The quest for the golden keys continued this week as Quentin Coldwater literally ventured into the abyss and stumbled upon the lovely Felicia Day. Buckle up, folks, because there is a lot to unpack here.
As a show with seven main characters, every episode tends to follow several main plots. So let’s break this down into the three continuing storylines in this episode.
Quentin Coldwater (and Poppy Kline) :
Quentin is continuing the quest to find seven golden keys in order to restore magic. This week’s key led Q into the abyss – a dark and mysterious part of the Fillorian sea. There he found Poppy Kline adrift on a raft – played by none other than Felicia Day. Poppy is a draconologist, a member of the missing class at Brakebills and just so happened to have the fourth key around her neck.
At first this seems like a lucky break, but we quickly learn that Key #4 comes with a dark twist – it manifests the holder’s fears and self loathing into a doppelgänger that tries to convince the owner to commit suicide. Poppy waited until Q fell asleep and placed the key in his hand, transferring its effects from her onto him. From the beginning Quentin has struggled with depression so holding on to this key happened to be a very difficult challenge for him. In order to keep him from harming himself, Q has Benedict, his sailing companion, tie him to the mast of the ship. It was a great plan until Poppy stole the key in order to try to return home, tussled with Benedict, and Benedict, under the influence of the key, jumped into the sea and into the mouth of a dragon – all while Q stood there tied to the mast.
Now according to Poppy, dragons, instead of pooping, create portals to other worlds, so it looks like Q’s quest for Key #4 will continue, possibly to the Underworld. Seeing Felicia play a not-so-good-guy role was really interesting for this episode and I am looking forward to seeing more of her dark side of acting.
Julia, Alice and Penny:
In the first part of the season, Penny’s storyline was one of the most entertaining and compelling. Now, without Kady and without a solution, it has kind of stalled. Penny felt that as well this week as everyone moved around him and he had to transfer himself to a singing fish in order for people to remember that he was around. By the end of the episode he was ready to leave the group and Brakebills altogether, so hopefully they will find a solution for Penny soon otherwise one of my favorite characters could be gone for good.
Julia and Alice’s story is the weakest at this point – and that is mostly due to Alice. Alice was… a decent ally in the first season, then a mildly interesting adversary for Quentin in the second season. At this point in season three, Alice is just… there. She is desperate for magic and will do anything to get it, including using Julia and doing very dangerous, even life-threatening spells. Kind of like Penny I hope they find an actual storyline for her soon because at this point the only purpose she is serving is bringing Julia down.
Julia is probably the most complex character on the show. Between suffering a horrific trauma at the end of the first season that continued into season two, she went through a lot. Now in season three she is discovering herself outside of that trauma and her identity as the only Magician with magic. Now she has been convinced to give her magic to Alice for some reason so Julia is figuring out how Persephone, goddess of the Underworld, fits into her life, and what is next. Of everyone, her story may be the one I am most excited for in season three.
Margo and Eliot:
Fillory is, as Margo would say, pretty f***ed. Since magic went away at the end of season two, fairies have been controlling Margo and Eliot – especially Margo – by threatening them and their kingdom. What was unclear was why… until now. In this episode, Margo and Eliot discover why the Fairy Queen had margo planting mushrooms several episodes ago: because they are not mushrooms. They are eggs. The fairies have been changing the environment to make it more suitable for fairies and they have planted the seeds to grown and army and take over Fillory. Once again, as Margo would say, “Sh*t.”
This episode mostly provided an explanation to the past five episodes and it is not entirely clear how they will move forward, other than Margo deciding to steal several mushroom-embryos which I am sure will go over swimmingly. All-in-all I am ready for them to be done with the fairies once and for all and hopefully this is the first step in that direction.
(Oh, also Margo got married to a weird 15-year-old prince. Not much to note abut that except that she convinced him that vaginas have teeth using a mutant frog, and that was pretty funny.)
This episode left us on a cliffhanger with Alice having some sort of seizure and Penny trying to save her by making a fish sing, so the next episode will probably start off with saving Alice and continue with more Poppy, more fairies and hopefully a little more Kady. Tune in to The Magicians on Wednesday at 9/8c on SyFy.