REVIEW: The Magicians, S3E6 – Do You Like Teeth?

The Magicians tackles depression and statutory rape to varying degrees in “Do You Like Teeth?”, taking a breather from the action to check in with the characters and their mental states. But that’s not to say that a lot doesn’t go down this week: Julia (Stella Maeve) transfers her powers to Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), who pays it forward by offering to build Penny (Arjun Gupta) a new body. Margo (Summer Bishil) and Eliot (Hale Appleman) try to solve her consummation problem and end up discovering an imminent Fairy threat to their kingdom. Finally, Quentin (Jason Ralph) sets off in search of the fourth key only to be foiled by shipwreck survivor Poppy Clyde (guest star Felicia Day) in the saddest way possible.

Quentin is his own worst enemy.

The most significant story in “Do You Like Teeth?” belongs to Quentin, and with in The Magicians proves once more how well-equipped it is to handle real-life issues in a sensitive way without detracting from the magical nature of the story or the acerbic tone its grown accustomed over three seasons. Quentin bids his recent life partner Eliot farewell in a scene that showcases the newfound depth to their relationship, and boards the Muntjac with sweet Benedict by his side. It’s not long before they hear someone crying out and wind up rescuing Poppy from her raft, and the darkness lurking behind her cheery facade is apparent from their first scene together.

Day’s performance is one of the brightest spots in an otherwise dread-filled episode, which is ironic biggest she brings one of the biggest sources of that dread with her: the fourth key, which calls forth a Depression Monster that eats away at your insecurities and spirit until you feel compelled to take your own life. Of course she wastes no time in gifting it to Quentin without a real explanation, and “Do You Like Teeth?” spends a painfully long amount of time on hitting its hero where it hurts. Quentin struggles valiantly against the dark mirror of himself, but the onslaught is never-ending in a way that often reflects real life depression. One of the most interesting things we learn, though, is that he does indeed blame himself for the tragedies that have befallen Julia and Alice. Perhaps taking on this quest primarily alone is his way of repenting, even if that guilt is mostly misplaced.

Quentin manages to sidestep any suicidal impulses by having Benedict tie him to the mast until they reach Whitespire, which is rather clever of him. But he makes the mistake of telling Poppy about the keyholes, so she absconds with the key in order to return to Earth. Poor Benedict does his best to stop her, grabbing the key and soon succumbing to its pull while Quentin helplessly watches from the mast. This outcome is made even more tragic due to Benedict’s earlier confession that he’s struggled with depression as well, but was taught in Fillory that emotions are meant to be bottled up. The key seems to be lost with him, but since a dragon ate it the best-case scenario is that its been transported to the Underworld. Maybe Quentin can take Benedict out of there with the key, and hopefully do a better job than Orpheus did with Eurydice?

Back at the royal palace, Margo gets locked into a dungeon with her brother-killing twerp of a husband and has to resort to a makeshift sex ed class to ward off his advances for now. When it turns out he’s rather into blood, she asks him “Do you like teeth?” and spins the gory tale of everyone’s favorite vagina dentata film. Meanwhile, the Fairy Queen threatens Eliot with loss of spleen if he can’t make Margo commit statutory rape – a phrase she hilariously misunderstands. So Eliot proposes a honeymoon, and takes the newlyweds out in the carriage.

Lest anyone fear Eliot wouldn’t have Margo’s back, he quickly drugs the young prince consort and informs her that Prince Ess has witnessed some “Chernobyl-level shit” going down outside the palace. It seems the fairies are plotting a full-scale invasion and terraforming the kingdom, a fact which is proven when they reach their destination and find that the mushrooms the Fairy Queen insisted on growing are actually embryos for the army they are creating. This plot is gonna take a few episodes to judge, but for now it ends with Margo embryo-napping some mushrooms as hostages and trying her husband into thinking he’s no longer a virgin with some teeth-filled frogs. The best part of the story, though? When she and Eliot bemoan the depth and character they’ve gained over the course of saving Fillory. The Magicians is nothing if not self-aware, and the more lampshades it hangs the better it gets.

A friend like Julia will literally give you her spark.

Finally, the plan to transfer Julia’s god-given magic to Alice ends up being much more complicated than expected, but Fogg (Rick Worthy) is there to help because he’s the one who originally created the spell. He sends them to an Incubus for help while Penny frets about the danger they’re involved in. His fellow astral projection suggests he find a different story to observe that doesn’t make him so depressed, because he seems to be the one that cares most in this whole story. And I still want a real reunion for him and Kady, damnit. Truer words have never been spoken, but it can’t be Penny’s time to go quite yet.

On the flipside, I understand Julia’s impulse not to have any part of her rapist inside her, but so much of her arc has been giving away parts of herself to others that it’s hard not to want her to keep something for herself. Penny actually speaks the words I was thinking, pointing out that Julia has nothing without magic and she just gave it up. This time it’s Alice who saves the day, offering Fogg his sight back temporarily in a sweet scene and then suggesting a new body for Penny like it’s a simple card trick. Their friendship from the first season is finally paying off, but unfortunately her practice spell ends with her on the spell foaming at the mouth and Penny calling for help while nobody’s home.

Overall, “Do You Like Teeth?” can’t match the heights from last week, but The Magicians continues mining character dynamics and insecurities for all their worth.