There’s a lot going on in the latest episode The Magicians: Julia’s homicidal mania, Quentin almost losing his mind, and Reynard’s secret son, but enough of all that. Who needs major plot points when Eliot, Margo, and Fen burst into the most famous song from Les Misérables? Literally, everything that happened on this episode of The Magicians was overshadowed by the moment when everyone in Fillory sang “One Day More.”
Spoilers ahead for The Magicians Season 2, Episode 9: “Lesser Evils.”
When Eliot figures out that a war with the Lorians can be avoided if he duels with the Lorian king one-on-one, he decides to learn how to fight with a sword. To improve Eliot’s chances, Fen hooks him up with a special sword, Margo helps out with cool spells, and the royal court offers advice about getting in touch with weird faeries from another dimension. This eventually leads them to sing “One Day More” from Les Misérables, since Margo determines singing can also help with magical mojo. Actor Hale Appleman’s singing as Eliot is admirable, and everyone else … is also singing.
Eliot’s swordfight itself is vaguely inspired by a similar confrontation he has with the Lorians in the third Magicians book, The Magicians Land, though in that version, it wasn’t a king-to-king battle, but Eliot versus a Viking dude instead. In the show, after the fight starts, the Lorian king “bitches out” and runs into the forest. Eliot pursues his opponent and the two end up having a heart-to-heart on a tree. The result? Eliot decides to marry the rival king because, under magical law, he’s allowed a wife and a husband. And despite the polyamory and the impending doom of a terrible Rumpelstiltskin-esque deal Margo made with the fairies, there are no follow-up songs from Les Misérables, nor any other musicals.
The “One Day More” moment actually making it into the episode is surprising, because one-half of the showrunning team on The Magicians hates musical theater. When Inverse spoke to showrunners Sera Gamble and John McNamara in February, the pair revealed that while McNamara loves musicals, Gamble is not a fan. Back in Episode 2 of this season, the Beast was singing quite a bit, which got on Julia’s nerves. McNamara revealed this scene was meta: “When Julia says, ‘Is that a real song or are you just trying to get me to shove needles into my ears?’ That’s an actual Sera Gamble line,” he explained, adding, “and in Episode 9, you’re going to want to literally shove needles in your ears.”
And now, with the Les Misérables number in this episode, the moment McNamara teased has actually happened, proving literally anything can happen on a show about magic, even characters bursting into song for no reason.
The Magicians airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on Syfy.