Wednesday, January 22, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Magicians' - Kady Deals With Missing Time While Eliot and Margo Change the Past in 'The Wrath of the Time Bees'

Syfy's The Magicians - Episode 5.02 "The Wrath of the Time Bees"

Alice didn't buy enough tacos. Fen's got 3 bars.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 Wrath of the Time Bees" was written by David Reed and directed by Chris Fisher

The narrative is overwhelmingly trying to get the characters to accept the past and move on with their futures. It is stating over and over again that the past cannot be changed even in a world where magic exists. That may not be true though. This hour even calls attention to the fact that Jane Chatwin cast a spell that fundamentally changed the lives of the core protagonists over and over again until they defeated the Beast. This episode uses her as a figure with wisdom on the subject. She knows that meddling with the past will only create even more problems and destruction. She may have eventually been victorious. As such, that can give the characters hope. Margo wants to believe that she can save Josh and Fen's lives even though they are 300 years in the past. Alice believes that she can recreate Quintin as a golem. And yes, the show eventually does find a way to save Josh and Fen. The entire high court from Fillory decides to travel 300 years into the future knowing that their fates in the past are doomed to end tragically. Margo and Eliot repeated the same pattern hoping for a better outcome. They had found a way to communicate with their friends and warn them of the threat that was coming. Of course, the Dark King remains this vague presence that looms over Fillory without much nuance so far. In fact, that can be seen as an overall problem of the season to date. There isn't a whole lot of urgency to the proceedings. The characters are simply keeping busy. They are mourning the loss of a friend. Margo doesn't want to say goodbye to any more people she cares about. That's why she holds on so tightly to Josh and Fen. She even sees Fillory as her home now. She was elected as High King and has a responsibility to protect this kingdom. Eliot similarly feels a duty to try to save Quintin's life. He believes sending this letter back to the past will ensure a different outcome. It may not change anything. Josh and Fen were only saved because they had to be removed from the past tragedy altogether. They didn't die at that specific moment in time. But their fates could still be destined for that as this season develops. That's something everyone will have to be worried about. Quintin was always positioned as the destined savior of this universe. That narrative was made abundantly clear in the premiere with the latest threat of apocalypse on the horizon. Julia wasn't gifted with that quest because she wasn't deemed worthy enough. Of course, the audience knows that she is special and powerful. She helps Alice find some clarity here. And yet, closure has proved to be a difficult construct for these characters to embrace. Their lives have changed before. This situation feels a little different though. It's a little more dire than all the previous disruptions to life in this world. That's startling. It's also evident that there are these profound mysteries that have no grand meaning at the moment. Julia has no answers about the surges of magic that have led to more magicians blowing themselves up because they don't know how to handle it. Kady is on the hunt for a Library outpost that has been mysteriously taken with these new antagonists being willing to wipe her memory completely in order to avoid getting caught. That takes a lot of strength and infrastructure in order to pull off. It may be a journey worth pursuing. But again, it all has to circle back to the personal consequences. Kady may not feel worthy enough of being in charge of the hedge witches. She doesn't know if she can handle it without an unhealthy coping mechanism. That scares her and Penny23 can't help. She was attacked and she doesn't know why. Alice understands that her life is starting its next chapter in a completely new book. That is a scary prospect. However, the season needs a bit more definition in order to truly present this as uncharted territory for everyone involved. It doesn't immediately seem to be challenging itself with something new and magical to behold. Instead, it's just more grim because of the profound loss and the inability to quite figure out what to do next. That inaction can drag the proceedings down though. So hopefully, there is clarity on Eliot's final decision about potentially changing Quintin's fate sooner rather than later.