This The Magicians review contains spoilers.
The Magicians Season 3 Episode 7
While it’s not always possible to interweave the stories together in The Magicians, it’s magnificent when the characters and their conflicts relate with one another as they did in “Poached Eggs.” Allowing several characters to reflect on the journey so far in heartfelt conversations was a great writing decision especially here at the halfway point of the season. If the fairy takeover, which has recently been the weakest storyline, is truly at a turning point, we could potentially be reaching a pinnacle of greatness for many of the beleaguered magicians and the series as a whole.
The most effective interdependent plot is the continuing quest for the seven keys. Penny’s ability to become a book to get swallowed by the Library’s bookwork will get them access to the Underworld, but they need another Traveler to get him out, and the only one they know is beholden to Harriet at FuzzBeat, who in turn is only likely to listen to Kady. This Rube Goldberg machine of a storyline is a great way once again — and The Magicians has done well with this in season three — to callback to an earlier element (Victoria was rescued from the Beast back in season 1) and to create a compelling reason to bring Kady back into the fold.
Kady’s struggle with addiction could be seen as problematic for her character, especially when she “recovers” a little too quickly, but her conversation with Penny goes a long way towards explaining some of the psychology behind her issues. She believes her own statement that adult life consists of “accepting your own misery,” and Penny’s regular willingness to sacrifice himself is the cause of most of her pain. It’s nice to see their troubled confessions to each other end with further understanding rather than more heartache as Kady nervously asks, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we made it out of this?”
The most insightful conversation, however, is the one between Eliot and Margo, and holy crap was it needed! Just to hear Eliot pause, take a breath, and ask the question, “What if we’re making things worse?” was so refreshing in its honesty because many viewers must honestly wonder why Eliot and Margo are so invested in Fillory and why they don’t just say fuck it and let the fairies have it. Margo gives Eliot and the audience the crucial, reinforcing reminder that there was no blood test to make her High Queen, and if the fairies want her crown, she’ll “shove it up their fucking egg-holes.” What a triumphant, defiant statement from a character who inspires us all!
Julia and Alice also wax philosophic about the meaning behind Julia’s power and its origins. Their magical shoving battle aside, the two have a very thought-provoking conversation in which Alice, whose body is rejecting the voltaic transfer, wonders if maybe the magic just fits Julia better, but Julia clarifies that her visions of Reynard are a result of trauma, not magic. When she insists that life is random and unfair about giving her this power, she’s also referring to everything she and Alice went through to get where they are now. It’s a simple but surprisingly profound statement.
And, of course, there are the numerous other skillfully used elements from earlier in the season. The return of Professor Lipson and her drugged indifference to Alice raiding the medicine cabinet nicely complemented the drunk Dean Fogg chalking up Alice’s problems to “entitled millennial bullshit,” and Irene McAllistair’s vial of magical-creature excretion was a wonderful wink to the viewers who know about her captive fairies seen in an earlier episode. Even Julia noticing that the snorted magical essence was different somehow gave her spells a dangerous elegance, especially when she surprised a vampire as Hedge Witch Buffy!
Who can blame Alice for being desperate enough to regain magic by becoming a vampire, an idea she got from an offhand comment from Professor Lipson? This was but one of many admirably realistic reactions to the circumstances at hand. There was also Fray’s realization of betrayal, Fen’s devastation at losing her daughter (producing another emotional dialogue with Eliot), and even Quentin’s panic attack defused by Poppy’s kiss. Not sure how to feel about that last one, but everyone’s decisions and resulting feelings are inarguably consistent with their character.
Poppy says it best: “Just have some fun. It seems like the chances of everyone surviving go up if we do that.” Hopefully, Quentin and the others will take that advice moving forward in the second half of The Magicians. Perhaps Eliot and Margo can get a handle on their throne (once the common folk calm down), Penny can find his way back to corporeal form, Kady can get sober, and Julia and Alice can come to terms with the randomness of their lives. Then again, this is The Magicians, so new problems will no doubt present themselves, but as long as everyone remains authentic and true to themselves, the season will end on a high note.