As I suspected it would be, the second episode of The Magicians was a HUGE improvement over the first. Is that due to the extra screen time afforded to my favorite character Elliott? Possibly! It can also be due to the fact that the creators slowed down in this episode enough to let the audience get a feel for the world our magicians (and hedge witches) inhabit while giving the characters some breathing space to develop more fully as well—breathing room that was sorely lacking in the pilot. In the premier, all these people we are supposed to care so much about weren’t given any depth, and were all just thrust into their storylines at breakneck speed, with little character development or context to make me, the viewer, really care. While I gave the pilot episode only 2.5 stars, I deem episode two worthy of a full five star rating. The best part about this episode is that we are fully sucked in to the two separate dominant settings: Quentin at Brakebills, and Julia—who wasn’t “good enough” to study at Brakebills and was left to learn magic on her own back in the real world. Many subtle tricks are used to show the dichotomy between the two backdrops: Brakebills, with the lush greens of the campus grounds and the bright, shining sun, is shown to be a sort of magical Utopia, and is a strong counterpoint to Julia’s blue, gray, and dark existence away from Brakebills. But just like a real Utopia, where the monotony of perfection leads to something closer to hell than heaven, the bright color palette exists in harsh juxtaposition to the dangerous reality of a Brakebills where The Beast can enter and wreak havoc, and the entire third year of students can mysteriously disappear. I absolutely love that we get to see how both Julia and Quentin’s magical abilities and realities are evolving separately but concurrently. As Quentin’s place at Brakebills is threatened by expulsion for unknowingly summoning The Beast, Julia is fighting to prove herself worthy of studying to be a witch with her newfound colleagues back in the real world, by fighting her way out of a freezing cold meat locker using some very unsavory methods. I was also happy to see Kacey Rohl, recognized for her role as Abigail Hobbs in Hannibal, be introduced as a surprise character who, while not present in the book series, looks to have a significant role in the television show. While Julia’s world definitely has strong overtones of menace, it is Elliott, Quentin’s friend and semi-mentor at Brakebills, who truly drives home just how dangerous magic can be, as he describes his magical awakening: Elliot discovers his telekinesis by wishing a childhood bully into getting splattered by a bus. This confession leads to a closer connection to Quentin, currently being wracked by guilt for summoning The Beast into the school and leading to the headmaster’s possible demise. We don’t find out until the end of the episode that the headmaster is still alive, just horribly injured, which I doubt would make Quentin feel any better about what he’d done; but it does makes me, as a fan of the headmaster’s character, happy that we don’t have to say goodbye to him so soon. Quentin’s storyline at Brakebills in this episode is reminiscent of another quasi-young adult piece: The Perks of Being a Wallflower– he’s the outsider who finally finds a place to belong, but then that place is threatened as he faces expulsion for accidentally summoning the Beast. By the end of the episode, he is given a second chance and welcomed home by Elliott to his rightful place at the metaphysical hangout, the cottage, and the episode ends with a sense of peace for Elliott… but also accomplishment for Julia, as she receives a star tattoo to recognize her spellwork achievement. While some of my issues with the pilot still remain—other characters are still hopelessly annoying and badly portrayed, with Quentin’s classmate Penny being perhaps the worst offender. He’s poorly drawn, given only a single throwaway line about being able to hear the Beast from a young age, and is altogether a boring bully, and Alice is still just a beautiful girl we don’t know is beautiful because she wears glasses—all in all this episode was a marked improvement from the pilot. The character development we sorely lacked after the first episode is beginning to catch up with the plot, and the show itself is much better for it. The Magicians 1.02 "The Source of Magic"Allison's Rating5.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.