I can’t help but be happy about how Syfy’s The Magicians season four has been handling the queer relationship between Quentin and Eliot. Here’s hoping other shows consider following suit.
Shipping isn’t anything new in fandom. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if slash pairings existed the moment the first ever story was told to humanity. However, even though the shipping fandom has always been around, it has continued to be looked at as something unsightly (especially male-male pairings).
Many creators and fans don’t want anything to do with it because they blame shippers for making fandoms toxic.
Examples include Teen Wolf, Voltron, Sherlock, and Supernatural to name a few.
The fact some creators and fans can’t even think, for just one second, certain fictional characters can be queer is homophobic, as far as my opinion is concerned.
That is why seeing The Magicians supporting a slash pairing (without queerbaiting) was a breath of fresh air.
Back in The Magicians season 3 episode 5 “A Life in a Day,” Quentin and Eliot spent their lives together in an alternate timeline as a loving family. The episode aired on February 7, 2018, and it was something TV show fandoms hadn’t seen before.
However, as the season progressed, the specific relationship development between them wasn’t focused on until “Escape From the Happy Place” (episode 5 of season 4).
For those who don’t know, Quentin Coldwater and Eliot Waugh are two of the main male characters in the series. While Eliot is openly queer, Quentin (as far as I can tell) was presented as straight. Over the course of the story, certain fans began to notice Quentin might not be that straight after all. As usual, such fans were told by others in the fandom to remain quiet and keep their queer shipping inclinations to themselves.
Instead of The Magicians going against such fans and making them feel embarrassed for wanting Quentin and Eliot to be a couple, the writers saw the chemistry between these characters and decided to build on it.
In “A Life in the Day,” they shared a loving relationship and even raised a child together. They also had grandchildren!
The episode ended with them returning to the present timeline while retaining the memories of their life together. It felt like a bittersweet offering to Queliot shippers. Would the show ever address their love for each other again?
Then came “Escape From the Happy Place” and it was made clear the writers had plans for the two male leads. With Eliot trapped in his own mind due to an ancient monster (don’t make me recap the entire thing!), his past with Quentin is what allowed him to break free (for a bit) to let Quentin know he was still alive.
The episode showed how they had a conversation after the end of “A Life in the Day” and Eliot was the one who turned down Quentin because of fear. It was a wonderful moment and I couldn’t help but smile.
This week’s episode “A Timeline and Place” further strengthened Quentin’s love for Eliot when Quentin stood against the monster and was ready to sacrifice his life to keep Eliot safe.
In the fourth season of The Magicians, the main story is a queer one and it is everything!
The writers saw the chemistry between Quentin and Eliot, but unlike certain creators, they didn’t allow queerbaiting and homophobia to rule their writing decisions. They understood the romance between these two male characters and allowed it to grow.
Here’s hoping others consider doing the same.
Are you a fan of The Magicians? What do you think of Quentin and Eliot’s relationship? Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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