The Magicians The 4-1-1 Review

“The 4-1-1” begins with a lot of the gang back together in New York City, a rare moment on this ensemble show, and one—given all the storylines that need to be tied up in the last three episodes—that’s necessarily short-lived. After Margo debriefs Quentin, Julia, Penny23 and Alice on her musical journey to the desert (she has ice axes to kick the evil god out of Eliot!), the crew splits into different groups again with seemingly disparate missions.

Everyone’s Mini-Quests Unearth a Whole Lot of Information That’s Unexpectedly Connected

But even though each of the characters’ mini-quests take them to different places, everyone this episode, as the title suggests, is trying to uncover secrets or lost information: There’s Kady and Zelda, who are looking for Everett’s book in the Poison Room in order to uncover his nefarious plans; there’s Alice and Quentin, who are trying to learn how to cast an incorporate bond in order to bind the evil god inside Eliot to something else; there’s Margo, Julia and Penny23, who are seeking the secrets of the Binder; and, in Fillory, there’s Fen and Josh, who are trying to wheedle information out of a disgruntled naiad about why Fillory’s magical ecosystem is out of whack.

These seemingly unconnected, information-seeking journeys are also more closely tied than the characters may realize. Julia’s quest to figure out her divinity status, for example, turns out to be connected to both the Eliot-Monster threat and the secret of why Everett is hoarding magic. Someone in all of these storylines, it turns out, wants to become a god: Julia (at the beginning of the episode, at least) wants to use the Binder to become a divine being again; Everett wants to become a god as well (as Kady and Zelda now know, since they’ve read his book in the Poison Room); and, according to an expository puppet show put on by the Binder, we find out the four gods the Eliot-Monster has killed had been Librarians who chopped up the evil entity’s sister and used the Binder to gain divine powers.

Everett’s efforts to become a god are also potentially connected to the challenges in Fillory, where Fen, Josh and Tick figure out that Fillory’s magical snafus are happening because a secret reservoir of magic under the castle is shifting. (As an aside, the “Eating Out With Josh Hoberman” scene this episode, along with Dean Fogg talking into a banana, are two of the best comedic moments this season.) By the end of “The 4-1-1,” Fen, Josh and Tick gain access to that reserve—maybe they’ll find out that Everett has been siphoning it off to his secret stash? Or maybe it’s being used by the Eliot-Monster to shore up power to bring his sister back? Or maybe (probably) it’s something else completely. But whatever the actual answer is (we have two more episodes to find out!), it’s a safe bet that it will tie Fillory’s largely separate storyline this season into what’s been going on in the other realms.

Relationships That Once Were, And Relationships That Could Be

Alice and Quentin’s quest this episode directly relates to the Eliot-Monster storyline (they head to Brakebills South to ask Mayakovsky to teach them to cast an incorporate bond), but the main thrust of this storyline is to remind us, with the heavy-handed tool of time travel, how much the two used to love each other. When Quentin travels back in time to Season 1, when he and Alice were two first-years in love, we get to see firsthand what they had, and what they’ve lost. When Quentin comes back with the incorporate bond and the knowledge that his discipline is the ability to repair small objects, you can’t help but see Alice hope that they can repair their relationship as well, to help it wake up and remember what it was before.

Penny23 and Julia also explore their relationship this episode, with help from the McGuffin also known as Hyman Cooper, a deceased traveler who met Penny40 in Season 3. Hyman has shipped the two, and attempts to create a romantic moment for them that actually kinda works. Thanks to Hyman’s machinations, the two do start down the path of becoming more than friends. How far they make it down that path, however, remains uncertain—the Eliot-Monster, with timely prescience, pops into the room after they first start to kiss. The evil entity has been off-screen trying to bring his sister back, and he needs an indestructible body to put his sibling in. Julia, who can’t die, fits the bill, and Eliot-Monster summarily teleports her away, her fate to be revealed on a future episode.

There are only two episodes left this season, but the convoluted threads we’ve been following are showing signs of coming together and getting sorted, one way or another. True, there are still some dangling plot points out there (who is Penny40 talking to in that elevator?!), but I have faith that all our questions will be answered, and all our worries will be resolved. At least for a moment or so—I also have faith the finale will fuck up everything all over again, and leave us eagerly waiting for Season 5.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: