The Magicians Season 4 Episode 10 Review: All That Hard, Glossy Armor

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I would like to submit The Magicians Season 4 Episode 10 as evidence that pop anthems from the 80s cure a multitude of ills. 

"All That Hard, Glossy Armor," is a musical episode that plays nicely after The Magicians Season 3 Episode 9, "All That Josh."

The musical episode was an amazing exercise in how music can enhance a story, but while it showed off a lot of the core cast's performances, it didn't give Hale Appleman a chance to show off his voice much.

Eliot Singing - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 10

His parts of the "Under Pressure" duet left the audience wanting more, and that's what "All that Hard Glossy Armor" delivers.

Sure, this is a figment Eliot but the second Margo sees him on the sand dune singing "Don't Get Me Wrong" it infuses some excitement that we didn't realize we were missing this season. 

The use of 80s anthems is also a strong choice for this plot.

With Margo going off on a quest that will test her mental strength the upbeat sounds of the music contrast nicely with the more sullen moments between Margo and Eliot. 

The moments between Margo and Eliot are also a dynamic of the show that has been missing this year. With Eliot possessed by The Monster, the unbreakable duo hasn't been such a central part of the show.

Their witty banter is gone and even Margo, who is always cracking jokes, has been mourning her friend. 

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Margo just learned that Eliot's alive in The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9 and that's the entire reason she's on this quest. She wants to save him, and it makes sense that her subconscious would conjure up this amalgamation of Eliot to help guide her.

However, it's also telling that the circle grows the deeper Margo gets into the guest.

Her hallucination of Fen thanks her for inviting her, and even Dean Fogg shows up proclaiming that her subconscious thought that she needed some wisdom. Kady even appears with a snarky, "four-octave range bitch!"

Margo Meets Kady - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 10

It isn't until the final song when Margo starts to take down the desert version of "Trump and Aunt Lydia" that she begins to draw in Julia, Alice, and Quentin as well.

By the end of the musical numbers, it's clear that Margo has an army of people behind her that would cheer her on.

Despite that penultimate number, the musical arc wouldn't be complete without a final goodbye between Margo and her psychotropic lizard hallucination. Eliot is the one figment that is constantly there.

It's the one who talks her through everything, and the one she interacts with most.

Getting that friendship that she remembers back, is the most critical thing for Margo right now.

She needs her friend again, and so that moment when she holds his head in her hands and says she will get him back is one of the most moving.

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I have to praise Summer Bishil's performance in this episode.

As the title suggests, Margo is continually putting up a hard exterior, and the audience gets to see a softer side of her. Bishil can let her guard down and lose it when the chips are down. 

Margo Closeup - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 10

It's a heartbreaking scene when Margo confronts her Eliot figment and declares that being his best friend is the only thing that she ever got right.

Her scream is visceral, and it makes us feel for Margo in a way we haven't before. 

The overall arc of "All that Hard, Glossy Armor," is interesting. The demons that rise out of the sand are not demons and instead are feminist spirits who want to make women happy.

It's a nice thought if a little bit predictable, but parallels well with Margo's story about her dad and how her fierce independence caused a rift between them. 

While Margo's in the desert, Quentin, Julia, and Penny are dealing with his revelation about The Monster's real plan.

The girl Penny saw getting sacrificed in The Monster's memory wasn't a sacrifice but instead his sister.

The writers are playing it close to the vest with this reveal.

It's a slow process where we're not getting tiny bits of information each episode, and it's working nicely so far. Especially with the focus being on Margo this episode.

Margo and Eliot - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 10

However, I am still left with questions. Who is his sister? What did she do? Why was she chopped up into four stone organs?

Yes, these questions will probably get answered next week, but it doesn't change my desire to know, and that's a sign of good writing.

There's also a nice tease with The Monster at a bar and a terminally ill girl who is going to die in three months.

I sometimes worry when shows put such a tiny sliver of plot into the front of a previous episode, but The Magicians is a show that's been good at picking up threads, so I am hoping we see The Monster's intent next week as well.  

The revelation does change Quentin, Julia, and Penny's modus operandi though, and they now have to protect the last god. To do that they need to find a leprechaun. 

It's sad that we don't get to see more of this thread play out.

It once again feels like they're setting up something for Julia, but there is so much that's being hinted at that it's another plot point that will have to pay off in a big way in the last three episodes.

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Julia now has The Binder, so what does that and the fact that she can become a goddess again mean? What is she going to have to do?

If the answer to this question is to sacrifice herself for her friends, Julia is going to need some better luck in Season 5. 

Julia in the Escape Room - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 10

The last storyline in this episode has to do with Zelda being lied to.

I mentioned when I reviewed The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9, that the revelation that The Library was lying wasn't entirely a surprise and it didn't feel like much of a reveal.

The Library is in power because they are a totalitarian regime and we need someone on the inside to help bring them down.

These scenes felt like service to get to that point more than anything revolutionary.

The fact that Zelda is now on their side is a huge win, and I think we can start to see some progress in taking down The Library soon.

What did you think of this episode of The Magicians? Are you curious about The Monster's sister? Did you miss Margo and Eliot's interactions this season?  

Watch The Magicians online and see this entire episode again. 

All That Hard, Glossy Armor Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (10 Votes)

Lauren Busser is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Magicians Season 4 Episode 10 Quotes

And if he got prison and she got the death penalty, I'm guessing she's the bad one.

Penny

Why does this place smell like death?

The Monster