Home Culture Books ‘The Magicians’ Review: The Quickening Cometh

‘The Magicians’ Review: The Quickening Cometh

THE MAGICIANS -- "Marry .... Kill" Episode 404 -- Pictured: Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson -- (Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY)

In this week’s episode of Syfy’s The Magicians, Julia gains a new follower, Quentin destroys some model airplanes, Josh experiences the Quickening, and Alice forms an unlikely alliance.

THE MAGICIANS — “Marry …. Kill” Episode 404 — Pictured: Trevor Einhorn as Josh Hoberman — (Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY)

The Return of Josh’s Lycanthropy

We learned of Josh’s sexually transmitted lycanthropy a few seasons ago and it has returned to wreak havoc at the worst possible time. After returning to Earth from Fillory and the death of Bacchus, Josh is making muffins at the apartment as a means of coping with post-traumatic stress and offering his condolences to Quentin whose own father had passed away. The Monster is the living room trying to figure out what the thing is that he ripped out of the other god and Margo comes in trying to trick the being into switching bodies with something else. Creature Eliot doesn’t bite though and teleports himself away. Later on Josh offers Margo a muffin and says that he’s sorry about El. Suddenly he starts to fixate on Margo’ lips, gets a massive nose bleed, and then transforms into a werewolf. He attacks her and then wakes up to discover it was thankfully only a dream. Except he realizes that there’s a literal bloody mess next to him and he barfs.

The next morning Josh is panicked trying to clean the dead animal in his room when Penny 23 comes in with a suspicious look on his face. The traveler tricks Josh into allowing him to look in the trash bag containing the small bloody carcass. Penny 23 then asks if this is the Quickening and Josh confesses he doesn’t know. The only thing the other timeline Penny is sure of is that the other magician needs to stay away from Julia and perfect timing as she pops in asking if they’ve seen any books laying around. The ex-goddess needs to find something that can help her figure what to do when a god needs some medical troubleshooting advice. Penny 23 quickly volunteers to help her, but then Josh suggests talking to the maenads who acted like priestesses and nurses of the gods. He thinks they would still be in Fillory and so the traveler says that he can take her there.

Josh heads to Brakebills to confront a crypto-zoologist professor that he contracted lycanthropy from. She explains that in the 48 hours leading up to the Quickening all lycanthropes develop urges that begin with nightmares or waking dreams. Their condition is technically a curse that is driving them to have sex with an uninfected person or kill them. He asks Helen why he can’t just lock himself up until the Quickening passes, but she says that won’t stop the urges and he’ll end up just ripping his own guts out. This is all set up to ensure the curse continues. Talk about a crazy magical STD.

He ends up revealing his problem to Margo and she actually tries to help. She does it on her terms though and asks him again if he’s going to nutsack out on her because doing that won’t fix the problem. They begin by performing a ton of research and the high king of Fillory finds an Indonesian ritual that’s supposed to stop supernatural transformation. However, Josh gets an Uber alert surcharge notification and he realizes that as Isaac, he had slept with a woman whom he probably passed on the curse to. Being the nice guy that he is, he goes to find her to see if she has it and if he can help. Well, as luck would have it the woman does have it and she mutilated someone in her bedroom. Yikes. When he gets back to the apartment, Margo managed to translate the spell and they only need to get one exotic ingredient, a Komodo dragon. Rumor has that Kanye keeps one in his New York condo so off they go. But before that though Josh hands her a pistol with silver bullets, in case he wolfs out and she needs to stop him. Margo takes the gun but is adamant that it’s not going to come to that. Awwww.

After sacrificing Kanye’s lizard, they drive out to the woods to perform the ritual ending with Josh screaming and eating the raw heart of the animal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work and while in the car he begins to wolf out. He makes her stop the car and he runs away into the forest. Eventually Josh returns seeming more like himself and when Margo asks why she should let him back inside, he explains that he kind of made a tree into a werewolf. It’s only a temporary solution though until they can get to Brakebills. Once they get there he locks himself into a cage because it’s the only solution left that he can think off. He doesn’t want to pass the curse on to someone else or kill anyone, so he’s choosing to just end his own life is it comes down to it because that’s the only thing he can live with. Margo then does something really unexpected and locks herself inside the cage with him, throwing out the key. They end up sleeping together with her as a consenting participant. In the aftermath she says that she just couldn’t stand lose another friend and besides it was unlikely that she was going to live for another 30 years anyways to experience her own Quickening. He also asks her if this is just a casual thing to which Margo responds that she saved his life. It seems like she needed this as much as he did because she was able to make a difference in this situation, where she wasn’t able to with Eliot.

Alice Makes an Unexpected Alliance

Back at the Neitherlands branch of the Library, we discover who came up behind Alice last week and it is none other than Christopher Plover. Author and child predator who was directly responsible for Martin Chatwin becoming The Beast. Looks like he’s been hiding out in some dark corner for awhile now and he seeks her out to make a deal. He’ll help her with her problem if she helps with his. Plover needs her assistance to find a world that he can go to in order to live in peace and where he can’t do any harm. To do that he needs her to cast a spell on a world book. She’s still repulsed by him, but he asks her if she’s unintentionally ever hurt anyone she loved. While Alice admits that she’s done things that she regrets, she also says that she doesn’t think she deserves happiness. He tells her not to be so hard on herself.

Plover shows her the Revision Room while they are hidden in the shadows of some bookshelves overlooking the area. He tells her that if the Library discovered that their books were missing, she and her friends would be hunted down. The trick is to use a writing spell that would construct a fake but air tight storyline. They would need to steal the manuscripts, cast the spell, and then return them before the pages are bound into actual books. Alice assumes that he’ll only show her how to execute that if she aids him with the world book. Reluctantly she agrees and uses her talent to bend light into to become invisible to grab her groups’ pages.

Back at Plover’s hideout, Alice reads through the final pages of Quentin’s book and realizes that he is going to die next week.

Julia Gains a Follower

In Fillory, Julia and Penny 23 are walking through the encampment where the bacchanal was being held to find Shoshanna about to end to her life. They are able to talk her out of it by saying that they need her help. Julia explains that she used to be a goddess, gave up her powers and now she can’t do any magic yet still is indestructible. They drink some peach schnapps to honor Bacchus and Shoshanna then performs a strange ritual of sorts trying to read the other woman’s aura. Unfortunately, the results are inconclusive but the maenad suggests another method that might help. However, it needs to be performed by someone who believes in Julia. Penny 23 volunteers for this very intimate diagnostic where he applies oil to her body and then washes her feet. They are an interesting pairing though where Penny 40 and Kady were a very passionate and fiery match, this Penny seems less volatile to match a calmer Julia as well. The duo though return to Shoshana after and provide the water used to bathe the ex-deity’s feet in. As the maenad begins to read the liquid, she says that the ability to do magic and having power are not the same thing. Suddenly a flame erupts and a small rainbow light appears, prompting Shoshana to admit that Julia wasn’t kidding earlier when the other woman claimed she used to be a goddess. When Penny 23 asks if she’s all good now and won’t kill herself, the ex-priestess says she can’t because she has a new deity to follow. Shoshana then kneels before Julia and takes her hand to officially pledge herself.

THE MAGICIANS — “Marry …. Kill” Episode 404 — Pictured: Jason Ralph as Quentin Coldwater — (Photo by: Dean Buscher/SYFY)

Quentin Returns Home

Poor Q, his mom had left him a voice message that his dad passed away and to make matters worse he had missed the funeral. We discover that he doesn’t have the greatest relationship with his mom either as she still perceives him as a kid who destroys things. Julia offers to accompany him and to explain that it wasn’t his fault for missing the ceremony. But he declines and ends up returning home by himself. There he is tasked to clean up his father’s model airplane room, which is filled with dozens of small crafts. His mom asks what was wrong with his dad because there was no one at the funeral, where were his friends? She then tells him not to break anything before leaving him to it.

As he works on packing up the many planes, The Monster comes to visit and strangely enough helps Q cope with the death of his father. Creature Eliot gives in to Quentin’s request to let him finish cleaning up and promises to sit still and watch while the other man thinks of his dead father. He seems dubious that he would learning anything from this game however. Sure enough The Monster is bored again and asks Q why his mom telling him to do this matters so much if how she views him would never change. The magician answers that because sometimes he thinks she’s right and nonchalantly the powerful being suggests that he should own that and break all the planes on purpose. It becomes a cathartic exercise as Creature Eliot helps Q release the pain of his dad’s death by destroying the fragile objects that for the moment, symbolized how he viewed himself. In the aftermath, The Monster comes to understand that dealing with death makes people feel better and so he tells Q that he needs the other man’s help to find more gods and thus reveals that Eliot is dead. What the damn hell.

The two are at a diner some time later where Creature Eliot says that it happened fast and he promises that the former high king of Fillory did not suffer. As The Monster tries to convince himself that Quentin will come around, the camera zooms into his eye and into his mind, where we see the real Eliot is actually still alive! He’s dressed in his dapper self, looking around at what seems to be an empty and stylized Brakebills campus.

THE MAGICIANS — “Marry …. Kill” Episode 404 — Pictured: Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson — (Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY)

Final Thoughts

  • Wonder what exactly the marks on Christopher Plover’s forehead mean or do/did?
  • Margo has saved Josh’s life twice now. First by preventing The Monster from killing him and now from his Lycanthropy.
  • Is The Monster’s child-like state a result of having the gods remove parts of him that had higher cognitive functions perhaps? Like as a way to stunt his power by keeping him unable to fully grasp and understand the world around him?
  • I’m digging Shoshana’s IDGAF personality.
  • So is Josh Margo’s boy toy now?

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

1 Comment

  1. The marks on Plover are from season 1 – anti-aging magic that the beast put on so he could torture Plover forever.

    Margo and Josh have established a bit of chemistry from season 2. In an episode:

    Margo: Just putting this out there – would it be weird if I fucked Josh?
    Eliot: I sure hope it would be weird.

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