The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9 Review: The Serpent

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Okay, let's unpack all that just happened. By and large, The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9 is a growing episode for a lot of our characters. We see Zelda reflecting on her role with The Order, we see Alice contemplate the role magic has played in her life, and we see Margo let go of her role as High King of Fillory. 

Kady Is Not Having It  - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9

But then we have a twist that most viewers probably saw coming a mile away. The Hedgewitch terrorism group called "The Serpent" is trying to eliminate hedgewitches with the use of a blood worm.

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The thing about this plot is that it reeks of contradictions and doesn't align with the hedgewitch agenda. They explain that The Library has turned down the ambient magic, but if that's the case, wouldn't the hedges want to find ways to access more magic?

Infighting only decreases their numbers and would weaken them against the library. 

So, is it a big surprise when Harriet came out of the mirror and told her mother she was being lied to? Absolutely not.

Zelda is Concerned - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9

The revelation that Everett is behind the blood worm attacks isn't a shocker, and while this does serve as an impetus to turn Zelda against The Order, it could have been done better.

Yes, the logic is there, but it feels like it's done in haste and it doesn't feel like a big payoff. 

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The blood worm attack feels like it's supposed to be the crux of the episode after all the episode title is named after the terrorist group, but it's also a chance for growth for several of our favorite magicians. 

Penny and the Monster Watching Something - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9

We're back on The Monster's story again, but instead of a menacing and calculated hunt for the next god on the list, The Monster wants to look internally. 

It's so ironic that The Monster would find a psychic hotline on the television and think that a past life reading would work is an interesting dimension to the story. It's even more meta when he proclaims that he called nineteen psychics before he found a real one! 

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Seeing Penny use his psychic abilities in this scene is another very rewarding experience. Penny's talents have always rested on him as a traveler, not so much him as a psychic.

Exercising that skillset in this setting is smart storytelling and the fact that it folds into getting back to Elliot and the door is a very organic way to connect what's already been established. 

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The trip into The Monster's mind feels a little bit more understated than most of the plots this season, but the show benefits from this psychological dive into the monster's head.

Penny and the Monster Face Off - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9

Hale Appleman's performance this season has been amazing as The Monster with a sinister humor that makes the request for a snack all the more menacing.

However, there is a sense of trauma in The Monster's story, and unpacking that is absolutely crucial for the plot to move forward.

Even the delayed reveal that the Monsters stone organs aren't for a body, but are instead for something much worse was handled very well.

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In the brief scene between Penny and Eliot in The Happy Place it did feel like I missed something, but then after realizing that time had lapsed the choice made sense.

When Penny says that there is something horrible coming it couldn't have been anything but a cliffhanger. It just fit the episode very well. 

Kady's Got Problems - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9

Meanwhile, you have Alice and Kady. Alice wants to help, but before they can help the hedgewitches, they have to get Harriet out of the mirror. 

The idea of Harriet having split while in the Mirror Realm feels a bit like a device to have Alice have it out with herself. It's not a bad or overwrought device, in fact, it fits with Alice's redemption arc.

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However, like the trip into the Monster's memory, it feels more understated. There are definitely stakes, but they aren't as high as The Magicians usually face.

Alice is fighting herself. While she may have to accept herself and her true intentions for destroying the keys and ultimately leading them here it's not a big revelation. Olivia Dudley plays the two Alice's very well and it unpacks her character's baggage, but it doesn't take active action on the plot.

Alice Attempts to Save Harriet - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9

Last, but not least, we have Fillory. After the Napster gave Fen her prophecy, it was slightly worrisome that Margo might not make it out of the season.

But, let's remember, this is Margo! Margo isn't going to die! Margo is going to figure out what's up and stealthily find her way out of this. And, she's back to her old self because the talking rabbits showed up to tell her that Eliot is alive! Thank goodness! 

Harriet in the Mirror  - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9

Now that Margo is no longer grieving and can instead try to help Eliot she's got a little bit of her fire back, and we're starting to see the vulnerable Margo again. 

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Her decision to fall on her sword and accept her fate as banishment to seek The Foremost is the best outcome we could have asked for. There's no bloodbath, Fen gets to protect Fillory, and Margo gets to go off and help find a way to save Eliot. 

The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9

The scene between Josh and Margo as she prepares to leave for her banishment is very sweet and tender. Margo's feistiness has been missed, but now comes from a place of hope and happiness it has lightened her a bit.

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It's given her the chance to bring Josh in and lets them share a little romantic moment as he gives her pastry and Pat Benatar music to exit to. We should all be lucky to have someone in our lives who will provide us with the perfect exit music. 

Quentin and Julia are Carrying Books - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9

What did you think of this episode of The Magicians? Are you excited to see where this season goes? Any predictions for what the stone organs might be? 

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. You can watch The Magicians online to see this magical episode all over again. 

The Serpent Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (23 Votes)

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

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The Magicians Season 4 Episode 9 Quotes

Look, I've been on an apology tour. Would you like to hear my speech?


Listen, we're not trying to step on the foot of big government, we're just trying to not die.