What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the eighth episode of this season of The Magicians. Whether on Earth or Fillory, there are new problems, and heavier responsibilities. That much everyone learned the hard way through the events of last week’s episode. Running Brakebills was found to be much more of a challenge than initially assumed. And taking down the Dark King currently proves to be a challenge when he refuses to reveal the kind of guy he really is, outside of what was revealed to Margo, Eliot, and Fen by the Fairies.
It wasn’t until this episode where it finally began to feel like the quest to save Fillory had begun. In “Acting Dean”, there was still too much which held Margo and Eliot back from doing what needed to be done. With everyone now knowing the Dark King is not just a name, this made the direction they took next very clear. I was happy that even during this moment of clarity, Julia was there too. The atmosphere changed in a big way because on Fillory the world now works in a different way. No one has the pull they once did, the authority they once had, neither the resources either to get around without attracting the wrong kind of attention. This meant that things were slowing down a bit, but at the same time it did not change the urgency to put an end to things before they could get any worse. Just that first scene opening up to Fillory made a statement enough about the danger of letting things go on longer than they have already.
Speaking of Julia, I was only troubled by the storyline they had thrown her into because its nothing too new for her. This was the time where you hoped for Julia to come into her own again and be the big hero the quest needed. Yet here she was being hit with an obstacle that would limit her, well might limit her. To be fair it would be too easy to judge fully right now. With that said, the only reason I wouldn’t call it a problem is because they are doing the best they can given what Stella Maeve was actually dealing with when they were shooing this season.
This week was a great week for Margo. Eliot had some feelings to sort through in terms of what he isn’t willing to do anymore after being taken over by a monster, but this was Margo’s time to at last confront the conversation that she has been dodging for episodes now. If there is one thing that we know about Margo, it is that she hates being vulnerable. Having this conversation with Josh is the very definition of leaving herself vulnerable to the emotions she feels towards him and her actions which betrayed those feelings. People these days don’t understand how easy it is to turn off those feelings and emotions, and how hard it is to turn them back on. This episode was all about what it would take for her to turn that switch back on. The execution of that moment was clever since it was caused by a choice to do a little Freaky Friday bit.
So far I have to say that the Dark King has been one of the most compelling new characters introduced to the story. This is a guy who is supposed to be so evil, and yet almost never do they give us the opportunity to see this. All that we ever had to go off of was what we saw from a distance. That being the Dark King summoning the very monsters which have been terrorizing Fillory. That was what you saw, but somehow when you talk you talk to him it was as if dealing with a completely different person. Even when put into situations where that darkness should come out, it was as if there was a step taken each second to ensure that everyone was seeing only what he wanted them to see. Even by the end of this episode you are still left torn when facts and feelings make handling him a lot harder than it ever should be.
Turning back to Earth, it was interesting to see what steps would be taken next to fix the problem with magic. I say interesting since this involved Alice and the new character (Bax) looking towards botany for their answer. So far this has been bold, and so far it has paid off for the exploration into a magic discipline which you never thought would get the kind of attention it is getting now. I don’t think anyone could have guessed how this would even play into Alice’s own quest which she clearly never gave up on since the first episode.
Next stop, saving Fillory from the Dark King! If only it would ever be as simple as things were in this hour. The Magicians “Garden Variety Homicide” gave us an exciting hour of team Fillory doing the best they could to take down a force that is currently outside of their full understanding.