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The Magicians, S03/E03: "The Losses of Magic"

Kinja ate my homework >:{

Most of the recap portion was saved as a draft, but all of the formatting and commentary were lost when I tried to publish, so forgive the lateness and bear with me if this gets messy as I try to recreate a couple hours of writing and thinking.

Illustration for article titled The Magicians, S03/E03: The Losses of Magic

On to the show:

Illustration for article titled The Magicians, S03/E03: The Losses of Magic


When the pirates took the ship, Elliot, Fen and Fray ran to their cabin to hide. In the process of trying to find a solution to their predicament, Elliot sees a keyhole in the bulkhead of the ship that nobody noticed before, and tried out his new key. A door appears in the bulkhead, and Elliot escapes with his his family, leaving royal mapmaker Pickwick behind, dressed as King to fool the pirates.


Queen Margo, the Destroyer.

Margo was left behind when Elliot went on the journey to find the first of the Seven Keys, because the eye she traded to the faerie queen reports everything she sees and hears. Loyal Fillorian servants Tick and Gillan inform her that the seagulls has brought news that pirates have boarded the Muntjac and taken The High King hostage. Margo springs into action, and when told that the fastest ship would take a week to reach the Muntjac, she takes her issue to the faerie queen. Apparently, the faerie queen’s whole deal is using the royals to run the kingdom, and Margo convinces her that if the royal family is perceived as being weak, it will hinder the faerie agenda.


The faerie queen sends Margo and advisors Tick and Gillan directly to the hijacked Muntjac via Pegasus, where Margo has some overt sexual tension with the pirate king, who is a hot lady king that can call herself whatever she damn well pleases. Margo isn’t against it, but she’s here on business. The pirates want a ransom of gold for their hostages, but their ship is sentient, like the Muntjac, and it is horny. Margo, perhaps not fully aware of the nature of their ships, (she wasn’t acquainted with Muntjac last week), consults with Pickwick, Tick and Gillen, who explain that sentient ships have urges, and will obey royal decree- Margo can command Muntjac to give it up to the Seka... but also that sometimes the ships suffer from severe trauma from the experience.

The Pirate King can’t resist a one-eyed girl. Hey, everyone has their thing.
The Pirate King can’t resist a one-eyed girl. Hey, everyone has their thing.

Margo realizes the pirates want to rape her ship, so she goes and has a heart to heart with Muntjac. She knows a command will keep her people safe, but she won’t risk inflicting trauma on a boat she barely knows or understands, so she decides to find another way out of the pirates’ grasp. The faerie queen eavesdrops on Margo’s conversation with the ship and seems to approve, so she takes an uncharacteristically helpful tack and kills all the pirates, filling a jar with what appears to be their teeth.

Kady and Julia.

Julia finds Kady, is surprisingly okay with the fact that she stole the battery they need, and decides to help Kady with whatever nonsense she came up with to save Penny. Apparently the book that Harriet (Marlee Matlin) gave her in episode 1 contained a ritual to summon a demon. Julia, despite having an brutal experience with her last summoning and also expressing great hesitation redarding Quentin’s efforts to contact otherwordly creatures for access to magic just two episodes back, goes along with this with no questions asked.


While out gathering reagents for the summoning, Julia gives some money to a homeless woman, who becomes momentarily possessed and delivers a cryptic message to Julia: You are missing the clues. We thought you would have been further along by now. Julia asks for clarification, but the woman is herself again.

The witches summon ASTAROTH, DUKE OF HELL, but accidentally get his mild mannered cousin, Asteroth, with an E, who is pretty chill about the whole deal and pulls a psychic surgery to rip the cancer out of Penny’s guts.

No shame, bro.
No shame, bro.

This provides Esteroth with a tasty morsel of delicious cancer, but kills Penny, who now seems to exist as a spirit overlooking his body and Kady. Esteroth says they called him too late.


Alice and the Lamprey.

Snatching up a stray kitty, since her last one exploded, Alice goes to her parents’ home to warn them of the dangerous magical creature who has a grudge against her. Quentin had already informed them that Alice wasn’t dead anymore, because he’s pretty great like that, but Alice never contacted them. She has a typically unpleasant interaction with her mother, believing ghat her mother’s friend is host to the lamprey she has been evading.

Home made taser, what could possibly go wrong?
Home made taser, what could possibly go wrong?

Alice and her father research creatures like the Lamprey to find a weakness Alice may exploit,and they find that lightning will force a lamprey out of its host, so Alice rigs up a home made taser, which she uses to zap her mother’s friend as her paranoia gets the best of her. The lamprey shows up in its current host, Quentin. Alice’s dad sees the telltale squirming of something under Quentin’s skin, and Quentin-Lamprey disappears before Alice can fire up the stun baton. Having used up the last of her charge, she goes to the garage to get the car battery, and finds Quentin on the floor.


Alice repeatedly says she doesn’t know what she did as a niffin that angered the Lamprey. This was pretty obviously a lie, and it comes out when Alice argues with her mother. She says that niffins will do anything in pursuit of knowledge and magic, so she experimented on the lamprey’s offspring. When confronted by the lamprey in possession of her father, she tries to lie again, but the lamprey says her father always knew when she was lying. Finally she admits she just killed all the lampreys she could find because they made pretty lights when they die, and if you killed them slowly, the lights became prettier.

The Lamprey also tells her that Quentin still loves her and her father has a weak heart and wouldn’t survive being stunned. Alice zaps him anyway, because the other option is having lamprey eggs crawl into your brain and eat your body. The lamprey is ejected and Alice stuns it for good measure, trying to hide the fact that she still gets off on the dying lamprey’s light show. Her mother and Quentin are unconscious anyway, and I don’t think they heard about that part, but they do know she murdered the lamprey’s family.


Alice’s father survives the home made stun baton, but then dies a short while later, after Quentin pukes up some concoction Alice made to kill the lamprey eggs inside him.


Look into my crystal ball...

  • For starters, I’d like to say I’m glad the cursing isn’t being censored. I don’t need or want a show filled with foul language, but I’m a big boy and don’t need the audio to drop out every 2 minutes. Season 1 started out with a few F-bombs then got the silent treatment, and it was weird. I don’t remember if Season 2 was censored.

Elliot, Fen, and Fray.

  • Elliot’s mission took center stage last week, so we didn’t see too much of him. Without magic, he is defenseless against armed pirates, so he considers other ways out of the predicament, like talking, prompting Fray to ask if her father is a coward. He prefers the term “survivor.”
  • Admiral Lacker needs more to do.
  • Fen, daughter of the master bladesmith, whips out two daggers from under her dress and stands between the door and her daughter and husband, ready to defend them. Fen is awesome.
  • It’s sweet and sad how Fen treats Fray like a normal teenage daughter, despite Fray being raised by the faerie queen to (likely)betray her parents. I see things turning out poorly for Fen, either by Fray dying or not being real.


  • Alice killed her father. Both by stunning him with a home made taser and by bringing the lamprey to his home. I wanted her to be okay, but after all this, I think I want to see her take a serious heel-turn. This is some Anakin Skywalker dark side shit, Alice could easily follow the path of the Beast. On top of having to live in withdrawal of the niffin’s immeasurable power, she now has to live with the guilt of killing her father and hurting her friends; if she finds a way to ditch her shade, I’d bet on her taking it.
  • I’d say Alice’s murder of lampreys to enjoy a lightshow cements her as the “torture artist” of the Great Cock’s quest.
  • I was hoping she and Quentin could work things out, but now I think Quentin should cut his losses and run. When Alice left him she said she could never forgive him(for something unclear- either returning her shade or killing the magic she is addicted to, or both) but in reality she just couldn’t take living a human life with him, seeing her old self reflected in Quentin’s idealistic gaze.
  • Dammit, Alice, I don’t need this fetish!
  • Alice needs a car battery to power her taser, so she goes to the garage, wrapped in plastic to keep the lamprey out, who can enter through any opening, even skin... but leaves her face with all its holes uncovered.
  • Her father only vaguely knows that there might be a battery of some kind in a car he probably never uses. This Harry Potter style, wizards know nothing about the muggle world stuff, is incredibly stupid. He definitely never uses that car and the battery would be 100% dead.
  • Alice gets the battery out of the car by banging it with a hammer, lifts it out with one hand and swings it around like it weighs maybe a pound. Looks like the writers don’t know anything about the muggle world either, because car batteries are heavy as shit and do not come out with hammers.

High Queen Margo, the Destroyer

  • Margo remains my favorite. I think she is a fascinating character and one of the best examples of a good person with a bad attitude on television. It’s a popular enough archetype, but almost always leans too heavily into the bad attitude, generally relying on blaming bad behavior on autism, or trying to make it seem acceptable because the person is good at something, but not actually a good person. Margo has been a foul-mouthed, take no shit saint from the beginning, and I love her.
  • Margo lands on the pirate ship with Tick and Gillen in tow. Tick is grateful that the faerie queen could provide them transport by usually pernicious pegasi, but Margo is more annoyed that she smells like a horse fucked a bird. The faerie queen corrects her. saying it was the other way around. This is how you do world-building, people!
  • Margo to the Muntjac: “At first, I thought the pirates were kind of sexy, in a Johnny Depp sort of way. But the reality is that they are kind of dirty and fucked up... in a Johnny Depp sort of way.” This is a tremendous line and the delivery was amazing! Summer Bishil should get awards for this episode, which was immediately preceded by Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. That must have been intentional, and I love it.
  • There are events in Margo’s sequence that make no sense:
  1. Tick rather plainly suggests he is a pickpocket and can steal the spy-eye from the faerie queen. The faerie should know this immediately, but does not.
  2. He is such a talented pickpocket that he can steal an eye off the wrist of an immensely powerful being and she doesn’t notice.
  3. He succeeds and returns the eye to Margo, which gains her nothing. There is no hidden agenda in her mission to save the Muntjac and crew from pirates, Margo had nothing to hide. If this were done at a moment of opportunity, it would have been worth the risk.
  4. The faerie queen, much too late, accuses Margo of stealing the eye, which Margo claims is her own but is reminded that she traded it and is no longer the rightful owner.
  5. The faerie, who should know exactly who stole it, does not accept Margo’s confession and punishes her servants at random, choosing the wrong one.
  • While none of this was advisable nor should have been possible, it is in service to one badass move by the Destroyer: Margo returns her eye to the faerie, but crushes it in her hand so it can no longer be used to spy on her. The faerie says it can never be repaired, and Margo willingly sacrifices it for her privacy. I really thought she’d get the eye back, but I’m with the pirate king on this one, and I’m looking forward to many more bedazzled eyepatches.
  • Poor Gillen will have a song he hates stuck in his head forever until it gradually drives him mad. I hope they remember to take care of him when magic comes back. Lucky for him, Margo doesn’t take her people for granted.

Kady, Penny, and Asteroth with an E.

  • Let’s take a moment to appreciate Julian Richings, who played Death on Supernatural and Benjamin in Orphan Black. A character actor in the most generous sense of the word, because I believe so many character actors are “real” actors, while most movie stars are “character actors” in the most derogatory sense of the word. His laid back, helpful demon was a real highlight, making Kady/Penny scenes worth watching.
  • As delightful as Asteroth was, I’m not taking my eyes off him just yet, he is a demon after all.
  • Kady’s selfishness and Penny’s stupidity makes them hard to care about. Penny has super-magic-cancer; oh boo-hoo, stay in the library where your cancer won’t progress and wait until your traveler ability is needed, don’t just hang out around Kady and force her to watch you die.
  • Penny sucks, I’m glad he died, but I’m not holding my breath for it to be permanent. Seeing as how he astrally projected out of his body or is an actual ghost, it looks like even death isn’t going to stop him from being annoying.
  • Kady isn’t just selfish, she is short-sighted. She steals the battery, which is a valuable asset in returning all magic to the world, for a chance to summon a demon- never a great idea despite how this one went- to beg an evil creature to cure Penny.. This is just a terrible plan, and sticking to the quest would have had a stronger possibility of returning magic that could heal Penny.
  • That being said, I now think that Penny’s leg of the quest will involve retrieving a key from the afterlife. This doesn’t justify either of their actions, they could always have killed him later if they had to.


  • Julia tried to summon a hippie earth goddess of love and got brutalized for her troubles. This made her hesitant when Quentin wanted to look for local deities to gain some inroads to the return of magic, but she jumps right on board with Kady’s plan to summon a demon from a book given to her by Harriet(Marlee Matlin), who is not a great person. Okay.
  • Who or what possessed the homeless woman to give Julia a message. Is the message for her alone or are the signs being shown to all of them? Have we seen any signs we missed too? Because that would be awesome if they came ready to back that up.

Okay, that’s the same article twice now, please discuss!

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