Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Magicians, Season 1, Episode 9: The Writing Room

With the death of Eliza/Jane last week  we’re reminded that Fillory is real, the books Quinn’s obsessed over are real and way back at the beginning of the series he was given the missing 6th book of the series which would really help right now. Unfortunately he’s lost it or, more accurately, Penny grabbed it and threw it away because Penny’s an arsehole and doesn’t like Quinn. Now they have to rely on Penny’s dubious memory of a hook he read but wasn’t interested in

Can we just throw in a shenanigans here? Ok I’ll accept that Penny is a bully and arsehole enough to steal Quinn’s stuff and destroy it. But reading the book first? When it’s book 6 in a series he’s never read and had no interest in? Would he really read it?

Anyway, Penny remembers that there was a magical button that would get them into Fillory whenever they wanted which should be back in the author’s, Pulover, house in England

Time for a history reminder. This author was inspired to write Fillory books and put children in hem who were his neighbours and/or his housekeeper’s kids. At one point he took in the neighbour’s kids when their parent’s dies. But these kids all disappeared under mysterious circumstances and he died of a heart attack shortly afterwards

So, they go to Elliot since he has a convenient portal to London (Elliot is following them because why not?) to investigate the house which is preserved as some kind of historical site. They take the tour then return late at night to find it spooky and haunted and apparently inclined to kill tour guides and sew up their lips.

This is where I would leave. But that’s me. They also learn that Pulover was definitely a student of magic – perhaps even Travelling like Penny.

The haunting plays lots of flashbacks of life in the Pulover household and it’s very much not a nice, happy place. We have Prudence, Pulover’s sister, who positively loathed the kids and hit them, drugged them, tied them up, tortured them and even sewed their lips shut in the name of keeping the house quiet.

And Pulover? Well all those nasty whispers about Pulover were true – he is sexually molesting the children. It’s all very brutal and graphic and awful.

This rather shakes Quentin’s view of his literary hero to say the least.

The gang do leave with the button – but Alice is devastated. The child ghosts are reliving that torment over and over again and they don’t know how to stop it. As Elliot cruelly points out, it’s not fair but life and death are not fair.

Y’know, I have a question. There’s a Beast invading the school from Fillory and it’s pretty much fallen to Quentin and the gang to try and stop it… but… why? I mean this isn’t a secret adversary. The Beast attacked and mauled the Dean and has killed at least 2 other faculty members. Doesn’t this magical society have police? Soldiers? Competent adults? Why is this falling to a bunch of students to fix?

Leaving that brutal awfulness aside we now get another kind of awfulness (yes, everything is awful) we now have Julia and her redemption storyline with her new mentor Richard. After an exchange of letters with Quinn in which both acknowledge they’ve fucked up, both apologise and both make it clear they’re still angry, Richard offers Julia a chance for redemption

This means entering the dreamscape of Kira. Kira is a very talented wizard (completely untrained though she points out that magic, as a science, can be mastered without training and how Julia shouldn’t ashamed that the establishment rejects her). She needs Julia’s help transcribing some awesome magical thing she’s discovered (spell? Theory? I’m not even sure).

Why does she need Julia? She needs Julia because she’s disabled – she is currently in a non-communicative state and needs the dream state to be able to have any contact with the outside world. Having passed on her great work and some life lessons to the straight white able bodied lady, this Black, disabled lesbian or bisexual woman (she briefly mentions a girlfriend) then asks to die because life isn’t worth living any more (there’s an ableist trope right there – and it completely ignores the dreamscape which we’ve just seen can be used to relive the best moments of your life…).

With much angst and pain, Julia complies, oh how sad for her. Leaving us with a Black, disabled LBQ woman who appeared, gave some wisdom to the straight, white able bodied lady then died.

I’d quite like to end an episode of Magicians without an angry Castiel gif.