Imagine a world without the internet, but then you embark on an epic quest with your friends to get it back. After an exhausting adventure full of death and betrayal, you succeed. But the government hijacks your plan and gains full control over the internet, regulating all information and even access speeds. There are shortages everywhere, and not even Harvard University gets enough to teach a proper class.
That’s what The Magicians Season 3 was, but instead of internet access speeds, it’s access to magic.
The final note of the season depicts a dystopia in which net neutrality is obliterated, a magical allegorical representation of what the real world might soon look like. The Magicians were able to restore magic after they found the seven Golden Keys, but that didn’t stop the Library from hijacking the whole thing and gaining complete control over the new Wellspring.
Maybe The Magicians has always been an extended allegory for the net neutrality war? We just didn’t realize it until it was too late.
You can point the finger at the Library, or co-conspirator Dean Fogg, but for Alice Quinn, she feels like it’s all her fault after betraying her friends at the Castle at the End of the World, helping the Library gain control over magic.
“Her guilt is raging through her at the end of the season,” actress Olivia Taylor Dudley tells Inverse about the final scene of Alice locked in a cell. “It’s entirely her fault — that’s what she thinks. She thought she was making the right decisions, but obviously wasn’t.”
Inverse caught up with Olivia Taylor Dudley, the actress that plays Alice Quinn, to talk the finale and what’s next for her character and the world of The Magicians.
“I wouldn’t put it past the writers and creators,” she said when asked about how the show could relate to net neutrality. “We’re definitely not afraid talking about political topics on the show and drawing comparisons to the real world. The power of magic can represent all sorts of things, including global warming and even this.”
Despite making some questionable choices that Alice made in the back-half of the season, Taylor Dudley reassures us that she’s the furthest thing from a villain. In fact, she might be the only hero left that can save everyone in Season 4.
Taylor Dudley explained that in the very end of Season 3, Alice is “pissed at Dean Fogg” especially, but she also realizes that he’s her only remaining ally — if anyone helps her escape, it’ll probably be him. The cast hasn’t received any scripts or details for Season 4, but with almost everyone’s memories erased, Alice is the only Magician that can do anything about the Library’s hold on magic. That’s not even considering the terrifying new monster they unleashed in the process.
“She’ll have to break out of jail and then try to save everybody,” Taylor Dudley said. “I would hope her first goal would be to track everybody down and fix this. She’s the only one that can help them.” Alice has long been considered the most powerful mission, so if anyone can solo the most difficult task ever, it’s her.
The Season 3 finale successfully wove together a few the disparate plot threads we’ve seen throughout the season: Why were Harriet and Victoria at war with the library, fighting for free information? We find out just how important that war was when the Library gains full control over magic and we’re shown a world in which a singular governing body controls every piece of information and power available.
Net neutrality is dead for the Magicians, giving them a world where regulated access to magic looks perhaps even worse than losing magic altogether.
The Magicians will get a Season 4, but production is far from getting started.