The Magicians Season 4 finale was arguably the most devastating season-ender in the show’s history (and, honestly, that’s a very competitive category). The only thing that is keeping me going at this point is the knowledge that the writers’ room is already hard at work on The Magicians Season 5, spinning out the most emotionally-affecting, unpredictably truthful answers to the following questions…
Is Quentin really dead?
If Quentin is coming back to the show, then The Magicians creative team is playing very coy about it—as in straight-up lying. The executive producers released this statement in regards to Quentin’s death, following the airing of the season finale:
“Before we began this season, we entered into a creative conversation that included the writers, executive producer and director Chris Fisher, Lev Grossman, our partners at UCP and Syfy, and Jason Ralph. The choice for Jason to leave the show was arrived at mutually, with much respect for the story, fans of the show, and a shared sense of deliberate, essential creative risk.”
They continued: “We want The Magicians to visit strange and fascinating new places, and we know we can’t get there by treading the same garden path others have before us. So, we did the thing you’re not supposed to do — we killed the character who’s supposed to be ‘safe.’ In real life, none of us are safe.”
Showrunner Sera Gamble told THR regarding Ralph’s future on the show: “It’s not that Quentin’s story is done on The Magicians. It is that Jason Ralph is no longer a series regular on the show, and Quentin Coldwater is dead on the show, and the story moving forward is about the aftermath of that … Jason has left the show, and Quentin is dead, and a lot of season five is about what happens next, just as when somebody dies in our lives, the next season of our life is about what happens.”
So it sounds like there’s a chance that Ralph could return at some point in a guest or recurring role, but that he will not be a series regular moving forward.
I hope they’re pulling a Katee Sackhoff on this and Jason Ralph will be back at some point, whether it’s for Season 5 or some point beyond that—Quentin’s story does not feel over (and I am really hoping I get more Queliot than this). Right now, it feels like Quentin’s post-Season 4 journey could be used as an opportunity to push the limits of The Magician‘s worldbuilding into a new frontier—yes, I am talking about whatever is west of Westeros (here, a phrase meaning whatever is under the Underworld).
What is beyond the Underworld?
In The Magicians, The Underworld is merely a waystation, acting as a place tor organize souls before they move onto their “final destination.” Is this death? Yes… but what does that mean in the context of The Magicians‘ world?
We’ve not yet explored every corner of the Multi-Verse. Could Quentin have traveled to The Anti-Verse, which is, as the Old God’s middle manager tells Quentin and Josh, a place “where everything’s all dead”? I hope we find out. But, given how unpredictable this show can be in its storytelling, this could just as easily (or perhaps, not as easily) be the end of Quentin Coldwater’s story.
Either way, I’d like to know what happens to people when they take a ride on the Metro Underground. But maybe that is meant to be the one question we never get an answer to—both in real life and on this show?
Are Fen and Josh still alive?
Um, not to freak you out or anything if you hadn’t already thought of this, but it’s not looking good for Josh and Fen. (How long do werewolves live?) In the Season 4 finale, Margo and Eliot return to Fillory to find 300 years have passed. Fen and Josh were overthrown centuries prior, which implies that they are very dead.
The Magicians haven’t done enough timey-wimey shenanigans for the rules of time travel and time relativism across worlds to be properly established. Is there a way for Eliot and Margot to travel back to our present-day Fillory ans save Fen and Josh? Or, if we’re going big on twists, is it possible that Fen and Josh are chilling with Quentin somewhere past the Underworld?
Who is the Dark King?
When Margo and Eliot ask some random Fillorian passers-by about the current rulers of Fillory, they fearfully inform them that the Dark King reigns. Has the Dark King been reigning for 300 years, since Fen and Josh were overthrown? Who would live that long? Is it someone we already know?
My money is on Christopher Plover. Not only does he have some kind of immortality due to the spells Martin Chatwin cast on him so he could torture him without the sweet release of death, but it was Plover who led Quentin to the magic reservoir. He could have easily scooped up a good supply of the water before Everett drained it all for this own uses. Or perhaps it was Plover that drained it all?
Will we ever get more Queliot?
I know I already addressed this briefly in the “Is Quentin dead?” section of this article, but it is worth expanding upon: It was disapppointing to see the Season 4 finale center Quentin’s heteronormative relationship with Alice, while only giving a few moments to his queer dynamic with Eliot. Not only did it feel regressive for the character arcs, but is was also a missed opportunity for a show that has made some major moves when it comes to radical, queer storytelling.
The optimist in me says we didn’t get more Queliot resolution in the Season 4 finale, prior to Quentin’s death, because The Magicians is going endgame with these two. (Not that endgame can’t be polyamorous.) By further delaying the Quentin/Eliot reunion, The Magicians is centering them in a way, making their inevitable reunion that much more epic in a way that is usually exclusively reserved for heterosexual pairings. Don’t disappoint the optimist in me, The Magicians. I know you like to play it cool, but there is an pragmatic optimism in you and you can’t deny it.
Then again, Jason Ralph might for realz never return, so… that would make Queliot difficult.
What’s next for The Library?
The finale ended with Zelda ready to relinquish control of The Library over to Alice, which would be the first time in a very long time (potentially ever) that The Library has promoted from without. There’s also the question of if The Library will even exist as an organization anymore. After all, Zelda seemed ready to tear it all down and begin again, which isn’t the worst idea.
Frankly, the reorganization of the Organization Formerly Known As The Library doesn’t seem like it should be a job of one person. Alice, too, is limited by her own perspectives, privileges, and biases. Hierarchies are so 20th century. Which leads me to my next question…
What’s next for the hedge witches?
In order to keep the Monster and his Sister trapped by the Incorporate Bonds, our main characters had to call on the assistance of hedge witches and traditionally-educated magicians alike to collectively cast. With The Library set for a restructuring and the hedge witches led by the formidable force that is Kady, it seems like the hedges are due for a revolution themselves.
Could the hedges be granted the chance to study at Brakebills? Or perhaps they have different demands from The Library and the other magical institutions that have too long held on to power, resources, and access to knowledge while actively keeping the hedges suppressed.
Where is Santa Claus?
I was really hoping we’d see Santa Claus, aka Alice’s fellow inmate in The Library’s prison system, again this season. Alas, that was not meant to be, with The Magicians Season 4 having about 5675930 other plots to wrap up in the season-ender. That being said, with Alice potentially poised to take over The Library—or at least to have a very active position in its restructuring—it seems likely we will see Santa again. They are BFFs.
Will we see the Monster and his Sister again?
We haven’t had much time to miss the Monster yet, but his speech to his absent sister about the beauty of this world was pretty wonderful. (I haven’t forgotten he’s a murder-y murderer, though.) Really, this question is related to another question: Is The Seam sealed?
Quentin may have successfully thrown the Incorporate Bonded-containers containing the Monster and his Sister into The Seam, but it was a messy job, with parts of The Seam seemingly erupting out to destroy Everett and Quentin.
Are the Old Gods even paying attention?
The Old Gods’ administrative assistant didn’t give the impression that the Old Gods care much about the lives of mere mortals, but those mere mortals have been making some pretty major moves as of late. Not to mention the fact that The Monster straight-up killed a bunch of the Old Gods’ kids. Like, is anyone paying attention up there? And, if not, what are they paying attention to?
What happened to Penny 40’s Underworld book club?
This is a cute way of asking a much larger question: What the heck is Penny 40’s deal? We didn’t get to check in with him very much in Season 4, and I am desperate to find out more about who he is now that he is Team Underworld Library. Does he really no longer care about his friends up top, including Kady?
But also how is the book club going? What are they reading this week?