Having a magical, telepathically linked clone of yourself which enables to you be two places at the same time raises a lot of tantalizing possibilities — and the latest episode of The Magicians answers one of the first questions any normal person would have about such a scenario: What would happen if you and your telepathically linked clone had sex at the same time? When Eliot sends a “golem” of himself back to Earth, he experiences the weirdest threesome ever. Or is it a foursome?
Spoilers ahead for The Magicians Season 2, Episode 4, “The Flying Forest.”
Because Eliot deems it necessary to both continue to rule Fillory and head back to Brakebills simultaneously, he and Margo create a duplicate body which allows him to do double-duty in both worlds. As usual, everything concerning Eliot continues to be the most delightful part of The Magicians in general and this season in particular. He succeeds at being relatable while also getting to experience the most playful aspects of the magical fantasy intrinsic to the show’s narrative. So, when Eliot has sex with a guy he picks up at a party on Earth and with his wife in Fillory at the same time, it’s a hoot. It’s a microcosm of what can be good about The Magicians or as Den Fogg says in this episode: “proof that a sentence can contain comedy and tragedy at the same time.”
See, where Syfy’s TV version of The Magicians has no problem coming up with imaginative comedic situations, it often comes up short when it comes to drama. Watching Penny and Quentin navigate the Flying Forest only to discover it gets them high as a kite is hilarious. Quentin having to chop off Penny’s hands again is also ghoulishly funny. But does anyone really care about Julia and Kady tracking down another super-secret spell hidden in the Brakebills library?
Combined with the action of last week’s episode and the fun of “The Flying Forest,” the second season of The Magicians is now really starting to get going. If the previous episode and this one were combined, they would have made a much stronger two-hour season debut than some of the growing pains in episodes one and two. But, while mid season finales are a thing, mid season premieres are somewhat less common.
With “The Flying Forest,” The Magicians regrows Penny’s hands for the second time in two episodes and brings Marina back from the dead (briefly) even though she only died last week. With the Beast dead and Julia on the warpath to take out Reynard, the stakes of the season are oddly confusing. Should we be worried about Fillory and the magic leaking out? It seems like Eliot and Margo will handle it. How about Penny and his hands? That’s fixed. Maybe we should worry about Julia enacting her revenge? Julia is a baddass. Right?
With the comedy firmly in place, the question of finding the real drama seems to rest on Quentin Coldwater’s shoulders. After successfully hunting a “Questing Beast” called “The White Lady” (a shout-out to both The Magician King and Narnia), a depressed Quentin asks to be magically transported back to Earth. Alice can’t be brought back from the dead, so Quentin doesn’t see the point of continuing on in Fillory as a King. This mirrors the end of the first book, where a similarly depressed Quentin went back to an office job to avoid the pain of Alice’s death.
As Quentin dumps his bow and arrow into a real-life garbage can on the streets of New York, The Magicians is gambling on his tragic story becoming the drama we invest in completely, which might actually work. But if it doesn’t work, it’s okay because Eliot’s hilarious antics just got literally doubled.