REVIEW: The Magicians S2E10 – The Girl Who Told Time

Previously on The Magicians, Penny (Arjun Gupta) handed his freedom over to The Librarians in exchange for his magic back while Margo (Summer Bishil) made a deal with the faeries to restore magic to Fillory. Julia (Stella Maeve) and Quentin (Jason Ralph) made difficult decisions – from a lack of feeling and too much feeling respectively – and all these choices are about to come back and collect. But maybe they’ll collect a little less if we follow one of the different time loops that Jane Chatwin went through.

The episode begins with Julia reading ahead and showing off in a one-on-one tutoring session with Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy), but it seems to be nothing but an echo from another life that the Dean lived. Julia is free to leave her makeshift jail cell, but not without some sound advice – she is a searcher and has the power to seek the answers that can save her. It’s a truly hopeful start to The Magicians for once.

Kady and Penny finding resolution through conflict again.

Even Kady’s (Jade Tailor) frustration can’t bring the mood down, especially not with Penny by her side reminding her that “rapist monsters are a universal problem.” Unfortunately the Order of Librarians has other plans for him, and the bickering lovebirds are immediately transported to said library. Penny is probably stuck doing menial labor for now, but Kady can take advantage of the resources and find a how-to manual on killing gods. As confusing as the show started off in season one, the new season of The Magicians has done an amazing job of streamlining and interconnecting its story lines. Not to mention that seeing Kady help Penny in kind is both satisfying and adorable.

As much as I love these characters and this season so far, though, I can’t help but feel that a few of the interconnected plots are dragging their feet – or hands – at this point. Ten episodes in and Penny still can’t use magic, with every avenue he seeks winding up a dead end. At the same time, the Reynard plot started off started but has tapered off since Julia’s horribly botched surgery. Why hasn’t he made a real move on them yet, and what is he planning in the long run? Considering how many witches he murdered early on, it’s odd that the urgency has been reduced in recent episodes. At least the latest obstacle in Penny’s path offers a possibility to learn the knowledge Kady and Julia need to defeat Reynard… So long as they can get into a poisoned room protecting said knowledge.

Three months have passed in Fillory, where things are even less hopeful than at Brakebills. Quentin is still feeling the doldrums afer he let Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) go, of course. Margo gives him one of her signature snarky pep talks, but he still misses his body-mate. Meanwhile, Eliot (Hale Appleman) has adapted “Earth magician” Nate Silver’s statistical formula to figure out his popularity – and the result is not pretty. On the bright side, it gives The Magicians an excuse to throw him a wedding that might make the populace more inclined to like him.

The downside to the wedding is Fen’s (Brittany Curran) less than enthusiastic response. But while Eliot is worried she might be feeling jealous or left out, it seems she’s trying to keep the faeries who are after her unborn child at bay. It seems like she doesn’t even know what’s happening, though, which is the scariest part of all. Margo knows, though, and now she’s faced with another choice to make. Does she come clean and find a way out, or keep her deal a secret and hope for the best? Unsurprisingly for The Magicians, she chooses the former option almost immediately. It’s another thing I love about the show – even when the characters go in circles, at least it’s because they’re trying to move forward.

A bittersweet reunion for Alice and Quentin.

Julia’s shade visits Quentin, an answer to everyone’s prayers and a glimmer of light in the darkness. As long as the shade can be found before it’s too late, Julia can be restored to her former self. Once again, the most touching scene in the episode belongs to Julia and Quentin. She confesses that she’s trying to base her morality off memory and scared that she’s failing, which is proof enough that her soul is salvageable.

Speaking of things that are salvageable, Figg recalls another time loop in which Alice knew of shades and was obsessed with restoring them. Now they have a two-minute window to cross realities and speak to that Alice. Quentin has an emotional reunion with his beloved, though they can’t touch, and she informs him that a living person can access the Underworld where shades are kept with the help of a mysterious gatekeeper.

By the end of this week’s The Magicians, even Margo’s good intentions can’t save Fen from the fates of the faeries. But as some stories hit a dangerous snag, others find a dangerous opportunity. Next week Julia and Quentin may need to face down a dragon to make it into the Underworld, while Kady and Penny need to unlock the secrets of the poison room to kill a god.