The Magicians Season 3 Episode 2 Review: Heroes and Morons

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Even when our world is supposedly full of experts trained in magic, The Magicians Season 3 Episode 2 proves that it will probably forever remain the most mysterious and unreliable thing of all. 

I will never get over how this show propels itself from week to week, season to season. Its approach to the existence of magic -- that its potential remains unclear even to those highly trained in it -- allows the series to move the narrative goal posts continuously.

Characters can continuously grow while never entirely running out of things to do because no matter how much knowledge they gain, it will never be enough to master magic fully. 

Quentin, Josh, and Julia research the Seven Keys - The Magicians Season 3 Episode 2

That's what "Heroes and Morons" felt like it did really well: move the goal posts while giving characters something to do. Fresh off The Magicians Season 3 Episode 1, we saw the start of quests both in Fillory and Brooklyn.

Though Eliot's ended on a better note, it still felt like a lot got done and was a solid follow-up to the season three premiere. 

"Getting a lot done" isn't always the case for The Magicians. Sometimes it feels like characters mull around in a circle, stepping into traps and only going two steps back.

Quentin, Alice, Josh, and Julia did sort of move in a circle, both in how they traveled around New York City and regarding finding their target Mayakovsky. But in the process, quite a few things were revealed, and they got an inch closer to finding their answer. 

We now know that there is still magic in the world thanks to Lipson and Mayakovsky's batteries.

Lipson's paranoia over the potential disappearance of magic and her battery possession convince me that the Brakebills professor is who Harriet was referring to when she told Kady magic was still hovering around in "The Tales of Seven Keys."

And if Lispon felt that way about the disappearance of magic, I can only imagine there are others who took similar precautions.

That's good news for Julia, Josh, and Quentin, who after traversing around the city trying to find a bear version of Mayakovsky, only managed to walk away with a broken battery and some cat splatter on their jeans. Meanwhile, Kady managed to snag a functional battery from Mayakovsky's new wife, Emily, after punching her out. 

I completely agree that bringing back magic is a pressing issue (people are jumping off buildings over it after all), but I can't find it in myself to be angry at Kady for stealing the battery to help Penny.

And based on the conversation between Julia, Josh, and Quentin after they realized how Kady got over on them, I can't imagine they will either. 

Speaking of their conversation, Josh is quirky, but he's becoming one of the most likable characters in the show. Empathy -- that has to be wrenched out of some characters --, often just flows through him.

He's a reminder of the team's humanity at certain points and why they should make good decisions, even if they aren't "right" for whatever the current mission is. 

This episode that "good decision" seemed to be letting Penny get better, even if it uses battery magic.

Alice Sees What's Hunting Her - The Magicians Season 3 Episode 2

After appearing somewhat sickly but still alive for a few minutes in "The Tales of Seven Keys," the traveler made a brief showing at the end of this episode. Looking even closer to death, Kady clearly plans to use the battery on him, and I suspect we'll see him healed in The Magicians Season 3 Episode 3.

With that said, I still would have liked to see more of him in"Heroes and Morons." Not only do I miss his general bitter and dry sense of humor, but the character is pretty smart and somewhat resourceful.

I imagine the team could use his help for their next leg of the mission. Hopefully, he won't be cured, just to be stuck in The Library again. 

Another person who made a brief, though more prominent than Penny, appearance: Alice. Alice somehow made her way into the main Brooklyn storyline this week by simply being her super smart self. But once there, she mostly just squawked at Quentin and had her adorable cat explode.

For what it's worth, her presence gave whatever is after her a chance to take over Quentin, so those two will probably have an interesting meeting next week. I'm crossing my fingers that it will seem them at least work out the open hostility thing, if not regaining trust between them.

They'll need each other, whether they like it or not, and there's enough constant bickering between the Brakebills crew as it is. 

As for Eliot, the episode went rather splendidly. Not only did he find his first key and complete his quest, but he didn't die while removing a terror from a village. That last part is of course in reference to Margo’s heartfelt farewell early on in the episode. 

The Search for Magic - The Magicians

Margo and Eliot spend a lot of time being the show's comedic humor, but this week we got to see them in a tender moment. The two always have great chemistry, but this scene felt particularly heartfelt and genuine. Their friendship is undeniably one of my favorite parts of the show.

In addition to catching an island murderer, Eliot's key quest also introduced his and Fen’s daughter in both a comical and appropriate way.

The self-referential genre humor cleverly eases us into the notion that as a major plot development, the baby can’t just disappear. But in reality, no one really has time to “take care of a baby” in a universe like this.

I will regret not getting to see Eliot attempt to change a diaper once (it would have been comedic gold) but loved that they played on and played up the rapid age baby trope.

I am intrigued by the idea of watching him potentially get attached to Fray. Eliot is a character that seems detached from the concept of parenthood, and yet, I think if he wanted to be, would make a great father.

The intro may also provide an opportunity to see Fen grow, hopefully in the direction of courage. She seems dedicated to the idea of family, and the Faerie Queen seems intent on emotional chaos, which to me means that Fen (and Eliot) may have to fight for their family at some point this season.

Overall, I appreciated the fun directions the episode took, from Eliot's sentient boat and his burgeoning fatherhood to the horrific awkwardness of Alice's exploding cat and the half-man half-dinosaur. This show always has some genuinely entertaining nuggets to offer, even when it gets super heavy.

If you want share your thoughts on The Magicians' "Heroes and Morons," comment below. And if haven't caught up, you can watch The Magicians online before coming back. 

Heroes and Morons Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (23 Votes)

Abbey White is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Magicians Season 3 Episode 2 Quotes

Emily: We met someone at a bar. Someone he owed something to.
Quentin: Maybe a battery?
Emily: I don’t know, honestly. It was a woman. Yeah, I really had to pee so I hit the ladies and I heard all this screaming. Next thing, he is hulking out of his clothes and he’s getting all hairy. He’s now full bear and he’s just tearing the place apart.
Quentin: But so you think it was that woman?
Emily: If it was and you find her, could you rip her fucking face off? Cause now I’m married to a zoo animal.

So we’re out of dough. Moola. Chedda. Money, people. Magic’s gone. We can’t even control the gold-shitting beetles anymore now that they’ve declared themselves free and disappeared. We’re about to be a third-world country on a planet with two-and-a-half countries.