High Queen Margo has entered the building, and we wish her a long and glorious reign!
Julia possibly becoming the next Beast and Friar Joseph's demand are tantalizing twists, and we can't wait to see how they play out.
Really a nitpick, but there's always the matter of how Julia and the others come up with important spells or information despite not having previously having knowledge of it.
A High Queen rises to the challenge while a King falls apart in The Magicians 2X08 “Word As Bond”
We were left with quite the cliffhanger last week when Julia woke up from her demon exorcism/abortion to the news that there were…complications. Now, we know that during the procedure her Shade was “nicked,” as in completely severed. So, all of her heroic efforts to deny The Beast his satisfaction was for naught, because she lost that part of her soul anyway. With nothing to hold her back from acting upon her impulses, she goes about executing her revenge plan against Reynard by tracking down Dana’s long lost son.
She doesn’t get very far before Quentin drops her off in Fillory to be babysat by Margo, but she makes the best of it by getting involved in the Fillorian war with Loria. Unfortunately for everyone, Julia does that by burning down the One Way Forest, killing all the endangered trees in it. She’s definitely showing her inner Martin Chatwin. The High Queen is forced to go against her nature and try to think like Eliot to remedy the situation before even worse things happen to her kingdom.
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Speaking of, Eliot is in a dramatic coma reminiscent of our favorite soap operas. Despite the healer building a bridge for him to cross back, he does not wake even to Margo’s desperate pleas. Fen is at a complete loss as to what to do, and Margo is at a breaking point herself with the weight of the kingdom on her shoulders. Penny is dealing with his own drama, realizing that despite her initial hot reception, Kady has no desire to resume their former romance.
Quentin does his best to protect his best friend from herself, but he’s got bigger fish to fry. After signing a word as bond with niffin Alice, he now has to give up his body for part of every day to her. He begins to deeply regret his decision when he realizes she’s up to something much darker, but before he can stop her, she has used him to conjure up an ancient niffin, Friar Joseph. Her plan is finally revealed – she wants to be free, and doesn’t care who she hurts in the process. After being knocked out by Kady, Penny finally figures out what Quentin’s been hiding the whole time.
With time running out and the odds stacked against them, our heroes must assess their strengths and weaknesses to win the war. Let’s do a little war room strategizing of our own and see what we’re working with, shall we?
With her Shade gone, could Julia go the Martin Chatwin way and become the next Beast?
We’ve seen what happened once Martin Chatwin severed his Shade in the pursuit of power, and now our beloved, tortured Julia has inadvertently done the same thing. As a result of her botched abortion, she lost both the demon baby and the precious Shade she had protected from The Beast. The change is immediate, and she takes on a creepily cheerful demeanor as Kady, Quentin, and Penny try to solve the mystery of Dana’s baby. Even after her best friend exiles her to Fillory for her own protection, Julia finds a way to stir up trouble. After being insulted by a Dryad, she takes her self-righteous rage out for a test drive by blowing up an entire endangered forest. When confronted, she is completely unable to see the error in her ways, leading to her temporary imprisonment in the Fillorian dungeons.
Margo: “What the hell were you thinking, huh? You burn down the One Way Forest while I’m trying to wriggle us out of a full on war?”
Julia: “Those trees were dicks.”
Margo: “They were endangered. Now trees all over Fillory are enraged and calling for action. Do you have any idea what you did, Julia?”
Julia: “Yeah, I helped you. Now you can cross into Loria and kick their fucking asses like you wanted to.”
Margo: “This is now how I wanted to go about that.”
Julia: “Yeah, I know. So the really good news is, you didn’t do anything. Go back and tell the angry tree lobby it was all crazy Julia. You’re welcome. Look, I got what I wanted. The rest was all a favor to you, so banish me forever. Send me home.”
Margo: “You know in a sick way, I sort of admire you. That being said, here’s what we do with loose cannons in Fillory. Guards!”
It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to realize how bad this whole deal is going to be, because Julia (Stella Maeve) with Shade was already willing to go quite a long way to get her life back. Now, with no conscience and no fear to hold her back, her determination to punish those who wronged her makes her possibly even more dangerous than The Beast. Just her actions within the first day of being Shade-less makes us really worried about her future. Even Margo, who is typically on board with power moves and asserting herself, is appalled by her actions. The only good we can see that might come out of this is if she is successful in killing Reynard. Then maybe she can help bring Alice back, since she isn’t restricted by rules or ethics? Either way, we can’t help but wonder if the gang will continue losing their members to darkness…
Quentin’s refusal to allow others to help him and Alice may be his ultimate undoing
Despite multiple chances to reveal what is going on with him, Quentin staunchly refuses to reveal that niffin Alice is trapped in his back tattoo and trying to drive him insane. Worse yet, he has the sneaking suspicion he’s signed away something more than just a half hour of his life every day in a word as bond with her. He does his best to keep his promises to everyone, including protecting Julia from Reynard, resurrecting Alice, and finding a way to help Eliot and Margo avoid a costly war. Unfortunately, that results in his best friend wreaking havoc in Fillory and niffin Alice conjuring an older, more powerful niffin Friar Joseph. He barely escapes from the elder niffin’s grasp, but only after hearing him tell Alice that she will need to find a way to escape her prison to be deemed worthy of his attention.
Friar Joseph: “I’ve been like this for six centuries. The things that I know now you cannot imagine.”
Alice: “That’s what I want. Please, can I go with you?”
Friar Joseph: “You? With me? You can’t even get out of this shoddy little Magician .How smart, how able could you be? How could you help me with anything worthwhile?”
Alice: “Listen to me, it’s not that simple.”
Friar Joseph: “But it is. Free yourself.”
Alice: “But I can’t. The…the trap is…”
Friar Joseph: “Find a way. Then find me. Then I will show you a secret or two. Because then you’ll have proven that you deserve to know them.”
While we commend Quentin (Jason Ralph) and his determination to save his former love Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), it hurts our hearts to see him suffer so. We already know he’s got a fragile ego, and having the constant reminder of his failures and weaknesses cannot be healthy for him. Ralph does an amazing job juggling moments of strength versus hopelessness, and we’re so impressed with the subtle gestures he makes when he is speaking with the unseen Alice. Taylor Dudley really creeps us out with her ability to shift between vulnerability, desperation, and hostility as if it’s second nature. On top of that, Sera Gamble’s choice to reveal the dilemma niffin Alice must face to gain her freedom stuns us all. No matter how many bad things she has made him due so far, could niffin Alice truly risk killing him to serve her own purpose? We sure hope not!
With Eliot out of commission, Margo finally becomes the High Queen she was truly destined to be
While we were delighted to see our High Queen demonstrate her hidden talents as the ringleader of a gang of bank robbers, the moment we’ve been all waiting for happened this week. Faced with Lorians pushing towards Fillory’s borders and Eliot trapped between two bodies, Margo must quickly come to terms with both her royal powers and the limitations of being a female ruler. Recognizing that her strong arm tactics put them in the position of war in the first place, she tries to negotiate by approaching the Dryad of the One Way Forest. Things go poorly, as her presence (rather than the High King) is taken as an insult, but before she can regroup and try again, Julia goes and throws a fiery monkey wrench into things. Margo remains steadfast in continuing forward, determined to do what is best for her kingdom in Eliot’s stead.
Margo: “Eliot, you need to come back. I know that you have a constant low key death wish, but you can’t leave. They don’t want me. They want the High King. I’m faking it, El. So if you could just…please, please wake up.”
Fen: “I’m pregnant, we’re about to go to war – we need the king. I need my husband.”
Margo: “Well you got me. I’m gonna take care of you and the kid. I will untangle the war shit somehow. I know the High King has the power, but I will hunt Ember to the ends of the world to have that stupid rule rewritten. Everything I promised, I’m going to deliver, you hear me?”
We’ve suspected for weeks that Margo (Summer Bishil) has been scared out of her mind over the true burden of being a High Queen. All her misconceptions about it being all power and no responsibility came crashing down early, but she chose to combat it with denial until Eliot was hurt. Perhaps it was coming off the (mostly) successful heist she led, or her guilt over Eliot’s predicament, but the High Queen within her finally showed up to play. We rarely have had a chance to see Margo vulnerable, and watching Summer Bishil’s tear-jerking performance standing over his unconscious body was torture. When she turned around and made her promise to Fen with fierce determination in her eyes, we cheered louder than anyone else. While Eliot transformed back into his body with the help of some gorgeous, Avatar-esque effects by Darren Marcoux, we got to watch Margo transform emotionally into a stunning, powerful woman. She will be unstoppable, and we cannot wait to see her wielding her newfound confidence!
Final Verdict: The Magicians 2X08 “Word As Bond” draws us in with the highs, lows, and infinite complications of wielding magic
This week, we had a Shade-less Julia stirring up chaos, a High King who’s taking too much beautyrest, Margo trying to stave off an attack on Fillory, and the tangled web that is Kady and Penny. Did we miss anything? There was probably many dropping jaws and bulging eyes at “Word As Bond,” and we don’t blame you. The bombshells dropped on us had our heads spinning, and it’s going to take until next week to sort it all out. The scene in which Eliot traveled the bridge from his dopple-banger back to his body was like a live-action Avatar sequence, and kudos to Darren Marcoux and everyone at CDV VFX and Mavericks VFX for the beautiful work. The transitions between Quentin and Alice while she is in his body were only possible with the incredibly smooth editing work by Rita K. Sanders. This episode had us groaning, cheering, laughing, and crying all within the span of an hour, and we can’t be more excited.
There’s so many things that we have to consider before next week. Now that both High King Eliot and High Queen Margo are on the same page, can they find a way to stop the war? How will they make amends to the trees? What about Julia? Can a dungeon really hold her now that she doesn’t have qualms about breaking all the rules? What is going to happen now that niffin Alice has been challenged to escape her prison? Will she really do anything for her freedom?
We can’t say we’re not being nitpicky here by calling this a flaw, but it does seem rather odd that Julia was suddenly imbued with so much magical power and information. We know she was studying different spells to try to help herself, but how did she know about the spell of invisibility? How would she know that the Lorian would know or help her? Is being Shadeless that much like becoming a niffin that, as she put it, your loyalty will always lie with yourself?
Clearly, this tiny plot hole (at least, for now) is negligible when we consider how great the rest of the episode is. We geeked out over the healing scene, and we enjoyed the role reversals for Julia and Margo. We especially loved the emotional shift that Summer Bishil brought to Margo’s scenes as she sees herself mirrored in Julia, rejects it, and takes on Eliot’s more mature take on ruling over the episode. Rather than seeing Fen as competition for her friend’s attentions, Margo relinquishes her old self to protect and support the pregnant woman. The steely determination in Bishil’s face as she makes the promise to protect her and change the rules sent chills down our spine, and we want more!
“Word As Bond” definitely upped the ante when it comes to the drama this week. We can’t believe that after being so protective of her Shade, Julia can act like it never existed. Can that even be something you can put back or reattach? We saw Penny make the ultimate confession to Kady, but he was left hanging when Quentin came home at the most inopportune time. Still, we think this new Penny is sexy as hell, and we hope Kady gives in – we know we would! We’re definitely liking the direction we’re going, especially with only five episodes left in the season!
We can tell the show is gearing up for some major confrontations. We can already guess that the gang will need to find a way to remind Julia that ending up like The Beast is not a good thing. We also know that sooner or later, Quentin will be forced to make yet another difficult decision regarding Alice, and this time it may be his life or hers. Then there’s the tiny issue of a certain Lorian army descending down on Fillory. Let’s just say that when next week comes, we’ll be strapped in and ready to get on the roller coaster!
Quick! Let’s talk questions before Quentin comes back!
- Is it still Julia’s goal to kill Reynard? Or is she going to avoid capture so that she can go do something else?
- What is going to happen now when Quentin gives up that half hour to Alice? Could he wake up torn in half from her attempts to escape?
- Were any of the Lorians destroyed by Julia’s bomb? What about the master magician who helped her?
- Will Kady ever come to her senses and give Penny a chance already?
- Speaking of which, did the librarians give Penny his hands back?
- Why do they want Penny to work for them? Is he really an indentured servant now?
- What will happen when they find Dana’s son?
- Are all Dryads as attractive as the one we met? Because he was totally crush worthy, don’t you think?
- Where can we find Julia’s amazing outfit? Or, can we special order Margo’s for ourselves?