Christina Strain and David Reed leave us with no doubt that season two is going to end shockingly by easing us in with...you guessed it...shocking revelations.
Every cast member contributed beautiful performances this week and reminded us of just why we love watching them on screen.
Why?! Why did you have to kill John off?! We demand you bring him back right now!
While it was entertaining, we're not sure that the whole drug-fueled part with Josh was necessary to the plot.
Shocking revelations threaten to destroy kingdoms and friendships alike in The Magicians 2X12 “Ramifications”
In The Magicians 2X12 “Ramifications,” we pick up with Quentin and Julia seeking out the most powerful magician they know, Professor Mayakovsky (who knew?!) to bring Alice back. After staunchly refusing to help them initially, he gives in and helps them set up a cage to capture niffin Alice. Once imprisoned, they work to join the niffin with her Shade to produce the woman. Unfortunately, she is furious with Quentin for taking away her knowledge, and Mayakovsky ends up banishing him from her sight for the short-term to give her a chance to acclimate. With nothing but time on their hands, Quentin and Julia split up to try to help the others.
Julia goes back to Brakebills and asks for Kady’s forgiveness, telling her that she would like to try having her best bitch act as her Shade and keep her in check. The two women are then brought up to speed by John, who reveals he has found out how obsessed Reynard is with Our Lady Underground/Persephone. Together, they concoct a plan to mimick her presence on Earth so they can lure him out. John goes back to his father to try to throw him off, but the trickster god knows what he did and punished him by killing John’s wife. This only fuels the senator’s desire to see his father defeated, leading him to surrender his demigod powers to Kady in a deadly ritual against her will. They use his energy to create a magic bullet, but after his arrival someone unexpected shows up and throws the whole thing into disarray.
Quentin, meanwhile, finds distraction in helping Eliot get back to Fillory after being banished by Ember. With the button lost to the Ancient One, they realize that there is still one more portal into FIllory – the grandfather clock. Quentin remembers that he last saw it in the dead man’s house before entering Brakebills, they look at the auctions of his belongings to track it down. They show up at a house in Vancouver and discover that it’s in the possession of a Fillory uber-collector. After the stranger lets slip something that no ordinary fan would know, he reveals himself as Umber, Ember’s brother. He tells the duo Fillory is falling apart because Ember is bored, but he refuses to help them save it. Understanding they’re not going to get anywhere with Umber, Eliot convinces him to give up the clock so they can get back to their kingdom.
Penny and Sylvia move forward with their plan to break into the Poison Room, and he speeds up their progress using his ability to travel between worlds. Sylvia breaks through the lock on the fountain that will take them there, and reveals that she wants to find her book. She has heard the Librarians talk about a twenty page blank spot at the end of everyone’s books, and they believe it is the sign something major is going to happen within weeks. Once there, Penny finds the book Kady needs, but also realizes that the Poison Room is, in fact, aptly named. He tries to find a way to bring Sylvia back with him, but she reveals she is not meant to leave and forces him to go without her. He shows back up at Brakebills, but not before succumbing to the effects of the radiation in the deadly room.
Finally, in Fillory, as the last remaining Earth child Josh takes on the title of High King with gusto, turning the court into a drug-fueled party. However, it isn’t long before he accidentally finds himself able to see a filmy Margo tearing him a new one about sitting on his laurels. At her instruction, he speaks to Rafe about trying to get the High Queen back from the fairy realm, but not before Prince Ess descends upon the palace. He demands to see his father, but when Josh makes light of the situation he proceeds to kill some of the guards and attempt to kill him. The acting High King staves off their attack by sending out a drug fog, but when he also sees Fen being dragged off by the fairies, he drinks the same potion Rafe gave Margo so he can go help save her.
Whew! Did you get all that? With so much chaos and drama in “Ramifications,” let’s grab a life preserver and wade through the flood of our emotions, shall we?
Sylvia is like a cactus – prickly on the outside, but her inside save lives
Once Penny and Kady agree to let Sylvia (Roan Curtis) help them break into the Poison Room, she quickly discovers its door is in fact a portal to another world. Apparently, there is a fountain can be used to access this world, and Penny (Arjun Gupta) realizes that his Traveler abilities can be used to find it. Once found, Penny’s assigned mentor shows off her lock picking skills to open the fountain, and she finally reveals why she’s so desperate to get into the room. There’s something big going on in the books; for everyone who is alive, there are 20 blank pages at the end of their books. It seems to signal something cataclysmic, but since all the Librarians’ books are stored in the Poison Room, she cannot find out if hers is the same. The two finally arrive in the room, but find more than answers waiting for them.
Penny: “Come on.”
Sylvia: “ Stop worrying about me. Fucking travel out already.”
Penny: “Look, I will carry your ass back by -”
Sylvia: “You don’t get it! I don’t make it back to the rope. My book didn’t have a blank spot.”
Penny: “So what? What happened to ‘there’s no fate but what we make?’”
Sylvia: “If you carry me back, you die too, Penny. I read it. Leaving me is the only way you have a chance.”
While Sylvia’s time with us was short, we will never forget her. We fell in love with her ability to go toe-to-toe with our reigning snark king, Penny, but we always suspected there was more to her than just that. Finding out that she is playing detective to find out why there’s 20 blank pages is actually rather altruistic. She’s smart enough to know that the answer will likely be in her own book, as she is now a Librarian. When it becomes clear they will both die in the Poison Room if Penny tries to help her escape, she demands that he leave without her. We’ll never know if she was telling the truth about her book saying she wouldn’t make it out alive, but because of her, Penny can write his own fate by helping Kady and also finding out about the Great Blank Spot.
The Reynard, John, and Persephone triangle is the ultimate Greek tragedy
John’s life was turned upside down when he found out who he really was, but he’s tried very hard to maintain his moral code. After dipping his foot into influencing at Reynard’s encouragement, he quickly realized he had no desire to manipulate others. Seeing his father clearly, he offers to help Kady (Jade Tailor) and Julia (Stella Maeve) exact their revenge. After piecing together a plan to lure Reynard (Mackenzie Astin) in by falsifying Persephone’s arrival to Earth, John (Christopher Gorham) tries to keep up appearances by returning to his father. However, he discovers that not only has the trickster figured out his deception, but has decided to punish him by dismembering his wife. Distraught and frustrated that he can’t do more, he compels Kady to perform the deadly ritual to take his life energy. They create a magic bullet that harnesses his power and set the trap as planned, but just as it seems like they’ll finally get their revenge, Persephone (Garcelle Beauvais) arrives.
Julia: “It’s you. You ignored us, and now you’re here? All of a sudden? Why?”
Persephone: “To ask you to spare his life.”
Julia: “I don’t understand. Why do you care?”
Persephone: “He’s my son.”
Julia: “Did you know what he was doing? Of course you did. He raped me – your son! I’d be sobbing and telling you every detail but I lost my Shade in the abortion so you’re just going to have to take my word for it!”
Persephone: “Let me deal with him.”
Julia: “Why would I trust you? Come the fuck on, lady.”
Persephone: “There’s consequences to killing a god, Julia.”
Julia: “I lost my friends! I lost everything! He turned me into a monster!”
Persephone: “You’re a survivor. You’re still capable of mercy, Julia. Don’t let him rob you of that. It’s your choice.”
We knew that the Greeks introduced us to the gods, but we’re not sure even they would have told a story this tragic (but apparently Christina Strain and David Reed could). We were so shocked when Persephone showed up to save Reynard, revealing that she is his mother. After Persephone disappears with Reynard, Kady rages against Julia over the perceived betrayal. In the end, Julia was rewarded with her Shade, but our hearts are breaking for what might be irreparable damage to her and Kady’s friendship. This scene was so shocking because of the revelations about how Persephone, Reynard, and John are really connected, but it’s the passionate performances that sear it into our memories. Maeve, Tailor, Gorham, and Astin were magnetic on screen together, and the pain they infused into their voices and faces broke us over and over again. We are so not over any of this, and we doubt we’ll be anytime soon!
The Ram boys might not respect Fillory, but our boys do
Let’s just face it, we’ve disliked Ember ever since he took a dump in the wellspring and disappeared off to who knows where. Despite all attempts to find him and ask for help, he has remained stubbornly missing. However, we all forgot about the fact that Ember has a brother, Umber…at least until today. After being banished from Fillory by the former brother, Eliot (Hale Appleman) goes looking for help from Quentin (Jason Ralph) to get back. When he finds out the button’s no longer theirs, they go in search of the last known portal – the grandfather clock. The intrepid pair get an extra bonus when they uncover the new owner’s true identity as Umber (Nico Evers-Swindell). He reveals that his brother’s careless ways ruined Fillory for him, which is why he’s creating a brand new one. While he will not help them save the kingdom, he willingly gives up the clock for them to use to return.
Quentin: “You are a god of Fillory. Why are you just sitting here and letting your brother shit all over it? You let The Beast happen. You shut out a child who needed shelter and when he became a monster, you ran. You hate chaos? Then fix the chaos that you created!”
Umber: “You’re right, but some mistakes cannot be repaired, and from those, we must move forward. And I shall try to avoid repeating such mistakes in my new world.”
Eliot: “Fine, then give us the clock.”
Umber: “Why do you care? Fillory is on its last legs. Everything you’ve said tells me Ember is getting tired of the game. He’s likely to smash the place like a toddler – trust me, that’ll be it, end of Fillory. And don’t get sentimental!”
Eliot: “We aren’t ready to walk away it. We know you still love Fillory. You literally have every memento to prove it. You can’t fix it or won’t save it, then let us try. Please.”
Umber: “You love Fillory.”
Eliot: “It’s my home.”
While Eliot has spent most of this season seeing his title as a burden, Umber’s insistence that he will not save the world he created has an unusual consequence. Instead of being happy that he will be free, Eliot comes to realize just how important Fillory is to him. Appleman’s quiet determination, coupled with the absence of his usual mercurial edge, really drives the point home for us. Quentin, who has spent his time feeling lost without Alice, feels equally strong about the kingdom that got him through the worst times of his life, and this propels him into, as Mayakovsky would say, grow a pair of balls and take control. This transition is something that Ralph, who has spent most of the episodes in a perpetually despondent state, enthusiastically takes on. We’re definitely a fan of the fiery passion in his eyes, and we’re excited to see his next move.
Final Verdict: With god complexes, deadly family showdowns, and Hakuna Matata, The Magicians 2X12 “Ramifications” has us wondering if anything is off limits next week
Long after “Ramifications” ended, we sat in our seats, staring wide-eyed and in disbelief at our television screens. Not only were we finally given the full picture with Reynard, we also had to deal with two deaths, one injury, one angry ex-niffin, a second ram god, and broken hearts everywhere. We had to double check to make sure we weren’t watching Game of Thrones, because Strain and Reed sure had us confused for a moment! Of course, we do love our drama and suspense, and this episode delivered that in droves.
While we are extremely happy Julia will be whole again, it might not be enough anymore. Will Kady ever see why Julia did what she did? Will they ever make up? What about Quentin and Alice? She may be alive again, but there doesn’t seem to be a remnant of her old personality left. What are the fairies planning on doing with Fen and the baby? What are Margo and Josh going to do to help her? Most of all, can the magicians save Fillory, or will its destruction herald those 20 pages we heard about this episode?
We have a bone to pick with this episode, but it’s less a flaw and more a general sense of unfairness. Yes, life sucks and things don’t work out all the time, but we’re still going to take a moment to gripe. What are we upset about? John’s death, of course! It’s so hard for us to accept that a man with a heart this pure had to die in vain, and we totally understand Kady’s anger when Reynard is allowed to live. John lost everything he ever believed in the day that he found out he was a demigod, and yet he still managed to make his last action count. We wish so much that he would have been given a better ending, but then again, he left this world doing the one thing he wanted most – help make it a better place.
Despite the losses we suffered in “Ramifications,” it was a powerful episode for several reasons. One, it defined the conflicts for the season finale clearly. Two, it gave our favorite characters reasons to reach their potential. We know that some of the most dramatic psychological growth happens when we’re placed under stress, and our magicians did just that this week. Third, we can’t pick out a single outstanding performance because everyone in the cast gave it their all, and we fell in love with their passion and talent all over again.
It was rough going this week for all of the magic wielders, and with the season finale coming up, we know that it’s only going to get worse. We’re already crossing all our fingers and toes and hoping they all make it out in one piece. We liked how having a shared goal to defeat The Beast brought all of the magicians together, so with Fillory’s fate and everyone’s lives in the balance, we’re excited to see how they overcome things as a group now!
If the teaser for the last episode is any indication, we’re gearing up for a war that will be coming from multiple sides. With Ember doing what he does best, the fairies about to get screwed by Margo, and a Great Blank Spot to contend with, we’re glad that The Magicians will have another season to hash this all out!
Maybe we can forget about all our questions if we ask Josh for some happy fog of our own…
- Will Alice ever be the same, much less her relationship with Quentin?
- Just what are Margo and Josh going to do to save Fen?
- Will Umber stick to his promise not to get involved, or will he come around?
- Is Sylvia really dead? She did mention that she can find her way out of the fountain…
- We don’t suppose Persephone or one of the other gods can resurrect John? We miss him already…
- What did the Ancient One want with that button? Do we think she’ll go to Fillory?
- Just what is causing that Great Blank Spot? Will it be a direct result of what happens in Fillory?
- Do we think anyone else might die? It’s already been too Red Wedding-ish for us!
- Seriously, where did Josh learn his trade? Is there some sort of a drug creation course you can take?
- Should we pretend we’re not wondering how Ember decided which animals were sexier than others?
- Can we get a sneak peek at Umber’s new world? It looks very…edgy…