Warning, this contains spoilers.

Watching the recap at the start I was struck by how much has happened in Season 2 of The Magicians, and how much continues to happen. This realisation was forced home when I had to type everything that happened for my rather long recap. There are some very strong storylines continuing in this episode. Julia (Stella Maeve) wants revenge on Reynard and faces the problem of an unwanted pregnancy, although in her case it’s not so much of a dilemma as she knows she wants an abortion. The problem is making that happen. Q (Jason Ralph) continues to be haunted by the death of Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), and this haunting is becoming more literal. Penny (Arjun Gupta) still needs control of his hands (yes…we’ll come back to that) and Eliot (Hale Appleman) continues his lonely ruling of Fillory. In this episode he has some help from Margo (Summer Bishil) although her abrupt manner is not best suited for diplomacy.

THE MAGICIANS — “The Cock Barrens” Episode 206 — Pictured: (l-r) Tom Amandes as Daniel Quinn, Jason Ralph as Quentin — (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

When Alice died I thought there was a chance that a Niffin magic death may not count, but as her ghost became more real in this episode I have come to accept she might have a new role in The Magicians. I’m quite pleased by that as the thought of an evil Alice stuck inside Q’s head has some interesting potential. Q want through some good moments in this episode as he blended the real world, as real as Alice’s parents get at least, with the world of magic. A lot of TV can become anywhere from being a bit silly to completely stupid as they try to mix reality with fantasy, but here I think The Magicians pulled it off. If they’d just left her dead we might be questioning why nobody was looking for her, so having her real world death gave a closure to that area. Jason Ralph (Q) put in an accomplished performance as he dealt with the reluctant parents of Alice.

Julia and Kady also have a strong storyline. Julia has the fantasy horror of wanting to defeat Reynard with the real world horror of rape and a pregnancy. Julia learns of a spell that must have once banished Reynard from earth and goes to find out what it is. Here she meets Dana, a woman who has tried to move on but also was raped and had a child because of Reynard. Her life appears normal on the surface but underneath there’s all sorts of wards and magic to keep her safe. The Magicians certainly isn’t afraid of subtext.

Margo’s powerful arrogance has slotted in well to leadership and they’ve not had to change her character much for her to be believable as a monarch. Eliot continues to struggle with his new life, his understated lines mixing perfectly with Margo’s aggression. Every time something good happens for him something spoils it. This week he’s really starting to have feelings for Fen only to find out she was once a FU Fighter, a group intent on killing him. Also Margo declares war, so now he has that to deal with.

Right, Penny. He has been confined to the search for curing his hands recently. The search continued in this episode but at least he had to find the castle after it vanished. I can’t decide if the potential of a powerful Magician with the power to teleport was too powerful so the only thing to do was to weaken him, or if they genuinely don’t know what to do with him. Eliot and Margo have each other. Kady and Julia have each other. Alice and Q have each other, sort of. Penny has his hands. It’s a shame as when Penny has something to do he’s a pretty decent character. I’d understand if he was used as some sort of connecting glue for the different worlds but he mostly floats around the edges.

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