The Magicians: The Strangled Heart   Books Included 
March 8, 2016 7:55 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Eliot and Mike grow closer while Quentin and Alice spend time apart (somewhat), and Penny saves the day.

Richard the Christian magician makes an appearance, but diverging from the books by being a councilor at a rehab facility where Julia is seeking treatment. In another spin on the books, Julia plays the skeptic to Richard's theory of magic as the left-over tools of the gods (as compared to the dinner party debate in the first book).
posted by filthy light thief (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Also, JANE IS DEAD! As is Mike, the good-looking meat-puppet.

Upside: Dean Fogg re-masters magic.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:57 AM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Okay, I think this episode finally diverged far enough from what I remember of the books that I was able to appreciate it on its own terms. Which feels like a weird kind of reflection of a theme in the show? I.E., Quentin coming to terms with Fillory being a real place and not a childhood fantasy and nostalgic escape.

What I'm saying is I was totally invested in Meliot.
posted by books for weapons at 11:19 AM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm curious, what was Richard's job in the book? Though, there are some theological points to ponder about a Christian acknowledging the existence of other gods (technically, I would argue a reading of the Bible accepts the premise there other deities, but simply asks that the Hebrew/Christian God be paramount).

The blast of warmth and color in the form of the prayer's response was a nice touch.

I did find it refreshing to offer another avenue for magic outside of the hedge magic variety.

So dead Jane. This feels like the result of a season beginning to boil toward its climax and following resolution. Did Jane die this quickly in the books?

I enjoyed the episode, overall.
posted by Atreides at 11:47 AM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wasn't book Jane the Watcherwoman? It's been a while...
posted by Justinian at 12:03 PM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm not at all convinced that Jane is dead.
posted by adrianhon at 2:58 PM on March 8, 2016

Book Jane was alive at the very end of the third book, just really old.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:20 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, book Jane was never part of Brakebills IIRC, any more than there was a real connection between Brakebills and Fillory at all. Certainly attaching the survival of Brakebills to Fillory is a new thing. I'm finding I like the show more and more as it gets further away from the books. My inner Magicians pedant just has to shut up and take the show on its own terms, which are ...pretty good. It's gripping anyway, and I like all the characters more and more. Although Alice's wardrobe should be burned at the stake and replaced with, I dunno, real clothes? That look like the character would own them?

Anyway things seem to be speeding up. They're pretty much going to have to go to Fillory asap now, so that should be interesting. And I guess Julia is going to skip a lot and head straight into divinity seeking? That's too bad, I really liked her extended series of safe houses and then free trader Beowulf.
posted by mygothlaundry at 4:45 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Man nothing about this episode was okay. From the bunny to Arjun Gupta's part of the script being so bad not even he could pull it off to the dead gay boyfriend to the terrible pacing to Q & Alice's relationship being impossible to care about.

And yet, just all 7 other episodes, when it was over, I desperately wanted more.

Well-played, show. Also WHAT THE HELL NOT OKAY. But well-played.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:43 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I liked Penny's pained response when Quentin told him that Honeywhatever was a talking bear.

My most prized possessions are also first edition books.
posted by Justinian at 1:22 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Between my not remembering the books and the show deviating from the books, I really have no clue what's going on. I was totally shocked that the reveal of Jane was combined with killing her off. In fact, I really don't want her to be dead. Both because I like the actor and because I don't want Jane to be dead.

"Although Alice's wardrobe should be burned at the stake and replaced with, I dunno, real clothes? That look like the character would own them?"

Oh god yes. I sort of like the character and I am sort of okay with the actor's performance, but the clothes are like nails on a chalkboard.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:09 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Oh, wow. I just liked her in this and totally didn't realize she played Ros. I knew she was familiar. Huh.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:05 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

God, those clothes really are the worst, aren't they? Maybe part of Alice's Othering is forcing a busty actress into the cheapest junior clothing they could find at Forever 21.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:15 AM on March 9, 2016 [7 favorites]

Julia doesn't seem like the kind of asshole to pick a fight about the existence of god with a chaplain during a group therapy session. That seemed out of character and I'm not sure why they included it, when they could instead have just cut that scene short with Julia watching the first part of the therapy session and then walking away rolling her eyes while the chaplain watched her go. Everything relevant that happened in the rest of that scene could have been done more quickly, more in character, and more naturally in the later scene where the chaplain approaches her about her tattoos.

Other than that complaint, I was pretty happy with this episode. I still have a tiny twinge of "they're ruining the story by diverging from the books" every now and then, but it's happening less and less. I'm starting to trust the showrunners to have made the right decisions about which parts of the books, though fantastic in print, wouldn't translate as well to the screen. And I'm even starting to trust them to add entirely new material that is designed to make the on-screen episodic format work.

I still hate both Quentin and Alice though. And, while I know I'm supposed to hate Quentin, I think they just don't realize how unsympathetic they are making Alice. Maybe, I'm wrong though. Maybe they know exactly what they are doing.

And I do feel bad for poor Mike. Though, I also have to wonder if we saw any of real Mike at all. Was the Beast controlling him purely as a meat puppet the entire time, or were we seeing Mike's actual personality shine through with the Beast pulling the strings? Can we trust his claim to have been blacked out since Brooklyn, or was it the Beast saying that?
posted by 256 at 5:59 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Book Julia wouldn't have picked the fight, but show Julia does this kind of thing. She tried to argue her way past the failing grade on the Brakebills entry exam, for example, asking if they wanted students who accept things without question or students who think critically. I really like this aspect of show Julia.
posted by aabbbiee at 6:52 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm curious, what was Richard's job in the book?

IIRC he managed investing for a bunch of rich magicians and maybe also Brakebills?
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:29 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just don't understand, yeah, if Jane is actually dead then what does happen with the Watcherwoman? Are they blowing that plot off entirely?
posted by corb at 11:23 PM on March 13, 2016

Is there a chance that Eliza isn't Jane Chatwin?
posted by aabbbiee at 7:38 AM on March 14, 2016

I just went back and rewatched episode 7 and I'm really wondering why the Djinn didn't see through Mike's disguise. I guess genies don't wield quite the phenomenal cosmic power in this universe that they do in most other fiction.

Oh, and The Beast specifically addresses her "Little Jane Chatwin." He would know, and she doesn't seem the least put out by being called that, so I think we can be pretty confident that Eliza is Jane.
posted by 256 at 10:24 AM on March 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Does the Djinn care? She didn't say "tell me who he is" just "have him blow some other knob". For all the Djinn knows, she already knows.
posted by corb at 11:05 AM on March 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Well, she wishes for the djinn to send him back where he came from... which is arguably Fillory.

But then, Djinn are known for interpreting wishes in the least useful way possible...
posted by 256 at 11:09 AM on March 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

So Sunderland (had to look her name up) was at least considering Penny's offer, right?

Also, Richard seems like a dick. Someone has enough of a problem with magic that they've checked themselves into a rehab centre. Maybe give them some space to work shit out instead of being, "Yeah no, magic is pretty awesome."
posted by ODiV at 1:49 PM on March 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Penny is hot. I don't think there's a person alive who wouldn't consider his offer.
posted by 256 at 2:37 PM on March 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

"Penny is hot. I don't think there's a person alive who wouldn't consider his offer."

I've just begun watching Nurse Jackie in the last month and only last week reached the beginning of the second season, when Arjun Gupta joined as a regular cast member (he was in one episode in the first season). He looked pretty great eight years ago, but this seems to me to be a leveling-up in hotness. He's a really good actor in both shows. Actually, I think the whole one-note angry/sullen thing is holding Gupta back in this show compared to just the little bit I've seen him in NJ.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:11 PM on March 14, 2016

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