The Magicians
The dramatic Eliot Waugh (Hale Appleman) mourns this death more than any other character. (Illustration by Alice Xinhe Yuan, Maryland Institute College of Art)
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The Magicians

How will the remaining characters deal with the shocking twist from last season?

The long-awaited Season 5 of “The Magicians” is finally around the corner. Season 4 ended on a brutal twist, one that amplified the stakes more than fans have ever seen before. Kind of crazy to think that this show started out like a grad school version of Harry Potter. 

When we first met the characters, they were learning magic for the first time, building relationships and struggling with family issues. Oh, how silly all those things seem after they’ve saved the world — multiple times. Each character has had their crucial roles and critical moments, and fans have seen each character gain importance in the show. As one of the episodes in Season 4 explained, “The Magicians” is no longer just about Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph). Now, it’s about everyone.

Killing off a main character is a bold move, especially in a season finale and especially when he was the show’s original lead. The writers felt that Quentin’s storyline was finished; I disagree, but I look forward to seeing how each of his friends cope with his death.  

Both Alice Quinn (Olivia Taylor Dudley) and Eliot Waugh (Hale Appleman) were in love with Quentin. Julia Wicker (Stella Maeve) had been Quentin’s best friend for almost her entire life. These three were hit the hardest with Quentin’s death and, based on the Season 5 trailer, are going to fight the hardest to make sure his death wasn’t in vain. The trailer shows Alice and Eliot spending time together, bonding in the midst of tragedy. This was a duo that rarely hung out, that barely got along; new alliances can be forged in times of change, I suppose. Alice and Eliot are looking to honor Quentin. As the narration in the trailer says, “The best way to honor someone is with the truth of them.” Who knows what the truth of Quentin could be? 

Julia, on the other hand, has taken up her own quest: going out with Penny Adiyod (Arjun Gupta), the man who’s in love with her. She seems to be working closely with Penny and her old dean, Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy), to figure out how to restore the magical levels that got messed up in the recent finale. The level of magic in the air has increased massively, causing even the simplest of spells to be powerful. Each and every spell is amplified to dangerous magnitudes.  

This magic crisis impacts all magicians, but especially the hedge witches — witches without any formal training. Brakebills, the university for magicians, and the Library, who control and know everything, hate hedge witches. They believe them to be too rowdy and not talented enough to receive formal training. They’ve been neglected, but Kady Orloff-Diaz (Jade Tailor) has dedicated her life to fighting for them. Their lives are especially in danger now. 

At the very end of the episode, viewers see Margo Hanson (Summer Bishil), who used to be high king, return to Fillory — the magical realm from Quentin’s favorite childhood series that turns out to be very real — with Eliot, who was high king before she was. We learn that Fen (Brittany Curran), Eliot’s wife and acting high king at the time Margo left, had been overthrown 300 years ago, despite no time having passed on Earth. Based on the trailer, Margo is willing to fight back for her crown, though it won’t be easy.  

When she left Fillory, she and Fen were on good terms, yet the trailer shows her fighting Fen while Josh Hoberman (Trevor Einhorn), her boyfriend, watches on disappointedly. The eternal peacemaker, Josh is friends with both girls — if this show actually was Harry Potter, he’d totally be in Hufflepuff — so naturally he would hate seeing his friends fight.

The trailer doesn’t make a cohesive, connecting narrative between all of these different storylines, but “The Magicians” always finds a way to make it connect. Though a trailer with many exciting clips is interesting, it’s very challenging to pull a coherent story line from it. The narration sounds like a British man, which would suggest that it’s Christopher Plover (Charles Shaughnessy), the pedophile author of the Fillory books, whom the gang hates.

Yes, he was helpful in Season 4, but are we really going to give him a redemption arc? If “The Magicians” killed off a bisexual character who struggled with mental illness by having him commit suicide just to give an exciting arc to Christopher Plover, then I will be severely disappointed.

The clips also feature group shots, with groups of people that don’t seem to be connected. In one scene, Alice is working with Julia, but in another she’s on a quest with Eliot. Margo is in Fillory for most of the trailer, but she is shown with Eliot, Josh, Fen and even those pesky fairies that took her eye. Josh is dating Margo, shown in a passionate kiss with her, but is also fighting side-by-side with Fen, the same Fen that Margo battled earlier in the trailer.

I really don’t know what to expect from Season 5. I expected the Library to play a huge role, especially after the finale, but there was only a tiny clip of Zelda Schiff (Mageina Tovah) in the trailer. I know that she hoped Alice would run the Library — not like there are a ton of options after the Beast took out almost every single librarian — but Alice is clearly preoccupied right now. The Library has always been the biggest advocate for control, so why are the librarians not a focus when control is needed the most?

My hopes for this season are all over the place. I hope that Alice is going to be okay mentally, because she’s always been the least stable and the most reliant on Quentin. I hope that Margo can become high king again, with both her boyfriend and her best friend at her side. Fen was a minor part in the trailer, but she’s grown so much as a character throughout the show, and I want to see more of that growth. Most of all, I want Julia, Penny, Kady or Dean Fogg to figure out how to fix the magic problem. I mean, I’d like anyone to fix it but it’s probably going to be one of these four.

“The Magicians” is never predictable, so who knows what will happen in Season 5? Only one way to find out I guess: by watching. Season 5 premieres on Jan. 15 on SyFy, and I can’t wait to see it.

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