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“The Magicians” 1.10 Review: An Awkward “Homecoming”

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On The Magicians, home is the place where, when you have to go there, you could walk in on your parents having a Roman-themed sex party. In this week’s episode, titled “Homecoming,” Quentin and Alice pay an impromptu visit to Alice’s childhood home, where they meet her quirky, polyamorous parents. Meanwhile, Penny finds himself trapped in a place called the Neitherlands, a dimension-between-dimensions, Julia and Kady have an uncomfortable reunion, and Eliot and Margot come face-to-face with Margot’s life-draining golem. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg in regard to this episode’s supernatural delights!

As a whole, “Homecoming” was another stellar example of how well this show manages multiple storylines. The episode’s director, Joshua Butler, did an excellent job ensuring that each narrative received the attention that it deserved, which made the episode feel balanced as well as cohesive. Moreover, “Homecoming” continued the show’s trend of using fantasy in order to dive into real life issues. Part of the reason this episode worked so well was because it shined a light on each character’s non-magical problems and allowed them opportunities to grow.

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Let’s start with Penny, since his plight is kind of the focal point of the entire episode. After touching that button (against Quentin’s advice, I might add), Penny is transported to a mysterious place called the Neitherlands, which is a dimension-port, so to speak. Within the Neitherlands is an intricate system of fountains, and each fountain leads to different world. Unfortunately for Penny, finding the Earth fountain is like trying to find a needle in a haystack—and it doesn’t help that there is a band of surly Travelers lurking around every corner, ready to jump anyone who crosses their path.

Suffice it to say that Penny is in a pickle, and his only hope of escape is Quentin. I found it curious that, out of all the people who Penny could have reached out to for help—Alice, Margot, Eliot—he chose Quentin, with whom he has a less-than-friendly relationship. I also found it interesting that Quentin would even agree to help Penny after the way Penny has treated him. It goes to show how far Quentin and Penny have come since their first encounter. Will they ever become friends? I doubt it. They are too different, and this episode made it clear that Penny will still seize any chance to tease and mock Quentin about his “fanboy ways”. But I think they are starting to trust and respect each other, which is an important step on the road to a healthier relationship.

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Anyway, Penny ends up running into an effervescent librarian, who is happy to give him the information that he needs to find the Earth fountain. In the future, I hope that we get a chance to learn more about these libraries because I feel like we didn’t get to spend enough time there, and I really wish that Penny could have gotten his hands on Martin Chatwin’s book because I want to know what happened to him. In the meantime, I guess we’ll have to be satisfied with the few pages that the librarian copied for Penny.

As it turns out, however, Penny doesn’t need those pages because Quentin and Alice successfully perform sex magic designed to light up the Earth fountain in the Neitherlands. Yes, you heard me right—sex magic, which brings me to the next major storyline in this episode: the one involving Quentin and Alice.

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After Penny gets in touch with Quentin via his dreams, Quentin, Alice, Eliot and Margot convene to come up with a plan to help him and Alice declares that she knows a Traveler that may know something about the Neitherlands. She takes Quentin to visit her parents, and in the process, we gain a heck of a lot of insight into why Alice is the way that she is. In addition, this occasion gives Quentin and Alice a chance to talk more openly than they ever have before about their sex life as well as their relationship. I was glad that Quentin helped ease Alice’s anxiety regarding his feelings for Julia, although I’m not sure I believe that he is completely over her (if he was, would he still be having sex dreams involving her?). I was also glad that Alice was honest about her shyness in the bedroom and agreed to be more vocal about what she wants from now on, especially since her doing so enabled the spell to be successful.

The other two storylines in this episode were detached from the main one but were no less important. Eliot and Margot discover that Margot’s ex-boyfriend used magic to create a golem made in her image and is draining her life force in the process. While they solve Margot’s problem with little difficulty, Eliot’s issues prove to be a much bigger challenge. He’s spiraling out of control as a result of what happened with Mike—which Hale Appleman does an exceptional job of portraying—and it’s starting to affect his relationship with others. By the end, it seems like he has reached a point where he is willing to talk about his feelings, which makes me optimistic about his future.

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The last storyline involves Julia and Kady, who haven’t given up magic after all. They are now members of an online group called Free Trader Beowulf—a development that happened off-screen—and Richard is using them to help him “shatter the magical glass ceiling” in order to rectify one of his past mistakes. He reveals that he is trying to summon a god, whom he can use as a magical siphon. My guess is that this isn’t going to end well and they are either going to summon an entity such as The Beast or something even nastier.

All in all, this episode provided its characters with many opportunities for emotional catharsis while still advancing the plot, and even threw in quite a few humorous moments for good measure. Some highlights: Quentin’s cosplay sex dream in which Alice is Daenerys Targaryen, Julia is Princess Leia and he is Indiana Jones, Alice’s father saying “You haven’t even touched your penis!” to Quentin and Eliot deeming the golem a “Margolem”. Furthermore, this episode introduced some new clues about The Beast and Martin Chatwin. Apparently, Martin did find a way into Fillory and figured out how to Travel—otherwise, why would the librarian give Penny pages from his book to help him find a way back? This leads me to believe that Martin may be The Beast, not Plover. But I could be wrong. Luckily, with the finale fast approaching, we won’t have to wait long to see if this theory is correct or not.

New episodes of The Magicians air on Mondays at 9:00 pm ET/PT on Syfy.

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