Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Magicians, Season 1, Episode 7: The Mayakovsky Circumstance

Last week our main characters all turned into geese and flew to Antarctica. Because why not?

There they study under the teacher Myaskovsky, who is basically a vodka-swilling short tempered Russian stereotype. He’s an awesome teacher and kind of fun but we can’t deny that he is a stereotype. Just because a character is awesome doesn’t mean he isn’t a stereotype

His lessons are harsh, his contempt withering and, at times (especially with Kady), creepy but he does manage to teach them several difficult lessons in harsh conditions. He also finds Alice and Quinn’s endless sexual tension immensely frustrating – speaking for the audience when he says “why don’t you two just fuck?”. And doubly so when he says:

“Why are you both determined to be so fucking bland?”

Yes. In fact, let’s repeat this:

“Why are you both determined to be so fucking bland?”

His urging, and some kind of mind control involving foxes, eventually ends up with Alice and Quinn finally having sex. While part of me is glad we can leave the will-they-won’t-they behind, part of me also wonders just how much informed consent you have when a drunken angry authority figure keeps forcing you together while naked.

While Alice and Quinn continue to try not be so fucking bland, Penny and Kady also work through their issues after the relationship rift caused by her revelations last episode. This episode she decides to explain herself by allowing the psychic Penny to read her mind so he knows all about her history with Marina and the situation her mother is in. They reconcile (and sleep together) and Penny tries to offer her a way to buy off Marina forever by stealing from Myaskovsky

It turns out to be unnecessary because he also took the opportunity to read her mind – and is surprisingly kind and gentle with her – he recognises the wrong that she’s suffered and to tell her she’s free: a bitter sweet offer since that freedom comes with the death of her mother. He’s also warning her since Brakebills knows she’s been stealing from them and will punish her harshly regardless of extenuating circumstances: he’s giving her chance to run since he doesn’t agree with that punishment. But she has to leave Penny behind – because as a traveller he needs training if his powers aren’t going to get him killed. It’s a very sad scene – and does a lot to ensure that Myaskovsky isn’t entirely a 1 dimensional stereotype.

He also works on Penny – having nothing but contempt for the idea that Penny should suppress his powers to be “safe” and continues to resist all things boring.

We stop by with Julia who has been joined by her sister who sees Julia is basically crashing and burning; her home is a mess and it doesn’t help that Julia used the excuse that she was on drugs to try and cover her behaviour. Said sister is especially worried because a) their father was both an alcoholic and mentally ill and b) their mother is high profile, values her reputation and will go to extreme lengths to suppress Julia if she thinks she is the same

This promises to be a difficult storyline with a lot of potential pitfalls.

Now, to Elliot and Margo. Sometimes I think these two are so much fun that a lighter, funnier show that just followed them would be so much more fun. This is not one of those times because of the homophobia of this episode – because, not content to just make him the sexless-yet-sex-obsessed joking token, they’ve decided to dump a whole lot of worse on him this week.

In between reminiscing about the time they may have eaten someone while on drugs and summoning a djinn (which they thought was magical gin – and you know they would) we meet Mike, a love interest for Elliot. Within minutes of meeting, Margo is absolutely outraged that her Gay Best Friend is not giving her his complete and utter undivided attention. After demanding they just have sex and get it over with (which, unlike all the straight sex, we don’t see – we don’t even get a fade to black) doesn’t make Elliot get rid of the competition for her attention so she gets angry and mentally has her new djinn banish Mike

Yes, after a few hours of him not focusing entirely on her, she wants the male competition to vanish. As an added bonus, we also get Mike being forced to erotically suck a door knob. Because this is the level of this show.

I hoped for some come back on this because Elliot doesn’t just give up Mike like a good little GBF, but then we close with a scene of Mike communing with/being possessed by an evil bug. Elliot you need to be punished for not giving all your attention to the straight woman one way or the other.

Bonus points – the guy Margot does take on holiday with her is given last minute care advice from Elliot, including “sun block and waxes” just in case there was even the slightest

I really wish this wasn’t what passed for representation so many times. It’s damn depressing.