The Ardent Eccentric – Magicians S2E2 – Hotel Spa Potions

Episode 2 of Season 2 of The Magicians slowed things down this week, and explored personal relationships between the good, the bad, and the sexy.  We also had the return of Marina (a villain who will be potentially redeemed), Professor Pearl Sunderland (the professor fighting her attraction to a student), and Martin primarily communicating thru song, so basically a very special TV movie on Lifetime.

As always, spoilers, so if you haven’t watched the episode, read at your own risk.


Adventures at Brakebills

The gang (sans Eliot) heads back to the fountain that will take them back to Brakebills, but they find it a bit odd that the bandits previously waiting to kill them are just hanging out, watching. Penny, however, doesn’t question it further and immediately swan dives into the fountain. As they rematerialize at Brakebills, Dean Fogg is waiting for them on a bench and commends them on still being alive.  Guess 40th time was the charm.

Quentin explains that there was nothing left in the Armory, other than a student workbook from 1893.    Quentin explains to Fogg what a workbook is, as if Fogg was a first grader; yes, he’s partially blind, but he’s probably an experienced enough magician and educator to be able to tell resource materials apart, even with limited vision.

“I’m not a dumb ass, Quentin.”

They share with him that there is a spell referenced in the workbook by a Professor Bigby called the Rheinmann Ultra. The spell should be strong enough to stop the Beast from making his way back to the Wellspring and sucking it dry, which would deplete Fillory of all of its magic, and subsequently, drain Earth of all its magic. The dean heads off to get some of the other faculty on board, while the gang heads off to the Physical Kids cottage to obtain something that will help Penny get better control of his hands.

Fogg enlists Professor Sunderland (the lovely Anne Dudek) to help him find the Battle Magic hidden in the Brakebills Library by the previous Defense Against the Dark Arts-style teacher, Professor Bigby.  The former professor insisted that Battle Magic needed to remain a required course, but it had been outlawed, so Fogg fired her.  Sunderland is not convinced about all this, but Fogg appeals to her ego a bit, noting that she’s the one who knows the most about the Brakebills Library.

“Come on Pearl, you know you are the baddest bitch for breaking through the Brakebills Library for the Battle Magic.”

Meanwhile, when the gang arrives at the cottage, Penny confronts Josh, who along with Victoria abandoned them in Fillory last season.  While he doesn’t have control of his hands on a consistent basis, Penny does manage to lob off a good kick to Josh’s junk after his hands refuse to cooperate.

Probably not the way Josh anticipated this afternoon going

Margo prepares a drink for Penny that her and Eliot used for treating hangovers, but with a little bit of Ativan and Nightshade mixed in.  The potion controls his muscles and the autonomy of his hands, so of course Penny sucks it down with reckless abandon, ignoring the fact that, you know, he OD’ed last season because of his need for control.  What’s adorable is that Margo shared something with Penny that was originally just something she had with Eliot – is this the start of Menny (or Pargo)?

Hopefully there are Menny more times like this to come

At the library, the gang meets back up with Fogg and Sunderland, where Fogg shares with them that Bigby is a 500-year old pixie, and pixies love riddles and tricks, so they have to find where she hid the battle magic by trying to solve a series of clues.  The only thing they have to start with is that the book they are looking is called Lost Hope Options.  While Fogg and Margo look through the card catalog for information,

Seriously, if only Google was this awesome when I did a search…

Quentin and Alice make anagrams from “Lost Hope Options,” while Sunderland and Penny try to assign numbers to the letters in the title, and do elaborate tutting to try to crack the code.

“Eliot Pass Photon” – Coincidence or foreshadowing?

The gang regroups to go over what they’ve learned, which appears to be nothing.  Quentin and Alice share their frustration that the anagrams don’t seem to mean anything, and Quentin scoffs that one of the options, “Hotel Spa Potions,” is the most absurd grouping of them all.

Well…turns out there is the cutest book ever in the library with that exact title.  Swathed in a book jacket with a 1950’s mom on the front, the book turns out to be “Lost Hope Options” underneath.

See? Cutest book ever!

Quentin does the traditional “Whoooo!” move that is characteristic of magicians

But of course the chapter on Battle Magic is missing, and there’s another self-righteous “I told you so” dig directed at Fogg from Bigby, along with a riddle to solve to find out how to get in touch with her.  Based on the clues, they figure out that she’s at 219 Quick Lane in Somerset, Rhode Island.  Quentin, Alice, and Fogg take off for Bigby’s house to try to get her to release the battle magic.

When they arrive at her home, Quentin and Alice find out that Fogg and Bigby have a history, given the fact that she immediately kisses him upon their arrival and asks for a quickie before Fogg tells her they need her help.  Between telling them about how battle magic got out of hand due to human paranoia and hunger for power, Bigby shares stories about her sexcapades, with gods and with Fogg.  Apparently the juniper tree outside of the Infirmary has the softest grass ever for missionary, so, good to know if I ever visit Brakebills.

Quentin is so done with hearing about Fogg and Bigby getting it on

After they appease her with compliments about how great it was that she intervened with battle magic both at Gettysburg and at the Battle of the Bulge, she gives Alice the Rheinmann Ultra spell.  Alice practices the spell, but she can’t master it quickly enough to use it before she runs out of godly power.  Fogg confides that he has his own secrets that could help, and the three head back to Brakebills.

Dean Fogg takes the gang to an underground secret room at Brakebills and tells them they will need something very strong to hold off the Beast.  The first step: get very, very drunk (hey, the night already is starting out great!).  But he’s getting them blitzed so that they can stand the pain of getting their name tattooed onto their backs by Professor Li.  The tattoos aren’t just the latest Brakebills fashion statement, they are meant to hold a cadodemon.  A fiery little asshole inserted under the skin that will keep Martin busy when they are unleashed, but they are incredibly painful to carry.  Each of them are assigned a special word that will release the cacodemon, but we don’t find out what those are before the episode ends.

Yeah, he’s hot enough to hold with tongs, but go ahead and shove it in the tender skin on someone’s back, that’s a great idea


The Start of Pearlenny?

Penny’s been having issues with his hands since returning to Brakebills, from being unable to stop himself from accidentally punching Fogg in the stomach, to his hands betraying him as he attempts to hit Josh upon seeing him in the Physical Kids Cottage.

When his hands go haywire for the 4000th time while trying to crack the code with Sunderland, she offers to help, but he refuses.  She doesn’t appear super excited about the fact that he’s drugging himself to keep his hands under control, particularly after last season and his solution for dealing with the Beast infiltrating his head. But the more you try to tell a headstrong magician they are fucking up, the more they move towards fucking up, amirite? Sunderland wisely sticks with sexy instead of motherly, and leaves Penny alone for the time being.

Yeah, he’s probably not going to listen whether you go with sexy or motherly

Later on, when the rest of the group heads to Bigby’s, Sunderland catches him shaking and throwing down his thermos in frustration, since there’s none of Margo’s special potion left.  He finally lets her help him, and help him she does.  Like in a 50 Shades of Gray kind of way.

Pearl binds Penny’s hands behind his back, since he’s not allowed to look at his hands for 12 hours while they are healing.  He sweet talks her into removing his shirt and giving him a shoulder rub, since having his hands tied up behind his back is causing him pain (or is it pleasure?).

This doesn’t have an inappropriate vibe to it at all

They almost kiss, but then don’t, much to my annoyance (and probably Penny’s too).  I had my fan girl squeals almost out and then…denied.  Well, I take that back – she did kiss him on the forehead and tell him that maybe she’d take him up on sexy time…after he graduates.

Kiss, dammit.

The next morning, Penny finds that the spell has worked, and he tells Pearl he really owes her.

Yes. Yes, you do Penny.  You owe her a Mrs. Robinson kind of night that she shares conspiriatorally with Healer Faye and Professor Lipson over drinks on their girls’ night out.

“OMG guys, stop it! He’s much bigger than that!”


The High King and His Incompatible Queen

Back in Fillory, Eliot and Fen get the throne room opened, but it is not quite what they were expecting. Filled with the smell of death, as well as the corpses of the previous kings and queens, Eliot and Fen realize that “a small problem with the throne room” was probably an understatement.

Next week, on Fillorian Hoarders…

Eliot, not being a moron, has the throne chairs removed along with the corpses, and addresses his next royal priority – creating champagne.  Despite using the go-to fermenting spell, the sparkling wine tastes like shit, and Fen tries to help him realize that there is more to being a king than cleaning up and creating wine.  The people of Fillory are starving and magic is part of the problem – she shares with him that the people are looking for a truly inspiring king, which they haven’t had since Rupert Chatwin.

Eliot gets back to his roots (heh…literally), and he and Fen head off to the South (apparently the Nut Capital of Fillory) to determine what to do about the fact that nothing will grow.  Eliot swallows his pride and discomfort in dealing with his childhood to teach them about farming.  His agony at having to relive his childhood prompts Fen to agree to give him anything, which for him is an orgy.

Most guys just ask for a shoulder rub, Eliot – look at Penny

Fen is horrified as they plan to spend the night with 8 other people in the room for sexy time, and Eliot’s heart wins out over his dick when she wistfully asks if she is not enough for him.  Which she isn’t, because you know, she’s a girl, and a pretty unworldly girl at that. But he can’t bring himself to make her feel inadequate as a wife, and hesitantly offers himself to be pussy-whipped, because life is full of new adventures.

The next morning, though, it’s obvious that Eliot wasn’t pussy whipped so much as spirit crushed.  Having to deny his sexuality, as well as revisiting what he deems his “agrarian childhood,” along with limited access to alcohol, is wearing the High King down very quickly.

Sometimes even a positive outlook can’t help things

He laments the fact that he will have to relive sprinkling shit, which Fen seems utterly confused about – hell, she doesn’t seem to understand the word “crops” as opposed to “magical Southern nut farm.” It becomes quickly apparent that the farmers of Fillory don’t fertilize (heh…that’s a lot of Fs), so Eliot sets out with a group of strapping young men to deliver shit to his farmers.  Being Eliot, he tries to make it into something gallant and royal, but it’s really hard to do that with sincerity, because, you know…it’s shit.

More shit to deliver, men! Let us be off!

It doesn’t take long for the fertilizer to work, and one of his subjects presents him with a tiny plant. Before Eliot can come up with an adequate response, the rest of the gang apparates into the castle from Brakebills.  He tells them now he is the King of Shit, to which none of them know how to respond.



He Did It…His Way!

In New York, while Julia is trying to recreate the symbol that will attract Reynard, the Beast has decided to amuse himself by singing Cole Porter songs and snacking on “Treasure Crunch” cereal, and in general driving Julia crazy.

Chocolate cereal and show tunes? What more could Martin possibly need?

He points out that the sigil she’s using to draw in Reynard is too similar to the one she used the first time she came into contact with the trickster god, and that he’s smart enough to realize it would be a trap.  When she tells him to dial down the chipper, he does to a certain extent, pointing out that life and the after-life are all pointless, and so to lessen the void of existence we fill it with things like seeking revenge, or claiming thrones, but that wouldn’t be a problem for long for her friends.  Julia deduces that he’s cursed the castle in Fillory, but Martin’s rather cagey as to whether or not there is any validity to her assumption.

He redirects Julia back to the task at hand, letting her know that they need bait – a powerful and beautiful witch, and he knows just the one.  Julia threatens to make good on their bond rather than allowing him to put another woman in danger.  Martin points out that the bond only causes the Leo Blade to cut his throat if he harms her or her friends, or undermines her efforts, and since his plan does neither of those, he disappears into the streets of New York to snag someone before she can stop him.

Julia is rightfully freaking out, not sure whether to look for Martin or to wait for him to return, when Martin shows up with a Hedge witch with a bag over her head.

It’s like he’s an overly eager cat whose brought home a bird for his owner…

Marina isn’t interested in helping, but Julia points out that Reynard is targeting Hedges.  However, that doesn’t change her mind about helping to kill Reynard – she refuses, not wanting to get involved.

But when Marina leaves Julia’s place, she does reach out to a fellow Hedge witch on the west coast for help, and says she will be there soon so that they can make plans with the other boss Hedge witches to take out Reynard.  However, when she arrives, the other witch has been Rey-narded, and Marina flees to Brakebills to request asylum.  Dean Fogg, however, isn’t having her there poisoning the atmosphere and his students with her attitude, and when he refuses to help her, she leaves Brakebills, calling him a massive prick.

Yeah, this would make me seek asylum from someone who ruined my life too

Julia and Martin, in the meantime, are arguing about the fact that she’s sending him in to take out a god he has no qualms with, and with no bait, which is handicapping him from actually succeeding.  He tries to convince her to give him just a bit of her Shade to take away some of her pain, and to make it more tolerable to her conscience that they would be using Marina. Julia threatens him with cutting off his dick or his tongue if he doesn’t shut up about that idea, or if he doesn’t stop singing.  Seriously, that is a Broadway scene waiting to happen.

Julia receives a message through her mirror from Quentin to meet, as he needs to share something with her before he returns to Brakebills. He warns her that they plan to kill the Beast, and to not to be within 20 feet of him when Alice delivers the killing blow.  She says if they do it before Martin kills Reynard, that they better not be within 20 miles of her.  After a further awkward exchange, in which Quentin tries to help Julia realize that magic will die if they don’t take out Martin, and Julia tries to help Quentin understand that people will continue to die if they don’t take out Reynard, the two friends leave each other, frustrated, but not before Julia offers a warning to Quentin as well that Martin has somehow cursed the castle for anyone who assumes the throne.

By the end of the episode, with nowhere else to go, Marina arrives at Julia’s with Martin bursting into song, presumably about the fact that he now has appropriate bait.  The two women are united in their annoyance and share a cigarette before closing the door and continuing their plan to take out Reynard.

Unified in their hatred for the overbearing Cabaret singer


Q & A & Thoughts about Q & A… and Everyone Else

  • Holy shit, I think Martin would have been a lot happier had he just created the Fillorian version of Broadway instead of constantly seeking revenge.
  • When Eliot enters the throne room for the first time, he looks like a 16th century king dying of consumption.

Still cute, though.

  • I’m definitely starting to think Penny knows exactly what Sunderland is thinking when she’s near him, so he takes full advantage of that to initiate sexy time.
  • Bigby’s house looks weirdly similar to the Quinn’s home from last season – and Quentin and Alice once again are getting advice about the power of sex to improve their magical effectiveness (the first time was with that dude Joe with the “adaptable genetalia” who was friends with Alice’s parents).

  • Come to think of it, why can’t Quentin keep Alice juiced up with his sexy magic, similar to how they lit up the fountain in Fillory last season? Surely there has to be a spell for that, and it would be particularly helpful, given the Bigby points out that they “fuck like jackrabbits.” Classy, Bigby.
  • I was all excited when there was a new hedge witch, but was confused because she was never actually introduced, like with a name.  Then, when she was dead 10 minutes later, it suddenly made sense.
  • On a more serious note, Penny not having control of his hands was handled sensitively and intelligently – for people with seizures or tics, they can often feel ashamed or embarrassed at being out of control.  Ativan (Lorazapem) is an AED (anti-epileptic drug) which combined with the other ingredients, probably did help stop his hands from shaking.  Of course, the Nightshade may not have reacted very well with it, but whatever.  Kudos to Arjun Gupta for his portrayal and for the show’s producers for integrating it into the storyline.

This broke my heart.

  • So the new generation of Fillorian royalty is fucked if Eliot can’t puzzle out what caused the deaths of the previous kings and queens.  Mind you, he had the chairs removed, but is the curse on the chairs or on those who assume the throne? If the curse is in effect regardless of the type of chair, I doubt Eliot would die the moment he sat down, given that Martin said that the other Children of Earth were full of self-love and power-lust, and neither of those adjectives could be used to describe Eliot, Quentin, Alice or Margo.
  • So Eliot has kind of become the King of Shit in more ways than one – his attempt at champagne tastes like shit, he’s kind of a shitty lover to Fen (not intentionally), and he provides his subjects with shit in order to improve the crops.  He’s a little too raw when the rest of the gang returns to Fillory, without having much alcohol to hide his real emotions.  I know I have probably said this every week that I write these, but Hale Appleman is ridiculous in the control he has over peeling back the layers of Eliot for the viewer – it’s just really a joy to watch and analyze.  In any case, as Eliot goes through the episode, it’s clear he’s not quite adapting to all of this with his normal gusto – when he heads out to visit the farmers with fertilizer, it looks like he hasn’t brushed his hair in days, he’s neglected shaving, and he’s wearing a simple tunic, pants, boots, and his wedding band – a far cry from his eclectic collection of rings and tailored clothing he initially wore to Fillory. By the end of the episode, he’s cleaned himself up considerably, but I think it is going to still be one hell of an adjustment period for Eliot.

The many phases of Eliot

  • So who came before and after Rupert Chatwin as king? Did Martin cast the curse after his siblings took the throne? And if Ember wouldn’t allow Martin to be a king, who served in his place?
  • Margo says that her special drink was something she and Eliot used when they had the shakes after a hangover.  Ummm…isn’t that kind of a problem? Like drinking to the point of having the shakes the next day?
  • Did no one notice Martin singing as he crossed the street, or just they did not care with it being downtown New York? Or was he not visible to the other people walking?

Or maybe, because it’s New York, this is just an everyday occurrence

  • I was really hoping we were going to get to see Marina travel through the mirrors to get to the West Coast, similar to how they introduced it in the books, but it appears that she took a plane to see the other Hedge witch.  Maybe it will still make its way into the storyline.
  • Eliot trying to fake a migraine was adorable, but the Fillorians seem to have about as much knowledge about headaches as they about growing crops.

Nice try El.

  • Fen is doing her best with Eliot, but it’s like there’s never been a single gay person acknowledged in Fillory, or perhaps she is just super sheltered.  Like most of their subjects, I don’t think Fen has ever had to deal with a king so frank and so dramatic.
  • What the hell was Margo doing while Sunderland and Penny were having their May-December romantic evening, and Quentin, Alice and Fogg were visiting with Bigby?
  • I can’t decide if I am more of a fan of Pearlenny, or Menny (or Pargo, if you prefer).  Arjun Gupta has crazy sexual chemistry with both Anne Dudek (Sunderland) and Summer Bishil (Margo), but I’m not sure if I want Penny to just have a forbidden romance, or a deeper, saucier relationship.  Meh, I think I will just enjoy the possibility for both of them for now.

  • What would happen if someone else yelled out your cacodemon’s trigger word? Like, if Penny is annoyed with Quentin at some point, could he just yell out “supermarket” and send it screaming out of Quentin’s back? Or does it have to be the owner of the cacodemon that yells out the word?
  • Also, would you name your cacodemon or would that make it harder to release it when the time came? It would certainly weird your enemy out long enough to be surprised by the little guy/girl if you had an incongruous combination of name and trigger word. I know I would be confused enough to not act immediately if someone I was fighting randomly yelled out “Mitzi, accountant!”


Magical Moments for Memorization:

  • Best argument against Julia’s plan for Reynard was from Marina tonight: “So you decide to hire Michael Buble and then you use me as bait?” Bahahaha

Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, Buble and the Beast

  • Best exchange in the whole show? This, when they are getting their tattoos:
    • Quentin: Well, I can never get buried in a Jewish cemetery.
    • Alice: Are you even Jewish?
    • Quentin: No, but options.
    • Penny: How much do I have to drink to never have to hear your voice again?
  • Most profound truth of the episode: Alice – “Not everything that hurts is bad.”


Next Week:

Episode 3, entitled Divine Elimination doesn’t have the subtlety of the first two episode titles, so it’s pretty obvious that either Reynard or the Beast is their target.  While the previews seem to indicate a final showdown between Alice and the Beast, Reynard is more the divinity that needs to be eliminated.  Also, if this is anything like the books, we are going to get Alice in a whole new form next week, which will be sad, but interesting to see at the same time. Luckily only a few more days to go.



All photos other than those listed below from The Magicians on

Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? From

Michael Buble.  From