10:00 pm EDT, March 20, 2019

‘The Magicians’ season 4, episode 9 review: Earworms and ’80s pop anthems

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When I first watched The Magicians season 4, episode 9, I spent my time focused on the individual events within the episode and how each had its own conflicts, dramas, moments, and risks.

But the more I think about The Magicians season 4, episode 9, I see it as part of the larger tapestry that is season 4 and how the threads laid here are woven throughout the whole of The Magicians.

I know I’m waxing a bit philosophic, but bear with me here. The title of The Magicians season 4, episode 9 is “The Serpent”. On its face, it’s named for the terror group who has sprung up to attack hedges by infecting them with earworms (Chekov’s earworm still gives me nightmares, but also a Chekhov’s earworm based on what we later learn — or is that foreshadowing. I always get those two mixed up.)

It also hearkens back to the lies the original serpent told. Things turn out not to be as they are. The Reed’s Mark, sold as a way to save hedges, is a way to silence their magic. Everything we think the Monster wants may be terribly wrong. Alice has to face the worst parts of herself and look them square in the face. A High King has to lose her kingdom by being stabbed in the back by one she trusts.

The Magicians season 4 episode 9 review

All of this plays into the larger picture I mentioned. Think of everything Alice had to go through in order to be in a place where she’s the one able save Harriett which both makes Zelda an ally and reveals that the Library is committed to wiping out hedges and putting the control of all magic in their hands.

Fen, when we first met her, would never have been ready to take on the mantle of High King, but her story this season set things in motion so that Margo, who was also wonderfully placed in Fillory to avoid the trap of having her play the same beat of leading the charge to save Eliot all season, can now go and save Eliot. It also opened the door for Josh and Margo to becomes close. Not to mention, leading Fillory on her own has opened Margo up as a character in so many glorious ways.

Kady’s got a whole new purpose. She’s a leader and she’s proving to be a very good one. Once a junkie who leaned on Penny and lived in anger and hatred, Kady’s a force to be reckoned with who’s standing very firmly on her own two feet.

So many different threads that are being pulled together. The picture isn’t clear yet, but it’s definitely shaping up.

So let’s dig into a few things.

‘The Magicians’ season 4, episode 9 review

The Serpent

If you want to control people, you need to scare them. This is exactly what Everett’s doing. He’s created a problem and then, voilá, suggests a voluntary Reed’s Mark.

The Reed’s Mark stops Magicians from being able to cast, even accidentally, so you’re safe if you get the parasite. But it also stops you from being able to cast. I’m sure they’ll be removed after the crisis has passed ::cough::

I feel bad for Lovelady. He wanted to get the mark but Kady asked him to hold off and he’s loyal to her. In the end, he was right to be scared. That sucks.

Alice’s Apology Tour, Zelda, and the Mirror World

Kady may have punched Alice in the face, but the hatchet’s buried for now and it’s a good thing they’re back together because it takes both of them to turn Zelda and get access to the junction box they need to map the system.

I think it’s a good thing Alice splintered herself. I’ll be honest, I haven’t liked her as a character for years (I love the actress and she’s perfect in the role). I think I’m supposed to not like Alice because let’s face it, she doesn’t like herself. But she made a peace with herself in this episode. She may not like who she is or what she did, but she faced it and she embraced it to become whole again.

She also finds The Binder. Score one for Team Julia!

Penny and Eliot

God bless Penny. He’s the first chance we’ve had to get inside Monster Eliot’s head. Granted, the Monster is getting info, but Penny’s there and able, not just to interpret but, to talk to the real Eliot. Eliot’s figuring things out while he’s inside The Monster and gives Penny a much-needed bit of information on what our Magicians are actually helping the Monster do.

Penny says it’s way worse than we thought. UM, IT’S ALREADY TERRIBLE. HOW BAD CAN IT GET?

Margo’s king is in another castle

Margo learns Eliot’s still alive and that there’s some sort of weapon that can fight possession. Fen gets told she has to dethrone Margo. Destiny is an interesting thing, right? Margo needs an out. “Overthrow me right now, Fen. I’ll never forgive you.” That’s so Margo. But it’s also clear she knows Fen can handle it and that some part of her hates to go.

There’s also Josh.

Margo’s caught feelings. It’s so obvious. But she’s going and Josh has to let her go. Because he knows this isn’t about him. Plus, he sends her off with pop anthems from the ’80s, danishes, and a map. That’s love.

The Magicians season 4, episode 9 is worth watching more than once. There’s a lot happening here and we’re in the home stretch for this season. From what I can tell, things are about to get massively interesting.

Quick comments/Questions:

  • Kady: Don’t fuck yourself up too badly, okay?” Alice: “You punched me in the face.”. Kady: “Don’t die.” — this is what reconciliation looks like.
  • The almost kiss with Penny and Julia. SQUEE.
  • It was so nice to see Rukiya Bernard as Queen of West Loria. Van Helsing fans likely got a kick out of that.
  • Love that Zelda smokes a pipe.
  • Zelda was a hedge? Who knew?
  • Is there a spell to let you understand sign language even if you can’t speak it?
  • Margo’s exiting curse on Fen. “Be nice to her!”

    You know that ‘The Magicians’ season 4, episode 10 is the musical episode, right? See you next week!

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