The Magicians: Have You Brought Me Little Cakes?   Books Included 
April 12, 2016 5:59 AM - Season 1, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Now in Fillory, the students finally face The Beast. Who will prevail?

Too soon? Is everyone still reeling?
posted by torticat (54 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This show has the weirdest pacing. They burned thru a season of stories in the 1st two eps, and then burned another whole season just in the finale.

I thought they were going so fast because they'd determined that the non-book audience would bulk if they suddenly introduced the reality of Fillory midway through. But I assumed the point would then be to spend an extended time on the Fillory/Beast plot...

They still have two books to eat up, but at this rate that'll last them like a season at most.
posted by gerryblog at 6:23 AM on April 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


So yeah....that was a thing....

I (and a lot of other people) totally called it Re: Julia and what really happened with the FTB ritual. Those flashback scenes were disturbingly brutal...something I would more expect to see on Game of Thrones instead of on something on Syfi.

As for the episode it self it felt pretty rushed, they really could/should of had it as a 2 part episode or at the least a extended 90 min one.

Ember....sigh....I guess a totally animated/CGI Ram God was too much to expect but come on. And if you HAD to go that route you could of at least kept him....regal if not a tad annoying...instead of going with what they did.

I was pleasingly surprised with the ending. Maybe because having read the books I totally thought I knew what was coming but I totally did not expect Julia to jump in there at the last minute to try and strike a deal! (Season 2 Julia and the Beast go on a Fox Hunting adventure!) Though I seriously wonder what SHE had to offer him in exchange for his "help" that could be LESS worse than what she has been through already?

Will be very interesting to see where they go with Season 2 since they have pretty dramatically deviated from the books plots. I can see them tossing in a few bits here and there but I imagine it will be a lot of new territory.
posted by Captain_Science at 6:27 AM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


My guess about the pacing is that they can't count on being renewed for enough seasons so they crammed a bunch of stuff in. But then why have those throwaway episodes like the asylum one?

Also, did they have to pay royalties for Shake it Off? Is that why Umber looks like his makeup was done by the actor's mom?

I like that this episode managed to surprise me, but I really want Katy and not the Beast to do the fox hunting.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:41 AM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was satisfied by the finale, but I agree, it would have probably been better as a 2 hour long affair. Given that the events were essentially a recapitulation told by Quentin, it definitely felt like the writers were looking for a creative way to cram so much in without having to worry as much about smoothly connecting point A to point B and so on.

I'm guessing being in the well spring of magic will help fix the problems the cliffhanger left us on?
posted by Atreides at 6:51 AM on April 12, 2016


They still have two books to eat up

Eh, sort of. This season blended books 1 and 2. The second book was more about Julia's experiences, which we saw in full in this season.

Given that the events were essentially a recapitulation told by Quentin, it definitely felt like the writers were looking for a creative way to cram so much in without having to worry as much about smoothly connecting point A to point B and so on.

On reflection, I realize this was actually in keeping with the books, in a sly sort of way. When Quentin said "You're probably a little confused, so now I'm gonna do that thing I kinda hate where the book rewinds to fill in all the blanks," he could have been poking fun at the fact that The Magician King filled in all the blanks from the first book.

Yes, it was rushed, but I think it was decent. I'd love to hear a podcast or read an in-depth breakdown about how this season was made, and why they chose to deviate from the books when and where they did.

Also: I liked their cheeky "invisible castle" bit -- The truth is, the castle was constructed to be invisible primarily for budgetary reasons. Well played.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:23 AM on April 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


Maybe I'm overthinking this, but when they met with the Watcherwoman/Chatwin, and told her that she would die, why didn't they also tell Chatwin how she would die? That way she would presumably not die, giving her the chance to reset the time loop if Quentin failed for the fortieth time?
posted by Balna Watya at 8:32 AM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm overthinking this, but when they met with the Watcherwoman/Chatwin, and told her that she would die, why didn't they also tell Chatwin how she would die? That way she would presumably not die, giving her the chance to reset the time loop if Quentin failed for the fortieth time?

:::waves hands and mumbles::: Fixed point in time.

But yeah, that's a fair point. She has the power to kick two people decades ahead into the future, but apparently not to change her own fate decades ahead into the future?
posted by Atreides at 8:38 AM on April 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Quentin, it's adorable that you had to ask whether you were the Witch or the Fool.
posted by Justinian at 8:58 AM on April 12, 2016 [11 favorites]


The kid who plays Quentin reminds me so much of Peter Sarsgaard I had to look him up when I first started watching the show to see if they are related (they're not). Anyone else?

His face, mannerisms, the way he carries himself, how his voice kinda cracks all the time. It's really weird.
posted by torticat at 9:33 AM on April 12, 2016


Quentin, it's adorable that you had to ask whether you were the Witch or the Fool.

And it was fun the way he asked.


Balna Watya: Maybe I'm overthinking this, but when they met with the Watcherwoman/Chatwin, and told her that she would die, why didn't they also tell Chatwin how she would die? That way she would presumably not die, giving her the chance to reset the time loop if Quentin failed for the fortieth time?

Atreides: :::waves hands and mumbles::: Fixed point in time.

I think so - after all, Quentin and Julia were already in the books, and they hadn't yet been born when the books were written. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:05 AM on April 12, 2016


Alice isn't dead, right guys? I mean... her niffling is so central to the third book. I don't want her to be dead.
posted by Justinian at 10:24 AM on April 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


She's not dead. For one thing they can't possibly skip the niffinizing and for another she'd just drunk deity-cum which can't have been for nothing.
posted by torticat at 10:44 AM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the only thing that was permanent was Penny's hand loss, in keeping with the books. Everyone else was just knocked out, and Alice bled from the nose, no big deal. Heck, if Penny survives the loss of his hands, a nose bleed is nothing.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:48 AM on April 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


The minute Ember said the word "seed" I was like, "no. no. no no no. no."
posted by Justinian at 11:27 AM on April 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


What the fuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I did not expect that to go down like this - with the exception of the fox rape, which I totally did expect. But the whole "Julia makes a deal with the Beast?" No. And honestly, I really can't even see Julia pausing to make a deal with the Beast while everyone's about to die like that. The whole "Semen grants you the POWER" - was that in the books, or just a fun gross out moment?
posted by corb at 4:01 PM on April 12, 2016


Reynard's ejaculate is what gave Julia her demigodhood, or at least it is strongly implied.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:22 PM on April 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


TO THE BOOKS IT IS, THEN.
posted by corb at 5:31 PM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


That was the least ridiculous outfit that Alice has worn this entire season, and it was still completely ridiculous.

I do wish that, when Quentin was telling Alice how much better and more worthy she was than he, she had just pointed out that that motherfucker was just trying to get out of drinking a pint of ram jizz.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:11 PM on April 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


I like Ros, I wish she didn't keep getting killed off.
posted by Justinian at 9:12 PM on April 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Greatest Trick SyFy Ever Pulled Was Convincing Us ‘The Magicians’ Should Exist. One bit makes me give the sideeye tho:
Alice, Quentin’s serious girlfriend at Brakebills, may have first appeared a tad too pretty (and not quite as buxom as she’s described in the novels), but Olivia Taylor Dudley plays her with such prim intensity that you might actually forget that the show just put glasses on a blond girl and considered their proto-feminist character quota met.
What.... what were they expecting? Her poor back.
posted by Justinian at 9:20 PM on April 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


What.... what were they expecting? Her poor back.

I've spent the last half of the season wondering where she gets her bras and if they come in my size, because they seem to fit and support well! So maybe her back's OK? But.. yeah, what were they expecting?
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:34 PM on April 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was deeply disappointed by this episode. The season's been infuriatingly uneven--awful enough to make me vow to stop watching in one moment, making me crave more in another--but the last episode was interesting and showed a lot of promise, especially with the time twist (and Josh!). And then... this. Terrible pacing, weird video and sound editing (was the volume really inconsistent for anyone else?), a lot of wasted time, and entirely too much semen. We all mostly called the first couple of twists so their reveals were boring, and by the time we got to a really interesting, unpredicted twist, I didn't care because everything else had been so terrible.

And was that really the whole point of Marina? And shouldn't her memory patch have been much better than that?

I've had some moments of genuine love for this show, but I don't think I'll watch season 2 unless it takes so long to air that I've forgotten about this episode.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:46 PM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


may have first appeared a tad too pretty (and not quite as buxom as she’s described in the novels), but Olivia Taylor Dudley plays her with such prim intensity that you might actually forget that the show just put glasses on a blond girl and considered their proto-feminist character quota met.

Yeah that leaves me wondering if the guy has any idea of the definition of "buxom" OR "proto-feminist" for that matter. Alice is the most self-aware, self-directed, initiative-taking person in the whole series. Also I don't really get a "feminist character quota" vibe on this show generally, certainly not one so shallow as sticking glasses on a blond woman (also kind of insulting to the actor, who does a great job with the character). In any case--Julia's practically a co-lead in the first season. Kady kicks ass and takes no shit. Margo is far more Elliott's protector than the reverse (notice how she steps in front of Elliott in the final scene). And Alice gets the knife--not out of remorse or chivalry on Quentin's part, but because she is the better magician and better person.

(Also I think it's kinda creepy whatever kind of "picture" of Alice that reviewer had in his head, because there is nothing to suggest she wasn't pretty and in fact there was precious little physical description of her at all in the books except that she was small and blond and shy.)

A note about Julia in that last scene. I don't know if the editing is just weird or what. But she does not walk into the office with the others. While the Beast is talking, you see one close-up flash of her face but that's it; while the Beast is chatting with and disabling everyone, she's just not there, and the Beast doesn't see/notice her at all. Then she suddenly is there, along with the knife that she had object-transported away from Alice, or something? Maybe she got an invisibility cloak, I dunno.
posted by torticat at 12:33 AM on April 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


The truth is, the castle was constructed to be invisible primarily for budgetary reasons.
yes and it goes on
the royals had spent their entire seasonal allowance and then realized they still had a castle to build--HA!

I think a lot of the writing is pretty clever. I liked Jane's comparing Quentin to a volunteer tomahto, with the subtle bit of wordplay on volunteer combined with the goofiness of calling him a tomato.
posted by torticat at 12:43 AM on April 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm glad I popped in here and spoiled myself completely. I think I'm going to give this episode a pass and be done with this show now. I really can't believe they decided to keep in the parts where one sexual assault victim becomes a monster as a result and the other receives special power by virtue of being raped. I should have stopped with the child abuse episode, and I didn't, and now I'm just done. Fuck this show.
posted by aabbbiee at 6:26 AM on April 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


"I really can't believe they decided to keep in the parts where one sexual assault victim becomes a monster as a result and the other receives special power by virtue of being raped."

Yeah, that makes me want to set fire to stuff. It's a problem with the source material and, for me, that's manageable providing it isn't a pattern on the show. In GoT's case, there are problems with the source material that the showrunners make even worse and that was my breaking point. Here, I kind of hope that this is the end of it.

"And was that really the whole point of Marina?"

Did anyone else have trouble with the characterization? The Marina we saw in that scene was unlike the Marina we know. I wonder if there might be two layers of memory wipes and, actually, Marina was more villainously pragmatic in her willingness to help Julia but the "recovered" memory is actually one that she changed to make her look better and to conceal something she did, assuming that sooner or later Julia would have the obvious false memory removed. And maybe that's why everyone called it "crude" -- the superficial false memory was intentionally crude so that it would catch someone's attention, be removed, and no one would look any deeper. I don't know. But that wasn't anything like the Marina we've seen in the past.

"Alice is the most self-aware, self-directed, initiative-taking person in the whole series."

Yeah, but I hate everything about how they've otherwise realized that character. I don't like the actor's performance, either, because it's too caricatured of the shy girl and not very naturalistic. And the way they dress her is similarly cartoonish. It's the fantasy of a 13-year-old boy of a bookish girl who is really hot, nothing like actual bookish girls who are really hot. I think maybe the reason why I hate and resent this so much is because I am drawn to smart, shy, bookish women who are really attractive. But, you know, as an actual person, not like a hentai schoolgirl character.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:23 AM on April 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't know, I felt like having Christopher Plover as a sympathetic torturee saying "I loved him but I always saw darkness in him" or whatever, the show kind of took Martin to a new and even more awful place than the books.

Did anyone else have trouble with the characterization? The Marina we saw in that scene was unlike the Marina we know.


No, I've gotten the sense that Marina actually has always liked Julia, and also that she's not as comfortable with a high body count as she wants everyone to think. Julia being raped by a god with five bodies to clean up honestly seems like something that would get Marina at least a little bit sympathetic. I mean, remember, she's only like 25 because of how they did the aging.
posted by corb at 10:36 AM on April 13, 2016


I felt like having Christopher Plover as a sympathetic torturee saying "I loved him but I always saw darkness in him" or whatever, the show kind of took Martin to a new and even more awful place than the books

I thought the show made it clear we weren't supposed to take that as anything but gross self justification on Plover's part. That certainly seemed to be how Quentin et al took it.
posted by Justinian at 11:47 AM on April 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's the fantasy of a 13-year-old boy

That's the books in a nutshell, and unfortunately by extension, much of the shows. Sure, there's more nuance and complexity to a lot of the usual elements, but in the end, we focus a lot on Quentin, who succeeds for the most part, has amazing adventures, and sleeps with most of the main female characters, who aren't complete two-dimensional stereotypes, but they're not full 3D by any means.

But the show seems to focus on the plights and issues of the female characters more than in the books, where I was pretty tired of The Miserable Adventures of Quentin Coldwater by the end. In fact, I think there's more to all the ancillary characters in the show than in the books, where they mostly seem to be made by "coloring outside the lines" of character molds - some deviations from stereotypes, but not enough to make them fully developed characters.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:55 AM on April 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I didn't think we were supposed to read anything sympathetic in the depiction of Plover. If anything, I think the show was delighting in punishing him and encouraging the viewer to take pleasure in the idea of the torture he had to go through, since he deserved it. Which is kind of gross in itself, but in the opposite direction.
posted by 256 at 11:56 AM on April 13, 2016


Well that was a little dark. Looking forward to the next season, especially since the plot has diverged enough from the books that I have no idea what's going to happen now. I mean sure Penny's missing his hands, but what are Martin and Julia going to go do? Maybe Martin becomes an anti-hero?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:46 PM on April 13, 2016


No, I've gotten the sense that Marina actually has always liked Julia, and also that she's not as comfortable with a high body count as she wants everyone to think.

Yeah. Marina's meant to be kind of a cypher right now. She's brutal when crossed, but she's never wreaked havoc just for the hell of it (yet). I believed her when she said at her first meeting with Julia that she felt a kinship with her. And I believed her when she said it again to Julia at the rehab center. Julie still doesn't trust her, but I expect the two of them will join forces again sometime, probably hunting Reynard (that's pending of course whatever arrangement Julia's making with the Beast).

Re Alice--
Yeah, but I hate everything about how they've otherwise realized that character. I don't like the actor's performance, either, because it's too caricatured of the shy girl and not very naturalistic. And the way they dress her is similarly cartoonish. It's the fantasy of a 13-year-old boy of a bookish girl who is really hot, nothing like actual bookish girls who are really hot.

But I love her! They are not actually playing her as shy, but as awkward, stilted, and stand-offish, but not afraid to say exactly what she thinks. Also, I've never had the fantasies of a 13-yo boy but this slightly overweight woman who's smarter than anyone and lacking social skills and kind of prissy (look how she walks) doesn't strike me as a "caricature" of what most 13-yos would fantasize about. I mean Quentin finds her hot...I think Alice's hot... but she's not a stereotype.
posted by torticat at 11:35 PM on April 13, 2016


But that wasn't anything like the Marina we've seen in the past.

Just to add a bit to my reply to this, Ivan Fyodorovich, I think we DID see that Marina when she visited Julia in the rehab place. For one thing, she visited her there. For another, her apparent purpose was to try to get Julia out of her funk and back into magic. True, she got all pissy again when Julia resisted. But after that Julia called her a bitch, and her reply was "You're a coward." Which was true at that point, and intended to light a fire under Julia's ass. What I mean is, Marina could have said something cutting back, but instead she left Julia with a challenge.
posted by torticat at 11:47 PM on April 13, 2016


but this slightly overweight woman

Wha? Buxom != overweight.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:21 AM on April 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


It's been a very strange season. All the deviations from the book and now this jumbled hasty finale. I agree that it should have been two hours long. I understand the need to bring Julia's story into the first season and it is nice that they interwove her into the finale but damn, her going off with Martin is just so bizarre.

In regards to Alice, I think the actor does a fine job of nailing a socially awkward young woman that nonetheless is the best of all of them. Grossman is just way too male-gazey about her breasts in the book. Glad the show didn't really dwell on this other than casting an actor who looks buxom.

Umber - OK, yes an animated ram would have been a bit much but damn, this just wasn't right. I guess I would have made him less of a goddamn bloated mess for one thing.

And Eliot having to get married just made me want to scream "what the fuck" at the screen. As far as I remember this never happened in the books. Look showrunners, you've got one gay character. Forcing him into a binding marriage with a woman is just all kinds of stupid and wrong.

I'll still be back for season two. There's been a lot of disappointment in this season but a helluva lot of potential as well. I do worry that the limited budget is going to be a problem, not unlike the first few seasons of Game of Thrones. Fillory should be knocking our socks off, not what we saw on Monday night.
posted by Ber at 1:02 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I do worry that the limited budget is going to be a problem

It's cool, they can just make the buildings invisible.
posted by Justinian at 1:25 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Just to add a bit to my reply to this, Ivan Fyodorovich, I think we DID see that Marina when she visited Julia in the rehab place."

Huh. I guess I just completely misremember that scene. My memory is that she was initially sort of sympathetic but then left with a threat to kill Julia if Julia transgressed against her again.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:48 PM on April 14, 2016


torticat, did you just refer to Olivia Taylor Dudley as "slightly overweight"?
posted by aabbbiee at 6:32 AM on April 15, 2016


torticat, did you just refer to Olivia Taylor Dudley as "slightly overweight"?
I did! I thought maybe they had her put on a few pounds for the role, actually. Does that seem weird? I thought it was cool that they were mixing up the body types at least a tiny bit (compare with body types of Julia, Marina, Kady, and Margo).

Wha? Buxom != overweight.
Wha? I never said it did? (Although in fact it does/can, and I think Alice as portrayed on the show fits both definitions--both well-endowed and healthily plump.)

I feel like "slightly overweight" is taking on a negative connotation here that I didn't intend. You can be slightly overweight and perfectly healthy!
posted by torticat at 10:09 AM on April 15, 2016


torticat, back slowly away from the keyboard and do not make any sudden moves. Repeat: back slowly away from the keyboard!
posted by Justinian at 10:10 AM on April 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Julia, Marina, Kady, Margo, and Alice all have the same body type to me. They are all perfectly in line with Western white* culture's beauty standards. Some are taller, some have bigger boobs, and they all have different hair. But this show does not have a variety of body types.

Having boobs does not make a woman overweight. Being overweight isn't a bad thing, and I have both extra weight and boobs myself. We are so far down the rabbithole in terms of normalizing underweight women on screen that just a woman with boobs can be described as "slightly overweight" and "mixing up the body types." That is really messed up!

*I know they are not all white. They still fit white beauty standards.
posted by aabbbiee at 11:40 AM on April 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


torticat, back slowly away from the keyboard and do not make any sudden moves. Repeat: back slowly away from the keyboard!

Haha. Okay, I genuinely apologize for giving offense. I wish someone would explain to me the difference in perceptions here, though.

On preview... aabbbiee, what you just said helps. But I never said just boobs make you slightly overweight! In any case, I should probably go back and look again because maybe I'm more influenced than I think by hollywood, and that's got me into foot-in-mouth territory here, and I'd like to know that about myself.

If it helps, I'd never seen Olivia Taylor Dudley in anything before (looked her up after Magicians started); maybe in earlier roles she was more the typical woman-on-screen. I still don't think she is in this show, and I don't think she's the same as the other women on the show, but maybe I'm in a minority of one here. I thought she pulled off the role perfectly as a nerdy/slightly awkward, pretty (the books do describe Alice as pretty) but not stereotypically so.
posted by torticat at 12:11 PM on April 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Huh. I've read through the books twice, and watched the entire season, and it took me until this episode to finally get why Eliot is the High king.
posted by logicpunk at 11:18 AM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


WHY?!?
posted by bq at 10:30 PM on April 19, 2016


I bet penny will get robot hands like the Dean.
posted by bq at 10:31 PM on April 19, 2016


I don't think that there is another memory gap. I think Julia chose not to tell Quentin everything that happened.
posted by bq at 9:59 AM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


This has been bugging me enough that apparently, when my husband woke me up last night, I said sleepily, 'Why is Eliot the High King?' I have no memory of doing this but now that I've heard this bulletin from my unconscious mind I memailed logicpunk and asked him to explain his reasoning.
posted by bq at 1:02 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I just assumed it was because he was eating psychedelic carrots.
posted by komara at 1:17 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Haha, yeah, sorry for not explaining myself. It is much more obvious in the show that Eliot spends most of his time locating, conjuring, and imbibing any and all intoxicants, and thus is always 'high'.

He is the highest king.
posted by logicpunk at 2:29 PM on April 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


Look showrunners, you've got one gay character. Forcing him into a binding marriage with a woman is just all kinds of stupid and wrong.

I just binged the show over my holiday break, and this plus the brutal rape (and magical impregnation it appeared) of Julia. I fucking hate magical impregnations.

I was already peeved at the show for the various dead gays, and the evil victims of sexual abuse and I found locking the unhappy gay guy into a monogamous straight marriage for lulz to be just the motivation I need to decide not to watch the next season.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:58 PM on January 3, 2017


Magic rape jizzz you guys.

There's better TV for women out there.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:24 AM on January 5, 2017


Maybe I'm overthinking this, but when they met with the Watcherwoman/Chatwin, and told her that she would die, why didn't they also tell Chatwin how she would die? That way she would presumably not die, giving her the chance to reset the time loop if Quentin failed for the fortieth time?

She's a time traveler; there's nothing to stop her from going to Dean Fogg in 2016 to ask him how she died. Then she could create a Janegolem and send it in to talk to Mike-Martin, leaving Quentin believing that she's dead.
posted by johnofjack at 3:24 PM on January 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


Oh my goodness. What did I just watch? How...what...what. I've decided to cope by thinking of the TV show as a separate time loop from the books. Everything about the finale was terrible!

If whichever ram it was (Ember? Umber?) was just terrible, Salem-the-cat-on-Sabrina-the-Teenage-Witch level animatronics, it would still be better than whatever we just got. And then all the jizz. And then no Alice niffin? And the terrible conceit of having QC be writing the story, when they haven't done that for any of the eps prior? Eliot married off to...Fen??? What. What.

I'll be over here shaking and reading the books some more.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:36 AM on January 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


I didn't know where to put this but I made a post on Our Lady Underground
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:53 PM on February 23, 2018


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