Synopsis of 2×02: The hunt continues as Julia comes closer to confronting Reynard the Fox amidst the Beast’s show tune vocals while Quentin and friends come closer to their new weapon against the Beast. All the while, Alice’s godly power is waning, taking with it the only chance of defeating him.
Let’s hear a hefty round of applause for The Magicians. With episode two of the second season, the show has nestled comfortably into its stride. Although I may a bit bias due to my love for the source material, I have attempted to view this series with as much distance as possible. I can finally say that I have completed an episode of the series and found myself positively elated regardless of differences to the source material. Every joke struck the right chord and the characters exhibited a certain consciousness that remained absent up until this point. The interactions between them gave off the perfect balance of chemistry I was waiting for. Fans of the series will be pleased with familiar faces from the previous season. However, these characters carry a purpose heavier than a mere cameo. They offer help where its needed and we are given opportunities to see them on a considerably more revealing level than before.
Picking up from the last episode, the group meets with Dean Henry Fogg at Brakebills and he offers aid in finding the weapon they’ve been searching for.
Next, we enjoy a much-appreciated peek at the Beast’s musical taste as he sings a song with the vocals of a Broadway lead while enjoying sugary breakfast cereal. Astoundingly so, the monster has the pipes. Considering his villainous past and nature, the episode achieved the impossible by making him somewhat of a likable character. It allowed us to question if he was anything more than a victim who tried to elude a horrible fate the only way he knew how, leading him to make mistakes we all could have made.
Upon disagreeing with Julia’s plan to use herself as bait, the Beast fetches Marina, our favorite conniving hedge-witch from the first season, as bait for Reynard the fox. She returns the favor by comparing the Beast to Michael Bublé. Points awarded to Marina for making an accurate enough zinger of an analogy. She refuses to join the self-slaughter but, after realizing Reynard may come for her, seeks cooperation from a rival hedge-witch to gather the prominent hedge-witches on her coast for a battle against Reynard.
Meanwhile, Eliot learns that everything in Fillory has traditionally grown on magic, but now needs real farm work since the beast has drained it of its magic. We learn more about Eliot as he painstakingly shares with his wife his memories of being raised on a farm and the toil that it required. Throughout the episode, he imparts farming wisdom to his subjects, while making sure to emphasize the value of dung to disgusted and confused Fillorians. We also see that his wife is a better fit for him than anyone could’ve guessed and their marriage is truly amiable.
After enlisting the help of Professor Sunderland, an expert on Brakebills’ library, Fogg leads the gang to the library where they search for “last hope options”, an outlawed text of battle magic. To their bittersweet relief, their puzzle solving skills reveal that the book is in the library and they check the book only to find a teasing “I told you so” message addressed to the dean.
While the gang continues to solve the riddle, with each member pulling their weight, even Fogg, Marina finds an old contact dead, killed by Reynard. She goes to Fogg looking for asylum from Reynard, but he coldly turns her away for the good of his own students. He accompanies Quentin and Alice to see Professor Bigby. Imagine their surprise, mine as well, when she greets the dean with a passionate embrace on the lips. The passionate past Bigby recalls and every gesture Fogg shares with her adds layers to his character, layers we never paused to consider beforehand.
Bigby provides Alice with the spell they came looking for and tells Alice that only she is powerful enough to be within twenty feet of the blast, mentioning that she is stronger than even the beast.
Professor Sunderland helps Penny ease his hand plight by, ahem…tying his hands behind his back and massaging him with an incredibly amazing feeling oil of some sort. Yes, this scene does approach adult romance literature territory and no, you’re not imagining it. It leads nowhere…for now.
Quentin meets with Julia and tells her the plan for defeating the Beast. The two are at odds, but this leads to a tender moment of shared frustration over being pitted on opposite sides against each other once again. It’s sweet because their demeanor reveals a chemistry and fond rapport that we rarely see from them.
In a small basement dimly lit by a fireplace, Fogg shirks his academic integrity and gets everyone drunk. But, all for good reason. The liquor is a foolhardy attempt to soothe the pain from the tattoos Professor Lee gives them. The unbearable pain really comes when he places powerful spirits called cacodemons into them. Each of these spirits will grow and take on certain attributes unique to the individual until summoned with a phrase chosen by the user. They all return to Fillory, where Eliot mentions the success of his farming plan. Marina returns to Julia and the Beast, who welcomes her arrival with a show tune and tap dancing.
So what did we learn? We learned that Alice is slowing losing her power; even Fogg had a tempestuous love life once upon a time; the Beast is a vocally gifted fan of show tunes; the gang found a weapon to use once Alice gets the hang of it; there’s something brewing between Penny and Professor Sunderland; Penny’s hands have been fixed; and Marina will play a big hand in Julia’s survival facing Reynard. Quite an eventful forty or so minutes.
Catch the episode and stay tuned to scratch that spellbinding itch.