The Magicians Season 5 Episode 4: Magicians Anonymous-Review and Recap-Visigoths, Isabella Islay Whiskey, and Jeff Koons
After three weeks of emotional turmoil, The Magicians is back on track with two quests and The Binder.
A much needed lighter episode that was still emotionally weighty brought things on Earth and in Fillory into focus. The first three episodes of season five have been draining. It was a continuation of the grieving process from last season’s shocking death of Quentin. They were torture porn for fans of The Magicians. Every tear reminded us how much these characters have lost and how much we love them. They have been through a lot and are still trying. Giving up is not an option for them and that is why we care. The Magicians Season 5 Episode 4 was a perfectly balanced slice of karma.
All the main players have their hands full saving their collective worlds. For Kady the responsibility of the Hedges is a constant stressor. She has a lot more in common with High King Margo, Eliot, and the Dark King now. Heavy is the head that wears the crown is an important unifying message. She has found a way to find the book depository. A drug nicknamed Archie opens the mind and allows one to enter the Etherochrome. The only problem, of course, being a recovering Heroin addict should not drop acid. Dean Fogg volunteers to go to spare her but she chooses to take RCH as well.
In the technicolor psychedelic world of the Etherochromw, they struggle staying on task but eventually stumble upon the Emperor on the beach of lost socks. That’s not the only hilarious beat here. Kady and Fogg’s storyline is sprinkled with humor throughout. The Emporer who is channeling Jeff Bridges’ the “Dude” from The Big Lebowski refers to himself as Emp and sends brown bunnies as spirit guides. It does make one think what the deal with all the bunnies is? They are certainly busy magical creatures. After the Emp determines both Kady and Dean Fogg are sufficiently damaged to stay, he forces them to choose who will go to the depository and who will stay with him.
Dean Fogg stays because he is tired of the forty lifetimes of stress the burden of saving the world has brought him. It is a theme this week with many of the characters. He wants a break from having to make so many difficult decisions. In his impaired state of “laid back mondo perfectus” he can finally rest and Kady still has so much to do. He has always been the stoic sarcastic backbone of the group. The elder statesmen who has seen and done a lot and suffered for it. Kady’s final words that she will be back for him are a promise as much as a threat.
Julia and Alice are working together to save the world from a disaster caused by the Convergence. They are an intriguing pair after all the mistakes they both have made. At one time or another, they have both betrayed the group. They come at problems from totally different angles and are uniquely situated to understand where the other is coming from. Even though Alice is concerned about doing business with a God again she leaves Julia to her plan and seeks out help from the Library. It marks a shift in respect the two women share.
Really cool coloring and dutch angles are used in the Library to show just how far gone the once perfectly controlled space has become. The settings have always been important but The Magicians Season 5 Episode 4 took full advantage of the fantastical multiverse the series lives in. Sepia colored and harshly angled nightmares and rainbow sparkled pink clouded seascapes share space with expertly decorated penthouses. These bizarre but oddly believable set pieces allow the addition of Visigoths who are glitter bombed medieval warlocks to appear normal.
The leader of the Visigoths, none other than Terrance the Overlord who is iZombie’s David Anders is in all his glorious ridiculousness. He is uber polite and has an eye for Alice. Zelda explains they are very civilized barbarians. They are keen on shorting stock and telling half-truths. The barbarians have come to raid the Library for any advantage they can get. Earth is a pretty basic planet though, so shy of maybe Jeff Koons there is no reason to be there other than the Library.
This poses a huge problem for Zelda however who has sacrificed her whole life including her relationship with her daughter for her job. Alice who can relate to making poor decisions councils her that those things we have lost stay with us in our hearts and memories. With that in mind, when the Visigoths break the spell on the door to the story room, Zelda goes all scorched Earth and burns the individual room down. It is a powerful moment for this woman who has defined herself by the role she played her entire adult life. Luckily Zelda has a great memory and has read many of the books Julia and company need. All they need to do to save the world is move the Moon.
Penny’s and Julia’s fate are tied together in a cosmic way in The Magicians Season 5 Episode 4. His patch isn’t working any longer and the Signal is becoming so strong he is glitching constantly. He has no control and is in a great deal of pain. Julia summons a God to help save the world but instead has to save Penny with her one bargaining chip. The summoned God Clarion(Juliette Goglia) is the Goddess of Melody. In exchange for helping Julia, she wants to be human. It is no fun to help rock stars create music without being able to experience it herself. Clarion is willing to trade the secret of becoming a human for saving Earth. Penny has taken a turn for the worse though so she is forced to use her juice to save him.
This plot beat brought The Binder(Matt Frewer) back into the fold. His narrative way of speaking and wry sense of humor is comedic gold. He is also an incredibly insightful being disguised as a joke. The rules for magical beings especially Gods in The Magicians are rigid. The Binder is bound(pun intended) by his own set of rules. He can still be surprised on occasion. When Julia is forced to decide to save Penny instead of the world she has some choice words for Clarion. Clarion says, for what it’s worth Julia made the right choice. Julia says, “for what its worth go fuck yourself” and the Binder actually looks amused. He may think humans are pretty ignorant sometimes but he clearly has developed an admiration for the human turned Goddess turned human again.
The last bit of trouble this episode brought was Penny’s loss of abilities. On one hand, he’s not dead so that’s great, but on the other, he has no psychic ability and can not travel. It’s beautiful irony that Julia’s choice was exactly the same as Penny’s last season. Death or power is a no brainer. Penny is more than understanding because he has literary been there himself not so long ago. He may be accepting but his loss of powers hurts the group.
In Castle White Spire with the Dark King, Eliot and Margo are learning a lot about the current King of Fillory. Sir Effingham/ The Dark King(Sean Maguire) who you recently saw as Russell Lighbourne in The 100 is a self-absorbed, at times superficial, propaganda slinging powerful magician. He is constantly showcasing his Taker killing talents on bowl tv. Margo thinks she is there to join the Centurians in finding and protecting map makers.
When the Dark King has to come to her rescue and then collapses in her arms she begins to question where his magic comes from. By the end of the episode, it is obvious the Dark King is no better than the McAllister’s. The faeries were right to distrust humans. We are the worst and Eliot’s new boy toy is nothing but a genocidal troll. It won’t be long before Margo loses her cool and beats some ass. I can’t wait!
The Magicians Season 5 Episode 4 was everything we love about the series. It was well paced and featured so many life truths hidden within weird and wacky situations. The episode was both serious and silly without either taking over. It is at its best when it lets its freak flag fly. In the words of Eliot, Fuck Netflix. That is peak television.” Catch up on all our coverage here.
- For those interested, Isabella Islay Single Malt is a luxury whiskey that is bottled in the finest decanters of diamonds, rubies, white gold, and hand-cut crystal. It is 30 or 40 years old depending on the variety and comes from the Island of Islay.
- Best line of the night goes to the wise Binder who says, “Like all humans, 23 saw little and knew less.” Unfortunately, this is too true. As a race, we are very myopic.
- The second best line goes to our Commander Of The Clever Comment, Margo. She tells Eliot, “I was a woman running a patriarchy. My brand had to be overkill” when he tells her name was Margo The Destroyer.-Preach sister!
- Since fairies can see Margo’s fairy eye does that mean the Dark King will be able to see her eye when under the influence? No one ever could last season but the stakes are very high in Fillory now. It’s only a matter of time before her secret is out.
- Visigoths were real historical people. They were Germanic people who lived between the 3rd and 5th century AD.
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.