After reflecting on this week’s episode of The Magicians only one thought kept coming into my mind; are the secondary characters outshining our main cast?
I don’t want to call it anything as sinister as a sophomore slump because I honestly don’t think that’s what we’re seeing from the third season of The Magicians. But something is most definitely going on, because week-after-week I find myself ruminating over characters who you wouldn’t typically consider center stage.
If anything it seems like The Magicians might have more gems than they know what to do with, because for me the secondary characters are outshining the show’s main cast this year. But if you’re going to have a problem in the third season of your show, this is probably the best problem to have.
That’s not to say our main cast hasn’t been bringing it. Everything that’s happening with Julia this year has been absolutely perfect, and I’m finding both Quentin and Alice’s growth to be extremely captivating. That said, let’s take this week to shine a light on some of the characters that we’ve been pleasantly surprised by.
Not to brag but I’ve loved Fen since season 1 when she was first introduced to Eliot. I knew instantly that her character had so much potential as a character and my assumptions have been validated more than once. In season 2 we got to learn about her more as a person. Where she came from, why she was so loyal to Fillory, how supportive and kind she could be; and this year her development has only become stronger.
Rather than existing as a hilarious foil for Eliot to bump up against, Fen is now existing in her own right. It’s her pain she’s managing; not her husbands. And for the first time in her life, she willingly leaves her home in order to find a way to heal. The loss of her child could have sent her into an endless destructive downward spiral. But instead of letting the hate in her heart consume her life, she did the harder thing and followed her own moral compass. Her speech to the Fairy Queen this week was nothing short of incredible.
Although she’s been brutally violated by the fairy race, she puts aside her own anger to see the situation for what it is. These lost captivated creatures need protecting, and Fen more than anyone understands that. She may have had her own child ripped away from her but Fen is the ultimate mothering figure. I’m so proud of her and hope that The Magicians continues to invest in her character because it hasn’t lead them astray yet.
Although Trevor Einhorn started out as a background character in season 1 of The Magicians, he’s taken Josh Hoberman to new heights this year. None of us will be forgetting about episode 9 “All That Josh” anytime soon, and that’s in large part to Einhorn.
It’s fantastic the writers have chosen to invest more time into Josh and allow him to spread his wings a bit. There’s a special place in my heart for characters that go from being on the outside of a central group and are slowly brought into the fold over time. Not only is it relatable, it’s a beautiful narrative theme to explore. People shouldn’t be ignored or devalued simply because they aren’t framed as one of the ‘cool kids’, and Josh’s whole arc this season has been exploring that beautifully.
However, I do have some requests for what I’d like to see from Josh next year. For starters, he and Poppy need to interact ASAP. There is all kinds of backstory between them that I want to get the scoop on and it would be a shame to waste that opportunity. Secondly, I’m weirdly invested in Josh and Victoria’s relationship. Assuming Victoria makes some sort of spectacular return next year – fingers crossed – I need the two of them reconnect. Maybe I’m the only one that has this whole ‘best friends in love’ ‘it was written in the stars’ scenario laid out for them, but I don’t care. I’m living my truth y’all.
The Fairy Queen
First of all. If you’re not saying WOW at Candis Cayne’s performance this week, you’re completely delusional. I’ve suspected that there was more to the Fairy Queen for some time. Ever since she pardoned Margo and respected her decision to protect the Muntjac, I knew there had to be a driving sense of morality behind her actions. That doesn’t mean her brutality doesn’t terrify me, or that I think our magicians are safe around her, but there is something within her I trust.
The Fairy Queen is a monarch who takes protecting her people extremely seriously, and it’s been a joy to watch her develop over time. For me personally, she’s been a highlight of season 3 and I hope her role just becomes even larger next year. Which seems to be a strong possibility considering her conversation with Julia at the end of this week’s episode.
As a character who appeared for the first time this season, and who’s only been in 3 episodes so far, Poppy has made a serious impression. When we meet her she’s ready to pawn off her emotionally manipulative totom onto the closest available individual. With no regard for that person’s ability to withstand the pressure carrying such item and knowing how many of her friends have crumbled under the weight of its stress. It’s hard to have empathy for such a self interested character, but there’s no denying that I’m completely invested in watching her arc unfold.
The way things stand now, she’s such a wildcard. Her only true loyalty is to herself. But you can’t help but wonder if that will change over time. Will she find something other than herself to invest in? I’m not convened she has any real lasting interest in Quentin. And I thought if anyone could maybe tap into her softer side it would be her long time friend Victoria. But even she was unsuccessful.
Anyways, there’s a lot of room for growth for Poppy, and her story this season has kept me tuned in. She’s been away for two episodes and I’m already wondering when she’s coming back and what she might have up her sleeve when she does return. Keep your eye on this one, she’s wile.
Marlee Matlin is a queen and I’ve loved her work for a long time. That being said, I really didn’t expect to become so invested in Harriet when she first appeared on The Magicians. She started out as a recurring character that I enjoyed. But it wasn’t like I was hanging on her every word when she appeared. That all changed this season. If you missed the memo, episode 8 of The Magicians, “Six Short Stories About Magic,” was a revolutionary moment of television. The episode was divided into six portions, with one character getting to tell a part of a larger story from their perspective. Not a revolutionary idea in and of itself but a game changer in terms of the way it was executed.
You see, in addition to being a badass magician warrior, Harriet is also deaf. Which means her story was given a slightly different treatment. Within the show, magic has a sensory experience to it. Therefore, the production team took this opportunity to show how magic might look and feel to an individual who is also deaf. Leading to a whole sequence that’s shot in relative silence. The little bit of audio we do hear is there to give the impression of feeling vibration rather than hearing. Which leads to this incredible experience unlike any I’ve seen on tv.
There have been so many incredible supporting characters this season that it’s impossible to wrap up this post without some honorable mentions. Hannah Levien who plays Victoria has become one of my favorite characters this season. There are so many interesting little nuggets of information we’ve gotten about her that I’m dying for more. Here’s hoping we haven’t seen the last of Victoria.
Madeleine Arthur came into season 3 of The Magicians to play Fray; the matured daughter of Eliot and Fen. Although we learned that Fray wasn’t biologically related to the couple – it still feels as though she’s in some way related to our magicians. Made families are just as powerful blood relatives. Not to mention actor Hale Appleman is pulling for her return as well. So we’re in good company.
Lastly we have to give some love to Harvey Guillen who plays Benedict Pickwick and Roan Curtis as Sylvia. They’ve both been a part of seasons 2 and 3 and brought so much depth and richness to what would have been relatively small parts. I have a sneaking suspicion that neither of their stories are completely wrapped up either.