The Ardent Eccentric – Magicians S2E3 – Divine Elimination

Divine Elimination is a multilayered title this week, working from the lowest to the highest form.  Elimination of souls, elimination of waste, elimination of control.  It’s also pretty harrowing that we’re only up to episode 3, with all that happened.

But let’s get to it – blah, blah, spoilers, blah, blah, over-analysis, blah blah.

Royal Elimination (or the Battle Royale)

We open with Eliot recapping the last couple of episodes, noting that he too wanted a tramp stamp cacodemon and super cool 80’s bracelets like Penny’s.  He feels a little left out of the whole plan to take out the Beast, and Margo asks him what he’s been up to while they came back with weapons and options.  With a flourish, he shows them the restored thrones and proposes a toast in celebration that all of the kings and queens are present to rule over Fillory.

“Don’t knock it – upholstery is hard.”

However, the curse of the thrones (or it might be in their cups-it’s unclear at this point) feeds off of Eliot’s insecurities about being left behind by the rest of the group, and he zones out for a moment, imagining that Margo, Quentin and Alice are plotting against him.  He tells them before storming off that he won’t go down easily.

“I believe…you wish to kiiiillllll me.”

Soon the thrones (or cursed cups) have taken over all of them, much to Penny’s frustration and bewilderment.

I feel like Penny has this “wtf” expression a lot with this group

He initially thinks that Eliot is just having a bad trip from some sort of Fillorian drug, but then Alice and Quentin start acting just as weird. Alice and Quentin want to kill Eliot, Alice wants to kill Quentin and Margo, and Margo wants to kills Eliot followed by Alice and Quentin.  Quentin doesn’t note that he wants to kill everyone, but it’s pretty obvious by later in the episode that he’s thinking along the same lines.  Initially, Penny thinks Margo might be untainted, since he doesn’t think she sat on her throne before going to look for Eliot, but she’s definitely tainted, as he finds her looking for a plant to use in poison to commit undercover regicide.

Taken out of context, this is a pretty convincing photo in favor of Menny…

Eliot, meanwhile enlists the help of the royal cartographer, Benedict (why, I couldn’t tell you, given that the kid makes maps, not weapons, but hey High King prerogative) to obtain an appropriate dagger in order to kill his royal colleagues. He points out to Benedict that surely someone had to have come into the library and dramatically stabbed a knife into a map to make a point – he wants that one to enact his death rampage.

Ah Benedict, I think this is only the first of many random requests from High King Eliot

Penny enlists Fen to help him stop this, and she points out that they had always thought in the past that the kings and queens were just really prone to infighting.  Fen points out that a curse like this will be hard to break, and that they may just need to let it run its course.  Penny has an epiphany, and heads off to secure what he needs to fix the problem.

“Curses are tricky.” “You don’t say…”

Quentin, meanwhile, is sneaking around the castle with a crossbow, and runs into Margo.  Margo provokes him into shooting her at close range, but her protective enchantment causes him to miss.  But now that he is closer, she releases her cacodemon, and once these things are free, “little fiery asshole” is a bit of an understatement.

Cacodemon or Stormy the Kitten?

Penny arrives just in time, releasing his own cacodemon to protect Quentin.

Sorry for the excessive pictures, but the special effects team did a really great job here – I am now far more disturbed by the power of cacodemons

One the two demons have dealt with each other, Penny manages to hold them captive with the crossbow, shooting Margo in the ass when she tries to leave.  For his part, Quentin can’t figure out why Penny didn’t shoot her in the carotid, so the curse is clearly still rearing its ugly head.

Ah, Penny, Sunderland has taught you well

Penny manages to hold the whole group at bay with the crossbow, ignoring their pleas to be allowed to kill the others, and shares with them that the only way to break the curse is to allow it to run its course, meaning that they are going to have to die.  Apparently on his little trip away, he picked up some potassium chloride to kill them, and adrenaline to revive them.

“Heroin. I always suspected this was how I would go.”

The gang is really not into that (how surprising), and as they start to approach Penny to gang up on him, his hands go numb and he drops the crossbow.

Shit, Penny, maybe you don’t owe Sunderland for real…

Fen picks it up to try to stop them, but Margo takes it upon herself to use the potassium chloride to kill Eliot, Quinton and Alice before anyone can stop her, which you know, is another way of solving the problem.

Not the original plan, but this could work

After a great primal scream of how she won as “High Queen, bitches!”, she starts to come at Penny and Fen, quoting lines from “Conan the Barbarian,” but the curse isn’t going to let one of the royals get away with being alive, so to Margo’s confusion, she stabs herself in the heart with the potassium chloride.

Yaaaaaasssss! And….no.

Fen helps Penny inject them the adrenaline, and Eliot injects Quentin as the final royal to wake up.

Aw….royals who murder together and revive each other together stay together.

Once they are all back to normal (as normal as this situation can be), Alice realizes that she’s almost out of god juice, and they need to figure out how to get the Beast back to Fillory.  The gang is concerned that Penny can’t use his hands properly to grab the Beast and travel back to Fillory, but Penny assures them that he will tackle Martin – that everything should be fine as long as he still has the bracelets that Sunderland gave him (which, any time any character says something like that, it automatically means something is going to go horribly wrong).  They talk about being able to use their two remaining cacodemon to take out the Beast, but then Alice points out they only have Quentin’s – she felt like she was torturing it with it trapped and squiggling around in her back.

Like me in this moment, Eliot prays the Serenity Prayer as Alice tells them she’s followed the guidelines of METC (Magicians for the Ethical Treatment of Cacodemons)

Instead, she suggests that they use a Sumerian shield charm that they learned as first years, and Eliot and Margo aren’t convinced that it will work, even with all of them casting.

“A shield charm isn’t going to help me look any hotter than I already do right now.”

Quentin then shares some f-ed up metaphor about dicks and then multiple dicks and 6 people fucking to prove a point – that people can be super distracted by weird shit, since Alice would only need that long to power up the spell and take out Martin.

Elimination of Creatures Great and Small

While all this is happening in Fillory, Marina, Julia and Martin set up the trap for Reynard in a warehouse.  Marina tries to get Julia to think this whole thing through a little bit more, given that anyone powerful enough to freeze a god wouldn’t probably be able to break out of his bond.  Julia insists that everything will be fine, as Martin does his creepy whistling thing to “A hunting we will go,” because you know, they’re hunting a fox.

Martin might have a future as a preschool teacher!

Marina starts to cast the spell to call forth Our Lady Underground, but she has no faith that a benevolent mommy goddess is going to come to her, so it has no power.  Julia appeals to Marina’s acting/lying skills and to just believe it so that Reynard will show up.

“Come on now – lie to the goddess the way you lied to me back in that freezer – you’re good at it!”

Marina does give it her all, and while she’s casting, it becomes obvious that the spell is going to work. As Julia starts to withdraw the Leo Blade to prepare for Reynard, Martin apparates him and Julia away to a nearby park, much to her annoyance.  He points out that Reynard knows her scent and if they would have stayed, he wouldn’t have shown up. Julia starts to walk back to Marina’s location, with Martin sarcastically pointing out that Reynard might be so engrossed in killing Marina, they can sneak up on him and take him out.

Oh Julia…so naive, so unwilling to dance (literally and metaphorically)

When Marina is done casting, and notices that no one else is there (including Our Lady Underground, Martin or Julia) she gets pissed and heads for home.

“Y’all understand this is why I’m such a bitch, yes?”

Martin and Julia return to the warehouse, and Martin wisely points out that if Reynard had killed Marina, there would a lot more of her strewn about the space.  He points out that Reynard has probably followed Marina home, because you know, he’s a fox, and foxes will play with their food.  With Julia sufficiently horrified, they head to Marina’s only to find the apartment warded, and unfortunately Reynard made it inside before the wards were fully up.  Now Marina is trapped in her own apartment with Reynard.

Well so much for a relaxing evening with Netflix

The wards are so powerful, however, that Martin is having trouble disbanding them. Marina is trying to keep her cool and stall for time to figure out what to do next, insulting his god-hood and pointing out that deities who are all rapey and torture-y are over compensating for something.  But he does get past her cynicism when he reflects on the fact that hardly anyone summons the goddess alone, so clearly she must have someone else in her life, like oh, this giant cat.

Holy shit, that familiar is certainly familiar with the food bowl

Reynard finally gets to Marina by making a meal out of this huge cat (named Cupcake) that is (was) supposedly comfortable in a small New York apartment. Eating her cat, and eating it while it is still alive, is apparently one of Marina’s hot buttons, but she still tries to keep him from seeing her true feelings.   When he puts the cat’s mangled body on her lap, she starts to cast a spell (I’m hoping she was trying to put Cupcake out of her misery and not thinking she could take out Reynard), but he bites off several of her fingers before she can get it out.

Well this is not quite going as planned, is it?

He then continues to taunt her, trying to eat her feet, pointing out that the fear he has instilled in her make her more tender and delicious.

And now it’s taken a weird turn…but definitely not before now…

Before he can really start on her tasty toes, though, Martin and Julia break the wards, and Martin casts the special net to hold Reynard frozen in place.  Marina, now freed from the paralysis spell Reynard had on her, unwisely spits on him (because yeah, it is always a good idea to spit on your attacker who is precariously frozen in place with no guarantee that he’s going to stay that way).  However, before Julia can get the Leo knife out to kill Reynard, Penny apparates in, and snatches Martin to take him back to Fillory. Julia grabs onto Martin’s coattails and travels back as well, leaving Marina and Reynard alone.  Julia has dropped the knife and both Reynard and Marina dive for it.

Best…timing…ever. smh.

Elimination of Everything They Hold Dear

While Penny is traveling back Earth (and Marina’s apartment) to grab Martin, the gang has set up in a clearing in Fillory, and Alice begins casting Rheinmann Ultra.

Damn it I love the cinematography on this show

Traveling back in the middle of the circle, with the others casting the shield spell, Alice prepares the killing blow when suddenly Julia appears in the circle as part of the traveling.  Alice hesitates, and Quentin pulls Julia out of the way so she won’t be killed from the blast.  But his move causes Alice to miss her mark, and she only fucks up one side of Martin’s body.

Hey, uh, Martin, you got a little something…something on your sleeve there…

Martin, seeing his opportunity, literally thumbs his nose at Alice and disappears, presumably back to the Wellspring to try to heal himself.

Everyone starts fighting within the group, with them blaming Julia, and Julia blaming them for taking her away from Reynard and the Beast.  Penny, tired of it, grabs her before anyone can stop them and travels her back to New York.

Welp, that’s one way to deal with conflict, I suppose.

Julia tries to convince him to take her back, since she needs the Beast to kill Reynard, but Penny refuses.  Julia grabs his wrist to try to stop him, causing him to lose one of the special chains from Sunderland.  When his hand starts misbehaving, she acts like she’s helping him, only to pull off the second chain and leave him helpless and unable to travel back to Fillory.


Regrouping after Martin’s escape, the four royals split up to try to head off Martin at the Wellspring, with Eliot and Margo heading to Ember’s temple to ask for more unearthly jizz to top Alice off, while Quentin and Alice head to the Wellspring by taking the most awkward carriage ride ever pulled by 2 sentient horses who will probably take Margo up on her offer to fuck them if things go well.

“Yeah…that’s right baby, I’m hung like a me.”

Quentin tries to keep Alice calm in order to defeat the Beast, but because he is King Quentin, the Moderately Socially Maladjusted, he ends up bearing his soul to Alice as she’s trying to remain focused.  He eventually just gets her to just think about getting an ice cream sundae after she defeats the Beast, and will even include gummy bears for her, even though he thinks she doesn’t realize how absolutely disgusting it is to add them to ice cream. He ends up kissing her (even though they’ve been semi-arguing the whole way), and then just hold hands till they get there, which felt more honest and sincere than anything else they said to each other up until that point.

Words are very…unnecessary.

While Alice and Quentin make their way to the Wellspring, Eliot and Margo arrive at Ember’s cave only to find that he’s gone.  Turns out he’s left to take a dump in the Wellspring – like divine elimination.

Which of course sullies it to the point that Martin can’t heal himself. Ember takes off back to his cave after a few more shitting jokes, and he transports Eliot and Margot off to witness the upcoming battle before they can ask him for a godly boost.

I think this would make a great godly tribute

Martin, clearly struggling, calls Quentin and Alice out to fight.  While Alice puts up a brave front, Martin can tell that she’s losing power, and uses his one good arm to try to slice her in two. Quentin, however, jumps in the path of the spell and takes a pretty good shot to the chest and shoulder.

I’m going to say this probably makes up for sleeping with El & Margo

Alice rips off the bracelet holding her back and goes full force on Martin, slamming him into a tree.  When he tries to get up, she allows herself to go full Nifflin, letting the magic burn through her.

While the special effects are beautiful, my whole family was weeping during this.

Martin thinks he’s won, except that Alice comes back in a corperol version of herself, just consumed with magic.  After coldly taunting him, she rips open his chest to release all of his moths, and there is a lovely shot of Martin dead on the ground and the one blue dragonfly exiting from his mouth.

Well that escalated quickly

The problem with being a Nifflin though, is that she has no emotions at all, only a desire to kill, and turns her power toward Quentin.  However, there seems to be a little bit of Alice still left, since she is tearing up and hesitating, as if she doesn’t really want to kill him, but has a primal need to do so.

Way to go Q – still upsetting her even in the afterlife

Eliot and Margo try to stop her, but then she turns her attention to killing them instead.  To stop her, Quentin releases his cacodemon and it all goes horribly wrong, fully killing Alice.

These cacodemons are beautiful, even if they tend to spread a lot of chaos

The group then has a Supernatural, “The Great Escapist,” Kara-the-blinded-by-angels-waitress,  moment as Eliot cradles Quentin as he tries to crawl over to Alice, repeating the same mantra to Q as Kara did to Castiel of “you have to stop.”

I hate the circumstances that brought this on, but I love these two together

Q, if it makes you feel better, Kara is also having a terrible day.

Sadly, Marina isn’t alive either when Julia makes her way back to her apartment-so at least her and Cupcake are together now.

Q & A & Thoughts about Q & A & Everyone Else

  • Why did the curse affect them that way? They weren’t necessarily self-absorbed and power-hungry.  Maybe the semantics of Martin’s curse weren’t that important after all.
  • The whole issue with Penny’s hands was handled really sensitively again-Arjun Gupta is portraying the frustration at lacking any sort of control beautifully.
  • Where did Penny get the potassium chloride and adrenaline? Clearly, from last season, he has access to drugs, but it seems like the potassium chloride might be particularly difficult to secure, since he’s not in the medical field.
  • Just as an FYI, I realize I was pretty glib about Marina’s cat being eaten alive, but it’s purely an Eliot level defense mechanism, otherwise I would be ugly crying for quite a while.  Cupcake looked very much like our kitty Owen that we lost last year, so commenting on how fucking HUGE her familiar was made it less painful.

See? No reasonable person would be able to deal with this

  • I also kind of love that bitchy Marina’s cat was named Cupcake.  Like she was an actual sweet treat for Reynard, but with Marina, you’d expect the cat to be named something like Littlest Asshole or Fuzzy Dick Mangler.

  • Super amounts of praise to Olivia Taylor Dudley (Alice) and Kacey Rohl (Marina) for their work in tonight’s episode.  They both displayed the layered bravery of these women as they stood up to their torturers with grace and sincerity.  And kudos to director of photography Ellie Solkin for his beautiful cinematography – the poignancy of Alice and Marina’s deaths on opposite sides of the universe was evident when both of their broken bodies were arranged in a similar fashion.

  • Sadly, we also said goodbye to Charles Mesure in this episode, who did a phenomenal job as Martin/The Beast over the past two seasons.  He too displayed a complexity that seems to be the norm for actors on this show, with just the right balance of creeping us out, while also encouraging our empathy.

You have to admire his resiliency

  • The season already seems a little preoccupied with shit.  Won’t Ember taking a shit in the Wellspring affect all of Fillory? Or, like Eliot’s farming technique, maybe it’s just the fertilizer Fillory needs to keep the magic going.  And El has already been deemed the King of Shit, and now Ember is the God of Shit. Both have an affinity for pleasure, and a bit of a whimsical view of the world to soften the difficulties of life.  And both have names that start with E. Despite from being from different worlds, alike in so many ways…

“OK, I am seriously not being compared to a shitting ram god right now, right?”

  • What’s going to happen when everyone regroups and finds out who all is dead? I’m not sure that the gang really knows who Marina is enough to feel bad about her, but Penny’s certainly going to be upset when he finds out that Alice is dead, and Julia might feel a bit of remorse given that she’s the one that sort of caused all of this trouble with the Beast. This should also be the breaking point for Q with Julia, which might finally cause her to seek out someone to relieve her of her Shade.  And how bad is Dean Fogg going to feel when he finds out that both Alice AND Marina are dead?
  • Why didn’t Reynard just wait for Julia to return after he killed Marina? Does he have a one girl per night death limit – like he doesn’t want to overindulge on terrified woman heart?  Or does he know that since he planted his god seed in Julia that she would be too formidable to take out like everyone else? Or, the more likely reason, is that now he  knows that Julia is hunting him, so he’s going to make every effort to go after other women so that it hurts her each and every time she sees him get away with another murder.

  • Is there really an Our Lady Underground, or is the whole thing an elaborate ruse by Reynard to prey on vulnerable magicians crying out for assistance from the goddess?
  • Margo is crazy strong as High Queen-I am interested in how she cleans up the infrastructure and politics of Fillory.  I’m also interested to see how her relationship with Fen is going to play out, given that Fen seems to really dislike her and her hold on Eliot.

Fen is probably going to discourage this in the future

  • I thought the cacodemons had their own special word to be released, but apparently, it’s just the owner of the demon saying their own name and then “go free,” which is a little disappointing.  I really wanted the possibility of Penny releasing Q’s demon just because he was annoying the shit of him.

Magical Moments for Memorization:

“Oo-surpuers. U-surpurers.  Whatever way you pronounce it” – Eliot storming off after suspecting his fellow royalty of wanting to kill him.

“You couldn’t hit a fat girl with a fat-girl seeking arrow” – Margo provoking Quentin into shooting her with an arrow.

“You didn’t lose me like keys” – Alice, trying to make Q understand that breakups don’t work like this.

Next Week:

Next week’s episode, “The Flying Forest,” previews that Quentin seeks out the White Lady, who could probably help bring Alice back to life, and/or restore Penny’s hands.  Of course, in this picture, it seems like Penny is already doing a hundred times better, while Q definitely is not.

Q has seen better days

We also get the premiere of the White Lady, played by Emma Dumont, but I’m not sure how long she’ll be in this season – it seems like once they petition her for something, they would exhaust their “White Lady” access.

Until then, pour yourself a cup of Fillorian wine and try not to get cursed into killing the ones you love.

Photos from other than those credited below:

Stormy the Kitten:

I Pooped Today t-shirt:

Supernatural, “The Great Escapist:”

Owen the Cat: personal photograph