The Magicians: Will You Play With Me?   Show Only 
April 4, 2018 7:27 PM - Season 3, Episode 13 - Subscribe

The group finds what they're looking for and attempt once and for all to get magic back. (Season finale)
posted by oh yeah! (24 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have not seen this episode yet, but all I can think about when seeing the episode name is this.
posted by Maecenas at 8:11 PM on April 4, 2018

Ever since the "All That Josh" episode, I keep thinking of Quentin's line in right before the 'Under Pressure' sequence, "Yes, we are all fucked in our own way, like always!". Like the meme goes - that's it, that's the show. So I was braced for another torturous cliffhanger, and, yep, this one left me doing the emotional Kermit-flail. Again. Thank goodness we're renewed for season 4, this would have been brutal as a series finale.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:38 PM on April 4, 2018

So... if I were producing a show, I would consistently read what people wrote about it. I'd look at reviews, for sure, because they can attract or deter viewers, and that's important. But I'd also look at sites like Metafilter, because you get comments from viewers who are _not_ reviewers, who will react differently from reviewers. Reviewers have a particular educational and experience profile, which is distinct, largely, from non-reviewer viewers. So, the reaction of non-reviewers would tell me something I couldn't easily get before, and that's valuable.

And the high signal-to-noise ratio here on MeFi would, I'd think, make it attractive to me as a producer. Or maybe they're all reading Reddit... but if not:

Knowing that there's a killer cliffhanger makes me disinclined to watch this. Please... don't do that! It's old and transparent! I want resolution!
posted by amtho at 8:58 PM on April 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Well, but this was more of an "out of the frying pan, into the fire" cliffhanger -- they did resolve a bunch of things, it's just that they introduced a whole new batch of problems. While I generally prefer seasons to be self-contained because you never know when the network is going to spring a surprise cancellation on you, I loved this one. Even though they got magic turned back on, they are all once again fucked in their own way, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they get out of this one.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:18 AM on April 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

And of course Quentin is the first target because he promised to stay. Even involuntary oath-breaking has Consequences.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:31 AM on April 5, 2018

This finale felt a little rushed to me, and I had to rewatch some of the exposition scenes twice to understand the lore about the prison and Prometheus.

I can't wait for the next season to see how they get out of this one! But yeah I'm a little worn out of these season finale cliffhangers.
posted by numaner at 1:17 PM on April 5, 2018

Quentin saying "You deserve this" to Julia is light years beyond the Quentin we met in season one, and I really think the character has earned that growth.
posted by absalom at 4:42 PM on April 5, 2018 [9 favorites]

Yeah, honestly all the Greek mythology stuff is the weakest link to me.

Also: Is it really a cliffhanger if it is setting up the entire arc of the next season?

Traditionally, "cliffhanger" as a short of cheap gimmick is from those old serials (both magazine and film) where the protagonist would find them in seeming impossible situations only to have them immediately overturned in the opening seconds of the next installment, rendering moot all of the anticipation and anxiety of the previous installment ended on.

Was Julia running of with The Beast a cheap reversal with no long term impact on the story? It completely defined the arc of the next season, even after the Beast was gone. Was turning off magic a cliffhanger? Literally the entire of season three was resolving that conflict. Maybe it was because the tone of the episodes leading up to the finale had such character growth and sepia toned, life affirming moments?

The whole theme of The Magicians is that magic is dangerous, magic is unpredictable, and magic has unintended and horrifying consequences. I don't what other sort of tidy resolution a viewer would be looking for or expecting after the experiences of literally the entire rest of the show. I don't think I'd expect any other sort of finale except for one where the world is overturned, the players are wildly out of position, and everything looks completely dire.

"Yes, we're each fucked in our own way - like always"
posted by absalom at 8:56 PM on April 5, 2018 [5 favorites]

I love this show, but is it going anywhere?

This last episode felt like arbitrarily raising obstacles (from some sort of narrative viewpoint, the concrete things that happened seemed reasonably sensible) rather than a raising of the stakes in a way that made me trust where the multi-season story is going.

Sigh, so many things about this show are so good, the balance between real stakes plus real emotions plus the coolest homoflexible and heteroflexible characters on tv ever plus just a dash of farce...
posted by zeek321 at 9:05 PM on April 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

So nihilistic, too, but that has always been baked into the premise/has always been on the tin.
posted by zeek321 at 9:06 PM on April 5, 2018

You know, the show made it clear that the creepy blue potion doesn't just wipe memory; it creates a whole new personality, with a name, memories, preferences, and so on. I think it would be fascinating if at least some of these "new" characters ended up fighting tooth and nail *not* to have their former personalities restored, because this would essentially kill the new ones.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 1:44 PM on April 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

wait why are all the new personalities except for Josh and possessed-Eliot wearing beanies?
posted by numaner at 2:57 PM on April 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm sad if that was the last we'll see of the Fairy Queen. I got a real "if you strike me down, I will arise more powerful than ever" vibe from her last words to MacAllistar; there's no way she's going to uphold her part of the deal to not harm any other fairies, and the Queen must have planned for it.

And, what was the song playing when they sailed to the upside-down castle? That was gorgeous.
posted by oh yeah! at 3:32 PM on April 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

oh yeah!, the song is Jagwar by Shells!
posted by Freeze Peach at 5:53 PM on April 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Goddammit Dean Fogg, I thought you were at least a neutral counter to the evil Irene and the Head Librarian. I certainly hope that the possessed Eliot has these three in mind with the promise "can’t wait to get started on all the people who really deserve our wrath".
posted by Ber at 9:22 AM on April 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure what Dean Fogg got out of the deal; it didn't get him anything meaningful for the school (quite the opposite, evidently) and I don't know why he'd ally with Irene without something in it for him.
posted by tautological at 8:08 PM on April 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I know there was some shell gaming with ownership of the school, but I think Irene may still practically own Brakebills, which gives her some leverage. We also don't know exactly how she spun the faerie massacre to him.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:11 AM on April 9, 2018

So the Mccalisters might be the big bad next season?
posted by numaner at 10:18 AM on April 9, 2018

I'm not sure what Dean Fogg got out of the deal; it didn't get him anything meaningful for the school (quite the opposite, evidently) and I don't know why he'd ally with Irene without something in it for him.

I'm glad this wasn't just me; I left that scene thinking I had completely glossed over some significant plot point somewhere in the last few episodes, but I don't *think* I did.

That ending has stuck with me more than I expected it to; sort of lurking at the edges of my brain like an almost-real sense of loss. (I mean, I enjoy the show, but I'm not usually that affected by plot twists.) Looking back, I think it's how much of the season they spent building up the bonds between various characters (and how much the show in general has emphasized how lonely and/or walled off many of them started out) that I could actually feel it when they ripped it away.

Which is all to say--I hope it doesn't take half of season four to bring everyone back together! Keeping my fingers crossed for a quick-but-emotionally-satisfying reunification before proceeding to go after the new big bad.
posted by pinwheel spark at 11:31 AM on April 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

In multiple timelines, when magic disappears Dean Fogg reverts to an alcoholic or drug addict. Perhaps he's a magic addict, and was willing to make any deal that could ensure it would never go away again. He doesn't seem to be getting much other than security...

I was sad to see the fairy queen go. I hope she set something in motion to fuck the McCallisters' shit up.

Quentin saying "You deserve this" to Julia is light years beyond the Quentin we met in season one, and I really think the character has earned that growth.

I mentioned in the last thread that i'm rewatching from season 1 with my partner, and I've been watching season 3 concurrently on my own. The character development is really dramatic from Season 1 to Season 3, which i love to see because I think that's what the books were really about.
posted by torisaur at 11:52 AM on April 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I saw this article about the cover of the new Alice comic and thought "why isn't she in a skin-tight sweater?" Then I wondered if it's supposed to be Jane Chatwin on account of the tree and clock. .
posted by fiercekitten at 7:34 AM on December 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

The thing about the school being owned by Irene McAllister was a plot point I had almost forgotten about, with all the other plot stuff going on in the second half of the season, so Fogg's appearance at the end really seemed more surprise-for-the-sake-of-surprise than a natural development. The character motivation makes sense now, but it didn't when I watched.

Alice is Cassandra now, right? That makes me think she won't be saved next season after all, though she will likely still have some involvement with the plot.

Anyway, I'm glad that I know for a fact there's a season four, because if I didn't I think this ending might piss me off.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:14 AM on January 10, 2019

Heads up, season 4 is on Netflix.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:17 PM on December 18, 2019

Indeed! My partner and I are excited to watch through it. I took next week off from work, and we intend to spend at least some of that time binging.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:30 PM on December 18, 2019

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