The Magicians recap: Season 4, Episode 7, The Side Effect

THE MAGICIANS -- "The Side Effect" -- Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY -- Acquired via NBC Media Villiage
THE MAGICIANS -- "The Side Effect" -- Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY -- Acquired via NBC Media Villiage /

The Magicians presents us with another vignette episode following some of the side characters.

Effectively operating as a kind of successor to season three’s “Six Short Stories About Magic,” The Magicians centers once more on Original Penny looks in on some of the characters that have gotten lost in the shuffle this season.

We see Penny, who is doing quite well for himself now in the Underworld, as a kind of supervisor to the others that determine what categories specific books get placed in. Penny calls in one of the workers that he has taken particular umbrage with in regards to the dismissive manner that the worker, Derek, has filed one of the books.

What follows is a rather interesting and mild rebuke of some of the audience in which Penny asks Derek whether or not he read any of the books that he gave him to read. Derek admits that he pretty much just read Quentin and Alice’s books up to where we are in the show and chalked everyone else, including Penny, up to side characters in an epic quest. Derek’s reasoning is that Quentin is the obvious center of the show and Penny instantly refutes that, citing his underling’s obvious case of “white male protaganism.”

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Penny then presents him with three books: Kady, Fen, and The Librarian. Three stories that recontextualize what it means to be the “important” character of the story.

He begins with The Librarian, who is struggling with the other librarians on how to deal with the breakout of Alice and Santa Claus from the Library. There are some that suggest that they never should have kept them here in the first place and considered killing them instead. It’s determined that, until they can look at Alice’s book to see where she is going, it is likely that she’ll go underground with the Hedge Witches and they agree to put trackers on them to see if Alice shows up.

At the same time, The Librarian is being haunted in mirrors by her daughter Harriet, who she had thrown into the mirror netherworld when she tried to break into the Library. She concocts a plan to go into the mirror and retrieve her daughter. Inside, she fails to find her but does get attacked by warped versions of Harriet.

She realizes that she needs someone who has gone through this place before: Alice.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Side Effect” — Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY — Acquired via NBC Media Villiage
THE MAGICIANS — “The Side Effect” — Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY — Acquired via NBC Media Villiage /

Over in Fillory, Fen has been having a weird go of it recently. She has slowly begun to realize that the dreams she has been having are actually premonitions. Under Josh’s advice, she begins to explore her dreams and finds that there is a woman in green who runs away from her in the dream.

Fen warns Margo, Josh, and Rafe about her most recent premonition that originally involved accidentally setting Margo’s lizard on fire. She then tells them all about her dreams and announces that she intends to go find this green woman and get some answers regarding her dreams.

Finally, we check in with Kady what she has been getting up to while Quentin and Julia have been trying to find a way to get Eliot back. She has been trying to wrap up some of the cases she had while she was a cop and simply trying to do some good and find her own way for once.

She would do that, but it turns that her landlord is Baba Yaga of slavic folklore and demands her rent. Essentially, Baba Yaga sends Kady on an item hunt and to have it ready within a couple of days or great bodily harm will befall her. To help her, Kady enlists the help of Love Lady, which is just the new name that Pete has found for himself. It’s a Dread Pirate Roberts thing. If you don’t remember, Pete was the one in the first season that worked for Marina.

Kady and Pete track down one of the objects to the house of a hedge witch that has recently been killed but they still take the object and Pete takes a Dewey that is laying on the body. The Dewey, it turns out, responded badly to the tracker put on him and killed him. The same thing happens to Pete but Kady is able to counteract before it’s able to take hold. It’s soon discovered by the rest of the hedge witches that The Library has put these trackers on them and has left an indelible mark on them magically.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Side Effect” — Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY — Acquired via NBC Media Villiage
THE MAGICIANS — “The Side Effect” — Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY — Acquired via NBC Media Villiage /

As revenge for this and the death of her boyfriend, one of the witches called Whitley decides to take advantage of the loose pipe In Modesto and blow up a Library branch.

Derek finally asks the important question of what kind of lesson he’s supposed to get from this and Penny lays it out simply. These three characters that most would chalk up to sidekicks are more important than you or they could possibly imagine. This is a story that belongs to a lot of people, not just the ones that society would tell you are important.

Derek agrees and reveals that he not only has worked there for many, many years, but is also his boss’s boss. With that said, he informs Penny that he’s getting promoted to collecting the secrets taken to the grave and is starting immediately.

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The Magicians airs Wednesdays on SYFY.  What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments below.