The end is nigh! Season 3 of the magicians draws to a close, but season 4 is confirmed, and it’s a good thing, because we are definitely going to need more.
Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting, it’s been a great experience.
And now, The Recap at the End of the World.
It’s story time with uncle Quentin, as Elliot, Margo, Josh, Julia, Kady, Penny(23), and Alice gather round. After regaining control of Fillory and getting the final key from the Faeries, they return to the quest book and the tale of the knight imprisoned by a witch in the Castle at the End of the World. Finding a castle hidden by the gods is no simple task, so they focus on the Architect mentioned by Reynard. Studying the book, Josh realizes the illustrations show the witch surrounded by drafting tools and has a miniature castle on her table. The witch in the story is the Architect they need to find.
Our Lady of the Tree.
Distracted from the quest by prayers, Julia hears something new- appeals to “Our Lady of the Tree.” She receives a visit from a messenger goddess named Iris who explains that she has fulfilled Our Lady Underground’s task to grow the spark. Julia is now a goddess herself, dubbed “Our Lady of the Tree” by her devotees. The time has come for her to move on to another plane of existence and start creating worlds of her own. She says her goodbyes to Quentin and leaves him with a small store of magic, enough to cast one spell in case of emergency. She still feels her connection to her friends, but Iris tells her that will be gone soon enough.
A list of a couple dozen minor deities of architecture is compiled, and Alice adds one more: Calypso, who imprisoned Odysseus for seven years on her island home, Ogygia. The difficult to pronounce name eventually rings a bell with Josh as the developer of his favorite mobile game, and Quentin finds a woman named “Callie” at the head of the company.
Callie is indeed Calypso, nymph and friend of Prometheus. Famous for stealing fire from Mount Olympus, the story is reframed as Prometheus giving magic to human magicians because he believed in humanity, he loved them... but also because he saw a time when human magicians would save the gods, if they had magic. He gave them magic, and he created a backup source in case the gods ever took magic away, so that worthy magicians, capable of retrieving the seven keys, could restore it.
Prometheus commissioned Calypso to create the Castle as a vault, and forged the 7 keys from his own power. This weakened him greatly and left him vulnerable to his enemies, leading to his demise. Calypso loved him, and kept her promises to him, despite blaming humanity for her friend’s death. She shows them the location of the prison, intact and hidden underneath Fillory. The castle known as Blackspire was thought to be lost when Ember and Umber came to Fillory, but instead of destroying it to create their own world, they just flipped the land upside down and started over.
Having told them the location, she has no further assistance to provide, but Calypso reminds them that the trials of the keys were to insure only the right people could enter the Castle, and to prepare them for what is inside. If they want to turn magic back on they need to get in, but above all else, they must not let what is inside get out. The creatures inside are things even gods fear.
Afraid of the influence magic has over her, and the danger it poses in untrained hands, Alice agreed to work with the Library, directly undermining her friends efforts. Quentin talked her out of this, with an ultimatum, and she deferred to his judgement, but now that all the keys are in hand and the return of magic is within reach, she is overcome by her insecurities. She goes to Dean Fogg and tells him they are on the verge of completing their quest, but she can’t control herself when magic returns. She has heard he has a potion that can wipe memories, but also implant a new persona. She wants to take the Blue Pill and live in ignorance of magic.
MorpheusDean Fogg briefly laments that she is one of the most talented magicians he has ever seen, but he gives her the potion she asks for. It is blue.
Alice leaves, and Dean Fogg makes his way to see the Librarian. He tells her they need to discuss their arrangement.
Fen Filling in for Fillory’s King.
Fen holds court on Margo’s place, tending to mundane matters of state, when she is visited by the Faerie Queen. The Queen advises Fen to apologize less and act in a more regal manner, but she came to report the mysterious disappearance of six faeries. She has a piece of something she believes is a magical device that gives humans night vision, perhaps to enable them to sneak upon and abduct faeries. Fen tells her there is no magic, so such a device shouldn’t work, but she goes about setting a trap. She wears faerie clothes and walks through a forest at night, and is set upon by Gavin, the rotten traveler from the Library, and Irene McAllistair. They see their faerie target is just a human girl, so they call off their hunt, but Fen springs her trap, surrounding the poachers with pikemen. Of course, Gavin is unimpressed, since he can teleport away, but Fen keeps them from leaving by offering them something back at the castle.
Fen tries to enlist the Faerie Queen in her ruse to keep Irene and Gavin busy, knowing that her friends are nearing the finish line, and all they have to do is keep the Library away from the magic source for a mere minute. The Faerie Queen decides now is the time to make a deal with Irene- her own life and the power of 50 faeries contained in her royal bones in exchange for a pact; no non-faerie will ever hunt a faerie again. Irene takes the deal, and the Queen has secured peace for faerie-kind, at the cost of her own life. She whispers something in Fen’s ear, and goes to the literal chopping block. She taunts Irene one last time, telling her she will come to regret this deal, and Irene plunges a dagger into her heart.
The Castle at the End of the World.
Quentin used the one-time magic Julia gave him to communicate with the Kinght guarding the monsters in the castle. They have no idea what is inside, and he decides this is the best way to find out. He makes contact with her in her dreams, Inception-style, and asks for her help. She understands his mission to come for the magic source, but is nervous about taking her eyes off her charge. She tells Quentin that there is only one thing left in the prison, as it killed everything else. Quentin makes her an offer, and informs his friends that he has secured entrance into the prison, in exchange for taking the knight’s place as the warden. No one is pleased to hear this, but Quentin is resolute- the quest prepared him for this, and it needs to be done.
The Muntjac takes them over the edge of the world and under, and the Knight, Ora, lets them in. Ora takes Quentin to the final remaining captive of Blackspire, an evil with no name. She tends to it and keeps it happy by treating it like a child and playing games, giving it love. The evil creature in a teen body comes forward at Ora’s summons and sees someone new. “Will you play with me?” he asks. Quentin understands and begins to make contact with the creepy teenager that frightens the gods by offering to show it a card trick, but Eliot takes matters into his own hands and shoots it with the god-killing bullet, as Alice watches from the shadows. It instantly puts down the boy, which upsets Quentin, and while he argues with Eliot, the essence of the unnamed evil simply leaves the corpse on the floor and enters the Knight, Ora. Distracted, Eliot and Quentin don’t see this, and the possessed Ora disappears.
Nothing to be done about it now, they return to the group and turn their attention to Prometheus’ backdoor to magic, but Alice has something else in mind. She uses magic to swipe the keys out of Margo’s hands before she could distribute them, and begins a spell that will destroy them. When Margo charges her, she is pushed back by Alice’s magic. They protest, but Alice says she won’t remember this anyway, either she has taken Dean Fogg’s potion or she plans to.
Powered up by the faerie dust given to her by the Head Librarian, Alice destroys the seven keys forged from the very life essence of Prometheus. They fall to the ground, molten piles of inert metal, and Quentin drops to the floor to try to gather one and see if there is anything left.
Julia, creator of world(s).
Iris has begun to introduce Julia to her responsibilities as a goddess, and Julia asks is she will create worlds. Iris tells her they will start with one
She begins to focus on what kind of world she can create as a newly minted goddess, but, still connected to her friends, feels Quentin’s anguish. Something has gone terribly wrong, but Quentin is fighting. She knows he will die trying to fix this. Iris tells her that in a moment it will be better, then in another moment it won’t matter. Individuals and their momentary strife don’t register to timeless immortals, who are more concerned with the big picture- the same thing Hades told Penny in the Underworld- but Julia’s connection to her friends, and to Quentin in particular, is too strong, and she decides to intervene.
Julia appears at the Castle and tells Alice she was wrong, and that she will come to see that one day, but for now she just needs her out of the way. She binds Alice and tells Quentin she came because of him. His bravery made her realize that what happens now matters. Julia begins the painful and taxing process or forging seven keys from her own essence, as Prometheus did, so the group can restore magic to this world. Julia is depleted and no longer feels connected to anything, but has made her sacrifice for the sake of her friends and the quest, and they have the means to restore magic to the world. They collect the keys and place them into Prometheus’ device and turn them, initiating a water flow and immediately feeling the surge of magic’s return. Their satisfaction doesn’t last, as Irene, Gavin and Dean Fogg appear, Irene immoblizes them all, and Dean Fogg hands a siphon to Gavin, who places it in the machine, diverting all magic to the Library. Irene begins to torture them, but Deam Fogg reminds her they have a deal, and to harm the students would put her on the Library’s bad side, and the Library now has all the magic. Irene backs off, and Dean Fogg approaches them with a blue bottle.
Brakebills appears back to normal, Professor Lipson is teaching a class full of students, but her demonstration falters. The magic supply to the school is insufficient. She can barely teach class and she can’t assign homework at all. The dean tells her to make do and he will try to handle it. At the Library, he asks the head Librarian for an increase in supply, but she is very busy and won’t listen to requests until the proper time, but he has the proper paperwork, in triplicate, to divert magic from another school whose attendance hasn’t yet recovered.
While he is there, he visits Alice, who was imprisoned for breaking her agreement with the Library. She doesn’t get to take the blue potion, but she implores the dean to help her friends. She alone saw the unnamed evil possess the Knight, Ora. She knows that it will come for her friends because it saw them in the prison and that they will be helpless without magic to defend them, or even the knowledge that something may be coming for them or who they really are. The thing is a shapeshifter, already a dangerous enemy, as Alice knows from her experience with the Lamprey, but it is also a thing that frightens the gods themselves.
The students are scattered. Penny23 is a DJ, Julia an architect- a nod to her missed opportunities as a world-creating goddess, perhaps. Kady is on the street and back on heroin, while Margo seems to be doing well for herself. Josh, a driver looking for his fare, calls out for “Janet,” and Margo answers. He introduces himself as Isaac, and she stares at him for a moment, then berates him for being late.
Quentin walks out of a bookstore with an armload of books and a coffee when an excited Eliot runs up to him, but Quentin doesn’t recognize him. He says his name is Bryan, and that Eliot must be mistaken, but Eliot is insistent they know eachother, and asks Quentin to do a card trick for him. “Will you play with me?”
QuentinBryan hurries away from this manic stranger, who suddenly appears in front of him, with glowing eyes and tells them how much fun they are going to have together.
A brief review.
I don’t spend a lot of time making assessments, but judge I shall. This was probably the best season of a show I already loved, but when you do so much right, the errors are all the more glaring.
This was bullshit. The whole finale, really. Despite there being so many things I loved, there were too many terrible decisions made to get the characters into position for the big takedown at the end that could have been achieved in more believable ways. For example, Irene surviving the massacre of her family by hiding under the table. That was stupid, but she has faerie dust, why not show her use that to escape, using up her precious supply and making her desperate enough to sneak into Fillory to kidnap and murder wild faeries? Honestly, magicians capturing faeries never made any kind of sense in the first place, but a gang of vicious, revenge minded monsters just ignores someone because she’s hiding under a table then let her run away? The show needs a bad guy to survive to the end, but there were ways to do that which make sense.
I give the season as a whole an A, but the finale gets a C-, and that’s probably a bit generous. It’s not just that I didn’t like the way things turned out- we weren’t meant to be happy about it because it’s not over yet- but that there were simple and seemingly obvious ways to do them better. Alice’s change of heart is another one- she wanted to just become someone else when the quest was done and live in blissful ignorance, but suddenly she decides to betray everyone, including Quentin to whom she just professed her love? There was no step in between?
The ultimate evil in a castle full of evils is an omnipotent baby? Why did the gods even make that? How can none of the gods un-make it? I expect Sera Gamble would know of something scarier than Lamprey 2.0, now immortal.
Again, I honestly loved it. Calypso, Prometheus, Iris, the Knight and the Castle- such engaging storytelling and effective worldbuilding in this episode alone, but that doesn’t make me blind to the flaws.
The music was compelling throughout, I think they did great work setting the atmosphere- it has been consistently good this season- something I’ll have to pay attention to in my rewatch of seasons 1 and 2.
Now you see it, now you don’t.
- I should have been happy that season 4 was already ordered, but that’s why this episode had to be such a damn downer. I should have seen that coming, but I didn’t.
- I hope Eliot is okay, and Ora, too. The unnamed evil can jump bodies, so killing his host won’t stop it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t leave a body without killing it. Ora played with him for centuries, he may have left her unharmed, but Eliot introduced himself with a gun, so I see no way he gets out of this alive.
- Then again, Eliot’s god killing bullet had no effect, so it may not have even registered it as his own attempted murder, maybe it thinks this is a new game.
- I was disappointed Ora didn’t have cool white hair like the in the story book, and that we didn’t get to see her do much. She’s essentially Wonder Woman, according to the book. She found all 7 keys by herself, that’s seriously badass.
- The Faerie Queen’s deal makes no sense. Fen just told her all they had to do was stall Irene and Gavin, but she instead immediately empowers them. Making a deal with Irene that non-faeries can’t ever hunt faeries again, which can’t possibly be binding; Irene can’t reasonably represent all of humankind, let alone other races.
- Dean Fogg’s actions make zero sense, as well. If he left them alone, magic would be back and his school would be in full force. Now he has to go beg the Library for the magic he handed them.
- I think someone made a faerie deal for season 4. This is what happens- you get what you want, but in the worst possible way.
- I have to say, I like the use of the upside down in Fillory. All this time, it just looked like a Discworld-style floating fantasy world, but there was an actual reason for it not being a sphere. Neat.
Was the Beast right?
- When Quentin was the Beast in timeline 23, he killed all the Magicians to keep them from unleashing the evil into the world.
- Martin Chatwin killed a bunch of Magicians, and ripped out Dean Fogg’s eyes. It seemed pointless and malicious at the time, but now I think he might have had his reasons. Fogg has been lying to them and to Jane Chatwin, across 40 timelines, maybe the Beast saw through it.
- Julia used her power to create the replacement keys, but I have to think she still has some spark left. People will still pray to Our Lady of the Tree, and that worship should build up within her. Gods make people, but people make gods. She grew the spark from useless party trick to god-level power, I like to think she can do it again.
- It really should have been “Our Lady of the Trees.” The singular here just doesn’t sound right to me.
- There are parallels between Julia and Penny’s arcs. They both moved on to another plane, they both had gods tell them that the people they left behind won’t matter soon. Penny has a great future ahead of him, and even though he wanted to help his friends, he really couldn’t. I don’t fault him in the least for embracing his new path. I feel cheated that Julia doesn’t get to do the same because of Alice’s selfishness, but in either case, it’s probably something we wouldn’t get to see- it is beyond us.
- When the Muntjac headed over the edge of the world to flip over to the bottom, Josh, Kady and Penny23 were looking out the porthole eating tacos, which is funny because Josh brought them taco supplies last time he was there, but also because immediately preceeding that scene was a Taco Bell commercial. They have to be doing this stuff on purpose, right? Like when Pirates of the Caribbean was on right before the pirate king episode.
- The actress who played Calypso was the Krill teacher in the episode of The Orville where they infiltrated the Krill ship and killed everyone but the teacher and children. That was a great episode, and she was really good in it.
- If you watched Dirk Gently, the Faerie Skye was the pink-haired cowgirl from Wendimoor.
The next chapter...
MargoJanet looked at JoshIsaac and for a moment we got a hint of recognition, but it was just annoyance at her driver’s tardiness... or was it? Nobody knows Margo has a Faerie eye, and I think she may have trouble understanding what she sees, but she saw something in Josh. The way she looks at him after he turns his back and drives away, she is definitely disconcerted about something
- Julia fixed Dean Fogg’s eyes. I look forward to the time when she takes them back. I know I call for a lot of violence and then backpedal, like Penny, Faeries, Tick, and probably a few others, but Dean Fogg is a betrayer. They should rip out his eyes and warn anyone who helps him see, or gives him booze, will get the same. The eyes are god-touched, I’m sure they can make use of them.
- Ditto for the Librarian. She has to go down.
- Gavin- really, do I have to say it? Give him the rusty spoon.
- Irene- feed her to the faeries.
- How many people can you murder in cold blood and still hold your head high? Because I’m all in favor of at least those 4 going down. I just caught some of Sin City, they need a Violent Marv-style Hard Goodbye.
- Honestly, Alice is on the fence here, too.
- We still don’t have any resolution from that time Quentin traded his blood to a Fillorian witch in season 2. I fully expect they will get to that in good time.
- Alice ends the episode frantically warning Dean Fogg of the danger posed by the unnamed evil, but he doesn’t believe her. Is this the beginning of Alice’s transformation into Cassandra? Does Cassandra even remember being Alice, if he was Alice, or is she just that far gone? Oh, this could be where the blue pill potion comes in and turns her into someone else. That adds up- points to the show on that one.
- We thought the Great Blank Spot was what scared the Librarians, but now we know there is something coming for the gods themselves(maybe the unnamed evil from the prison, maybe something else?), foretold by Prometheus, and the Librarians just became self-appointed gatekeepers of Magic. It seems likely this is a self fulfilling prophecy, and they cause the danger. This was always likely, based on the Librarian’s discussion with Harriet.
Until next time.
With that, we come to the end the Magicians season 3 recaps. Thanks to everyone for visiting. It’s going to be a long and simply dreadful wait until the next season. I hope to continue this conversation then, but I don’t know if it will be in this format. We’ll see. Until we meet again.