The Magicians recap: The Losses of Magic

THE MAGICIANS (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy) Acquired from NBC Media Village
THE MAGICIANS (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy) Acquired from NBC Media Village /

Monster possessions, duct-tape suits, pirates, and demon surgery abound as characters struggle to remedy the actions of the past and try to avoid making new ones in the latest hour of The Magicians. 

A thing that The Magicians often does that is still fairly impressive is the way that it has episodes, like “The Losses of Magic,” that feel completely closed off in a way, but also propels the season forward. It’s micro pushing the macro in a way that we don’t see that often in genre television anymore.

That is accomplished this week by splitting the characters evenly into three distinct, self-contained plot lines of the episode.

First, we have Alice and Quentin.

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As you may remember, Alice has been on the run from a creature known as the Lamprey and, in the final moments of last week’s episode “Heroes and Morons,” Quentin was jumped by it and is now possessed.

Alice, now actively on the run from it, heads back to her hippy parent’s house and is instantly paranoid of her mother’s (Judith Hoag) friend, who Alice and her father (Tom Amandes), almost instantly tie up and electrocute to get the Lamprey. (Spoiler: She does not have the Lamprey in her.)

Quentin shows up shortly after and the Lamprey leaves him. Since no one knows where it is, they lock up the house and Alice’s mom does the only thing she can (or would) do in a time like this: gets Quentin alone and tries to make out with him. Or is she secretly the Lamprey and trying to get back into him. No, it’s definitely the making out thing. The most important question is: Why Quentin? This is the evergreen question.

Alice then realizes that the Lamprey is, in fact, in her father. The Lamprey warns that her father has a weak heart and won’t survive being electrocuted. Well, Alice gonna Alice so she does it anyway.

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Since the Lamprey laid eggs in Quentin, she has to make him throw up. Like, a lot. He throws up a lot. The good news is Quentin doesn’t have the gum that he accidentally swallowed five years ago in him anymore.

After that, the two have a nice heart-to-heart and all’s good with Alice. That is until Alice’s dad keels over because he really did have a bad heart and Alice accidentally killed him.

THE MAGICIANS (Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy) Acquired from NBC Media Village
THE MAGICIANS (Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy) Acquired from NBC Media Village /

Elsewhere, Eliot and Co. are getting boarded by pirates. Cool, fun times. Eliot, being the shrewd person he is, hides in a secret door and dresses up the cartographer as himself. Margo hears word of this back at Fillory, asks a favor of the Fairy Queen, and hops on a Pegasus to take her to the now-captured ship.

There, she finds the Pirate King, a rather attractive woman who would like to, erm, negotiate with Margo — in her quarters, alone. True to their form, the pirates want gold, but they also have a sentient ship, similar to Fillory’s, that essentially wants to rape their ship. Margo is understandably distraught at this option and asks the ship itself what it wants to do. The Fairy Queen overhears this and slaughters all of the pirates. So, no pirate sex for Margo.

In the third corner of the episode, Kadi, who had stolen Mayakovsky’s magical grenade in the previous episode, is now ready to use it to heal Penny, but needs Julia’s help to make it work. Her plan is to summon a demon.

On any other show, this would be an extraordinarily bad idea, but this is The Magicians so a different set of rules apply. They summon the demon, embarrassingly confuse him with another demon, and tell him what they want from him. The demon agrees to help, but warns that what it has to do is essentially surgery. It digs its long fingers into Penny’s chest and, after an agonizing amount of time and screaming, the demon digs out the Super Cancer. It was too late, however, as Penny passes out and presumably dies.

The episode ends with Penny on the other side of the room staring at his body, clearly confused as we are also.

Next: John McNamara discusses The Magicians partnerships and loyalties

This episode brings up a couple of things. The first of which is that based on the Lamprey’s account of what Alice did to its family, it’s entirely possible now that she is the Torture Artist that the Great Cock mentioned for the quest.

The second is what exactly is happening to Penny? Is he actually dead or is he traveling along some kind of limbo existence that Kadi and Julia will have to rescue him from?