'The Magicians' Reveals the Dark Magic of Clickbait 

In our world, internet lists dominate popular websites like BuzzFeed, but in the fantasy world of the The Magicians, we learn that the real reason people click on these articles is probably because of a complicated spell.

Spoilers ahead for Season 2, Episode 10 of The Magicians: “The Girl Who Told Time”

This week, Kady and Penny hit up the offices for the fictional website “FuzzBeat,” and discover the so-called “listicles” written for the internet are all just covers for secret encoded magic. That’s right, lists about pandas aren’t just lists about pandas; they’re really secret magic spells that are hiding just beyond our world. But, that’s just one alternate world that’s visited.

The latest episode is all about the magical multiverse, and not just the weird world of magicians who secretly run websites that churn out content. While Kady and Penny track down a long-overdue book from the nice magician lady who manages FuzzBeat, Quentin sees Julia’s “shade” in an alternate world.

When alternate universes happen in science fiction, there’s usually a portal or time travel involved. But in the fantasy world of The Magicians, it’s a drug high. And who do you turn to get high with in The Magicians? That would be Josh Hoberman, the fantasy equivalent of a dude-bro. Author Lev Grossman told Inverse back in January that “The words ‘Josh’ and ‘dope’ occur pretty often in close proximity.” Here, Josh hooks Quentin up with some hard magical narcotics that allow him to “see into other worlds.” When Quentin gets high, he glimpses a 12-year-old spirit of Julia that is really her “shade,” or dark spirit, and he freaks out. All of this leads to a madcap chase to track down Julia’s shade and restore it to Julia IRL. Thanks to Dean Fogg, a proper sci-fi multiverse gateway is employed in which Quentin briefly chats with an alternate dimension version of Alice.

A glimpse of the dragon that is certainly coming next week.

But, like a viral post that’s really a magic spell, all of this is a smokescreen for a bigger reveal. The episode concludes in what will end up becoming the biggest game changer on The Magicians yet: a talking dragon. In the final moments, Julia and Quentin stumble upon some deep magic about an “ancient one,” and it’s a drawing of a dragon. Fans of the book The Magician King (the one where Quentin chills with Josh a lot) will recognize the drake as a major character who gives Quentin all sorts of stuff, including a button to travel between worlds. We haven’t met this dragon on the TV version of the series, yet. But if this tease is what we think it is, then the next few articles you click on about The Magicians will be filled not with cute pandas or secret spells, but, instead, with dragons.

The Magicians airs Wednesdays on Syfy at 9 p.m. Eastern.

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