Friday, March 31, 2017

Magicians, Season 2, Episode 10: The Girl Who Told Time

Ok I’m getting a little frustrated by the unconnected storylines that are pretty much dominating Magicians at the moment. Everyone needs to be reading off the same page at least for a little while.

So, let’s drop in on Fillory where everyone is preparing for the wedding and we begin with a lot of annoyance from Margo because Elliot is involve in something else. I like that Margo and Elliot are working together more this season but Margo being so eye-rolling that Elliot dares to be involved in something that directly doesn’t involve her has bad precedent.

Quentin also quickly abandons ship

Y’know, it’s almost stunning how little most of the cast cares about this whole kingdom falling apart thing

Elliot has recruited Josh from Brakebills as he is a magical drug dealer/chef and he needs a wedding menu. In particular he hopes to use food as a desperate way to make himself more popular since he’s polling at 25%. In a moment of not great judgement he asks Bayler, his captured Foo Fighter rebel, how to get the people on side

I mean, it’s not a terrible idea, exactly, because clearly the Foo Fighters care passionately for Fillory. But Elliot is too lazy to follow things through – or realise it takes more than Nachos to convert someone to your side. Turns out he’s using Nacho plates to communicate with his fellow Foo Fighters to raid the wedding likely with lots of murder. Thankfully, chef Josh is also a potion maker and he has made a happiness potion. And extremely powerful happiness potion. One that leaves people comatose with happiness – and he’s then willing to go undercover and happily dish out that potion to the insurgents

Happiness poison, well that’s a different tactic.

Rather than consult Baylor, he could have asked Fenn his wife? He is concerned about her – especially since he recognises she may not be thrilled by him taking a husband – but she’s quite casual about polyamorous marriage which is common in Fillory (well ok, but that’s not exactly the point? It’s not “are you unhappy I’m marrying someone else?” so much as “are you ok I’m marrying someone I’m vastly more interested in than you?”) and Fenn is happy because it makes them stronger and more secure which is perfect for her baby

And, y’know, I’d be happier with this if it were a continuation of Fenn, the ex-Foo-Fighter, the woman who was so dedicated to Fillory she was ready to marry and assassinate the king to get a Fillorian ruler, the woman who has always wanted the best for Fillory. But instead, it’s about the baby and, really, that is all just pathos ammunition for the fact the baby has been promised to the fairies

And both Margo and she are seeing these fairies, which creeps Fenn out as she thinks she’s seeing things. Until Margo tells her the truth. Fenn is very not happy and not on board with giving up her baby; Margo’s going to have to find a loop hole.

On to Julia and Qunetin. First we need a reminder for this plot line – way back when the beast was an enemy, Henry and Jane used a time reversal spell to reset the time line 49 times to try and find a way to defeat the Beast. Henry remembers each time line, and each alternate version of Quentin, Alice, Julia et al. All of which pretty much died horribly

 Julia is released by Henry because of who she is – a woman he has known through multiple time loops, he knows she’s a Knowledge Magician. Rather than connected to one school (hey remember those different schools of magic? An interesting feature which became utterly irrelevant like 2 episodes after it was introduced?), he is a bit of all of them and talented in discovering the foundations of magic and inventing new spells. And he thinks she can get her Shade back

And she wants to. Julia is actually a really interesting character here – because she REMEMBERS having a conscience. She knows what she wanted to do to Quentin is wrong. She remembers morality and clings to a “what would Quentin think?” guideline to morality. But it is a memory – she no longer feels these things and her moral judgement is compromised because of it.

It’s a great take of someone without a conscience when they did have one: it’s a recognition that they are damaged and need help. It’s not a leap into evil, it’s recognising that being unable to be empathetic is actually a flaw and a dangerous one. She recognises she is dangerous without her shade.

Quentin also thinks he can – after a drug trip (because the Magicians have a limited palette when it comes to dealing with grief) after losing Niffin Alice he sees Julia’s shade which is lost out there somewhere and quickly relays this information (damn it Elliot, how come you many many many many trips never led to useful information?) to Julia and the quest to find the shade begins.

After more drunk people they learn that Henry did once know an expert in Shades: Alice. Not this world’s Alice, but one of the Alice’s from the 39 different time loops. This Alice saw the rest of them die and became obsessed with finding their shades and helping them move on. Julia hits on a super dangerous way for Quentin to communicate with her. This works and we get to see alternate world Alice – a broken, deeply wounded and hurting woman who, nevertheless, is an expert in all things Shady

And cryptic. Of course it’s cryptic. The cryptic reveals Shades go to the Underworld and they need to find an Ancient One.

Which may be a dragon, apparently.

Nexxxxt stop – Kady and Penny. Penny has made his deal with the Library to become their perpetual servant in exchange for knowledge on how to use his hands for magic again. He also wants to help Kady stop Renard: though Kady is a bit wary of this simply because she already thinks Penny just accepted eternal slavery for her sake and that creates a level of debt which is damn uncomfortable. Especially in a burgeoning romantic relationship – that’s like a guy who brings a diamond ring to the first date.

That bill to the Library came due – he has to go collect a 10 year old Library book

Which means tracking down Harriet, the borrower. She runs a web company that produces cheesy clickbait articles – which turns out to be a whole awesome front for magical knowledge to be disseminated to the masses. This sets up a nifty new conflict involving the Library (which I do like while, at the same time, being kind of “NOOOO NOT ANOTHER STORYLINE!”) because the Library has lots and lots of knowledge but isn’t very good at sharing it

This is a point she makes to Kady who has already been frustrated by the Librarians claiming they have no books at all on killing gods. Which is dubious

Points for Harriet being a Deaf woman, communicating to Kady in sign language and her deafness not being the entire point of her character either. Also bonus to her actually being portrayed by a Deaf actress – disabled people are a minority group that hardly ever sees themselves portrayed and is even less likely to see themselves portrayed by people who actually have the disabilities being depicted which is not ok.

Penny returns the book being his usually charming self – only to find the library card has been hexed. The spell almost compels a Librarian to open a hidden door: rather than do so the Librarian kills himself, using a helpful kill switch designed for just that purpose

The Library has a restricted section – forbidden knowledge they keep away from casual browsers because it’s so very very very very dangerous and forbidden and probably contains god killing

Kady is very against this – as a Hedge Witch who has to scrape by on the edges of society

Penny understands the need of this – as a man who went to Brakebills and, if he didn’t have access to everything, certainly had more involved access. He is, not unreasonably, not liking the idea that every hedgewitch out there could have access to the magical equivalent of a nuclear weapon. While Kady, as one of those Hedgewitches, takes issue with the idea people like her need to be disenfranchised from magical knowledge for the good of all

This promises to be a meaty puzzle

Especially as Harriet has done a runner –but left clues on a god killing spell for Kady