Anyone who has read my recaps, be it for this current season of The Magicians or season one knows that my two undisputed favorites are Julia and Margo. The character development of both of them over the course of three seasons is nothing short riveting. So watching this week’s episode, ‘The Fillorian Candidate’ was a real treat for fans of these two women and made me want to damn near cry tears of joy. ‘Started from the bottom now we here’ is definitely applies to Julia and Margo. Read on and check out what happened this episode that’s got my fangirl meter on ten.
The show actually starts off pretty comical with the standard ‘previously on’ being replaced with Josh recapping Penny-23 on everything that’s happened since the first season. Josh is to this season what Andrew was to Buffy in season 7 in that he brings in the majority of the meta comedy as he’s part of the group, but he’s just enough outside of the group to be a spectator of sorts. As he goes through the hook-up/murder chart (gotta love this show), Kady comes back and after hugging Penny-23 she finds out that he isn’t her Penny.
Meanwhile, Quentin, Alice, and Julia try to figure out how to proceed with their quest considering the monster prophecy courtesy of Beast mode Quentin back in timeline 23 last episode. Alice offers to ask the library for more information that could help them determine if Beast mode Q was lying or not, and Quentin agrees, but asks Julia to ask Penny-23 to spy on her since he’s more likely to agree. She does, and Quentin wasn’t wrong because Penny-23 agrees. It really is handy to have a traveler again, but man this show is really creative in finding ways to screw Penny over – replacing him with another version of himself may be their coldest move yet.
At the library, the librarian confirms that the castle exists, but she does not know what’s inside because no one does except gods. She moves on to other matters, namely a siphon that she wants Alice to use on Julia despite it having the capacity to kill her. Alice isn’t jazzed about it, but she agrees all the same and takes the siphon along with a vial of fairy dust.
Meanwhile, Josh and Fen come to the Muntjac with food for Margo and Eliot, and El has a (long overdue) talk with Fen. He tells her that she doesn’t have to stick around for his sake, and Fen lets him know that like it or not she’s staying, namely because if she did go back to her village they’d hurt/kill her. I like Eliot, I really do, and I can appreciate the king he’s grown into, but this episode especially highlighted how inept he is in certain areas, and in terms of selfishness, he hasn’t grown as much as maybe he’d like to think. Him telling Fen she could leave comes off more like he’s just trying to drop her as dead weight than any kind of actual compassion for her, which I know he has, it just doesn’t always translate that well for him.
Margo sent a rabbit to the fairy asking to make a deal for the 6th key, but all they got in return was a much more colorful version of a ‘no’. So they explore a new avenue and we get to see Frey again. If you were wondering what happened to her, the answer is she works in an animal bar and is very much in love with a bear named Humbledrum, who Margo has some drinks with while at the bar. Frey isn’t willing to help at first, but she has a change of heart, and also drops an interesting nugget of information when she says that there are no faerie children in the faerie realm, just children that have been bargained away.
The questers discuss how they need to talk to a god about what’s in the castle, only they can’t contact any considering OLU hasn’t answered Julia in a while and Baccus got banned from Instagram. When Alice leaves, Penny-23 fills everyone in on what Alice wasn’t telling them about stealing Julia’s power. A little while later, Penny-23 goes to talk to Kady who is still trying to use the unity key to contact the original Penny. I’m not really feeling Kady this season, but she does have a point in saying that it’s pretty lame how everyone is just okay with replacing their Penny with Penny-23 and leaving him to rot in the underworld. Kady isn’t ready to give up on him though, and they end up drinking while Kady fills him in on everything with our timeline’s Julia, including her being raped by Reynard. From everything she tells him, Penny-23 realizes that Reynard, who is still a god could still be out there and could tell them about what’s inside the castle. Kady isn’t keen on the idea, but goes with it (there’s a lot of doing what needs to be done despite liking it in this episode).
The faerie queen ends up meeting with team Fillory and she still tells them that it’s a no from her on getting the sixth key. They offer her a spot on Fillory for all faeries to settle in exchange for the key, something she says she can wait for until the Lorians and floaters kill each other off, but Margo calls her bluff reminding her that they can’t reproduce in the faerie realm. That gets her attention, but she says that it’s still a no go since they don’t actually rule Fillory anymore, so now they absolutely need control of Fillory again in order to complete the quest. In order to do so they, they basically force Tick into having to hold an election by spreading flyers all over the kingdom advertising an election (a brilliant move by Margo, in her words ‘giving people shit is easy, taking it away is near impossible’). Despite her brilliance, Eliot tells Margo that he doesn’t want her to run on his ticket because she’s a woman and he doesn’t think Fillory is progressive enough to vote in a female ruler. It is absolute bull, but despite, Margo goes long with backing El’s campaign though Eliot ain’t shit for this one.
Back to Julia, have I mentioned that she’s been hearing voices all episode? Because she’s been hearing voices all episode. More specifically, people’s cries for helps, and when she tells Dean Fogg about it (who’s eyes she heals, giving him back his sight after hearing him and involuntarily transporting) he classifies them as ‘prayers’. After helping Fogg, she pops over to Josh, who she sensed needed her help after he gets an idea.
Remember back in season 2 when a Julia devoid of a shade burned down an entire forest in Fillory? Well in a beautiful piece of continuity and full circle moment, Julia and Josh go back to the charred remains of that forest and she brings it back to life in amazing fashion; that in which she killed she also revived. Some Fillorian citizens see her miracle and Josh is quick to hand out campaign flyers to vote children of earth in the upcoming elections.
Quentin confronts Alice about the siphon and demands to know what it does. Once magic is back, the library wants to use the siphon to divert magic to the library so they can choose who can use it. It doesn’t need to be stated why this is such a disgusting notion, especially seeing all season how integral magic is to the lives of magicians, and what can happen when they’re forced to live without it. As Quentin says to Alice, ‘taking away choice is not the answer’. He threatens to drop her from the quest if she doesn’t give him the siphon and she does, but hits him with a low blow and tells him that his dad’s cancer went into remission when magic left, and when it comes back so will his cancer and he will die.
Thanks to Julia doing all kinds of miracles through Fillory, the children of earth are up in the polls. Pretty soon El and Tick go back and forth with their policies, swaying the Fillorian population. Eliot starts promising things that he can’t actually deliver and as a finishing blow, Tick publishes what Eliot said a few episodes back about hating Fillory.
While Julia is embracing her inner goddess back on earth trying to help a sick kid with a fever, Kady and Penny-23 asks Julia to find Reynard. At first, she’s afraid, but for the greater good she goes along with it. They only want her to find them, but she refuses to leave them alone with him and transfers all three of them without a locator spell because she can simply feel him now.
The depowered trickster god lives as a pizza boy in a dump of an apartment (like I imagine most men’s rights activists do), and reading a lot of feminists texts in his downtime. He claims to have changed, but his true colors come through in no time at all. He is stingy with the details, but tells them eventually about how the castle at the end of the world holds the stuff the old gods made and they consider mistakes. He tries to talk down to Julia, telling her how she should have just shut up and stayed in her place, but Julia in no certain terms tells him about how his spark grew bigger in her than it ever could have in him. He tries to shoot Julia using a bullet forged to kill a god that she herself created in season 2 to kill Reynard, but Julia calmly freezes him in time before he can even pull the trigger. Reynard tells them that his stepfather, Hades gave him the bullet in case he ever wanted to kill himself, and considering we’ve met Hades a few episodes back, I doubt this was just a one off mention of him that won’t pay off later, even if it’s not in this season. As they’re leaving (with the gun) Penny tells Julia to shoot Reynard, but in a truly cathartic moment, Kady and Julia leave him alive and frozen, considering that the worst punishment. Considering Julia literally gave up her humanity last season and made a deal with The Beast just to kill Reynard, it’s a huge indication of her progression as she no longer equates vengeance with justice.
Speaking of cathartic moments, Queen Margo, the destroyer is elected to be High King Margo of Fillory.
Without even running, Margo won as a write in ballot by the talking animals of Filllory. Turns out her homebear, Humbledrum is a high ranking member of the talking animal community and there are way more talking animals than there are people in Fillory. As he should, Eliot bows to Margo, fully accepting her win and as a coronation gift Margo not only gets the 6th key, but a faerie eye, so bye bye to those gorgeous eye patches and hello to whatever new upgrades that thing comes with.
Margo securing the 6th key officially leaves our questers with all of them, but before they make another move, it’s important to know two things: That the unity key replaced the current timeline’s Penny with Penny-23 and Quentin has something he needs to do. He goes to visit his dad who he talks to about everything he’s experienced. His dad catches on about magic being gone and what bringing it back means for him. He thinks Quentin came to ask his permission to finish the quest, but Q tells him that he’s going to do it regardless but wanted to tell him looking him in the eye, and that’s how we end the episode.
So here we are Fanbros, the end of the line with one episode left to go. There isn’t particularly a lot of novelty in this episode, sure there’s classic the classic brand of humor we’ve come to expect from The Magicians, but more than anything this episode felt like a huge pay off, especially for Margo and Julia. Both the actresses Stella Maeve and Summer Bishil as well as the writers pull off the delicate task of displaying how much these women have changed while at the same time remaining their authentic selves, not at all feeling like they’ve had a personality transplant but instead a natural progression. Julia is still the same stubborn woman who was so determined to remember that magic existed and refused to think for a second she wasn’t equipped enough to master it that she cut herself and beat a loophole in a memory wiping spell. Only now her stubbornness is relegated to being dedicated to the people around her and the world as a whole as she blossoms into a literal goddess. As for Margo, she’s still the same woman who doesn’t bite her tongue or cares much of what anyone but her thinks. Only now she’s got an added sense of responsibility and duty to something bigger than herself. The most disappointing aspect so far this season is how the show continues to tease and acknowledge how sidelined, but low key important Penny is and yet he is still treated as less than an afterthought to the core group. Maybe the finale will have me eating my words as I’m sure he’s going to be featured so we’ll just have to wait and see. Onward to the end of the world!
What did you think about this episode, Fanbros? How much did you like ‘The Fillorian Candidate’? Who would you have voted for as a citizen of Fillory? Have you heard the good news about goddess, Julia Wicker? How long do you think High King Margo will reign? What do you think is in the castle at the end of the world? Let me know in the comments and catch up on past recaps of The Magicians before the finale, right here on Fanbros.com!