The Magicians Magicians Anonymous Review

After three episodes of dealing with (and for the most part, dealing with it well) the impact and ramifications of the Season 4 finale, this week’s episode of The Magicians, “Magicians Anonymous,” focused more on looking forward than dealing with the pain of the past. This shift in focus also caused the episode to be more plot-driven than character-based, but the change in pace is a good one, and the episode moves each storyline forward while setting up the Armageddon-level stakes for the rest of the season.

Speaking of storylines, let’s start with Kady’s. She was absent last week, but we start “Magicians Anonymous” with her at the magicians’ equivalent of a Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. During the session, she confesses how she was relieved rather than ashamed when she thought she fell off the wagon. And the irony is, of course, that she has since found out she must drop acid in order to find out who took the Book Depository (apparently moving something that large requires traveling to a realm that is only accessible by taking said drug). The good news for her? Dean Fogg is also at the MA meeting, albeit in disguise. He takes the drugs for her (he’s an alcoholic, not a drug addict after all!?), but she takes her own pill and comes along. The two spend the rest of the episode high as a kite in a psychedelic realm, and ultimately find the Emperor who can give Kady the information on where the depository is.

There is a cost to that information, of course: Dean Fogg must in the realm forever as “payment,” and Dean Fogg agrees (though he better be back in future episodes!). We end the episode with Kady back in plain old New York City with a note that says the building is in Hell’s Kitchen. I’m worried for her—Kady is my favorite character and since she’s now officially fallen off the wagon (albeit for a good cause), she’s in a vulnerable state. I also wonder when/how her storyline will intermingle with the others’—for now I’ve got nothing, except that maybe her depository-stealing foe is the same or at least connected to (or maybe even able to help stop?) the harmonic convergence that’s taking up Julia’s time. Or maybe the Depository stealer is related to the Dark King? His family is from Earth after all…we’ll have to wait and see to find out. 

Speaking of Julia and magical beings’ need to sacrifice one thing in order to gain something else, let’s go to her storyline this week. She’s working on stopping the latest Armageddon, which will be brought upon the Earth by a rare harmonic convergence. Julia summons the goddess Clarion—the goddess of melody—to help stop it. And Clarion can stop it, of course (she’s a goddess, after all), but just like the Emperor, she wants something in return—to become human so she can become a rock star. Julia agrees to this by cajoling The Binder–a personified book who speaks in the third person and transformed Julia back into a human being when she was a goddess—to do so. Before Julia can make the trade, however, she finds out Penny23 is close to death from a mysterious signal tuned into his Traveler senses. Clarion says she can save him, but that if she does, she won’t stop Armageddon. One gift, one wish—that’s the deal. (Though how will she become a rock star if the world ends?) Julia chooses Penny23, but again the choice comes with a price—Penny has lost his traveling abilities as a result. It also turns out that Penny’s traveler student—the one who first heard the signal—is actually a Chatwin, and she decides to go after the signal on her own and stop it. 

At the end of the episode, Julia and Penny regroup with Alice and Zelda (who Alice picked up from the Library before it was overrun by Visigoths) to figure out how to save the world from the harmonic convergence. They no longer have a goddess who can stop it, and they don’t have any of the Library’s books on harmonic convergence (the Visigoths have those now). But they do have Zelda. And she, being Zelda, knows how to stop it! It’s almost impossible, but not complicated: all they have to do now is move the moon.

Speaking of moons, ack in the land of two moons (AKA Fillory), Eliot and Margo push forward their storylines by getting close with the Dark King. The Dark King is still keen on Eliot, it seems, and asks him to be his court magician, while Margo is a member of his Centurion guard. There are some people trapped by the Takers in the woods, and the Dark King and his Centurions go off to rescue them while the rest of Fillory looks on via the Dark King’s own state-controlled media station, which shows him being heroic in battle. The Dark King defeats the Takers, but is severely weakened afterwards. And after the rest of Fillory has tuned out, Margo and the rest of the Centurion guards search the house in order to find an elf hiding there. Margo, who first spotted the elf with her elven eye, is horrified but does a decent job hiding it, and follows orders to take the elf into custody. There’s clearly more going on here than the Dark King’s news channel would have the people of Fillory realize, and we can be sure Margo will get to the bottom of it. 

And so another hour of The Magicians ends. This was a connective episode, one whose main purpose is to move the characters along their respective paths, and as such wasn’t as poignant or deep as, for example, the episode before it. But a show needs variety, and this one does a good job of setting up the stakes for the remaining season. I’m ready to keep watching to see how things play out, both in terms of the show’s current mysteries (who is the Dark King?) and how our characters will be impacted by everything that happens to them. 

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