Wednesday, February 27, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Magicians' - A Leak of Magic Allows Alice to Do Some Good in the World in 'A Timeline and Place'

Syfy's The Magicians - Episode 4.06 "A Timeline and Place"

Quentin and Julia play Pictionary. Margo drinks some weird milk.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Syfy's The Magicians.

"A Timeline and Place" was written by Christina Strain and directed by James L. Conway

For a long time now, Alice has associated magic with everything bad in her life. Every destructive and selfish impulse she has felt has been fueled by her love and desperate need for magic. She betrayed and hurt so many people because she prioritized her pain without truly understanding the consequences. The Library has total control of magic now thanks to her. She still wants to see herself as an innocent victim in all of this too. Just like her friends, she too is being hunted by The Library. She had to escape. But now, she is finding a fresh perspective in a new corner of the world. She promised Quentin that she would go wherever the world book told her to go. It wasn't some different planet though. It was just Modesto, a small town with not a whole lot to do. The book brought her to Sheila. At first, she presents as a simple middle-aged woman who may actually be the future of this kind of life for Alice. Even this corner of the world is touched by magic though. For Alice, it's still a drug. She is aware of just how low the magic levels are here. And yet, she wants to escape to a quiet existence where she can build something better. Instead, she is forced to accept that magic isn't the source of her problems. It's her personal impulses and decisions that have caused so many extreme consequences. She has to take ownership of that fact while striving to do better. It will take so much hard work for her to win back the love and trust of her friends. Here, it's presented simply as her using magic to make the world a better place. That's what Sheila wants to do. She is just now starting to feel magic through her body. She doesn't know how to explain it. But she's helping people. She sees a chance to do something better that can improve lives. But her logic may be flawed as well. Magic can fix the pipe corrosion that has tainted the water supply of the town. But it also leads to an attack against the local chapter of the Library while Sheila is apprehended by the Librarians for causing the leak that led to such an outpouring of magic. To the Library, this only confirms their point that magic is dangerous because people are so irresponsible with that much power. It has to be regulated and controlled. That way people can be more sensible and understanding. But the Library is also corrupt by placing themselves at the top of this power structure with no awareness of just how intimidating and threatening they can be while making alliances with the wrong people. They still believe they can do no wrong even though Alice lives in complete fear of being caught once more. She may enjoy the happy moment by seeing kids enjoy the water of their town once more. But it won't last because of what happens to Sheila.

Meanwhile, Penny and Marina are actually dealing with the consequences of coming over from a different timeline. That was a huge moment at the conclusion of the third season. It meant that one version of Penny was seemingly gone for good. Those repercussions have actually been far-reaching as well. This isn't the friend that everyone has known for the rest of the series. It's someone new altogether who has different relationships with these characters. He has been trying to find his way in this potentially better world. However, he also sees the importance of him returning to his original timeline in order to save the world he has been visiting for a couple of months. He and Marina were abducted by a magician who bends time. He can return them to where they came from. He is doing so because their presence is essentially killing his mother. She too has this speciality with magic and has made great advances in being able to communicate with the past and other timelines. But Penny is right where he's suppose to be. It's also terrific that the show hasn't forgotten about the Penny down in the Underworld who is now working for the Library. He has a new outlook on life. He is interfering because he still cares. He sees the value in being replaced in his timeline by another version of himself. He knows things about the future as well. So, he too has become an all-seeing Librarian who cryptically teases things about the future. New Penny is just as confused as the rest of us. It was painful for Penny to make that choice to abandon Kady. He still loves her. She also hasn't really been a priority for a couple of episodes as well. That's a little bit of a bummer. Hopefully, that changes soon. New Penny returns to timeline 40 and makes it so that both he and Marina can stay here for good simply by making the disruptions too impossible to correct. That could have any number of consequences beyond altering space and time for this mother and son. And yet, everyone is exactly where they are suppose to be for this fight for magic and against the Monster. Meanwhile, the other characters are mostly just getting as much information as possible about their present concerns. And so, Margo receives a potential solution to her talking animals no longer being able to speak. And finally, Quentin delivers an ultimatum to the Monster in saying that it needs to take care of Eliot's body because if he dies then Quentin won't stop hunting the Monster until it is dead. That's very damning and serious as well.