On this week’s episode of The Magicians, Fillory gets the leadership it needs but not necessarily the one it deserves.
Entertainment, in some form or another, is about escapism. So we don’t want to politicize everything that comes across our screens. That being said, 2017 is an extraordinary time and pop culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
After this week’s episode of The Magicians, it became impossible not to comment on the blatant patriarchal bullshit Margo was forced to encounter and how it relates to our own presidential election.
After being struck by a mortal blow last week, Eliot was essentially stuck in a magical coma for the duration of this episode, which meant Margo, High Queen of Fillory, was left to tend to the royal business of the day.
Fillory responds to this by saying they would rather have chaos than a woman in charge.
‘They don’t want me. They want the high king.’
This especially precarious time in Fillory means that the weight of the crown would weigh more heavily than normal for anyone in charge. But Margo isn’t even offered a chance to take that weight on.
Whenever she approaches any semblance of power, she’s told that ‘custom strongly dictates’ it isn’t her place to take charge. So even while Eliot is completely incapacitated, Fillory’s highest in command expect Margo to passively sit by and allow things to continue to degrade.
Which Margo knows is frankly unacceptable, so she pushes beyond her barriers, steps up to the plate, and does a pretty sufficient job considering the circumstances.
Listen, I love Eliot. In all honesty, he’s doing a great job holding Fillory together. Especially considering how ill equipped he is at stability himself. But if we’re honest with ourselves, he’s not the most qualified out of our Brakebills gang to be running an entire kingdom. That position falls to our girl Margo.
Full disclosure, before The Magicians started this year, I bought into the idea that Margo would be a power hungry ruler. I didn’t expect it to happen all at once. My guess was that the lure of power would be too much for her to bear and over time she would be willing to walk over anyone who got in her way. Including Eliot.
But I was clearly wrong.
And I think I was probably wrong for the same reasons that people thought Hillary Clinton’s emails were a big deal.
AKA: Internalized sexism.
‘I’m Fillory’s one and only high queen.’ ‘Yes. The insult’s been noted.’
Look. No one here is claiming that Margo is perfect or that she doesn’t need to work on her diplomacy skills. She shoots from the hip a little too much and doesn’t always know how to play the long game. But overall she gets it. She understands the kind of hard, grown-up decisions that need to be made, and she’s also incredibly aware that people are depending on her. The gravity of the situation is not lost on Margo.
It takes Eliot a second to get there. He isn’t naturally equipped to think about order, responsibility, and sacrifice. For Margo, these things are instinctive. Like Magicans showrunner Sera Gamble told us earlier this year, “The same instinct that makes her the captain of the Welters team, [it] kicks in as soon as she enters Fillory as the queen.” She’s fully capable of the job at hand.
That isn’t to say Eliot has no place at Margo’s side. In fact, like with most things, Margo and Eliot would probably do a better job of ruling Fillory together. They complement each other well. What’s so frustrating is that Margo can’t get the same amount of respect from her kingdom as Eliot can simply because his gender is the preferred one.
Obviously this is bullshit and the kingdom is going to suffer for it in the long-run.