The Magicians – Season 1 Ep 10
We are coming up on the home stretch of the end of The Magicians’s first season here, Fanbros — episode 10 of the 13. Homecoming isn’t exactly a filler episode, but rather one that sets up more to come; and yes in a season full of genies, bunny murder, fox sex, and eye gouging there is still more to come…so much more. I can’t say this episode is pointless, in fact it’s a solid, entertaining block of television, but it is an episode that follows 4 different story lines with a run time just shy of 40 minutes, so there are elements that seem kind of shoe horned in if not completely unnecessary, (or are they? dun dun dun).
We’re picking up where we left off with the button from the last episode. It transports Penny to a place called the Neitherlands, described as ‘a place between all other places’. It is comprised of an endless amount of fountains and each fountain serves as a gateway to another land. He almost immediately meets a girl named Evie who gives him the rundown on the Neitherlands. Penny is apprehensive about her because though she seems pretty chill, she’s also pushing to see what Penny brought with him and he was was right to be suspicious because as soon as he shows her the button she tries to attack him along with some other hooded thugs who were waiting off in the cut. We find out later that they’re actually employed by The Beast. The thing about the Neitherlands is that it can get confusing fast and after Penny travels to another area to get away from The Beast’s goon squad, he’s lost and has no way of knowing how to get back to the earth fountain. He finds a safe space to meditate so he can transport his consciousness inside Quentin’s dream in order to send him an S.O.S. and getting him back becomes the main focus of the episode.
Quentin fills Alice in on his discussion with Penny who has been gone for 6 weeks, while in the Neitherlands it’s been only about 6 hours. Penny’s lost and can’t travel back because he can’t aim, so she needs them to figure out how to help him get back. They consult Eliot, and Margo who makes her return this episode, and it’s Alice who volunteers that she knows someone who can help them, another traveler, but is vague on the details of who exactly that is for now.
Here’s a phrase that book fans are familiar with, ‘Free Trader Beowulf’, a sort of support group Julia joined that are filled with magicians like her; brilliant but depressed or have problems. They meet up in IRL for the first time, and surprise surprise, one of the members of the group is actually Kady, so this episode actually sees the return of two characters, bringing all of the main cast back into play. The scene where the group is brought in via portals is quick but cute, and maybe it’s me being a sentimental Julia stan, but it feels like almost a relief just to see her smile again. Warmth in general is something that’s rare to see from Julia, but you can see the genuine affection she has for these people and it’s kind of great.
Alice takes Quentin to her home and boy does she not want to be there. She resents her parents, who to say are sexually liberated would be a complete and utter understatement. She doesn’t exclusively resent them for that, really it doesn’t even seem to be her main issue. Moreso, it’s how they’ve dealt with her brother Charlie’s passing, specifically her mother. When they arrive it’s in the middle of an orgy and Alice just wants to get in and out. The traveller she knows is actually her parents’ boyfriend, Joe, and he does offer a solution to their problem with Penny, but the solution causes a problem in itself. The magic needed is sex magic, and in order for the spell to work both Quentin and Alice need to orgasm at the same time, something Quentin doesn’t find out is a problem until that very moment.
Since Eliot’s been tripping on several drugs since the start of the episode, Margo takes him to the infirmary and she finds out that while he is fine, she has an issue — someone is draining her life force. After she’s asked if she’s performed any unprotected rituals lately (LOL) she knows exactly who she needs to talk to — an ex boyfriend of hers that we’d never seen or heard of before this episode.
Things are more than a little tense between Kady and Julia but they talk a little and work through a binder full of spells together that they need to successfully complete before Richard and their free trader bros will let them in on what they’re doing behind closed doors while the two of them are in the living room. They don’t know what it is yet, all they know is that it’s big and they have to be able to perform certain spells before they can become privy to it. Eventually, they finish their task and Richard lets them in on what Free Trader Beowulf is actually doing; trying to summon a God.
Still in the Neitherlands, Penny stumbles across the library of the Neitherlands, which comes equipped with a librarian. She doesn’t exactly speak in riddles, but she’s vague enough that it leaves you scratching your head. A cool thing they do with the library scenes to add to the disorientating nature of being there is that they shoot it all in dutch angles, which for me is almost always annoying, but it actually works here. The library, as all libraries are include a wealth of knowledge about pretty much everyone and everything. Everyone has a book, Eliot even has two, which I have yet to figure out why. The librarian picks out Martin Chatwin’s book, and photocopies a few pages to humor Penny who wants to see the whole thing, something she can’t permit. Don’t try to make too much sense of the library scenes, but at the same time they contain a lot of the pieces to the puzzle that is the unanswered questions that still inhabit this season, watching it again is an exercise in saying ‘oh yeah, that makes sense’.
Margo drags Eliot with her to her ex boyfriend’s apartment. As she suspects, he is the reason that her life force is being drained and it’s because after she dumped him he made a Margo-shaped golem, something affectionately dubbed a ‘Margolem’. Eliot finds it hilarious, but Margo is unamused. Margo ends up taking the Margolem home herself, leaving Eliot, and it just doesn’t even feel right to see the two of them fractured, which they are, and have been fracturing since Mike came on the scene. Later, Eliot has a moment of honesty and tells Margo that he thinks there might be something wrong with him, but he was actually talking to the Margolem and when given the chance to talk to the real Margo instead of being honest with her he gives her a gift that doesn’t so much mend the fracture in their relationship than puts a band-aid over it.
Here’s the thing about the Quentin/Alice storyline; the sex comedy-esq vibe of the episode definitely comes from being at Alice’s parents house, a lot of it is played for laughs, but where I think the show should be commended is in the fact that it features a frank conversation about a woman actually enjoying the sex she’s having. The secondhand embarrassment is real, especially when Quentin is getting tips on how to pleasure Alice from her parents’ boyfriend, but the sex positive vibe and seeing a woman actually tell a guy how and what she wants to not only get her going but get her there is nothing short of awesome, and I honestly can’t think of another show on network TV that has displayed something similar. Eventually, they get it together and the spell works, providing a beacon for Penny to get home, which he does and the episode ends with a classic Penny look of disgust and confusion at seeing Alice and Quentin in bed together.
Ah, I do love the episode titles of this show, they just work on so many levels, you know? Almost everyone had a homecoming in one way or another; from Alice literally coming back to her childhood home, to Margo and Kady re-appearing after a few episodes of absences, Penny eventually finding his way back to earth from the Neitherlands and uh…you can maybe even decipher a less PG meaning from the title if your mind is in the gutter enough. What’s important though is that we remember that this is The Magicians I’m recapping, and I find that the golden rule is when an episode ends on a somewhat happier note the next episode is guaranteed to be either nuts or heart wrenching, or maybe even both. Guess you’ll just have to stick around for the next recap to find out. That or watch the show, or whatever, but honestly, why not both?
So what did you think, Fanbros? Let me know down in the comments below, and if you’ve missed any of my other recaps you can find them all right here on Fanbros.com.