Friday, April 21, 2017

The Magicians, Season 2, Episode 13: We Have Little Cakes

It’s the last episode and time to bring everything together and without anything from Les Mis’s sound track.

And we open with an actual kind of awesome summary by Ember – but all from his chaos loving perspective. And it’s kind of perfect. We see how this is all from his perspective, how he has manipulated things from behind the scene from the very beginning to increase the chaos and increase his amusement – all with nice little story elements like commenting on themes and twists. I think it’s that, in particular, that sells the whole sense of Ember’s boredom: because these people are literally just story tropes to him.

Margot and Josh have found Fenn in fairy land, but she doesn’t want to abandon her baby. Instead they get an interview with the Queen who has a different agenda. She has the means to lure Ember (a plant to bake into little cakes, because Magicians of course you’re going to summon deity with weed brownies) and wants them to use it because if the wellspring goes down that’s pretty much bad for everyone

She still demands Margo give up an eye to leave her realm. Which is when she and Elliot have their very powerful, and painful reunion. Margo is still owning what she did, while Elliot equally acknowledges she was in a near impossible situation and he’s screwed up just as much (something he also acknowledges to Quentin). They both also recognise the tension between themselves – that the usual banter and snark isn’t really going to cut it this time. Not that they can’t work together but they know it’s going to take time which may be the most mature thing they’ve ever said. There’s also a poignant point in how he is scared – scared of what she is capable of. Which is understandable, no-one on this show, not one person, is as terrifying as Margo and her ruthlessness

Elliot also recruits Julia (and her invisible-to-gods amulet) who is, naturally, completely creased in pain now she has her Shade back. All her suffering and trauma returns and Elliot hopes some scheming will help her. And he needs her because, as he put it, he’s never met anyone less willing to take No for an answer (y’know sounds good and all – but no, Margo. Margo has no subtlety or diplomacy and attacks everything with axes but she is the one least willing to take any kind of no)

Elliot (and aside – Magicians you manage to finally make Elliot a High King worth a damn. And he gets to kiss king Idri – who then vanishes off to Loria. Damn it Magicians you introduce a male love interest for Elliot, and then he spends most of the time as a rat before vanishing after one kiss!) also grabs Quentin from stalking, imprisoning and moping after Alice – making that excellent point that something are just broken and now he needs him to step up and try and recruit Umber to the cause

Stop in on Penny – the Poison Room has now caused hyper-magic cancer and only weeks to live because it’s this kind of jolly this show. He refuses to stay in his hospital bed and is determined to briefly check in with Kady (who lets us all know how thoroughly pissed off she is about the whole Julia/Renard situation before being completely sidelined). He manages to tell Elliot that all his plans are going to fail because of the 20 blank-pages in his biography (he read Elliot’s book) and they need to completely change it. A spell to scare Ember into not apocalypsing is not going to work. Time for Plan B. Having delivered that news, Penny is dragged off back to the Library because he still technically works for them and the plot line has no use for him. It’s actively painful to see Penny be as utterly sidelined as he has been this season – he’s had a completely separate plot line entirely revolving around a random encounter – his cursed hands – which has never really gone anywhere or developed anything. He’s been used as a pin to keep the Librarians in place and sort of relevant and maybe introduce Harriet (who shows up again as Kady – equally sidelined – tries to find a way to save Penny)

And that’s it for them – Kady, Penny are pretty much written off the rest of the episode.

So duly warned Elliot and Margo go for what they usually do:
“Act out with a total lack of empathy and impulse control”. In addition to being ruthless, Margo is brutally honest in assessing herself.

So they throw an orgy to entice Ember (even if, as Elliot puts it, it’s an exceptionally boing one), serving little Cakes and eventually summoning the goat god of chaos. Which is when Margo and Elliot desperately appeal to his sense of fun and promise to be amusing reality TV stars (Ember is actually pleased Elliot defeated the banishment – because it was unexpected. A twist. A surprise).

Over to Quentin and Umber and Umber, god of order, continues to refuse to consider Fillory. He’s written it off and instead demands Quentin come visit his new cube world. Quentin doesn’t get to say no – because Umber is a god after all

The world is a place of perfect order…. And we nicely see how painting Ember as the antagonist isn’t exactly entirely fair. Because Umber’s world is boring. Everything is rigid, uniform, dull, bland and screaming for some desperate chaos. Umber and Ember’s worlds can only work if they work together. Quentin tries to talk round it and Umber starts to have a tantrum – which is scary from a god

As is Ember’s in Fillory because Elliot hasn’t convinced him – and he’s bringing about the apocalypse

In comes Julia with her god-hiding amulet. She has brought Umber’s little pocket world (While invisible to Umber) to Fillory and as Ember starts shaking things up, he shakes Umber’s new world as well. Revealing Umber.

Family reunion!

And not a happy one

Ember was convinced that the Beast had killed Umber (Umber had faked his own death) and now sees his dear brother had just utterly ambandonned him. Losing it big time, Ember murders his orderly brother

And Julia absorbs Ember’s essence into a sword. Hey, remember how demigod John’s essence is powerful enough to kill god Renard? Well that sword just became a god killing sword.

Ember can fend Julia off (Who is really not impressed with gods. She’s faced gods before) – but doesn’t keep his eye on Quentin or the invisible-to-gods-amulet. He stabs Ember

Ember also dies – both gods are dead. This looks like victory! Time for lots of good news epilogues, right?

Fillory is now officially a “Land of godless heathens”. After which they’re going to create a constitution. Because it’s Elliot and Margot, they’re just going to take a few existing ones and “rip off the best parts”.

Quentin returns to Alice and convinces her that life as a human is actually pretty awesome because of bacon and sex.

He’s not wrong.

And both are worth getting a bit greasy, a bit messy and a bit disgusting.


He’s really not wrong

But TWIST! While lying under the patented Hollywood L-Shaped Sheet he boasts a little to Alice about the whole god murder thing. To which she declares – oh shit.

Because killing baby gods pisses off daddy gods. And Big parental gods don’t really give a shit about humanity unless they’re annoying (like killing baby gods) at which point they cut that away straight off

Which means shutting off magic. All magic. The divine “plumber” (yeah, I don’t get it) shuts down all magic, everywhere. Brakebills, the Library, Fillory, everywhere. The Librarians cower. Margo reacts by kyboshing democracy and demanding full-on Caligula on the populace – while the fairies decide to invade en mass. Brakebills is reduced to teaching magical theory in the hope that, one day, magic will return. And Niffin Joseph drops in to tell human Alice that the enemies she made as a NIffin are hunting her down now she’s all fragile and vulnerable

It’s all very bleak – with one bright spark

Julia still has magic.

Well, that was an ending with lots of plot hooks for the next season

And... argh... plot and world wise? I want season 3. I do, really.

I don't want Quentin though, he annoys me

I want Alice, Penny, Julia and Kady to actually be front and centre since all of them are infinitely more interesting

I want Elliot not to be dogged by the endless litany of homophobic tropes that have stained his character since this show began

I want Margo to be a strong, capable and, yes, scary character without her being so incompetent I'm getting friction burns from rolling my eyes

I want Fenn to have more than occasional moments of toughness and step up as Queen

I want Alice and Julia to take turns kicking Quentin in sensitive places

I want Julia not to spend the entire season suffering. Endlessly, awfully, suffering.

Basically? I want to someone to sit behind the writers with a big smacky-stick and beat them soundly for every single scrap of character development from this season.