With each episode this series is slowly turning into must-watch viewing. I’m actually starting to like Quentin and Penny, the two characters I liked the least because they’re just jerks. Well, I’m at least starting to feel for Penny a little bit more. I much too often would like to pinch Quentin. (I wouldn’t pinch Penn as he’s kind of scary.) I’m still not feeling Alice, although the past two episodes have gone some way towards giving her more character. I continue to find Elliott and Margot delightful. Okay, maybe Elliott is bi-sexual. He seems to be in a relationship with Margot while still pining over Quentin, because Quentin is straight.
I’m starting to have some deep sympathy for Julia and the other Hedge-Witches, who are disdained by the magical nobility, (i.e. people who have been classically trained in magic), although the Hedge-Witches do act like magic is a drug and they have serious addiction. Dean Fogg makes it very clear to Quentin though, that he has zero fucks to give about Hedge Witches.
The show continues to only partially follow the script from the books. Some elements of the series, like Julia’s part of the story, happen in the books, but are more fleshed out in the show. Some elements are wildly different from the books. Hilariously, Elliott and Margot are just like the characters they’re based on. Quentin is less mopey than in the books and there’s a lot more Dean Fogg in the series, which is cool because I like him. He has the unenviable job of herding cats, (that is young magicians), too powerful for their own good, into responsible adults.
The book is entirely from Quentin’s point of view, so the series breaks that up by focusing on the details of individual characters that Quentin knows, otherwise the series would feel very claustrophobic.
In “Mendings, Major and Minor“, we get our first trip to Fillory, and naturally the first person to go there is our resident teleporter, Penny, just as I called it. He doesn’t like or appreciate this new gift. Denise Crosby makes a cameo as Alice’s weird aunt, who runs a kind of magical Camp David, that Elliott and Margot are vying with each other to get close to as a mentor. She is so ” Bohemian Sex in the City” with her attitude. I like her and hope to see more of her.
The students get sent to various mentors based on whatever magical powers they’ve displayed. Quentin’s mentor is a podiatrist. I’m not sure she uses any of her magic in her job but Quentin is unimpressed either way.There doesn’t seem to be much focus on what the students will accomplish with their magical abilities, after they graduate, or how this makes them better than Hedge-Witches.
Penny’s mentor is a curmudgeonly old man who seems entirely disinterested in his student, especially when Penny voices frustration about not being able to block the mental emanations of other psychics. He keeps receiving calls for help from one of the members of the third year class, who all went missing. She’s being held prisoner by the creature that seems to have overtaken Fillory, The (Moth Headed) Beast, who is every bit a s frightening as he was in the books.
Quentin finds out his dad, played by Spencer Garrett, (who has starred in just enough of everything that you sort of vaguely remember him from somewhere), has brain cancer, and just like Alice last episode, he wants to fix the problem with magic. He’s warned against doing this by his podiatrist mentor, who says there are some things magic wasn’t meant to fix. I thought we learned this lesson with Willow (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but I guess it bears repeating in every show that involves magical instruction.
Quentin gets drafted to participate in the Brakebill’s version of that chess game we saw in the first Hogwart’s movie, only this game involves actual magical skills, and is called Welters.
In his quest to save his father, Elliott introduces him to the hilarious and tragic Cancer Puppy, an unofficial Brakebill’s mascot, that is supposed to remind the students of magic’s limitations. (Since the puppy couldn’t be cured of its diseases, its been held in a kind of puppy stasis.) Quentin, while attempting to cure it, kills it, something which was wholly unnecessary. This is the show continuing its tradition of pissing off at least one social justice group or organization per episode. Still, Cancer Puppy is really, really cute, though.
But look on the bright side, Cancer Puppy got fridged for a good reason. Since magical abilities come from adversity and pain, Quentin gets a significant power boost.
Julia’s situation continues to become more desperate. She tries to get back into the Bodega but is rejected by Pete,who tells her there are other magical houses in the city, in return for a lay. (Hmmph! Still not sexy. Work on it, show!) The houses are so magic poor that any of them would be desperate to have Julia as a member, so they’re not good places for her to learn anything. She goes to Marina to demand the magic that she took from her, is told that its locked in Marina’s file cabinets, and no one can access them but her. Marina responds later, by mind wiping Julia’s boyfriend James, so that he doesn’t remember her, taking away Julia’s last slice of normalcy.
Yep! I think we get the idea that Marina is supposed to be a bad guy, but beyond being evil for evil’s sake, I don’t understand what she’s trying to accomplish by treating Julia this way. However, if suffering offers a magical boost, that may be what Marina is after. The more angst Julia suffers, the more powerful she will become.
It turns out that Kady is just fine and back at school. She is still stealing magical objects from the school to give to Marina, so Marina has a very good reason for not harming her, which we find out in
This episode hews a little closer to events in the books. The students must pass a series of trials or be kicked out of the school. Margot and Elliott (One day I’m going to learn how to spell their names. Don’t look at me like that! Its a feat that I remember their names without Googling them), are the ones in charge of putting the first years through their paces, and who the Hell chose these two people to do this? The two of them don’t strike me as responsible enough to run anything. They spend far too much time giggling and joking for me to take them seriously as instructors.
Quentin finds that Penny went to Fillory and is excited to find its a real place, even though Penny ain’t having that shit and shut up, Quentin! Quentin tells him The Beast is not part of the Fillory narrative, though. He and Penny have to work together through the trials and cheat on one of the tests together.
Penny’s mentor tells him he should limit his teleportation powers by tattooing an anchor on his arm and Kady agrees to do this for him, while lying to him about her family life, explaining that her mother is dead and she grew up poor, etc.
Kady is still being forced to steal magical artifacts for Marina. It turns out that Kady’s mother, Hannah, is a Hedge-Witch. In her zeal to learn magic she caused the deaths of several people and Marina took her magic and banished her, but kept her daughter as payment. So Kady is paying off her mother’s life debt or something and they have, at best, a strained relationship.
Julia meets Hannah,who hatches a plan to get her magical abilities back from Marina. She tries to get Kady to help them but Kady is uncooperative and angrily walks out on her mother. Julia goes along with her plan and the two of them work the spell together to steal Marina’s filing cabinets full of magical spells (and how low-brow can you get. Filing cabinets?) When Marina finds out what happened, she backtracks the working to them, and kills Kady’s mother.
In one of the student trials, each student is set to catch some animal for Elliott and Margot and they all pass, but the last test requires them to get naked, tie ropes around themselves, and tell their partner the absolute truth about something, after which the rope will fall off as they transcend. Quentin gets paired with Alice and confesses his years of institutionalization and running from his life, while Alice confesses that she knows how good she is and tries hard not to be the best student because she’s already unpopular enough. Their ropes fall off and they begin to writhe in pain.
Penny confesses that he’s falling in love with Kady, who has to immediately break his heart by declaring that she is just using him to maintain her cover at Brakebills and never loved or liked him. They all transform into geese and fly off north.
This is a part of the book narrative. They all transform into geese, fly North, and engage in some more magical trials. The book is mixing a lot of original material with events from the books and if so then our protagonists will get to Fillory, where they will have some type of showdown with The Beast, if the show lasts beyond this season. The show-runners seem to be taking their time about reaching that point as we have had quite a bit of filler. It’s useful filler in that it help us understand these characters better but the plot is still moving very slowly.