“The Girl Who Told Time” is a filler episode, but a compelling and thoughtful one, with more than its fair share of great Magicians one-liners.
It opens with Julia at Brakebills, in one of the alternate realities Jane Chatwin had created in an attempt to kill the Beast, and for the first time, we get a full understanding of how tragic it was that in our universe, she never got to attend. Julia is brilliant and creative, with a “knowledge” discipline focused on the discovery of new magic. When she finds out she’s going to live in the attic above the library, her face fills with pure Ravenclaw joy. You can write out an entire happy future for Julia from that short scene: excelling at Brakebills, creating new spells, a continued friendship with Quentin. But then it’s back to the real world, where Julia, shade-less and broken, is let out of a cell after her ill-fated encounter with Reynard last episode.
In Fillory, Eliot has become groom-zilla planning his second Fillory wedding, this time to the King of Loria, while poor supportive Fen plays “supportive first wife,” holding it together for a baby that she doesn’t yet know is going to be taken away by creepy fairies. “You are being way more understanding about this than I would be in your shoes,” Eliot says to her, and I fully agree. God bless Fen. She’s the best singer and has the best hair and it’s a miracle she hasn’t murdered everyone in the castle and declared herself ruler alongside her FU Fighter sidepiece who, as it turns out, still probably wants to kill Eliot.
Even though it’s only been a few days on earth, it’s been three months on Fillory of, as Margo calls him, Emo Quentin, depressed after letting niffin-Alice out of his back (wow, these recaps become very weird very quickly). She needs Quentin non-depressed to help out with Eliot, panicking about his upcoming nuptials, but mostly his sinking approval rating with the Fillorian people, currently at 26% (how could he possibly be doing worse than Donald Trump?).
While Quentin is tripping on magical drugs (“they don’t have Abilify in Fillory”) he sees Julia’s 12-year-old self, her shade, and decides to go back to earth and help her. (A sidenote: did he get the button back? This television show has just made the decision that it is super easy to go back and forth between Earth and Fillory and nothing that ever needs to be discussed.)
On a fun but unrelated side-mission, Kady and newly-minted librarian Penny go to the BuzzFeed offices (okay, “FuzzBeat.” Whatever.) to get a book back from the wonderful Marlee Matlin, who reveals that all clickbait is magic and that the Library really does have information on how to kill a god, hidden in the incredibly dangerous and ominously-named “Poison Room,” the room that a librarian killed himself in order to avoid opening while under a magical spell.
In their attempt to learn more about shades, Julia and Quentin go to Dean Fogg who reveals the real expert on the subject is…. Alice. But Alice in another universe, one where she didn’t die (didn’t they say that everyone always died in the other time loops?). That plot hole aside, it’s a wonderfully sweet moment between Alice and Quentin in different universes that reminded me of the Tenth Doctor and Rose on the beach in Doctor Who—they can’t touch and they don’t have much time, but they want to make things as right as they can. Unlike Doctor Who, The Magicians hasn’t fully grasped how to employ tears and a sweeping score to make these moments majestic and heartbreaking. It never feels as climactic as it should. The same is true of the moment when the terrifying fairy finally comes for Fen’s baby: it’s sad, mostly in part to excellent acting, but it doesn’t feel as horrifying as it could’ve if the right song had been used.
We end the episode with a bit of information to move forward: To get a shade, you need to go to the underworld, and for that you’ll need the help of a dragon. Move over, Game of Thrones.
Really great lines from this episode
- “Those grapes died for nothing now”
- “Haven’t you ever noticed? Fogg isn’t that helpful.”
- “Rapist monsters are a universal problem”
- “There’s this earth magician, Nate Silver.” (Note: can he really be considered a magician after this election?)
- “And now the FU Fighters are going to red my wedding!”
- “Nicola Tesla?” “No, Fred Flection.”
- “Would it be weird if I fucked Josh?”