The Magicians, S1E5: Quentin kills a puppy

Yup. This cute little puppy pays the ultimate price for Quentin’s asshattery

After having been kicked out of Club Hedge Witch, Julia shows up at the safe house and demands from Sleazy Guy (I don’t know his name and don’t care to learn it) the spells she helped Marina steal from Brakebills last episode. Sleaze says they’re locked in Marina’s filing cabinet, and even if they weren’t, he wouldn’t give them to Julia, because he doesn’t want to cross Marina.

Can we talk about why Julia was kicked out of Club Hedge Witch? I don’t understand this plot development at all. She went along with Marina’s plan, all was successful, and they all got away cleanly. Why does Marina dump someone dedicated enough to Marina’s cause to screw over her (former) best friend by locking him in a permanent mental health prison? (See S1E4.) At first I thought it might be because Marina is anti-Brakebills and Julia still aspires to go there. But then I remembered that Marina associates with Kady, a current Brakebills student, and that Kady herself snitched on the break-in plan by showing Quentin’s friends where to find him. Why does Kady get a pass while Julia doesn’t? Gah! This show makes no sense!

Dean Fogg shows up to talk to Alice, who is inexplicably working on a farm that looks more like someone’s back yard garden. He encourages her to come back to Brakebills. She points out that he never invited her to Brakebills in the first place – she had to sneak in to write the entrance exam. He apologizes, saying he felt responsible for her brother Charlie’s “accident” and didn’t want to bring any more loss to her family. This line reminds me of my suspicion that the professor who had an affair with the student Charlie was trying to help was actually Dean Fogg. Why do I think this? Because he’s really the only professor we’ve seen who has lasted more than one episode. Who else could it possibly be?

It’s Career Week at Brakebills! Everyone is supposed to choose a mentor to learn about living with magic post-Brakebills. Did you know there are magical podiatrists? Quentin finds that revelation depressing, as he was expecting life from now on to be *Magical!* [jazz hands]. At a mentor-student networking garden party, he talks with a magical doctor about her practice. (Does that make her a witch doctor? Sorry.)

Eliot and Margo are both vying for the same mentor, who happens to be Alice’s aunt Genji (played by Denise Crosby in Elton John glasses). Oh, Alice is back, by the way. We don’t know why Genji is so coveted as a mentor, but Eliot and Margo are determined to out-do one another to win her attentions. One way Margo wants to do that is by putting together a winning team in Wizard Chess, er, Wankers, er, Welters. She wants Quentin on the team.

Meanwhile, Quentin gets a note informing him that his father is sick. He goes to visit Dad (Spencer Garrett) in a scene that looks like it was shot through a blue-tinted window. I ask aloud, “Why is it so BLUE?!?” My ever-thoughtful husband says, “It’s because he’s out in the non-magical world, as opposed to Brakebills, where everything is warm and bright!” Ugh. Do we need to be hit over the head with this? It’s not even appropriate: Brakebills ain’t exactly the world’s most cheery place, after all. The undead haunt the campus, a Beast murdered a professor and gouged the eyeballs out of the Dean a few episodes ago, and a niffin disguised as Alice’s brother Charlie tried to kill her. So quit it with the underlit, blue cast over all the “real life” scenes, please!

Anyway… Dad’s elected not to undergo treatment for his brain tumor. Quentin is upset and wants to know why. Dad answers by showing him his favorite model airplane, which Quentin broke as a toddler. When Dad tried to mend it, it just got more broken. (Anyone wanna bet Quentin will use magic to fix his dad’s favorite model?)

We get a scene with Julia and her boyfriend James, back to normal-ish-ness. At least James thinks so. Julia’s doing a better job of hiding her double life.

Quentin goes back to the doctor/mentor he met at the garden party and asks her to fix his father’s brain cancer. She tells him magic can’t do that. But then 20 seconds later, she gives him some journal articles to read and warns him that what he’s seeking would require more energy than he can muster. Wait, which is it? “It’s impossible” or “You need a lot of energy to do it”? Because those are two very different things. God, they can’t even get the dialogue consistent within the context of a single scene!

Back to Eliot and Margo’s pointless competition for Genji’s attention. Eliot has baked cupcakes, each decorated with a letter from Genji’s name. Strangely, he tells Margo she can have one. This doesn’t make sense to me, because if she eats one, he won’t have enough cupcakes to spell “Genji” anymore. But whatevs. Margo one-ups him by showing him the bottle of “double-charmed sake you can only get from a very particular monk on Okinawa” that she plans to give Genji. Then she takes a cupcake, and Eliot has lost his letter “I”.

Julia has turned to Google Search to further her magical education. She tries making “invisible fire” and burns her fingers. She calls Sleazy Guy, who comes over to bandage her fingers. He wonders why she didn’t call her boyfriend. She kisses him, which seems totally out of the blue, but then she stops suddenly and demands to know where other hedge witch clubs can be found. So now she’s sunk to trading sex for information. They proceed to get it on in her kitchen.

At Brakebills, the Welters match has begun, but Quentin’s head is not in it. He’s worried about his dad. When it’s his turn, he spaces out and Margo has to yell at him to penetrate his mental fog. He attempts a very powerful spell to capture a square on the board, and it seems to get away from him, causing what looks like a lightning tornado in the gymnasium. Alice has to step off her square and help rein it in. Yet, somehow, this wins them the game? (Like so many things in this show, it makes no sense.)

At the celebration after-party, Quentin has a heart-to-heart with Margo, of all people, who tells him that the reason his magic is so powerful is that he’s so miserable. Apparently one’s magical ability is directly proportional to one’s internal pain. So does this mean Julia’s going to be one hell of a powerful magician, since she’s been shit upon since episode 1? And is that why she wasn’t powerful enough to pass the entrance exam – because she had too perfect a life then? For Julia’s sake, I hope so.

Speaking of Julia, she’s found the other hedge witch club she learned about from having hot, dirty, kitchen sex with Sleazy Guy. These hedge witches look like the gang from the Archie comics compared with Marina’s group. They demand Julia show them a spell to prove her worth. The spell she does leaves them all dumbfounded. It’s clear she’d be the teacher in this group, not a learner. She walks out disgusted.

She goes back to Sleazy Guy (okay, okay, his name is Pete; happy now?) and tells him he needs to give her info on another group to join. She doesn’t feel she got her money’s sex’s worth. Pete tells her the Archie Gang was the #2 hedge witch club in NYC. He suggests she get out of town – like WAY out. There’s a group in Mali doing “object magic” (whatever that is), and he says “We can go – together.” At the “together” part, Julia recoils in disgust. You can practically read on her face: “With you? Ew!!!”

He asks why that’s not cool, and she replies that she loves her boyfriend. He reminds her that she had hot, dirty, kitchen sex with him 2 nights ago, so she must not love her boyfriend that much. He adds, “He doesn’t even know the most important part of you.” She says she’ll tell him. Pete says that’s dangerous. Julia tells him Marina’s rules are irrelevant to her now.

Penny decides to do something about the woman’s voice he’s been hearing in his head for the past couple episodes. The voice is constantly pleading for help. Penny enters the “meditation chamber” and astrally projects himself (“Safety first!”) to where the woman has been chained in some sort of dungeon. He tries to talk to the woman and learn what’s happening and where they are, but since he’s just an astral projection, the woman can’t see or hear him (and he can’t undo the chains). Into the dungeon cell walks The Beast, a.k.a. Moth-Face. He asks if she’s ready to talk yet. Then he turns to Penny and says, “Hello.” Penny freaks the hell out and snaps out of the meditation.

He goes to speak with his traveler mentor and informs him that the girl being held in the dungeon was part of the infamous third-year class that disappeared 3 years ago. And apparently she was a traveler too? His mentor shrugs him off and tells him to get a protective tattoo that will keep him from travelling out of this world.

Quentin convinces Eliot to tell him about Cancer Puppy, the unofficial mascot of Brakebills. The dog is 100+ years old, but the spell on it keeps it a puppy. It has cancer, though, and Quentin wants to test out a spell that he thinks will cure it (and later his dad). Because of his kick-ass Welters spell, he thinks he has the requisite energy. I predict this will end badly.

Sure enough, he kills Cancer Puppy. As if I didn’t already hate Quentin. Dean Fogg gives him a stern talking-to about how the spell he attempted is forbidden, both at Brakebills and everywhere else. Quentin wonders what the point of magic is, if not to do Great Things.

Kady tells Penny to show Quentin and Alice a sketch of an image Penny saw in the dungeon where the woman was being held by The Beast. Quentin has seen it before; he pulls out a book and rifles through it until he finds the image. As he holds it up, he says, “I think you were in Fillory.”

Is Quentin the only one who’s read these Fillory books? You’d think that kids growing up with latent magical ability would be attracted to the Fillory series, but Quentin seems to be the only one familiar with these books. Well, we know Julia has read them too. Wouldn’t she be a big help with this caper? Alas, she didn’t get into Brakebills!

I think I’ve decided that this show is more of a hate-watch for me than anything else. I have to accept that Julia’s story is the only one that interests me, and that it’s never going to be front and center in this show. And now that Quentin knows that his profound misery fuels his magic, he has no incentive to be a cheerier person, like, ever. Things aren’t looking good….


5 thoughts on “The Magicians, S1E5: Quentin kills a puppy

Add yours

  1. Your reviews just became one of my weekly favourites!!! Although I do like the show, these are ridiculously entertaining and must I say on point.


  2. Thought the puppy,Gerald, could absorb cancers? Also, it was whimpering so that I thought it was in pain. Also, they had Eliot’s bf rip a bunny apart..this is disgusting & really disrupted my binge watching.. A bunny with a knife inside!!? Shark jumping 201.


  3. I found both scenes pretty awful. It seems like they were put in just for shock value — particularly the bunny scene, as it was so bloody and utterly gratuitous. (At least the puppy incident bore some relevance to Quentin’s story.) But I can’t say whether it’s ultimately the fault of the TV show producers or the author of the novel. Since I haven’t read the books, I don’t know if this animal cruelty stuff was in the source material or not. One could argue that even if it was in the book, the TV producers had a choice of whether to leave it in, or to tell the story a different way instead. At least with the bunny scene, I think they should have written their way around it and not included it in the show. It’s one thing to read about a gory scene; it’s quite another to have it shown to you onscreen in all its horrible detail.


  4. I’m glad I found your blog. Your review reads just like the thoughts in my mind about the show. I love to hate you more you sprinkle throughout your writing.

    The show feels so plasticy, almost like Arrow, like a leftover Legacy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight.

    Everything about this whole show, the cinematography, the production feels like it is based on highly privileged happy-go-lucky preppy class of people. It is such an artificial turn off for me.


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