Nearly at the end of the season, we’ve reached episode 12: Ramifications, and what follows obviously contains some SPOILERS!
This episode sees a number of storylines coming to a conclusion, or to at least their final stages, while we start to see the beginnings of the next stage of where The Magicians goes from here. At the same time, we learn some nice backstory details, and various characters fully embrace their destinies.
In some regards this episode is one switching between light and dark quite often, with some serious emotional elements playing out, alongside much funnier moments; this is something that The Magicians does quite often, so not so much of a surprise, but for some reason it seemed quite pronounced to me this time; Quentin (Jason Ralph), for instance, is dealing with an angry Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), returned from being a Niffin, while at the same time is involved in some much more lighted hearted scenes with Umber (Nico Evers-Swindell).
These scenes are well handled and the bitterness and anger, mixed in with love and determination that goes back and forth between Alice and Q is palpable. Equally, Nico Evers-Swindell is fantastic as Umber, able to deliver both playful glee, as well as a stern forthright demeanour when called for; this extra insight to the creation of Fillory, as well as the amusing tangents he brings are a welcome addition to the depth of the show.
Eliot’s (Hale Appleman) storyline continues to be interesting, and even though we don’t delve too deeply into his mindset, Appleman does show Eliot struggling with being banished from what he now considers his home; truly, he has now fully committed to be the King. With Eliot’s absence from Fillory, the whole Josh storyline gives some light relief to the episode as well, but also manages to sensibly move the plot along into a scenario where the pieces can all fall into place. Sadly, with everything that’s happening, we don’t get much Margo (Summer Bishil) or Fen (Brittany Curran) and those characters are pretty much in a holding pattern.
The biggest denouement within all the various storylines happens with Kady (Jade Tailor) and Julia (Stella Maeve), and their pursuit of Reynard (MacKenzie Astin). With a begrudging reconciliation, one of the best duos in the show is back together, but still with some dramatic and interesting twists! If I’m being overly critical, there was a point during this where something happens that is all a bit too ‘Deus Ex Machina’ for me, but I think this is essentially the point and a little tongue in cheek, so you let it slide.
As a side note to this story is Penny (Arjun Gupta) and his quest to help Kady, which has also opened up a new and intriguing storyline; this has almost come out of the blue, and is quickly explained by Sylvia (Roan Curtis), albeit too quickly. It would have been nice for there to be a little more lead into this, but with everything that’s been going on, I can understand that finding the time in the show may have been problematic.
This season has been paced fairly well though, and the ending is picking up speed as you would expect, adding in more elements that are making me sad the season is coming to a close! There definitely seems to be a whole slew of new ideas coming in that are going to be interesting to work through, and as this season has showed, there is the creativity to make it work!