‘The Magicians’ Review: The Secret Sea

In the penultimate episode of season four of The Magicians, The Monster likes Starbucks, Quentin yells at a plant, Margo only has eyes for Josh, and whole bunch of librarians die.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Julia is transported to a forest location where The Monster has put the poor other woman he kidnapped on an altar and the four stones are also laid out. The hedge witch prays and calls for help from Our Lady Underground who tells her that she needs to make a choice before it’s too late. It seems that the circumstances Julia finds herself in was still some kind of test, but before she can make an actual decision (because both options are pretty crappy), The Monster’s sister leaves the body of the dying woman and takes over the hedge witch’s indestructible one. The other powerful being then easily kills Our Lady Underground (or Persephone). It’s interesting to note though how scared OLU seemed of the twins, which makes sense as she’s an old god. She also expressed that Julia would not fail as long as the choice was hers. So what exactly could that have meant and what do the other gods really have planned?

In the aftermath, the sibling are walking around and the sister comments to her brother that at first she pitied him being alone, but it turns out he was with the humans and he even thought like them. He protests that all he thought about was her as soon as he remembered her. She states that all she’s really been consumed with is revenge. The Monster happily tells her that he’d killed Bacchus, Iris, and the others for her, however she’s more concerned about why they were put there in the first place and who’s really responsible for that. He answers their parents and she says they need to get to the godly realm. In order to achieve that they need a scroll that they found a long time ago that acts as a key. The Library took it from them and so now they need to get it back.

The sister is definitely the more vicious of the two. The Monster likes murder as much as anyone, but she appears to be singularly focused on getting her vengeance. Looks like life with the humans have had some positive effects on him after all and he wants to just enjoy being reunited with her for a few moments.

The Secret Sea

Meanwhile back at the apartment, Margo, Penny 23, Q, and Alice are trying to figure out their next move. The ex-high king of Fillory is pretty annoyed that the traveler is adamant about using the axes now that it’s Julia that’s been kidnapped. He was more apathetic when it was only Eliot’s body that was hijacked. However though, they have a giant problem as the Incorporate Bonds won’t work unless they have an insane amount of magic. Penny 23 and Q head to Brakebills to try and get help from Fogg, but the dean ends up being arrested by the Library for teaching the first years a prohibited spell. Don’t fret however because the man wore the right suit today and has Todd drop a book in the library drop box post haste!

With Fogg no longer being an aid to them, the gang gets an unexpected source of magic via bunnies from Fillory. Fen sent word that she found magic and needs help. Penny 23 teleports Quentin and himself over and the Fillorian guards send them down the secret passageway. It’s notable that as they go down the cavern looks like it’s made from the living stone that also currently makes up Blackspire. Within the cave, they find a small garden with flowers that seem to bloom and then die in a cyclical fashion. Fen soon comes upon the two men and she takes them further down to reveal another opening. Through that opening is the reservoir, which truly turns out to be a vast sea of magic. Unfortunately, there is some kind of curse on it because after Josh touches the water he is turned into a fish. Fen returns to New York with Josh and tells Margo what’s happened. Turns out too that the chef has become a very specific type of Fillorian fish that only lives for a few days. You have to constantly give it eye contact or else it will literally die. At first she doesn’t want to help babysit fish but Margo gives in eventually.

Quentin is doing research trying to find more information on the magical sea but all he can find as a close reference is the Secret Sea, an underground ocean that that the Chatwins sailed through with a crew of pirate rabbits. Speaking of rabbits Alice has an idea and sends one to Sheila. She tries to get the new librarian to help them by providing some much needed power, but the older woman refuses, not wanting to jeopardize her position within the Order. Sheila wishes Alice well and hopes that the other woman finds what she’s looking for.

At some point Alice and Q head to the kitchen where Margo is researching fish cures while trying to maintain constant eye contact with fish Josh. She reveals that she and Josh have been banging and that it doesn’t matter if the later gave her lycanthropy. He kinda gets her and that’s all that really matters. An exasperated Margo says that it’s not like she’s in love with Josh Hoberman when Alice interjects that it kinda sounds like she is. The former Fillorian high king is aghast because have they met her? She doesn’t do feelings! The ex-niffin also adds that she can still be a b**** if she wants to be and still care for someone. Margo then has a revelation that maybe she does love this guppy. Q notices a calling card on the fridge for a magical vet that Kady called to fix Pete when he had the blood worm problem. Margo takes the card, calls the dude up and heads out with the fishbowl to leave Alice and Quentin alone. So finally he tells her how he’s been feeling since their return from Brakebills South. Q says that he didn’t think he could ever trust her again but now he finds himself wanting too. When they first met he had been clinging on to a naïve idealistic notion of how the world and people should be. He’s realized however if he throws away all those childish ideas he can forgive people for not living up to his stupid expectations. She is tearing up at this point and asks if that includes himself. Q asks what if they try again because he wants her in his life and she responds that she wants that too. The two kiss and make up. So this is a major hurdle crossed in Alice’s apology tour!

Margo visits Gordy the hedge vet and he confirms that there is some kind of bond between fish Josh and her. He is also able to tell that both of them are werewolves and notices her fairy eye as well. The hedge witch then suggests that she pop that eye out since it doesn’t even look attached so that she can keep watch on Josh while taking care of lady business. It seems to work and Margo is back to wearing an eye patch.

Plover in the Poison Room

Inside the Poison Room, I was partially correct! Kady and Zelda find Plover who is very much alive in there. He makes a deal that he’ll tell them how he’s been surviving if they agree to take him with them if they are all able to escape. The two women reluctantly accept and he says he’s been eating the moss which seems to counteract the poison. However as the three are reading through a number of books, Zelda notices that she’s formed lesions on her forearm and Kady realizes so has she. Turns out Plover was being protected by the anti-aging spell Martin put on him years ago and it wasn’t the moss. The younger magician starts to lose her cool as it dawns on her that she’s going to die in the most ironic way like Penny when Zelda interjects not necessarily. If they get out in time the Library has a cure which really pisses Kady off because that means they chose not to save Penny 40. She tells the librarian that is on her and she doesn’t get to hide behind her precious Library as if she had no responsibility for the people whom they’ve killed. Zelda protests that it is Everett’s fault that the group has gone towards authoritarianism but Kady counters that the whole system needs to go down. Here’s a fundamental world view difference where one person believes in reformation while the other thinks the entire system is flawed and corrupt.

Inside Everett’s office in the meantime, Cyrus has told him of Zelda’s treachery in entering the Poison Room with a hedge witch. They exercise protocol of course and the women have been locked in. However, the library head magically knocks his mentee out so that they can talk privately within her mind. She confronts him and asks why he wants to become a god. He explains that she of all people should understand how futile their work has been because there will always be knowledge they do not understand. Everett claims that as their equal he can discover information from the more powerful beings. She surmises that he intends to take The Monster’s power and he says that if they are to go up against an unkillable god they need that kind of juice too. Zelda points out that isn’t that what Bacchus and others tried to do before. Her mentor dismisses that thought and scoffs that they got drunk on their own power. That wouldn’t happen to him because he had her. Oh good one, try to seem dependent on her. Everett intended to leave the Library to Zelda once he became a god so that she could fix his mistakes with the benefit of all the knowledge he would bring. She sadly states that she wishes he told her sooner but it’s fine he must follow protocol.  Her mentor explains though that she can still help him, he redirected the magic he’s collected to a reservoir but it triggered a curse that he can’t break and he’s discovered someone who can, Quentin Coldwater. I think we all know what that reservoir is. He asks her to get Q to open the body of magical water and the Library can still be hers to lead. Before he is able to say anymore Kady slaps Zelda to consciousness. Fogg had cleverly made his way to the Poison Room to rescue them. He isn’t too keen however in taking Plover with though. But the pedophile of course is up to his usual antics and bargains his way out by offering them knowledge of the reservoir which had been one of Martin’s secrets.

Once back inside the library stacks, Fogg sacrifices himself as a distraction for the others to get to the Earth fountain. He puts up a good fight but is soon apprehended.

The Secret Sea Part II

Kady, Zelda, and Plover return to the apartment where Alice is shocked to see the man she sent to the Poison Room. The writer claims that he’s the only one who can help them and after some Chinese food begins to explain that Martin called it the reservoir but he renamed in the Secret Sea. Quentin is in a weird spot after loving Fillory so much as a child and to have the books’ author there to sign his copy, yet also have the knowledge that the man did unspeakable things to Martin Chatwin. When he asks about how the Watcherwoman was planning to steal all the magic for herself but was stopped by Martin, Plover admits that most of the novel is fictitious because he had to make it marketable to children. The stories the Chatwin children told him in actuality were not appropriate for kids. After the older man basically craps on all the things he viewed as nonsense about FIllory, he finally gives some useful information that the reservoir was built by the thirteenth king to consolidate power for himself. Martin however drained all the magic because he didn’t want anyone to refill it and even put a curse in there to prevent anyone from trying to do so again. The solution to their problems is in a drowned garden within the cave that reacts to their emotions. One of the plants is the antidote but in order to make it bloom one would really need to love Fillory. Zelda interjects that Quentin really has the best chance to make the garden grow. So now we’ve got to wonder if she’s made this suggestion because she wants to help Everett or if her allegiances have changed.

Zelda tells Kady soon after that there’s a contractor that the Library uses that may help them with a cure but the younger magician says to text if she finds anything. Penny 23 then chastises her for not going to get help but he realizes that she doesn’t really want that. She would rather die because she knows there’s an afterlife and she gets to be with Penny 40. He may not know her the way his other self did but he at least understands that would be a giant waste. She retorts that most things are.

In Fillory, Plover identifies the plant and tries to give Q advice on how to make it bloom. He tells the older man to get out of there and isn’t able to summon the belief he once had. Alice gives him a pep talk though that being an adult doesn’t mean to throw away the things he used to love and truly believe in like magic and Fillory. When he asks what it means to be then she answers just to see the world through new eyes. And for what it’s worth, she tells him that the Cosy Horse is actually real and that she saw it when she was a niffin. She and Penny 23 then leave Q alone. Mr. Coldwater goes into a monologue and rails on the plants about how he was supposed to mean something in Fillory. He then says that maybe it was better when he believed that this place was fiction because it was the idea of it that saved his life. It was the promise that people like him could find an escape and there’s got to be some power in that. Shouldn’t loving the idea of Fillory be enough? And it turns out it is because the plant begins to bloom.

The Scroll

The twins have come to the Library killing people left and right. Cyrus tries to stop them with an energy ball but they are able to easily harness it and fling it right back at him. The sister then takes his keys to the Poison Room and they enter in search of the scroll. They locate it of course and continue on their merry way of mayhem. Sheila is able to evade detection and sends a rabbit to Alice in Fillory that they’ve been attacked. In Fillory, Q gives Penny 23 one of the leaves of the plant for Margo to cure Josh. The traveler’s job is to get Margo and the axes while Alice and Quentin level up with the magic water.

When Penny 23 returns to the apartment, he finds Margo had been busy baking for Josh. He hands her the leaf but doesn’t know how long it will take before it works. The ex-high king can’t believe she’s saying this but she can’t leave until Josh is cured or else he’ll die. Penny understands and promises that he’ll bring Eliot back.

Back at the Neitherlands, the Sister Monster finds Fogg in his cell and asks what he did to get locked up in there. He says that he went against every fiber in his being in an attempt to do something right and he recommends never to do that. The dean then apologizes to Julia for everything that’s ever happened to her because of him and just as he’s about to be dealt a death blow, Q’s voice is heard calling for the monster lady. Alice and Quentin are both charged up and have the axes and the bottles with them while she calls the two adorable.

Final Thoughts

  • So the siblings don’t have names, that’s pretty sad that their parents didn’t even see fit to give them any. When The Monster asks her if he had one, she asks back why would need one and he sheepishly mutters for Starbucks mostly. I suspect we’ll learn more about the backstory of the twins next season and we’ll probably see how their parents were.
  • Penny 23 has been so much like Penny 40 in his dialogue this week! It’s all that pent up frustration with Julia being kidnapped and not being able to do much about it for the time being.
  • Is Zelda really still trying to help her mentor despite everything?
  • I suspect that Everett becoming a god still won’t be enough to stop the siblings.
  • Where is the Binder this whole time?


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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