The Magicians, S03/E09: "All That Josh"

Welcome back to the Magicians!

Though they ultimately brought home the 4th key, everyone was in a pretty bad place after last week’s simultaneous foray into the underworld and the Library. Recap for episode 9 below!


Julia and Fen, Skye the faerie.

Disconcerted by faerie slavery and mutilation, Julia takes the truth key to Irene McAllistair’s house. Fen reluctantly agrees the treatment of the faeries is awful, but is still deeply hurt by the loss of her baby, which she blames on the Faerie Queen, and isn’t quite as willing to trust or help faerie-kind.

Julia finds Skye, the faerie servant whose leg was amputated to feed Irene’s magic habit, stumbling about on a wooden leg, trying to do chores. Julia offers to take her away, but Skye says they are helpless and need Magicians like the McAllistairs to protect them. Julia gets Skye to meet with her when Irene will be busy and teaches her a magic spell, to prove that they have been lied to all this time. When it doesn’t work, Fen points out that faeries are magic and don’t need human hand gestures to access the power, and Skye magically conjures a flower into her hand. The moment of joy at this discovery is short-lived, as the necklace Skye wears begins to vibrate and blood comes pouring out from Skye’s nose, mouth and eyes. Julia reacts, instantly creating magic without using her hands, freezing Skye in time, staving off her death. Fen and Julia realize that the collars kill any faerie that learns magic, obviously to keep them from learning, escaping, or fighting back. Fen asks Julia how she performed magic without hand gestures, and Julia says she must have “leveled up.” She uses this newest form of magic to put all the blood on Skye’s face back where it belongs and saves the abused faerie’s life.


Josh, Quentin, Kady, Alice.

Returning from their successful yet disastrous trip to the Library in the Neitherlands, Quentin and Kady are shaken by the loss of Harriet and Victoria. Kady uses the Truth Key to look for Penny, but can’t find him.


With the 4th key in hand, the Quest story book jumps to life to reveal the next part of the quest. A page opens and unfolds, with a single line of symbols spanning across. Quentin is reluctant to show Alice, since he is suspicious of her reasons for being at the at the Library, and Kady is suspicious that she is working for them to hinder the quest. Alice recognizes the markings in the book as medieval music notes and plays it on the piano, but nothing happens. Kady corrects her with her even greater knowledge of medieval musical keys and replays the piece in A instead of C. The piano, as well as the book and keys left on the table, suddenly disappear, and they find the room filled with strangers partying, along with Todd and Josh. In actuality, the keys and piano didn’t disappear, but they have been transported to a nearly identical house that seems to run on good vibes, and comes crashing to a potentially violent halt when people put out any negativity. With Alice and Kady around, it doesn’t take long for the revelers to stop dancing and turn a menacing eye in their direction, but Todd calms them and shows Quentin, Alice and Kady that this isn’t just a party- it’s a celebration of the return of magic. A few hand gestures and three magical reefers appear. Alice and Kady test it out and manipulate the smoke into some honestly not very impressive swirls, then Quentin steps up and shows them how it’s done, merging their smoke swirls into a mini flying Muntjac, which delights the party people and gets the party back on track.


Quentin recognizes that the book has sent them to this place for a reason, but Kady just wants out. There is no door, so she tries to blast her way out, but it soon becomes clear that the only working spells are party tricks. They need to learn more about the situation without being noticed, so Kady puts on a burlesque show while Alice and Quentin tie up Josh and try to get him on their side. Josh is happy, this place is heaven to him, and he is reluctant to admit it isn’t real. On top of that, he’s also hurt because his so-called friends left him behind, so he’s in no rush to leave behind this perfect world tailored just to him. They come to the realization that Todd isn’t acting much like Todd, and Alice suggests he is probably a demon that feeds on pleasure, but they aren’t usually malevolent, as far as demons go.

Kady’s distraction is discovered by the joy devouring demon-Todd, and the dance squad forms an angry mob, marching upstairs and pounding on the door. They convince Josh to use his goodtime powers to calm the mob down while they try to figure out where the 5th key could be, Josh summons up some disco. Kady notices that Car Wash sounds awful in E, as did the burlesque song when demon-Todd forced her to sing it in E and they realize the Key is in E, because this is not a great episode. They press the right key and hear an obstructed note, open the top of the piano and find the 5th key! I’m going to go ahead and believe that if they hadn’t figured out the right key to press then it wouldn’t have been there when they opened the top.


Quentin carefully removes the key from the piano with his sleeve to avoid a repeat of the 4th key’s suicidal depression monster, and places it on a table, hoping that the next step will become apparent. Kady unable to wait any longer grabs the key, causing a bright pink door to appear, complete with a neon sign that says “QUESTERS EXIT HERE!” They step towards the door when suddenly they hear Penny’s voice, all the way from the Underworld. They are soon able to hear Julia, Margo and Eliot as well, and along with Josh are on an 8-way conference call. They learn about Eliot and Margo’s predicament, Julia’s issue with Skye (dying but frozen at this moment), but mostly they get on Josh’s last nerve. Exhausted from all the partying and simultaneously annoyed that the Magicians who he thought were his friends were ruining this magical party haven, he loses his cool, breaking the pocket dimensions one rule. The dancers turn angry again and kick Josh’s ass.


Kady wants to use the door and get the time key to undo all this, but Quentin realizes that the 5th Key united them, and that they need to work together to complete this leg of the quest, save Josh, and earn the 5th key. Quentin conjures up some music and commands everyone to sing. When all 8 of them (but mostly Kady and Eliot) have sung at least some part of the song, the party creatures disappear, and demon-Todd is replaced by a bald man with a goatee. He says he did this as a favor for “him. He’s the only one I would do this for,” before sending them all on their way, and returning them to the real Brakebills cottage. Julia returns and meets up with Quentin, Alice, Josh and Kady, and the Quest book on the piano folds up the music sheet and flips pages to Chapter 6, which contains mentions of the Knight’s daughter finding her way to a Floating Mountain.


Eliot and Margo.

Eliot and Margo’s plea for dismissal of the charges brought against them by the peasant uprising didn’t go their way in the trial by wombat. Not expecting to be judged by a marsupial in a wig, they rested their fates on their mute swordsman, introduced briefly a few episodes back, and not a wombat lawyer. Tick informs them that trial by combat is not a thing in Fillory, honest mistake.


Eliot and Margo are sentenced to death, but are afforded the highest honor for deposed monarchs- they get to choose the manner of their execution! After passing on a few grisly options, they choose the Infinite Waterfall, figuring it will buy them some time to get rescued. They are chained to the Muntjac and set out for what appears to be the edge of the world. When the guards finish securing the royal prisoners and leave them alone with their most trusted advisor, Tick, they expect an escape plan must already be under way. It is not. Now that magic is gone, the rules are unenforceable, and Tick, long suffering under the tyranny of the Children of Earth, is glad to see the end of their ruinous reign. He has run the kingdom for years in the absence of Earthly royalty, and is taking back what he considers his.


He tells the Muntjac to sail out to the point of no return, where the pair will be put on a dingy to drift out to the Infinite Waterfall. Unfortunately for Tick, the Muntjac has never really liked him, and doesn’t slow down or obey orders. He and the guards abandon ship, leaving Eliot and Margo to plummet off the edge of the world with the Muntjac. The Muntjac goes over, disappears from view, then flies up, up and away, because of course it flies, it’s a magic boat, people!



  • I’m not normally a fan of musicals, and this episode was no exception. The song choices were strange and boring at times, almost nobody could actually sing- this just did not work. Season 3 of the Magicians has been the best season so far, but this might be the worst episode of the series.
  • I know the musical lovers are going to be mad at me, but there has to be a vast chasm between how this was envisioned and how it came out, because the person writing this could not have been dreaming of Julia’s or Quentin’s strained voices. Penny got to Rex Harrison his way through the Bowie part, but forcing non-singers to take on Freddie Mercury was not wise.
  • That being said, we all know the song, and it is so great, that it still mostly work, especially at the end with Margo and Eliot screaming sort of to the song as they go over the cliff.
  • I don’t know the song Josh came in to, or the burlesque number, but both sort of bored me. Josh’s because he can’t sing- though not as bad as some of the others- but it didn’t really have the energy it wanted to. Kady can sing, seemingly, which is why she got an actual solo, but the song didn’t do anything for me.
  • Happy Birthday is already horrible, hearing Quentin, Alice and Kady squeak it out was downright painful.


  • Unnecessary and inadequate singing aside, the greatest sin was what was done to Josh. Josh who had been pretty much nothing but awesome- a well-liked party animal, a competent magician, a grower of magically delicious tomatoes, a secondary character who began to feel real, psych! he’s a just a desperate, lonely nerd! I’ve been looking forward to Josh’s part in this quest since the Great Cock of the Woods named him as one of Eliot’s companions. He was there at the beginning with Julia, Quentin and Alice, he made their first few steps possible, and then he took a back seat, which is fine. For him to end up alone, forgotten, and whining about it is one of the biggest missteps the show has made so far.
  • The Seven Keys all focus on different members of the group- the last key fell to the Underworld because Quentin was the wrong person to go after it, and ultimately required Penny’s unique abilities and deadness. Josh’s key isn’t his at all, and this disappoints me.
  • The joy demon (Did anyone ctach the name on CC or something? It sounded like Alice said “scharmancer”) anyway, he said “I’d only do this for him.” so who could HE be? This key was basically handed to the questers, so someone is on their side. The only two HIMs I can think of are the Great Cock of the Woods, who started them on this quest, or Bacchus. I don’t know if Earthly demons are friends with Fillorian woods spirits, but I can definitely see a connection between a god of revelry and a hedonistic demon. Bacchus didn’t strike me as the kind of guy who cares enough to get involved... but then again, demon-Todd did find Josh sulking at Bacchus’ party, and Bacchus does like Josh.
  • I loved when Josh told them Todd had a magic key and Quentin says “Wait, Todd has the 5th key?” Josh confirms he has a key, but how should he know what number it is?


  • Quentin’s smoke-muntjac flying around the room foreshadowed the real Muntjac flying at the end, which was cute, but not necessary; I knew that boat was going to fly.
  • I was also pretty sure it was on Margo’s side after the whole Pirate thing, and also the Muntjac never liked Tick from the beginning, I thought it was weird the boat seemed to take his side against Margo and Eliot, but it’s not like we can hear what she’s communicating.
  • The book mentioned the floating mountain, so I am looking forward to Dina Meyer’s stone queen, and hopefully the end of Fomar, Margo’s creepy teen husband.
  • I love that Margo somehow has new clothes every week, despite being a prisoner now, and the new eyepatch was particularly nice.
  • I’m sure Julia is going to do something stupid in regards to the McAllistairs. I hope her innate magic is stronger than their faerie dust, but considering she just surpassed hand gestures- which seems downright unheard of- I think she has a shot.

Tick. Dear, foolish, Tick.

  • Tick is boned. I love Tick, and I actually believed he worshiped his masters. I’m not normally a fan of suck-ups, but he was just so good at it. Best case scenario, he’s going to the dungeons.
  • What are the odds Margo forgives him vs destroying him?
  • Rizwan Manji played a suck-up with a dark side in Outsourced, but he had a good side under that dark side, too, part of the reason I loved him so much in Magicians.

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