Summer Bishil – The Magicians
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) Season two Margo was all about smashing the patriarchy and making it her bitch. What’s season three’s Margo’s ruthless resolution?
A) I’d say in season three Margo is still very motivated to topple the patriarchy. She wasn’t chosen through natural selection to be the High Queen as she was appointed by her best friend. When she first assumes the throne, I think it’s fair to say she doesn’t know what she’s getting into. She thinks it will be all glory and glamour, but she is dead wrong. She is the High Queen of a land whose economy is devastated and whose people are naive to the devastation and at a loss for how to fix it. She had ideas on how to restore the land and although some ideas are better than others, she at least comes ready with ideas. Margo actually realizes from the start that she wants to make Fillory a better place, but is often given no room to do so – no platform or voice. All that goes to the High King. So, it’s fair to say it is her main objective to attain political agency and while doing so, topple the patriarchy, but not blindly – no pun intended.
Q) Margo had to make a lot of sacrifices in season two for Eliot and at times still she was not seen as equal even as a queen. Will we see a change in dynamics this season and/or will there be any bad blood between her and Fen because of the baby?
A) Yes, last year Margo did make sacrifices both for Eliot (Hale Appleman) and the Kingdom. Eliot is her first love and with that comes a deep connection. When I say first love I don’t mean in the sense of “he loves me, he loves me not” picking petals way. I mean he is the first person she has ever committed to protecting, to loving and to being seen by. That’s a huge thing for Margo. Fillory is also a great love for some strange and complex reason that there isn’t enough time to illustrate. In short, Fillory is a great love for her because it makes her feel like her rage has a source and that the source can be destroyed through logic and with that would come peace of mind – but there is no place for logic in Fillory.
Q) Last season there was no money and this season there is no magic. What are some of the first world Fillory problems they are facing?
A) There is no money and now there is no magic or money. Like I said earlier, Fillory’s economy is that of a developing nation. Magic is the currency and the language that everyone understands. So to get stuff done you need currency and you need to be speaking the same language. That’s why Margo wants magic back – so she can effect change in Fillory.
Q) I am excited that Candis Cayne is back as the fairy queen! The fairy queen outwitted the squad multiple times last season. Will there be clues to her Achilles heel or any unlikely alliances that may help take her down?
A) I can’t speak to what role the fairy will have this season. The fairy queen is an intriguing stand-alone type of character. She really is fascinating. Candis Cayne’s presence is truly impressive and working with her was so effortless it didn’t feel like work. When she was in wardrobe she became this towering force that made it easy to believe I was terrified of her.
Q) What I love about the writing is this clever mix of pop culture references and signifiers. Also, Margo has some of the sassiest and most epic dialogues season after season. When reading the season three scripts, what really stood out for you?
A) Season Three was such a juicy year for Margo – and I’m not just saying that because I have to. The writing was exciting to me. I couldn’t wait to do and say some of the things that were being written for Margo. There is a scene with a tree coming up that I particularly enjoyed. Episode three was like eating eclairs all day for me; I relished every moment. We also had Jamie Conway directing and I can’t sing his praises enough as a director. He is spot-on for everyone with his directions and I trust his taste completely.
Q) In seasons past Fillory and the outside world have sort of felt like characters in themselves because of their setting. With the addition of the Muntjac, how does that extend this season? All of the behind the scenes teases have shown off these designs inside that are absolutely exquisite and so intricate.
A) I think it would be fair to say the Muntjac is a new character absolutely. The sets are tremendous on our show. Margot Ready did an exquisite job with the Muntjac. The way it was used this season was also very clever.
Q) The costumes have always been so elaborate and help set the tone too. What can you say about the costumes this year and how they help play up everyone’s part?
A) Our costume designer Magali Guidasci is a genius. She just is! Our entire wardrobe department is. Their taste level and work ethic are inspiring. They raise the bar and inform a lot of what I do as a performer. Our characters were so well illustrated through our wardrobe.
Q) With magic being gone, and everyone on different courses, will we see Margo share screen time with anyone outside of the core characters of Fillory we have seen? With everyone busy and the quest afoot, Fen becoming a mess over her baby, will Margo seek solace in someone within their close quarters on the ship?
A) You will definitely see Margo in new pairings this year and some interesting dynamics this year too.
Q) They don’t call her “Queen Margo the Destroyer” for no reason. When she sets her strong mind to something there is no stopping her. What can you tease about how this can be an asset and possibly a detriment to the quest?
A) I think Margo learned what her bullheadedness can result in. She’s seen the consequences through what’s happened to Fen (Brittany Curran). She feels remorse and I think she’s entertaining a more mindful way of setting about things this year.
Q) What are some of the messages and themes we will see interwoven this season?
A) Some of the messages and themes you can expect to see include the idea that the quest cannot be accomplished without everyone’s help. It takes a village.
Q) Is there anything else you would like to tease about season three?
A) Season three really explores some new characters like Josh (Trevor Einhorn), Fen and Frey which adds to the show and provides some new energy.
Summer Bishil stars as ‘Margo Hanson’ in SyFy’s The Magicians currently in its third season airing new episodes on Wednesdays at 9/8c.