What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the tenth episode of this season of The Magicians. “Cello Squirrel Daffodil” last week was a welcomed episode when sometimes you just need that one week where the objective is to get everyone asking the right questions. The right questions which were surely going to get us somewhere good in this hour.
Finding out why this episode was titled “Purgatory” is a development which will most certainly catch you off guard. Of all the places we have been to in The Magicians, purgatory is one place you would have thought we got to long ago, though better now than never, right? What purgatory turned out to be was quite a shocker as well. In most cases it is not supposed to be a dangerous place, and yet here it was leaving you and said magician trapped there on your toes because yet about anything could have happened. Our exploration of this realm was pretty short, but it wasn’t without some insightful discoveries along the way. Particularly when purgatory led to a big twist involving the underworld.
As I’ve said before, world-building is one of the strongest element to The Magicians. What is the point of the things that these magicians do, if not everything and everyone is somehow affected by their actions? It did not hurt one bit to see how even the underworld could be shaken up by something that they did. Maybe it wasn’t their actions directly, but it was of course something dealing with their quest which caused tragedy for someone else.
That said, it was refreshing to get a part of any episode where Alice, Margo, Kady, and even Fenn could work together. Most of them are used to doing their best work on their own, so it shook things up that they had one thing which brought them together to work for a solution to their problems. The first of course being how to rescue who was left on Fillory. This took them once more to some places they never expected to go, and discoveries they never thought they would run into at a time like this. What made the biggest difference was the strong character moments they were able to experience along the way. Not just for their sake, but for the sake of others which is always going to more commendable.
What threw me for a loop was the scene they threw us into between Julia, Eliot, and Charleston. Completely unexpected, and yet entertaining by the end of it. Off the bat, this is not a great position that Julia finds herself in. Locked up, her pregnancy speeding through with every moment passing, and there was no telling what was cooking inside of her. All of these things created a monster who both Eliot and Charleston were both stuck with. It was humorous to a point seeing how these two would do everything in their power, which is limited, to get her through it and find a solution to get free. For Eliot, this was an important period for him. He’s not as broken as he once was some episodes ago, so this is the time for him to get back in the saddle to be the older guy in the room with experience and insight. Despite Margo off on Earth, it went a long way having Charleston there who serves as a calm voice of reason he’s never had before.
Like last week and the week before the line between evil and misunderstood becomes more blurred, which is for the best right now. As we all know, Sebastian is supposed to be the evil stopped in order to save Fillory. We knew this because for the sake of someone he loved he is willing to destroy a world. However, little did we not know the full extent of the consequences to his actions. That was the real kicker which created a sense of urgency we never had before. It was one thing when the quest involved saving a world, but what happens when saving one world has been bumped up to more than just that? I think we all will want to see just how far these magicians will go to stop someone like that from succeeding, regardless of intentions.
That aside, most of us surely enough would have assumed that when they said purgatory, they meant the room which Penny and Plum are trapped in. It was nice that this was a different situation altogether. We needed our answers to what signal was haunting them, and this was the time to lay all the cards on the table. Clearly someone had to send the signal, and the only word which comes to mind is why. When their situation finally began to unravel, I was a bit taken back by who this person ended up being. You would think big, bad, and terrifying. Yet, that was not the case here. Well, the person was powerful to an extent, but this wasn’t some god or monster out to get them. The reason was definitely something we should have been able to figure out on our own, but credit where it is due that they kept our wheels turning when this isn’t the first psychic or traveler issue which led to something huge.
The whole scene was great because as I’ve said before, responsibility looks good on this Penny. Any older version of Penny would not care to get so involved with someone else’s problems, and yet here he was going above and beyond to protect something which made someone else special. Getting close to the end of the season, this is exactly where a character like him needs to be.
Overall, The Magicians “Purgatory” was a thrilling experience for all the places this one episode took us. What they thought was just saving Fillory upgraded into something else entirely. There was no better time than now to buckle down and both crank the intensity and raise the urgency in seeing this quest through to the bitter end.