The Magicians gets more magical and whimsical but doesn’t sheer away from heavy adult themes.
The second season of The Magicians shows that magic has severe consequences and now our magicians have to deal with it. It’s again a season full of whimsical fun, magical weirdness and silly adventures. But not all is fun and games when it comes to magic. Gods are dangerous and not always benevolent and can cause great pain.
In this season the stakes are higher, the consequences bigger and the themes more grave and dire. The balance between humor, adventures, magic and real life horror is very well-kept and results in another great season, that is as addictive as magic itself.
This second season consists of 13 episodes with each a duration of 44 minutes. It’s one big storyline about the adventures of the magicians in Fillory battling villains, solving problems and struggling with their own personal demons. It has many little storylines that connect with the big story arc in a great way.
Now Quentin, Eliot, Julia, Margo, Kady, Penny and Alice have found out that Fillory is real. That Christopher Plover the writer of the books is a sexual predator who sexually abused Martin. That Matin was banned from Fillory and those events ultimately led to Martin becoming The Beast.
But he’s not the only villain in the story. After Julia was raped by a god named Reynard, she wants revenge, but is also pregnant. While having an abortion, her shade is accidentally cut out and now she’s becoming more and more like Martin.
In the meantime, Eliot is crowned High King of Fillory and Margo Queen, while Quentin en Alice also become a king and queen. Now Eliot and Margo have to leave their immature lives behind to rule a kingdom which is not that easy. Especially when the Wellspring, the source of all magic is defecated and magic is fading away.
And in the process of finally defeating Martin, Alice turns into a Niffin and leaves Quentin devastated.
Why you should watch it
A lot is going on this second season. We see and learn a lot more about Fillory, which turns out, has nothing to do with a children’s book. Everything is changed after the adventures and reveals in the first season. It turned out that Jane Chatwin had created a time loop to defeat Martin. They all have died 39 times and the only ones who remember all of it are Dean Fogg and Jane.
This 40th time she changed that Julia is rejected from Brakebills and this leads to severe consequences which changes everything. They succeed in defeating Martin, but at what cost. It’s Julia who has suffered the most and is misunderstood in her further actions.
It shows that the characters are only human. They are flawed, make mistakes, they each have their shortcomings. They have regrets, feelings of guilt and anger. But they also try to make up for their mistakes and try to make things right. Life and magic are unfair and it’s hard. But these grave themes and how they are handled are also the strength of the series.
Asides from all the silliness and playfulness and witty or sexual jokes and sardonic humor, the core of the series has a grave undercurrent. But due to the determined characters, their perseverance and friendship, it’s a series full of hope and the overall positive vibe is never lost.
There is more of everything in this season. More Fillory, more fun, humor, fairies, creatures, dragons, gods, adventures but also more tragedy and heavy topics. And we get acquainted with The Order of the Library in The Neitherlands and with the Underworld.
The characters outdo themselves. Eliot is great as a king and hilarious. Margo takes some responsibility. Julia is traumatized, but goes full psycho without her shade, which is not entirely her fault. Kady struggles to find her own path, but is a real friend to Julia. Penny is just grumpy Penny with bad karma. Alice is doomed as a Niffin and turns into a cold-blooded power hungry creature. And Quentin is more devoted than ever, feeling guilty and hopeless, but trying nonetheless to make it all right again, never giving up on his friends, how painful it gets for him.
My favorite part
I really love the interaction between Eliot and Margo. Although Eliot is technically a king who can’t leave Fillory or have sex with anyone but his wife Fen, Eliot and Margo keep their position as power couple. There’s nothing that can come between them. Their communications are hilarious and they have real chemistry.
When Eliot has to duel with King Idris, they do it in style. They go to battle singing ‘One More Day’ with the whole Fillory entourage which is a fun intermezzo and strangely gripping as well, and really befits their personalities.
Eliot and Margo’s bond is in contrast with the difficult relation Quentin has with either Alice or Julia. Or the seemingly uncomplicated relationship between Penny and Kady. That’s what makes this series so great. Each character adds something unique and powerful to the story. Together they make a great unity, complementing each other. But as separate persons they each have their own voice, and individuality, that either clashes with others or form a band instantly.
Asides from all that is going on, the characters are the real foundations of the series and the story. They are the heroes in their own sword and sorcery novels. By focusing on the characters within the story makes the story even greater.
Epic factor: ★★★★☆
Drama factor: ★★★★☆
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
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Cast and crew
The Magicians is based on the book with the same name written by Lev Grossman. It is created by Sera Gamble (Supernatural) and John McNamara. It stars Jason Ralph (Quentin), Stella Maeve (Julia), Olivia Taylor Dudley (Alice), Hale Appleman (Eliot), Arjun Gupta (Penny), Summer Bishil (Margo), Jade Tailor (Kady) and Rick Worthy (Dean Henry Fogg).
Music: Will Bates. Cinematography: Elie Smolkin. Production companies: Groundswell Productions, NBC Universal Television, Universal Cable Productions. Original network: Syfy.