REVIEW: The Magicians, S4E3 – The Bad News Bear

The Magicians offered up another stellar hour of television in “The Bad News Bear,” which marked the first time the group was able to work in tandem since losing (and now regaining) their identities. As Josh (Trevor Einhorn) so succinctly put it, each of the characters had to deal with how to “be such a good friend and such a terrible friend at the exact same time.”

Margo only wants to play with Eliot.

His statement was directed at Margo (Summer Bishil), who best embodied this mindset in “The Bad News Bear.” She barged into Marina’s home to rescue her friends from Not Eliot (Hale Appleman) while the owner ditched to get herself a burrito, but when she saw the face of her very best friend housing the monster she knew she could not go through with killing its host. Instead she bargained the very ambrosia meant to neutralize him and threw in Bacchus’ life for good measure, which meant Josh was forced to follow the two of them on a quest to murder his God friend in order to spare the lives of his humans ones.

It was surprisingly sad to watch Josh wrestle with the thought of slipping Bacchus the God meth, but his wavering paved the way for what might be the best line ever uttered on television: “Act like a real pussy and take one for the team.” Leave it to Margo to turn a popular misogynistic concept around like the feminist icon she is. Besides, it was even more heartbreaking to watch her struggle to find the Eliot inside this new monster, all while he clinged further to his host precisely because of how loved and cherished it was. In the end, Bacchus was successfully poisoned and Not Eliot carved the heart that was stolen from him as Margo and Josh looked on in horror. There’s no telling how having this faerie eye-blinding organ will change Not Eliot, but the ominous music suggested it would not be a good thing for The Magicians.

Very little in “The Bad News Bear” could be considered a good thing, hence the title, but at least Nick Claus had a bit of a happy ending. Thanks to a visit from Henry (Rick Worthy), which occured thanks to a berating from Julia (Stella Maeve) about betraying them in the first place, he and Alice (Olivia Taylor-Dudley) knew they would have to steal their life stories from the Library if they wanted to make a clean getaway. Unfortunately, all of her friends’ books had been moved to the Revision Room and Alice couldn’t let herself leave the Library without them. So while Santa’s sled flew off into the night and away from the magical prison, Alice continued her quest to save the rest of The Magicians even though she was isolated from them.

Who wouldn’t give them all their magic money?

Julia, meanwhile, finally made her way to them and embraced Quentin (Jason Ralph) lovingly the moment she saw him again. She had come to warn them that magic’s most powerful family, the MacAllistairs, were on their way to hunt them down. That hunt had become much simpler the moment their identities were restored, and as it turned out, Marina had been in their employ all along. But the hedge witch was not one to turn down a deal, so she offered to set them free so long as they coughed up 5 Deweys (the Library’s ridiculous currency named after everyone’s favorite librarian) instead of the original bounty of 3. Of course, the problem was that even one Dewey was nearly impossible to get its hands on – let alone five. But Kady’s (Jade Tailor) quick thinking and Penny’s (Arjun Gupta) connections put a very foolish plan in place that they were determined to see through to the end.

Penny’s hilarious friend Frankie, an excellent forger, was prepared to make them a fake Library Card – one that contained an infinite amount of magic, meant solely for the MacAllistairs – if they were able to follow a complicated set of steps that very few people could pull off. First there was a high stakes game of Push, a magical card game practically designed for cheating which Quentin managed to make fair and square in order to pull out a last-minute win. Then there would be the matter of fooling the Bank and getting the Deweys, which was up to Kady and Penny while wearing a wig and a mustache respectively. But, for once, luck would be on their side due to Frankie’s particular brand of magic… So long as Quentin was willing to hold “The Bad News Bear,” meaning they’d absorb all the bad luck that the others were avoiding.

While the inter-dimensional ex-couple were creating havoc at the Bank without having to expend much effort at all, Julia was trying to protect Quentin from all the bad luck befalling him. The worst, though, was a phone call from his mother that just might be informing him of his father’s demise. The whiplash between the humor and the heartbreak was pretty impactful, especially as the reality of Quentin’s impending loss remained even after the bad luck was over and the bear was destroyed. His discussion with Julia about whether the return of magic was worth all their personal pain hit hard, proving The Magicians still has what it takes to bring the tears as well as the antics.

As “The Bad News Bear” came to a close, Marina got her Dewey coins but Kady came out the real winner. By pocketing the counterfeit Black Card, she wound up with Marina’s apartment and an adorable puppy – one that will hopefully comfort Quentin when he’s finished listening to his mother’s voicemail.

The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on Syfy.