The Magicians: Season 1 Episode 10 - "Homecoming", PopMatters (2023)

Compared to the abominable episode eight,"The Strangled Heart", and the extraordinary episode nine,"Table"Its tenth episode, "Homecoming," seems to be right in the middle in terms of quality. There's nothing really poof-poof, but at the same time nothing to really recommend it. It's pretty much an "extruded TV product" and one has to wonder if that's better than something that's downright dirty.

The narrative of this episode can be divided into four threads: Penny (Arjun Gupta); Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) and Quentin (Jason Ralph); Eliot (Hale Appleman) and Margo (Summer Bishil); and Julia (Stella Maeve) and Kady (Jade Tailor).

Penny, who touched Fillory's enchanted button at the end of "The Writing Room", is transported to "Holland" instead of Fillory. A potentially endless forest of springs that act as portals to different realities, the Bothlands include portals to Earth and Fillory. Penny, arriving at the landmark between the worlds, meets Eve (Katie Findlay), who introduces herself as a "native" to the realm and some sort of welcoming committee.

However, Eve is not all that she appears to be. When Penny reveals that she has the button for Fillory, Eve turns out to be some kind of assassin and Penny has to go on the run. She eventually arrives at a library in Wederland, whose only resident (Mageina Tovah) is unfazed by her sudden arrival. As the near-omniscient curator of a library in Babel, the librarian Penny offers to help her find her way back to the abyss of the earth. But lost, so to speak, Penny finds a series of books detailing her life, the lives of the other students at Brakebills and, bizarrely, the Chatwin brothers.


Penny asks permission to take the "Martin Chatwin" book and when the librarian turns down the opportunity, she photocopies excerpts from the book and argues with anticipated anger that Penny is the type of person who would try to steal it, and if she is forced to kill him she will probably it would damage some of his other books. she keeps banishing himminority message-Stil for his future crime, and Penny ends up returning to Wederlanden.

Penny's narrative thread provides the impetus for Alice and Quentin. When Penny enters Quentin's dreams to ask for help, Quentin and Alice must seek the help of another traveler. Alice is disgusted with the necessity of things: the only traveler she knows isIn other site. On a trip to the suburbs of Chicago, Alice takes Quentin to a modest house that is almost a mansion on the inside. Facing a literal Roman orgy, Quentin is led directly to an old man, who turns out to be Alice's father, Daniel (Tom Amandes). Alice herself goes upstairs to get help from her mother, Stephanie (Judith Hoag).

Alice and Quentin's story this week was fairly devoid of narrative, so let's wrap it up in the main points: Alice's parents are pastiches of 1960s-era laissez-faire, "unlimited" hippie parents, which apparently is a good omen for his own selfish abandonment of his children; "Joe" (Jonathan Scarfe), the interdimensional "friend" -Semen- Stephanie's poly rosary is the tool that Alice suggested to call Penny from Both countries; "Joe" can only use sex magic as the basis for his spells, which means that the only spell he can cast on Alice and Quentin to help them reach Penny requires them both to orgasm simultaneously. Follow "Laughter".

Eliot and Margo's story is but a brief side note to this episode. Eliot is in an existential crisis, with drug and alcohol abuse masking his depression, and Margo is in a more acute crisis as her "life force" has been depleted.spooky long distance effect-Styled after a former loser you probably met while on vacation in the last two episodes. With his life force being harnessed by the ancient Pygmalion to create a "Margolem" (ugh, it pains me to even write that damn pun), Margo must retrieve the constructed being. Meanwhile, Eliot has to deal with the fact that his reaction to Mike (Jesse Luken) hasn't been healthy and, as a result, his relationships with others are suffering.

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The final thread of the story runs through Julia's introduction to the "Free Trader Beowulf", a gang of powerful wizards outside of the Brakebills community. Richard (Mackenzie Astin) and most of the other members have been in contact for a long time, but their two newest members haven't even met. Julia is the first and it should come as no surprise that Kady is the second.

There is still bad blood between the two women, but over the shared loss of Hannah (Amy Pietz) and a bitter dose of humility they had to drink, an unspoken truce is established as they practice caning for the other Free Join members. Beowulf merchant. However, when magical residue from incredibly powerful spells leaks from the guest room Julia has reserved for the group, Richard must tell the two women the big secret: they practice linking their mind-bending magic to a power source.distantbigger than any magician.

I noticed that the authors ofthe Wizardsthey seem to have those moments of panic when they worry they aren't getting used to Lev Grossman's books enough. So instead of slowly working on individual plot elements of the book series, they start taking entire chapters of the book and compressing them into the episode space. We were spoiled with the Bothlands, Alice's parents, the free trader Beowulf and his meddling with the transcendent, and "Margolem" (ugh). Each of these things could take up an entire episode, and I felt cheated when we crammed four mangled episodes into one. We've seen this before:"Consequences of the Advanced Conjuration"comes to mind. Frankly, the writers can't do much more than juggle two stories. I don't think this is a knock on them, just a simple fact of the time: not even Stanley Kubrick could fit a four-episode-worthy story into 43 minutes.

Alice and Quentin's topic was: what should I call it? A sexual farce? I was reminded of the old British genre of sex comedy (Confessions of a window cleanerand such), but to be a sexual farce, a play must first be sexy; and second fun. Alice and Quentin's story fails on both of these hurdles. zero times two,the Wizards, zero to two. Continuing the series' proud claim for HBO's hood, we begin the A+Q narrative about Quentin's sex dream, which is a goofy, exploitative portrayal of Stella Maeve and Olivia Taylor Dudley.

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The "orgy" Alice and Quentin go to is hampered by cable restrictions, resulting in a Roman orgy featuring the most shocking things, fully clothed people making out on couches and men who...horror of horrors- paraded in chains (someone calls this patterns and practices!). Some of the episode is humorous in nature, but the humor featured well-used clichés so outdated that they went from "boring" to "scarily desperate":Hey, hippies don't shave their pubic hair!, miAren't female orgasms weird?

Arjun Gupta was also released this week. He rarely interacted with the rest of the main cast, and Penny spent time with the Bothlands residents mostly in a weak position, which meant Gupta didn't get much of a chance to do anything other than play defense this week. I can graciously say that this week's Penny thread was harmless at best. I liked the way the Northlands were presented, and I liked Mageina Tovah's all-knowing librarian. But Penny acted on behalf of the audience as the "confused everyman," and it's clear that the writers only served as surrogates for the audience to explain plot details included in the book.

If Penny's narrative thread was insubstantial, Eliot and Margo's thread didn't even reach that legendary height. There was no action, no threat, no climax or resolution. It seemed that Summer Bishil and Hale Appleman were contractually bound to perform.Xtimes this season, and the writers had to put them somewhere. We can only guess where Margo's ex is from, as it's left unclear who this stranger is when he suddenly appears in the episode. And despite the fact that he's scary and desperate enough to turn a woman into a doppelganger sex slave who wants nothing to do with him stealing her life force, he just turns around and lets Margo the Golem take control.

Yes, Eliot is being punished for his addictions by overriding his better judgment, but it's just a best friends fight, not a true moment of coming to Jesus. His story ends with a fizz. What's really surprising is how little I liked what Hale Appleman got this week. Summer Bishil plays a lovely alpha female, but for someone who should be on the fence about drugs and alcohol and unknowingly screams for help, Eliot just plays a cliché addicted "dork." Both Eliot's predicament and Margo's disapproval make it clear that this is a serious situation, but the dialogue turns to laughter (see 7:05 for a pathetic example of what I mean). Hale Appleman manages to snap it out of oblivion with his well-acted monologue at the end, but it's a case oftoo little too late.

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I think the story that had the most "meat" this week was Julia and Kady, which is kind of pathetic considering how fragile that turned out to be. I liked the scene where the Free Trader Beowulf members appeared to Julia. I believed in the performance between Stella Maeve and Jade Tailor; They acted like Julia and Kady weren't the best of friends but were ready to meet halfway. That seemed entirely appropriate given the history between the two characters.

While Julia and Kady's story was a lovely vignette, it suffered from being on hold. Once again, it felt like a bunch of plot fell into the audience's lap, and we were told, "This needs to be known for future episodes!" Nothing about Julia and Kady's story was relevant in Homecoming. Perhaps the information they gave us would be interesting in a future episode, but it did absolutely nothing for the episode I just watched.

Since "Homecoming" basically consisted of four episodes that were cut and recorded together, I did something a little different by giving a numerical score. Rather than look at the episode as a whole, I graded each narrative thread and averaged the total: Alice and Quentin's was a 4, Penny's a 6 (simply because I was intrigued by Nonelande's introduction), Eliot and Margo's was a 5 and Julia's and Kady's was a 6.

Overall "Homecoming" got a 5. I think it's appropriate that they named the episode after a school event, if only because "Homecoming" felt more like a study guide for a test than a TV episode.

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