“The Magicians” Season 4, Episode 10 Recap: “All That Hard Glossy Armor”
Rejoice my Magicians lovers, REJOICE! For we have been blessed this week with another MUSICAL episode! Hale-lelujah! And it all begins with a licked horned toad lizard induced acid trip courtesy of our exiled King Margo!
Well technically it begins with Penny delivering the shocking news that the Eliot Monster is not collecting the stone organs to rebuild his own body, but his sister’s. It turns out the gods murdered (or executed) her and then imprisoned the Monster. The gods killed her, chopped her body into four parts, and turned them into stones. Once the Monster has all of the stones he can bring her back to life. This harsh punishment leads our group to determine that whatever the Eliot Monster has done, his sister’s crimes must be far worse.
While the group discusses this new development, the Eliot Monster approaches a drunk and seemingly desolate woman at a bar. She tells him the price of talking is buying her a drink. He gladly accepts (“you seem fun”) and orders her a vodka on ice. She assumes he is trying to pick her up and attempts to shut that down, but the Eliot Monster has other questions on his mind. He learns from her that the bar is next to a hospital (“why does this place smell like death?”) and that she is sick and the doctors only expect her to live another two or three months.
Wandering the deserts outside of Fillory, Margo is thirsty and frustrated. She is not sure where she is supposed to be going or how to find the tribe of people that have the weapons she thinks can rescue Eliot. She collapses in exhaustion (“Jesus f*ck a wise man’s donkey!”) and when the last of her water is out she pulls her destiny lizard from her pouch and asks it for a sign. Instead, she notices a bead of water on it’s back and out of desperation, licks it. She immediately begins to…. well to trip balls. Eliot appears to her on top of an outcropping of rocks. Dressed like a glamorous rock god and singing The Pretenders’ “Don’t Get Me Wrong” he dances and struts across the desert. She yells at him and demands answers but he keeps singing. She is forced to follow him. Eventually she collapses, but when she awakes she finds that she has been lead to the desert tribe. The tribe’s leader, “The Foremost,” is about to kill her when they see the brands on her arms marking her an exile of Fillory. They decide that the enemy of their enemy is their “ally” and she collapses once again.
At the bar, the woman is getting ready to leave and give her parents the bad news. She touches the monster’s cheek when she says farewell, he grabs her and makes her touch it again. It turns out that her touch has brought back more of his memories. She reminds him of his sister. She starts to get creeped out and tries to leave, but unfortunately for her, he zaps her away with him.
Back at Marina’s loft, Alice brings Julia the “Binder.” It’s written in a language that no one can read, but Julia thinks that if they bring it to the next god the Monster is after (Enyalius), he can help them decipher it. Alice leaves to continue mapping the Library’s pipe system in order to help the hedges’ rebellion. They are having trouble figuring out who and where Enyalius is when they discover that he is actually the celtic trickster god Angus. They can only get to him by passing the trials of the leprechaun guarding him.
In the desert, Margo wakes up inside the tent of the tribe’s wise woman. She learns that the swirling colored sand that followed her was not part of her hallucination. According to the wise woman, “the desert is alive. It is full of demon spirits that attack our women.” Margo begins to ask about the weapons that she is searching for (the “black blades”) when they are interrupted by a fight outside. A woman in the village yells at her husband for sleeping with her sister. The wise woman tries to calm her down, but the red sand swirls up and shoots into the man, knocking him to the ground. Vision Eliot appears by Margo’s side for added commentary (“jesus, how long does one lick last?”) when the Foremost pulls out his black blades and stabs the man in the chest. This causes the red sand to leave his body, which is then caught in a bottle by the wise woman. Apparently, any time a woman “gets emotional” the red sand “demons” rise up out of the sand and attack. According to the wise woman, the men in the village can be saved from possession by the blades but the women cannot. The red sand spirits cannot be killed but the wise woman has learned to trap them in bottles. (“Some brave dudes,” says Margo. “And some awfully compliant women,” replies Vision Eliot.)
Margo heads to the Foremost’s tent to get him drunk, seduce him, and get information about the black blades. When the Foremost leaves to get more booze, Vision Eliot returns to Margo. He informs her that he is a piece or “fragment” of her personality and her “spirit guide.” He represents her Id. At that moment, Vision Josh arrives. He represents her Superego (and her guilt). He reminds her of her lycanthropy and she insists this is just to get her hands on the axes and shoos him away. Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” begins to play. According to Vision Eliot this is the song that always plays in her head when she is working a guy. They begin to sing together when Vision Fen appears (her “lost innocence”). Vision Fen, Eliot, and Josh continue the song as the Foremost returns and Margo gets to business and straddles him. (Side note: You would think that a perfunctory sex scene scored to Whitesnake in a room full of people would feel stilted and weird but because of Bishil’s performance it actually translated as very moving and empowering. This is Margo after all, and she gets shit done however she wants.) Watch the full song in all its glory below.
In the Library, The Librarian asks her mentor, Everett, if they have finally identified the leader of The Serpents. He deflects the question. When she tries to pump him for information and offers her help he shuts her down and questions her health and sanity. When she goes to talk to Alice and Kady they inform her that the Library is lying about the amount of ambient magic available. It is far less than they are telling people and they are doing it to try and eradicate the hedges. The Librarian does not want to believe it, but her daughter Harriet is right. Everett created The Serpents and is using the lowered ambient magic to get rid of all hedges. Alice pleads with her to help them. She asks for the Librarian to find out where the extra magic is going and why they are hoarding it. The Librarian decides to snoop in Everett’s office and takes the book that records their levels of ambient magic.
The next morning, in the post-coital glow, Margo asks the Foremost if she can borrow his axes for a couple of days. He informs her that the axes are enchanted and will only work for him. She asks him how she can make a pair of her own and he tells her that she must scour the desert for only the black grains of sand and when she has a large sack full, the black sand will be used to forge her axes. He also tells her that she cannot use magic to sort the sand and warns her to not get emotional or the sand spirits will get her and there will be no man to protect her. (“there never is,” she replies.) She marches off as the bars of “Here I Go Again” pick back up. This time she is joined not just by Vision Eliot, but also Fen, Josh and suddenly Kady (her feelings of inadequacy or according to Kady “my four octave range, bitch.”) Kady belts out the bridge and they do some excellent group choreography. Vision Dean Fogg appears and joins the group. (“Your subconscious was seeking some wisdom,” he says. “Whiskey not wisdom,” Margo quips.) They continue to sing and dance around her as she drops to the desert floor and begins to look for the grains of black sand.
Margo grows increasingly frustrated and exhausted with her slow progress. As the second night falls, Vision Eliot begins to sing her “Beautiful Dreamer,” the lullaby that her father used to sing her to sleep every night. This causes her to finally break. She confides in Vision Eliot about how her once perfect relationship with her father was ruined by her “growing up.” She became the smart, self possessed, and confident woman that he raised her to be, but she was a woman he could no longer control (“there’s nothing more deadly to the fragile male ego”) and therefore bad. No one could handle her rage at her situation and so she learned to wall herself up and guard herself with her “hard glossy armor.” But the desert strips down mountains and it is the thing that will finally strip bare Margo’s soul. She is forced to confront herself and her weaknesses. She admits that she is angry every second of everyday because she has to hide who she is. She finally unleashes all of her rage and despair. This summons one of the red sand spirits. However, she discovers that it is not an evil demon, but a woman. A female spirit that comes to women in need of aid. The spirit fills her sack with the black sand to the very brim.
Meanwhile, Quentin, Julia, and Penny have tracked down Angus’ leprechaun, “Barry.” She runs an arcade-esque escape room and they must find all of the keys hidden around the room in order to unlock the door that leads to Angus. Julia uses her indestructibility to get one of the keys from a particularly gruesome and Saw like trap. Barry tells her that all the gods have been keeping an eye on her. They finally collect all of the keys and confront Angus in his office. He seems shockingly unconcerned about the Eliot Monster. He tells them that he has a special safe room that the Monster cannot access. Unfortunately, he does not remember his passcode. He asks Julia to come with him so he can fix her and help her regain her god powers.
Margo returns to the tribe and plops down the sack of black sand. Unfortunately, the Foremost and wise woman laugh at her and refuse. They sent her into the desert as a cruel prank. They, frankly, did not even expect her to complete the task or survive. She tells them that she met a spirit and confronts them with the truth. The spirits are there to help women, not hurt them, and the Foremost and men of the village (or as Margo would say “pussy fearing chuckledicks”) have been lying to the women to keep them compliant. The spirits help by possessing whatever is causing the women distress. The Foremost threatens to kill her if she tells the village the truth. Unfortunately for him, he has “forgotten a key plot point,” that Margo is a “f*cking magician.” She blasts him out of the tent with magic. He drops his enchanted axes. Vision Eliot and Co. appear and begin to sing Gnarls Barkley’s “Storm Coming” as Margo blasts open the bottles of trapped red spirits. She picks up the axes and handily defeats all of the men in the village that try to stop her.
While they sing, the scene shifts to Angus’ office. While he keeps punching in passcodes there is a tap on his shoulder. The Eliot Monster has found them and he is holding Barry’s severed head. He immediately guts Angus and pulls out the organ stone. Penny zaps Quentin and Julia away before the Monster can confront them. They zap back to Marina’s loft and try to regroup with Alice and Kady. Julia is determined to figure out how to use the Binder so she can become a goddess again. There is a knock at the door. It is The Librarian.
After the fight in the desert ends, Margo informs the women of the village that all they have to do to get their men unpossessed is to ask the spirits (using their thoughts) and they will leave. Eventually the Foremost and the wise woman regain consciousness (“look who’s decided to wake up. It’s Trump and Aunt Lydia!”) and Margo informs them of the new desert order. She marches off with her replenished supplies while Vision Eliot sings a reprise of “Beautiful Dreamer.” She promises to get him back and he disappears. Her vision quest is finally complete. She sings “Beautiful Dreamer” on her own as she walks to her destiny.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 8/9c on the SYFY channel.