Wednesday, February 26, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Magicians' - Eliot, Margo and Julia Hope to Save Fillory From Its Latest Threat in 'Garden Variety Homicide'

Syfy's The Magicians - Episode 5.08 "Garden Variety Homicide"

Josh returns from his nephew's bar mitzvah. Margo and Eliot share a mojito.

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.

"Garden Variety Homicide" was written by Jay Gard & Alex Raiman and directed by James L. Conway

Grief has essentially been the core theme of this season. It's been a loose idea that connects the various pieces of the narrative together. As such, it feels like any episode of the season so far could easily fall apart which the gentlest tug of the narrative thread. That is awkward and unfortunate. Here, it's such a fun and exciting idea for Eliot and Margo to pull a Freaky Friday situation. They trade bodies. Margo does so as an act of love. Sure, she doesn't want to have the difficult conversation with Josh about the current state of their relationship. But she also knows that Eliot doesn't want to kill Seb. He shouldn't have to bear the burden of that action either. He may agree that something has to be done to restore order to Fillory especially since Julia operates with the certainty that an apocalyptic event is coming. However, that is always on the horizon in these stories. Alice and Penny23 literally get a dire warning at the end of this episode about the Couple, a new threat that is after the information on the page Alice found amongst Quentin's belongings. The threats may never end. The people in positions of power can simply do whatever they can to maintain order and allow others to embrace peace and prosperity. That is the consequence of being in charge. Seb laments that no one understands the burden of being king. Eliot does because he once had this position. He also wants to empathize with him because he sees his vulnerabilities. He doesn't want to see a monster who is creating the Takers just so he can win the approval of the public by eliminating these creatures in battle. Seb does feel like an incredibly tortured individual. It also seems like some twist is coming in that story. One where Seb potentially isn't as villainous as he is perceived. Right now, he is the bad boy Eliot is attracted to. Margo understands that impulse when she gets to spend some time in Eliot's body with Charlton also coaching her along. She may have a new perspective on the way that Eliot now lives his life. These two have always understood each other better than anyone else. And yet, they have both endured traumas. Those have informed them in different ways. They can always rely on each other. And yet, sacrifices have been made and they have internalized a lot of their struggles. Eliot may want Margo to apologize and embrace happiness with Josh. However, that isn't something she can openly admit herself. Josh is skeptical the moment he hears it coming out of her mouth as well. That could jeopardize this entire mission. The stakes are high because Eliot and Margo don't want to be stuck in each other's bodies if they tell others what has happened. They don't have to worry about that either. Circumstances allow them to maintain their secret while getting the job done. And yet, Seb isn't dead. The protagonists didn't find a way to weaken his immortal state. It may all be futile in the end. They will have to deal with the consequences of that action. That is sure to be costly to all of them because Seb will want that vengeance. He will feel betrayed by the person he got close to even though Eliot could explain that it wasn't him in that confrontation. That may be the only possible redemption. The season needs these personal stakes. It needs to always remind the audience what these characters are fighting for and how well they are coping with what's happening. Julia may not want to worry about her new pregnancy. She believes she'll have the time to make all the big decisions. She won't though because of the time of year it is in Fillory. That may just be a convenient way to now incorporate Stella Maeve's real-life pregnancy into the show. The season has done a solid job covering it up so far. But now, Julia will truly have to acknowledge her dependency on magic and the need for there to be a grand purpose waiting for her with it. That has been an ongoing struggle. It's what many of these characters need after Quentin's death. That may remain elusive to all of them though. It may only welcome more threats to their way of life. But that may also be the cost of living in a magical world with seemingly endless potential and the need to fix the greatest problems society faces on a regular basis.