The Magicians: The Source of Magic   Books Included 
January 27, 2016 1:22 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Quentin faces expulsion for his involvement in an otherworldly attack on Brakebills; Julia delves deeper into underground magic and tries to prove herself to the Hedge Witches.
posted by Atreides (25 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't remember the book that well but it seems like they're building up the hedge witch "group" more than in the book. The meat locker scenes seemed overblown.
posted by sammyo at 3:25 PM on January 27, 2016

They're more or less running Julia's storyline concurrently with Quentin's is all. Her stuff is mostly from book 2.
posted by Justinian at 3:31 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I like them running it side by side; it makes it easier to understand the timeline than when it was all flashbacks in book 2.

I am still irritated that Janet is Margo for some reason.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:59 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I miss Josh, he was one of the best drawn characters in the book. But if we get another female character instead (Evil? Kady), that's okay. I don't think the first episode passed the Bechdel test, but it looks like the rest will.

Much slower pace on this episode, building out lots of strands to follow. I'm very curious about how much of the books they'll burn through per episode. Last week quite a lot, this week not much.

At least they should know where they're going. The biggest problem with American TV shows is making it all up as they go. It's almost impossible to avoid writing yourself into a corner (see Lost, X-Files, BSG, etc).
posted by rikschell at 4:58 AM on January 28, 2016

Well they know where they're going for three seasons, at least.

I hope they cast Mads Mikkelsen as Reynard the Fox.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:19 AM on January 28, 2016

I hadn't noticed that Josh was missing. I do hope they bring him in later. He was great.

It's funny because one of my complaints with the first episode was that they crammed too much in and it felt like the pace didn't give us time to breathe and get to know the characters and setting. This time around, I feel like I have the opposite complaint. It's only episode two and it already feels like the wheels are spinning and nothing is happening.

The whole thing with Julia being locked in the freezer just seemed silly and unnecessary. I continue to love New-Penny though. And I'm interested to see where they go with Kady's story. They obviously needed someone to connect the two worlds, given the way they are running Quentin's and Julia's plots in parallel and I think there is a lot of room for Kady's storyline to be very cool.

Oh, and I'm glad they didn't off Dean Fogg. Rick Worthy is killing it.

Overall though, this series feels a lot more WBish than The Expanse does.
posted by 256 at 5:54 AM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I bet they wished they'd commissioned a two-hour pilot instead of 1 hr. But they were stuck with what they filmed.
posted by rikschell at 7:42 AM on January 28, 2016

I hope they cast Mads Mikkelsen as Reynard the Fox.

As much as I'd love the reunion, how many different times do we need to watch Mads kill Kacey Rohl? Of the various things that may or may not be excised from the story for television, I think that I would miss Lev Grossman's apparent fox-sex fetish the least.

I enjoyed this episode a lot more than the pilot, although I still have some reservations. The shock of blonde Alice has subsided into a dull throb. I still wish that they'd taken more time with Julia's story before bringing her back into magical society, but I think I can see why they're doing it, and it might ultimately be the right choice.

Quentin getting punched in the face was nearly "Peter Dinklage slapping Jack Gleeson" levels of satisfying for me. I could watch it all day.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:19 PM on January 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

It's weird. I've only read the first book so I'm not sure if I should just stick to the show only posts or not.
posted by ODiV at 4:52 PM on January 28, 2016

Do people really get attached to character's hair color? Unless it is important to the plot as with Game of Thrones I mostly couldn't tell you what color hair most characters are supposed to have.
posted by Justinian at 5:27 PM on January 28, 2016

Do people really get attached to character's hair color?

Holy shit. I have been hating on the casting of Alice for a while now, because I was remembering her written description entirely incorrectly. I don't know where I got the idea, but in my head I had been picturing Alice as a person of color, which brought along all of the problems with casting white actors as non-white characters.

I just checked the text to confirm this, and it turns out that Alice was always written as having straight blonde hair.

I am baffled by how this happened.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:45 PM on January 28, 2016 [4 favorites]

That makes more sense if you thought she was supposed to be a person of color! I thought she was a brunette or something and you hated blondes!
posted by Justinian at 7:39 PM on January 29, 2016

I always pictured her with almost black hair, cut in an edgy bob. Huh.

I like that the show is different enough from the books that I'm not sure where it's going. That's a problem that I'm having with The Expanse, actually - I know what's going to happen and it's not holding my interest that much as a result. With The Magicians they're really mixing up the story quite a lot, as well as adding and deleting characters, while still remaining true to the world as a whole. Which is pretty hard to do. I approve so far.
posted by something something at 7:12 PM on January 30, 2016

I'm surprised how much I like this show. I liked the books but am not a huge fan or anything, so what they're screwing up from the original I don't really remember very clearly, which is nice. I have yet to attach to any of the characters, but the setting and atmosphere and especially the sound design are really fun (The Beast's scene in the classroom was super creepy for the sound alone.)
posted by WidgetAlley at 4:45 PM on January 31, 2016

Aha! The blonde professor who questions them about their involvement with the Beast is Annie Walker's older sister on Covert Affairs. I knew she looked familiar.
posted by WidgetAlley at 5:13 PM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

She's also "cutthroat bitch" from House.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:17 PM on January 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

And the neighbour from Mad Men, which is where I recognized her from.
posted by 256 at 1:37 AM on February 1, 2016

I'm not hating this nearly as much as I thought I would, apart from the excruciatingly bad Chatwin casting, but I am worried that they're going to make Quentin some kind of Chosen One and so...undermine the whole entire thing.

Beyond that, was anyone else thrown by the Physical Kids hangout? I always pictured it as some sort of rundown clapboard treehouse where nobody but the handful of them ever went, but I may have had some subconscious Secret History mushup going on.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:35 AM on February 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

You remember right, DG. I think they may compress the college physical kids hangout with the post college party hard lifestyle from the books and make the cottage a more happening space.
posted by rikschell at 9:16 PM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am still irritated that Janet is Margo for some reason.

Me too. According to what I read, they renamed her because "Janet" and "Julia" both start with a "J", which does seem kind of flimsy. I do think the woman playing Margo is capturing Janet very well though. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her, because I thought Janet started off not being especially notable but turned into a tough and interesting character.
posted by A dead Quaker at 9:25 PM on February 5, 2016

You know, in the context of a TV show that throws a whole lot of characters at us from the very first episode, that's not a crazy idea. It can take a while to form a mental map of who's who, and what they're all called. Like, I've seen three episodes and I still can't remember Penny's girlfriend's name, or Julia's boss-lady or the hedge witch guy in the suit. Purposefully trying to keep viewers from getting too confused is a good goal.
posted by rikschell at 11:53 AM on February 6, 2016

I'm wondering though - they're showing her coming up through the hedge-witches, but are they just excising the whole depressive-secret-chatroom deal? In which case, why should she care when she finally meets those guys at last? How are they going to be a home for her?
posted by corb at 12:16 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

sammyo: I don't remember the book that well but it seems like they're building up the hedge witch "group" more than in the book. The meat locker scenes seemed overblown.

I feel like the hedge witches in show are blend between the grimy, dis-organized safe houses and the later Free Trader Beowulf level of organization and Srs Bznss. (And the almost sexual assault via magic felt like it was going to lead up to Pete being Reynard the Fox making an early appearance [though I realize there's no reason he won't be]).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:59 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

WidgetAlley: Aha! The blonde professor who questions them about their involvement with the Beast ...

... and Esmé Bianco (Eliza, the paramedic in the first episode and "the specialist" in the second episode) was Roz in Game of Thrones. I mixed her up with Anne Dudek, Dr. Amber "cutthroat bitch" Volakis from House.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:16 AM on March 2, 2016

Hey, I'm rereading the first book, and re: Alice's hair color: It maybe changes?

She's introduced like this:
“Thank you, Quentin,” Professor March said unctuously, clapping with the tips of his fingers. “Thank you, that was very enlightening. You may return to your seat. Alice, what about you? Why don’t you show us some magic.”

This remark was addressed to a small, sullen girl with straight blonde hair who’d been huddling in the back row. She showed no surprise at being picked; she looked like the kind of person who expected the worst at all times, and why should today be any different?
But then, in the chapter titled "Fillory" (where they all go to Fillory for the first time and it's much colder than they expect) we have this:
“I think I can see a way to go,” said Alice, who was still perched up on the tree trunk. Snow had begun to settle in her dark hair. “On the other side. It sort of turns into a path through the forest. And there’s something else, too. You’re going to want to see this for yourselves.”
We are all remembering wrong but also kind of right.
posted by purpleclover at 9:19 PM on May 8, 2017

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