Eliot's guide when the Monster had control of his body. With Charlton's support, Eliot follows up on the lead Margo had tracked down before she got kicked out of the time loop and ends up partnering with the whales to push the time loop back to the middle of the heist (it gets complicated, but the most interesting part is that it involves releasing a kraken). Once Eliot is sent back to the middle of the heist in "Apocalypse? Now?!," he's able to foil Marina and complete the spell correctly, forgoing the destruction of the moon and the danger of the harmonic convergence. And that's that—six episodes in and all this season's burgeoning storylines are neatly tied up. That whole planetary disaster expected to be brought about by a major harmonic convergence is fixed and done, and Kady, with help from the gang, has defeated the mysterious nemesis (AKA Marina) who had stolen the Library depository. Even the potential threat of the Monster still residing inside Eliot has been resolved. So what's next? As Todd informs us at the end of "Oops! I Did It Again," it turns out there's another apocalypse in the works. He knows this because the sexist pig from the season premiere was worried about the end of Fillory, not of Earth. And so it looks like the gang is thrown back into the saving the world business, whether they want to be or not. It also means that we'll likely be spending some time at Castle Whitespire, at least for the next episode. After that, who knows? The Magicians is good at keeping viewers on their toes, and I have no doubt there will be another surprise or two in store for us before the season is done.