The Magicians “The Balls” Review

What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the twelfth episode of this season of The Magicians. Boys and Girls, we have ourselves the next musical episode in the series! Honestly? I completely forgot that this was something we had to look forward to. Between the scale of this plot, the twists and turns each week, and the bomb dropped on our laps that this was the final season, it was easy to forget this far in the season that there would be one more musical.

Being that this is a musical episode, the big question was if it was wise to do one this close to the end? Would it distract us from being all in when what these magicians do now matters most? And is it possibly to do this one more time and not lose the magic captured before? The list of questions could go on, though at the end of the day we only need to know; Was it worth it? The answer to that is yes! The music choice will leave some mixed feelings just because not everyone will know these off the bat, but there was not one song which wasn’t fitting for capturing character growth and matching the situation the characters were put in. Where the execution was more unique this time around was that they jumped into song during moments of strong emotion.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Balls” Episode 512 — Pictured: (l-r) Hale Appleman as Eliot Waugh, Olivia Taylor Dudley as Alice Quinn — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

If there’s one thing you have to give these writers credit for? It is that they were actually bold enough to not only give us this musical episode, but also take a chance on pulling off two heists in one season. To be perfectly honest? This one had to be my favorite because it felt like there was so much more at stake in pulling off the impossible. We’ve already seen what happens when someone gets in the way of The Couple, and the last thing anyone would want is to find their magic ability crippled by the loss of their fingers. The addition of Marina shook things up for the fact that even less than the questers themselves, she is less tolerant towards things which do not go according to plan. Then with the music on top of it? Surprisingly that did not kill the momentum of the heist since the songs played into how they overcame each obstacle they were met with. The trouble they faced along the way wasn’t shocking, because what really goes their way? And aside from that, their exit plan was creative for the last person you would expect to come through for them in a pinch.

Again I was impressed by the writing for Fenn. They are doing right by her representing Fillory and the things that only a Fillorian should be able to assist with. In a quest where everyone has a role to play, they did not forget her, and Fenn didn’t allow anyone else to forget what she had to offer.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Balls” Episode 512 — Pictured: Olivia Taylor Dudley as Alice Quinn — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

The best takeaway from this heist for the magicians was taking a deeper look into Alice’s mental heath this far into the quest. Whether it was this quest, or the culmination of all the quests, it goes without saying that Alice has been through a lot. For a hero in her to rise, you have to hit your absolute lowest, and it doesn’t get as low as feeling helpless. For as strong as we need to see her, she can only be that person again when she has defeated what has made her feel vulnerable. It was wonderful that she was given this opportunity to do it through song, and even able to interact with someone who knew how to get through to her when in need of help.

What I found very funny was finding out exactly why this episode was titled “The Balls”. That one right there was clever because you would have never understood where this was going till that one scene hit. With that said, it didn’t hurt to actually put a name to The Couple. For everything that we knew about this pairing’s threat-level, we knew next to nothing about their endgame or anything else about them personally. With this being the second to last episode, there was no better time than now to address what truly motivated their actions. The reason definitely came as a shock, and to some extent made sense of why the two could go to such inhumane lengths to get what they wanted.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Balls” Episode 512 — Pictured: (l-r) Meera Simhan as Neela, Stella Maeve as Julia Wicker — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

Now while all of this is going on, it only made sense that Penny and Juli would be off doing their own thing. Nearing the end, it should matter more to characters like these two something a bit more tangible such as a baby. For all the fears we heard from Penn in response to how lightly Julia was taking the situation, it was smart that they decided the best thing for everyone was to get an example of the worst case scenario. That was heartbreaking for the fact that we have gone so many season to only now understand Penny’s family situation. It was a bit risky that they decided to do this with Penny 23 instead of our Penny, but the result would have been the same either way. Though as I said, it was heartbreaking to follow these two down this road where they realized how damaging it can be to give birth to something as rare as a traveler. I think I walked away from this episode with a better understanding of Penny than we could have ever gotten before jumping into his past.

They really knocked out two birds with one stone in this episode. We got another successful musical episode if you ask me, and the icing on the cake was how this worked with what is probably their most ambitious heist yet. Overall, The Magicians “The Balls” ended up being an entertaining set-up for the finale next week.

Jideobi Odunze Author

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