The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8 Review: Garden Variety Homicide

at .

Well, that didn't go according to plan.

Despite our heroes best laid plan to kill Seb on The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8, his death didn't actually stick. 

They probably should have made sure his corpse was cold before planning their escape route, but there's no need to quibble over the execution of the plan just yet. 

That super fun conversation will come just before they're all executed for treason. 

Julia, Fen, Eliot, and Margo - The Magicians

My biggest question is how Seb managed to resurrect?

He was clearly dead, yet he somehow came back to life.

Did Eliot as Margo and Josh chop down the wrong tree? Did Julia stab Seb before his vitality conduit had been severed? Is he a god in disguise and can't easily be killed? Can he just not die at all?

I need answers, and we're going to have to wait a least a week for answers. Why is the world so cruel sometimes?

Thoughtful Seb - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8

The irony of it all is there was another way to overthrow Seb that didn't involve all of the murderous escapes.

Had they given Eliot's diplomatic approach more time, Seb may have stepped down on his own.

Fen: The Takers, that’s how he stays in power. He summons them, and only he can fight them.
Josh: Jesus, I go away to my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah for one week, and then everything gets fakakta. What are we going to do?
Margo: We got to kill the Dark King. What, we’re all thinking it.
Josh: Eli’s Torah portion was all about the sanctity of life, and I found it very moving. So, can’t we, I don’t know, peacefully overthrow him?
Margo: No, we can’t. He’s got a centurion army. I should know, I’m one of them.
Eliot: Also 300 years of propaganda convincing everyone they need them.
Fen: Also, also, 300 years, we’re talking a powerful immortal magician. Doubt you can just walk up and stab the guy.
Margo: I’ve been researching: The Dark King survived seven assassination attempts since he took our thrones.
Julia: Must be big magic keeping him alive. We have to figure out what it is, find out his weakness.
Josh: You’re on board with this too?
Julia: I mean, I’m here to stop an apocalypse that happens because an evil force invades from a distant realm. That sounds like the Takers.
Margo: Then it’s settled. We kill the Dark King, stop the Takers from pouring in, stop the apocalypse. Who’s in?

The Dark King certainly seemed open to the idea before Margo as Eliot tried to kill him. Nothing like attempted regicide to make you rethink your choices.

What I'm curious about is why Seb can't step down. 

Dark King 2 - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 4

The whole power-hungry persona who summons Takers just to stay in power doesn't seem to meld with the vulnerable king shrouded in grief.

Is Seb that good of a manipulator, or is something else driving him?

He told Eliot he made a choice years ago, believing it was the only way to save Fillory.

Does him abdicating the throne somehow put Fillory in mortal danger?

Seb - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

Is he only summoning the Takers to ensure he stays in power because if he left, something worse would happen?

What if him stepping down triggers the evil force that will invade from a distant realm?

Seb: Being a king, nobody knows what it’s really like.
Eliot: Seb, do you think you could ever step down?
Seb: I have to be king.
Eliot: You don’t have to be anything. I could help you.
Seb: Eliot, I appreciate your concern more than I can say. This is my burden; I can’t leave.
Eliot: Is it something we can fix? A spell or a curse of some kind?
Seb: A choice I made a long time ago, tied to a conduit. I thought it was the only way I could save Fillory.

There's so much we still don't know about this character, but after this episode, I'm wondering if he truly qualifies as a Big Bad. 

After The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7, I was willing to write Seb off, but now, I'm more confused than ever.

What else is new?

Distressed Margo and Eliot - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8

Cliché transition aside, the Freaky Friday flip was also a first for the series.

We've seen characters glamoured as others -- most recently Kady as Natasha during the "heist" on The Magicians Season 5 Episode 5 -- but I think body-swapping is a new one for the series.

Watching Hale Appleman play Margo as Eliot and Summer Bishil play Eliot as Margo was pure fun and added levity amongst the more somber moments.

I'm not sure who "played" it better, but I felt Appleman was able to capture Margo's inner Bambi and just let it rip.

Confused Eliot - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8

But with the good comes the bad, though, as "Margo" and Josh finally had that much-needed talk, except it was Eliot as Margo participating in said conversation.

Though Josh got to say his peace, his words fell on deaf ears. All he wanted was to be heard, but Margo couldn't even him that.

Eliot as Margo: So you’ve been wanting to talk to me for weeks about what happened between us, but when I finally apologize you accuse me of being possessed.
Josh: Right, apologize, does that sound like Margo to you?
Eliot as Margo: Fine, maybe I was saying what you wanted to hear because you never let up. You keep trying to get me to talk about something I don’t want to talk about.
Josh: OK, fine, I get that.
Eliot as Margo: You want to know the truth: You picked someone who will never put first. There’s no fixing Margo -- I mean me -- because chances are if I had to relive it, I’d make the same decision. So stop asking me to apologize for something I don’t feel sorry about.
Josh: Now you sound like you.

The sad thing is Josh probably would have accepted Margo telling him she didn't want to talk about, and they should just move on from it with a clean slate, or apologizing for leaving him in the past but saying she would do it again to save Fillory.

When Margo had that initial conversation with Josh and Fen about leaving them in the past on The Magicians Season 5 Episode 3, she explained why she did it, but she never apologized for her actions.

Happy Margo - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8

If Margo had "ovaried up" and said to Josh something along the lines of, 'I'm sorry I left you in past Fillory, but I'd do it again. If you've got a problem with it, then that's on you, but I did what I had to save my kingdom,' then things may have turned out differently.

Josh respects that Margo is a strong independent woman and loves her because of it, not in spite of it.

All Josh wanted was assurance that Margo still cared about him. He didn't necessarily need an apology, he just needed to feel like he mattered to her.

Now, they're even further apart from where they started at the beginning of the season -- and yes, I say this knowing they were separated by 300 years -- and it's unclear if they can move past this.

This may have been the beginning of the end for Margosh.

Margo + Josh - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 3

As for beginnings, Julia could possibly be facing a whole new chapter in her life, as this episode revealed she is pregnant.

While unsurprisingly considering actress Stella Maeve was expecting while filming this season, the series had managed to hide Maeve's baby bump by putting Julia in loose-fitting clothing.

Julia: Uh hey Fen, can I ask you something?
Fen: Yeah.
Julia: Lately, I’ve just been feeling a little bit off. If we were on earth, I’d know what to do, but is there like a magic plant or something out here that I can pee on to find out if I’m …
Bunny: Pregnant.
Julia: Shit.

That will no longer be necessary as Julia, like her portrayer, has a bun baking in the oven.

While new, it seems as though the writers will have Julia's pregnancy include the TV trope of "express delivery," as a way to magically accelerate the character's pregnancy.

Julia talking - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8

Though contrived, a sped up pregnancy in Fillory isn't out of left field for the show.

Trope aside, I'm open to the possibility of a pregnant Julia, mostly because of the character work Maeve will get to do.

As Julia told Fen this episode, the former goddess has been pregnant before, and that was just a shit show all around, to say the least.

For those who need a refresher, Julia got pregnant in The Magicians Season 2 after she was raped by the trickster god Reynard.

Julia + Penny - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

Then when she was finally able to get an abortion, she lost her shade in the process.

That whole ordeal was a nightmare for Julia and being pregnant again is bound to bring up those painful memories.

Fen: Julia, let me take over. Rest is good for the baby.
Julia: Not a baby, still baking.
Fen: But it’ll become a baby. You do know how this works, right?
Julia: Look Fen, I just want to live my life without this defining every aspect of it, you get me.
Fen: OK, well if that’s the truth, why haven’t you done something about it? It’s not a hard procedure, even in Fillory.
Julia: You think I should abort it?
Fen: I’m saying you should make a choice. You’re letting something into your life that you can’t control and in lots of ways will control you. It’ll make you happy or devastate you.
Julia: I’ve been pregnant before, and it was really bad, and I knew this time if I told everyone about it, they’d get worried and overprotective. And I just wanted to take one of the next nine months to feel like maybe this time it wouldn’t be so terrible, you know.
Fen: Nine months, what are you talking about? It’s Red Monkey month.
Julia: Red Monkey what?
Fen: Everything grows faster in Red Monkey month -- healing, crop growth, weirdly not monkeys.
Julia: Are you saying my pregnancy’s going to be sped up?
Fen: Julia, it already is, as long as you stay in Fillory.
Julia: Oh Jesus Christ.

While the circumstances are different this time -- she and Penny had a consensual relationship built on love-adjacent feelings -- this pregnancy could still be retraumatizing for her.

And now, up against the clock, she doesn't even have the luxury of time to sit down and sort through all of these complex emotions.

Julia - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

She's going to be forced to make a decision soon, or it'll be made for her.

We, as an audience, can sympathize with her plight, but as outsiders looking in, we have no right to judge her choices.

Whatever path Julia chooses, it'll be the right one for her.

Alice stern - The Magicians

Back at Brakebills, things didn't go any smoother for Alice and Penny who found themselves facing a conscious fungus that possessed the students all to get one single page from Alice.

Last week there was a murderous Fogg from a different timeline; this week it was a murderous fungus.

Alice: Ray, what do you make of …
Ray: All right glasses, I’m going to say a word you don’t know: phyllotaxis.
Alice: The arrangement of leaves around a central stalk.
Ray: Oh, you’re one of those.
Alice: Says the arrogant dime a dozen academic with a plant fetish.

Just another average day at Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy when you think about it.

The creepy fungal spores aside, this story arc seems to be setting up another mystery for the remaining five episodes, which centers around the page Alice found among Quentin's possessions.

Alice2 - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 1

This is the same page a young Quentin was unable to translate on The Magicians Season 5 Episode 2, though now we have some answers about it.

The page is an instruction manual for the world seed, something that is pure potential, meaning that, with the right nurturing, it can grow into almost anything, even an entire world.

That may not seem like a lot of information, but fans of the books series should recognize the idea.

The final book in the trilogy "The Magician's Land" ends with Quentin and Alice exploring a new magical realm they created with a seed pod.

Quentin and Alice - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 13

What if the TV show is planning on creating an entire new land for our characters to explore? From there, the possibilities are endless.

That's a long way off, though, considering the characters only have the instruction manual at this point.

Penny: What the hell was Coldwater doing with instructions to something so powerful?
Alice: I have no idea.

Something like the world seed is bound to be dangerous to get and even more so to have in your possession, especially with some evil entity called The Couple looking for the instruction manual.

It's a risky undertaking, but Alice will likely see it through, given the page was in Quentin's possession when he died.

Alice - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 7

It's a way for her to hold on to a piece of him for a little bit longer, and she's not ready to let go quite yet.

She's also not ready for a new love interest, though I'm not sure if that's what the writers are setting up between her and Hamish.

The new botany professor is a nice guy, but I can't see him with Alice.

I did appreciate Hamish consoling Alice about loss, but anything beyond friendship at this point would be a mistake.

Hamish - The Magicians

Yes, this could be interpreted as hypocritical since I had little objection to the timing of Eliot's new flirtationship with Seb.

I will concede that fact, but at least in that case, the chemistry between Eliot and Seb could cause a wildfire with one strike of the match.

Alice: How long ago?
Hamish: Five years. You?
Alice: A lot less. So, how long until it feels less like it’s eating all of you?
Hamish: I’m kinda still waiting.
Alice: I just feel like I’m gonna be swalking whatever I am forever.
Hamish: I did too. It starts like this tight ball in your chest, but over time it gets lighter because it just kind of spreads into the rest of you.
Alice: It’s like your own personal symbiote.
Hamish: Yeah, kind of, except not murderous and weirdly paper-focused. Just sad.
Alice: Yeah.
Hamish: Make it to a year. It’ll still suck, but it gets quieter. I promise.

I mean, did you see that kiss? That was electric incarnate; I could feel the heat coming through my TV screen. (Maybe a tad hyperbolic, but I think it did the trick).

With Alice and Hamish, there's no spark to speak of. 

They may share the loss of a loved one, but that isn't enough to build a relationship on.

Eliot and Charlton - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8

Some stray thoughts:

  • When I said I wanted the subplot surrounding Kady's search for the stolen book depository to disappear, I didn't mean for Kady to vanish along with it. Please, Powers That Be, send Kady back to us, and I'll try to be less critical. 

  • Since I'm asking, can Fen be more than a maid, please? Sure, she was part of the plot to kill Seb, but she still found herself doing Margo's laundry. At least, she got some screen time of worth this episode as Julia's confidante, but Fen still deserves better. She always has.

Julia and Fen - The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8
  • Fogg 17 may be psychotic, but he's still got the same dry sense of humor as our Fogg. I think it's safe to say, Fogg's a drunken delight in every timeline.

  • Looks like the cat, er I mean, the Charlton is out of the bag. Margo as Eliot meeting him was everything. Just another reason why he needs to stick around.

  • Was anyone else laughing when Seb was visibly distressed over the children being snatched up by the Takers? He was like, 'It's all my fault,' and I was like, 'Well duh.'

So what did you think The Magicians Fanatics?

Why didn't Seb stay dead? 

What are your thoughts on Julia's pregnancy?

What do you make of this new mystery surrounding the instruction manual for the world seed?

Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, no fear. You can watch The Magicians online right here at TV Fanatic.

Garden Variety Homicide Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (11 Votes)

Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

Show Comments
Tags: ,

The Magicians Season 5 Episode 8 Quotes

Eliot: I’m not sure I can go through with this.
Margo: El, you have a crush on a boy who’s bad for you -- happens to all of us -- but how do we get crushes out of our system?
Eliot: Lots of drinking, pining, some detailed sex fantasies?
Margo: No, we bang them out.
Eliot: OK, that’s great except for the part where now I have to murder the guy I hypothetically slept with, which is a thing that shouldn’t really happen to a person more than once.

Fen: The Takers, that’s how he stays in power. He summons them, and only he can fight them.
Josh: Jesus, I go away to my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah for one week, and then everything gets fakakta. What are we going to do?
Margo: We got to kill the Dark King. What, we’re all thinking it.
Josh: Eli’s Torah portion was all about the sanctity of life, and I found it very moving. So, can’t we, I don’t know, peacefully overthrow him?
Margo: No, we can’t. He’s got a centurion army. I should know, I’m one of them.
Eliot: Also 300 years of propaganda convincing everyone they need them.
Fen: Also, also, 300 years, we’re talking a powerful immortal magician. Doubt you can just walk up and stab the guy.
Margo: I’ve been researching: The Dark King survived seven assassination attempts since he took our thrones.
Julia: Must be big magic keeping him alive. We have to figure out what it is, find out his weakness.
Josh: You’re on board with this too?
Julia: I mean, I’m here to stop an apocalypse that happens because an evil force invades from a distant realm. That sounds like the Takers.
Margo: Then it’s settled. We kill the Dark King, stop the Takers from pouring in, stop the apocalypse. Who’s in?