REVIEW: The Magicians S2E8 – Word As Bond

The Magicians left us on the edge of our seats last week, wondering what kind of complication had affected Julia’s (Stella Maeve) abortion. “Word as Bond” wastes no time resolving that mystery. Kady (Jade Tailor) informs Quentin (Jason Ralph) that Julia is missing her shade – as in, her soul – due to the procedure.

Over in Fillory, Quentin is trying to finesse his deal with Alice’s (Olivia Taylor Dudley) niffin while Margo (Summer Bishil) helps to heal Elliot (Hale Appleman). Margo shows remarkable empathy towards Julia’s situation, and her goodbye as she sends Quentin packing back to her is one of her sweetest moments.

Kady is understandably worried, but Julia seems fine – probably too fine. There’s no way this doesn’t become a major problem later on, but for a few minutes it’s a relief to pretend that the lightness Julia feels is a good thing. That lightness certainly makes her clear-sighted enough to come up with a working plan for her and Kady to take down Reynard, which is to find his demigod son and use his power.

Of course the moment Quentin goes to see his friend, she is ready to switch from bright to reckless and decides to step out beyond her wards. Reynard (guest star Mackenzie Astin) shows up as if on cue, declaring that he was only protecting Julia because she was carrying his child before. Given the number of women he has murdered this season, I will confess I genuinely feared for Julia in that moment. Quentin saves the day by transporting them to Fillory, once again showcasing how much more heroic he’s become since The Magicians started. Even better, his action gives Julia and Margo another chance to trade barbs once more. Their dynamic is not often mined, but every time they interact it’s a razor-sharp delight.

Penny and Kady are unbeatable together.

Penny (Arjun Gupta) is still on his season-long quest to recover the magic in his hands, and is stuck serving Mayakovsky until he fixes things. The Magicians seems to love putting him in increasingly awkward positions, so of course he must endure a proposition from a librarian of the Neitherlands to serve her order instead. Won’t someone just take pity on this man and give him back his magical hands?

Despite not having his traditional magic, Penny can still feel the thoughts of others and thus comes very close to discovering Alice residing within Quentin. While his manner of addressing his fellow magician remains curt and brusque, it’s obvious and heartwarming how he’s come to care for him. The nurturing side of Penny comes out even more in his relationship with Kady, though they can’t get it together enough to have an honest conversation about their feelings. It’s hard loving a relationship when neither character knows how to love themselves, isn’t it? The Magicians‘ romances are so complicated that when Penny finally makes the choice to sign the Librarians’ contract for his powers and practically yells at Kady that he did it because he loves her, it’s one of the biggest causes for celebration in the episode.

This Dryad barely had time to disrespect the High Queen.

Margo begging Eliot to return to himself wins the award of most heartbreaking moment of this week’s Magicians, especially when it’s tied to the fate of Fillory itself. Of course, the Dryads (the face of which is one very sexy Grey Damon) won’t take her seriously as woman ruler without Eliot by her side. Julia and her lack of soul, on the other hand, take a much more dramatic approach to dealing with them. It’s painful to see Julia acting in her own self-interest to the point of death and destruction, but it definitely makes for an intense plot. Margo rises above, though, sending Julia to the dungeon and promising Fen (guest star Brittany Curran) she will take care of her, the baby, and the kingdom. It’s a powerful moment that’s only slightly undercut by Eliot waking up immediately after. Margot is perfectly capable of being her own hero and saving the day, but she shouldn’t have to do it without her best friend by her side.

Meanwhile, Quentin keeps slipping further into dealings with the niffin, exchanging more and more of his own time for information from her. Alice’s distress over being trapped inside Quentin reaches new heights, especially once he finally uncovers what she’s doing with the hours she’s in control. Who knows what havoc she might create once she’s free of Quentin and can’t be boxed, but at the same time she and Quentin will both die otherwise. Will Penny rise to the occasion once more and find the solution? We’ll see next episode.