The cast proves once again why they're one of the best on TV right now, with magnetic performances that made it impossible to look away.
For once, we're grateful for Ember's mercurial tendencies, because we got a finale filled with twists, turns, and...yes, whimsical deaths.
We are definitely disappointed that Hale Appleman only teased us about breaking into a Hamilton song. Let this serve as our notice for season three!
A glorious attempt to save Fillory ends in the most unthinkable way in The Magicians 2X13 “We Have Brought You Little Cakes”
After the shocking events of the last episode, our magicians were forced to fend for themselves on all fronts this week. Despite being rejected repeatedly by Alice, Quentin continued trying to care for her and prove his love. When she again asks to be left alone, Eliot reminds him that he is a King of FIllory and cannot keep neglecting his duties. Knowing he’s been out of the loop on a lot of what’s been happening, Eliot sends Quentin back to Umber in hopes of convincing him to return to Fillory. Along the way, our favorite fanboy gets an invite to visit the god’s new world, but their tour quickly devolves when Quentin points out how sterile everything is. As his companion begins to rage against his chaotic brother and again refusing to go back to Fillory, it is revealed that they have already traveled there.
Before sending Quentin on his way, Eliot made a trip to visit Julia, who has been wallowing in her newfound wholeness. She has discovered it is not all it’s cracked up to be, since the nightmares, flashbacks, and panic attacks over the rape came back along with her Shade. Eliot commiserates with her by revealing his own vulnerability, but quickly convinces her to join the cause to save Fillory. She runs into Kady at Brakebills, but a tense encounter reveals her former best bitch is still furious. While Quentin and Umber are off visiting the world formerly known as Cuba, Julia takes hold of the snow globe that contains it and travels back to the kingdom. She helps to execute a trap for Ember and becomes an integral part of the attempt to save the kingdom. Later, she is also the only magician to retain a bit of her power, giving Quentin hope for the future.
Margo and Josh realize that the fairy realm isn’t so much a separate kingdom than a parallel universe, leaving them to find Fen shackled in the dungeon. They release her only to be discovered and taken to the Fairy Queen, who insults them before sending them back to Fillory to deal with Ember. Margo pays a heavy price for their travel, losing an eye (but gaining a fabulous eye patch) but at least gaining her best friend back. They entice Ember with a makeshift orgy and Josh’s little cakes before revealing to the god of chaos that his brother Umber is very much alive. A brotherly dispute follows that leaves the latter truly dead, but Ember quickly joins him after Quentin runs a sword through him. Unfortunately, they are punished for their efforts with the loss of magic, and two months later, the fairies descend.
Penny, having been made ill by the Poison Room, is told he has maybe three weeks to live. While Dean Fogg and Professor Lipton try to find a workaround to save his life, he warns Eliot of the Great Blank Spot found in the library. Kady, distressed by the imminent loss of her love, convinces him to leave and enjoy his remaining time together, but then he travels with her to the Library. There, Zelda demands that he assist with the Order, and Penny sends Kady back to Brakebills against her will. She later meets with Harriet to convince her to team up against the Order, even offering to steal intel on her behalf through Penny.
While all of this is happening, Alice has remained at Mayakovsky’s to continue her adjustment, but just as Quentin is finally making headway with her, she discovers he’s killed Ember. She tells him that her time as a niffin taught her that all gods have parents, and they would be punished by losing their magic. Her prediction comes true almost immediately, and Quentin loses all chance of reconciliation because over this. Two months later, Friar Joseph appears to her outside of Brakebills to warn her that the lamprey’s family is coming for her for what she did to their child. They know she is without magic, and he leaves after speaking with her. Terrified, Alice runs off into the distance.
We don’t know about you, but we’re sure glad that we’re going to have one more season to sort this all out! Since we have some time to kill before 2018, how about we take a look at some of the episode’s biggest moments?
We never expected to meet a bigger diva than Margo, but then we met the Fairy Queen
It’s been a little while since we were first introduced to the fairies, and while the queen has been mentioned, we had yet to meet her. This week, we find Margo (Summer Bishil) and Josh (Trevor Einhorn) in the fairy realm, a parallel kingdom that overlays on top of Castle Whitespire. They find Fen locked in a dungeon cell and free her, but find her reticent to leave without her daughter. Before they can steal her away, the fairies come across the duo and escort them to meet their leader. Sitting in a milky bath in the center of the throne room, the pale queen is quick to insult and belittle the Earth children before issuing a decree of her own. She is tired of Ember’s interference, and she demands they deal with him. Gifting Josh with a fragrant plant to bake into his beloved little cakes, she sends them back to FIllory – but not before exacting a toll.
Fairy Queen: “Ember is dangerously bored of Fillory. You underestimated how devastating it can be to displease a god.”
Margo: “We’ve been trying to get ahold of Ember for months. He ignores us.”
Fairy Queen: “Because you ask for things. Offer something to him instead.”
Margo: “How do you know all this?”
Fairy Queen: “As it is in our shared interest for your High King to succeed, I’m inclined to let you go help him.”
Margo: “Great. Josh, Fen, the baby and I will go right now.”
Fairy Queen: “You know it doesn’t work that way. Now, are you familiar with this?”
Josh: “No. But…smells good.”
Fairy Queen: “Even better to a god. It will draw Ember. Take it. Bake it into – “
Margo: “I know this one. Little cakes. He loves little cakes.”
While Margo’s casual condescension acts as the suit of armor to protect her fragile heart, the Fairy Queen (Candis Cayne) is arrogance through and through. As far as she is concerned, the Earth children are nothing but useless peons for the gods to play with and deserve none of her respect. She has no time for the troubles of man, and only cares for what benefits her. She wants Ember gone, but knows that killing the god would result in the loss of her magic. She sends the magicians to do the dirty work instead, thereby killing two birds with one stone. Ember is out of the way, and Fillory is now unguarded. We may not like the Fairy Queen, but we admire her head for strategy. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re not hoping for her to suffer a resounding loss to our magicians in season three…
Well, Ember did say he loves a whimsical death…
After Umber’s warning to Quentin and Eliot that his brother is getting bored of Fillory, the High King throws himself wholeheartedly into saving his kingdom. He recruits Julia and Quentin to help out, and definitely takes a creative approach to the task. Margo and Josh show up with the key ingredient for Ember’s little cakes, they concoct a bold plan. They throw a big orgy, with Josh’s delicacies as the main attraction. Quentin heads off to convince Umber to return to Fillory and go against his brother, but they are smart enough not to count on his cooperation. Julia steals the snow globe containing Umber’s new world while he and Quentin are inside, releasing them when she arrives in Fillory. The two brothers have it out, and Ember kills Umber for his betrayal. Julia traps the latter’s energy into a magical blade and taunts Ember, then the unexpected occurs.
Julia: “Come and get me, you f*cking baby. You want to know why you’re so bored? Because you’re too stupid to get it. You’re too spoiled and entitled to understand.”
Ember: “How dare you? I am a god.”
Julia: “Are you? Really? I’m not impressed. I’ve met scary gods, and you? You’re nothing but a petty tyrant.”
*Quentin takes sword and stabs Ember in the back*
Ember: “Quentin…You always surprise…”
Eliot: “Holy f*ck, Q…I think you just saved the whole world.”
We knew the brothers didn’t get along, but never expected things were so volatile that a death was warranted! We were already reeling from the shocking turn of events that led to Ember committing fratricide when John McNamara and Sera Gamble stunned us again. Ember (Dominic Burgess) wasn’t the only ones shocked when his death actually came at the hands of our nerd king himself, Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph). We’ve been waiting all season for our fanboy to reach his potential, and although we had some close calls, it just never came to fruition. Luckily for us, when his friends and kingdom needed him most, Quentin didn’t hesitate. If you didn’t catch yourself doing a dance, fist pump, or throwing your hands up in that moment, then we can’t be friends. Of course, his triumph is short-lived and Earth lost magic, but we’re still proud of him anyway.
Margo may have lost an eye, but at least she regained her most treasured possession
Margo may be High Queen, but she has spent the majority of her reign fighting for her right to make decisions for herself. Sadly, in attempting to save Eliot from certain death she gave away her best friend’s baby, and when the fairies came calling, her secret came out. After swearing to right her wrong, Margo ended up in the fairy realm along with Josh to free Fen. When the young mother refuses, citing desire to stay with her daughter, Margo is summoned before the Fairy Queen and given the task of dealing with Ember. Her trip back to Fillory came at a major cost, though – her right eye. Eliot almost immediately forgets his anger with her betrayal at the sight of her, and makes amends for throwing her in the dungeon. Margo, being Margo, dismisses his apology and insists they focus on the plan to confront Ember.
Margo: “I look like Jack Sparrow if he were played by a man.”
Eliot: “I was actually thinking more like a Fembot Nick Fury.”
Margo: “Look – ”
Eliot: “No, you need to know, okay? I was angry and scared of what you were capable of, but you were doing your best in an impossible position that would’ve crushed anyone, myself included. Wait, is your good eye crying right now?”
Margo: “No. Yes. And it’s not my good eye, it’s my only f*cking eye. It’s not funny, you dick, I’m a Cyclops!”
Eliot: “A mythological monster at last. Box checked.”
Margo: “We’re trying too hard.”
Margo: “To just blow past it and banter. It’s not the same. Let’s not pretend it is, okay? That makes it hurt worse.”
Eliot: “I guess we’ll just have to live with the strain till the future reveals itself. Meantime, that future is going to be a big, blank, post-apocalyptic nada unless we do what we do best.”
Margo: “Act out with a total lack of empathy and impulse control?”
Eliot: “Party like the world depends on it, ’cause Bambi One Eye, it do.”
It was heartbreaking to see our rock solid friends torn apart by a well-intentioned but misguided act. Up until then, we would have balked at the idea that anything could split those two up. That is why this particular reunion was so desperately needed, not just by the two of them, but by all of us. While we could barely take our eyes off the ridiculously fashionable bejeweled eye patch we have ever seen (once again, thanks to Magali Giudasci), it was the earnest and raw performances by Summer Bishil and Hale Appleman that really shined. Both actors injected such a genuine pain into their voices and longing in their eyes for their lost friendship that we were convinced there were onions being cut somewhere. True to prediction, once magic is gone tension between them builds, but we’re sure that their friendship is strong enough to overcome this and much more.
Final Verdict: The Magicians 2X13 “We Have Brought You Little Cakes” kept more than just Ember entertained, and we think Fillory (and our magicians) have earned the right to stay
If there’s anything we know about The Magicians, it’s that they know how to keep us hooked. “We Have Brought You Little Cakes” is no exception, forcing us to the edge of our seat from the opening seconds of narration by Ember. Director Chris Fisher somehow wrangled all the plotlines and moving pieces into a single, cohesive piece of art. They fooled us with the neat little summary he gave and even gifted us with the beautifully laid out plan for the ram god. Then, they started tearing things apart. We groaned, whined, and protested all around, but we never took our eyes off the screen. We’re just glad that season three has already been announced, because we would have pitched a royal fit Margo and Eliot would approve of if that was it!
What’s a season finale without a ton of cliffhangers? The most obvious one of all is about magic. How did Julia manage to reignite her magic? Could that mean magic isn’t really gone? Where is Alice going to go? How is she going to defend herself without battle magic? As for Fillory, what did the Fairy Queen do with Fen’s baby? Why is she at Castle Whitespire’s gates? What does she want?
Perhaps after the fiftieth viewing we might find a flaw in this episode, but for now, we’re awestruck. The only thing we can come up with is the fact that we’re going to have wait until next year to find out what happens. Oh, we guess we can also harp on Eliot teasing us about breaking into Hamilton and not doing it…
The Magicians did everything right with “We Have Brought You Little Cakes.” We got drama, action, surprise twists, special effects, and multiple cliffhangers. There was a clear set up for all of our characters to be explored in season three, and enough resolution that we weren’t left feeling frustrated or disappointed, It was impossible to pick out a single performance that stood out, because the entire cast threw themselves into this last episode. All we can say is that they proved once again why we can’t stop watching them every week.
With Fillory saved for now, and Ember out of the picture, our magicians will need to focus on finding a way to get magic back. We can’t begin to imagine how that can be done, but perhaps Julia is the key. Could the mercy she showed Reynard be rewarding her again? Could Persephone be behind the return of her magic? We’ll have to wait to find out.
We might not know exactly what’s coming in 2018, but we can trust that The Magicians will bring its signature humor, wit, and cheeky treatment to fantasy when it returns. For now, we’ll keep our love alive by rewatching the episodes again and again, so that we may be ready when the time comes!
Let’s stall the Fairy Queen with some incessant childish questioning, shall we?
- Where did Alice go? Will she go underground and leave the rest of the magicians behind?
- What exactly does the Fairy Queen want with Fillory?
- Just who are parents of Ember and Umber? Could they be reasoned with?
- How did Julia regain her magic? Could it be Persephone’s doing?
- If it is her, could she be a new ally for our magicians next season?
- Will Dean Fogg find a way to save Penny’s life? Speaking of which, will he ever get his hands back?
- Ember’s introduction reminded us of the kitchen witch. What did he mean by we’ll come back to that?
- What about the river man? What’s his part in all of this?
- Was this magical blackout the reason for the Great Blank Spot? Could it be something else?
- Just what is in those little cakes Ember loves so much?! We want a taste…
- Where can we get an eye patch like Margo’s? We like playing trendsetting pirate sometimes…
- In fact, can we just hire Magali Guidasci to design our whole wardrobe?
The Magicians 2×13 “We Have Brought You Little Cakes” Review