Oh Alice, what are you doing?
Necromancy is most definitely not an approved Brakebills course. In fact, it's the exact opposite of the kind of magic you were taught there.
But I guess if you're going to do something crazy, as the aptly titled episode of The Magicians Season 5 Episode 1 suggests, bringing your dead boyfriend back to life certainly falls in the box.
Alice is, of course, a mess after losing Quentin.
Until the end of the episode, I would have put her in the fourth stage of grief -- depression -- but now it seems like she's in bargaining.
She knows full well that Quentin is dead, but she's committed to bringing him back, in some form or another.
She has his book from the Library and what appears to be Brakebill's entirety of living clay.
It seems as if she's trying to create some sort of golem, but it's unclear if she intends to resurrect his soul from the Underworld or simply create a Quentin lookalike with all of his memories.
Though unhealthy and extremely dangerous, Alice wanting to bring Quentin back makes complete sense. It 's exactly what he did when Alice became a niffin.
Stephanie: I know what you’re going through. When your father died I was a wreck. I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t ready to be alone – I didn’t even know how to be alone. I did some pretty insane things just to get by. Insane, even for me, but I’ll spare you the details.
Alice: Doesn’t sound like you.
Stephanie: Well, I could tell you if you prefer.
Alice: What’s your point mom? That’s everything just gonna get better eventually.
Stephanie: No one gets to tell you how to grieve Alice. You’re on this journey by yourself. Only you know where it’s going to take you. If you need to do something crazy to get through it, do something crazy, OK.
Quentin stopped at nothing to bring the love of his life back, and it appears Alice is willing to do the same.
Part of me hopes she's successful as I dearly miss Quentin, but Jason Ralph and the writers keep reiterating that Quentin is very much dead.
Of course, it wouldn't be the first time viewers have been lied to by The Powers That Be, so I have no idea what to think.
However, the writers made a bold decision in killing off the show's protagonist, so bringing Quentin back now would feel like a cop-out.
This is a series that has never shied away from taking big swings and risks, and I'd hate for it to lose its dynamism just to placate fans.
Besides, watching the characters deal with Quentin's death is one of the highlights of the episode, which was a flawless and exquisite season premiere. Even in its fifth season, The Magicians continues to be one of the best series on television.
Like Alice, Julia also was mourning the loss of Quentin, but instead of trying to resurrect him, she decided to channel her magic into something positive, something that would make a difference.
The problem is nothing she ever does will be enough to make up for losing Quentin, but she still feels like she somehow owes him.
Julia: So tell me, how can I help you?
Sir Ethingham: You can help me find Quentin Coldwater.
Julia: Oh, yeah, that’s not possible.
Sir Ethingham: Perhaps you have been beset by hysteria. Is your corset too tight? It can cause the womb to wander. I have seen it happen.
Julia: Um, you can’t talk to Quentin because he’s dead. He died.
Even from beyond the grave, Quentin continued to help his friends, as the only reason Julia has magic again is that the loss of her childhood best friend broke her on such a fundamental level.
That pain cut so deep that she was able to tap into whatever part of yourself -- the part that houses all the loss and agony and torment you experience -- that allows magicians and hedges to do magic.
She is determined to make good use of her magic by single-handedly solving all the world's problems.
It's an unattainable feat, especially by herself, but Julia is so consumed by this irreparable debt that she's unwilling to yield.
Only adding fuel to the fire is the misogyny from a Fillorian humanoid pig named Sir Effingham.
Nothing sparks perseverance like being told you can't do something or aren't good enough.
Sir Effingham also seems to have forgotten that the only reason Quentin was the hero was that he volunteered. By all accounts, he shouldn't have been.
He wasn't the best magician or the most naturally inclined. He royally screwed up from time to time and hurt those around him. He was far perfect and made some questionable choices.
Julia: Well, maybe I could help you to save the world.
Sir Effingham: Yes, very good. Oh, you’re serious? No, no, you see, I’m afraid that would be far too difficult for someone like you to handle.
Julia: You know I have saved the world before. I was an actual goddess.
Sir Effingham: And yet you are still quite fetching, albeit unmarried. Look, the nature of the quest that I must deliver, well, it requires a certain kind of hero.
Julia: And what kind of hero would that be?
Sir Effingham: Well, that is to say, to use the common tongue, a hero with a pork loin.
Julia: So, the apocalypse is happening and whatever and this little piggy comes all this way, but you won’t accept my help because I’m a woman.
Sir Effingham: Quite right. Well, I have a long journey ahead of me. This has been a dreadful setback, but I’m sure that a hero will rise, and he will save us.
He was just a man who loved Fillory more than anything and was willing -- or stupid enough -- to fight for it at all costs.
The thing is, though, Julia is more than worthy of being the hero.
She's a smart, capable and talented magician with the drive and heart to see it through. She can't do it alone; she needs the support and help from her friends to be successful.
She seems to have at least started to accept that, thanks to her doting boyfriend.
Yes, Julia and Penny 23 are now officially dating, and I'm currently onboard with this recent coupling.
They had some sweet moments during the premiere and seemed to complement each other well.
Penny lets Julia be her strong, independent self but also isn't afraid to call her out when she's being unreasonable or impractical.
Julia, on the other hand, seems to get through to Penny in a way no one else can.
Penny: Julia, you ready? Wow, wow, you look …
Julia: I thought you said this was a date.
Penny: I said I was taking you out and to dress appropriately.
Julia: That means dress up. You totally told me to dress up.
Penny: I should have been more specific.
Julia: Good. Glad to hear you accept the blame.
He's more vulnerable and open with her than any other character, letting her in as viewers haven't seen since Kady and Penny 40's relationship.
It's an odd turn of events, but it somehow works.
Penny, though, isn't just relegated to being Julia's confidante; he now has a new and exciting role as a Brakebills professor.
It's almost laughable that Dean Fogg made Penny, a non-Brakebills graduate, a university professor, but Dean Fogg was right in that the pickings were pretty slim.
Penny is apparently the only alive Brakebills-educated traveler on Earth, making him the
perfect choice only option for the position.
While these scenes provided levity to the episode -- I would certainly watch an entire hour of Dean Fogg forcing Penny struggling to teach other travelers -- there was also the puzzling introduction of the "signal."
Penny: Jesus Christ, what happened here?
Fogg: Everett drank a reservoir of magic and exploded. It had to go somewhere. Too much magic means too many people with potential are discovering their gift. Lately, more people have been able to pass than we can handle and now look at this place. It might as well be a god damn state school. Overcrowded, discipline problems. Did you know someone stole the school’s supply of living clay? Now, of course, thanks to the surges, some of them have blown themselves up, which isn’t very good for morale, but yes, it helps with the god damn over enrollment.
It's unclear if the signal, which interfered with Penny's ability to travel, is connected to the magic surges and impending apocalypse, or something else entirely.
The series usually has several "big bad" problems running concurrently before converging, so it's possible the signal could tie in.
Elsewhere, Eliot and Margo are stuck 300 years in the future in Fillory, unable to return to earth, and have made little progress on saving Fen and Josh and overthrowing the Dark King.
They are, in a sense, royally screwed, not that Eliot seems to mind.
He spent most of the episode drinking away his problems with a laissez-faire attitude toward anything everyone and everything.
He's heartbroken over losing Quentin but unwilling to share with anyone, even Margo, how deeply the loss of his friend and lover affected him.
Remind me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure no one really knows about the depth of Quentin and Eliot's relationship.
The threesome they had with Margo is well documented, but no one besides the pair knows about the 50 or so years they shared in an alternate timeline during the third season.
Eliot: I don’t want to tell you things are hopeless, but they’re not looking very good, and I hate to see you feeling like this.
Margo: Not gonna feel better. What the hell is wrong with you? You should feel just as upset.
Eliot: Uh, I don’t know. I guess it takes a lot to upset me.
Margo: I think you’re gloriously medicated and in some textbook denial.
Eliot: I’m managing. I’m fine.
Margo: Sure, you’re fine. A monster rode you around for months while he murdered people, and then one of your closest friends died.
Eliot: You know, I don’t remember anything from in there.
Margo: As if that changes a god damn thing.
Eliot: Quentin died, and it hurts, and I don’t really want to talk about it. Everything you have to say you already know, so why?
Over that half-century, they were together, falling in love after the mother of Quentin's son died. It was a simple and mostly blissful life that they somehow managed to remember parts of upon returning to their timeline.
For Eliot and Queliot fans alike, their time together is only a distant memory, cut short by fear and tragedy.
In a sense, they never really got a chance to be together, something Eliot probably deeply regrets.
There was that one moment when they could have been together -- when their timing was finally right -- but Eliot blew Quentin off because he was scared.
Now, the only man he's ever loved died, saving him, without knowing how he truly felt: He was in love with Quentin.
That guilt and regret coupled together, along with the grief, is enough to push anyone over the edge.
Eliot's response to any sort of emotional pain has always been to bury it deep down and put on a facade of well-being.
When that doesn't work, he numbs the pain with alcohol and engages in a pattern of self-destructive behavior.
Eliot: So, we’re actually going to slide to the center of the world?
Margo: Oh, grow a clit, will you.
Eliot: Bitch, I would if I could.
As of now, Eliot seems content to pretend everything is fine, but it's only a matter of time before that grief boils over, possibly in a suicidal way.
Margo, though, isn't faring much better, as she ended the episode stuck in jail. Three hundred years in the future or not, she is still a banished ruler.
As much as she tried this episode, there doesn't seem to be a way backward for Margo and Eliot, though she shows no signs of defeat.
Her desire to go back is mostly influenced by her wanting to save Josh -- and by default Fen -- but it's also motivated by her resolve to assume the throne.
Though Margo hasn't said it outright, some part of her still wants to be High King. She only abdicated in the first place to save Eliot, and now that a psychopathic monster no longer possesses her best friend, it's time to get back to business.
Lastly, Kady is still championing the hedges, with her "wonderful" second-in-command Pete firmly by her side.
This plotline was the weakest of the episode, as it didn't really connect to any other aspect of The Magicians universe, other than the Library, which is a non-entity at the moment, having seemingly collapsed without any leadership.
Eliot: Margo, for God’s sake, will you just come back?
Margo: They murdered them; they murdered the shit out of them.
Eliot: OK, yeah, like 300 years ago. All right, look, maybe you didn’t have time to prepare yourself for this, but you have to know it didn’t end well for them.
Margo: Yeah, well, it’s not over yet. We’re gonna Endgame this shit.
Eliot: When did you have time to go see Endgame?
Margo: Does it matter? All I’m saying is we’re going to time fix this bitch.
So unless the hedges are planning on rising up and revolting somehow, I just don't find that storyline particularly interesting anymore, especially since Julia and Kady aren't separated from the Brakebills group.
Alice is also doing her own thing, so it's just Kady that's left on this boring ride.
Do hedges deserve to have Reid's Mark removed as the Library promised? Sure. Am I interested in watching Kady and Pete take matters in their own hands and figure it out themselves? Not really.
Some stray thoughts:
Did anyone else catch the subtle hints that we could see the return of Penny 40 this season? From the contracts with the Library being voided in case of collapse, and the Library's lack of communication with the Underworld now could be a prime time for Penny 40 to return. There's still the issue of him being dead, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
The biggest surprise of the premiere was Dean Fogg announcing he gave up drinking. Impending apocalypse? No big deal. Alice resurrecting Quentin? Should have seen that one coming. Margo and Eliot trapped 300 years in the future? They'll figure a way out of that eventually. Fogg being sober? Stop the presses.
The one thing I wonder is whether Julia got the OK from Kady before she started seeing Penny 23. The entire situation is complicated, and there's not a rule on whether you have to get your friend's permission before dating an alternate version of her ex-boyfriend. It's a gray area, but girl code probably still applies, right?
Though Fen and Josh are seemingly dead in the future, I have high hopes that we'll see them again, and alive, somehow. This is a show about magic and magicians after all, and to permanently kill off two more characters in the wake of Quentin's death would just be cruel.
- Much about the Dark King is still unknown, but his rise to power was revealed this episode. That happened 300 years ago, though, which means he has to be a god, magician, or magical creature of some sort to live that long. I'm hoping more about this Dark King will be divulged as the season goes on, but for right now, he's just a standard "Big Bad."
What did you think The Magicians Fanatics?
Will Alice succeed in resurrecting Quentin? If so, is this a cop-out on the writers' part?
Do you ship Julia and Penny 23 or prefer Kady and Penny 40?
Will Eliot and Margo be able to right the timeline in Fillory or are Josh and Fen perpetually doomed?
Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the season premiere, remember you can watch The Magicians online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.