The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7 Review: Acting Dean

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Even though we all saw it coming, a little piece of me hoped I was wrong.

I wanted Seb to be a decent guy, mostly for Eliot's sake, but after The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7 that seems impossible.

How can a ruler who's creating pillaging monsters that attack and kill his subjects be anything but a despot, as Margo would put it?

All hands - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 6

All the writing on the wall has been there from the beginning, but I did hope there was some sort of explanation or ulterior motive like there was for the genocide of the fairies.

It just seems cruel to put Eliot through the wringer yet again, especially so soon after he's lost Quentin.

Charlton: Bick didn’t make Seb dark. He is dark.
Eliot: I like him, OK. Maybe I like him because I hope he’s not fucked up; maybe I like him because I hope he is, because I am too. Maybe all I deserve is fucked up.
Charlton: No, when you think that way, it’s all you’ll ever get.
Eliot: Why do you care so much?
Charlton: What? I don’t, but what happens to you, happens to me, and I don’t want him happening to me. I know I deserve better.
Eliot: Wild guess: Your mother and your father both loved you unconditionally.
Charlton: How did you know?
Eliot: How could I not?

After all the pain and suffering Eliot went through on The Magicians Season 5 Episode 5 and The Magicians Season 5 Episode 6, this guy deserves to have something go right for once in his life.

Or at the very least, his newest crush doesn't end up being a maniacal king willing to sacrifice his subjects to keep his throne.

Eliot stares - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 6

Having Eliot find out the truth does at least have a silver lining: When his friends ultimately dethrone Seb, Eliot and his friends won't find himself on opposite sides.

He may have conflicting feelings about overthrowing Seb, especially if such actions result in Seb's death, but Eliot can no longer deny what's been in front of him the entire time.

Eliot: I’m so sorry. That can’t have been easy. I know how much you trusted him.
Seb: No, thank you, for bringing a little honesty to this castle.

He has tried to find alternative theories, but the fact is the Dark King is, well, a dark king.

The question now becomes when the group makes its move.

Seb - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

At this point, the biggest problem seems to be finding a way to dethrone Seb that doesn't end in their deaths.

With Julia and Josh heading to Fillory, Eliot, Margo, and Fen will have some backup, but I'm not sure if four magicians and Fen have enough resources to pull off such a feat.

Margo: Where the hell could Fen have gone?
Eliot: I know right. I gave her one, two, well several jobs, but the headline was, ‘Stay put and find the creep with the hard on for hunting fairies.’ OK, was he afraid of you?
Margo: Yep. They all think it’s my time of the month.
Eliot: Woman or wolf?
Margo: Who cares? Either way, I got them scared they’ll end up bleeding too, so I’m off the hook for a few weeks. Perk of marching with a bunch of scrots who have no clue how lady parts work.

There have been attempts to kill Seb before, but 300 years later, he is still alive. The same can probably not be said for the would-be assassins.

The thing this quintet does have going for it is a maid on the outside man on the inside.

Eliot - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 4

Eliot and Seb have this electric, unspoken connection, and after Eliot exposed Bick Pickwick this episode, he seems to have earned the Dark King's trust.

That trust should come in handy when planning a coup.

Margo: Yeah, no shit Fillory’s in trouble. Goes by the name of the Dark King.
Eliot: Or whoever’s ordering dark shit on his behalf. We’re still investigating.
Margo: Which we were kinda in the middle of until you dragged us here ‘cuz you were sure bacon mcswine flu was talking about the harmonic convergence.
Julia: Oops. We accidentally stopped billions of people from dying. I’m sorry.

However, just because Eliot knows the truth, it doesn't mean it won't hurt to kill a man he has grown to care about. 

I suspect killing, or at least planning to kill Seb, will haunt Eliot on a level akin to thinking the Monster is still inside him.

It's going to be painful and confusing, but at this point, it needs to be done. 

Julia + Penny - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

The same can also be said for Julia and Penny's breakup. While heartbreaking for the characters -- #RIPWickodi -- their split shouldn't come as a shock to frequent viewers.

Penny has hinted throughout the first half of the season he wants a normal life,  as normal of a life as a magician can have, with Julia.

Penny: Look, you know what I’m after: a life with you, here or wherever honestly.
Julia: Why not Fillory?
Penny: Because not every apocalypse is our problem. We just survived the last one by a hair, and what is it all for if we can’t kick back on a beach somewhere and enjoy it?
Julia: Let me tell you something: The world doesn’t wait for timing to be right.
Penny: I want to know how long I’ve got to wait. You live to 35, and then you get to be done? Or is this forever? I get you need magic to mean something.
Julia: Oh, I see what this is; you think it’s some irrational reaction to my best friend dying and eventually I’ll just get over it.
Penny: Julia, I’m not judging you. You’re allowed to grieve however you want.
Julia: Thank you for your permission.
Penny: But the shit you do affects me too.
Julia: I think I can’t do what I need to do if I’m worried about how it’s going to affect you.
Penny: Worry about me? I’m worried about you.
Julia: Yeah, that’s the problem.
Penny: So what are you saying?
Julia: I think we need to be done.

He just wants a simple, low-key existence where their lives aren't continually in danger.

Penny is entitled to that, but that's not something Julia wants.

Penny key - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

She isn't willing to let someone more qualified than Todd step up and save Fillory. It has to be her.

Whether it be grief or guilt or proving Sir Effingham wrong, Julia is incapable of letting things go.

Student: I have a problem, a very big problem. Someone stole my pencil case.
Penny: Full of drugs?
Student: Pencils, special pencils.
Penny: And you thought, ‘Hey, this is a problem I should bring to the dean.’
Student: I think that there’s a conspiracy afoot, a league of mischief makers with a taste for high-end graphite.

She's always been like this, but losing Quentin broke her on a fundamental level.

The only reason she has magic back is that her best friend died, and now she's even more determined to use her gifts for the greater good, even if that means losing Penny.

Julia - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

However, I'm not even sure how deeply her breakup with Penny affected her.

Penny seemed upset over their split but resigned to the fact he couldn't go through losing her again.

A traveler professor who cannot travel is now the acting dean. Students are blowing themselves up, and I presume you are the aforementioned assholes who moved the moon.

Fogg 17

Julia, though, didn't seem too torn up.

Her whole demeanor throughout their conversations was more akin to ending a purely platonic partnership than breaking up with her boyfriend.

Julia - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 5

It's as though Julia never really let Penny in, never allowing herself to be completely vulnerable and open to a relationship with him, for fear of the pain she would feel if she lost him.

After all, people can't hurt you if you never give them the chance.

Todd: Something, something Fillory, a most amazing land, but fucked by catastrophe, and way before we planned. La la blah blah Fillory, a land without a god. Needs a brand new hero, a strapping land named …
Julia: Todd, please stop. OK, I just want to get this straight: So pig man gave you the quest in the form of a song?
Todd: Yeah. I might have changed some of lines, but that’s the gist. There’s also like three more verses, and the key change is tricky.
Julia: Or you could just write it down.
Todd: Oh, I did. The parts I could remember anyway on a couple of napkins, and then on the back of my hand. But don’t worry, I transferred that to another napkin. But short version: Fillory is in real trouble. He said death is coming for everyone, and then he rhymed that with smeveryone. Anyway, could you please help me?
Julia: I’m not going to help you; I’m going to take over entirely for you.
Todd: Oh thank god because I am dangerously underqualified for this.
Julia: I know.

Again, it comes back to losing Quentin; it always comes back to Q.

After a loss like that, one that essentially ripped her apart on the inside, it makes sense Julia would never want to go through that pain again.

So that is what she's tried to do: Keep Penny at arm's length to protect herself. However, she's not a robot.

Penny - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

She has feelings like the rest of us, and her deep affection for Penny showed on The Magicians Season 5 Episode 4 when she chose his life over saving the world.

Maybe, those feelings scared her so much she decided to take a step back. Or maybe one foot was always out the door with Penny. Or maybe it was be something else entirely.

Penny: Still going to Fillory?
Julia: Somebody’s gotta stop the apocalypse.
Penny: And it’s got to be you.
Julia: Penny …
Penny: Just … in my timeline, I let you go on a quest to Fillory without me, and you never came back.
Julia: I’m not that Julia.
Penny: I know. I didn’t just come here and swap Julias. You’re totally different, Christ, you have no idea. The only thing you for sure have in common is I couldn’t stop her when she set her mind to something either.
Julia: I have to do this Penny.
Penny: I know. I just can’t go through that again.
Julia: Then, so here we are.
Penny: Here we are. Be safe, Julia.

Whatever Julia's motivations, she has made her decision, and I'm not sure if there's a way back for the couple.

Things seemed pretty final by the end of the episode, but I could be wrong. I have been before and will probably be again.

Fogg - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

A recent example includes me not realizing Fogg 17, or "Psycho Fogg" as Todd likes to call him, was not our Fogg.

There were some red flags when Fogg 17 showed up, but I dismissed them at first.

Julia: So other Todd tied you up and locked you in a closet?
Todd: Yeah, but I’ve never been great with knots, so it was pretty easy for me to escape. Only question is why would evil twin me want to get rid of me in the first place? Of course, evil.
Penny: He wasn’t your twin. I think he was from another timeline.
Todd: Wait, for realsies?
Penny: It adds up – the two Todds plus cinnabar, which last time I saw was being used for time magic.
Todd: I always wanted to meet someone from another timeline.
Julia: Wait a minute guys. What if Dean Fogg isn’t our Fogg?
Todd: Describe him. I transcribed his memoir; I know all 40 Foggs, even got nicknames for some of them: Fedora Fogg, Cocaine Fogg, Swinger Fogg. Actually, those last two are the same Fogg.
Julia: Uh well, this one’s a heavy drinker.
Todd: Yeah, no, that doesn’t really narrow it down.
Penny: OK, he has burns on his hands. He calls you – other you – Eliot. He has …
Todd: Oh, poop.
Penny: What?
Todd: I call that one Psycho Fogg. See in timeline 17, Brakebills kinda blew up, killed almost everybody, and those burns on Fogg’s hands, they’re kinda ‘cuz he’s the one who did it.

It wasn't until Julia started putting the pieces together, that I realized something was amiss.

In hindsight, a Fogg from an alternate timeline should have been obvious.

Fogg 2 - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

Time loops played a huge part in the past two episodes, but when one was staring me right in the face, I still couldn't see it.

I've often wondered what the other timelines look like, but except for timeline 23, very little is known.

Margo: OK, what does she think I did?
Fen: Well, very few fairies who knew you are still alive today, and the rest just know the story of High King Margo, which over the centuries shifted with each retelling.
Margo: So I’m being boned by a giant game of telephone?
Fen: No, no, no, no phone games are fun. This, not so much. See, you say, ‘You made peace.’ They say, ‘You destroyed their realm and allowed fairy hunts for sport.’ It’s a real potato, potato.
Margo: No it’s potato, po-massive fucking lie.

The only constant was our group of heroes failed to stop the Beast, so Jane reset time.

As a man who could discern he was in a time loop but unable to do anything about it, Fogg going mad in one makes perfect sense. In fact, I'm surprised he wasn't more unhinged in other iterations.

Fogg - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 4

A Fogg blowing up Brakebills and killing all the students does fit with Einstein's definition of insanity.

The thing I'm most interested about is the reveal that Fogg has a daughter.

Penny: What are you going to do with it?
Fogg 17: I’m going to fix things.
Penny: I’ve seen that thing before. That’s the device Stoppard built to travel between timelines.
Fogg 17: Yes, I took it from him to get here, then made a few modifications, enough to take all of Brakebills back home with me.
Penny: Whoa, listen, hey, I get it. My timeline was a mess also, but you have a Brakebills here with no Fogg. Why don’t you just stay?
Fogg 17: Penny, sure, when things start to go wrong, just fuck off to the next timeline. How very appropriate.
Julia: But didn’t you destroy your Brakebills and everyone died?
Fogg 17: Yes, a measure I took to try to contain the damage the Beast could do, and when that failed, Jane Chatwin got to go to the next time loop, while I had to stay behind and live with the goddamn consequences.
Julia: Your timeline continued even though Jane reset it?
Fogg 17: Yes, dear. Were you dropped on your head in this timeline? You should be well familiar with the multiverse hypothesis. As it turns out, one of the goddamn consequences, is I discovered I have a grown daughter, currently living in my post-apocalyptic shit show of a timeline with hardly any living magicians and no resources. I need this Brakebills and everyone in it to fix where I came from.
Penny: You cannot uproot everyone in this timeline just to be a good dad, OK.
Fogg 17: Watch me. Fucking father of the year.

I have a wild theory, but I think Merritt is the secret love child of Jane Chatwin and Fogg.

I've posited that Merritt is a descendant of Jane's, as opposed to Rupert and Martin, but now I think Jane may, in fact, be her biological mother and Fogg her biological father.

Merritt - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 4

For those wondering about the math adding up, remember Ember gave Jane the ability to manipulate time. 

Earlier this season on The Magicians Season 5 Episode 2 Eliot saw Jane, alive and well, in Fillory some 300 years after she died on earth.

Todd 17: Oh hey guys. Aren’t you supposed to be on lockdown?
Julia: Wanted to help. Whatcha up to?
Todd 17: Uh nothing, just like getting supplies.
Penny: That’s cinnabar. That shit’s pretty toxic.
Todd 17: No, this is cinnamon.
Penny: Cinnamon? How’s cinnamon gonna help with the security system?
Todd 17: Dean Fogg asked if I could …
Julia: Why are you acting so squirrely?
Todd 17: Why are you acting so squirrely? I always act this way, OK. You know, whatever, I have to get this for Fogg … to Fogg because of the … for his toast. I don’t know.

Given this somewhat paradoxical fact, it's not a stretch for Jane and Fogg to have had a relationship in the past that resulted in a love child, a daughter who goes by Merritt.

Crazy? Maybe, but this is The Magicians after all.

Alice - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

Lastly, circumstances are still screwy, and it seems like there won't be a quick fix any time soon.

Alice is resolved to tackle the problem, but it may be more complicated than she thought.

Hamish: Ah, that’s not right.
Alice: I know what I’m doing if you don’t mind.
Hamish: It’s a mistake for sure.
Alice: I’m correcting spells for the new circumstances. It’s math; I don’t make mistakes at math.
Hamish: No, I mean that is a spell for cooking without a fire, but, for real, that’s going to be a pretty terrible steak. You need flames to denature the proteins.

It seems the moon has feelings and didn't take kindly to being moved, though I thought the group technically asked her when they had moon brain.

Regardless, things are looking rather bleak, but Alice may have some help in that area in the form of the new botany professor.

Hamish introduction - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

Fans of the books will recognize the name Hamish Bax, the head of the botany department who briefly appeared in The Magician's Land and shaped and manipulated the energy of the Wellspring to cast spells.

In the series, it seems the writers may be building to Hamish eventually being a love interest for Alice.

Margo: Look, I really thought I was doing the right thing.
Ronan: By robbing us of our homeland?
Margo: By giving you a place where you and your weird mushroom eggs could survive.
Ronan: You promised sanctuary and left us vulnerable when your people persecuted us because we had no way to defend ourselves. You abandoned us.
Fen: And you can understand how that would make the fairies feel, can’t you Margo?
Margo: OK, yeah, of course, I’m sorry you went through that, but it was after my reign ended.
Ronan: You really think that justifies the harm you set into motion?
Margo: Jesus. You step out for 300 goddamn years and a bunch of Gossip Girls turn your whole life into the Nuremberg trials.
Fen: Margo.
Margo: Look, this diplomatic milk bath is all very kabuki, but let me tell you what my dad always said: You can’t fix stupid. Skipping past the fact he always said it to me, I’ll add, ‘I’m not the problem here, and if you don’t work with me to bring down the Dark King, you’re Olympic gold medal stupid.

The character seemed instantly taken with her and offered his help, even though he just met her. He seems nice enough, but I don't have enough information at this moment to make a judgment on the potential pairing. 

I'm not even sure something will ever happen between the two, or if Alice is ready to move on.

At this point, everything is hypothetical, but unless Alice were to start dating Penny 23, there are limited romantic options, so it's not out of the question of bringing one in.

Alice - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 6

Some stray thoughts:

  • Did Julia really not know the other timelines continued even after Jane reset it? If that's the case, then did she completely forget about her trip to Timeline 23 on The Magicians Season 3 Episode 11 where she saw firsthand how things played out after the Beast killed most of her friends.

    If so, this is an astounding and unforgivable lapse in continuity on the part of The Powers That Be.

  • Charlton continues to be the gift that keeps on giving, but I wonder how long Eliot can keep his friend under wraps. People are going to start noticing he keeps talking to himself at some point, right?

So what did you think The Magicians Fanatics?

Will Eliot be able to go through with helping to kill Seb?

Are Julia and Penny done for good?

Who is Fogg's daughter?

Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, no fear. You can watch The Magicians online right here at TV Fanatic.

Acting Dean Review

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Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7 Quotes

Margo: Yeah, no shit Fillory’s in trouble. Goes by the name of the Dark King.
Eliot: Or whoever’s ordering dark shit on his behalf. We’re still investigating.
Margo: Which we were kinda in the middle of until you dragged us here ‘cuz you were sure bacon mcswine flu was talking about the harmonic convergence.
Julia: Oops. We accidentally stopped billions of people from dying. I’m sorry.

Todd: Something, something Fillory, a most amazing land, but fucked by catastrophe, and way before we planned. La la blah blah Fillory, a land without a god. Needs a brand new hero, a strapping land named …
Julia: Todd, please stop. OK, I just want to get this straight: So pig man gave you the quest in the form of a song?
Todd: Yeah. I might have changed some of lines, but that’s the gist. There’s also like three more verses, and the key change is tricky.
Julia: Or you could just write it down.
Todd: Oh, I did. The parts I could remember anyway on a couple of napkins, and then on the back of my hand. But don’t worry, I transferred that to another napkin. But short version: Fillory is in real trouble. He said death is coming for everyone, and then he rhymed that with smeveryone. Anyway, could you please help me?
Julia: I’m not going to help you; I’m going to take over entirely for you.
Todd: Oh thank god because I am dangerously underqualified for this.
Julia: I know.