As the series, The Magicians, picks up in it’s first episode, the words ‘wow’ and ‘wonderful’ describe it best. The series shows a more realistic approach to ‘acceptance of another world’ as the characters come to terms.
Cast of The Magician
Joseph Ralph as Quentin Coldwater
Stella Maeve as Julia Wicker
Hale Appleman as Eliot Waugh
Rick Worthy as Dean Fogg
Olivia Dudley as Alice Quinn
Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson
Jade Tailor as Kady
Arjun Gupta as Penny
Here is a episode by episode breakdown for you:
Episode 1 Recap
The episode starts on a mysterious note, all the while introducing the characters and their interest and knowledge of fantasy. Eventually, through their own ways, both Julia and Quentin reach Brakebills University. The story picks up from there on.
It is refreshing to watch that a magic university has a platonic name and offers a deck of cards for final examination instead of a talking hat (irrespective of how big a Harry Potter fan you and I are). But don’t be fooled, in this test, all of Hermoine’s nightmare’s come true. They ask you to do real magic without any prior knowledge.
While Quentin succeeds after being pushed to aggression, Julia fails on the written examination. The school wipes her memory but she remembers, becoming depressed and obsessed with wanting back in.
As the episode progresses, Julia struggles to find her way back into learning magic and comes across a man with unorthodox means who can fulfill her desire to learn. Meanwhile Quentin keeps facing the world of Fillory where Jane Chatwin warns him against the university. He is either travelling between worlds or dream travelling but Fillory is somehow involved. While in Fillory for the second time, a peculiar mark is burnt in Quentin’s hand and travels with him to this world.
As he remembers seeing the mark in Alice’s book, he seeks answers which lead him into ‘the other side’. It is revealed that Alice’s purpose to join the school is to find about her brother, Charlie’s death. She involves him in the summoning of her brother. As if that isn’t scary enough Penny is revealed to have a unique ability… Well, it is hard to explain. Let’s just say that he hears voices and knows to be at the right place at the right time, like mind reading pull.
Eventually, Alice, Quentin, Penny and Kady start to brew a potion to contact the other side but at exactly 12 midnight nothing comes of it but disappointment. It is not until everybody leaves that the spirit shows its presence. The next day during class at 12, the spirit comes out and time freezes, interestingly, only freezing the body but not the eyes and the mind of the students in the classroom.
It is a suited man with moth like creatures filling in for his face. He makes a hand gesture using 5 fingers and a thumb making the professor drop. As Dean Fogg tries to control the situation, the evil spirit claws his eyes out creepily creating a smiley face with it. The episode ends curiously with the creature extending its hand towards Quentin and addressing him with familiarity.
Interesting parts about this episode
- Eliot’s wit is one of my favorite things in his episode as is Quentin’s confusion.
- How magic students are located is like an analog version of what professor X does in X men.
- The spirit’s features are definitely interesting as you can see the face of a man hiding in it somewhere; and what’s with the 5 fingers?
- The episode closes without revealing the identity of this spirit
- Everything in the room starts floating in the sex scene.
- Penny’s ability to read minds like an evolved psychic.
The episode walks the edge between horror (the creepy ghost, eyes pulled out of the face), disturbing (the man exploiting Julia to find her powers, dominating Jane in Fillory), mystery (Charlie’s death, disappearance of 26 students) and a little wonder (different types of power the students posses, entry into Brakebills).
Decide after watching if you can continue with further episodes because I may not.