The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9 Review: Cello Squirrel Daffodil

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Well, you know what they say, 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.'

So, I guess it's shame on me for not seeing the latest plot twist coming.

Though not as surprising as Quentin's death, the most recent curveball is pretty shocking, so if you haven't watched The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9, you have been warned.

All plot points moving forward are considered spoilers, so read at your own peril.

Reunion - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9

Melodrama aside -- though it was slightly warranted -- Seb is really Rupert freaking Chatwin.

I'm metaphorically hitting myself on the head for not seeing that coming, especially after The Powers That Be heavily foreshadowed that reveal via Plum, formerly known as Merritt, just this episode.

Along with the foreshadowing, I forgot one of the key rules of television deaths: If you haven't seen the body, then you can never assume the character is dead.

Well, we never saw a dead Rupert Chatwin, just his gravestone. Rookie mistake.

Thoughtful Seb - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8

Also, this is a fantasy series, so we have to remember the dead don't always stay dead. 

The writing on the wall was there; we -- or at least I -- just missed it.

Of the three Chatwin children, Rupert was always the one viewers knew the least about. 

Margo: Wait, so you’re saying Martin tried and screwed up or whatever.
Plover: He was thwarted by someone heroic who knew what he could become. Martin’s own brother Rupert. Rupert Sebastian Chatwin.
Fen: Oh my gods. What a twist. You’re such a natural at this.
Plover: He realized that the only way to stop his brother was sacrifice, so he tied himself to the conduit before his brother could. When Martin discovered what had happened, he was furious. He couldn’t kill his own brother, but he could curse him with eternal sleep. All the people of Fillory thought he was dead.
Fen: What happened?
Plover: You happened. You brought surges of magic so huge you woke Rupert up, and he brought the Takers, and then when he held them at bay, the Fillorians in gratitude made him High King.
Fen: But why did he do all that?
Margo: Yeah. If he was so good why did he become so evil?
Plover: Because while he slumbered he lost the one thing he cared about: the man he loved.

Little tidbits about the character have been revealed here and there, but the most important bit of information -- though we didn't know it at the time -- was divulged on The Magicians Season 3 Episode 4.

That episode revealed Rupert was in love with his best friend Lance Morrison, who was tragically murdered by his father at Brakebills.

Seb smiling - The Magicians

At the time, it was just a tragic backstory that seemingly existed to further our heroes' quest to find the seven golden keys and bring back magic.

Now, it's the key, no pun intended, to everything.

All of Seb's efforts -- summoning the Takers, executing Fen and Josh, willingly standing by while his subjects are taken and killed -- have been in pursuit of resurrecting Lance.

Seb surprised - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9

How those actions translate into bringing the love of his life back from the dead, I'm not sure, but it's clear Seb means business.

This is a guy who's spent 300 years putting his plan into effect. If that doesn't say he's willing to do whatever it takes to bring back his beloved, then I'm not sure what does.

Seb: Is he all right?
Julia: What do you care?
Seb: It was never my intention to hurt him.
Julia: You think that matters. I lost someone too, and I loved him so much. I know the pain. It’s not an excuse to hurt people just because you want him back.
Seb: Maybe you didn’t love him as much as you think because you don’t understand. I have work to do.

There's no telling what the consequences will be for resurrecting Lance, but Seb doesn't care. 

All he wants is the love of his life back, and he's gone to great lengths to achieve his goals and seems to be on the cusp of attaining them.

Seb determined - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9

The only way to stop Seb seems to be to kill him, but as Plover revealed that can't be done without destroying Fillory.

Would our heroes be willing to destroy an entire world, all of its inhabitants included, thwart Seb?

I can't see that happening, which means there must be another way to stop Seb without razing the entire land.

Most of my theories for how that happens are extrapolated from the trilogy's final book "The Magician's Land."

Eliot battle magic - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9

In the last installment, the characters learn Fillory is dying.

Quentin and Alice end up traveling back to the beginning of Fillory, where Quentin sacrifices Ember and Umber to assume their power and rebuild the world.

So what if our heroes decide to "destroy" Fillory for long enough to kill Seb, but are then able to save it in a similar fashion.

Lance: Rupert, is that really you?
Julia: Lance?
Seb: Yes, yes, it’s me. Finally, you’re here. My love, my stars, my heart. I sound like a fool. You cannot know; do you know how much I missed you?
Lance: What took you so long?
Seb: Lance, I’ve been trying.
Lance: You left me.
Seb: No.
Lance: You abandoned me.
Seb: No. I needed to stop my brother.
Lance: And now I’m dead, and you can never die. It’s cold here. I’m so alone. Oh, I’d almost given up so many times.
Seb: No, for god’s speed, don’t. I will not break my promise to you, OK. I finally know what to do. We’ll be together soon, so soon.
Lance: How?
Seb: Just wait by the door.
Lance: I’ve tried. I can’t bust through it.
Seb: I know, but you will be able to soon. That’s why I reached out to you to tell you to wait by the door.
Lance: OK, OK. Rupert.
Seb: Listen to me. Wait by the door.

They can't sacrifice the twin ram gods in the present, but with the magical surges and enough cooperative magic, they may have enough power to rebuild the land.

Or, they also have the option to travel back to the beginning of Fillory -- thanks to thanks to Plum, but more on that later -- and use Ember and Umber's power to rebuild the land.

Quentin and Alice  - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 12

Another possibility involves the world seed.

At the end of the last book, Quentin and Alice create a new magical realm with the seed pod -- which seems to be synonymous with the world seed in the TV series -- and learn that the new world is connected to Fillory.

So what if the characters can figure out a way to stop all travel in and out of Fillory, which could prevent Seb from carrying out his plan.

Seb would have to be incapacitated somehow, but the creation of a new magical realm using the world seed could then create another way into Fillory.

Alice profile - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9

At this point, the former is more likely than the latter, seeing as Alice handed over the instruction manual for the world seed to the Couple.

I wasn't expecting the series to introduce the Couple so quickly, as I assumed the second half of this season would build to the reveal of the Couple, who would serve as the "Big Bad" for a possible sixth season.

Alice: You almost had me, just peanut butter and turkey sandwiches.
Zelda: I’m not following.
Alice: We’re in the Library where there’s glitches because of hedges, right? So why do these glitches keep happening during lunar intervals? Why are the Neitherlands affected by the earth’s moon? Makes no sense. Where am I really?
George: Earth, which you manage to figure out every motherfucking time.
Alice: What is this? Some sort of illusion.
George: Psychic spell. Basically, you’re in “The Matrix,” which means we’re still on earth, hence glitches.

However, with the recent announcement that The Magicians's fifth season will be its last, this sped up story arc makes more sense.

We still have no idea what the Couple wants to "grow" with the world seed, or if he/they/it even can at this point, as it's unclear if the world seed is in his/their/its possession.

George introduction - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9

Whatever the Couple wants to do with the world seed can't be good, and it looks like Alice, along with Kady, will spend the rest of the season series trying to stop the Couple.

If the pair are successful and can retrieve the world seed, then that could offer up the possibility of creating a new door to Fillory, if our heroes decide to go that route to stop Seb.

It's also possible Alice and Kady could grow the world seed into a new moon to fix circumstances on earth, something that wasn't a problem in the book series.

We can't be sure what route the series will take, but either option -- stopping Seb or fixing magic on earth -- has a sort of finality to it. 

Kady talking - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9

Both, in a way, right a wrong and stop a world from imploding, literally.

It could really just come down to whatever path our heroes choose in how they go about stopping Seb.

If they decide to temporarily "destroy" Fillory so they can kill Seb, then the world seed can be used to create a new moon and fix magic on earth.

Alice: Basic problem’s the same: We can’t fix magic on earth. We did some stuff to the moon, and she’s mad. She’s a …
Kady: Monumental cunt.
Alice: Evidently. So, she’s screwing up circumstances.
Kady: My Akkadian’s rusty, but I think this says we can win the moon’s favor if we …
Alice: Virgin sacrifice.
Kady: Oh, well that’s out.
Alice: Not to mention the method of death is pretty gross.

If they decide to seal the way into Fillory and dispatch Seb some other way, then the world seed can be used to create a new entrance.

It seems to be somewhat of an if-then-else statement, though it's possible the world seed could be used in an entirely different manner, such as creating a door for Penny and Plum to get back home.

Penny surprised - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9

Yes, Plum returned this episode after three weeks of being MIA, and her return brought nothing but trouble for Penny.

To be fair, she did acknowledge she could be cursed, and Penny chose not to believe her, so part of that could theoretically fall on him.

Either way, they're both stuck in some random room with no apparent way to get out.

The one thing we know about the room is it seems to be connected to the signal, so it seems we'll be getting some answers shortly.

Merritt returns - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9

The mystery of who or what the signal is and wants has been at the bottom of my priority list and only eclipses the mystery of who stole the missing book depository, which has since been asked and answered.

My hope is The Powers That Be find a way to resolve this quickly, like within an episode or two, so Penny can rejoin the group before the final battle.

Hyman: What am I doing? I came to Brakebills to learn. You know the lesson of my expulsion is clear as a creek: Maybe -- and I know this is crazy -- but maybe it is wrong to spy on people in the shower.
Penny: Well …
Hyman: I know. Then why did God give you the ability to spy on people in the shower?
Penny: Look, I can’t tell you how to live your life. Being a traveler can feel like a burden, yes, but not being a traveler, not being able to use your gift, it’s worse, believe me. There’s no harm in looking, right?
Hyman: You’re a good egg, Penbrooke.
Penny: Hey, before I forget, any idea how I can score some tickets to the women’s Welters match? It’s in an hour.
Hyman: Women’s Welters has a match tonight? That’s not on the schedule.
Penny: Oh, it’s a surprise match. They’re probably in the locker room right now.
Hyman: Uh-huh, I see. I am going to need to fix packing by myself. In private.

He also has more pressing matters to focus on, such as preparing for fatherhood, which could be any day now.

Despite the tedium of the signal subplot, watching Penny and Plum travel to different eras was fun.

1998 Fogg - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9

We got to see a pre-alcoholic Fogg and the return of Hyman, also known as the Pervert Ghost of Brakebills, before he died and was trapped on the astral plane.

Hyman, though, isn't technically dead, just suspended in stasis so that we could see more of him.

However, Hyman's no Charlton. While he does have some humorous one-liners and his incredulity about political correctness is amusing.

He was an acceptable stand-in for the episode, but Hyman still doesn't hold a candle to Charlton.

Penny Fights to Survive - The Magicians Season 3 Episode 4

Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't discuss my thoughts on the series ending.

According to Deadline, while The Powers That Be didn't know The Magicians Season 5 would be its last season, they wrote the season finale -- now the series finale -- with that knowledge in mind.

Margo: Hey, who the fuck are you?
Plover: Cello squirrel daffodil.
Margo: OK.
Fen: Uh Margo, what are you doing?
Margo: Life lesson Fen: There’s always a point where you can decide that’s not my problem.
Plover: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Margo: We have friends to save, a Dark King to re-kill. Hang with Mad Libs pedophile all you want. I’m going back to double-tap the motherfucker like he’s Osama, and I’m Seal Team Bitch.

Like the Seb reveal, the truth was right in front of us the entire time.

This season has included some key plot points from the last book, signaling the possible end of the series.

Eliot and Margo on a rock - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8

Also, almost no, if any, series on SYFY air for longer than five seasons.

The Magicians is, of course, in its fifth season, and alarm bells about its longevity should have been going off.

I love this series so much and don't want the show to end.

I get that there's a natural stopping point for all series, but I feel The Magicians still has so much more story left to tell.

Julia and Fen - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8

It's be a shame for the series to end now, especially since the show is the best its been in a few years.

Though controversial, killing off Quentin injected new life into the show, and it will be a dishonor to the fans to conclude the series now.

Plum: You’re telling me this guy whacks off to people he watches from the astral plane?
Penny: Yeah.
Plum: Do we really need his help?
Penny: Look, in a hundred years, he’s going to be a really nice guy.
Hyman: It just won’t feel like Othello until I’m in blackface.
Penny: OK, so he’s got a ways to go.

The only silver lining is fans will get closure, which is something we should be thankful for as not all fandoms have that opportunity. 

The series will hopefully reach a satisfying conclusion, one that will, if nothing else, be a proper good-bye.

Quentin crying - The Magicians

We may even get to see Quentin one last time before saying good-bye to The Magicians for good.

There's something to maybe look forward to.

Heck, it could be sooner rather than later, as if Seb's successful in resurrecting Lance, maybe the same can be said for Quentin.

Like I just mentioned, the dead don't always stay dead.

Quentin - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 13

Some stray thoughts:

  • It's always interesting, to say the least, whenever Plover appears. His return shed some much-needed light on the Seb situation and how to kill the Dark King, and the series even leaned into the exposition of it all by having Plover, a writer, be the one to enlighten Margo and Fen.

    He also got what was coming to him when he was reinfected by the tongue twisters, the most literal form of poetic justice I've ever seen. All in all, it was a satisfying sendoff for Plover, if that is indeed the last we see of him. 

  • We got a Kady sighting this episode, but Josh was, once again, MIA. Is it too much to ask that every character appears in every single episode, even if it's just in the background of a scene. There are only four episodes left, and each second is precious. I want to spend it with my favorite characters, not newly introduced one.

Zelda sitting - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9
  • Nothing can compare to the epicness of Eliot and Margo's friendship, but his and Julia's is cute and moving nonetheless. Julia's also one of the only people Eliot is vulnerable with, and their shared experiences and grief are a big part of that. 

    They've come so far from Julia being the "hedge bitch" that screwed everyone over by siding with the Beast to her asking Eliot to throw her a baby shower in a less "dungeon-y" timeline.

  • I know some of the fans are blaming creators John McNamara and Sera Gamble for the series ending, believing the decision to kill off Quentin was the beginning of the end.

    However, try to remember no, if any, series on SYFY has lasted longer than five seasons. Even if Quentin were still alive, there's a pretty good chance things would be ending just the same.

So what did you think The Magicians Fanatics?

Did you see the Seb twist coming?

How will our heroes stop Seb and save Fillory?

What are your feelings on the show ending?

Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you missed the latest episode, no worries. Remember you can watch The Magicians online at TV Fanatic.

Cello Squirrel Daffodil Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.

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The Magicians Season 5 Episode 9 Quotes

Fen: What happened to your eye?
Margo: I lent it to Josh.
Fen: What happened to his eye?
Margo: Nothing. He’s an idiot. He went back to worth Tick and Rafe before things go shit shaped.
Fen: OK, so why did you …
Margo: I’m worried, so I’m keeping an eye on him, OK.
Fen: Oh, it’s a pun. I get it because you gave him your eye.
Margo: Shut the fuck up Fen.

Margo: Jesus cock and balls, what’s keeping Julia now? We just murdered the god damn king back there; they should act like it.
Fen: Probably just Julia’s toe worms.