Wednesday, April 10, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Magicians' - Quentin Proves His Love for the Ideals of the World and His Friends in 'The Secret Sea'

Syfy's The Magicians - Episode 4.12 "The Secret Sea"

Quentin yells at a plant. Margo stares at a fish.

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.

"The Secret Sea" was written by Elle Lipson & David Reed and directed by Shannon Kohli

The world is often a complicated and fucked up place to live in. It is so much easier to fall in love with the ideals of what something or someone could be instead of actually embracing what is actually happening. It's the key realization that everyone has to make while transitioning from a child to an adult. The narrative is essentially saying that the main characters have been growing up throughout their adventures across the entire series. Quentin's life changed the moment he learned magic was real. Things were put in stark contrast when he revisited his own past in the previous episode. He saw just how hopeful and full of love he was back then. So much has changed since that time. And now, the world requires him to embrace that love even though he is fully aware of all of its failings. He was so giddy to explore Fillory for the first time because the books saved his life. He understands those novels better than anyone else on the team. He knows exactly where to look in the hopes of getting some insight into how the Chatwins overcame the same obstacles that the team are now facing. They had full lives in Fillory. And now, the key to unlocking the reservoir of magic is for someone to present true love and adoration for Fillory. That's complicated because so many things have happened in this parallel world that have shown just how complicated life can be. Quentin has had many joyous moments in this place. He came to be a king of Fillory with his friends. He found love and had a family with Eliot here. And yet, this place also led to many of his friends being hurt or killed. It's a brutal society where magical creatures can frequently distort reality to suit their own selfish desires. It is no longer the pure entity that Quentin long had in his mind. But now, he needs to recall those memories in order to save Eliot and Julia. They have both been taken over by the Monsters. The siblings have found each other and plan on confronting their parents - the Old Gods. That will require them to visit the realm in which the Old Gods reside. That realm has been lost to humanity for a long time. The key just happens to be locked in the Poison Room. That allows everything to come together in an exciting way. It also presents a reality where Quentin and Alice are the only hope for salvation. They are the only magicians armed with the tools and power to take on the Monsters. It's just tragic because they also have so much love for them. Quentin reckoning with all of these emotions allows him to unlock the sea of magic. He makes the argument that it is perfectly fine to love the ideal of something instead of what it actually is. He is pleading with a plant to make that be good enough to unlock the magic. He succeeds in the end. He also finds the strength to forgive Alice as a result of all this clarity as well. Sure, it's awkward how forgiving her is also immediately connected to them being a romantic couple again. That shouldn't be all that necessary. It's what occurs nevertheless. It means they stand united in this fight against the Monsters who have taken over their friends and loved ones.

Love is fueling everyone's actions at the moment as well. In essence, that is the purest form of idealism. They are making their choices based on the love they are hoping to have and keep for the foreseeable future. Zelda loves The Library and will do anything to hold it up as an institution that can be reformed once its authoritarian leaders have been removed from power. Everett explains that he aspires to become a god in order to defeat the Monsters as well as bring even more information to the Library that can only expand the studies that take place there. The amount of knowledge they have simply isn't enough to save all of existence from these looming threats. That's what makes it curious when he's nowhere to be found when the Monsters are attacking the Library and breaking into the Poison Room. Meanwhile, Kady doesn't care about receiving the cure to keep from dying as a result of the toxins in the Poison Room. She will do everything she can to help her friends. But she also wishes to die in order to be reunited with Penny because that love is still always at the forefront of her mind. It's not good enough that she was told to move on or that she became a leader of the Hedge Witches. This love is still missing for her and she desperately wants it. Even Margo is willing to admit that she loves Josh now. She always tried to rationalize it by saying he's good to have around from time to time because the sex is surprisingly great while he is a charming personality. She feels the responsibility to keep an eye on him when he is transformed into a fish who could die without any eye contact. That leads to the amusing vision of Margo removing her fairy eye in order to keep watching him while also doing other things. That's an effective tool afforded to her because of everything she has experienced in this world. It also presents as her sitting out this big fight because she wants to make sure that Josh is okay first. She will only join once Josh has returned to his human form. She was so passionate about finding a way to save Eliot. She calls out Penny23 for not caring about Eliot but acting quickly once Julia was also taken to be the host of its sister. That is a fair criticism as well. Penny23 only acts when he has a personal stake in the mission. Things were finally starting to develop between him and Julia. He doesn't want to lose that now. It means something when he makes that promise to Margo to return their loved ones. It just comes at a time when everyone is hoping that they have enough magic and the tools to ultimately succeed in this battle. Who prevails will be very interesting to watch in the season finale.