The Magicians (Syfy, Mondays, 9/8C) has become this curious mix of Harry Potter and Narnia – with a healthy helping of WTF on all sides.
In The Writing Room, Quentin learns there’s a permanent key to Fillory if only he can find it – which leads him, Alice, Eliot and Penny into a danger they’ve never even imagined before.
With last week’s death of Eliza/Jane, Quentin (Jason Ralph) thinks he’s lost any chance of finding answers to the mysteries of Fillory until Penny admits that, although he threw out the manuscript of the sixth Fillory book (the only copy), he read it first – and in retelling what he remembered from it leads to a clue that leads them to England and the home of Fillory’s author, Christopher Plover (Charles O’Shaughnessy) – now turned into a museum.
Q, Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley, Penny (Arjun Gupta) and Eliot (Hale Appleman) visit the museum and discover that it is very, very haunted – by two differing shades of the Chatwin children (each signifying danger or the lack thereof).
They’re looking for a button that Jane (Rose Liston) brought back from Fillory and Martin (Seth Meriwether) had hidden in the house before he died. Prudence Plover (Rebecca Tilney) is an obstacle – even though she’s been dead for decades.
Meanwhile, Julia (Stella Maeve) is asked to help Kiera (Yaani King) a paralyzed young woman by using the spell that she used on Quentin back in The World in the Walls. She will learn something about magic and the world – and herself in a way that is totally unexpected.
In their search for the button, the four learn something about Plover that devastates Quentin and leaves Alice heartbroken.
Written by Sera Gamble and directed by James L. Conway, The Writing Room is a particularly dark episode – which might be expected as, early on, Quentin asks Alice if she’d break up with him if he told her he’s never been happier in his life.
The revelations that rock Quentin so thoroughly are built up subtly, culminating in a scene he and Alice are forced to quietly watch from hiding. Elsewhere in the house, Hale and Penny each find horrors as well.
While there’s nothing any of the four can do about the events in the Plover household – which are long since history, Julia is afforded an opportunity to make a kind of amends for what she did to Quentin. Unfortunately, as it so often is in life, it’s the hardest thing she may ever have to do.
As The Magicians head toward its season finale next week, The Writing Room gives us a lot to think about – in terms of what constitutes heroism; what making amends can mean; the price of overconfidence, and the fact that beauty can be born from ugliness, just as the opposite is also true.
Final Grade: A