‘The Magicians’: Peaches and plums are my discipline

The Magicians
“Escape from the Happy Place”
February 20, 2019

“You should know your friend Eliot is dead.”

There’s a persistent knocking at the door of the Physical Kids’ cottage. Eliot would rather not answer it.  He and his signature cocktail walk away from Todd and join the party that wasn’t happening just a moment ago.

He and Margo canoodle while the knocking continues.  He tells her not to get it.  If they’re that desperate to get in, they can’t be fun.

Another blink and Eliot and Margo are alone in the cottage, enjoying the beautiful nothing of summer. The knocking continues. Margo tells him to make her a drink and Eliot rejoins Todd by the bar. 

Eliot introduces himself.  Todd laughs and says Eliot is his name, too.

Not anymore.


“I was worried.  You weren’t at the bare-breasted lament.”

High King Margo tells Fen that her boobs can lament covered just fine, thanks. News has spread of Eliot’s death and the Fillorian rituals are being observed. The carpenters are building the Altar of Remembrance.  The royal sheep choir is making ready to sing the Bleats of Despair.  Fen is in the middle of the Last Lay—laying in her marital bed buried in the garments of her deceased love.

Fen asks Margo if she’s cried yet for Eliot.  Fen’s first cry as a widow lasted two hours. Margo says she can’t cry out all the sadness.  Ever.  Because if she starts, she’ll never stop.  She’d be useless forever and someone has to rule the kingdom.

“And I will be goddamned if I drop the ball because I was too busy lamenting with my tits out.”


The knocking is now an insistent pounding.  Eliot tells Todd to never answer a cop knock.  Margo’s curiosity wants to know who it is.  She answers and is promptly snatched through the door by an unseen assailant.  

Eliot chases after her, exiting onto the Brakebills quad.  He follows her scream and finds Margo choking out the be-doubletted man who grabbed her.  Now that the man has Eliot’s attention, he pleads with him to go back inside.  They’re coming!

Sitting in a diner, the Monster asks Quentin if he’s done being sad now?

When they’re safely back inside the cottage, doublet guy—Charlton—explains that a monster has possessed Eliot’s body and confined his mind to this little corner of remembrances.  Charlton though is not a memory.  He says he was once possessed by the Monster, too.

Eliot remembers why Charlton looks so familiar.  “I’m pretty sure I shot you.”


Charlton doesn’t hold a grudge.  He says his body was the Monster’s longer than it was his.  And he’s been enjoying the change of scenery. The cottage is Eliot’s happy place.  It’s easy to become contented and lose track of time.  And reality.

Eliot thinks this is a jail break, but Charlton says no, they’re staying in the cottage.  It’s the only place that the scary, shrieky things that live outside can’t come. To confront the creatures is to die with your flesh rent from your bones and your own face staring back at you.

Eliot thinks that sounds terrible! Now, what was Charlton saying about a door?

With the true endings of their books shielded from the Library, Alice keeps up her end of the bargain with Christopher Plover. She holds the atlas, following the map to the fountain that leads to Plover’s world.

Plover suggests she should use the World Book to find her place, but Alice insists she’s going back to New York and her friends.  He dismissively calls it a redemption arc. Plover tells Alice it’s fine to apologize for what she’s done, but never for who she is.

“You’ll never to able to change that, so why pretend?”

Alice’s expression goes hard. She holds her hand over the book and moves the blinking beacon to another fountain.  When they arrive, Plover is taken aback that the fountain is locked—he’s never seen that before.  Alice chides him for not trusting the book.  She unlocks the fountain and throws down a rope, in case he changes his mind and wants to climb back up.

Plover says his goodbyes.  He hopes wherever Alice goes is where she’s supposed to be.  Alice is like, backatcha.  Plover steps into the fountain and disappears.

Alice untethers the rope. It hisses at it slides across the ground and splashes into the water.

Charlton reluctantly admits that there’s a door hidden in a forgotten remembrance.  It’s not part of the memory; it’s just there.  The memory Eliot wants is hidden well in the place he thinks of least because it’s so terrible.

What could be so terrible about Eliot’s most repressed and traumatic memory?

Eliot takes Charlton to the day he first used magic.  The day middle school Eliot magically killed his bully tormentor with a bus.  Eliot says it was the day he himself replaced Logan Kinnear as the worst person in his life.

Charlton observes that it’s not all bad.  Eliot has a friend to comfort him.  His only childhood friend, Taylor.

Eliot leads Charlton into the school gym where a gang of boys is beating up Taylor.  The coach blows the whistle and calls them off.  He says Taylor has gotten the point.  The group peels off, but Eliot turns back and gives his friend one final kick to the gut.

“Hating myself for who I am is one thing, but to hurt somebody else …”

A growl echos through the gym, but still there’s no door.  The coach reenters and tries to shoo away the bird-faced nightmare creatures with razor-sharp talons.  They tear him to shreds while Eliot and Charlton flee.

Shoshanna is fully on board the Julia belief train and doesn’t need any help running the diagnostic rituals, PENJAMIN 23.  He leaves them alone and goes to a park to sulk.  A man joins Penny on the bench and jams a syringe into his neck.


Shoshanna asks Julia if she has any magical wards or cloaks as they could be causing interference.  Julia is like yeah, only a massive anti-evil bitch cloaking spell that absolutely should not be removed.

“ … Ohhhh, crap.”

It’s cool!  It’s cool!  Shoshanna only needs 30 seconds to restore it.  Iris the Goddess only needs 10 to locate Julia and tell her she’s going to help trap the Monster that’s hunting her.  Julia agrees—if Iris tells her what she is.  She’s not a human … not a god …

Iris tells Julia she’s the worst parts of both.  Helpless and immortal. Iris hands Julia a living stone.  She says its blood keeps the Monster from traveling. Blackspire is made of thousands of living stones.  That’s why it’s the perfect prison … unless of course, someone opens the door.

All Julia has to do is bleed the stone and dump its blood on the Monster.  Iris will do the rest.

Don’t screw it up.

Quentin is slowly and painfully bleeding the stone,




Alice arrives at the penthouse to a frosty reception.  She explains that she was locked up in the Library, but escaped and changed all of their books.  But she read Quentin’s book and he dies in two days.

He doesn’t believe her.

This is going to be harder than Alice though, what with the whole having zero credibility with Q thing. She says he’s bleeding a living stone, right?  He’s going to spend two days bleeding it, and when he finally douses the Monster, the Monster kills him.  She tells him to forget the plan and run now.

Quentin won’t put Julia’s life at risk to save his own.  He suggests thwarting the book by bleeding the stone faster.  If Alice would care to help in that effort he will reluctantly let her in.

She turns the tap on the stone, saying it should only take a few minutes to drain.  Quentin is like, cool, so we’ll trap the Monster today, deathly fate averted.


Alice says she should come, in case something from the book starts to happen.  Quentin snaps that he’s about to kill his friend.  It’s a monster, he knows, but a monster with Eliot’s face and eyes and he just doesn’t have space for their relationship drama right now.


In a choked voice, Alice recites how Quentin will die.  She spits that she didn’t come there to make up with him; she came there to save his life.  She’s just trying to figure out how to fix the mountain of shit she’s created.

Quentin says it’s going to take a lot more than just his life.

Alice reveals that she sent Christopher Plover to the Poison World.  She thinks that should score her some points.  Quentin is like, pedophile notwithstanding, confessing to murdering my favorite children’s book author puts you in the plus column, how?

On the edge of breaking down, Alice says she’s trying.  She is always trying.  So if he has some recipe for perfect redemption, please tell her.  She picks up the atlas and tells him there’s a spell that will tell her where she’s supposed to go.  If he lets her come to the park and then does the spell with her, she will go to that place and stay there for good.  

Wherever it says.  She promises.

Just please let her help him.

Julia is in the Brakebills library with the Monster and Shoshanna. When he focuses his power on Bacchus’s body rock, symbols appear on its surface. Julia is keeping the Monster away from the penthouse under the guise of helping him learn what the symbols mean.

The Monster is bored but compliant.  And then Shoshanna finds what they’re looking for.  Julia is like, NO WE FOUND SOMETHING BUT IT’S THE WRONG SOMETHING ISN’T THAT RIGHT, SHOSHANNA.  IT’S THE WRONG RIGHT THING.

The Monster finds this game very confusing.

Eliot has compiled a list of terrible, traumatic memories on a chalkboard.  Charlton says there are too many.  Eliot says if he cuts it down anymore they’re chopping bone.

The list includes:

  • mom walked in
    • (jerk off)
    • (sex)
  • unintentionally coming out to pastor
  • dog incident
  • drunken house climbing incident
  • caught stealing cash from dad
  • babysitting mishap
  • created generation of lushes
  • brakebills south (all of it)
  • car accident (2010)
  • sleeping with people’s boyfriends
    • javier
    • quentin
    • brett
    • spencer
    • aaron
    • artuno
  • diving board incident
  • slacking HS group project
  • first swim lesson
  • dog incident #2
  • dad’s heart attack
  • camping
  • 7th grade
  • smoking PCP
  • forgetting lines during Crucible show
  • first time drunk
  • creed concert
  • second sobriety attempt
  • jailing margo
  • freshman football tryouts
  • waiting for appendectomy
  • first strip tease (given)
  • failure to rise #1
  • failure to rise #2
  • haircut 2005
  • haircut 2007
  • making bathsalts
  • trying bathsalts (whyyyy??)
  • nearly got everyone killed

Charlton frets that none of the memories hide the door and any one of them could hold a creature waiting to kill them.  He wants to stay in the happy place, but Eliot is resolved.  He has to let his friends know he’s still alive.

“We have to go back.”

jack man cry 1

“Whatever you say, Jack Sheppard.”

Eliot watched all of LOST one week over Christmas. Charlton says he stayed in that memory for a while.

“What did you think of the finale?”

Eliot snaps at Charlton to stay on task.  Also, confidential to my Tubular LOST chat friends, “WHO’S CHRISTIAN?”

They have the memories, now they need a way to stay alive in them. Charlton says the large man in the short pants was quite helpful. 


Eliot knows what they need.  He introduces Charlton to his memories of Quentin, from the time he convinced Q to fight Penny; Fen, who was ready to fight pirates at a moment’s notice; and Margo, the welter’s captain.

“No force in Heaven or on Earth is more terrifying.”

They work through the list starting with the embarrassments minora—like the worst haircut of Eliot’s life—and moving on to the darker stuff, like creating a generation of lushes and betraying his friends, both by accident and on purpose, but still no door.

The creatures attack before they can move on to the daddy issues and dicks.  Eliot, Quentin, and Charlton make it back to the cottage.  While Charlton applies pressure to the slowly seeping wound in his side, Eliot asks in what memory his door was.

Charlton says it was the day he left home.  It’s terrible because he left home.  The door appeared when he was confronted with what he fears most.  Memory!Q says that’s great!  Eliot just has to figure out what he fears most, Quentin will create a distraction, and he can go there. Eliot says he knows Quentin is just a memory, but he’s a very generous one. Quentin shrugs as though his motivation should be evident.

“You sacrifice for the people you love.”

“ … Oh, shit.”

Eliot swallows hard.  The look that passes over his face is just *chef’s kiss*. Kudos to Hale Appleman.  He tells Quentin to lead the creatures to his puberty.  “Go bravely.”  Quentin scurries off.

Eliot knows where he needs to go.  

“Did it happen?”

“Fifty years.”

“It happened.”

Eliot returns to the memory of what happened after the Season 3 episode that took my breath away.  The memory of he and Quentin marveling at how beautiful their life in Fillory was. 

Now!Eliot holds his breath for what he knows is coming next.

Quentin says it sounds dumb, but … they work.  They know it, because they’ve lived it.  

“Who gets that kind of proof of concept?”

What if … what if they gave it a shot?   

Now!Eliot watches in shame as his past self rejects Quentin.  

“That’s not me and that’s definitely not you.  Not when we have a choice.”

Past!Quentin softly apologizes and crawls back into himself.  Eliot snaps at his past self.  What the hell is wrong with him?!  What the hell is he doing?

“You knew.  You knew this was a moment that truly mattered and you just snuffed it out.”

Now!Eliot apologizes to Quentin.  He’s sorry.  He says he was afraid, and when he’s afraid, he runs away.  Eliot kneels down in front of Quentin, takes Q’s face in his hands, and kisses him like this is a moment that matters.

mariah crying clapping

“If I ever get out of here, Q, know that when I’m braver, it’s because I learned it from you.”

With a squealing creak, a wooden door appears on the dias behind Quentin. Eliot steps through.  When he comes out, he’s standing in a park in front of Q.  He smiles and laughs. He did it.  He tells Quentin it’s him.  It’s Eliot.  Quentin thinks it’s another of the Monster’s games.

“Fifty years. Who gets proof of concept like that?”

Eliot lightly punches Quentin in the shoulder.  “Peaches and plums, motherfucker.”

“I’m alive in here.”

jojo crying bachelorette

Quentin shoves Eliot aside just as the Monster regains control.  The stone’s blood Alice has just thrown at him splashes harmlessly onto Q.  The Monster blinks away.  Iris appears in his place.  And girl is piiiiiiiiissed.

Iris slashes the air in front of her with her arm.  There’s the sound of a metal *snick*. Shoshanna throws herself in front of Julia, taking the killing blow.  The Monster reappears before Iris can strike again. He tells her he’d like it back now and then shoves his fist through her back and yanks the stone from her body.


The Monster isn’t … quite … sure … what they just did, but he’s convinced when Julia pulls a folded piece of paper from her pocket. It’s the page Shoshanna found in the Brakebills library that Julia tore out of the book.  She says they didn’t want to show the Monster until he had Iris’ piece, but here it is!

And according to the book, all those organs are building blocks, trying to piece together a body.  Is it his?


Safely back at the penthouse.  Quentin and Alice stand in the kitchen with the atlas on the counter between them.  Julia walks in with takeout. She flips Alice the bird and silently walks away.

Quentin thanks Alice for saving his life—and Eliot’s—but says she could save his life 50 times and it wouldn’t change anything between them.

“I loved you.  But you couldn’t trust that.  It’s done.  Goodbye, Alice.”

The Magicians airs Wednesday at 9/8 p.m. on SyFy.

Whitney also watches Supernatural and Legacies.  Follow her on Twitter @Watcher_Whitney.

4 thoughts on “‘The Magicians’: Peaches and plums are my discipline

  1. My stone heart thaws a little with every Qu-Elliot storyline. I love that they didn’t just bottle episode ‘A Life in the Day’ but really showed that the development there stuck and has ripples in the main world.

    1. Also, Whitney, bonus points for however long you had to keep your screen on pause to capture the chalkboard list.

    2. I ship them so hard now. And yes, so pleased that not only did Show revisit “A Life in a Day”, but did so in such a compelling way that both informed the episode and, really, the whole season.

      Also, during the most recent time travel episode I may have yelled at my TV that Quentin and Alice can’t reconcile because Queliot. But then again, polyamory worked for them in Fillory!

      Thanks for commenting!

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