This week’s episode of The Magicians gives us hazing the Brakebills way, Quentin and Penny becoming magic bros, and we learn why Kady is stuck as Marina’s slave.
In order to determine if the first year grad students really have what it takes to one day become great magicians, a sort of hazing ritual is enacted by the upperclassmen. Quentin (Jason Ralph) is reading (a Fillory book maybe?) alone inside the living room of the Physical Kids’ cabin when he hears a noise and goes to investigate. Yes Q, someone really is being creepy on purpose. He is accosted by two cloaked figures in gold masks and a bag is put over his head.
The two mysterious individuals turn out to be Margo (Summer Bishil) and another upperclassman who have taken Q outside the cabin along with a gaggle of other first years. Eliot (Hale Appleman) then waltzes onto the makeshift stage (also donning the cloak and mask) and welcomes the plebs to their trials, a tradition at the school that will test their abilities to think and act like magicians. If they pass their true journey begins, but fail and they flunk out of Brakebills.
The trials are a little reminiscent of freshmen hazing in Dazed and Confused except there’s magic involved. Their first test has Penny (Arjun Gupta) and Quentin grouped together with another guy (let’s call him Bob) and their team name is Horny Chupacabras. The task is to decipher a spell that was encoded by 18th century magicians and cast it successfully by 9 am the next day. It is a seemingly impossible task until Quentin realizes that they have to think outside of the box. His plan? To cheat of course. Penny is on board but Bob refuses. So Q and the traveller meet inside a closet where he reveals that they can get the answer through Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley). Boom, the once adversaries are now reluctant magic bros. Penny astral projects and memorizes Alice’s answers and he and Quentin pass the first test despite Eliot knowing that they cheated. The point is that there are no half assed spells they had to figure out a way to get something done. Honest Bob vanishes.
Their next test lands the plebs in the forest again and they are given an item to use to perform a very specific task. Q has a bow and arrow and is supposed to catch a fish, Penny is given an axe to bring in a wild horse, Alice is given rope to crash a tree and Kady (Jade Tailor) has a net to somehow get a pheasant. The two lovebirds run into each other first and Kady has a momentary freak out about flunking and how she needed to stay in Brakebills. Poor lamb you really need to stay in or incur the wrath of Marina (Kacey Rohl).
Penny realizes though that they need to talk to each other to find out which person had the skill needed to complete the task. So after a powwow session, Penny ends up with the net to catch the fish (he’s from Florida and knows his fishing), Quentin has the lasso since he went to junior cowboy camp (but hated it), Alice takes the arrow to kill the pheasant and Kady has the technique to cut down a tree. They all pass and derisively Eliot and Margo reveal they were all outside the cabin the whole time.
Speaking of which, Margo really shines in this episode as the upperclassman who is just having way too much fun wielding power over the freshmeat. Both her and Eliot’s over the top drama were a treat to watch and Bishil and Appleman do a fantastic job in playing off each other’s characters. Their chemistry as BFFs is on point and I’m sure we all knew people like that at school.
The group’s final trial though is the hardest one as they must each bare a truth to the other person before a magical rope is loosened and they have to be butt naked doing it.
Penny and Kady’s scene was so hard to watch because the traveller had to be uncomfortably vulnerable and admit that he was falling in love with her. Oh but here’s where it got horrible because Kady had to reveal that she had been using him and that she was a liar. Even though she didn’t say everything, we know that’s the truth because she’s there mainly because she has to do Marina’s bidding. We’ll get to the rest of Kady’s story soon.
Meanwhile, Quentin and Alice decided that drinking would help loosen them up for this terribly awkward test. Midnight came around though and both their ropes were still secure. A dejected Alice confesses that she tries so hard to control herself daily because people already hate her, but the truth was she didn’t know the extent of her power. Q realizes that he hasn’t changed even with real magic in his life that he is still trying to run away (he now can’t turn to Fillory for comfort). Looks like they made it in time as their bindings fall away after revealing these two
In what looks like a very painful process, they all transform into birds and fly away into the night towards an unknown destination. Now that’s how you haze!
But lets get to Kady’s backstory. Turns out that her mother Hannah was a cast out hedge witch as well and has now hooked up with Julia (Stella Maeve) to start their own rebel hedge org. Marina kicked her out because of a botched spell that had ended up killing two people in their group. But the most messed up thing was that Kady was indentured to the powerful psycho thanks to mom. That’s so wrong. Hannah contacts her daughter and asks for her help with a spell that they were planning to cast to retrieve Marina’s files. Kady refuses of course but takes Julia’s crude handwritten spell to the safehouse anyways, pretending that it’s something she found at Brakebills. Kady has a complicated past and it’s so heartbreaking that she’s had to lie to Penny this whole time. To make matters more tragic, Hannah ends up dying (in a bad bad way) courtesy of Marina’s hexed files. Gotta hand it to the hedge witch, no one screws her over and gets away with it!
The Magicians is on Syfy Mondays 9/8 central.
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