The Magicians: The Flying Forest

Synopsis of 2×04: Quentin and Penny put their differences aside to hunt down a magical cure for their recent woes. Julia continues pursuing Reynard, this time with the help of yet another familiar face from her past. Margo may have just the plan for Eliot’s homesickness. 

Rating:
After the battle of the last episode, Quentin has been left in pretty bad shape, emotionally and physically. He is taken to a centaur hospital where he awakens to a new wooden arm, meets a centaur and learns of the White Lady, a magical creature whose capture grants the captor a wish of their choosing.It must be said that the centaurs are an extremely conceited race of creatures. So much so that they feel it reasonable to bless the nurse who cleans their poop with an entitled, “You’re welcome.”

Eliot and Margo leave Quentin to discuss the actions needed to save the magic of Fillory since rejuvenation attempts of the wellspring have failed. For all who missed out on one of the vilest acts of divinity performed in Fillory, Ember relieved himself in the wellspring and dropped a deuce of “godly proportions.”

Penny pays the centaurs a visit to repair his hands and crosses paths with Quentin. As expected, within seconds the tension gives way to bitterness and anger causing them to avoid one another.

Julia comes across what seems to be a safehouse and finds Kady, a magician from the first season who was expelled from Brakebills for serious reasons (believe me, it actually is a long story). Julia reveals Marina’s dead body to Kady and the latter is able to recognize the clue left on Marina’s arm as a locater number for a book in Brakebills’ library.

The centaurs refuse to help Penny with his hands because the river watcher has quite the fearful reputation, capable of drawing retreat just from mention of name alone. Left with no alternatives to fixing his hands, he comes to Quentin for help. Quentin suggests that they hunt down the White Lady for wishes. Penny responds with a quip aimed not exactly at Quentin, but more at the nature of fear and racism that has been present in our society for so long. Although cleverly placed and targeted at a vital issue that seems ever so necessary to discuss, it feels difficult to imagine it as anything more than an attempt to portray social awareness.

The weight of aristocracy is proving too heavy for Eliot to manage and he doubts his fate as a high king. Margo brandishes her cold demeanor and short temper as she deals with the Fillorians. Although, I do not remember her being as volatile as she is now, this is a reasonable progression for her character. Eliot aches for his old life and the whimsical attitude he was consistently overtaken by.

Compared to the first season, Eliot and Margo still have a close relationship, but they have lost some of the frivolous attitude that characterized it. Margo finds some living clay belonging to Dean Henry Fogg and uses it to create a golem that resembles Eliot, which she then places Eliot’s mind into. Thus Eliot does not spontaneously combust when he and Margo visit the physical discipline house at Brakebills. 

Julia and Kady decide that Julia will visit the Brakebills library to search for the book, but since she has never attended the school she has no knowledge of the school’s layout. It is this turn of events that allows us to see the use of a form of magic we’ve never seen before. For a show about magic and magicians, I generally stay unimpressed in the magic department.

In this case, Julia and Kady use what resembles an ordinary best friend necklace, you know those cheesy ones that break in half, to share their sight with one another. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not attacking cheese, I’m a fan of many cheesy things, but they are cheesy nonetheless. Julia finds the book but, due to a ward on its back that keeps it from leaving the school’s campus, she is forced to copy the information in a place where she won’t be noticed. Of all places, she coincidentally chooses the disciplinary house for the physical kids. 

Alas, Eliot can not help but resort to his old ways and gets lucky with an eager second year student. Next, The Magicians takes a page from the book of Sense8, a pretty good Netflix original, when Eliot’s mind splits into two and allows him to have sex with both his wife, Fen, and the second year stranger while in two different places at the same time. Needless to say, he probably had the biggest orgasm he’s had with her yet.

After Penny’s guidance leads Quentin to go Paul Bunyan on Penny’s hands, they traverse through the first leg of their hunt: the flying forest, after which the episode is named. They experience what many would refer to as a “bad trip.” For all of those not in the know, a bad trip refers to when an individual takes an unwelcoming amount of drugs, usually marijuana, and experiences severe states of incompatibility with reality. These are usually characterized as paranoia, delusions and hallucinations.

This can only be considered a bad trip because they received it through nothing more than walking through the flying forest. Just like the stories you hear when someone retells their bad trip, Penny and Quentin’s trip is wildly entertaining. Penny’s character changes completely, in a way any Magician’s fan would never expect to see, but find amusing nonetheless.

Eliot meets with Henry, who falls into the role of the “Dumbledore” character that this season has teased at more than its predecessor. Henry tells Eliot to take responsibility for the role he has to play and that he can not live the two lives he is trying to live. Although it is a bitter pill to swallow, Henry realizes his place in the situation and offers his help in guiding Eliot be a proper king.

Margo catches scent of Julia in the discipline house and confronts her about the maelstrom that arose from Julia’s actions. Julia does not cower, but instead fires back with truth and the multitude of deaths Reynard has caused. Surprisingly, Margo backs down and gives Julia an easier way to copy the book’s information before leaving to act on the personal flaws Julia brought to her attention.

Julia and Kady use the spell they found from the book to bring Marina back to life, if only for a few moments. No sooner than the breath flowing back into Marina’s body does she descend into panic, filled with immense fright that renders her unrecognizable. She tells Julia that she must cage Reynard back in the same place that a girl banished him to decades ago before Julia and her friends summoned him to Earth. 

Quentin and Penny find the White Lady, after which Quentin captures her by firing an arrow into her shoulder. She agrees to give them each a wish. Penny wishes for his hands back and Quentin wishes for Alice’s resurrection. Of course we all know by now that in any story of magic, it is impossible to permanently bring someone back from the dead. It’s pretty much magic 101. Even Aladdin’s genie could not accomplish this feat and that guy had unfathomable power. Incapable of being able to give his heart the one thing it wants and heal the only wound that truly matters, he turns away from the world of magic and asks to be returned home to Earth.

Another well done episode in my opinion. Capable performances along great ones accompanied by satisfying dialogue and interesting situations. This made the episode very enjoyable to watch until the end, at which point we were met with a powerful departure from the world of magic. Fear not, I’m sure Quentin will find his way back soon and there is much to look forward to in everyone else’s adventures. Stay tuned and see how long it takes for him to come crawling back. I’m guessing two episodes.