The second season premiere of The Magicians (Syfy, Wednesdays, 9/8C), Knight of Crowns, finds our protagonists stuck in Fillory while Julia attempts to gain The Beast’s aid in her taking revenge on Reynard, the Fox – while he has an intriguing counter offer for her.
The teaser finds Quentin (Jason Ralph) running through the forest until he encounters a character that seems to be right out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Her aid requires payment – even if it turns out it wasn’t actually needed – Fillory’s folk might seem whimsical, but they’re not. The teaser also provide the headline…
Once Quentin is reunited with Eliot (Hale Appleman), Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Margo (Summer Bishil) and Penny (Arjun Gupta), they learn that Fillory is very literal-minded place – Eliot may be High King, but that and a gold piece might get them a cuppa. Without his crown, he can’t get them the help they’ll need.
But first, Penny has to get his hands reattached – and there will undoubtedly be magic involved (in more ways than one). Cue exiled Russian professor.
As for how everyone’s not dead, thank Alice…
Back on Earth, Julia (Stella Maeve) has worked out an agreement with The Beast (Charles Mesure) – who has a counter offer. It seems he thinks she would be a welcome collaborator. All she has to do is part with something precious…
Showrunner Sera Gamble provided the script for Knight of Crowns (the title alludes to an interesting character we meet briefly) and Chris Fisher directed.
Parallels between Fillory and Narnia continue, though subsequent eps will also play on the Harry Potter goes to college vibe that was established in season one (and in one case, literally!).
Right now, though, Gamble and Fisher present an hour that provides magic on both grand and intimate scales – and obstacles of a unique and appropriate manner to force our Fillory foursome into thinking outside the box. Plan on the casually arrogant Penny to make a mistake when he thinks he can handle things the same way in Fillory as he would back home.
If season one of The Magicians did a lovely job of setting up the worlds of Lev Grossman’s novels – both on Earth and in Fillory, season two looks to be even more intriguing as every aspect of the production is smoother and more real.
The characters can be taught (well, maybe except Penny – we’ll see…) and the lessons they’ve learned thus fair begin to pay off in season two. They’ve been learning the rules by which both worlds operate and are finding ways to use that.
Knight of Crowns is the most assured episode of the series, thus far, and the balance of light (Fillory) and dark (The Beast on Earth) feels right.
All of the principals have gotten their characters to the point that Gamble is beginning to let them stretch (speaking of stretching: Quentin smiles more in Knight of Crowns than he did in all of season one).
In front of and behind the cameras, The Magicians is living up to its vast potential. This is a killer show and it looks like it’s only going to get better – and be even more fun.
Final Grade: A