The Magicians becomes more epic preparing for a heartbreaking devastating ending.
The Magicians takes on a whole new level of magic in this fourth season where The Order of The Library has taken over magic. It’s a different season than the previous three due to the separate story arcs of our beloved group of Magicians. Each take personal steps towards growth and in taking control of their own storylines.
Stories, storytelling, personal stories and endings are key to this season. As usual there is a lot of whimsical humor, personal quests, strength, loyalty, friendship and love and ultimate sacrifice resulting in a most heartbreaking ending, that won’t leave you without tears.
This fourth season consists of 13 epsiodes each with a duration of 44 minutes. It’s a continuous epic story with multiple storylines and characters that all come together for a common cause.
After Quentin, Penny, Kady, Eliot, Margo and Josh with the help of goddess Julia and despite of Alice’s efforts to stop them, successfully brought back magic, The Order of The Library managed to divert the magic from the fountain to the Library. They replaced the magicians’ old identities with new ones and claimed the return of magic for themselves.
While Alice is taken prisoner by The Order, the others lead different non-magical lives, but Kady as a cop discovers something strange about her life and tracks down the others. But something even more strange has happened to Eliot. The Monster who was held prisoner in Castle Blackspire escaped and possessed him. Now he is on a killing spree, taking out humans and gods while searching for something that was taken from him.
When the magicians finally get their identities back, they have to find a way to rescue Eliot, stop The Monster and stop The Library from a totalitarian regime and their hidden sinister plans and give back magic to everyone.
Why you should watch it
This fourth season is different due to the dispersed group. While Quentin, who deeply loves Eliot, and Julia want to find a way to stop The Monster and save Eliot, Alice is on her own, trying to find a new way to believe in the good of magic again. High King Margo is mostly in Fillory with Fen trying to run a Kingdom, but now has Josh at her side, whom she has a sexual relationship with that proves to be more loving than she could ever have imagined.
The real Eliot is mostly absent except for an episode in which we see him locked up in his own mind in his happy place by The Monster. It gives us more insight about his character, but his absence is a great loss to the series. Although the interactions between Margo and Josh are great and they are both the better for it, Margo still misses Eliot deeply.
Penny from timeline 23, who replaced our old Penny, has very versatile duties and functions this season. He’s most definitely a different Penny, nicer, more caring and had a relationship with Julia in his timeline, that seems to blossom (again).
Julia, while trying to help Quentin, has a little personal quest of her own, trying to found out if she’s still a goddess or not and where all of her powers went, after she made the keys to bring back magic. A very funny character The Binder has some answers about her, The Gods, The Order and The Monster.
But the underlying theme of this season is Stories. The importance of stories, of characters, heroes and sidekicks and story arcs and storylines. Although it doesn’t have a meta-perspective, it connects on a higher level with the beginning of the series, when Quentin found out that Fillory is real, that magic is real and he finally belongs somewhere with people whom he loves and finalizes his life by going on quests, saving people and fixing things, also finding his personal discipline that suits him well.
The sidelines of stories, the story arcs of sidekicks are of great importance to every story, to fulfill the hero’s journey, to push the story forwards or to give it a big twist. While Kady renders herself a sidekick by just being the love interest of Penny, she runs herself short and it is shown, to her as well, she is evenly important as the others. The same goes for Fen, who isn’t merely the sidekick she was portrayed. Her actions are of great importance as well. As are those of Zelda. By focusing more on these so-called sidekicks the story gets even more round and epic.
But the person with the biggest story, is Quentin. It all ends, how it began. With the belief in magic, in himself and in others. Building a life as a real hero, with real intimate relationships is finally realized. And ends in a heartbreaking moment, you are not prepared for.
My favorite part
Because the magicians each operate on their own, and Eliot’s delightful presence and character is absent, this season can feel a bit dire and darker. Everybody is struggling with the new order and with themselves, which makes it a little less fun and playful.
But luckily we have Margo and Josh. The most unlikely couple, who would have thought, but it works very well. In another series a guy like Josh would have never gotten a girl like Margo. And a girl like Margo wouldn’t look once at a guy like Josh. I really like this relationship everybody thought was impossible, and it shows the heart of the series.
In the previous season Quentin and Eliot have spent a lifetime together on a quest, and felt a deep meaningful love for each other, so much so that after their quest, Quentin wanted to give it a go, but Eliot was too afraid. It shows that people’s lives cannot be put in boxes, life is personal, unpredictable and you have to be open to let all kinds of love in.
It’s plain to see High King Margo steals the show in this season. She’s strong, loyal, self-less and although she doesn’t do emotions, she clearly feels a deep love for Josh and for Eliot as well. She’s a feminist, who curses as a sailerwoman, isn’t afraid to get hurt or dirty and will go through hell and back for the ones she loves. She even does it with great charisma and style singing eighties epic songs on her quest, while guided by Eliot and the others. Which was a brilliant and powerful episode.
The ending, well I can’t say I “liked” it, but it was beautiful and epic and it can still bring tears to my eyes. I can never hear ‘Take On Me’ by A-ha again without thinking about this ending and feeling emotional.
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 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), Trevor Einhorn (Josh) and Britany Curran (Fen).
Music: Will Bates. Cinematography: Elie Smolkin. Production companies: Groundswell Productions, NBC Universal Television, Universal Cable Productions. Original network: Syfy.