This week’s episode of The Magicians was especially hard to get through. Follow us as we recap the three most heartbreaking moments.
In general The Magicians isn’t really known for being an extremely sad show. Sure, there’s darkness and heavy shit is always going down. But usually there’s quite a bit of levity to counterbalance things. That’s not necessarily the case this week.
So let’s take a little time to decompress and reflect on the major moments of heartbreak.
‘Why does it just keep getting worse and worse?’
Life just won’t cut Julia any slack, will it? This poor woman has endured so much and yet she’s constantly being tested by more. Her latest trial? Finding out she’s pregnant.
Although at first she’s uncertain as to whom the child may belong to — Richard or Reynard are both options — by the end of the episode it seems probable that Reynard is indeed the father. How else can you explain a fetus that could retaliate against its own abortion?
That’s right. The little clump of cells inside Julia’s tummy clearly isn’t messing around. Having to carry that to term is probably the sickest and saddest injustice Julia has had forced upon her yet.
‘I wanna do a spell’
Another woman who hasn’t had the easiest go of it is Emily Greenstreet. In this episode we learn more about her tragedy and how it’s tied up with Mayakovsky’s story as well.
The formally unknown professor that Emily had an affair with while at Brakebills? This week it was revealed to be with Mayakovsky. The realization hits like a punch. Especially once you understand just how unwelcome that breakup probably was. If Mayakovsky’s melancholic comments are any indication, this may have been more that just another cautionary tale of being a mistress to a married man.
Assume these two really did love each other. For whatever reason, they were finding it difficult to put aside baggage to make it work. So Emily allows her insecurities eat at her, she tries to ‘fix’ herself by magically enhancing her beauty, and then a boy dies trying to repair her mistake. Imagine coming to terms with the fact that magic had ruined your life, the life of your partner, and the life of one of your good friends. Didn’t we say The Magicians wasn’t pulling heartbreaking punches this episode?
‘I just really fucking miss you’
Although we saw Quentin learning about Alice’s death last week, in episode 2×05 his grief is really starting to set in. Nothing in the episode makes that more clear than when he and Emily perform the illusion magic.
Friends, I mean this with all my heart: this concept fundamentally broke me. If you’ve ever experienced any kind of grief, you’ll instantly understand how tempting it would be to conduct spells like this. Even if you’d only get fleeting moments with the person you’d lost, it would be almost irresistible. You would also understand how unbearable it would be to watch those spells whither and leave.
While speaking with The Magicians showrunner Sera Gamble, we touched on this a bit. She explained that they were really interested in using magic as a tool to explore psychological aspects of grief. If that was their goal, they certainly nailed it here.