The The Magicians – Season 1 Ep 2
The second episode of The Magicians wastes no time picking up minutes where the last one left off. Julia is at some shady warehouse with Pete (choices), and the crew at Brakebills are questioned after they survive the attack by The Beast. Through quick cuts, we see the part Quentin, Alice, Kady, and Penny played in beating The Beast back into the mirror. The level of cohesive team work they displayed was impressive considering that if this episode proves anything it’s that these people do not care for one another at the moment.
Pete locks Julia and another magician, Marina in a meat locker as a test to see if they can make it out and not at all because he’s a creep. She takes charge immediately because she’s ‘’sick of flunking tests right now’’. It’s one of those moments that you don’t really think twice about upon a first viewing, but watching it again speaks volumes about Julia’s tenacity. For better or worse it’s my favorite thing about her as defeat isn’t something Julia can easily accept, especially in this scene, juxtaposed against Marina’s almost immediate instinct to freak out once the door is locked behind them.
Speaking of freaking out, that is exactly what Quentin does for pretty much the rest of the episode. The events in the classroom are understandably looming over all of their heads, and they all deal with it differently. Kady is by far the least caring about the consequences, later in the episode we find out she has more than just what happened there to worry about. Alice tries to keep a cool head, only interested in covering her tracks, which isn’t as easy to do with Quentin in the mix. Penny wants to leave Brakebills altogether, freaked out to find that the voice he’d heard in his head all his life turned out to be a monster from another world.
Elliot and Margo whisk Quentin and Alice to the physical kids’ cottage because otherwise they wouldn’t have any reason to be in this episode, though I will admit that their motivations for doing so weren’t completely clear. Elliot says later in the episode that ‘’he bonds fast’’, which sure, whatever, this is a show about magic so I’ll go with it. Margo’s conversation with Alice, however is a harder to just give a pass to. Was she being genuine with Alice? Did she just want more gossip about Alice straight from the source? Margo is hands down one of my favorite characters in the show, but also the least developed right now. She does eventually get some character defining moments that flesh her out more, but for right now it just seems as if the writers don’t really know what to do with her.
On the flip side, the conversation between Elliot and Quentin is probably my favorite in the episode. Quentin telling Elliot how he was depressed and in a mental hospital before he came to Brakebills goes a long way and making Quentin feel more like a real person and not a selfish jerk. In turn, Elliot tells him about how killing a bully of his as a kid was how he found out he was telekinetic. The moment between them serves to form a foundation for the bond they have together through the series. The episode is called ‘The Source of Magic’, and It’s from Elliot that we found out what that source is exactly: “Magic doesn’t come from talent, it comes from pain”. In the span of two episodes we know that magic doesn’t fix anything in life, and that it’s fueled by pain so I think it’s safe to say that in the world of The Magicians, magic does not sound so great, you guys.
Julia and Marina aren’t doing great in the freezer with the whole not freezing to death thing. Pete turns things up and gives the girls a push by re-animating a corpse inside the meat locker with them. Pete is trash, but the fact that he’s the worst aside, after he gives Julia a little motivational speech via the dead guy, Julia’s vigor is renewed. So, I guess his tactic works, but I’m not happy to admit that.
Alice finds Quentin in a cafe reading. He tells her that he thinks Fillory may be real, and it’s where The Beast came from. In maybe the most laughable notion of the episode, Alice can’t fathom that could be true. It’s almost as if she’s not at a magic school located in what is basically the Bermuda Triangle of upstate New York.
Quentin gives more exposition about Fillory and Further through his fanboying and we learn that the author of the books, like J.M. Barrie with Peter Pan based the characters in Fillory and Further off of his neighbors, children whom he would write the stories for. I would probably lose fangirl points if I didn’t shout out the fact that the creator of the book series, Lev Grossman appears in this episode via a video Quentin shows Alice as the author of a book about Fillory and Further. It’s a real elbow nudge moment for those who have read the books, or so I assume considering I am not one of them. Quentin geeks out, disturbingly gleeful as he explains to Alice how two of the real kids the books were based on, Martin and Jane vanished.
Alice admits that the vanishing is weird, but her main concern is not getting kicked out of Brakebills and finding out what happened to her brother. She and Quentin bury the book that they used to summon the Beast. Elsewhere Kady is unsuccessful in getting Penny to stay, but he does help her steal a bunch of magical trinkets from the physical kids’ cottage including a spell book and an Emerson’s alloy crystal, which deflects spells casted on the wearer; This comes into play later in the episode.
In the meat locker, while trying to gather the ingredients for a an instant warmth spell, Marina and Julia have a poignant conversation about why Julia is there in the first place. She and Quentin have the same view on magic; if it exists and you’re not allowed to do it, how can anything else matter? Quentin says at one point ‘‘you don’t see color and want to go back to black and white’’. Which to me, makes Quentin seem like even more of a jerk to Julia considering he grasps its importance. If you couldn’t tell, Quentin Coldwater is far from my favorite character on the show. He’s not the devil or anything, he has his good moments, but yeah he is at the bottom of my list of favorite characters on the show.
The book Quentin and Alice buried is found so they, along with Penny and Kady get questioned. Penny has no problem happily snitching, pinning everything on Quentin who gets expelled and his memory is set to be wiped by a specialist the school is flying in.
Easily the best part of the episode comes when Quentin calls Julia and leaves a message on her voicemail. He apologizes and begs her to help him to remember that magic exists. His words aren’t all that impressive, even combined with the music in the background, but what makes the scene a beautiful one is that it’s overlaid with a scene of Julia just handling business, hacking into the corpse to get what she needs to get out of the room. While Quentin in this moment is defeated, Julia refuses to be, pulls herself up by her bootstraps and rises like a phoenix.
After his voicemail plea, Quentin runs into Penny and picks a fight he loses immediately. He throws battle magic at him, mimicking what he saw Kady do to The Beast, but it’s thrown back on Quentin because Penny is still in possession of the crystal. Not for nothing, but if I were building up a case for why Quentin Coldwater is a douche, this episode alone has an abundance of evidence.
After escaping the meat locker, Marina reveals herself as head hedge witch and tells Julia she’ll teach her magic. The terrible tattoos on her arm means that she’s a level 50, which I can only conclude is important. Marina apparently is pulling double duty as not only Julia’s new magic mentor, but also someone who apparently has something on Kady. All that stuff she stole from the physical kids’ cottage earlier in the episode? Yeah, apparently that was for Marina who gives her a whole new list of things to steal.
That night, Quentin steals Penny’s crystal and wears it the next day to see the specialist who is to erase his memory of magic. The specialist turns out to be the British woman whose name we finally find out is Eliza. Being cryptic seems to be her favorite past time, which is annoying but she reads Quentin for filth without so much as breaking a sweat so her appearance in this episode gets a pass from me. She tells him that she’ll ask the school to give him another chance, so all of Quentin’s freaking out this episode was for not.
The episode ends with Julia getting her first hedge witch tattoo while Marina looks on with a smile declaring ‘this is just the beginning’. Elsewhere, Eliza visits a very alive and very pissed off Dean Fogg in the hospital.
Just the beginning, indeed.
So what did you think about ‘The Source of Magic’? Do you have any favorite moments or lines from this episode? Are you more team Quentin or team Julia right now? Tweet at me or comment below. Also be sure to read my recaps on any episodes you may have missed right here on FanBros.com!