THE MAGICIANS S2 E6: The Cock Barrens

The girl from the Ring had better skin tone. Sorry Alice!

The girl from the Ring had better skin tone. Sorry Alice!

Due to an unforeseen cable / internet outage, last week’s episode has been lost to the mists of time. MOVING ON, let’s catch up! There are three main stories happening this week in which everyone is trying to right a wrong. Quentin is attempting to resurrect Alice, while Julia and Kady are plotting to get rid of Reynard’s baby, and Margo and Eliot are kidnapped by the Lorians as part of a series of Unfortunate Fillorian Events that includes the castle’s disappearance from Fillory, which sends the royal mapmaker into a tizzy. This is where the show is most like the book series, even when specific situations are different. Magic does NOT make things easier. It often makes things even worse.

Quentin kicks things off in Fillory with a weird ritual where he does some Cirque du Soleil-style dancing, explaining to Margo and Eliot that he’s trying to bring Alice back. It doesn’t work, so they suggest he takes a break. He heads off to Alice’s memorial service, hosted by her self-serving, navel-gazing parents. They still have a Greco-Roman theme running, although it’s far more tame for what is essentially Alice’s funeral.

So this is where things get freaky: Dead Alice starts appearing to Quentin and leads him through the house, eventually interacting with her dad. They build a pyramid in the backyard to channel power in order to communicate more effectively with Alice, but the whole setup seems built for failure—just another way for Alice to rub their noses in their crappy parenting. Finally, Alice reveals herself to Quentin and confesses the truth: his cacodemon was not powerful enough to kill her (I KNEW IT!) and instead, she’s become the literal monkey on his back, living in the tattoo there instead of the cacodemon. Tattoo storage aside, this interesting departure from the books makes the original situation between Alice and Q quickly relevant for viewers. Because we don’t have several hundred pages for Q to describe his melancholy and longing for Alice to return, the metaphor of her memory weighing on him becomes a plot device. Clever bit of writing!

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Meanwhile, among all the things I missed last week, it appears that Kady has been trying to help Julia abort Reynard’s baby. Being magically knocked up by an evil trickster god is not highhaxenpaxen on Julia’s to-do list, so they turn to more insidious means. Using a weird little spell, they quickly locate the last place Reynard was banished from Earth. They track the person who cast the spell. Dana is buying suspiciously large bins of kitty litter and invites Julia into her basement, only to club her over the head. She awakes to a scene out of the movie Se7en: hanging from the ceiling are about a hundred air fresheners, trying to battle the odor of a large stinky man-baby who lives in a kiddie pool of kitty litter, where he apparently poops. A lot.

Dana confesses that she didn’t get rid of Reynard altogether, and he impregnated her, too. Julia leaps to the conclusion that the man-baby is her kid, but it turns out he’s a Haxenpaxen.  Whatever he is, he poops a lot and keeps Reynard off Dana’s trail like magical god repellent. This brings us to the best and worst part of the episode: Kady tracks Julia down and saves her by punching Dana out, and they escape taking the Haxenpaxen with them. Reynard immediately reemerges in her house, which brings me to this plot hole: If the Haxenpaxen only really works when he’s physically present, how could this woman ever leave the house? It distracted from an otherwise excellent scene.

lilmermaid

Oh, come on. You remember this one.

And finally, we come to the inspiration for the episode’s title. Margo and Eliot are kidnapped by Prince S (a strange sound gag for a show that so uninhibitedly bashes gender norms) and are taken, castle and all, to Loria (next door to Fillory). The rivalry stems from the book plot, but this twist is unique from the show runners. They look outside and it’s like the cover of the original VHS version of the Little Mermaid: dick towers everywhere. This is apparently the “look” of Loria.

Margo gets the best one-liner of the episode, of course, and helps Penny rescue them through a dream. But I’ve got to say, Margo has perhaps the least investment in this entire escapade. She seems to have one purpose: to flaunt her sexuality and stomp around saving the day, but to no real end. Why does Margo even stay in Fillory, if not because she’s attached to Eliot? It would be more interesting to plumb the emotional depths of her connection to Eliot, especially in light of Fen’s pregnancy. While I’m all about strong lady characters getting theirs, by this point it makes her character a little one-dimensional.

Well, despite minor criticisms, I still found this to be a great episode. Next week is supposed to feature a bank robbery, so we’ll see where that leads. Best wishes, Fillorians, and until next time, keep your bee and key in check.

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About the Author:

Erin Downey Howerton is a public librarian in Kansas. Follow her on Twitter at @hybridlib.

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