The Magicians is back for Season 4! Before I get into my recap and review of this season’s premiere, some good news – it’s already been renewed for Season 5! So that should be incentive enough to start watching if you haven’t already.
Season three found our magicians on a quest to bring magic back after it was lost. After spending all season searching for keys, learning how to govern Fillory, and becoming goddesses (on Julia’s part), they brought magic back! Only to lose control of the magic to The Library, who wiped all our Magicians memories and created new personas for each of them (except Alice).
The season four premiere “A Flock of Lost Birds” begins with a scene reminiscent of one found in the pilot. A young, twenty-something is swept away from their life to sit an exam at the mysterious magical graduate school – Brakebills. The unsuspecting millennial this time is not Quentin Coldwater, but rather Kimber D’Antoni, a girl who confuses Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy) by her inability to answer a single question on the test correctly. Knowing she has some connection to magic, Fogg accepts her into Brakebills anyway. Who is Kim? Well, she’s Julia Wicker (Stella Maeve). Only, nobody knows it – not even her.
The only main character with her persona still intact, Alice, spends the episode trapped in a prison cell at the main branch of the Library in the Neitherlands. She refuses to eat and is altogether miserable, visited only by the Head Librarian Zelda (Mageina Tovah) who dismisses her fear of the “monster” let loose at the end of last season. Alice’s only other human connection is the voice who speaks to her from the cell next to hers. I could give you infinite guesses as to the mysterious man is, and you still wouldn’t get it. It’s Santa Clause. Yes. Or as he asks to be called – Nick.
Nick tells Alice of his time as a prisoner and that he tried to kill himself once. Looking for a way out, Alice takes this as an idea instead of the word of caution it was, ending up in the hospital wing for a brief spell. During this time, we learn that Zelda hopes for Alice to eventually work for the library. Alice also hides a cockroach in her mouth to bring back her spell. I’m hoping this helps her and that she didn’t just sit with a cockroach in her mouth for nothing. But then again, it is kind of her fault Julia is no longer a goddess and the rest of her friends have no idea who they are. So maybe the cockroach is deserved.
Back in New York City, we find Kady (Jade Tailor) in her new persona – detective Sam Cunningham. It is on the job that Sam sets off a string of events that leads to the reunion of our favorite magicians. A dedicated detective, Sam/Kady tracks down a suspect who has evaded arrest on multiple occasions.
We quickly learn that he is a hedge witch. He is the first to tell Kady that she has a glamour or illusion charm on her. And then a bus hits him. That’s right, whenever magic or their true identities are referred to around any of our magicians, bad shit goes down. Flickering lights, plaster falling from ceilings, computers going haywire, people getting hit Regina George style – you get the picture. Though skeptical, Kady does her research and finds a comic online that details her entire life. As well as the lives of others. So, she seeks out these “others.”
In Margo’s (Summer Bishil) new life, she is a fashion editor named Janet (a nod to the character’s name in the novel). It’s a fitting role for her, but not everything is perfect. She expresses trouble with one of her eyes, claiming that she sees weird things like odd colors. Well, Janet, that’s because you’re the High King of Fillory and you have a mcfreaking fairy eye! Speaking of High King Margo, while asleep at the office, she has a dream where Ember (God of Fillory) tells her that Fillory is in trouble. The dream isn’t actually Ember, however, but rather a pre-set ‘alarm’ of sorts. All it can tell her is that Fillory is in peril. This doesn’t help Janet at all, as she still has no memory of who she is.
Kady seeks Margo out first, and with some difficulty forces the fashionista to see the truth. They are under some spell that has forced them into new identities. Together, they find two of the others from the comic – DJ Hansel aka Penny (Arjun Gupta), and Isaac aka Josh (Trevor Einhorn). Those who are missing are Kim, who we know is at Brakebills, as well as an English professor named Brian and Nigel – the bastard son of a British lord. And now I’m thinking how great it would have been to have seen Eliot in that role, instead of becoming inhabited by the monster!
It isn’t until nearly the end of the episode that we catch up with Quentin/Brian (Jason Ralph) and the monster inhabiting Eliot (Hale Appleman). In a short scene, we learn that the monster barely bats an eye when he kills. And he seems to kill often and in a shirt that reads “This is my happy shirt.” Though he knows who Quentin really is, he also knows that things go wrong whenever he talks about “Brian’s” true identity. He tells Brian that he is searching for people that he needs to kill. I hope it’s the librarians.
Just as Kady, Penny, Josh, and Margo are ready to set off in search of the missing two, they’re greeted by another hedge witch. None other than Marina (Kacey Rohl)! Marina has no idea who the strangers really are (the illusion doing its job) but takes them in anyway to help figure it out.
At Marina’s home, she casts a spell to try and determine the crew’s identities. She’s a strong magician, we all know that, but the illusion is so strong that trying to uncover it nearly kills them all and knocks them unconscious.
While she is unconscious, Ember visits Janet again. Ember wants to know why the High King hasn’t fixed whatever is wrong yet. So naturally, Janet claims that she couldn’t possibly be in Fillory, she’s in New York City! So of course, Ember sends her to Fillory where she wakes up in the forest shocked, confused, and (mostly) alone.
Season two ended with the loss of magic, a switch up that resulted in a fantastic season of television with several amazing episodes that I considered some of the best I watched last year. Season three ended with the loss of our favorite characters. Yes, in a way we lost them entirely. Even if we know they’re still there. Based on the premiere and the show’s track record, I think we’re in for a pretty great season.
Though this episode started with our protagonists all scattered and separate, it quickly brought together a core crew for us to cheer for. I loved that Kady/Sam got to be the driving force that sought everyone out. In the past, Kady has mostly just gone along with everyone else. To see her in charge is a nice change of pace. Here’s to hoping that continues, because I think Kady and Marina would make a badass duo with the others following their lead.
I was willing to wait until next week for things to start to really get moving, but I’m so glad they just got right into it. What makes this show great is seeing the magicians screw up while trying to do good, and screwing up together.
With Margo now back in Fillory we should be getting insight into what could possibly be going on there. Could it be the uninvited gods that Ember mentioned? Or has Acting High King Fen just royally screwed up?
Speaking of Gods, has Julia retained any of her goddess nature? Is that what led her to Brakebills? Is that why she can be around magic while the others cannot? Or is Dean Fogg simply fooling us and he knows that Kim is really Julia?
The real threat to our Magicians seems to be the monster that now “plays” with Quentin. How long will it be before he meets up with the other characters and inevitably turns on them? Will we ever get Eliot back?
So many questions that may take the remaining twelve episodes to answer! Here’s to hoping we get a few answered next week. Or at least figure out what the heck Margo’s fairy eye can do!