The Magicians: Lesser Evils   Books Included 
March 23, 2017 7:06 AM - Season 2, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Dean Fogg and Professor Lipson attempt to rid Quentin of Alice's Niffin but he refuses to let Alice go. Meanwhile, with magic fading in Fillory, Eliot agrees to a risky duel with King Idri of Loria, in lieu of a war, in the hopes that it will gain the respect of the Fillorians in the process, while Margo makes a deal to fix the wellspring. Julia, Penny and Kady locate Reynard's son in an effort to lure Reynard to them. Not everything goes according to the various plans.

"I have an idea," says a producer. "Let's skip that costly, prolonged battle scenes from the books and have a royal duel that ends with a bloodless treaty, but added marital drama!"
posted by filthy light thief (13 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Man, I was starting to get a little down on this show (plot/arc was seeming a little scattered), and then they run an episode with an extended musical and a Buffy alum? IN.
posted by ftm at 7:55 AM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

Oh yeah, the huge musical number! How could I forget! Time to update the tags.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:58 AM on March 23, 2017

...and a Buffy alum? IN.

I was about to give you shit for not knowing who played Gunn.

...but you meant Forrest.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:00 AM on March 23, 2017

I was hoping for a battle like Grossman wrote but this show doesn't have the budget. But damn, this was fun. Janet makes a terrible bargain to clean up the wellspring and then Eliot gives half of it away for a new husband. Oh, the pillow talk is going to be seriously interesting.

As for Q, he's still the poster boy for bad choices. He should have let Alice go at Reynard and now he's just amplified their Fox problems with no Alice to back them up.
posted by Ber at 9:51 AM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was thinking he could probably (try to) bargain with Alice-niffin to clean up the wellspring then handle Reynard. Maybe she'll come back to save him/them? Or will she travel through time and come back with a way to deal with Reynard? They pulled the magic blade from the heist (and the genera/broad heist idea, come to think of it) in the 3rd book (Wikipedia article with plot summary), but now that Alice is free, she can explore the world(s) with that spectral priest.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:24 PM on March 23, 2017

I really liked this episode! The demigod privilege/white male privilege thing was just clever enough. The O. Henry–style bargaining in Fillory was twisty and felt consequential. And Kady realizing that Julia was not Julia without her shade—all good.

And maybe we'll get Julia's shade back!?
posted by purpleclover at 3:39 PM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, and I LOVED the musical number.
posted by purpleclover at 3:41 PM on March 23, 2017

I am all in on Elliot singing Les Mis. All. In.
posted by Justinian at 4:18 PM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Am I alone in finding that, when this show irritates me, it's because of bad writing introduced in the adaptation?

The Reynard plotline is a mess from front to back at this point, rife with baffling choices from literally EVERYONE involved. It's not just the thing where a character makes understandable bad choices; this is a set of choices that are unbelievably bad, and clearly predicated on cheap plot needs and not the characters themselves.

The Lorian war thing is similarly fucked. Eliot could have and probably should have just killed the king; the magic wasn't necessary for a simple thrust forward. He'd already disarmed him. Panicking during the brownout and running away was impossibly, unbelievably stupid.

(Do I misremember? People here are talking about a big expensive battle set piece, but isn't it a one-on-one duel in the books, too -- except with Eliot handling their (non-royal) champion very, very easily because magic?)

And holy CRAP at this bargain thing. I just sighed and shook my head at that point. Really? She's going to bargain away her best friend's child?

I get that Grossman's plots for books 2 and 3 aren't as readily adaptable for TV as book 1, but what they're doing instead is really cheap and bad.
posted by uberchet at 8:25 AM on March 24, 2017

Yeah, I'm kind of wondering what the hell they're doing with the Reynard adaption at this point as well.

I think the Lorian king thing is probably because a lot of people were upset at the taking of the one mostly-gay character and forcing him into a straight marriage forever, so it's kind of like a go-around in order to give him a partner he can be happy with rather than miserable forever. But it does have a kind of unbelievable aspect that's frustrating.
posted by corb at 10:39 AM on March 26, 2017

You may be right about the Lorian king here; I hadn't considered that angle.
posted by uberchet at 5:35 AM on March 27, 2017

Other than Alice as a niffin , it does seem they've abandoned the books, probably permanently.
posted by rikschell at 9:02 AM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Which isn't a problem in and of itself, but so far I really haven't been especially impressed with the choices they've made for the non-literary plot threads.

The ultimate fate of Alice, and Quentin's ultimate path, could still come back to the books, but the scale of plot they're working at (bank robbery! demigod politicians! stupid fairy bargains!) makes me think that's not in the cards.
posted by uberchet at 9:26 AM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

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