Careful what you wish for, right? Not too long ago I was hoping for an episode that would slow down on the major plot points in order to let us settle into the world of The Magicians, which is exactly what “Mendings, Major and Minor” did, and… I didn’t really like it. While we did get to see more of how this magic school works, what we saw did little to make me care about the people attending classes there, while also avoiding bringing on any real sense of wonder about this world or its rules. So there’s a quickie review ahead, and as always there are spoilers.
Alice is back at Brakebills, surprising no one. And she’s brought her aunt with her, who is a pretty big deal in the magical world. The physical kids are clamoring to score her as their mentor, but like the game of welters they all play later, none of this seems like it will be all that relevant moving forward. I wish the show had spent less time on both of these stories and a little more with, well, anything else.
Early in the episode, Quentin gets some bad news. We’d met an imaginary version of his father last week during his hallucination, and this week we get to see the real deal, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be around for long as he’s been recently diagnosed with brain cancer. The main point of this development seemed to be to give Q a reason to test magic’s boundaries as, of course, he wanted to try to make his dad better even though the two of them aren’t especially close. Unfortunately, this seems to be the one instance where The Magicians isn’t willing to give its first year students infinite abilities, because when the rules say that no one can cure cancer, they don’t actually mean no one, but Quentin and Alice. At least not yet. By the end of the episode Quentin has accepted that there’s nothing to be done but takes it upon himself to find some good in this situation and shares the news of his new magical abilities with his dad.
As always, things don’t go quite as smoothly for Julia. After doing pretty much anything she can in order to stay connected to magic after being expelled from the hedge witches, her future isn’t looking all that optimistic. Not only does her quest for magic go almost nowhere this week, she ends up losing James as well. She threatened to tell him about her magic (exactly what Quentin did with his dad, with no consequences) and Marina promptly swoops in and erases all of James’ memories of his former flame. I can’t imagine this will be an easy blow for Julia to take, but she absolutely deserves this and James will be far better off without her.
So it looks like once again, Penny is the only character whose plot arc is proactively moving things forward. He’s still discovering exactly what it means to be a traveler and his new mentor isn’t all that encouraging. Things don’t look any brighter when he astral projects himself to another captured traveler, the last one to attend Brakebills. She’s being held in a dungeon somewhere by the beast. And while the evidence of where all of this is happening is pretty shoddy, for whatever reason Quentin seems pretty set that its the magical world of Fillory. Remember that fictional world we touched on a little in earlier episodes? It’s starting to look like Fillory will play a major role moving forward in the season, though how is hard to say.