In this week’s crazy episode of The Magicians, we discover that renowned Fillory author Christopher Plover isn’t the lovable grandpa Quentin thought he was. We also discover Jane and Martin Chatwin’s backstory that shows us an even darker side of magic.
After the insane events from last week, Quentin (Jason Ralph) and Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) use a locator spell to find Fillory and Further book six and it leads them to Penny (Arjun Gupta). Confronted, the traveller finally admits that he did take Q’s book, read it and then threw it in the trash because he got bored. Furious that Eliza/Jane (Esme Bianco) had given him the answers and it had slipped through his fingers, he begins to badger Penny into remembering what the book had contained. In annoyance, the other magician finally says that Christopher Plover (Charles Shaughnessy) hadn’t written the last book. The author had been actually Jane Chatwin who wanted to tell what really took place. Penny also remembers that Jane (young Jane is played by Rose Liston) had managed to catch some mythical talking creature (that changed from dog to pig to ferret?) that would grant her any wish. She wanted a key into Fillory so that Martin (Nicholas Croucher) could go back any time he wanted, which it provided in the form of a magic button.
Since they now believed that Fillory was a real place, Q theorized that the button could still be in Plover’s house because book five ended with Martin never finding it. He thinks that Penny and him should go check it out but Alice decides that she wants to come along too. Eliot comes as well as he desperately needs a distraction after his tragic ending with Mike/The Beast last week. Penny travels to England instantaneously while Alice, Q, and Eliot go via a portal to Eliot and Margo’s favorite British pub. They all end up on a tour of Plover’s abode where Quentin geeks out hardcore (we’re talking excited selfies level).
The four return to the house in the evening after it’s closed down to hunt for the button. They discover that the ghosts of Plover’s sister Prudence and the children she murdered were haunting the house. Alice and Eliot are first brought into the young girl’s bedroom where Prudence kills her via a poisoned cup of tea while the two magicians are tied up during the entire encounter. Meanwhile Q and Penny are following the boy and end up being separated. Prudence takes the traveller to the Quiet Room (aka her torture chamber) while Q finds himself spying on Martin Chatwin and Christopher Plover (Charles Shaughnessy). Penny had explained that they were in some kind of ghostly memory of the house where they were reliving the children’ horrific deaths.
Quentin discovers that his childhood hero was in fact a pedophile who was drugging Jane while he took sexually indecent pictures of Martin. I could not get the thought out of my head that Maxwell Sheffield (Shaughnessy played him on the 90’s sitcom The Nanny) became a dirty old man, childhood ruined. Plover had also began trying to do magic in order to find a way into Fillory so that he and Martin could “be together.” Eewww. Q also sees the Chatwin siblings give the housekeeper’s son the magic button to hide and then shortly after is killed by Prudence and buried in the Quiet Room.
The group heads to the cellar to look for the button but is stopped by Prudence. Ever so resourceful, Quentin baits the ghost by showing her a scandalous image of Plover and adds that he planted copies of these all over the house for the tourists to find. It distracts her while they try to find the young boy’s body. Thankfully they manage to find the button, but before they leave Alice is insistent that they go back and help the children whose souls are trapped in the house. Still dealing with his broken heart, an angry Eliot snaps at Alice that life was unfair so why would death be any different? Q tells him to STFU and tries to placate his ladylove and get her to realize there isn’t anything they could do for the kids. Apparently there were spells that could prevent these murderous groundhog days from happening yet they couldn’t release them from it. Bummer.
Back at Brakebills, Penny touches the button and vanishes.
Julia in the meantime has had a much different, but still difficult episode as she goes with Richard to visit a friend of his who is completely catatonic. He tells her that she can use magic for good and through the inception spell she enters Kiera’s mind. Inside, she is first put through a test and is trapped within a box. Once she frees herself, Julia is in a park where Kiera is waiting for her. The other woman explains that she’s been working on a spell that she first started while her body was still functioning. When it failed, she finished it in this created place. Julia’s task was to write and remember everything so that she could take it back to Richard. Through Kiera she also discovers that you don’t have to go to Brakebills to do good magic (Kiera went to MIT). She then tells Julia that she wants to die and so Richard injects her with a drug so that she can pass on peacefully.
This week’s episode shows audiences yet another dark side of magic as Quentin had to confront the reality that his childhood idol was an evil man that drugged and sexually abused children as he used them and magic to get into Fillory. On the flipside, Julia’s experience shows us that there are still good people out there who use magic in a positive light (as far as we know at least, watch Kiera’s spell be something horrific). Still, as our magicians get ever so closer to Fillory, the world as they know will certainly get even more disturbing. In fact I’m counting on it.
While the pilot started a little slow, The Magicians has definitely found it’s rhythm of dark humor in an un-fairytale like magical world. This book to TV adaptation is working and it’s working well. The writing continues to be good as we are taken further down the rabbit hole and the cast brings depth to their roles that makes their characters feel like real people.
Final thoughts: where are the rest of my ladies at? I need more Kady, Margo and Marina please.
The Magicians is on Syfy Mondays 9/8 central.
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