The Magicians series finale leaves audiences with a roller coaster ending and the seed of a new beginning. Here are seven epically unforgettable moments from tonight’s episode:
Santa Brings Christmas Early
After answering Alice’s distress call, Santa sets up the apartment as if it’s December and brings gifts for all. He shrugs that he couldn’t help it since their quest-heavy lifestyle meant there was no guarantee any of them would survive to the end of the year. We also soon discover that it was Santa who gave Alice the seed instruction page because she needed something to get back into the game. There was no way she would have passed on a mystery that she thought Quentin was working on. Santa adds that wherever that page has taken her and will take her is her story, not his, but he thinks Q would have been proud of her for continuing to fight. He disappears though as everyone else starts to wake up. Josh gets a very sought after knife, Eliot has a bracelet, Zelda lands a smoking pipe, Margo gets a small glass box on a chain, Fen a fancy knife sharpener, Penny 23 receives a baby wrap, and Julia a baby bag. All these gifts will be significant throughout the rest of the episode!
Mind Swaps and Someone Unexpected Makes a Comeback
Rafe sends a bunny message that Fillory needs them now and so the team goes into planning mode with the addition of Plum and the disappearance of Kady. Margo and El will go to Fillory and activate Umber’s ark then head to the clockwork dwarf to move back the timepiece. However, they currently don’t have a traveler that can get them out as Penny 23’s abilities are still not working, Hyman isn’t talking to them, and Plum travels back in time (which would also put them in the crosshairs of the time police). Meanwhile Team World Seed (Fen, Alice, and Zelda) will work on blooming the seed. Z suggests that they do so in the Neitherlands to circumvent the wacky circumstances on Earth. Margo also strongly suggests that the new Fillory needs a wellspring so that they don’t permanently loose magic. She asks if anyone has any questions and if not they can break when Julia laughs and says that her water just broke.
Margo and Eliot try to get Hyman to travel them out of Fillory but the guy is uncooperative. He’s tired of being tethered to a body that just constantly poops and isn’t willing to risk his life. In comes Charlton who tells El that maybe the traveler would be willing to give him a body. The former high king of Fillory tell Hyman the idea and the guy is totally onboard under the condition that Charlton do lots of crazy sex things. They manage to swap out with Hyman back in the astral plane where he’s wanted to be. Unfortunately, though Charlton is not able to use his traveler body’s ability quite yet. Margo says that they don’t have time for this and reveals that she knows a shortcut to get out of the clockwork dwarf’s place and so Team Fillory departs.
Rupert is summoning more Takers as Margo, El, and Josh are looking for a magical royal census scroll that they can use to make certain that all Fillorians have been accounted for in the ark. They activate the pocket world and it seems to be working as the population count begins to drastically drop. Suddenly though Eliot disappears as the Dark King transports him to the Taker realm. Turns out Rupert wants El to close the door after Lance comes through so that the other dead do not crossover. Right on schedule you can hear lover boy on the other side as the Dark King swings the door open to let him through. The eldest Chatwin is so happy to be reunited with Lance, but plot twist, it’s not really his boyfriend but The Beast! So Martin Chatwin duped his own brother to let him return from the Underworld along with some friends. Apparently Lance passed on a long time ago and he never even met the man. Martin did meet Cassandra and read all about how Rupert was going to save his love. The Beast realized that it was through big bro that he would be able to get all of Fillory forever. He opens the door to let his allies through and as he’s about to strike Eliot, Rupert is able to unfreeze himself and transport them both away.
Julia Gives Birth, Fogg Returns
At Brakebills, Kady appears with a frantic and incoherent Dean Fogg (from their current timeline). He somehow got out of the etheric realm and had called the hedge witch leader. At the same time Julia and Penny 23 arrive with Professor Lipson ushering them to a bed nearby. At some point however the dean disappears and he arrives at the Neitherlands where Kady, Fen, Zelda, and Alice are preparing to awaken the world seed. Fogg casts his own spell and takes the most prized object in the multiverse with Kady going after him. He returns to Brakebills where Julia has just given birth and quickly severs the tether between mother and child. Mom suddenly faints and Kady punches the dean.
Zelda Makes a Noble Sacrifice
Back at the Neitherlands, Fen, Alice, and Zelda are still waiting for Kady’s return when a familiar voice begins to sing. The phosphoromancer recognizes The Beast and the librarian states that means the dead have risen. The three women lock themselves in Zelda’s office where she tells Fen and Alice that there’s a portal in the other room that will take them back to Earth. She needs to stay there to initiate a protocol that will destroy all the fountains so that the dead won’t be able to infiltrate other worlds. Before departing she tells Alice that master magicians know that they can control their inner circumstances and she believes that the younger woman will get there, she only needs to try. Alice tearfully hugs Zelda and thanks her for everything. The librarian smiles and adds that death only means a transfer to a different branch. As the two depart Martin breaks through the wards and Z locks the fountains. The Beast then kills her with a touch.
Time Magic is a Tricky Thing
Lipson tells Penny 23 that his daughter is doing fine but Julia hadn’t regained consciousness and her organs are shutting down. Plum heads outside to offer her professor some food and he’s freaking out, asking her to use her abilities to go back in time to stop Julia from dying. She glumly says that they can’t because they already tried. Queue the dramatic music! Plum explains that this is the do-over and things got so much worse so fast. He had taken her to see her grandmother Jane Chatwin and Jane (who then was pregnant with Plum’s mom) said that the only way they could do this was to create a time loop. Unfortunately, Plum only had enough plasma for one try. The only thing she was able to change was Josh escaping from Fillory while the others got trapped there unsure if the ark worked. Meanwhile Team World Seed tried to grow the seed on Earth but it didn’t work so Zelda took them to the Neitherlands but they never returned. So now that makes sense why Plum was so hesitant earlier as they were making plans. Jane had also warned her not to change too much because it could cause even more damage. Plum reveals that they had also told her grandmother that they were going to destroy Fillory to stop Rupert, but the elder magician assured them that she would still be there in the Clock Barrens though it might just be a little bit harder to find. Plum also adds that she had no idea Fogg was going to attack Julia though Penny 23 then remembers that the dean retains knowledge of times loops so perhaps he was trying to change something.
Professor Lipson gives Fogg a cat that apparently can absorb the crazy from a person while being held. Once that happens the dean appears to be back to his normal self and asks if he managed to get everyone out of the Neitherlands in time. He also explains that he cut Julia’s cord roughly to allow it a chance to be transplanted to someone else since a delicate incision would have rendered it useless and she and child would have died. Now they would need to connect the very powerful traveler baby to someone who can handle her abilities. In the meantime, Fogg hid the seed inside the lab. Kady, Alice and Fen grab it and they begin preparations for its growth.
When Julia wakes up, Penny 23 is asleep on a chair nearby and she tells him that she can’t hear anything anymore. He tells her that she’s fixed and Lipson soon comes in bringing their baby. Penny 23 takes his daughter who has just pooped and tells Jules that he likes the name Hope and that he can live with Quentin being her middle name. She’s confused though because she didn’t say those things out loud and it’s the professor that fills her in that they had to connect the baby to her father. So now when he’s holding baby Hope, he has psychic abilities once again through his child.
Margo Gets on the Sacrifice Bandwagon
The Dark King brought Eliot and himself back to Whitespire. Rupert tells El that he’s sorry but the other man just didn’t understand why he had to do this. The former high king interrupts that he’s always understood. The eldest Chatwin asks what their original plan was and El reveals it with Rupert agreeing that this could still work. He would delay the dead for as long as he could while Eliot goes and find his friends.
He locates Margo and Josh and they head to the secret entrance to the center of Fillory. Josh says they need to talk about this shortcut when Margo comes clean saying that there isn’t one. She’s doing this by herself so that they don’t die. If Q taught her one thing it’s to make a sacrifice for the ones you love. Josh hands her a very fancy ham sandwich as a bribe to the dwarf in case he hadn’t been raptured. She then pops out her fairy eye, puts in the small glass box Santa gave her, and hands it over to her significant other so that she’ll know that they are safely away. With that Margo jumps into the underground room. Once she gets down there, the dwarf is gone with only a note to not turn the clock backwards left behind. Meanwhile Josh and El get to the portal tree. Josh tells the eye that Margo is the love of his life. The two check the census scroll one more time to make sure it’s at zero and go into the portal together. Once she sees that her boys are safely away, Margo flips the switch and eats the delicious sandwich to usher in the end of Fillory. Upstairs in the throne room, we seem a number of bodies on the ground with Rupert tiredly seated on the steps. Martin enters and asks what is going on and his brother answers the end of Fillory. As the castle collapses Rupert seems to disintegrate as The Beast is buried within, entombed in the world he loved so dearly as it is destroyed. In the nick of time, Penny 23 arrives in the clock room able to save Margo as his traveling abilities are back through his daughter.
Endings and Beginnings
At the lab in Brakebills, the team is preparing to cast some magic. Alice tells Josh, Fen, and Margo that they need to accept all the good and bad within them so they can adjust their casting for inner circumstance since this is what they can control. The ex-niffin also attempts to do this one-handed as Eliot also recently had his hands damaged by The Beast and still needed time to heal. As the three magicians begin, the seed starts to glow and Fen’s role is to talk to it and to share her memories of Fillory. She begins with the first time she saw a Pegasus when she was ten but then quickly realizes that there are so many things that were backwards in her home. What Fen really wants is the best of Fillory, Earth, and the cool movies she and Todd watched. Suddenly the seed cracks little by little and emits a super bright light. When the light vanishes Fen, Josh, Margo, and Alice are nowhere to be found.
Sometime later, Fogg is back in his suit and still with the cat. Magic hasn’t disappeared, the hedge witches are retaining moon devotees to help calculate circumstances, and Eliot’s joined the faculty at Brakebills. At the Physical Kids cottage, El is mixing himself a drink when Charlton appears, commenting that the other man is in his happy place but doesn’t seem very happy. The new professor explains that he thought coming to the school would help but he still misses his friends very much and he feels lost and alone without them. Eliot even misses Fillory and asks Charlton if he thinks there’s any way that Seb (Rupert) survived. The other man says probably not but he’s likely in a better place with someone who loves him and sure enough audiences see that he was rescued by Jane and taken to her cottage in the Clock Barrens. He tells El that he isn’t alone and has a surprise for him. Charlton had been working with Pete who helped him figure out what Santa’s bracelet gift was. He puts it on and instead of looking like Hyman he now looks and feels like himself. Eliot touches the other man’s face and proclaims that this is weird. But good weird adds Charlton who then proceeds to ask the awkward question of whether the magician could ever be romantically interested in him. He knows Eliot’s emotionally available and he planned to stick around. The former high king of Fillory gives in and says that they are going upstairs to explore this more. The two have their first kiss on the stairs with Hyman watching on. The traveler pauses for a moment to let them have their intimacy but quickly changes his mind.
Meanwhile Julia, Penny 23, and baby HQ are off traveling to different worlds looking for their friends who disappeared. Speaking of which, Fen, Alice, Margo, and Josh are in a brand-new world where there are pizza ovens, knife trees, and fields of bacon. It’s not the same as the original Fillory but there’s plenty of food and no predators to be seen. Fen takes out the ark and dubs high king Margo the creator as the leader of this new land. Their lives are going to change in even more ways they can’t predict but they find some comfort in that. Alice says that this is their story as Margo presses the button at the bottom of the snow globe.
I wasn’t sure what to expect in this series finale but I am glad that everyone got a new beginning. It may not have been what they had wanted but it still worked. I audibly gasped when Martin revealed himself because I love it when a show circles back to it’s beginnings and in this case with it’s original villain. The Chatwin siblings were such an integral backstory for The Magicians and it was satisfying to see how they all ended up.
There were so many aspects of this show that were beautifully crafted from the different story arcs, world building, and of course the characters. Before the show premiered it was pitched as Harry Potter for grownups and it blew away all expectations. We got a very rich, vivid, and complicated narrative full of various twists and turns that was different from the books but just as engrossing and enjoyable. And honestly I can go on and on about how much I love this series but my final thought is this: no show has ever made me cry as much as I did when Quentin Coldwater watched his friends grieve and say goodbye to him. I’ve seen this season four episode more than once and every single time the water works flow because his death meant something and it felt like I was saying my own goodbye to a friend. So many have seen themselves in Q and his question to Penny as to whether he actually did a brave thing to save his friends was so powerful. Because in the end I believe we’d all like to do just that, be brave and do good.
Thank you to the entire cast and crew of The Magicians for bringing five thought provoking, whimsical, and imaginative seasons. This show is one of a kind and I’m looking forward to binge watching everything all over again.
The Magicians airs on Syfy Wednesday at 10/9c.