‘The Magicians’ Review: The Dark King’s True Identity Revealed

On this week’s episode of Syfy’s The Magicians, we discover the Dark King’s origins, Plum Chatwin returns, and Alice meets The Couple.

Plum’s Back!

Having been gone for three weeks with no real idea where she went, Plum finds herself back at the Physical Kids cottage with Penny 23 present (having just smashed Quentin’s old welter’s trophy). The only thing she can remember is being inside a room with no door or windows. The senior traveler explains to Plum that she just has to picture the location in her mind’s eye and boom she can go there. Except that she has never done it alone before (nor does she want too) and she does not want to go back to that place. Penny 23 says that she won’t have too and inks the same tattoos he has on himself in order for her to take others while traveling. He then proceeds to have her practice by taking baby steps, first sending them from one side of the lab to the other. Plum is understandably still reluctant to involve her professor any further. He however counters by saying that he’s used to Chatwins messing up his life, besides even though Martin tortured him, Jane did everything she could to stop her brother including changing time. As far as he’s concerned the scales are even. The two hold hands as Plum attempts to send their physical bodies across the room. She appears to have done it except Penny 23 notices that the chalk circle he just drew is missing and as they rush outside to the hallway, they come across a student who tells that they are going to read the Starr Report. They then notice a banner indicating the 181st Annual Welter’s Games, October 1998. Looks like this Chatwin can travel through time and space.

The two go to Fogg (who still has hair!) wearing ski masks in an attempt to conceal their identities. The professor though says that he’ll still be able to recognize their voices in the future so they should have tried something else. Plum asks the elder magician what he knows about time travelers and he promptly answers that they’re a myth. However, he may be able to help them through a time bridge. Fogg removes the temporal compass from the small device and hands to Plum, explaining that it should point the way back to 2020. She gives it a go but instead they go even further back in time to 1921. To complicate matters further, back at this period Brakebills was an entirely white student and faculty population and so the two travelers aren’t allowed in the library to try and figure out what went wrong with the compass. But an overheard conversation gives Penny 23 an idea on who might be able to help them. Hyman Cooper! They confront the other traveler where Penny reveals that they know he’s the pervert ghost and either he helps them or they’ll reveal his secret to everyone.

Hyman gets them access into the library by telling a professor that the duo were helping him translate text that he needs for a paper on magic from the West Indies. They don’t find anything useful but Hyman does overhear Penny 23 talk about time bridges and he takes them to the lab where the exact device that Fogg had is currently being built. Plum then realizes that the book she was holding on to was printed in 1998 and that the compass took them back to 1921 the day it was created. It’s Hyman again who clues them that the objects are totems, as remedial traveler students sometimes have trouble picturing exactly where they need to go. Penny 23 explains that they need something from their time period in order to get home.

But time travel is always tricky and inevitably something happens that screws up the timeline. In this instance Hyman ends up getting expelled because someone probably heard his conversation with the duo. Penny 23 then has to explain to his student that Hyman needs to get stuck on the astral plane to be able to help him in the future in order to save magic. He comes up with a plan though and convinces Hyman to project himself to the women’s locker room one more time while they leave his body on the couch of the Physical Kids cottage. Plum has other ideas and has taken a time stasis charm that she wants to leave with Hyman’s body in order to help him out. Penny 23 is initially against it but then comes around after a lecture from her and it dawns on him how they can get them back to 2020. They hide the limp body inside a storage compartment with the time charm and he gives her the small welter’s plaque from the trophy he broke when she herself arrived back at the cottage. Having damaged it created a new action and so it would theoretically take them back on the very day they needed.

The two do make it back to 2020 when they are suddenly pulled by the mysterious signal into the room with no door or windows. Plum is unable to travel them out of it. Uh oh!

Alice and The Couple

Back at the apartment, Alice confides in Kady that she’s being harassed by The Couple because of Quentin’s page that turned out to be an instruction manual for something called the world seed. This seed apparently can grow into an entire world and The Couple has been looking for it for a very long time. The leader of the hedges knows a guy though and contacts him for information. Luckily the dude wants to meet but unexpectedly at the Library in the Neitherlands. The two women are able to get there thanks to Alice’s key and soon encounter Zelda who points them out to George (Kady’s contact). The phosphoromancer asks the elder woman what’s going on there as it looks like hedges and librarians are working together to repair and rebuild this branch. Zelda confirms it after explaining that she was helping Kady and Harriet remove Reed’s Mark from those who received it and those individuals were looking for something to do afterwards. George and Kady join the other two women in Zelda’s office and he says that he knows a guy who knows The Couple but will need a day to track them down. In the meantime, the librarian asks for their help in saving magic while they wait.

The two women try to problem solve in a different room where Alice says that they can’t fix magic because they did some stuff to the moon who is now royally pissed and she’s screwing with circumstances as a result. Kady finds a passage saying that they can regain the celestial body’s favor via a virgin sacrifice, which they can’t do. While contemplating, the power seems to temporarily go off with Alice getting peanut butter in her turkey sandwich. She attributes it to hedges learning new spells that Zelda noted in an earlier conversation. The ex-niffin does end up having a crazy idea though of firing the moon and replacing it with a completely new one. If there’s a spell to create a new one, it’d be in one of these books from the Poison Room. Kady comes across another book in their research talking about a seed that can grow into anything, maybe even a moon. Alice takes a look and realizes that it’s the same book that Q’s page was ripped out off. The phosphoromancer begins to question if this isn’t some kind of trap because it all feels too easy. The other woman argues that maybe they’re just catching a break after having circumstances being so crappy for them all the time.

Alice goes to Zelda and fills her in on the situation. The librarian offers to collect the page for her by sending some underlings with security but the ex-niffin realizes that something isn’t right. She confronts the other woman and asks where she really is because there’s no way that the Neitherlands should be affected by lunar glitches happening on Earth. The elder magician freezes and George pops up behind her, revealing that this is a psychic spell and they are still very much on Earth. They’ve also been doing this loop 18 times and she keeps figuring it out. Alice asks who he is and he’s like duh you’ve been asking about me. So George is The Couple and is really annoyed that she won’t just give up the paper. He takes them back to the real world and puts up an ultimatum that she needs to provide him the page or he’ll kill Kady. To make her believe that this is real, he begins cutting off her fingers one by one so that she can feel the pain. Still got to hand it to her as she only relents after his threat that the hedge witch leader is next. Kady herself regains consciousness and thanks Alice silently.

Eliot and Julia are Locked Up

In Fillory, Eliot and Julia are locked up in one of the cells beneath Whitespire. She reveals that she’s pregnant and because it’s Red Monkey month everything progresses a lot faster. As they joke about baby showers the mood is interrupted by the appearance of Seb. Jules asks if he’s going to execute them to which the Dark King responds that he can’t because he needs their help. The two magicians are given scrolls to look at and Julia determines that it’s some kind of communication spell that will take the three of them to perform. Eliot asks what’s the point because they’ll be killed after they help but she counters that Seb at least won’t kill him. The Dark King sounds way too hurt when he talks to El meaning that he cares about the other man. She then promises that they’ll figure something out but for now they need to determine what this spell is. He ends up recognizing a sigil that looks to be similar to sending a message across a lake when Julia realizes what this is, it’s a casting for a séance. They wonder why it requires a cooperative spell when the hedge witch muses that it the Dark King must be trying to contact someone who died a long time ago. Eliot suspects it’s likely Seb’s deceased love.

Plover is Still Alive

Fen and Margo make it back to the apartment from Fillory with Eliot and Julia having been taken by the Centurion guards and the Dark King. Margo (who left her fairy eye with Josh to watch over him), notices dirty tracks on the floor and find a very scraggly Christopher Plover inside one of the downstairs rooms. He isn’t very coherent though and Fen determines that he may be trying to tell them something about Fillory and the Dark King. She also adds that there’s an insect on the edge of a Fillorian river called a Tongue Twister that supposedly crawls into one’s skull and causes word confusion. Margo contacts Gordy the magical vet who confirms that Plover is indeed infested with insects. He does reveal that this is a possession which allows the ex-high king to grab her handy axes to forcibly remove the critters from the writer.

Once he is stable and able to talk again, Margo demands that he tell them about the Dark King and how to kill him. Plover explains that he was curious about this new ruler only having heard the same stories that they did that he appeared after the Takers arrived and only he could vanquish them. He was shocked to discover though that he actually recognized the man, but to adequately explain the monarch’s origins they would need to look back at a time before Martin Chatwin became The Beast. Long before discovering the Wellspring, Martin had another plan that would make certain he would never be sent back to Earth. He was going to use a conduit spell that would tie himself to Fillory. Margo interrupts that they took care of that by chopping the tree that the Dark King was tied too, but the writer further expands that the all the roots of Fillory are intertwined and that the trees are also tied to the land. So anyone who bound themselves to the world could only be killed by destroying said world. The currently one-eyed magician asks if Martin screwed up but apparently he was thwarted by his own brother, Rupert Sebastian Chatwin! So there we have it, the Chatwin family tradition of going by middle names continue and the Dark King’s true identity is revealed. Rupert knew what his brother could become and so sacrificed himself by tying his life to the conduit instead. After discovering what happened, Martin cursed his brother to eternal sleep with the people of Fillory believing the elder magician dead. In an unexpected twist, the magical surges actually woke Rupert up. Plover’s tale does confirm that Rupert’s goal was to reunite with his long lost love who died while he was unconscious.

Meanwhile in Fillory, Rupert, Julia, and Eliot perform the séance and Lance (whom Julia and Q met as a ghost awhile back) enters El’s body. The Dark King tells Lance that he finally knows what to do and they’ll be together soon. He insists that the other man wait by the door. Later, Julia confronts Rupert telling him that she lost someone too and but it wasn’t an excuse to hurt people just to get them back. He counters that maybe she didn’t love as much as she thinks she did because clearly she doesn’t get it.

Back at the apartment, Plover concludes his story by saying that Rupert recognized him and had been the one to curse him with the insects. He was planning on staying on Earth now that the Dark King ruled Fillory and he would resume writing. In a brilliant move, Margo releases the bugs from the jar and they re-enter Plover’s body.

Final Thoughts

  • Stella Maeve was pregnant in real life while filming season 5 of The Magicians!
  • Eliot has a bad track record of being possessed.
  • Penny 23 seems to imply that Plum was descended from Jane Chatwin I think, though if that is the case would that mean that Jane had a child/children while she was trying to stop Martin?
  • Looking forward to learning the backstory of The Couple, why does he want the blueprint for the seed? What does he intended to do with it?
  • Can Rupert only truly be killed by destroying Fillory? Since he’s also intending for Lance to be resurrected in some fashion, would the gods allow that?
  • It was announced this week that this is the final season of The Magicians and my reaction continues to by noooooooooooooo!! While all good things must come to an end, it does make these final episodes even more special.


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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