The Magicians (S03E03) "Losses of Magic"

The Magicians is one of those shows that sometimes can be really serious, and some other times you wonder if it’s a straight up satire. Episode 3 of season 3 was in the latter category. The plot throws some things at you and you don’t know whether you’re supposed to laugh at the sheer absurdity of everything or read deeper into it. Yes, it is a fantasy show, but when they start using rape metaphors on a boat, you start questioning your sanity when you say this is your favorite show. And this is why I love The Magicians so much. But let’s start from the beginning.

Alice picks up a stray cat (I’m sure STAY AWAY FROM THIS ADORABLE KITTEN! was everyone’s reaction after last week’s episode) and shows up at her parents’ house. Her mother is extremely bitter about Alice not showing up sooner. Quentin had called to tell them Alice was alive, but it would’ve been nice of her daughter to pay a visit. Her dad is far more welcoming, and Alice tells him about the Lamprey being after her. She acts obsessive and paranoid, because she knows what the creature will do to her or her loved ones. She even thinks her mom’s weird friend Carol might be possessed by the lamprey and electrocutes her.

Then Q shows up, and, dramatic irony, we know that the Lamprey is inside him. Alice and her mother fight, and Quentin disappears. Alice barricades the house against him. In a moment of rage, to prevent her mother from taking a stupid risk – since she doesn’t really believe her daughter’s story about the Lamprey – Alice confesses the horrible thing she did to the creature: she tortured and killed its entire family. And not because she craved knowledge they could give her – no, because she liked to watch the little lights that emerged from their suffering, dying carcasses.

After some rather awkward scenes in the Quinn’s household and many misunderstandings about who the Lamprey is possessing, and many, many vain electrocutings, it turns out the Lamprey is inside Alice’s dad. And the creature does get its revenge, because his weak heart doesn’t survive the shock. When Alice finally kills the creature, she fights a smile. She may not be a Niffin anymore, but she still cruelly enjoys the glowing lights of death.

Denotable moments of this plotline were Stephanie’s moment of weakness, she cried over her dead son Charlie and even said he might be the one who got off easy. She then proceeded to assault Quentin, resulting in a very awkward situation when Alice and her dad walk in on them making out. Alice is clearly disturbed by the sight, be it because she’s disgusted by her mother or because she misses her ex boyfriend. When the waters calm down at the end of the episode, Q confesses he still cares for her, but Alice clearly still has trouble distinguishing between her human and niffin life. Conflict conflict conflict. She needs to adjust to being a mortal again before she can make any decisions about Quentin.

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On Earth, Julia finds Kady. The hedge witch is desperate because Penny’s super cancer got worse. Julia genuinely wants to help and Kady enlists her to help her summon a demon. The creepy but funny demon they summon is the most chill, less evil demon ever. He cooperates willingly, but he is too late to save Penny. During the “surgery”, Penny exits his own body because he can’t deal with the pain, and the episode ends with Penny’s conscience watching his body die. Kady cries, Julia comforts her as best as she can, and Penny very unceremoniously notes how f*cked up he is.

Meanwhile, in Fillory, Eliot doesn’t know how to make the first key work. (“We need a rabbit. I need to send a message to King Quentin ASAP.” Can we talk about this? He misses Quentin, and we miss them even more. Plus, nobody had referred to Q as King Quentin in so long! My feels.) The ship is boarded by pirates. Fray wants to guilt trick Eliot into fighting them, suggesting that he’s a coward if he doesn’t. Eliot only replies that he’s a survivor, Margo’s last words to him clear in mind. As they hide below deck in the royal cabin, a key hole appears on the wall, and the Key opens it.

Back at the castle, the fairy queen is still driving Margo insane with weird tasks that she needs to complete. Seagulls report that Eliot’s ship has been attacked, and Margo goes to the fairy queen demanding help. The High Queen convinces the fairy to get them to the pirates on time, but Margo will have to deal with the privateers. On the boat, Tick steals Margo’s eye from the fairy queen while Margo negotiates with the pirates. Eliot and Fen and Fray are gone, with only a servant remaining in the royal cabin. Margo demands to see the Pirate King and is pleasantly surprised when she is met with a woman instead. “I’m here to motherfucking parley, Miss King.” Flirting ensues, and the Pirate King even suggests that they take negotiations to the bedroom, and while Margo is clearly not against the idea, her priority is freeing Eliot.

The pirates explain they’re stuck in a weirdly complex situation. They’re victims to the wants of their sentient ship, and their ship wants to rape the Muntjac. Yes, the only thing that makes sense in all this is that none of it makes sense. Margo, ever the feminist, stands up for her sister – the Muntjac – and doesn’t want her boat to be raped by another boat. She pleads with the Muntjac and tells her she’s not going to force it (her?) to do anything. The fairy queen witnesses the scene and decides to help Margo by killing the entire pirate crew. She claims she did it because Margo acted like a true queen, but then she demands the eye back. Margo defends Tick and takes the blame for stealing her eye back. She makes the hard decision to crush her eye – meaning she will never get it back – so that the fairy can’t use it to spy on her and terrorize her anymore. Once again Margo did what she had to do to ensure Eliot’s survival. She is definitely the bravest character on the show, even though people still argue whether she’d be a Slytherin or a Gryffindor. (What do you think? Comment below!)

I noticed a pattern. Episode 3 of every season is where people usually die. Season 1: Charlie. Season 2: Alice. Season 3: Penny and Alice’s dad. Can we stop it there, please, dear writers?

Tune in Wednesday to find out what’s going to happen next, especially since Penny’s situation is somewhat really urgent.