It’s hard for me to dislike The Magicians. This Syfy show has everything you could ever want: bisexual, magic wielding goofballs, drama, comedy, and occasionally terror. But guys, what was this week’s episode? It was all over the place to start, but mostly I had issues with the production value of the episode itself.
There were two scenes that called for special effects: the glass unicorn Alice makes and the Dragon that eats Benedict. I personally thought only one of them was necessary, but production felt otherwise and so we have a different problem.
I understand that if an episode calls for high graphic work, that production has a lower budget for the rest of the episode but there are a few things I noticed that felt like rookie mistakes and not budget issues.
In the first scene of the episode, Julia brings Alice a box of old junk to conduct magic from one woman to the other. The sound in this scene was strange. The noises that was meant to match Julia’s interactions with the items were loud and didn’t line up with what sounds those actions would make. This mistake soured my view of the episode from the beginning.
The second includes two mistakes regarding scene pacing and jump cuts. The first is when Quentin and Benedict hear Poppy, Felicia Day, calling from the raft. We never actually see Poppy on the raft, Quentin makes a comment about seeing her and then oh! she’s climbing onto the ship!
I was excited that Felicia Day made an appearance on The Magicians, it feels like a good fit, but I couldn’t help but be distracted after this quick and poorly planned jump cut.
The second jump cut issue was with Margo and Elliot (No! Not my favorite pair! Truly no one is safe). Elliot turns to talk to Margo about the fairy eggs and she’s not in the shot. The director and editors want us to think that she was out of Elliot’s line of sight and collecting fairy eggs? Try harder! This was such an awkward shot and it almost that something was wrong with the script itself.
I’m super bummed at how distracting these issues were. I missed reviewing last week, and I loved that episode. I especially loved Elliot and Quentin’s lifelong relationship. The show has taken Quentin to a place I never thought we’d see – and I’m happy about it.
I also loved that their relationship was alluded to again this week (super cute!). Who else had a moment of rage when they suggested Quentin and Elliot didn’t remember any of the mosaic? Biggest sigh of relief I’ve ever had when that wasn’t the case.
Overall, the episode was disjointed and awkward. Two major themes came up but were poorly addressed. Q was forced to deal with the results of the latest key, a deep inner self that spouts horrible thoughts to the last person who touched it. There’s a sweet moment where Benedict confesses that he has dealt with suicidal thoughts before but when the key comes to him Quentin isn’t able to help him and he jumps to his death. I’m sure Benedict will come back (considering Dragons are portals) but this would have been a great opportunity for non-magician Quentin to address some real-life issues and help a friend out.
Additionally, Julia’s transfer of magic to Alice was fine but forcing her to see the demon who raped her and say to her face that she would never be rid of him felt like too much. I know it’s too much to ask for Julia’s suffering to end, but they need to find a way to explain how she can cope and fight for magic all at the same time. I think it’s achievable but must be built gradually.
It saddens me to write a negative review for The Magicians, but I know that this episode is done and a better episode is on the horizon! I hope we get some fairy ass-kicking next week.
[Photo courtesy of Syfy]