The Magicians – The Tales of the Seven Keys
By: Sharon Kurack
Welcome back, my fellow Fillorians! We’ve waited what seems like ages for this season premiere, but finally our Magicians have returned to us. Just in case you were napping with Ember and Umber, allow me to recap where we left off: Magic is gone, and by gone, I mean gone everywhere, except, maybe not as Julia (Stella Maeve) seems to still have the spark. Penny (Arjun Gupta) is still alive, albeit serving The Order and trying to overcome “Super Cancer.” Alice (Olivia Taylor-Dudley) is being hunted by the lamprey and ventures out on her own, similar to the new sober Lady (Jade Tailor), who’s just trying to survive. In Fillory, our High King and Queen continue to be bankrupt while dealing with a fairy problem that seems to have blinded (
Margo) of hope for the time being.
This leaves us with Julia and Quentin (Jason Ralph) and their attempts to find magic once more. Despite Julia’s spark of hope, it doesn’t seem to be enough to convince the two sans magic magicians that her “parlor trick” isn’t a fluke. Deciding that giving up isn’t an option, Q and Jules continue to research, stumbling upon the option of talking/petitioning the old gods for help. Understandably so, Julia is extremely hesitant to summon another god and warns Q of her concerns. As if on cue, Josh “the animal” Hoberman (Trevor Einhorn) jumps in, claiming that he can help the two contact a god.
Faster than you can say “tomatoes,” our lovable party animal leads Q and Jules to one of the wildest soirees thrown by the deity of wine (and fertility) himself, Bacchus (Ryan McDonald). Recognizing the party animal of Hoberman, the deity ushers him into the party, but immediately rejects our “adulting” magicians, urging them to return when they’re “more fun.” Meaning drunk. (He is the god of wine, after all.) Not to be denied, our duo does him one better; not only are they completed wasted, but they perform (and sing at the top of their lungs) a choreographed dance from the 10th grade. Seeing them completely hammered, Bacchus lets Q and Jules into the debauchery and revelry-filled party. Despite the constant pink shots, Q becomes a “buzz-kill,” pestering Bacchus with questions of the old gods and bringing magic back. Dancing around the investigation, the god slips Q what probably was ecstasy, causing the already twitchy magician to trip the hell out, in which he flashes back to a memory of Alice leaving/running (probably from the lamprey). Jules doesn’t seem to fare all that much better (although she did love that blanket), experiencing a trip of her own, hallucinating Reynard (Mackenzie Astin) next to her.
Clearly shaken, Julia nearly sobers up and finds a depressed Josh. He reminisces about magic, explaining that to him a life without magic is seemingly pointless. For him (and, we can assume, many magicians), magic is life. (Could this be a foreshadow of how many people were inwardly affected by the loss of magic?) Moved by his honesty, Jules once again becomes a spark of hope and shows Josh that there might be a way of restoring magic. Blowing smoke “stars” and moving them might seem like a small feat, but was enough to re-inspire Josh at that moment. Becoming more apprehensive by the moment, Q, visibly upset, grabs Julia and claiming that no one should know just yet that she has magic. Julia counters with the fact that despite it doing relatively nothing, her “trick” gave a world of hope to Josh. Hope is a powerful tool.
Quentin then stumbles upon more shots, as well as Bacchus, and continues to annoy the god with “vibe-killing” questions. As though coming down from a high (or hangover), Bacchus finally answers a few questions, citing that he doesn’t talk to his parents (you know, the old gods), but that Q could ask a “guy” named Prometheus. Unfortunately, Prometheus is long dead so the only clue Q has to go on before promptly passing out is a secret back door to magic.
Speaking of back doors to magic, we find our favorite traveler Penny waking up in handcuffs (First incepte-sex, now 50 Shades of Fillory). Employed as a lifetime employee of The Order, Penny has been working, retrieving overdue library books. While on a “job,” Penny notices a machine in the corner that screams Mayakovsky. (Remember, Brakebills South professor who was trying to create a battery to store huge amounts of magic?) Despite the patron trying to distract our collector from his duties with a tirade on how magic’s disappearance is Mayakovsky’s fault, Penny spies the book, “travels” out of his handcuffs (wait…Penny still has magic?) and peaces out of the room, book in hand.
But a boy scout our beloved Penny is not. He is; however, a lover and rendezvous with a somberly sober Kady. Before he travels back to the Order, we learn that Penny is indeed still dying and while the gesture to see his horizontal tango partner (whom he loves) is cute and all, the energy he uses to travel is taking its toll. In the Library of the Netherlands, time is at a standstill, which stops the cancer so long as Penny remains. The moment he sets foot outside into the “real world,” real time kicks in and kicks his ass.
Resilient as ever, Kady hasn’t just been busy getting sober (and “busy”); she’s still been in contact with click bait site coordinator, Harriet (Marlee Matlin). Like Julia, Harriet seems to be convinced that magic is not completely gone. In fact, the reason for her visit is to give Kady a book that may hold the key to curing Penny. Of course, for that we know Kady will owe Harriet big time, along the lines of “double agent spy on the Order.” Tote worth it; love always is.
Our last “Earth” update happens on a meeting between Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy) in his office at Brakebills with a member of the Board of Trustees, Irene McAllistair (Jaime Ray Newman). Many companies went bankrupt when magic died, and the Board is panicking. They want some kind of magical bailout and may consider closing our beloved Brakebills. Definitely code red.
Finally, we observe a fairy-occupied Fillory. (Sidenote: If Fillory is bankrupt, why are the fairies messing with the people?) The Fairy Queen (Candis Cayne) seems to find amusement in absolutely enraging one-eyed conquer Margo (Summer Bishil). She makes ridiculous requests on a whim, expecting none other than Margo to carry them out. Our whimsical occupant also seems to know when Margo tries to cheat the system. The million dollar question is how is the Fairy Queen able to be five steps ahead of Margo and Eliot (Hale Appleman)? Also, all books on fairies or poison that affects them seem to have disappeared from Fillory (and Loria). Is no place safe? Enter the hero of the moment, Rafe (Sergio Osuna), who cryptically gives Eliot information on an area in the castle made of material that the fairies won’t go near. Finally, a safe place to strategize!
Eliot and Margo go on a walk to discuss plans in one of the most cleverly written conversations. They start figuring out how to solve their fairy problem by conversing completely in Earth pop culture reference. From Game of Thrones to Battlestar Galactica, Xmen to Harry Potter, they realize the Fairy Queen knows/sees all because of Margo’s eyeball, which is enchanted to see everything from Margo’s perspective. Using a Harry Potter reference to ask what would Quentin do, they decide to consult the Fillory books.
This results in Eliot and Tick (Rizwan Manji) attempting to hunt the White Lady in the hopes of wishing the fairies to leave. What Eliot finds is much more majestic; he finds the Great Cock (Faran Tahir). After a rather amusing exchange of compliments, the Great Cock invites Eliot to an aesthetically pleasing area where they discuss Eliot’s petition. The lack of magic is a far worse problem than the fairies, and if he solves the magic problem, he’ll solve the fairy problem in turn, according to our new friend. Therefore, the Great Cock decides to send Eliot and his friends on an epic quest to restore all magic (which should take a “good” season).
The first thing Eliot needs to do is find a book without an author called The Tale of the Seven Keys, which is found in a Public Library in New Jersey (fist pump!). But how will our High King contact everyone back on Earth? Thanks to the knowledge of Race and Abigail the Sloth, they realize the messenger skills of the no-loyalty-to-anyone bunnies. Faster than you can say “hare-brained scheme,” Eliiot sends a bunny to Q and Jules. The next thing we see is Julia walking out of the Public Library in New Jersey with said book. Q inspects the book to find that Chapter 1, page 1 with writing, while the rest of the book is left blank, signifying that they are now on the epic quest.
Bunnies are hopping in and out of Castle Whitespire with messages. Eliot and Margo find out that whatever the keys unlock will bring back magic. The First Key is also in Fillory. However, it’s on a place called After Island, which lies beyond the border and seems none too friendly. How will they get there? Out of her crazed state, Fen (Brittany Curran) chimes in that she knows what boat to use. Brilliant!
And what of our lonely, magic-less Alice? She’s at an all-time low, allowing a vampire to feed off her blood for information. What information? Our former tiffin is on the run from the lamprey and cannot protect herself without magic. So, in exchange for her blood, the vampire gives Alice information on how to evade the lamprey, using an alarm-like device to keep with her. It’s supposed to let her know when the lamprey is near, hopefully giving her enough time to run. As the sated vampire leaves, Alice orders a plate of bacon and eats somberly.