The Magicians Season 4 Episode 12: The Secret Sea-Review and Recap
Everything matters and is part of the bigger chaotic picture in the penultimate episode of The Magicians Season 4 that was as emotional as any yet.
So many disparate plot lines and seemingly unconnected dots came together in episode 12 The Secret Sea. The writers never disappoint when it comes to tying up loose ends and showcasing things that you didn’t think would matter from seasons ago(rabbit pirates anyone?) A callback to Christopher Plover’s magical immortality spell kept him alive and alone in the poison room for Kady and Zelda to find. At times season 4 has felt adrift at sea. As lost as poor beautiful Eliot. Last week a glimmer of the finished puzzle was revealed and it was everything and more I could have asked for. This week that picture crystallized into a perfect kaleidoscope of acceptance. Just as there is beauty in simplicity there is also perfection in the intricacies of The Magicians. When Quentin bemoans the randomness of life he is mirroring the frustration felt in the real world at the injustice that could be witnessed daily. It would be great if Karma always found its target, but sometimes it doesn’t until years later or at all. Thank God(s) in the world of The Magicians mostly people get what’s coming to them.
As much about personal responsibility the symmetry of The Secret Sea was also a redemption song for many of the characters. Alice, Zelda, Dean Fogg, and Sheila too a lesser degree, have things to atone for. They finally got their chance as allies became powerful friends and Alice gets the forgiveness she craved. With her firmly back in the fold her keen mind will be needed to undo the mess she created last season. The devil is in the details. Margo’s fairy eye has been more a curiosity than a useful tool until she needed to use it to keep Josh alive. Every adornment on Dean Fogg’s impressive suit was a magical artifact to be used to help those he cares about. A cure for the poison room exit but was not used on Penny 40 because he was needed in the Underworld. There is so much to atone for and even more tiny details to explore as this season begins the race for the finish. Everything matters and it is hard to shake the sins of your pastas Christopher Plover points out to Zelda. Whether those sins are passive enabling like Zelda’s, arrogant hubris like Alice and Everett, indecision brought by fear as in Sheila and Quentin, or fear of loss of control in Margo and Dean Fogg those mistakes will haunt them forever. History is blind, man is not, and to be human is to learn from our failures.
As predicted, Everett is the cause for the giant reservoir of magic beneath the castle in Fillory. In his short-sighted attempt to become a God himself he inadvertently has given Team Good Magic the juice needed to save Eliot and Julia. His heartfelt mind meld with Zelda is full of the kinds of double speak people use to justify terrible decisions to themselves. His motivations are altruistic, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. As perverse as his beliefs, the purity and honesty of Quentin’s are a good foil. It is by no coincidence that Quentin’s depression will be the catalyst for success in the Drowning Garden. For Q, Fillory was an escape from the pain of his life. It was a fantasy he needed to lose himself in when things got too rough. A lovely statement about the knowledge of maturity with the innocence of youth was presented by Alice when she says, “Being an adult doesn’t mean you have to throw away what you used to love. It’s seeing the world with new eyes.” If Quentin can find it in his soul to accept and love his friends, himself, and even Fillory with all the good and bad he will be able break the curse. Isn’t it enough to love the idea of something he asks the Drowned Garden? When the love is pure it is enough and the curse is lifted. It’s a beautiful metaphor for mental illness and self doubt in general. That’s what The Magicians does best, make fantastical things relateable. Who hasn’t felt as Quentin does sometimes?
With more than a few Librarians slain by The Monster Twins and the key to the Old God’s realm in their hand time is running out. As sympathetic as any villain these two all powerful beings were wronged, but that is no excuse for doing even more harm. Whether a product of his time with humans or shring a body with Eliot, something is wearing off. The Monster wants to spend his time with his sister, but she wants only blood. This was the difference we knew existed all along. He is a product of his mistreatment, where she is Evil incarnate. Now that she is in Julia’s indestructible body I hope I’m right and the exorcism axes can be used to remove The Monster’s sister while preserving her humanity. Regardless it will require a small army to take them down. Even with Kady’s question of conscience, she is a fighter and you know when push comes to shove she will show up and throw down. I just hope it doesn’t cost her her life.
The endless scavenger hunt for, at times, mindless and unconnected items and the battle to get Eliot back has really been some sort of cosmic St. Elsewhere’s snow globe of life choices. At first it was annoying until character after character was asked to make choices that could, at best be described as difficult. Kady and Zelda were asked to decide between their own survival and releasing a pedophile on the world, Margo between the friend she loves like a brother and Josh the man she loves with her heart, Julia between humanity and Goddessness, Quentin between acceptance and regret, and Kady life or death. No character will come away clean as decisions have ramifications sometimes that we see, and sometimes that are unintended. One thing is for sure, as one Big Bad is taken down another will take its place and the gang will never be the same.Q has been super juiced now by the sea.
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.