Last season in between the train wrecks of rape, misogyny, homophobia and general dear-gods-whyyyyy that so characterises Magicians we left with a number of cliffhangers
The Olde Gods, parents of lesser gods like Ember and Umber are Not Amused by their kids being murdered decided to strip the world of magic. This made Brakebills much safer, much more boring and much less useful (unless there’s a career in theoretical magic studies?). Except Julia may have some sparks. I can think of several theories why this is. Some of them involve me hitting things with axes
Also Alice, after her little sojourn as a nifilin may have made enemies. And Fillory is full of elves being all graceful and creepy and indolent. And Penny works for the Library. He may be dying but I’m not even sure if he was
And we open with Quentin and Julia discussing why she has random specks of magic she can’t control or harness; suspecting they were either left by the Goddess Persephone when she restored Julia’s shade after her son raped Julia. Or because Renard raped her. This would be the axe moment - let us have a season where Julia’s power and ability does not come from her rape.
Julia is losing hope and despairing but Quentin is determined to do something - and be Julia’s sidekick (adding to the growing theme that whether he’s the protagonist or not, Quentin ain’t that special). Quentin even wants to get in touch with the old gods to find out more about magic
Julia, with her greater and more horrific experience of gods, is duly suspicious of this. Not least of which because they have no real idea how to do this - though they get help from a random source, Josh, the side character
Josh connects them with a god - Bacchus -who tends to show up at parties and then turn them to the extreme (honestly I am disappointed Magicians because this party is REALLY tame for something Bacchus is involved in). Josh gets in - but Quentin and Julia have to prove they’re not boring. Which means drinking and cringing dance moves. Maybe Bacchus just doesn’t have the best taste
He also has little inclination to talk about gods or magic - but to do shots and take drugs causing Quentin to hallucinate about Alice (who apparently left, unable to deal with lack of magic and her issues with Quentin) and Julia to continue to struggle with PTSD. She also comforts Josh in a really excellent scene in which he talks about what magic utterly means to him and how devastated he is without magic - to provide some comfort that magic is still around
Quentin freaks out about her showing off magic - but Julia can’t not help. Because she can’t fall into the trap of not trusting anyone again. She can’t live like that despite her experiences. Though he sadly points out she is literally showing off the biggest magic the world has left.
Another appeal to Bacchus about magic reveals that there may be a back door to magic - as mentioned by Prometheus. Who loved humans. And is dead.
He’s not mad fussed about them killing a god - because he didn’t know the god in question.
So not helpful but hope, I guess.
Penny is still working for the Library, bringing back books with his still working Traveler magic. Since apparently the creatures of the world with magic still have that magic (which at least one Magician considers worrisome thinking these critters may turn on them) - which means there’s a lot of woo-woo out there and that Penny isn’t entirely human.
He is still dying though - except when he’s in the library where time stands still - which is why a despairing Kady is very very reluctant to spend time with him. Even if she does love him and they do have a relationship, he has so little time left and she’s despairing. Thankfully Harriet shows up with a book that could help him. But it needs magic
It’s hope - which is more than the Library has. Penny is extremely cynical with them and the Librarian does seem to care - but equally seems happy to exploit the little time he has left.
Equally hopeless are Henry and Irene at the school. The Board of Directors has lost a whoooooole lot of money when magic was lost. They want it back or they’re going to close down the school. They need something: and they keep mentioning Myakovsky and the batteries he was making but he seems to have vanished
Lack of magic has also hit Fillory - and the country is falling apart. A country that relies on everything from agriculture to construction on magic is now in an utterly terrible state with Elliot and Margo struggling to try and keep things together. As Margo says:
“There is no unshitty answer to any of this people, so suck it up.”
This may be Theresa May’s next Brexit speech. Margo always has a way with words
To make things worse the elves are around. Invisible to the guards, still with magic and causing no end of problems not least of which since they keep making ridiculous unreasonable demands of Margo. Elliot and Margo, aided by their courtiers, try to plot against them but the Fairy Queen seems to be several steps ahead of them all the time.
Elliot and Margo realise the Fairy Queen is spying on them using Margo’s missing eye (which she keeps in a little gold cage) so plan by speaking in pop culture code. Complete with subtitles. And I love this. Honestly there is so much wrong with this show and then they have moments like this and I just have to applaud.
They decide the best thing to do is for Elliot to head out and kill the White Lady, granting a wish which can be used to rid the world of elves. A decent plan - except Elliot doesn’t find the white Lady, he finds the Great Cock of the Darkling Woods. A peacock being with magic, a strong sense of style and aesthetics and very susceptible to flattery
Elliot is in his element.
The Great Cock does not offer a wish - apart from anything else, wishes ALWAYS ALWAYS backfire. Instead he has an epic quest which Elliot is less thrilled by (he’s sure he has the power to screw this up - and his kingdom needs help NOW not in a season after questing). The quest involves all of his friends even if they’ve not been in touch for some time - he has interesting names for them: One Eyed Conquerer, The Traveller, The Warrior, The Fool, The God Touched, the Lover of Tomatoes, the Torture Artist. I’m going with: Margo, Penny, Alice, Quentin, Julia, Josh… Kady? Maybe Kady and Alice swapped.
He also babbles about books, earth and keys.
They realise they need to communicate with earth - which involves rabbits who can apparently jump between realms with messages. So Quentin and Alice can find a book - which is oddly blank. But it is all about keys and the first key is in Fillory. But on an island which is most dangerous and hostile with even the sea drowning Fillory kings.
This is going to be risky.
Last character - Alice is making deals with vampires to try and find some way to keep the Lamprey off her back. She doesn’t seem hopeful.