The Magicians Explained, Part 6

Hey everyone, it’s Chris. This is episode 6 of my Magicians overview, this time dissecting episodes 4 through 7 of Season 2! You can find the previous reviews here.

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Okay, by now hopefully you know the drill, let’s get into it.

Episode 4

Paging Doctor Centaur

This was great and fairly close to the source material. The centaurs were always fun in the novels, with their haughty attitude. And they did indeed fix Q by replacing parts of him with magical wood.

The only difference I can see is that they didn’t “paint” skin over his new wooden bits, but that was obviously added for budgetary concerns. It’s expensive to constantly have a half wooden Quentin running around.

Oh and Penny obviously never came to them for help, and Q never chopped off his hands, etc since as I mentioned in an earlier video, Penny disappeared into the Neitherlands after the fight with The Beast.


This was also new for the show, and I have to say, didn’t do much for me or the show, other than allowing for the moment between Fogg and Eliot, which was quite amazing. In the novels the Scooby Gang just head into Fillory and do their best.

Having this moment where Fogg commits to helping Eliot run Fillory was a great addition and made the whole thing more believable in my opinion.

Quentin and Penny

While there is a lot of similarity between the book and tv versions of Q, I really hated this moment, and how Q reacted to Penny. It might be because we didn’t have any interaction between the two of them again until much, much later after Q has time to live and mature, but it just felt like a childish way to deal with him. I like to see characters grow while their story unfolds, which actually happens in the novels, so seeing Quentin just kind of stay static like this was a let down.

The White Lady

This was an amazing sequence in the novels and really did a lot of mature and improve Quentin’s character. His recovery with the Centaur’s is pretty long, and for his physical therapy he does choose archery, but instead of cheating with magic, he really learns how to shoot, and becomes very, very good.

He also takes the time to work on his magic, completing spells that were left unfinished, like his senior thesis which was flying to the moon and back. This training, coupled with the death of his father, forge Quentin into an accomplished, powerful magician.

He then begins this quest to go after the Doe, and she leads him on a chase across Fillory, all the way to the outermost edges of it. He hires a ship to chase her across the seas, learning how to sail along the way, getting ripped and all tanned, and when he finally tracks her down and captures her, he wishes for Alice’s return.

Of course, she can’t be returned, but not because she is dead and beyond the Doe’s power, since as I already covered, in the novels Alice kills the beast and then disappears. But she is unable to bring her back because Alice had left Fillory. As a Niffin, a being of pure magic, there are basically no limits to what she can do and where she can go.

In the end, just as we see in this episode Quentin has her send him home, where he decides to abandon magic altogether.

Episode 5

Quentin the Salaryman

This is how the first novel ended basically. Quentin retreats to the mundane world and takes a corner office job doing basically nothing. I liked having this in the show, a lot. Fixing the spilled wine was new though and I really liked it. It showed an interesting glimpse into what it’s like for some who leave that world and what it does to them.

The bit where she wants him to leave, etc didn’t happen. He is there until he chooses to leave because he is called to Fillory.

Penny in the Arctic

Oh my God, I loved this. Mayakovsky is one of my favorite side characters from the novels, and while he returns to the story near the end, it was really nice to have him back in the show earlier.

Mayakovsky is revealed to be a masters, master magician. He creates magic that even other master magicians are amazed by. And the tragedy of his life is that because of his questionable decisions he is now locked away, rotting at North. Speaking of his bad decisions...

Emily and Quentin

This was interesting. They suggested that there was chemistry forming between them in the novels, but Q is called away to Fillory before anything happens, so all of this is new and an interesting way, coupled with the revelations from Brakebills South, was a fantastic way to reveal the connection between Mayakovsky and Alice’s brother.

Julia’s Pregnancy

This was new for the show as well, and an interesting twist to the story. This fundamentally changes Julia’s journey, which is a shame really, since as I have mentioned before, she has one of the most interesting, satisfying archs in the novels.

I am excited to see just how this will affect her ultimate destiny in the show.

A Royal Heir

This is an interesting twist from a storyline in the novels. While there is a royal pregnancy, it isn’t Eliot and Fenn. This change is interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which, is that their child will be half earthling, half Fillorian, and would presumably sit on the throne of Fillory.

Or can it? Does being ½ child of earth count? In the novels the pregnancy is between two children of earth, so still 100% child of earth, even though it will also be a natural born citizen of Fillory. Very weird.


So, yeah odd. Alice does show back up in the novels, but not until the last book I believe, which is like 7 years after her death, and the circumstances are very different. I am assuming they are using seeing Alice as the hook that brings Quentin back into magic and back to Fillory, as opposed to how it was accomplished in the novels, so interesting stuff. And Alice living in his back, I actually dig this. A very interesting twist to the story.
And I love seeing Alice like this.

Episode 6

Quentin, Lord of the Dance

Yeah, as you can imagine, not in the novels. Quentin stumbles upon Alice years later, as he is working on perfecting a spell that allows you to create a new world. It’s nuts. In his first attempt he creates a mirror world, and within it he finds Alice.

They also basically skip over the whole funeral/memorial service thing. It was interesting to see the bit with her mother and father though, just how messed up they actually were and how little their children actually meant to them.

I did find it interesting that they had Alice leading him around to find the egyptian book. In the novels Alice loves being a Niffin, and is not in favor of being made human again. In fact she loves tormenting Quentin.

The Lorians

In the novels the Lorians are perpetually at war with the the Fillorians, but we don’t have an actual confrontation between the two kingdoms, let alone an appearance by the Lorians until later in the game, and they certainly didn’t steal Whitespire and move it to Loria.

This whole storyline is odd. Didn’t like it, not a fan. And then having Fillory declare war on the Lorians at the end? Nuts. In the novels the Lorians are always the aggressors. There is a parallel, in some sense, to be found in the novels when it comes to Margo and the Prince’s betrayal, but only from the standpoint that she was duped and then got real, real angry and did some very not nice stuff.

Banishing Reynard

This was new for the show as well, for obvious reasons, and I’m not really a fan of the angle. It also really complicated pieces of Julia’s story down the road, unless they do some hinky things with the story. I do dig the moment with Katy.

I am reserving judgement for now, but going on record saying I don’t like it, not one bit.

Episode 7

Alice and Quentin

This is interesting and kind of a bummer at the same time. In one sense having her trapped in Q makes for some real interesting moments, but it stops Alice from travelling as Niffins are able, which has some serious ramifications for the story down the road.

Like the entire ending of the story. So, I am interested in how they are going to fix this one. It was also great that she was so into the bank heist.

Robbing a Bank

I really enjoyed this one. They had to create a bunch of circumstances to make this work, to take this storyline, which is an adaptation of something from a later book, work at this point is pretty staggering. So kudos writers.

And I love that Margo is the experienced one here, and she basically turns into a 1040’s mafia boss. Honestly I liked this version of the heist a lot better. In the novels the heist crew was made of mostly new characters and Quentin.

And floating Penny was pretty amazing. And I mean, the Wrecking Ball was fantastic.


This was a much better use of this plot device than we had in the novels. It allowed for a number of necessary moments to happen. The removal of Eliot’s gollum, which really needed to go, Julia putting herself in harm's way for the Scooby Gang, which will go along way to convincing them she is worth having around, and moving the divine pregnancy storyline ahead.

Also, the magic electrowhip was rad.