Friday, March 17, 2017

The Magicians, Season 2, Episode 15: Word As Bond

Last week we heard there were terribad dire consequences to Julia’s exorcism/abortion. It turns out this means her Shade has been removed

Catch up time: Shade basically stands in for conscience/humanity/goodness/maybe soul. It’s what the Beast had removed so he stopped feeling the pain and fear and trauma of being a rape victim and instead became a rather merry sadistic sociopath. Like a serial killer with show tunes

And now Julia is the same. So this show has now had both the victims of rape become actual monsters. With bonus points to it being a rape victim’s abortion that caused her to become a soulless monster. Because this is Magicians and they’re made of awful and fail.

So Julia is running around being super chipper and newly motivated to take down Renard including researching lots of god killing spells (with a nice nod to the horrors of ancient mythology with Zeus et al running around raping and abusing humans and Magicians desperately trying to stop them). Before they have a spell they need a power source – which means they need Dana’s son since he’s the demi-god who Dana used to banish Renard in the first place

This means lots of research drawing on everyone to the group – Kady, Penny, Quentin all doing research and chasing down false leads to see where Dana hid him. It’s hard because Dana has done an excellent job of covering all of her steps. She’s not making it easy

Along the way Julia ends up in Fillory because removing her Shade also seems to have removed her self-preservation instinct and she’s happily running out of Brakebills thinking Renard will have lost interest in her. Not so much – he wants to know where Dana’s child is as well: she only escapes because Quentin is stalking her and manages to teleport her to Fillory. She’s all stompy about not wanting him to save her – a message which would have more power if she so blatantly hadn’t needed saving.

In Fillory they meet up with Margot where absolutely everything is going wrong. Elliot is in a coma until they can transfer his spirit back from the deal Golam which is difficult with the magic blinking out. War is brewing thanks to Margot’s tantrum

And Margot herself seems to be growing more human – showing compassion for Quentin being worried about Julia (contrast that for her complete lack of compassion for Elliot’s mourning) and being willing to listen to Julia’s advice – she brings her knowledge of the books

Their most pressing problem is the enemy army marching through the living forest. This is a forest of dryads and sentient trees who most certainly do not like Fillory. Since burning the forest down will apparently cause much drama since the sentient trees are an endangered species and everyone would rather they didn’t die

So it’s time for diplomacy at Julia’s suggestion. The downside is that hot-tree-guy is also a misogynist like a lot of Fillorian society which Margot is rapidly growing sick of. They view speaking to the high queen and another female ambassador to be an insult since the High king isn’t there. They refuse to negotiate.

Which leaves Julia to pursue her own agenda – a spell to make her invisible from gods so she can be safe from Renard. And she gives the dryads a gift. A big bomb

The forest is no longer a problem.

Of course Fillory is on the edge of outrage and civil war with furious trees everywhere protesting this leaving the very rapidly maturing Margot has to deal with it. Julia presents her with an answer –blame her, then shade-less monster and have her banished from Fillory. Margot instead throws her in the dungeons before heading off for some epic damage control

She goes back to the still out Elliot to reassure Fen and generally have an epic speech on how she’s High Queen and she’s going to make everything awesome again. Which is when Elliot wakes up. And while I’m not happy with coma Elliot, I was kind of ready and hoping for Margot to step forward and make thigswork

On the one hand I’m kind of impressed with how Margot is stepping up and really owning the Monarchy – kind of how she was when she first became queen before thoroughly derailing. But it’s, at best, a mixed message to have Margot stepping up to face the chaos she herself caused.

Over to Quentin who is still dealing with the Nifflin occupying his back. He makes his deal giving her an hour a day and she keeps negotiating for more time by offering Alice’s knowledge and skill which are so very tempting. He also has to spend time tracking down what she actually is doing just this hour – because it seems to be reading and research

Quentin gets his hopes up because it seems she’s researching ways to cure Niffin-ness; he sees this as a sign Alice is trying to come back to him

But the more he follows it, we run into a man she has been looking for. An ancient monk – and a niffin. A niffin the magicians could never box, who could never be contained or captured. She’s desperate for this knowledge but Niffin guy isn’t exactly sharing here and doesn’t see what she could possibly offer him. In the end he gives her a challenge –he will teach her, if she can get free of Quentin

Which may happen anyway because holding a niffin may not be good for him judging by his nosebleeds. But that might kill her at the same time.

For added complications, mind reading Penny has rumpled Quentin’s secret

Over to Penny and Kady. They’re rumbling on the edge of a relationship hampered, mainly, by Kady’s own high levels of self-hatred and not feeling worthy of Penny. She tries to drive him off, not wanting to be his project or someone to rescue while he pushes back. I’m torn on his - on the one hand I think if she wants to push him away she has a right to do so and place those boundaries. On another, she’s pushing him away on the understanding he’s better/doesn’t want her/she isn’t worth his time when these are clearly things he sets, not her. So we’re in a complex area which I don’t trust Magicians to do well

Penny has also found another option to get his magic back: make a deal with the Librarians who are super important and powerful and easily as much as May. The problem is the price for this is basically eternal servitude – which is going to be a hot mess. Hi justification (beyond wanting to help Kady which is just going to add to her guilt) is that he expected to die anyway as a traveller: he feels able to spend the rest of his life casually because he never expected to have it at all. I can see it, I can’t agree with it but I can see the thought process. It’s still going to be a hot mess.