‘The Magicians’ Review: Bear In a Bar? No Biggie

The epic quest begins in earnest on this week’s episode of The Magicians where Eliot, Fen, and the rest of their royal entourage sail to a far-off island to find the first of the golden seven keys. Meanwhile, Quentin, Julia, Josh, Kady, and Alice are on earth trying to locate Professor Mayakovsky to get their hands on his magical batteries.

Do they succeed in both missions? Find out below.

quentin talks with julia and josh about what's to come

A Bear Walks Into a Bar

At Brakebills, Q, Julia, and Josh are trying to locate Mayakovsky (who’s gone MIA since magic vanished) believing that he’s got to have more batteries stashed somewhere because he’s a lying devious snake. They use the only tool they currently have their disposal, Google, to try and find the missing instructor. While surfing on YouTube, Josh stumbles upon a newly uploaded video of a bear attack inside a hedge witch bar. He points out a number of things to support his case and convinces Quentin (mainly because the bear was obviously a dick).

Julia brings Kady in and they show her the video, hoping that she recognizes the bar and can get them in. The hedge witch also shows the ex-Brakebills student her small amount of magic by creating some sparks. They also explain that if they can find Mayakovsky and his batteries then maybe they can help Penny as well. Kady’s pissed still but Julia tells her that if he doesn’t need the magic then fine she can walk away but obviously that’s not the case. So the four head to the bar where they are able to confirm that it was Mayakovsky there with a young woman. Q realizes that had to be Emily (the person he was working with and slept with last year while grieving Alice) and tells the group that he should go and see her by himself since even at the best of times the other woman was vulnerable.

Quentin heads to her apartment where she appears to be massively hungover. Emily reveals that after magic disappeared, Mayakovsky appeared at her door a week ago and professed his love. They even got married! When Q asks how the elder magician became a bear, Emily claims that she doesn’t know but remembers that they met a woman at the bar and that her husband owed something to this female. Needing to use the ladies room though, she left and then heard a commotion as Mayakovsky was turned into a bear and destroyed the place. Q is led to believe that it could have been this other woman who turned the professor into an animal.

Alice Adopts an Early Warning System

In the last episode, Alice got some information from a vampire about how to protect herself with a lamprey after her and he suggested that she get herself an early warning system. What does that entail you might ask? That systems appears to be a kitten. She goes to an animal adoption center where she takes Hester, a five-month-old ball of cuteness. The only condition is that she must swear that the kitty will see no evil. Erm, good luck to you Hester.

It’s a good thing though that Alice has gone ahead and adopted the kitty because the lamprey has taken over a body and its out looking for her.

Another Mayakovsky Victim

After Quentin regroups with the others, Kady informs them that the woman must possess one of the batteries because there have been reports of weird events happening around the city that could only be a result of magic. Julia and Q go check out the sex orgy at Central Park, while Kady and Josh investigate a dinosaur at St. Brennan’s Children’s Hospital. At both places, a female magician in her 30’s and a little off her rocker was spotted.

Kady and Josh chat with a young patient who explains that one of the kids drew the reptile and the woman made it come to life in the courtyard. Just as the nurse asks for their credentials a tremendous roar is heard that sends everyone to the windows to see what’s going on. The two then head outside to see if they can follow the creature, hoping that it will return to whoever conjured it. Meanwhile, in Central Park, groups of men and women are making out like there’s no tomorrow to the confusion of police officers and other onlookers. As Q and Jules try to talk to the kissing folks, the spelled participants attempt to pull them into their orgy. Julia nearly falls victim but Quentin pulls her out just in time. Suddenly Alice shows up, having followed the trail of weird magic hoping to find Mayakovsky herself. It’s still super awkward between the two ex-lovers and Ms. Quinn hightails out of there as quickly as possible with Hester in tow. Jules finds out that the unknown female magician was talking about the lack of magic, the need for wonder, and where she could find the nearest building to jump off of. Quentin immediately knows that it’s the old post office building on 58th because it has roof access and a great view. Apparently, it was one of the locations he was considering when he was into that sort of thing.

Upon arriving at the old post office, a woman is seen on the roof ready to jump to her death. Q rushes inside while telling Julia to dial 911. He gets up there pretty darned quickly and discovers that the mysterious female magician is Professor Lipson. Sadly, the Brakebills teacher is another woman who was snared by Mayakovsky’s charms. Turns out that she had been the one to help create the batteries and that she had given him everything he (Mayakovsky) had asked for. When the Russian instructor came into the bar with Emily, Lipson lost it because she was in love with him and he broke her heart. Q tries to talk her off the ledge by agreeing that Mayakovsky got what he deserved but she is totally confused. Just as she jumps off, he is able to grab onto her arm. While struggling, Lipson drops the battery and it shatters on the street as Alice and Julia watch helplessly, arriving a few seconds too late.

The group meets up at a hospital where Lipson is being examined and Q relays that he doesn’t think she was responsible for the bear transformation. Just as they ponder who could have done it, Hester begins to freak out big time and suddenly explodes. Alice knowing that the lamprey is dangerously close by, leaves without a word (it show up moments later following her down the hall). Josh, Q, and Jules rush to Emily’s place after realizing that she was the only other person with the motive to do that to Mayakovsky. Unfortunately, Kady beat them there, punched the other woman in the face and took the battery. The three then split up to look for their former classmate. Meanwhile, a dying Penny is waiting for Kady at work because he felt that it was almost his time and he just wanted to be with her. Kady hurry up and save him!!

eliot reads while dressed in fantasy attire

The Search For the First Key Begins

Meanwhile in Fillory, Eliot and Margo speak to their council about needing to sail to the outer islands in order to collect taxes because they desperately need the money. This little performance though is also for the eyes of the fairy queen who lounges casually on the side and likely suspects that this little trip is more than what it seems. We are then introduced to the Muntjac, the fastest ship in the Fillorian navy and is also a living creature herself. Tick is eager to warn his high king of the uniqueness of the vessel but Eliot wants to be able to enjoy the moment for just a second before getting yet another dose of bad news. As you should sir! Having been given permission to continue, the advisor explains that the Muntjac was created from sentient trees therefore has a personality. The admiral of the vessel takes them on a tour and adds that she was designed to be fast, wise, explore and do battle in the sea. Eliot seems dubious, but Tick is insistent that the boat can be a bit of an a-hole and shortly after the man is pushed off the deck by the boom acting on its own accord.

Back at Whitespire, Fen tells her husband that she’s coming with him on the voyage and it looks to be the idea of the fairy queen. The creature appears suddenly next to them and informs the duo that she also requires someone she trusts to accompany them. The queen introduces them to their daughter, Frail Human or Fray for short. The fairy leader explains that in their realm time folds in on itself and accelerates thus their child is now a teenager. Both parents are understandably shocked but Fen is quick to accept that the person standing before them is their progeny. Eliot in the meantime is highly suspicious especially after Fray says that her allegiance is to the fairy queen and feels nothing for them. On the day they leave, he confers with Margo that only individuals who have never had television in their lives could fall for such an obvious ploy because hello Angel, Buffy, and Twilight. Before setting sail, the high queen tells Eliot that the difference between a live hero and a dead moron is one bad decision so when it comes to being brave or being smart, he should know the right choice to make. Summer Bishil does such a fantastic job in these scene as Margo tells her bff not to be stupid and to stay alive. Clearly she’s struggling to not cry and it’s so beautiful to see how much these two really love each other.

On the boat, Fen is watching Fray sleep in one of the cabins when Eliot enters. She tells her husband that she knows he has doubts but she really does feel that this is their daughter. He admits that he wants to believe as well except Fray is huge for a two-month-old and that the young woman is a spy for the fairy queen so it’s probably better that she’s not actually their kid. Fen is stubborn however and says that all her life she’s wanted a family of her own, understandably this isn’t ideal but it’s not Fray’s fault. She just wants to give the teen her love.

Amazingly, they manage to reach After Island without incident and Eliot declares it a province of Fillory upon arrival. Because this is The Magicians, things don’t quite go as expected as there a local monster that attacks the village inhabitants every few days. A man named Father Poe however protects them and he also happens to be in possession of the first key. When Eliot asks for it, the priest explains that he can’t give it because it’s the only thing keeping them alive. A flying beast then appears overhead and the villagers run into their homes while Father Poe and a few unlucky souls remain outside. Eventually they emerge and Fray explains that the monster is a shadow bat and can’t be killed because it’s not really alive (they have this in the fairy realm). Fray also notices that the villager who was supposedly mauled by the monster had injuries inconsistent to what she’s seen. The fangs of the creature are serrated and victims were left in a much gorier mess. Fen also adds that as a daughter of a blade maker she recognized that it was a blade that killed that poor man. Realizing what was happening, Eliot has his swordsman put his weapon near Father Poe’s neck and commands the priest to do it. The other man feigns ignorance but the high king gives him no other choice. The village protector then takes the golden key and begins an incantation that summons the shadow bat, except it’s actually just illusion magic meant to keep the people afraid. Eliot then states that there is no monster but supposes that Father Poe qualifies as one because how many people among them have died so that the other man would remain their uncontested leader. The priest himself is then stabbed by the villagers as retribution for their lost loved ones.

On the Muntjac, Fray tells Eliot that he didn’t do what he told the fairy queen he was there for and that he only took the key. Fen jumps to say that it’s made of gold and has magic so what could be more valuable than that? Just as the younger woman protests, her mom tells her not to talk to her father like that and Eliot adds a semi-stern go to your room! Awww their first family squabble.

quentin and julia look at his laptop

Quentin Gets Possessed

On his own, while looking for Kady, Quentin notices movement in his bag and it seems that the magical book, The Tale of the Seven Keys, has printed new text. At the beginning of the episode, he narrated the tale of a girl who was born to a noble knight. Her father was kidnapped by an evil sorceress and the only way to save him was to find seven magical keys that would open his cage. The rest of the pages were blank but now were filling up as Eliot completed his part and retrieved the first key. Suddenly however Q is attacked by the lamprey and it takes up residence in his body.

Final Thoughts

  • RIP Hester! You were a good kitty and are gone far too soon. Also, the show has already killed two cats, first Marina’s (via consumption by Reynard the Fox) and now Alice’s. Beware felines looking to audition for parts.
  • Why are women falling for Professor Mayakovsky? Are they trying to reform a douchebag?
  • Speaking of which what happened to Mayakovsky? Did animal control come in to sedate him? Is he now in the Bronx Zoo?
  • It’s interesting that Alice is on her own so far this season. It seems like she and Julia have traded places where the hedge witch is the one fully involved in team missions.
  • The Magicians are really freaking out at having to be ordinary again and while yes it is hard to go back to living a non-magical life, at least it’s not really the actual end of the world. Think of the poor starving regular people!
  • Speaking of which, Kady is obviously the individual most equipped to deal with life without magic. She’s got a job and she can throw a mean punch. Girl knows how to take care of herself.
  • Is Fray really Eliot and Fen’s grown daughter? Or is the fairy queen just messing with them?

The Magicians airs on Syfy Wednesdays at 9 pm.

Nicole C
Nicole Chttps://theworkprint.com
Nicole is the Features Editor for The Workprint. She may or may not be addicted to coffee, audiobooks, and sci-fi.

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