The Magicians is a show that never fails to present fans with crazy storylines. We have no time to dwell about our own suspension of disbelief, too caught up in the emotional mess we are reduced to. Episode 3×05, “A Life in the Day” is one of those episodes. We were so busy recovering from the feels that we had no time to process the enormity of the actual events.
For the joy of every Queliot fan (wait, are there people in the fandom who don’t ship them?), Quentin and Eliot spent the entirety of the episode together. They figured they had to solve a mosaic in Fillory, except they get transported to Fillory in the past. The mosaic is unsolvable, and we quickly watch days turn into weeks and weeks turn into years. We watch them flirt, make eyes at each other, and finally be together. When, on the first anniversary of their arrival in Fillory, Q kisses El, it feels only natural, and nobody makes a big deal out of the occurrence. The way this show deals with the fluidity of everyone’s sexuality is simply beautiful, every writer should take note.
Their lives go on. Years pass, Quentin falls in love with a local girl, marries her and they have a child, maybe being polyamorous with Eliot. When the girl dies, the two men raise the baby together. They become old and grey, but they never think of giving up their impossible quest, never mention going back.
“Do you ever think about them?” El asks. “Our grandchildren?” “No, our friends.” “I dream about them sometimes.”
This broke my heart. They have given up their entire lives back home, didn’t even get to say goodbye, and now they can only see their friends in their dreams. But at the same time, we get the feeling that the life they’ve made for themselves in Fillory isn’t a bad one either. They make good memories. They build a family.
Eliot passes away of old age, and Q doesn’t even have the heart to bury him, but keeps him next to him wrapped in their blanket. Soon after his death, Q finds the missing piece and solves the puzzle. As written in the Fillory books, Jane Chatwin arrives and demands the key. In a very noble, very mature act, Quentin knows he has no choice but to give it to her, or she’ll never stop her brother, the Beast. Even if Quentin and Eliot spent their entire lives working on the mosaic, he accepts that his and Eliot’s quest isn’t the priority and he gives up the key. The irony here is that he once again became a character in his favorite children’s books, the grey man who kindly gave Jane the key she was looking for. Before he too passes away, Q writes a note that he hopes will get to Margo in the future, telling her everything.
In present-day Fillory, Margo plots against the Fairy queen, but the latter always seems to be a step ahead. She promised Margo to a foreign prince. As she did the last time someone wanted a political alliance through her hand, the High Queen asserts her independence and refuses. However, after reflecting on the matter – and meeting her betrothed, a very hot prince who’s used to living in a matriarchy – she changes her mind and realizes she needs the money and army that come with this potential husband. After a couple of interactions with Prince Ess of Loria, whom we were delighted to see again, the wedding takes place. Except, the prepubescent younger brother of her almost husband kills Prince Micah so that he can get his place and marry Margo instead. Gross.
Poor Margo can’t seem to catch a break. She has to go through with the wedding. That night, as she’s going through the many presents she received, she finds Quentin’s letter. The Queen hurries to a timeless place where Jane Chatwin’s spirit still exists. They have a beautiful heart to heart conversation where Margo doubts her abilities and Jane, speaking for the entire fandom assures the High Queen that she’s not a supporting character in Quentin’s or Eliot’s story. She is the protagonist of her own adventure, and she’s kicking ass. Margo rushes to Earth and gets to Brakebills right on time before Q and Eliot enter the clock that will take them to past!Fillory, keys in hand, smirking, “You bitches looking for these?”
While all this happened, Alice thought it would be a good idea to reveal to Kady – now in rehab – that Penny isn’t quite as dead as they thought. But instead of taking the news well, Kady who blamed herself for her boyfriend’s death in the first place, is angry at him. The people at the rehab center watch her lash out at someone they can’t see, and they assume she is getting worse. Kady tries to escape, but fails.
Julia, who’s been getting cryptic but useful messages from above, is warned about Alice needing her help. She invites the other girl for drinks, and they talk about their situations. Alice confesses she still craves magic and asks Julia to give her the drop she has. As she looks in the mirror while holding the Truth Key, Julia sees herself with Reynard’s eyes. The goddess appears and tells her she planted a seed of Reynard in her, one that Julia can’t get rid of. Feeling angry and once more violated, Julia asks why. The goddess explains that spark of power is not Reynard’s anymore, it is now hers. Alice wants it and Julia is almost willing to give it up. It’s a recipe for disaster.
At the end of the episode, Eliot and Quentin are in present-day Fillory, and they are suddenly hit with a rush of memories. They remember everything about their alternative lives. “We had a family.” “How do we remember?”
My theory is that the life they had wasn’t a what-if. It wasn’t an alternate timeline. How could it be, if Jane Chatwin still got the key? How would Margo have received the letter? I think they did live those lives in Fillory. But since the theory of spacetime is complex, and past, present and future coexist, Margo could still get to them in the moment before they got into the clock, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t go.
If my theory turns out to be correct, this means that Quentin’s son and grandchildren could potentially still be in Fillory, and I am sure that will have repercussions later. Mark my words. Also, how cute would it be if the son met Eliot and Quentin’s present selves as High King and King of Fillory and shockingly whispered, “Dads?”
Episode rating: 8/10