The Magicians, S03/E12: "The Fillorian Candidate" Recap

Six keys in their possession and a brand new Penny, the group is closer than ever to fulfilling the quest, but the final key rests with the Faeries. In an unlikely turn, politics may be the answer.


The Quest, Alice and Quentin.

Aside from not having all seven keys in their possession, the group must come to terms with the knowledge granted them by the Beast-Quentin from timeline 23: when Julia opens the door to the Castle at the End of the World, she will release an even greater evil than they could imagine. Quentin doesn’t feel his Beastly counterpart is a particularly reliable source, but concurs with Alice that more research should be done. They send Alice to the Library to ask around, but still don’t trust her or the Librarian’s motives; Penny23 is sent to spy on her from the astral plane, and witnesses Alice’s conversation with the Head Librarian.

The Librarian has heard of the Castle at the End of the World, but doesn’t know what is inside it, as only the gods know, and they don’t generally share much information with mere mortals. She suggest Alice ask a god, since her friends have actually been in contact with quite a few of them throughout their adventures. Alice came to the Library for help because they claim to want the same thing as the questers- the return of magic- but the Librarian gives Alice a device called a siphon and instructs her that it needs to be powered and used within 30 seconds of the door opening. The Librarian gives Alice a vial of faerie dust and tells her to take Julia’s power by force. Alice says she wants to find another way that doesn’t endanger Julia, but she takes the vial and siphon.


Back at the cottage, Alice tells them they need to talk to a god. Our Lady Underground hasn’t been responding to Julia, and Quentin can’t find Bacchus, whose instagram account was deleted because of nipples. Alice leaves to see if Dean Fogg can help them make contact with a god, Penny23 tells them about the siphon and the danger to Julia.

Quentin confronts Alice about the siphon. She believes magic is dangerous because she lost control and did horrible things as a niffin, and that someone needs to be a gatekeeper to magic. The Library may be corrupt, but they have information and perspective. Quentin doesn’t agree that anyone, and most certainly not the Library, has any right to just take magic away from the entire world, and delivers an ultimatum: give up the siphon or they will complete the quest without her. She gives him the Library’s device, but twists the knife, reminding him that when magic went away, his father’s cancer subsided. Quentin’s quest to return magic to the world, to regain the thing he always wanted and briefly had, is very likely going to come at a terrible price.


Penny23, Kady, Julia.

During Josh’s recap, Penny23 learned that Julia and Kady were once very close, but no longer. Penny23 asks Kady to explain what happened to the Julia in this timeline, and he learns about Reynard.


Coming to the conclusion that a powerless Reynard is the most accessible and probably least dangerous god they can reach, Penny23 and Kady broach the subject with Julia. She is hesitant at first, concerned that even a powerless Reynard is still a trickster, but commits to the plan, and easily teleports them all to a rather large and fancy house. They are momentarily disappointed that they didn’t find Reynard in more unpleasant circumstances, until a pizza delivery car drives up and Reynard emerges, none too pleased to see the women he tortured. The punishment for his crimes, in addition to being stripped of his power, is being abandoned by his kind and forced to live life as a mortal. He seems to have amassed a collection of feminist and claims to be a changed person, but the magicians don’t seem to buy it, or care. When they ask him about the Castle, he is surprised that they know anything about it, and confirms that there are, in fact, terrible things locked away inside- the gods’ mistakes, things they made before lesser gods like himself and humanity. He invites them to go see for themselves.


A tea kettle starts to whistle- Maybe he has changed if he offered them tea- and Reynard uses the distraction to go for a gun. Julia easily freezes him before he can use it, and takes the gun from him. The bullet inside is the magic god-killing bullet Kady and Julia made to kill Reynard- a bullet he kept in case he needed to kill himself- and they agree to wage the fate of the world on the bullet’s ability to kill whatever monster may be behind the door when they open it to return magic to the world.

Penny23 wants the witches to kill Reynard, but they are satisfied with his punishment, and leave him.


An Election.

Josh brings Taco Tuesday to Fillory, which doesn’t impress Eliot’s refined palate, but Margo is glad not to catch, pluck and boil another pigeon. Margo has been unable to negotiate the final key from the Faerie Queen via messenger bunny, so she, Fen and Eliot ask Fray for help gaining an audience.. Fray, now working in a pub that serves the sentient animals of Fillory, fears the Faerie Queen, who threatened to kill her, but is appreciative of Eliot and Fen’s kindness, despite her betrayal.


The Faerie Queen makes an appearance, and refuses to part with the key that keeps her people safe, but Margo and Eliot are offering citizenship and safety in Fillory. Fray told them there were no children in the Faerie Realm other than human children bargained away from their parents, and Margo uses this information to leverage the Queen with something she really needs- a safe breeding ground. The Faerie Queen’s leverage slipping away, she reminds Margo and Eliot that they have no longer have any authority or power in Fillory, and that they won’t get the key without the right price, or an army.

A plan must be formed to retake the kingdom, Josh suggest making moves to install democracy, but current monarch Tick is the only one who can declare an election, until Margo decides to declare it for him. Sending Josh to Kinko’s, she air drops thousands of campaign posters on the Fillorian populace. When word of this gets to Tick, he quickly realizes that depriving the populace of an election they think they are having could result in a fresh revolution, he goes along with it. He doesn’t have the political savvy of Eliot, who learned from American politics that all you have to do is make empty promises, but he tries to keep up.


Josh has a plan to endear the children of Earth to the potential voters and Julia appears behind him- she is in the prayer answering business lately, and she felt she was needed here. He takes her to the forest she leveled when she lost her shade and all sense of restraint, and Josh suggests restoring it would be a good PR move. Feeling guilt and shame, she is uncertain of herself, but willing to try, and succeeds spectacularly.


After a series of increasingly ridiculous campaign moves on both sides, a Fillorian representative comes to the Muntjac to deliver the results: Eliot lost. Tick, also lost. There was a massive write-in campaign for Margo, who was the only person to make any efforts to get to know the sentient animals while Eliot and Tick were making campaign promises. Her liberal attitude towards consensual human/animal relationships, a somewhat taboo subject, was a key issue among Fillory’s sentient animals and those who love them. Since there had never been an election or a census before, nobody ever realized that the animals outnumber the humans, about a million to 50,00o.


All hail High King Margo!


There is a coronation, and Eliot informs Tick that he will not be executed, but given a cabinet position, with a security detail to keep an eye on him. Margo now has the authority to grant the Faerie Queen’s desires- citizenship, a

homeland, legal protection, and a role in the government- and the Faerie Queen agrees to give her their key once her people are safely relocated out of the faerie realm. She also gives Margo a gift of a new eye- a faerie eye that immediately shows Margo things she couldn’t understand or process. The faerie waves her hand over Margo’s black faerie eye and disguises it as a normal one so as not to arouse suspicion.


Coldwater Coda.

With the all the keys collected and the final step in the quest within reach, Quentin agonizes over the consequences of restoring magic: the likelihood that his father will die a slow death. He discusses it with Julia, who would be willing to try to heal him, but at the moment he is healthy, and magic will be unpredictable when it returns. She can’t make him any promises. He believes the quest is intended to change them, and worries that it wants him to become cold and unfeeling.


He goes to his father and tells him Fillory is real, tells him about his adventures, and his father realizes that his health improved when magic went away. He asks Quentin if he came to him for permission to restore magic, but that’s not the case. Quentin lived an entire lifetime, had a son that lived an entire lifetime, and he now believes they have all been through too much for it to be for nothing. He chooses magic over his father.


Assorted Thoughts


  • Josh taking over the weekly recap as a device to fill in Penny23 was hilarious, as was the murder/bang board. The drawings of the two harpies he just said he had a 3-way with [footage not available] was the highlight.
  • Julia is on the board, but no strings. She has been pretty laser focused on magic stuff since she left her boyfriend behind.
  • I loved that the pictures were almost certainly headshots- where did Josh get everyone’s headshots? He was thorough, too, he even had Quentin-Emily Greenstreet and Emily-Mayakovsky-Professor Lipson. I didn’t see an obvious werewolf in Josh’s circle of hookups, but any one of them, aside from Victoria and Poppy, could have been one in full-human form.
  • Poppy is nowhere to be seen, guess things got a bit too rough for her. She’s seen enough people die.
  • I hope we get to see Hyman again, if not in the finale, then next season. He’s been around Brakebills over 100 years, he’s not going anywhere.

Alice, Quentin

  • Alice gave up the siphon, but she kept the faerie dust. Penny23 may not have been told what that is, because he never mentioned it.
  • I’m not sure giving the siphon to Quentin isn’t exactly what the Library wants. I doubt he plans on bringing the thing with him, maybe Alice steals it back.
  • Alice’s, and the Library’s, concerns are not without merit, but again, the Library partakes in the slaughter and abuse of sentient beings, so they really don’t get to take any kind of moral high ground here and are disqualified as arbiters of who gets to use magic.
  • Also, the whole persuading Alice to kill Julia and steal her magic thing.
  • Quentin seemed unable to make the decision to return magic right up until he looked his dad in the eye and issued his death sentence. And he was worried about the quest making him cold.


  • No one mentioned that the forest Julia destroyed when she was shadeless and brutal was sentient. It does bring up the question as to the extent of her powers- growing trees is one thing, but did she resurrect sentient beings? Grow their children from residual genetic material in the soil?
  • They said that forest fed many people, but forests aren’t farms. I suppose there’s gathering of wild plants and hunting, but that brings up a whole other set of problems. If sentient animals outnumber humans 20:1, what are they eating? So far, we’ve seen or heard about bunnies, bears, horses, sloths, wombats- looks like any mammal might be a thinking being. Pigeons are clearly okay to kill, maybe it’s a largely poultry-based diet, but there was an owl at the animal bar.
  • Julia is in the prayer granting business- I wonder if OLU is filtering the prayers, because that could get overwhelming pretty quick.
  • Reynard let slip that the gods had “The Architect” put the Castle at the end of the world because it is full of things the little guys can not handle. He clammed up quick after that, but I wonder if we’ll hear more about this Architect.
  • He also said there are multiple things in there to worry about, so I find it a bit worrying that Julia and Kady are putting so much faith in a single bullet.
  • Julia was concerned that Reynard is stil a trickster, even without magic, but it looks like she played right into his hands, anyway. When they asked about the castle, he told them they couldn’t handle what was inside. This wasn’t a friendly warning, it was a dare to someone now supremely confident in her god-level powers. He then pulled a gun on her that he never had a chance of firing, making them even more secure in their decision to open the doors and release the floodgates. Without his spark, Reynard is powerless, but if magic is sent back into the world, he may be able to use it just as well as a mortal magician, and maybe even have the kind of magic required to get his own spark, now stronger than ever, back from Julia. Alice and Julia used a machine to transfer the spark into Alice, and Alice is now equipped to do it again with Faerie dust, Reynard should be able to do it with regular magic.


  • It felt a bit labored getting there, but Eliot’s line; “I will say to you what I wish my father said to me- I’m so happy you’re dating a bear” was just hilarious.
  • Humbledrum: “Thanks, Fray’s dad!”
  • It’s a good thing Eliot didn’t win, or those campaign promises were going to be a real problem.
  • Tick: “I intend to choose the death by a thousand pokes. They say you only feel the first hundred or so.”
  • I was sure I wanted Tick dead for betraying Margo, but his politics are sound, so it’s probably good they are keeping him on.
  • Fen was rightly deflated when she realized the human vote doesn’t matter- Fillory is going to the animals, I can’t believe any more humans, magic-wielding children of Earth or otherwise- are going to be in charge of the now democratic kingdom after Margo.
  • I love Margo’s eyepatches and was hoping they wouldn’t go away, but a Faerie eye is an interesting development, and I can’t wait to see something cool come from her having enhanced sight.
  • Fen, after Margo gets a faerie eye: “Could I maybe get some Faerie toes? Hello?” Poor Fen.
  • Fen is great, I hope she finds her place in this world.


Next week they will go to the Castle at the End of the World, presumably open the doors to restore magic, and hopefully only have one monster to kill with their single magic bullet. There’s clearly an element of Pandora’s Box at play here, and if I had to guess, I’d say they are going to let out a lot more than they bargained for. Maybe they use the gun to kill some C’thulu like entiity, but all the little evils get out, and next season they have to clean up the mess they caused, but that could turn this into Supernatural, and I’d really rather not see that happen. I have enough faith the the production crew that I’m not too concerned about it going that way.


Come back next week for the final installment of The Magicians Season 3 recaps!

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