The Magicians Season 4 Finale Review

Wow.

I came into the Season 4 finale of The Magicians ready for some major shit to go down, especially since showrunners John McNamara and Sera Gamble have been hinting that this finale will be particularly intense, and intense it was.

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead!

I was serious about the spoilers! Go watch the episode before reading!

Okay, now that we’re all alone, do you need a hug? I sure need a hug, because Quentin’s dead, you guys.

True, death on The Magicians doesn’t necessarily mean that character is gone forever (Penny40, anyone?), but this episode does a good job establishing that Quentin, at least the version of Quentin we’ve been with over the first four seasons, is gone for good. The last third of the show, in fact, deals with the ramifications of his death, both for Quentin in the Underworld as well as the living who loved him.

Quentin dies in an act of bravery, using his newly found discipline in repairing small objects to mend the mirror to The Seam, a narratively convenient pocket universe that can house the essences of the Eliot and Julia-Monsters for eternity. In doing so, he not only protects the world from the evil entities, but also prevents Everett from becoming a god (something that he knows won’t end well, no matter what Everett tells himself and others). Everett and Quentin die in the aftermath—using magic in the Mirror Realm is like lighting a match in a room pumped full of propane—and we see the whole incident in tear-jerking slow motion, with Alice helplessly looking on in horror.

There’s still 15 minutes of the episode left once Quentin dies, and they are heart wrenching. Post-death, we have Penny40 meeting Quentin in the Underworld elevator. As hinted way back in Episode 7, Penny40 is here to help Quentin transition to the afterlife. At first, Quentin is unsure why he chose to die so bravely—did he do so to save his friends or, based on his early history of depression and suicidal ideation, merely find a way to finally kill himself? Penny40 takes Quentin to his funeral, more or less, where the gang sits around a campfire grieving through a tear-jerking singalong of A-ha’s “Take On Me.” (Side note: When the singing started, I may have cried out “Oh no!” so loudly that my dog came over to make sure I was okay.)

As they sing, each member of the gang throw beloved items that remind them of Quentin into the fire. It’s Alice and Eliot’s moments, however, that are the most painful. Alice, because the two of them so recently rekindled their relationship, something that made me happy in previous episodes but also fearful, since I worried (correctly) that it would lead to this moment, where death has ripped them apart once again. And then there’s the love between Eliot and Quentin, a what-if romance (in this realm, at least) that always left me wanting more. The scene where Eliot hobbles out, injured but intact, and Quentin sees that he’s okay is when the waterworks really started for me. And when Eliot throws the peach, a token of their life lived together in Fillory, I may have blubbered like a baby.

While the heart of the episode dealt with the death of Quentin and its repercussions, “The Seam” also tied up some of the other loose threads of the season: Magic no longer seems to be throttled by the Library; Kady took the Library’s Poison Room antidote and Josh is no longer a fish; Julia is now a regular magician again after a brief stint at being a muggle human, and; Eliot is back in control of his body, although he’s nursing a nasty stab in the gut from an ice axe.

In expected Magicians form, the last few minutes also throw a few challenges for the remaining gang to deal with in Season 5, including Eliot and Margo traveling back to Fillory to find they’ve inexplicably jumped 300 years into the future, and Zelda planning to recruit Alice to take a leadership position at the Library. But whatever their future entails, Quentin, it seems, won’t be part of it. Penny40 makes this clear near the end of the episode, when he tells Quentin: “The story for them, it’s just starting. But it won’t be the same story, because of you. You didn’t just save their lives, you changed their lives, as much as they changed yours. You didn’t want to leave all that, did you?”

Quentin didn’t, and we didn’t either. If he’s truly gone (and his taking his Underworld Metrocard is fairly definitive that he is) the show will be different. We can only hope that the show keeps actor Jason Ralph involved somehow, even though it’s clear that Quentin as we’ve known him is gone.  

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