Welcome to The Magicians! Veronica was gonna do this one, but she's busy with her awesome DC Legends of Tomorrow and Lucifer and The Flash and Arrow and ALL THAT OTHER COOL STUFF, so you're stuck with me! A month behind! So far, it looks like Harry Potter's first year at Uni, let's see if that's right!
We open with Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy) opening a door from Wonderland into the inner city. He's meeting Eliza (Esme Bianco - but we know her as Roslyn from Game of Thrones!! She looks different with clothes on. Warmer) on a grimy park bench to discuss an emergency. "It's happening" she hisses, throwing down a giant dead moth on top of his newspaper. Shouldn't that be a locust? Different myth?
He says "they're" (?) "not even at Brakebills yet" and she prays that they (?) get a little something under their belts before he (?) finds them. He's feeling very que sera sera about the whole business, but she thinks they still have to at least try. He promises to do what he can, and she tucks a pocket watch in his jacket, just in case. She asks if he still has an eye on the kiddo? "Not exactly..."
Cut to institutional setting where Bryan Adams' son is performing magic tricks for what looks like a disinterested Fibbie. Okay, he's much cuter than that, he's Quentin Goldwater (Jason Ralph)
And she is Dr. Jennifer London (Tembi Locke) He's flashing back to being at a party watching a girl's (Alexandra Lucchesi) rainbow-covered butt dance to Time to Pretend by MGMT, so that must be played
At least he watches her hypnotising rainbow heiny right until she sees him staring directly at it. Back in the present, he's trying to sign out of a mental institution and making a coin disappear. He checked himself in saying he couldn't concentrate, eat or get out of bed. The feeling of not belonging anywhere was overwhelming and he felt like the most useless person in the world: cue montage of him saying some true but socially awkward things (Danish people DO have dark souls - you know what you did) at the same party to not-rainbow butt girl. He wants out now, please, he's feeling better, and he's pretty sure they can't hold him for more treatment, given that he didn't threaten himself or anyone else. She wants him to stick around for more treatment and brings up his impending graduation; there's an antagonistic vibe not typically present in therapist sessions.
Back at the party, he's watching his sparkle-mini friend Julia (Stella Maeve) sit with her boyfriend and smile ruefully, bestie-longing sitch perhaps? He hides in his bedroom to read "Fillory and Further: Book One", which is super important given how long and carefully they linger on it and especially the clock on the cover.
We zoom into the real-life version of the clock as Quention narrates the story within our story: "The Chatwin twins and their older brother had been sent to the countryside From a young age, Martin Chatwin had a gloomy nature. To combat his melancholy, he would lose himself in stories of wonder" it goes on, but they walk into the clock and I expect Aslan any minute. Instead, the fictional siblings wander into Fillory, a land of magic, which is not at all Narnia. These three are apparently the saviors of Fillory and in walks sparkle-mini Julia, ending the fictional part of our fictional story for the moment.
She asked where rainbow-butt went, which means she was monitoring his creepy staring, and crawls into bed with him.
Oh sure. No way this is one of those line-blurry sitches, I mean, she has a boyfriend, that clearly bores her, who bursts in right now yelling "threeway!!" and jumps on top of them. I like him! I bet with Little Miss Can't Be Wrong / Never Happy, a little levity goes a loooonnnng way. Wow, that was a lightning quick judgement, calm down, TTM, we're barely 5 minutes in!
Now it's time for Quentin's grad-school interview with Yale, he's brought along bestie Julia (sans sparkle-mini ;() for moral support *eye roll*, they arrive at a beautiful old house and totally act like they aren't gonna make out later. No answer, so they just walk in, like you would. Quentin is struck immediately by the clock from the book, but Julia is more concerned that there's a dead Santa in the corner.
The paramedics are clearing Old Saint Nick and it's
Roslyn!!, I mean Eliza who's leading the medical team. As happens at all crime scenes of suspicious deaths, she, as the lead paramedic, releases them without seeing police and hands them an envelope she "thinks he left for them". Seems legit!
It's a undiscovered copy of the rumoured sixth Fillory book *gasp*! Quentin's amazed AND stupefied but Julia's skeptical. She wants him to STOP the silly, nerdy bs that got them through high school, he learned magic tricks to keep up with her, damnit!! Things start to get real when he blames her current lack of nerdy cool on her boyfriend James and she breaks in with "I know where you were all weekend" oooooh. And this is not the first time, either. She's worried about his lack of direction, "start living your life!" but has to go meet *whisper* James..
Quentin wanders down the road, reading this incredibly valuable manuscript out in the open while walking in the wind; a page blows away, imagine that! He follows it as Julia steps onto the fanciest ever Parking Elevator of DOOM.
The page has blown in to a deserted, locked gate courtyard, for sure this won't be a problem in NEW YORK, and he finds himself on campus at Brakebills University in Fillory just as Julia steps out in to a shiny new building and NOT P1.
There's a handsome young man lounging atop the concrete entrance, it's Eliot (Hale Appleman) and he purty and he's been expecting our Quentin!
He looks like he should be British, but that's just the guyliner. Quentin peppers Eliot with questions, who will only say that Q is here for a preliminary exam for entry into the graduate program. Q asks if he's hallucinating
They walk into what looks like a Quality Inn conference room, lots of tables and students and a haggard and poorly-shaven Dean Fogg is addressing everyone. Their job is to pass the examination: have at 'er.
The exam sheets change and they're like the pictures in Harry Potter or one of Veronica's excellent gif-y posts, they keep changing! Julia and Quentin are confused.
Upon completion, everyone is directed to another room, where the final part of the exam will be. Julia and Q finally notice each other, lots of hugging and mouth staring. Q just started some new drugs today, he is SUPER happy Julia can see all this too. No talking!!
In a small room with Professor Van der Weghe (Wayne Pere), Julia is being told she has failed the written exam, so any talent they thought she might have had: gbai. He's there to prepare her for the trip home: now the flashy thingy??
But no, she argues because she Can't Be Wrong (called it!), which she calls critical thinking and she can't even think of going to Yale now that she knows this exists (when did Yale become everyone's fallback school?) but he ain't buying it. They don't have flashy thingys at Brakebills anyway, what they have is a professor rolling up his sleeves and applying hand sanitizer "you won't feel a thing!". Um. Julia rolls up her own sleeve while his back is turned and uses her ring to cut the inside of her arm lengthwise. Um.
Meanwhile, Quentin is performing card tricks in front of a panel of four teachers, including the esteemed Dean. They don't want that, though, they want real magic, and after a little pep talk from Dean, he complies:
Pass! Out I mean! He faints and awakes (presumably) in a dream in Fillory, at the tree with the clock and the Jane Chatwin (Rose Liston) from the story. She's in the tree and advises him to not mess with the clock, or time, it's such difficult magic to control. And then she pops up next to him on the ground, saying that it won't stop The Beast anyway. The Beast WILL find him, unless he steps off the path. Um
He awakes for reals this time, in his bed in New York City, as Julia wakes up to find that she did scratch herself on her arm after all, even if she can't remember anything other than that.
Dean Fogg is leading Quentin through the expectations of the 3 year graduate Magic program, and when Q asks how they found him, he points at several globes, calling them ''Sense Magic'' which isn't always exact, but Quentin is really mostly interested in whether Julia made it. He doesn't seem too concerned to find out that she did not, however.
Dean apologizes for Quentin's disturbing entrance through Santa's death, turns out he was a diabetic named Bob and committed harakiri through Oreos. R.I.P., Bob, we barely knew ye.
Quentin is having a leeetle bit of trouble understanding the end goal of this school; is it legal? Are they planning to take over the world? What's job placement like? That last one might have been just me. Dean says ''the school exists for a single and timeless purpose; to reveal your innate abilities and hone them to the highest degree.'' Whatever students do after that is their deal: no judgies, only teachies.
Dean presses for an answer: of COURSE Q signs! There's a Friends and Family Week even, yay! Just like rehab. He asks for Quentin's meds, saying that Q isn't depressed, he really IS different, and that's why he hasn't been feeling as though he fits in, which means that I getta post my very favourite William Gibson quote:
Quentin walks back into his massive dorm room; there's another (HAWT) student there William ''Penny'' Adiyodi (Arjun Gupta)
whom Q immediately indirectly accuses of stealing the sixth Fillory book. Hi, nice to meet you BY THE WAY! Eliot bursts in, bearing fun fruit in the name of Margo (Summer Bishil)
who vamps at Quentin in a super convincing way, and helps Eliot show Q around the grounds. They wander around campus, pointing out various groups along the way: the Physicals (telekensis: move shit, lift shit, make things fly: great partiers!); Illusions, Healing, Nature, Knowledge, Psychics *losers* and what's left of the mopey third year course, reduced from 20 to 4. Eliot reminds Quentin of the waiver he signed...
And he advises Q to stay on the garden path, which last night, Jane warned him meant EVERYBODY EVERYWHERE DIES. So, yeah. They skip off looking for drugs
Class time at
Hogwarts, I mean Brakebills, a different professor reminds them that during their final exam, they had to show magic, but who can grow it? She calls Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley)
up to the front, where she does that. Tumblr is the shite, hey? While Penny and this girl eyehump
and then actually hump. It legit took me a while to work out that they were supposed to be having sex while bouncing off the ceiling: she was still wearing a bra and there was a really unrealistically draped blanket.
Quentin is asking who the eff is Alice? While Eliot and Margo explain about Poor Little Magic
Hermoine Girl, who they say has alllls the unfair genetics due to coming from a whole family of magicians. Margo sarcastically calls Alice over, and is ignored and all is right with the world as far as nerds and cheerleader bullies are concerned.
Q sees Alice later in the cafeteria, and tries to apologize on behalf of the "friends" he met five minutes ago, and blathers on about not wanting to get kicked out blah blah HEY. Alice doesn't wanna nerd-bond with you, Quentin, her parent never taught her anything, so she can't teach him anything and just back off and get your own sandwich, OKAY?? Olivia Taylor Dudley is TOTALLY channelling some Election Reese Witherspoon, woo hoo!
Quentin gets a frantic phone call from James. Julia is acting weird and barely talking and just sits on the internet AND MAYBE SHE HAS SOME POSTS TO GET OUT, JAMES!! BACK OFF!! Sorry, sorry, it's Julia's birthday and Q will come for that. Just then, up walks Margo and Eliot, they're coming too! Black tie or...? Or, fo sho
Julia and James are at the back of a club opening up risqué gifts: what's a Screwnicorn for, anyway? Sounds pokey, but not in a super fun way. Up walks Quentin and Eliot, who bails immediately. Meaningful Bestie Hug with Julia and she's still acting weird (ordering scotch, neat? at 22) Super hawt guy at the bar flirts, I bet he's The Beast! Lemme check IMDB...nope! My bad, as we were.
Julia wanders out back with her tortured Scotch, Quentin finds her smoking and she immediately asks him to ask them to test her again. He tries to dissemble, but he also is as bad a liar as Jean Bastiere in Spotless, and she'll stab him if he asks what Brakebills is again. She's overcome the hands-on-flashy-thingy!
He tries to reason with her, but who cares about business school, Q?? She's all of a sudden causing sparks to fly from her fingers; she thinks that means she's a magician, but he figures she just doesn't wanna fail and has picked up some random magic floating around, like drunk George Bush (?). I think I get it now; he wanted her to see the university to prove that it was actually real, but now he'd like to craft his own identity in his own new university, thankyouverymuch, he doesn't necessarily need her around reminding everyone of his loserhood. This is for HIM, and HE is a magician, he doesn't need her to be there too, succeeding at everything like some jerk. He tells her that her life is here.
She's moping in the bathroom mirror (in an empty bar bathroom in a giant full club - SURE) when her buttons start to pop off one by one, and then she is lifted into the air by unseen hands that like her in her nothing but a bra, I gather. And now she's tied to the radiator and in walks bar hawttie: my bad, that was The Beast (Anthony Marble) and he's testing her magic. There's a rival gang of magician trainers out there, and they've been watching her, see.
Cut to Q at the library, a door knocking leads him outside to a beautiful forest glenn in Fillory. Jane yells at him some more about sticking to the path that will eventually lead to his demise and reiterates that Brakebills is a blast and all, but it's not the POINT, it's a tool to get to the important stuff. Don't get too comfy: he will be working towards his DENSITY. He sees a symbol burning away on the concrete wall, and asks what it is. She replies by shoving his hand onto it and he comes to with it burnt onto his hand, which Alice notices in the library.
Alice and Quentin walk out of the library, he shows her his hand and she drags him off into the bushes to tell him she will meet him at 10 that night at the administration building. It's a sign for him to contact the other side, like dead people kinda stuff: ruh roh. They just have to steal the book from under the Dean's lock and key, no probs!
Nuh uh, he's oot, he's not gonna get kicked out OR be the guy that dies ten minutes into the horror movie but she lures him in by offering to help him get As for the rest of the year.
Penny and Whatserpickle (my kingdom for a name or a recognisable IMDB pic!) are post-coital-cuddling, but he's hearing voices and needs to bail. She is coming with, of course.
Alice and Quentin are rifling through books in the magic lab, she casually brings up her brother being dead and how she'd like to say hi. He died horribly five years ago here at Brakebills, that's why she's there, scouring old books by candlelight. She needs an answer. She says they can't do this, but
In bursts Penny and Kady (yay!! Jade Tailor); Penny can read minds and they're both here to help. I don't think Penny thinks too much of our Q
It's midnight...and nothing happens. Kady's over it, she and Penny leave. Q is gone next, leaving a sad
Reese Alice alone to her midnight ablutions. Or is she alone...? This appears on the mirror next to the door
So at least it's a happy spirit they've released!
Bar Hawttie, that may or may not be The Beast, is leading Julia to meet everyone else, he uses a keyhole tattoo to gain entrance to what he calls The Real World
Professor Van der Weghe is discussing the metallurgical properties of materials and he struggles until he starts rattling off German poetry. And it's 12 and all of a suddent that means something, because everything has stopped, they are awake and can see, but can't move, as a man walks out of the mirror to do a little softshoe in front of the class. He has a flock of giant moths for a head (like Eliza showed Dean Fogg in the beginning) handily disposes of poor frozen Professor VdW and turns, to be blasted by the Dean, who is the only person who can move, but even the Dean is then frozen and his eyes ripped out by our happyface Beast.
The Beast (NOT bar hawttie) walks over to our Q, saying "Quentin Coldwater, THERE you are": fin.
Whut?? That got a little realise reals at the end, whut?? I mean, the EYES?