The Magicians (2015–2020) Review— Things That Didn’t Make Sense
I just finished binge-watching all 5 seasons of one my now-favorite fantasy series of all time, The Magicians (2015–2020). And I have to say, well done. The writers were able to avoid a myriad of demises that often plague multi-season ensemble shows such as scattered unfocused plots, repeated plotlines, and creativity burnout.
Although the series sometimes seems to try to be every genre (mystery, musical, drama, scifi, etc), cover every plot type/fantasy style (Narnia clock, fantasy world, time travel, spell-casting, school magic, dragons, etc), and include as many minorities/identities (LGBTQ, disabilities, race, sex, etc), it did it well. It was part of the plot and not just some gimmick. And the characters were treated fairly, except for the Asian guy whose mom died and nobody seemed to care (big hit to my demographic!).
Here are some things that didn’t make sense. And after that, some character analysis, noteworthy elements, and special scenes.
1. Why didn’t Eliot’s body reject the monster?
The reason they needed Julia’s body for the monster’s sister in season 4 was that the other non-godly body couldn’t handle the power. If that’s the case, Eliot’s body should’ve rejected it, but it didn’t. This was a grave inconsistency and made it seem that the need for Julia’s body was purely for plot, not a true reason.
2. How come the fairy queen could see what Margo was seeing?
The fairy queen had one of Margo’s human eyes as a bracelet, which they believed allowed the fairy queen to see (even hear) what they are doing, prompting Eliot and Margo to engage in pop culture code and eventually Margo destroying her own eye.
But having Margo’s eye should mean Margo could see what the fairy queen was doing, like how Josh having Margo’s fairy eye later allowed Margo to follow Josh visually (and no sound!).
3. Why was Quentin so mean to Julia in the beginning when she tried to get into Fillory?
Was Quentin really that angry at Julia for patronizing him and looking down on him that he needed to throw all of that back at her? It doesn’t really make sense that he treated her this way because throughout the rest of the series, he’s always so nice and willing to do anything for his friends. It seems out of character and meant to just push the plot.
4. Why were Margo and Eliot so friendly to Quentin in the beginning? And why were they so “happy”?
In season 1, most of the 3rd year class was gone (presumably dead), and it seemed like people were all miserable at Brakebill. It didn’t make sense that somehow Margo Eliot were constantly so preppy, enjoying themselves, and having BBQ (by themselves?!) at the physical kids’ frat house.
Of course, we later learn how Eliot is basically super depressed and Margo and Eliot were fronting with Margo wishing Eliot was just be serious sometimes and express his real feelings. That definitely adds depth, but at face value, it’s confusing. And they seem out of place on campus.
What did Margo and Eliot have to gain by befriending Quentin? They seemed to keep trying to be friends with him. Was Eliot attracted to him? Eliot was making moves. And was he that powerful? It didn’t seem like they had reason to think so.
Eventually, Margo shows that she doesn’t especially like Quentin. And if they were using Quentin to get to Alice, was Alice just to get a mentor/info? Later Margo says that Alice just “came with Quentin” as if she never wanted to be around Alice. But Margo was pursuing Alice in the beginning, offer her gossip, which was basically was no longer her defining trait like ever after that.
5. Why did Margo and Eliot care about Brakbill tradition so much?
Almost all the 3rd years are gone, and they were only there for 2 years. They don’t really have family who propel the tradition, so it doesn’t make sense that they’d be so caught up with the hazing, mentor games, and other traditions, which they represented in season 1. Perhaps it’s Eliot’s desire to be that posh character so different from his upbringing, but it seemed like he really cared, which is so opposite of his personality.
And Margo is a rule-breaker who always just up-ends everything. Why is she keeping up traditions?
6. Why does Dean Fogg still remember time loops when Plum Chatwin did a time travel?
I thought Dean Fogg only remembered time loops because he was carrying the pocketwatch from Jane. And he later gave that to Quentin?
Does he have a special ability to remember time travel/time loops? I thought he was not a special creative like say Penny.
7. Why didn’t they just try finding the magical creatures in the Fillory forest that grant wishes?
There were so many problems people had, but they could’ve just gone hunting for the wish-granting creatures in Fillory’s forest. It seemed like they were pretty successful every time they went. Why didn’t they do it more? For example, Quentin’s dad’s cancer, which was basically the whole reason he sought to improve magic.
8. A lot of quests were initiated by random creatures. How did they even know where to point the questors and know what was coming in the future?
The cock found my Eliot in the forest basically just initiated the collection of the keys. And the pig initiated Julia’s mission to save Fillory in season 5. But how did the pig now the future? How did the cock know about the book about the keys?
Somehow they all knew things that any creatures and people don’t know, and this was never explained. Almost a deus ex machina way of starting a plot.
9. Why did Charlton stay in Eliot’s mind? Why did he end up in Eliot?
When they extracted the monster via the blades that removed possession, shouldn’t Charlton have been extracted too?
And shouldn’t he have died with his body? When the monster moves bodies, only the monster moves, right?
If it is the case that the previous minds (ie. Chartlon) should move with the monster, then Charlton should’ve left Eliot when the monster left. So, this strongly begs us to believe Charlton staying was a rule inconsistency purely for plot.
Honestly, I have more questions, but these are just the main ones to think about! Aside from these questions, The Magicians definitely drew me in with the themes I like, addictive directing, and constantly evolving plots and characters.
It was a risky and brave move to kill off Quentin and not even focus on him in season 5, when he was the “Harry Potter” of the series. And a lot of the self-awareness was refreshing. Loved the audacity, creativity, and energy of all the seasons!