The Magicians: A Flock of Lost Birds   Show Only 
January 23, 2019 7:21 PM - Season 4, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Yay, it's back! And season 5 is already confirmed.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:22 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]

The entire library infirmary scene! I had to nope out and pause to tell myself firmly that this was acting and she had NOTHING in her mouth, absolutely nothing. SO GROSS.

The Santa-spell was a seriously sweet touch though because if there is one person who needs to hear from someone through the magic of utter childhood innocence that she is a Good Child, it's Alice. And I can believe the library would mindfuck her and that is not Santa Claus and it's some kind of con and also hope that it is some weird magician freak who went Fillory-but-non-pedo and tried to magic kids happy and went to jail, but who knows. Just let Alice be happy.

The Dean's eyeglass shattering did not get overlooked by the library for now - I wait to see how that plays out, but his speech about protecting her felt genuine and regretful.

I was absolutely disappointed they didn't have a lot more Elliot/Quentin as the promos seemed to promise and then they had just that small scene with the ice-cream which was horrible and disturbing and suggested so much in nasty broad strokes - the way Q/Brian was so broken, the little splatters of blood, the way he licked submissively at the ice cream cone, the weird twitchy head turns of the Elliot/Beast. Horrible.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:00 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Wow, just realized I'm a whole season behind at this point. Also, am I crazy because I do not remember either a Brian or a Same character.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:39 AM on January 24

Urgh, I hate show-destorying [heh, destroying] nihilistic memory resets, but I otherwise love this show. I haven't watched this yet--should I??? Do(es) the showrunner(s) earn it, or too soon to tell? Very cool with risking spoilers as I am of course gingerly dipping into this thread.
posted by zeek321 at 10:51 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

I don’t see any reason not to watch, zeek321. I mean, not everyone has had a reset - Alice and Dean Fogg remember everything, and Margo-Janet is still very Margo even without her original memories. I’d be surprised if everyone doesn’t get their memories back by mid-season.

Goblinhoney, you’re not crazy for not remembering a Brian, it will make sense after you’ve seeen the S3 finale.
posted by oh yeah! at 11:14 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Ok thank you! I was worried I was going to have to rewatch em all, I just need to get on that s3
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:53 AM on January 24

GoblinHoney: Season 3 of this show is one of the best seasons of TV of any show I've seen. I am jealous that you are going to get to experience it for the first time.

I think the reboot worked here, but I can't imagine that this is the new normal. We're going to have to get our original characters back sooner rather than later for this to really work. I am, perhaps, most concerned about Elliot being in much more serious trouble. Whatever this Beast 2.0 is, it was pretty clear that it was something that even the most powerful magicians are pretty scared of.

And I love that Margo is Margo even when she's Janet. I'm looking forward to seeing her re-discovery Fillory.
posted by Betelgeuse at 12:07 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]

Oops, just now realized I typoed “Sam” to “Same” in the opening post, I’ll ask a mod to fix it.
posted by oh yeah! at 1:15 PM on January 24

There is a bit of a theme (or repetition) of loss of magic or loss of identity (Q in the asylum), the show began with none of them knowing they had real magic. I hope the meanness of slashing an ice cream vendor is curtailed, danger and tough decisions make for good drama not so much gratuitous cruelty. But generally enjoyed and do hope Ms Dudley was method enough to use a real roach.
posted by sammyo at 9:31 PM on January 24

sammyo: I hope the meanness of slashing an ice cream vendor is curtailed

I don't remember many details from last season, so I'll need to read episode recaps to get back up to speed*, but I clearly recall The Beast being something like a petulant child but with the abilities of a god, who sees mortals who don't entertain him/it as annoyances to squash (or casually murder by other means).

One random note: I think we can drop the Show Only/Books Included division a this point, because the story is now well into Brand New Territory. The Seven Keys from last season were a loose nod to the 2nd book, The Magician King, mixed with elements from the 3rd book, The Magician's Land (both links to Wikipedia pages with plot summaries). I'm sure there are still tidbits they could pull from the books, but at this point, I'd consider those Easter eggs for book-walkers, and not particularly spoilery to this plotline.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:44 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]

* Thinking more about this episode, while a review of prior episode plots would probably help, I think that this episode did a half-decent job recapping the past without making it a full Recap Episode.

My recollections, as pulled from this episode: The Gang had to collect 7 keys to bring back magic, which was their (new) Epic Quest. Julia was a god(des), and still had (some) magic, which she traded to bring back magic after Alice destroyed the keys to put an end to magic. Meanwhile, The Librarians got involved and inserted a siphon on the Flow of Magic, to control it and manage who used magic, and how. Dean Fogg knows/ remembers/ recognizes the role that The Gang played in all that, though The Librarians want to gloss over that. To keep The Gang docile and to keep them from mucking with things (again), [someone?] wiped their minds, gave them new identities and magically hid their true appearances with a glamour, which were all warded by some Seriously Powerful Protective Magic to keep anyone else from peaking behind the curtain.

Marina is still Marina, a powerful hedge-witch (who was kicked out of Brakebills? And because of that, holds a grudge against "real" magicians and Brakebills in general, if I recall correctly), and Todd is still Todd, but ... older. A bit more mature.

The Gang was battling The Beast in the finale last season, and they thought they defeated it, but they only freed it from its physical form, allowing it to move into a new body.

And I think that brings us up to the present.

Oh, and something is wrong in Fillory. Again. Details TBA, it seems.

Betelgeuse: Season 3 of this show is one of the best seasons of TV of any show I've seen. I am jealous that you are going to get to experience it for the first time.

This whole show is so much fun, in part because it doesn't take itself too seriously (James Tyberius R. Martin is clearly a penname, giving a nod to both OG Star Trek [odd choice, there] and George R. R. Martin). I may re-watch it all by myself, or try to convince my wife that it's not just a corny SyFy fantasy show.

I also liked the jab at zombies:
... this glorious emanation can only be triggered by world war, pandemic, arrival of hostile or uninvited gods onto Fillorian soil, revolt of dwarves, or mass rising of the dead.
Not sure they'd be able to do much, the dead. They're sort of feeble and rotting. It just struck me as creepy, and I'd rather you put a stop to it.
But because Ember is dead, we won't get any more of his special brand of magic-sharing. Now that struck me as creepy, and I'd rather it not return.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:56 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]

One random note: I think we can drop the Show Only/Books Included division a this point, because the story is now well into Brand New Territory.

Sorry, but, please, no. Anyone who wants to can start a ‘Books Included’ thread, but I really don’t want to know any details from the books, since I may eventually get around to reading them and I want to be surprised by things when I do.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:01 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]

I made a gripish comment as I was gripy but actually really liked this episode and looking forward to the magical adventures.
posted by sammyo at 9:50 AM on January 25

I would very much like if shows/films would stop doing that ear-piercing sound to signal "not-rightness" that triggers horrific ringing in my right ear every single time. I had tinnitus to the point of near deafness for 2.5 hours trying to watch this.

If it continues, I'll have to quit watching the show.

Why can't they just, I don't know, fisheye lens it or change to black and white? Try noticing how often that dumb fucking sound gets used for some kind of narrative shorthand.

It's a trend to use it everywhere these days, and it's lazy as well as painful.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:25 PM on January 25

That's awful, Unicorn on the cob, so sorry. I'll do my best to make note of when/if it reappears in future episodes' in the More Inside, so you can mute those scenes.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:44 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]

Aw, thanks, Oh Yeah!!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:59 AM on January 26

Someone remind me how the new Big Bad tricked them into freeing him from the upside down castle place at the end of last season? I remember that Alice betrayed basically everyone because she wanted to get rid of magic rather than save it, and I remember the Library taking over control of the source of magic, and I remember the new Big Bad was a body jumper who started in a little kid... but I don't remember how it tricked them (or how they fucked up) into letting it out.
posted by Justinian at 4:10 PM on January 26

The Gang was battling The Beast in the finale last season, and they thought they defeated it, but they only freed it from its physical form, allowing it to move into a new body.

Wait, no, that's not right is it? The Beast did get defeated? The new Big Bad is a different thing which was being held prisoner in the castle at the end of last season, right? Not The Beast aka Martin Chadwick?
posted by Justinian at 4:12 PM on January 26

The Beast, Martin Chatwin, was killed off early in season 2. Eliot shot the body the (unnamed, I think) monster was in, defending Quentin in the short-term, but that only let it move on long-term.

A lot happened in the season finale.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:44 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]

Aw, thanks, Oh Yeah!!

No, problem, Unicorn on the cob -- new thread is up, your warnings are at the top of the 'more inside'.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:24 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]

aaaaahh Hoberman is Fargo from Eureka!!
posted by numaner at 10:28 PM on January 31

like Pronoiac said, this is not The Beast, but an unnamed monster. The castle where the keys has to be used to reopen the magic flow for this universe (which includes Earth, Fillory, the Library, etc) was also designed to imprison the monster. It possesses human bodies and was in the body of a boy. The former prison guard, a female knight named Ora, was charged with keeping him entertained in the castle. Quentin was going to trade places with her as a deal so she would let them inside the castle. Eliot decides to kill the boy thus the monster to save Quentin from spending the rest of his life there. But the monster jumped to Ora. After the ordeal at the castle, the monster jumped to Eliot to escape and Ora's fate is unknown.

The wiki calls it the Monster at the End of the World, which is kind of a fitting name, but I'm sure we'll find out its real name soon.

I'm really liking the start of this season. It's so great! I love AI Ember!

Also I love the cast choices for the fake identities.
- Neil Grayston as "Isaac" for Josh. He was Douglas Fargo in Eureka, which I loved
- Leanne Lapp as "Sam Cunningham" for Kady. She was Gilda/Rita in iZombie
- Emily Althaus as "Kimber D'Antoni" for Julia. She was Maureen Kukudio in Orange is the New Black
- Tarun Keram as "DJ Hansel" for Penny. He has bit roles in many things but I remembered his face in Supernatural
- Agam Darshi as "Janet Pluchinsky" for Margo. She wasn't familiar but I had seen her perform, as the forest witch Wakti Wapnasi in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
- Tim Carlson as "Brian" for Quentin. He was the only one I had never seen in anything else, I wonder if we'll see more of him
posted by numaner at 11:01 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]

Interesting that the library is giving magic to the hedge witches as well as Brakebills.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:32 AM on February 3

> The wiki calls it the Monster at the End of the World...

Not to be confused with The Monster at the End of this Book, which is Grover.

Though I might call the monster Grover now, just because.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:32 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]

Interesting that the library is giving magic to the hedge witches as well as Brakebills

I think it's just like general magic for the city, maybe, and anyone in the vicinity can tap into it. My impression of the Library/The Order's tap is that the Fillory water flow through an area and provides it with magic. It was connected to Earth via streams running underground which we saw with that well that Martin Chatwin was drinking from, and now the Library control how much Earth gets. Am I correct?
posted by numaner at 4:12 PM on February 3

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