The Magicians Season 3 Episode 12- The Fillorian Candidate
This week’s episode has our band of questers forging new ground. It is a political mine field they are playing in and most of our characters have very significant jumps in growth to boot. The stakes have never been higher as we set up the final portion of the quest and the inevitable showdown with who or whats in the castle at the end of the world. Allegory and symbolism lurk behind every door and in every nuanced conversation. Although this episode did not hit all the sweet spots with regard to the feels it really delivered a shrewd, cerebral story that gave us tons to think about.
To start the episode, Alice is as usual scheming with The Library and assuming she knows best while Eliot and Margot are campaigning to win the crown of Fillory. With the power of the crown they can barter with the Fairy Queen for the final key. Julia and Josh are acting as campaign manager and side show act in between grocery shopping and Reynard shaming respectively. Julia and Kady must confront Reynard to get intel on whats behind the castle door as he’s the only God they can locate right then due to some unfortunate nipple pics on Instagram. Kady is sulking and complaining, so what else is new for her, and Julia is advancing her power at break neck speed.
The how and the why of this action is far more interesting. The writers this week very effectively take us from our comfortable emotional high ground and deliver a serious, pragmatic episode that is more about the journey than the destination. It is exactly this change in tone that make this series so great. We are forever on the back of our heals wondering what direction we will go next.
The first hint that this is not the heartbreaking, difficult to watch type of episodewe have come to expect is the introduction of Penny23 into our timeline. He’s given a glib synopsis from Josh, who lets face facts is the worst candidate for ambassador and immediately is asked to pick sides and get to traveling. What is surprising is this Penny has no qualms about anything. He’s all in from the start. It doesn’t even seem to be some misguided pining away for Julia thing. He genuinely seems to be equipped to suss out the situation and make a firm decision in no time flat. This is a far cry from Penny40 who is cranky and sarcastic and agonizes over everything.
He’s not the only one of our heroes to change either. Margo has always beenstrong, but she rarely is given the opportunity to lead. As a result she often saw herself as half of a whole with Eliot. When the election results come in and she is the clear winner, by write in no less, she is shocked and happy. She is also worried about Eliot and his ego. Margo has developed into quite a tough as nails, practically thinking leader of men, women and animals evidently. She is kind and accepting and relentless when necessary. With the addition of the new fairy eye gifted to her by the Fairy Queen I predict huge things from her. With Summer Bishil’s capable acting chops guiding this character I know she will continue to grow while all the time maintaining her razor sharp wit.
Speaking of Eliot he has come to respect and love Margot beyond just the sexy, smart play thing she used to be. He has had to come to terms with the loss of a child and the pain of a failed marriage, despite the unwanted nature of the marriage to begin with. It has taken him some time but his desire to help both his friends and Fillory has propelled him forward past the vacuous, superficial person he used to be to. His growth has been steady and this week we see the last vestiges of his selfishness break away.
Quentin had the largest shift in maturity this episode and it was seen quite poignantly in the final scenes with his Father. Q must face his father and explain that in returning magic to the world he may very likely be killing him. Q’s Father had magic cancer cast on him and once magic is back the cancer will come back as well probably killing him. This is a powerful turning point for Q and one that dramatically points to the self confidence and maturity that he is developing. He is no longer the navel gazing sad sack full of self doubt but on his way to becoming a self assured man of action. I for one think it’s about time.
The theme of moving on from our parents is seen twice this week. The second is Fray who has moved on from her adopted fairy parents and has embraced adulthood by getting a job and finding a mate. This mate is a bear, but who am I to judge. Love is love right? Margot’s acceptance of this relationship is actually the catalyst for her subsequent victory, so up with love!
Julia continues to grow both in power but also in spirit. Instead of losing herhumanity as she becomes more and more God-like each day she seems to be finding her humanity. She wants nothing more than to help others. We saw her heal Fogg, regrow the trees, and forgive Reynard. She helped those in Fillory with joy in her heart and has fully embraced her power. Despite taking a much different route, Kady is also on the road to forgiveness and acceptance. She is able to walk away from Reynard and recognizes his punishment as poor pizza delivery man is far worse than anything she could or should ever do. Her anger has always been an issue for her and for once she has conquered it. This self control will be needed as the quest comes to it’s completion.
Only Alice and Josh did not have any life epiphanies this week. Alice did eventually come clean about The Library and their plans but only after getting caught lying and I do not trust her entirely. Josh is just comic relief. He is as deep as a puddle and continues to be portrayed as the court jester for our band of merry questers. Trevor Einhorn does an outstanding job making this character entertaining without being annoying and huge props go to him for keeping Josh from descending into a cartoon.
At the end of the day we are left with an epic quest coming to an end, people who are ready and equipped to do battle with whatever lies before them, a noble cause and HUUUGGGEEE questions about who will make it out alive. I can’t wait until next week.
Stray thoughts and Random Theories:
1. Bestiality is a big thing in Fillory. Fray and her bear lover and Rafe and his Sloth who have been in the closet this whole time.
2. The castle is The Disappointments Room and who knows what’s coming out of there once the key is turned. What if all the dead or de-powered Gods like Reynard, Umber and Ember are unleashed and powered up? Maybe it’s a Gorgons thing like Medusa.
3. We didn’t need the God killing knife after all because we have the God killing bullet thanks to Reynard. Thanks for keeping that safe for us buddy. Wait, what if there is more than one thing in the castle? We only have one bullet.
4. Eliot is Hillary and Trump I mean Tick released the emails/transcripts. Very clever writers, I see you.
5. Taking away others choice is never a good thing. I’m glad Q set Alice straight, I’m just not sure she’s buying what he’s selling.
6. There are 7 keys but eight questers. Someone’s not coming back. Alice’s gonna betray them and cost someone there life or more likely someone will sacrifice themselves for the group. I have seen many theories it will be Penny23 so Penny40 can jump in his body but I think it could be Josh or Kady as their arches have been the most flat. Kady in particular could sure use some moral fortitude displayed.
7. Margot’s eye will become very important.
8. What the hell does the siphon do and why do we only have a 30 second window? Why not 33 seconds or 10 minutes?
8. Ahh the bunnies. How do I love thee? I love them cursing especially when they say “eat my ass”, of course.
9. Oprah came to The Magicians and you get an eye, and you get an eye and another eye.
10. Kinkos still exists in Fillory. Does it still exist here?
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.