TV Review: The Magicians 1×03 “Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting”

Syfy’s The Magicians launched into its regular schedule this week with episode three, “Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting” and there was a lot to like. Let’s discuss!

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Alice is on a mission to discover what happened to her brother, Charlie, even though that has clearly already ended poorly. In similar fashion to the first episode’s disaster, she and Quentin try something to contact Charlie, and then leave before they can really see what happens. The scene with them walking away from the fountain just as the dead looking hand floated up through the water was distinctly creepy, though the tone quickly shifted as the hand flipped off the pair’s retreating backs. It turns out that Charlie was consumed by magic and turned into a niffin, which makes him basically all magic and no Charlie. And of course Alice is convinced that she can change him back. Has no one else at this school noticed that while Alice is yes, pretty talented, she doesn’t even seem to need to be there as she can already do all the things by her second week of classes? Shockingly, her attempt to save her brother goes pretty horribly wrong and Quentin swoops in to save the day. But since Alice only bothered coming to Brakebills in order to find her brother, she ends the episode by declaring that she’s leaving.

Quentin gets his own little side adventure this week where he takes off with Eliot to find a stolen book. Thankfully, this book has a mate… because of course it does! The remaining book flaps around, prepared to find its lost love, which is actually pretty fun to watch. So Q and Eliot take off to the city, where they’re promptly led to the hedge witches we met last week, who are blackmailing Brakebill’s students to steal books for them. The books are brought back together, and waste no time before having a passionate reunion. Yup, volumes one and two had some book-sex while everyone else watched on with raised eyebrows. Eliot didn’t seem to care that much about how this other group had gotten their book and took off once he’d gotten what he came for.

Things with Julia aren’t all that interesting this week. She runs into Quentin briefly on his side adventure with Eliot, so he now knows that she’s still trying to learn magic, but he really doesn’t seem to care one way or the other, about her or anything else. Let’s face it, Quentin will not be winning awards for the most likable characters. But it’s not like Julia is much better. She spent this week lying to her boyfriend about what she’s been up to, even going so far as making up an addiction problem to calm him down. I am interested to see where her parallel story line ends up though, so hopefully she’ll have a chance to expand her horizons a little in future episodes.

All in all, not a bad episode. It was nice to see the mixture of humor worked in with all of the doom, gloom and navel-gazing. Odd to say, but I’d like to see a slightly lower stakes episode sometime soon, where we have a little more time to wrap our minds about what life at Brakebills is actually like, and maybe even discover some redeeming qualities in at least a couple of the characters. But even without that, this is still a really enjoyable show to watch, with a tone that stands out from anything else currently on the air.

Kellie Sheridan may as well live on the internet or in a library. She is a Young Adult author, spending her time writing and watching far too much Netflix near Toronto, Canada. You can find Kellie on Twitter (@Kellie_Sheridan) or contact her by email at kellie@theyoungfolks.com