‘The Magicians’ Review: A Golem, An Assassin, and Some Time Bees

In this week’s episode of Syfy’s The Magicians, we meet a golem, an assassin, and some time bees as Julia, Alice, Kady, Margo, and Eliot deal with their respective problems.

Julia Looks For Circumstantial Evidence

With a new purpose, Julia seeks advice from Dean Fogg as she explains that she’s trying to find a pattern for the surges. The dean quips that if she had a proper Brakebills education she would know that it’s all related to circumstances. Some circumstances make it easier to cast while others would make it a lot more difficult. This could be the phase of the moon or the nearest body of water. Dean Fogg believes that certain surges must be lining up with very favorable circumstances which makes the effects a lot more catastrophic than others. Julia asks if there’s a way to predict them so that they can warn people in advance. The principal has someone in mind who might be able to help her, Professor Ex (because she’s his ex-lover and he likes to annoy her with that moniker) who is a genius a meta math. But just then another surge hits and Professor Ex’s lab explodes just as they are about to enter the building.

Alice Creates a Golem with Unexpected Results

Alice is in her mother’s basement with a big batch of living clay making the final touches before casting a spell to bring a Quentin golem to life. Once the ritual is completed, the phosphoromancer calls out for Q but the body underneath the sheet is revealed to be a young boy who asks where he is. Uh oh. Well surely this wasn’t what she was expecting. Little Q adorably wonders out loud if this is a dream or maybe a lucid dream like in one episode of Star Trek: Voyager and tells Alice that he feels he should be helping her with something. She takes a deep breath and says that he is supposed to aid her because a friend of hers left something she can’t read but he can. Once he let’s her know what it says he’ll wake up. Little Q asks what language this is in and Alice answers that she was hoping he would know. Except unfortunately he doesn’t because this Quentin golem is too young and hadn’t acquired that knowledge yet.

She goes and gets him tacos as he requested when Julia shows up at her house asking for help on a meta math problem when she sees Little Q. While eating tacos, he comments that the hedge witch looks a lot like his friend Julia, maybe her grandma? In the basement, Julia finds out from Alice that she molded the living clay to make a golem of Q, used his book to fill his memories, and then animated the whole thing with his essence (which was a tiny grain of his soul she pulled from the Underworld). How the heck did she manage to do that?

Julia is understandably livid and Alice explains herself by showing the other woman the paper she found amongst Q’s stuff at Brakebills. The hedge has no idea what it is either but the phosphoromancer thinks maybe Quentin left it for her to find. Alice created a version of him that’s supposed to be able to help with deciphering the text, except he’s 12 and can’t. Julia wants her to undo the spell except she isn’t able to because the magic is keeping the golem alive until he can complete the task he was brought here to accomplish. Julia says this was insanely selfish because the spell can never be completed since Little Q can’t do it. Alice goes on the defense and bursts out that she can’t sleep and she can barely breathe. She needed to fix something for him but Jules still thinks she messed up royally and they need to figure out a way to let Q’s soul go back to rest.

Julia talks to Little Q who is reading through the Fillory novel. She tells him how she had a friend who would do the exact same thing, go back to the beginning of a book once he’s finished it. He tells her that the therapist he goes to said that he has transition anxiety as if wanting for things to stay the same is too much to ask for. She comments that his real friends will never abandon him but he argues that his best friend will soon start dating skeevy guys and that she’ll forget he ever existed. Jules asks him to trust her that it’s just a phase and his bff needs him as much as he needs her.

She goes and talks to Alice saying that she can’t find anything wrong with the casting so it has to be the circumstances. Not all circumstances are astrological in nature and some are within the spellcaster. Alice’s internal ones asked for this version of Q and maybe she needs to ask him a different question. Little Q comes up to Alice and knows that he’s not dreaming because it’s been a whole day already and if you’re asleep that long it’s because your dead. She begins to tell him that she had a friend whom she loved very much but he died and she didn’t get to say goodbye. Alice admits that she brought him here since she wanted closure, to fix or finish something for Q. Little Q understands that she’s skipping to the beginning of the book. He can’t help her because she doesn’t want him too because then her friend’s story is over. Wisely gives her some advice that when he’s sad about something ending, his dad told him just to imagine that this is the first page of a new book and that the gift her friend gave him wasn’t his life but hers, that story has just started. As he states that he’s feeling really tired, Little Q asks Alice if she wants to see a trick and he pulls out a familiar coin. She then does a minor spell that transfer the coin from his hand to her and he looks at it in wonder saying that’s really cool. He leans his head on her shoulder and Alice whispers goodbye to Quentin.

She then tells Julia that perhaps she can help with her problem and gives her a book. Apparently her dad a friend with a really rare discipline of predicting circumstances and although they lost touch years ago, they had a copy of her work, “Circumstantial Prognostication.” The author’s name is Daniella Markus.

Someone Wants To Stop Kady

At a hedge bar, Kady and Pete are trying to figure out how a building with level 5 wards can suddenly disappear without anyone seeing it. He jokes and asks if she’s questioned David Copperfield and she seriously answers with a yes. Pete calls it quits and goes off to see if he can go home with a woman who walks by them. Soon after, a man chats Kady up with some witty banter and she next finds herself in bed with him the next morning. They both have a massive headache and Shinjiro leaves a card with his info in case she wants to hang sometime. She next goes off to the kitchen where Professor Penny 23 is trying to find more information about his unexplainable traveling. He comments how hungover she seems and isn’t judging but thought she was going straight. Kady confirms that she’s been sober almost a year now but can’t even remember when she took that first drink. Penny 23 suggests she just keep focusing on trying to find the missing library book depository but she has no idea what he’s talking about. Confused, he says she was working on it all of yesterday and wonders if she’s maybe not just hungover.

She calls Shinjiro and they meet back up at the bar. Kady confronts him that she’s been sober but has memory gaps not just from the night before but spanning days. He needs to explain himself and he begins to blurt out that he showed up for a second date. Maybe he’s taking a chance on her because she reminds him of his cousin whom he’s been obsessed with since he was thirteen but their moms are twins so that would technically make her his half-sister which is weird. But what’s weirder is why is he telling her all this when Kady reveals that she truthied his drink. Just she’s about to leave, he stops her and says that when he got to his apartment building that morning he couldn’t remember which unit was his and thinks if her memory was changed so was his. He needs to know why.

Penny 23 helps them out by creating a psychic amplifier inside the apartment. Kady and Shinjiro will enter it and hopefully with their combined memories they can fill the gaps and figure out what actually happened. They enter a shared memory space (much like memory VR!) and observe events as they unfolded. As they move towards the Kady’s room, Shinjiro says that it didn’t look like anyone spiked their drinks or gotten any head injuries. Just then memory Shinjiro gets up from bed, puts his pants on, then his eyes light up as he begins to cast a spell. Memory Kady also wakes up and defends herself but they are both knocked out from the defensive counter. He protests that he knows this looks bad but he really doesn’t remember doing that and she asks him why was he even at the bar in the first place. Shinjiro then realizes he was there to meet a friend from the first safe house he knew. They return to an earlier memory and his pal happens to be the woman that Pete was trying to go sleep with. They see that when he flips the back of a card she hands to him his eyes light up the same way as when he attacked. Unfortunately, the symbol is blurred out when they try to get a closer look when Kady realizes she knows what’s on it because he wrote his number down on the card. She takes it out of the pocket and flips it over to reveal a top hat. Instantly Shinjiro’s eyes change again and he breaks a bottle on the counter as he begins to attack her. The two fight but Kady’s a bad ass and so she is able to get the upper hand. As she asks to find out who sent him to erase her memories, he admits that he does’t know because he gets a job, does it, then makes sure he doesn’t have any recollection so he can’t rat anyone out. She tells him that her friend’s a psychic so maybe she can have him poke around his brain to see what he does remember. Shinjiro then utters the word morte (which in Italian and Portuguese means death) which triggers a suicide mechanism causing him to foam at the mouth. Back in the real world, the assassin is also dead.

In the aftermath, Pete, Kady, and Penny 23 are chatting over Chinese food. Pete’s memories as well were tampered with and he soon leaves to go get a drink. Penny 23 asks Kady how she’s doing and she admits that she’s only felt relieved when she thought she relapsed because it gave her permission to relapse some more. She’s scared that things are going to get harder and that she won’t be able to do it without a crutch which maybe means she shouldn’t do it at all. When the traveler tries to comfort her she rejects it and walks away.

Margo and Eliot Attempt to Fix the Past

Meanwhile, in Fillory Eliot is looking for the portal tree but instead comes across Fen’s ghost right before she is hung in the forest. This ghost sees him though and starts chatting. He apologizes for not being there to save her but Fen says that she understands since he was still possessed by the monster and would probably be off drinking if he himself after being rescued. She was honestly counting on Margo or Quentin, Alice, Julia, Penny, or Dean Fogg to save her. Ouch. She adds on that she knew the man she married, unless he can do some crazy time magic to help her in that case he needs to do that asap because the birds are coming for her eyes.

Back in the dungeon, Margo is trying to use magic to break herself out but the cage has been made magician proof. After trying brute force, a stone gets dislodged from the wall and she goes to investigate. She finds a note from Josh who explains that they knew something right happened when magic came back but they never heard from anyone again despite multiple bunnies being sent out. The rabbits believed that the connection between their worlds have been disturbed somehow, which of course is exactly what happened. As time went by, the Fillorian advisors recommended they send out scouts to the northern marsh to investigate disturbances but both Fen and Josh ignored it. They spent so much time trying to reach their friends that they missed the real trouble as the people rose up against them and it did not go well. Josh ends the letter saying that he hopes Margo is the one to find this and that he did it all for her.

In the meantime, Eliot wanders in the forest and comes upon Jane Chatwin’s cottage outside of time. They have a chat inside and he asks for her help to save his friends. She refuses explaining that a lifetime of trying to change time has taught her that she will inevitably always make it worse and is scared that doing anything else in the past will affect the sacrifices they’ve all had to make to defeat The Beast. Jane then asks how Q is doing and El has to tell her that he died saving him and the rest of the world. She then shares that in the very first timeline when Quentin came to Fillory he had been running from grief due to the death of his best friend. Eliot thinks its Julia but she says no it was him. The first change she made was to save Eliot to see if Q would still answer the call to save Fillory, which he did but he still died 39 times. She hoped it would be different. El aggressively states it could still be because why not 40 times and Jane argues because this time he won and if they took away Q’s sacrifice it would take away everything it bought them – his life and the lives of everyone around him. She urges him to let go of the past. As Jane goes off to get tea, El takes a whole load of time related magical items from her shelf and runs off.

He goes to the dungeon to find Margo and reveals all the stuff he took from Jane’s cottage. They spray themselves with “Permanance” a mixture that will prevent their current selves from being erased from messing with time. First up is a smoker that beekeepers use to calm down their hives. Margo gets an idea remembering that Josh wouldn’t shut up about the royal bees of Whitespire who make all the honey for the castle. All El has to do is to get the bees to deliver a message to Josh in the past and then smoke them out. He manages to activate the time bees and then Margo checks the dislodged stone to find a mobile phone. It’s Fens and she magically recharges it where they find a video of the knifemaker’s daughter posting an Instagram story that shows Josh getting stung by bees, which he’s allergic to. Well that was an utter failure. Eliot returns with a book of Fillory’s history where they read that Josh did indeed die from the stings while Fen listened to the message and sent an army to the northern marshes. Unfortunately, the people viewed it as tyrannical overreach and overthrew her anyways while the Dark King and the Takers still attacked. El and Margo have another disagreement where he thinks that they’ve tried and still nothing changed. She refuses to stop trying and discovers three special stamps that will find its intended reader where ever and whenever. She writes a letter to Josh (before he was stung by bees) and tells him what to do. El puts the note in the mailbox and it quickly vanishes, but as Margo reads the history book she learns that Josh cast a banishment spell yet the Takers came back and killed everyone at Castle Whitespire.

Margo states that they need a new plan since going after the Takers and the Dark King didn’t work and they only have two stamps left. Eliot interjects that he had an idea and tried it but it didn’t work so they really only have the one left. She’s pissed that he didn’t tell he about it and he argues that he’s not a subject, he’s her friend. She asks what he would tell Josh, go to a bar and just have a drink? El agrees that he would because Fillory is always screwed and why keep trying to fix something that’s broken. We know he’s not just talking about Fillory here but himself. Margo says that she doesn’t care because it’s her home though her bff says it hasn’t been in three hundred years. She does admit that he’s right about her going soft so she rips a page from the history book and writes a final note, that Josh can use this to find out where the Dark King attacks and keep himself safe for the rest of his life. She writes her goodbye to him and handles it over to Eliot.

Spending some time by herself again, Margo goes back to the stone to remove it hoping for another letter when the real Josh speaks from outside the jail. He says that he did exactly what she said and went to the clock dwarf with a ham sandwich and asked to get sent forward three hundred years. It wasn’t just him but Fen, Tick and a bunch of other advisors from her council. Margo can’t believe it when Josh tells her to look behind the stone and within is a key to open the cell. Outside, she shares a significant look with Eliot and tells the group that they should get out of there before they all get killed. El stays back and takes out a letter and we see it is addressed to Quentin before he enters the seam. He contemplates whether he should send it or not. So that’s where the other stamp actually got used for!

Final Thoughts

  • Will he or won’t he? I’m super torn if I want Eliot to send the letter or not. Like Jane Chatwin said, would the impact of Q’s death last season be diminished if came back?
  • Little Q was so danged adorable and just as nerdy. We’ve seen younger Alice and Julia (as their shades) and hopefully we’ll see Kady, Josh, Penny, Eliot and Margo’s in the future.
  • Loved the Doctor Who reference “timey wimey.”
  • How did Alice manage to get a grain of Q’s soul from the Underworld?
  • Will the time skip for Fen, Josh, and the other Fillorians have some impact yet to be seen? It did make it easier for the Dark King to take the throne with Fen and Josh out of the picture.


The Magicians airs on Syfy Wednesday at 10/9c.

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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