((WARNING: The following contains some spoilers, so if you haven’t finished the season STOP READING NOW!))
Syfy’s The Magicians has completed its third season, and us hedge witches and Brakebills students are already itching for more. How will our heroes be restored to their previous selves? Who will take down the evil alliance of the Library and the McAllisters? How will the beast from Blackspire be defeated?
This season was a rollercoaster of emotions, and I’m still not sure I’ve recovered from the tears and cheers. Season 3 has felt like a lifetime, literally in the case of one episode, and we’ve watched the best (and worst) of our favorite characters.
I could probably rattle on forever about the show, but instead, I’ll try and refine this recap to those points that stuck with me, both positive and negative.
What Was Our Goal?
I think one thing that irritated me for much of Season 3 was the discordant feel of the two main plotlines. Season 1 focused on Brakebills and the mystery of the Beast; Season 2 dealt with Fillory and killing him.
In Season 3, we had the plot of returning magic to both realms, but Fillory and Earth seemed like two unrelated stories at first. The woes of Eliot and Margo seemed separate from the problems of everyone else, and the crossover didn’t entirely occur until well into the season.
This jumping between two groups in two places threw me off at times and distracted from the story. I understand each character has their own story, but sometimes a central plot for everyone to orbit around works better for me.
A Quest for the Books
Once the two plots intertwined, however, we went on an adventure unlike any other. The Fable of the Seven Golden Keys was fascinating, fun, and heart-wrenching.
Even when the individual keys ended up amusing us with song and dance, they each brought drama and character development. From seeing our greatest fears to confronting our inner demons, each step closer to the finish only made things harder for our heroes.
This approach is how quests are done – not just defeat the obstacle and gain the treasure or clue. Quests are meant to tear characters down and build them up stronger or in different ways, and Season 3 did that beautifully.
Fillory’s No Fun
What I loved about Fillory in Season 2 was how whimsical and ridiculous it was. I understand why the mood changed in Season 3, but I would have preferred more than the minor amusing moments.
The political situation was darker than earlier seasons; some silly moments felt forced in the light of uprisings, civil war, and Fairy authoritarianism. Not to mention the amount of losses that Eliot and Margo faced at every turn; everything they did was immediately turned on its head by something worse.
I missed the more lackadaisical and nonsensical days of Fillory; not to mention I didn’t like morose and defeated Eliot and Margo. What can I say? I love it when those two are on top.
Speaking of characters that depressed me, I felt horrible for everything Penny experienced. He was the Charlie Brown of the series, never winning and always ending up in a worse situation.
From his deal with the library to “dying” to sacrificing everything for Kady, his story was one of the darkest. Penny is one of my favorite characters, rivaling Eliot and Margo, so seeing him keep losing and sacrificing everything hurt.
Could you give a brother a chance?
More Kady Please
On the counter side to that, I loved the return of Kady as a main character. Her apathetic behavior and street smarts were sorely missed.
Of course, her presence was bittersweet, as she’s the other side of the Penny equation. With him in his situation, who knows how much darker her own story could fall.
To be fair, her connections are what brings me to my favorite moment of the entire season…
Deaf Representation at Its Finest
The most significant moment of Season 3 occurred for maybe 10 minutes of a single episode: “Six Short Stories About Magic.” We finally learned the full story of Harriet – who she was, where she came from, why she did what she did, etc.; yet, what struck me most was how the tale represented the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing.
Marlee Matlin was joined by two Deaf actors, Stephanie Nogueras and Winter Obidos, as they portrayed Harriet at different points in her life. Casting Deaf actors in Deaf roles is an important issue we’ve discussed before, and I was glad to see proper consideration in this portrayal.
Additionally, the entire scene was done in almost-silence, mirroring the experience of the profoundly deaf. I say “almost-silence,” because very few D/HH live in absolute silence; they left in the muffled, ambient noise many experience, from low vibrations to the sounds of one’s own body.
This accurate representation and casting makes this my favorite moment in the entire series and probably one of the most poignant on television.
Yes, I used that term on purpose. I’m not talking about sexuality, however, but two characters that changed the audience’s opinions of them by the end.
I’ve never seen so much hate flow from viewers on social media, which means you know Rizwan Manji did a fantastic job. Seeing him spared in the end was bitter-sweet, as we wanted to see Tick receive his just desserts, but we also want more of him.
Second, the Fairy Queen was probably one of the most loathed characters in the series. Her smug attitude as she countered our beloved Eliot and Margo at every turn made us wish for a gory, glittery death.
Once we learned about the plight of her people on Earth and she began to show a more empathetic side, she quickly turned our hearts. We all fell for Candis Cayne, cheering as she helped restore balance to Fillory and crying as she sacrificed herself.
What We Want
What do I hope to see in Season 3? Well, for one, I’m sure we all want to see the McAllisters, school leadership, and Library get their comeuppance. That act of conspiracy and betrayal at the end has us wanting Magician blood.
For another, we want our beloved characters back to who they were. Sure, most of them seem happy, but are they? Is there not one part of them that remembers, and misses, magic and each other? Who will take down the body-jumping creepypasta and return Eliot to us?
Also, what’s going down in Fillory now? Our heroes (including their High King) are out of commission and magic is flowing strictly into the Library and Earth Magicians hands. Who’s ruling things and what about the civil war? What’s going on with the faeries, now that they can’t be hunted?
Finally, please bring back Harriet! I know she and Victoria were apparently lost between worlds, but that doesn’t mean they’re dead. We love Marlee Matlin and want to see more of her!
All-in-all, I wasn’t sure about some of Season 3 to start, but by the end, The Magicians hit us right in the feels in all the right (and wrong) ways. While I’m glad they’ve been renewed for a fourth season, this will be an uncomfortable wait until we find out what happens.
If you excuse me, I’m going to put some Bowie and Mercury on and join minds with my fellow fans.
I give The Magicians Season 3 an emotional 4.5 musical numbers out of 5.