TV Review: The Magicians 1×08 “The Strangled Heart”

After a decent last couple of weeks, the last thing I would have wished for The Magicians was a week without both Margo and Kady, but here we are. And yet, the episode was a solid one, at least in the second half. Let’s talk about “The Strangled Heart.”


One of the shifts of modern TV that I still haven’t gotten used to is that shows no longer hold back their big reveals. If this show had been made even five years ago, the fact that the show’s big bad was hiding out in Eliot’s new boyfriend would have been drawn out for at least a few episodes if not an entire season. Instead, “The Strangled Heart,” was all about the aftermath of Mike/the Beast attacking Quentin at his first real opportunity and critically wounding Penny in the process. Alice and Quentin devote most of their energy to reviving Penny, but of course find a little time to continue the will they or wont they drama that was enhanced by their foxy time last week at Breakbills South. Both of these characters have the ability to suck chemistry out of anything and everything they touch, so I’m not overly invested in this particular drama. I’d rather spend my time with Eliot, who absolutely got the short end of the stick this week, and without Margo around to make it all better.

Mike is caught and at first seems to have no idea what was going on in his body. If I have to give The Beast credit in one category it has to be that he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. Every time this guy shows up, things get gross … fast! After we get to see Eliot’s heartbreak (which was a great moment for the show and his character), the Beast finally gets his chance. He’s been in Mike’s body this whole time, including the interrogation and is well prepared to use the situation to his advantage. Unsurprisingly, but well executed, it turns out that Eliza is in fact, Jane Chatwin. As soon as she has her time alone with Mike, the Beast strikes and murders her absolutely ruthlessly. Eliot cements his position as the most interesting character of the week by killing the host body/the man he thought was his potential new love interest, without hesitation. So that’s two recurring characters eliminated in the span of just a few minutes. It was intense!

And of course, our weekly dose of Julia. Things for her have been a lot less interesting lately and now it looks like they’re taking her down a new path. She’s checked herself into rehab as a way to deal with her magical issues and of course finds another magic wielder there. It looks like she’s off to explore some divine inspired magic now. I only wish she’d find some of these new paths on her own, rather than constantly being pointed in every possible direction by characters who never stick around that long.

All in all, an interesting episode that brought a lot to the overall plot but also offered up a few cringe worthy moments that seem better suited to the weaker first half of the season. Having all of my favorite characters either missing or incapacitated wasn’t fantastic, but it would have been hard to fit much else into this episode. Plus, it gave Eliot a little more room to shine, which Hale Appleman took full advantage of!

  • Penny is okay thanks to intervention using the Fillory books once again.
  • The episode also kicked off my bringing the first years into their second semester at Brakebills. Yup, everything that happened so far took place over just a few months!

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