The Magicians: Will You Play With Me? Recap

Synopsis of 3×13: The Castle at the End of the World is none other than Castle Blackspire, the castle on the opposite side of Fillory’s plane of existence. It serves as the stage for the end of The Tale of the Seven Keys, with magic finally back, but not quite on the season finale episode, ‘Will You Play With Me?’

Rating:

So here’s the skinny:

  • Julia meets Iris, a messenger goddess, who briefs her on her new status as a goddess and all the perks that come with it. Julia then leaves for most of the episode but returns in the climax to save the day by producing new keys after Alice has destroyed the original set. After using her godly power to make them, Julia loses all of her power and divinity.
  • The questers head to Castle Blackspire, a.k.a. the Castle at the End of the World. Once there, they enter with the help of the knight guarding the makeshift jail. Only one unassuming monster remains, after having killed all the others itself, and Eliot kills it with the god-killing bullet. Later, we learn that it can jump bodies and does so to escape the castle with them. 
  • Dean Fogg, Irene McAllister, and a librarian use a siphon to absorb all of the magic unleashed by the keys. With the library now in control of magic rationing, the gang experience ordinary existence, except for Alice who has become the library’s prisoner for not keeping her end of the deal. In the final moments, a blissfully ignorant Quentin is confronted on a normal street by the creature of Castle Blackspire in Eliot’s body.

Sloppy plotting, paradox, or clue?

All of the questers hold a study session for the Tale of the Seven Keys. They bounce ideas off of one another in hopes of finding the Castle at the end of the world. Julia hears more prayers and meets Iris, a messenger goddess.

Get it, girl.

Julia learns that she fulfilled the task given to her by the lady underground. Consequently, she’s become a full-fledged goddess, “Our Lady of the tree.” Quentin and Julia essentially bid goodbye to one another and she gives him enough magic for a one-off spell in case of emergency.

Find the architect.

Margo finds it a little hard to believe Julia’s ascension to a goddess. According to her, it’s pretty random. I hear you Margo, but it’s a lot less random in the books. The group brainstorms different witches and lower level gods who could have been the architects behind the Castle. They rest on a nymph, Calypso, who goes by the mortal name “Cali.”

Cali recounts the tale of the Castle’s creation and the jailers made to keep watch. Prometheus created the keys for the day when the quest would be undertaken.

Finally, Castle Blackspire comes into play! Since I read the novel series, I’ve been waiting for it to appear in SYFY’s adaptation, but I never thought I’d see the day. Castle Blackspire is Castle Whitespire’s polar opposite on the underbelly of Fillory’s world. For the purpose of the television series, Castle Blackspire is the Castle at the End of the World.

Magic Inception.

Quentin visits the knight of the Castle in her dream with the magic Julia gave him. The knight offers to help for a price. When he breaks it to the others, they’re peeved for a moment. Of the whole plan, the part that really pops the lid is when he says he’ll become the new jailer after they leave. Everyone resists, but Quentin insists. He’s finally sacrificing himself, but no one likes it, not even Alice.

Well, la di da.

Fern catches the fairy hunters who’ve been plaguing the Fairy Queen, Irene and one of the librarians. Fern attempts to convince the Fairy Queen to work with her to keep Irene from derailing the quest.

The Fairy Queen offers herself to Irene as part of a deal for no fairy to ever be hunted ever again. Even with the hate between them, Fern can’t help but well up when the Queen accepts her sacrifice for her people. It’s a nice moment of closure for two of our biggest nemeses this season.

I know it’s wrong, but I need the fairy cocaine.

Alice asks Dean Fogg for a potion that will erase her memory and provide her with a new personality. They debate for a moment, but Fogg gives in and gives her the potion.

Later, he walks into an office, where the head librarian awaits him. He then says he needs to talk to her about their deal. What deal? Don’t hold your breath because we don’t get much of a sensible explanation through the whole episode.

You’re the one that I love.

Alice tells Quentin her plan to reboot herself. She confesses her love for him even after everything they’ve been through.

Even she didn’t deserve that.

The Fairy Queen prepares herself for her sacrifice and accepts it pridefully. Then, she dies by impalement.

The world beneath.

The gang visits Castle Blackspire, watching in awe as the Muntjac takes them under Fillory and into the dark underbelly. Inside they will find a fountain that acts as the back door to magic.

Something that simply wants.

The knight lets the questers into the castle and Quentin follows her to meet the creature while the others prepare the keys. The creature kept hidden in the Castle is one of endless desire, it simply wants.

It comes out of hiding just in time to catch a god-killing bullet to the chest. Eliot bit the bullet and killed the creature to save his friend. You can’t help but respect that. The knight who escorted them in disappears suddenly. Well, that’s not ominous at all. No reason to be alarmed guys.

Nothing good.

Before anyone has a chance to realize what she’s doing, Alice takes all the keys and destroys them. She knocks back anyone who comes at her. Alice projects her own control issues onto the rest of the world and claims that no one can handle magic. She then melts the keys into nothingness. She dips and a few of the others follow.

Dean Fogg’s incomprehensible betrayal goes unexplained.

As soon as Alice thinks she’s gotten away from the others and found a moment to herself, the knight creeps out from the shadows. Her glowing eyes reveal that the creature Eliot thought he killed really only jumped bodies.

Alice runs away, back into Margo’s grasp. Margo and Eliot bring her back to the crime scene. Julia reappears and does the same magic Prometheus did before to “Horcrux” her soul into seven more keys. She painfully makes one after another. It leaves her weakened and she realizes that she’s lost whatever divine grace she previously had.

The gang insert the seven keys into the magic fountain and turn it back on.

Then Dean Fogg, Irene, and one of the librarians appear. After Irene brings them all to their knees, Fogg hands the librarian the siphon and he attaches it to the magic fountain. The siphon absorbs all of the magic.

Rations.

Magic is back, but it’s being rationed off by the library. We also learn that since Alice broke her deal with the library, she still belongs to the library. Alice begs Fogg to protect the others more carefully than he is because the creature of Castle Blackspire will come for them since it’s gotten something of a taste. Almost like Jeepers Creepers. Even at this point, we don’t get the explanation we deserve for Fogg’s betrayal or even a hint at it.

Oh, Janet, where have you been?

We see Margo in civilian clothes waiting for a taxi on the corner of a busy crosswalk. From her apparel, we can tell she’s been living a non-magical life. A taxi arrives and the driver introduces himself as Isaac, although it’s Josh. He calls her Janet, which any fan of the novel series will realize is her character’s name in the books. As soon as they recognize one another, she tells him he’s late. But what for?

We see the others living equally mundane lives. I assume that Dean Fogg used the reboot potion on all of them.

Quentin leaves a bookstore with books in hand. He bumps into Eliot, who instantly recognizes him and claims he’s been searching for him. He asks for a card trick, but Quentin doesn’t recognize him and walks away.

Eliot leisurely follows Quentin and confronts him in an alleyway. His composure and glowing eyes reveal that he’s become the vessel of the creature of Castle Blackspire.

If I’m being honest, I was underwhelmed with this episode. While most of the season’s plot points were resolved, the episode itself was very anticlimactic. The big baddie we were supposed to fear turned out to be less than we expected and we didn’t see any real climax to the quest we’ve been following this whole season.

It’s almost as if we’ve come in a complete circle and ended where the previous season ended. Although, even the last season had a more compelling climax than this one. Furthermore, it felt as though every subplot needed at least an episode or 2 more to fully develop instead of what we got here. With such an empty season finale, I truly worry about the future of the series.

What did you think? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear it and respond. Until next season, may all your travels treat you well, my fellow Fillorians.