‘The Magicians’ Review: a Heist, a Party, and a Prison Break

In this week’s episode of The Magicians, Margo makes a deal, Quentin plays a high stakes card game, Penny 23 and Kady go on a heist, and Alice and Santa make their escape.

THE MAGICIANS — “Bad News Bear” Episode 403 — Pictured: (l-r) Hale Appleman as Eliot Waugh, Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson — (Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY)

Margo Makes a Deal

After Margo gets sent back to New York by Bacchus, she encounters Marina 23 at the lobby. The hedge witch passes on some free advice to not go up to her condo because there is currently an entity that walked through all her wards as if they weren’t there. She’s going to get some food instead. Margo however wants to go help her friends and it’s a significant moment because in many ways she used to be like Marina and put herself first and foremost. Now she was willing to go into danger for people she cared about. Reluctantly, the former Brakebills student tells the other woman to get the creature to sit on her gold chair and ring a bell which will incapacitate it.

Margo heads on up and walks in, at first thinking that she was finally seeing Eliot but Q stops her and quickly explains that’s not her best friend. Creature Eliot (or The Monster) is trying to decide the order in which he’s going to kill everyone. He ends up deciding that Josh goes first while sitting on the golden chair when Margo makes a decision and tells the powerful being that she can give him Bacchus. She knows that he’s hunting gods and she can deliver one to him. The Monster is intrigued and stops killing Josh. She then says that she can provide the location, but only if he lets everyone live and he can do whatever he wants with the god. However he counters that Bacchus would only run away from him, so having just the location is no good. Margo then flips a secret compartment hidden within the gold chair and shows him a vile of ambrosia that can knock out a god. An irritated Josh comes and whispers to her that she shouldn’t keep revealing information so easily. Creature Eliot then decides that Josh should be the one to poison Bacchus because the man is friends with Bacchus and the god wouldn’t suspect that. The three of them then teleport to Fillory.

Once there, Josh tells Margo that she’s both a terrible and good friend even though she says that there isn’t any other way for them to get out of this situation. The Monster comes up to her and says that there isn’t much he can relate to in their world but he does understand what it means to be a bad and good friend. He wants her to teach him more and thinks that they are the same. Margo says that they can never be friends unless he lets her talk to Eliot to prove that the other man is still in there or that he can leave his body. But the former Blackspire prisoner won’t do that and has no intentions of leaving his current abode because they all care so much about Eliot.

Josh in the meantime heads over to the bacchanal and asks one of the maenads to let him see Bacchus. She tells him that she doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that it’s Ember who is inside the tent. But he recognizes her as Shoshana and says that they met at the Bed Stuy party. Shoshana then instantly relents and looks obviously relieved, explaining that she didn’t think he’d remember her and that it’s good he’s here because Bacchus has been in a really dark place. So he goes inside the tent, makes the god a margarita using the ambrosia instead of salt and chats up Bacchus. The two bond and the god dedicates the drink to his friend which makes Josh chicken out and he slaps the cup away. The amateur chef then claims to have peed in it and leaves. Outside Margo knows that he lost his nerve and tells him to pussy up and take one for the team because otherwise she was going to dump the ambrosia in the communal cauldron so that everyone would get poisoned. With this threat he gets the deed done and Bacchus passes out. The Monster then drags the god’s body into the woods and they have a little chat.

It gets interesting because we discover a few more details about this crazy powerful being. Firstly that he had the same parents as Bacchus and so it does make sense to ask why does Bacchus get to be a god and he doesn’t. So obviously The Monster did something really horrific to get put inside Blackspire where he ate all the other inhabitants. The other gods did in fact steal something from him so he opens up the guy’s chest and rips out what looks to be some kind of glowing organ. But to Margo’s one fairy eye it’s like staring at the sun. So now what could that be? All we know is that it’s a part of the creature that knows stuff.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Bad News Bear” Episode 403 — Pictured: (l-r) Jason Ralph as Quentin Coldwater, Arjun Gupta as Penny Adiyodi — (Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY)

Frankie and His Secret Sauce

Meanwhile, Marina 23 returns to her condo and tells Q, Kady, and Penny that there’s a bounty on their head issued by the MacAllisters. The official Library story is that it was the MacAllisters who heroically brought magic back and so they get a free pass and access to lots of magic. Everyone else that wants to do any type of significant spell work needs to place a request with the Library and they are given power coins. The most significant one is called a Dewey. Quentin offers to pay their bounty to Marina instead in exchange for her not turning them over to the MacAllisters. The hedge witch is willing but it will cost them five Dewies. After she leaves, Julia shows up having asked Dean Fogg to cast a locator spell because she still couldn’t do any magic. Once she is caught up to speed on what’s been happening, the group comes up with a plan that might work. Penny 23 knew a forger back before he went to Brakebills so hopefully Penny 40 did as well. Thankfully the two shared the same password and the traveler is able to contact his guy Frankie.

Once Frankie arrives the tone of the show changes into an Ocean 11 type heist where the gang needs to get their hands on a real Dewey that will serve as seed magic. They then need to acquire a real black card (black cards are an unlimited source of Dewey coin withdrawal) that will serve as a template. So first, Quentin and Penny 23 attend an underground push game where Q will need to beat three opponents at cards. The match is simple where each person takes a card from the deck and then the individual with the higher card wins. The art comes in knowing how to cheat accordingly. Q is able to best his first two opponents and ends up using all the ambient magic in the air to play a fair game against the house. But he has an ace up his sleeve in the form of a hidden card in his sock that he pulls out at the appropriate time to win and collect the Dewey.

Next up, Penny 23 and Kady team up to borrow the black card of an unsuspecting older female magician so that Frankie can copy it. After some quick flirting and a spell, the item is returned with their target none the wiser. However, now comes the tricky bit. We discover that Frankie’s secret sauce is luck (it’s also his discipline). People who use his forgeries get such insanely good luck that no one ever questions them. The problem is that the luck is a zero-sum game and so for this to work, someone will have to hold a horribly bad luck stuffed bear until the Dewies can be withdrawn from the Library. Julia at first volunteers but nothing happens once she holds the toy. Frankie says that whatever is causing her to be indestructible is messing with his work and she tosses the item to poor Q.

Kady and Penny 23 arrive at a branch of the Library in really bad disguises (hello blonde wig and a bad mustache). They witness Frankie’s discipline at work. First, there is an incredibly long queue inside when suddenly someone announces that there is free ice cream outside and everyone decides to get some. Next up, a Librarian checks out the black card and all seems to be in order except that she has to check a book of banned magicians. Kady’s picture is in there but then a noise distracts the other woman and the image magically jumps out of the book and into a shredder. The Librarian then fills up the paper work and sends the request over to their home office for 12 Dewies (Penny suggests they take some for themselves because they will still need to cast a strong cloaking spell to protect themselves from Irene). But talk about bad timing because meanwhile Q has been having a really bad day. He’s gotten soup spilled on him, paper cuts, suffocation via a huge snake, and suddenly gets a call from his mom (he hadn’t heard about the welfare of his dad since they turned magic back on). He momentarily puts the bear down and the luck evaporates for Kady and Penny 23 when the home office flags their request for further inspection. Who happens to be the dude inspecting? The other traveler. But luckily, Quentin grabs hold of the bear again and the douche Librarian begins to have massive issues with his contact lenses and can’t see for crap. He gives up and just approves their request. With that, they pay five Dewies to Marina (who turns how didn’t actually place trackers on them) and Frankie for his services. Kady in the meantime took some initiative of her own and transformed the bad luck bear into a fake Dewey that is now in the hedge witch’s possession. Somehow she also gets the condo. Go Kady! Looks like she was inspired by an earlier discussion with Penny 23 about doing what she thought was right.

Q waits until later that night to finally check the voice message that was left on his phone while holding the bad luck bear. He tells Julia that everything they gave up doesn’t seem worth it. She relinquished her divinity and he allowed for his dad to get sick again. Jules though says that she knew the cost of bringing back magic and she would do it again though she understands that he wouldn’t. He asks her to stick around while he listens to the message and from the little we can hear it does not sound like good news.

THE MAGICIANS — “Bad News Bear” Episode 403 — Pictured: Olivia Taylor Dudley as Alice — (Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY)

Prison Break: Alice and Santa

In the meantime, Alice has been collecting paint chips from the wall of her cell when she gets an unexpected visit from Dean Fogg. He tells her that he only has a moment and comments that the Library has the book of every person that ever lived and so now that the great blank spot is over, if her friends were to get their memories back The Order would know and they would try to find them as protection against The Monster she spoke about. After some deliberation, Alice realizes that Fogg was trying to tell her something and the time to act was now. She uses the magic neutralizing paint and stuffs it into the lock to break the ward. Then she and Santa look for their books as well as the others and then head to Zelda’s office to use her fireplace. Except that her and her friends’ books were sent to the revision room. She decides to stay behind and tells Nick to get out of there instead, she’ll figure something out. Just as she’s sneaking around in the stacks, she gets accosted by someone we don’t see. My guess, it could be the real Penny!

THE MAGICIANS — “Bad News Bear” Episode 403 — Pictured: Trevor Einhorn as Josh Hoberman — (Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY)

Final Thoughts

  • Margo really has nerves of steel to be able to talk back to The Monster, especially with the creature still inhabiting Eliot’s body and that he could kill them all with his pinky finger.
  • Kady is also handling having to work with Penny 23 fairly well considering that her Penny is still in the Underworld. When the two of them held hands because the other traveler appeared, it made me miss Penny 40! I know they did that just to be able to bounce out of there quickly if needed, but it was a reminder of what their relationship had been like.
  • Speaking of Penny 23, he seems to be a much calmer version in comparison to Penny 40 who was a lot more hot headed.
  • Who could have been the person who came up to Marina 23 after she got the fake Dewey coin that was really the bad luck bear? Also nice touch that Kady then got some free puppies right after too!
  • Poor Josh, he really got the short end of the stick this week having nearly been killed and being forced to help murder someone.
  • RIP Bacchus, you partied hard.

The Magicians airs on Syfy Wednesdays at 9/8 central.

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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