The Ardent Eccentric – The Magicians, S3, E3 – The Losses of Magic Recap and Review

One day, my job will be just this – overanalyzing brilliant shows like The Magicians full time, so that I can actually write a recap/review in a reasonable time frame.  Or I’ll get screeners prior to the season start.  In any case, until I do, these will always be a bit late – damn you, full time job, what with your public health agenda and whatnot!

In any case, this week’s episode, The Losses of Magic, helped me recognize several things:

  1. I’m not the only one who had a mother like Stephanie Quinn – someone (or someone(s)) on this writing team had one as well.
  2. Saran wrap is an effective method of preventing creatures from violating your bodily orifices.
  3. Demons like chocolate.

There were several losses tonight, two involving the extraction of something eating away at the body.  But there were other losses as well – freedom, fashion sense, inhibitions, body parts, lives.  So, a typical episode of The Magicians.

Let’s get into the shortest recap/review ever because it’s Wednesday and the new episode is tonight at 9 PM EST. No pictures for now, or recognizing Elie Solomkin’s amazing cinematography, but that shall return for next week.

As always, spoilers.


Alice and the Lamprey

Alice takes refuge with her parents in her attempt to flee from the Lamprey, and has to deal with her narcissistic, crazy family again (seriously, it might have been less emotionally taxing just to deal with the magical creature than her mother). Stephanie Quinn is her usual self, and Judith Hoag does quite an amazing job with this character – because I loathe Alice’s mother.  Like to the point where I hate recapping anything she says or does, so kudos to you, Judith Hoag, on your ability to embody Stephanie Quinn, you have created a supremely unlikeable character.

When Alice tells her parents about being pursued by a Lamprey, Daniel, her father goes on high alert, and is immediately suspicious when Quentin shows up to the house out of the blue and something weird slithers under the skin on his neck.  Knowing he’s been spotted, Quentin disappears, and Alice grows increasingly hysterical as she begins to suspect everyone in the house that could be taken over by the Lamprey.  She wraps herself in Saran wrap in order to block every orifice it could enter through, as well as taping up the windows and doors.  Her father discovers that it is sensitive to lightening, so he and Alice rig up an impossibly dangerous electrocution stick to shock anyone they suspect is possessed by the Lamprey.

Which means Quentin comes very close to getting electrocuted when Alice encounters him in her garage.  But the Lamprey has left him, and is now looking for a new host in the Quinn household.  Will it be Alice? Stephanie? Daniel? Or Quentin again?

When Stephanie starts acting drunker/weirder than usual, of course they suspect she’s carrying the Lamprey.  Why Alice thought it was abnormal, though, when Stephanie started hitting on Quentin, and may be indicative of a Lamprey, and not just her mother’s personality, is beyond me.  In any case, Alice seizes the opportunity to electrocute her mother, but no Lamprey comes crawling out.  She turns the weapon on Quentin, only to have Q shock himself to prove to her that the Lamprey isn’t in him.

So that means…Daniel! Her dad has the Lamprey!  After a biting remark about how Alice killed all of his children (the Lamprey’s, not Daniel’s), which is why it’s after her, it taunts her into shocking it, knowing it might kill her dad in the process.  Earlier, she and Daniel had discussed the terrible things she did as a niffin, all for the sake of knowledge.  When, in actually, she was telling the Lamprey in Daniel how she killed the Lamprey children to gain knowledge.  However – also a lie.  She killed them because they made pretty lights when they died (because, unfortunately, being a niffin turns you into a magical sociopath).

And Alice maintains some of those sociopathic tendencies, as she shocks her father, finally causing the Lamprey to come squiggling out of his mouth.  She electrocutes the actual Lamprey then, enjoying how it makes pretty lights as it dies.

Her father is ok, though! Or is he? Despite initially responding to Alice after the Lamprey left, he dies on the floor, where Stephanie finds him after she wakes up from her electrocution. Q hangs about awkwardly, not quite sure what to do.


Demon Medicine

Julia finds Kady at the Physical Kids cottage, caring for an extremely ill Penny, and trying to figure out how she’s going to obtain the ingredients for a cure, as well as take care of her dying boyfriend.  Luckily, Julia shows up, and offers to secure the items Kady needs to summon a demon, who will serve as the “surgeon” to remove Penny’s magical cancer.

When Julia obtains the items from a bedraggled woman in the street, the woman does that whole “powerful being speak through a human” thing, telling Julia that she’s missing the signs.  Whoever is speaking to her (I’m going to go with Our Lady Underground) tells her that she thought that she would have been further along by now (I’m going to go with restoring magic), and that she’ll need a push.  Julia is mildly confused but returns to the cottage with the items needed to summon the demon.

Kady, meanwhile, has been comforting Penny and leaving out chocolate for the demon they’ll be summoning – apparently, it makes demons less likely to eat people.  Ah, if only that worked as well on our inner demons as well, eh?  Speaking of inner demons, one good thing from the magical cancer is that the voices in Penny’s head have finally stopped.

Before they get much further in their conversation, though, Julia arrives with the ingredients and they summon the demon Asteroth, played by the super awesome Julian Richings.  Richings previously played Death on Supernatural, among other roles, but this is the one that he would probably be most recognized for by fans of The Magicians.

Asteroth performs weird, anesthetic free, demon surgery, where he extracts a gross bit of flesh that is the cancer.  However, the girls contacted him too late – Penny starts to look better for a moment, but then passes right in front of Julia and Kady.  Astral projecting behind them, Penny is rather distraught to be looking at his dead body.


Pirates on the Muntjac

Eliot is contemplating what the key does that they retrieved from the island last week, only to find a new keyhole in his royal chambers after fleeing there with Fen and Fray after pirates take over the Muntjac.  Using the key, the three escape to…somewhere? And sadly, that’s all we get of Hale Appleman this week and King Eliot. But we did get to see Brittany Curran’s Fen go into full on Mommy mode when the pirates boarded the Muntjac to try to protect Fray, so that was awesome.

Margo, meanwhile, is dealing with the fact that Fillory’s farmers don’t want to plant mushrooms for the Fairy Queen – it’s their tiny act of rebellion.  However, our High Queen has bigger things to deal with when she finds out that the Muntjac has been taken hostage.  Since their fastest ship wouldn’t reach Eliot and the gang for at least a week, Margo convinces the Fairy Queen to fly her, Tick, Gillen and herself on a Pegasus to the ship to parlay for the royal family’s release.  The Fairy Queen is swayed by the fact that the farmers won’t help her now, and they definitely won’t if their High King dies.

Upon arriving on the Mutjac, the Fairy Queen suns herself while reminding Margo she still has her eye on her…literally.  Tick, meanwhile, offers to use his family’s famous pick pocketing skills to get back her eye while Margo is talking to the pirates, and then blame it on the pirates. That can’t possibly turn out poorly at all…

Margo goes below deck to parlay, only to find, to her surprise, that the Pirate King is an attractive woman who has a thing for one-eyed girls.  Margo says if she frees the High King and the Muntjac, nothing is off the table.  While the Pirate King is open to this, she does need one more thing – their boat is also a Deerwood living boat, like the Muntjac, and as such…needs to mate before they can leave.  So, in essence, she’s offering them their freedom if their boat gets to rape the Muntjac.  #Awkward

Margo, being a rational, compassionate human being, balks at this, but her need to save Eliot leads her to ask the Muntjac what she wants to do.  So, not forcing the boat to mate, but explaining the situation that shows she respects the ship’s decision either way.  For once, the Fairy Queen having her eye on Margo pays off, as she is moved by Margo’s handling of the situation.

And, of course, what is a good thing also turns into a bad thing for everyone involved – the Fairy Queen slaughters the pirates, which is great for the Muntjac – not so much for Tick the Pick Pocket, since now there’s no pirates to blame the theft of Margo’s eye on.

The Fairy Queen demands back the eye, and when Margo refuses, she forces Margo’s adviser, Gillen, to come forward.  She whispers the name of a song to play in his head forever until he goes mad and dies.  Furious, Margo hands back the eye, but only after crushing it so it can’t be used to spy on her anymore.  Unfortunately, that also means she can’t get that eye back later on down the road. But small victories, right?


Q & A About Q & A and Everything Else

  • So, Penny’s death may be the push Julia needs to re-spark her magic – but since magic is derived from pain, will the loss of Penny be painful enough to Julia to be able to bring it back? Or will the pain of seeing Kady grieving be what pushes her to move forward?
  • Since magic is derived from pain, maybe Alice will have a little spark from her niffin-dom that will wake up – losing her dad and now having to deal with her mother, alone, as the only living child, is certainly enough pain to get started.
  • I realize for the practicality of the scene, Alice couldn’t cover her own mouth, but wouldn’t her mouth and nose be open then for the Lamprey?  We see near the end that the Lamprey is this huge slug like creature, so I guess it’s reasonable it could have crawled up the construction worker’s butt in the last episode? But, really, none of them would have noticed if a giant sluggity creature tried to crawl in their ears?
  • Is it bad that my first thought when Daniel died wasn’t “oh how sad, Daniel’s dead,” but “holy shit, now Alice is alone and having to deal with this bitch…alone…forever”? It probably is bad.  I have issues.
  • I hope we get to see the Underworld journey again – this time a little more aligned with the books.  It’s here where Julia learns she’s more than just a magician, and we might get Penny back too in the process.


Next Week (or This Week…Whatever, Episode 4)

Tonight’s upcoming episode, “Be the Penny,” may take us back to Eliot, Fen, and Fray, as well as how we might bring back Penny.  But we shall see tonight at 9 PM EST on Syfy!


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