‘The Magicians’: Oops is my discipline

The Magicians
“A Timeline and Place”
February 27, 2019

“It can’t get much worse.”

Julia pushes back on Quentin’s plan to help the Monster rebuild his body in order to get Eliot back. She thinks the potential risk of collateral damage is too great. Quentin confidently says they’ve taken down gods before.

“And we end up losing every time.”

Quentin simply says it’s Eliot. Julia accedes but says they will continue working out their next move.  She tries to remember any of the hieroglyphs from the page she gave the Monster.  One stands out to her—a glyph that looks like a yellow fruit.

Later that night Julia and Quentin sneak into a storage area at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  They look for anything among the Egyptian artifacts that might lead them in the right direction.  The Monster appears, startling Quentin. He knocks over an amphora that shatters on the floor.

Because, haha, Quentin breaks things.


Julia asks the Monster if he’s drunk.  He says this body hearts tequila. When he’s happy.  When he’s sad. When he bored because everything is taking to long, tequila is his friend. Quentin asks him if he knows anything about an Egyptian god of yellow fruit. The Monster suggests asking someone who was there.

He claps his hand on a sarcophagus.  It begins violently shaking and rattling.

The mummy that emerges is happy to help. He writes out what he knows on the glass surface of an exhibit case. Quentin observes that for having such desiccated hands, his hieratic script is amazing.  Q translates that the yellow fruit is a mandrake root and they are looking for Heka, the god of magic and medicine.  He has one of the Monster’s organ stones.  Or he did, until his tomb at the Temple of Esna was looted.

The Monster tells them to figure it out.  This body is craving a cinnamon churro.

He leaves Quentin and Julia standing with the mummy in awkward silence … and then they just sort of shuffle away.


The Monster returns to the penthouse later that night looking for drugs.  He’s bored and vexed that Quentin cares about Eliot so much.  Quentin tells the Monster that if he kills Eliot, they’re done.  Q will abandon the Monster and will die trying to burn him to the ground.  

Eliot refuses to back down, even with the Monster’s hands wrapped around his throat. Finally, the Monster decides that building his body isn’t a game he wants to play alone.  He says he’ll take better care of the meatsuit … Quentin doesn’t have to be such a baby about it.


Penny 23 wakes up in a cage warded to keep him from traveling.  Marina 23 is in the cage next to him. She tells him that, after he was jumped in the park, he was sold for $500 and a mint condition Alpha Black Lotus.

They’ve been purchased by a legendary horomancer, Stoppard Kikuno, a master of time magic.  He doesn’t want to hurt them—or to have sex with them, but good looking out Marina. He just wants them to go back to their timeline where they belong.

He says it’s nothing personal.  They’re creating a frequency dissonance and it’s messing with his magic, hosing every spell he casts.  He tried adjusting, but that didn’t work, so.  He plunks a Dewey in his magic time turner box, fires it up, and—in a blink—returns them to Timeline 23.

A timeline that doesn’t have magic.


Penny travels out of his cage and clocks Stoppard in the face, knocking him out cold. Marina asks if he’s going to let her out and Penny is like, why?  “You’re a psychopath.”  Yes, but she knows how to use the time turner, so.  Penny says she’s also a compulsive liar, but on the off chance she’s telling the truth, he lets her out.

Marina doesn’t send them to some cracked-out in-between space; she does send them to a timeline under martial law where magic is prohibited by law.  The vibe is very 1984.  It’s the Crucible Timeline.

“You should learn to trust your instincts about people.”

kim rhobh oops

As brutal as this world seems, Marina is more concerned about getting back to 40 in time for her girlfriend’s birthday. Yes, she says, there is actually someone she gives a shit about and she’d like to not lose her this time.

Marina tells Penny that she messed things up with Girlfriend 23, but she found her again in Timeline 40.  Now that Marina knows what she will and won’t put up things are going so much better!

Penny calls her a sociopath, but Marina hand waves that as refugees they deserve any and all advantages that come their way.  Like for instance, asking the Stoppard in this timeline for help.  This Stoppard has no beef with them, so!

They find Stoppard and stay long enough for Marina to steal one of his mother Sonya’s notebooks and mess with the magic that’s keeping her alive.  The horomancy spells that Sonya pioneered require cinnabar.  Marina says the banned mineral causes severe neuro-degeneration. She calls it clockwork Alzheimers, but so much worse.

They made it so much worse.  


Penny realizes this is why Stoppard came after them in Timeline 40.  And even if they can get back there, Stoppard will do anything to kick them out again. Marina blandly says they can just kill him.

“For … trying to save his mom??”

Penny takes a hard pass.  When opening a window into time to try and warn Sonya against pursuing her discipline doesn’t work, Penny floats the idea of staying in the Crucible Timeline.  He says Stoppard shouldn’t be the one to suffer.  He and Marina are the ones who don’t belong.  

Marina is like, cool plan, but she’s going back to 40 and her future wife. Penny gets to the time turner first and flashes away to another timeline, leaving Marina behind a world where a bunch of militant Muggles beat her to burning down Brakebills.  

Penny 23 lands in an austere white liminal space.  Bare walls. Two chairs.  A low table.  A small lamp. The door opens and Penny 40 joins him. He can’t imagine the fuckery that brought his other self here, but 

“Let’s take advantage.”

40 consults a small instruction manual and then tucks it back inside his coat pocket. He tells 23 he has to go back—to Timeline 40.  It’s where he belongs.

It’s complicated but crucial.  Bigger things are at play.

23 says Kady wants 40.  They all want 40.

“It’s not my timeline anymore.  It’s yours.”

40 shoves the time box into 23’s hands.  He tells him to remember, when the moment comes, that 40 said, “Do it.” 

Tell Kady he loves her.  And he’s sorry.

23 collects Marina and they return to Timeline 40.  He waits for Stoppard to find his way back. Penny says he knows Stoppard is just looking out for his mom, but bigger things are at play here.  23 isn’t going anywhere. 

Penny is holding a dandelion from another timeline. Stoppard pleads with him not to blow on it.  Not to spread seeds everywhere that will root in this timeline making it impossible for Stoppard to clean.

Which is why Penny scattered 10 of them an hour ago.

whoops oops rupaul drag race

The World Book sends Alice to Modesto, California where she rents a room from Camryn Manheim.  And as Alice soon discovers, Camryn Manheim—Sheila—is a magician.  Alice identifies her specialty as queromancy. Sheila tells Alice it started a few months ago and calls it the best thing that ever happened to her. 

Alice has a hard time identifying with that feeling.

She tells Sheila that knowing more isn’t better.  She says magic makes all of your normal stupid shit so much bigger and so much worse.  Sheila knows the regret that Alice lives with because she lives it, too.  She pleads with Alice to help her use her magic to turn things around and maybe do something good.

Sheila’s unwillingness to break her late mother’s rules just because she’s gone convince Alice that Sheila can make good choices.  She agrees to help.

Alice guides Sheila through some basic spellwork, but she still has reservations.  She admits that she’s worried by how into the magic Sheila is.  She says that Sheila thinks magic can fix everything … but it also has a way of breaking things.  Alice says she sometimes thinks everything that’s gone wrong in her life is because of magic.

Sheila tells Alice the same could be said for alcohol, drugs, or money, but none of it is good or bad.  It just is.  It’s all in how you handle it.  Alice pours herself a glass of water and Sheila warns her away from the tap.  There’s lead in the tap water; drink the bottled in the fridge.

Alice does a simple spell to purify the water in her glass.  She says there’s another spell that would fix all the corroded pipes in Modesto, but it’s too big.  There’s not enough ambient magic.  Sheila tells Alice that she can feel one of the Library’s magic pipes.  She says this is one is different.  This one has a leak.

They find the pipe tucked in next to all the usual municipal meters outside a day spa. Alice widens the crack.  With a pop and a hiss, magic begins flowing out.  Sheila’s eyes roll back in her head.  Oh, that is some good shit.

Alice guides Sheila through casting the spell to clean the pipes.  It’s the first time in a long time that Alice has been able to see magic as something other than a problem. 

And then two hedge witches use the magic to blow up a Library.


“Allergies are why my birthright lizard ain’t saying shit?”

In Fillory, High King Margo is dealing with a crisis brought on by the seasonal muteness of the talking animals. Tick and Fen reassure her that there is a remedy—the juice from a beet that grows on Codswall, one of the smaller Fingerling Isles.


There’s just one small, minute, trivial, infinitesimal problem. The ruler of Codswall, Lady Pyke, is known to be … … difficult.  Margo asks if Tick is trying to say Lady Pyke is a bitch?  

“Good thing I’m not one at all, then.”

Fen joins Margo as she negotiates with Lady Pyke over tea.  It does not go well.  Lady Pyke says she’s selling to West Loria.  Margo’s counteroffer is to fuck you firebomb the island and take the beets.  Tick suggests being a tad less incendiary. Fen agrees and innocently asks what Eliot would do. 

The barely contained rage and grief radiating off Margo is a thing to behold.  Summer Bishil, y’all.  She growls at Fen that Eliot isn’t here. 

She is.

Margo dismisses Fen and Tick, but Josh hangs back to persuade her to give diplomacy a try. She says she doesn’t know how to intentionally care about other people’s shit. Josh brightly tells her that that’s all he does!  

The High King tries again with a formal, but intimate state dinner.  Josh guides Margo via a cunning lapis and gold earwig.  He says the meal isn’t just food.  You can tell a lot about people based on what they eat.  Are they reserved or adventurous?  Maybe sexy and decadent like a truffled lobster mac and cheese.

Lady Pyke reached for the mongoose cream egg with caviar.  Josh calls it interesting.  He says she’s bold.  Proud of her accomplishments, but being so driven has led her to be lonely and misunderstood.  Josh prompts Margo to ask about Codswall’s polite alpacas.  It’s a topic about which Lady Pyke is passionate.

“There it is.  She’s real into her ‘pacas.”

It provides Margo the opening she needs to discuss her talking animal constituency.  And that is why they’re here tonight, right?  The animals that Margo just cares so damn much about?

Lady Pyke says she likes to drink her tea with a splash of alpaca milk. And by splash, she means chunky plop.  Margo and I both throw up a little bit in our mouths.  Lady Pyke offers the small container of milk to the High King.

“It’s straight from my dearest Delilah’s teat.”

Josh coaches Margo that she can’t refuse. She makes a show of pouring the chunks into her teacup.  Josh tells her to do it.  Do it now!  Margo chokes down a sip of tea.  She says you can really taste the love.

Lady Pyke admits that she may have misjudged the High King.  Unfortunately, she’s already agreed to sell her beets to West Loria.  Being a woman of her word, Lady Pyke can’t go back.  Margo understands, right?

“I’m about to skin a bitch.”

Josh tells Margo to double down on the charm offensive. He says Lady Pyke is eating out of Margo’s extra diplomatic hands right now. She’s willing to be persuaded and basks in Josh’s praise.  She’s got this!  He tells her she’s out-Elioting Eliot.

Margo freezes.  Josh is too caught up in the moment of her winning at High Kinging to see her expression harden and the light go out behind her eyes.

Margo rejoins her guest, slams a carving knife into the table, and tell Lady Pyke how it’s going to be. She’s going to give Margo the beets, and in return, Margo won’t skin and eat any of Lady Pyke’s tasty alpaca children.  


When Margo runs out of things to break in her bedroom, she goes for Josh. He apologizes for not realizing how his Eliot comment hurt her. But why should he?  Margo says he doesn’t know her.  Because if he did, he would know she doesn’t need a new partner in crime. She calls Josh a brown-nosed sweater boy desperate to matter at all.  To anyone.

Josh absorbs the body blow and refuses to hit back in kind. He tells Margo he thought he was being a friend who wants to be her boyfriend.  Margo blinks back the tears that godammit she will not let fall and tries to take it back. She didn’t mean to hurt him?  Josh says yes, she did.  Because believe it or not, he knows exactly who she is.

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

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

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