The stakes get bigger and the plot lines thicker during The Magicians Season 3 Episode 7.
There have been quite a few recent episodes that I have felt exemplified the strength(s) of The Magicians. But this latest installment is perhaps one of the best at showing how far this series has come (and is ahead of others shows) in terms of developing a story.
As I’ve said before, juggling a large lead ensemble, multiple worlds and a handful of both tangible and intangible threats is an incredibly hard thing to do. It’s even harder to do cohesively.
Still, even harder to do while keeping us all thoroughly entertained. But in case you missed it, “Poached Eggs” has done it. The episode felt, action-wise, like what a midseason climax should be.
I don’t think there was a single moment when I felt like a plot wasn’t being addressed, or a character wasn’t getting their due screen time. It wasn’t done in the sort of bulleted checklist manner either. It was organically balanced.
The plots were carefully woven in and out of one another, with a balanced give and take for characters that let them have success without removing all the plot barriers.
It’s rare that I’m in awe of a show’s technical ability to navigate through its own story so smoothly, but here we are.
As for the characters, where does one begin? I guess I’ll start with Poppy, who was back in a big way. It was cool to see her join the team (she was a fun addition), but I did not see her sleeping with Quentin coming.
To be honest, I’m starting to get the feeling the show wants us to be comfortable with the idea that whatever was romantically between Alice and Quentin is gone. Alice has spent a lot of time in The Magicians Season 3 making it very clear how she no longer feels about Quentin.
Furthermore, Quentin seems to be moving on physically and emotionally with other people. If that’s the case, I have no problem with it. Relationships start and end, but I do hope it becomes more evident what’s happening. Minus any more Quentin and Alice trust-issue drama.
Beyond the hook-up, Poppy helped Quentin and Penny try to break Kady out. Despite the ID and lockdown mishap, the trio did ultimately succeed.
The whole thing going somewhat south, at least initially, was true to canon. It wouldn’t be a Quentin scheme without some kind of issue. That first failed attempt also made room to see Kady and Penny hash out their problems.
I was concerned they might soften to each other too soon (as in unrealistically), but I think Kady being off screen for a bit helped make it feel like more time had justifiably passed for her to let go of some of that anger.
It was also cute to watch them play with the idea of actually being a couple. I’m not sure how that’s going to work without a body for Penny, but in the meantime, this human and ghost relationship trope is semi-charming.
Once away from the facility, Kady meets up with Harriet who carefully reminds us all that a favor is still owed. How Kady's expected to repay it is, of course, no small thing and puts her in the position she's accused Penny of being in continually.
Kady is sort of known for doing the sneak and steal thing, so for as dangerous as the plan is, I imagine (or hope) she’ll turn out fine. I am curious about whether Poppy is going to join her in the quest to rob the library though. I love Felicia Day but haven't quite found it in myself to trust Poppy yet.
Then there’s Alice and Julia, whose team up was for various reasons less fun for them this week. I still thought they were great to watch. They have an easy chemistry and seem to provide a natural balance to each other on screen.
It was also cool to see two characters who had spent time last season doing some pretty horrible things do the right thing. And both driven by a desire to save each other at that.
Apparently, Alice’s obsession with magic reached life-threatening levels this episode, but the situation also presented an interesting role reversal from The Magicians Season 1. Julia spent a lot of the first season dangerously trying to access and build her magic. Meanwhile, Alice was the most powerful magician in the room.
Now it's the opposite, and I think that's what makes their on-screen team-up particularly perfect. No one will quite understand their feelings the way the other does.
Not to mention, I think Alice and Julia spending this kind of time together was long overdue. Quentin has been a constant thread between them. Seeing them now, it feels like this team up should have happened sooner.
It also reminds me how much I enjoy when the women of this series hang out with one another.
Finally, Margo and Eliot’s storyline -- which dominated “Poached Eggs” -- was satisfying in many different ways. First, Fillorian royalty got to finally and truly hit back against the Fairy Queen.
I think a trick to shows like this is keeping characters on their toes and facing challenges without them (or the audience) getting overwhelmed by negative turns or misfortunes.
Both Eliot and especially Margo have had a lot of losing battles in The Magicians Season 3, which is very much in tune with the dramatic arcs of season’s past. These kids angst a lot before they get a small reprieve. But they did, in fact, get that short reprieve.
They beat the Fairy Queen at her own game, even as Fray undermined them. Fillory will now be able to see the fairies and more interestingly, Eliot is free of his parental bonds.
It was difficult to see Fen deal with the loss of her family, but if I'm honest, I’m not too sad Fray got told. She had a nasty habit of acting not just childish, but bratty. It was a lesson learned for her that took Eliot and Margo out from under the Fairy Queen’s thumb in a very simple way.
I also have to say that Margo's moment with Eliot as she explains why she won't walk away from Fillory was easily my favorite from her in the entire series.
While Eliot has been allowed to go off on adventures and grow with his friends this season, Margo has primarily been stuck doing a lot of the dirty work. Whether the place is messy or not, it's hers. She's worked and fought for it, arranged marriages, lost eyeballs, and more.
With that said, Margo is strong but maybe not strong enough to get her and Eliot out of a bind with an angry mob. I was truly not expecting that final twist, but it did raise the stakes.
Notable moments from the episode include Julia having to snort excretions from a creature (this show really can’t help itself). I also enjoyed Margo’s rather blunt (and funny) introduction to Poppy.
It felt great to see Quentin both call Penny out on his general grumpiness while also calling him a friend. This show does such a subtle, but good job of showing the complicated nature of all the characters’ various relationships.
I'm very concerned about Eliot and Margo. Those Fillorians looked super angry.
If you have thoughts about The Magicians' latest episode, "Poached Eggs," comment below! And if you haven't caught up, you can watch The Magicians online.
Abbey White is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.