The Magicians The Secret Sea Review

The two major story arcs this season of The Magicians—the journey of the Eliot-Monster and the Library’s steady descent toward fascism—come together in a murderous way this episode and tee up next week’s finale to be one full of more murders. Who will be killed next week, however, remains to be seen: Will the old gods die, hunted down by the Evil Eliot and Evil Julia? Will Quentin and Alice die as they face off against the evil siblings? Will Kady allow herself to be poisoned to death in order to be with Penny40 (was she the one Penny40 saw in the elevator in an earlier episode)? Will Eliot and Julia regain control of their bodies or will they become annihilated by the entities that possess them? Will Josh be a fish forever?

These are just a few of the unanswered questions still out there, and if The Magicians remains true to form, we won’t get answers to everything or we’ll get answers that offer up more questions and cliffhangers than satisfying resolutions. That’s more than okay though; watching the gang struggle through crazy twists, turns and setbacks is a big part of why I love the show. And the way things are going, I have a feeling the finale will not disappoint.

To have that cliffhanger of an ending, the season’s many threads have to come together. “The Secret Sea” does this by having characters in both story arcs dependent on needing a shit ton of magic (Everett needs it to become a god and Quentin and crew need it to vanquish the Eliot/Julia monsters), and having the reservoir Fen found beneath Fillory conveniently contain a shit ton of magic.

The Secret Sea Isn’t So Secret Anymore

We find out this episode from Christopher Plover, the pedophile that keeps on creeping, that the Secret Sea is a hidden, long-dry reservoir of magic that Everett has secretly refilled from siphoning magic away from the Library. Unfortunately for all parties involved, Martin Chatwin (AKA the Beast) cursed the reservoir, causing anyone who doesn’t eat a flower that only blooms in the presence of someone who loves Fillory, to turn into a fish (which Josh found out the hard way). Quentin is the obvious choice to cause the Fillory-loving flower to bloom, and we have a moving scene of him struggling to do so—his childhood love of Fillory has been pecked away by his experience with the magical land over the last few years. He manages to make the flower bloom, however, after holding onto how the idea of Fillory helped him when he was a lost, lonely kid—it gave him some place to escape to when the real world was too much for him, and that’s something he’ll always be thankful for, even if he knows the real Fillory is different.

With the curse unlocked, Quentin and Alice juice themselves up with magic water and prepare to face Julia- and Eliot-Monster, who spend their time this episode murdering a bunch of Librarians in search of a scroll that will provide them the location of the old gods who imprisoned them in the first place. (We also get a heartbreaking moment between Dean Fogg and the Julia-Monster, where the emotion on Fogg’s usually gruff face is enough to bring a tear to anyone’s eye.)

Everett also needed Quentin to unlock the reservoir—the Librarian can’t become a god without access to the power there, and he apparently re-recruits Zelda to help him do so. Before Dean Fogg rescues Kady and Zelda from the Poison Room, Everett pulls Zelda into unconsciousness, where they are able to secretly communicate. Everett tries to convince Zelda to come back to the dark side by saying he wants to become a god in order to bring more knowledge to the Library. He also throws in a carrot for Zelda, and tells her she would be the one in charge of the Library once he godifies himself. While we’re not sure yet which way she will go, the look on Mageina Tova’s face (and the fact she urges Quentin to break the curse, just as Everett told her to do) suggests she’s back in the Library camp.

But What About Margo? (And Josh? And Fen?)

“The Secret Sea” also moves some of the characters to the back burner, something likely necessary given the size of the ensemble cast; Fen is off to Benihana after giving the fish formerly known as Josh to Margo to take care of. And then there’s Margo, who arguably had one of the most challenging and transformative character arcs of the season; she embraces her role as High King only to sacrifice her reign to save Eliot, and then, after all she’s done to save Eliot, she gives up the chance to personally free her best friend by keeping watch over Josh, who, she realizes this episode, she loves. Will Margo remain off-screen for the big showdown with Evil Eliot? While that seems to be the case at the end of “The Secret Sea,” I hope she gets thrown into the fray next week; I need another scene of Eliot and Margo together, whether that be them reuniting or one of them sacrificing themselves for the other (nooooo!). Either way, I’ll be watching eagerly next week, tissues in hand.

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