The Apocalypse rapidly approaches in The Magicians’ fifth episode, “Apocalypse? Now?!”, and there’s only one way to save the planet…a moon rock heist!
The Magicians decided to air back-to-back new episodes tonight and for seemingly no reason at all. Personally, it always worries me whenever a show decides to release multiple new episodes all together, as opposed to sticking with a weekly schedule. I hope that it’s not hinting at the fact that the show’s ratings aren’t doing that well this season. But despite the surprise, I can’t say that I’m upset we got a 2-hour special. These episodes were phenomenal!
Episode 5, “Apocalypse? Now?!”, kicks off what I originally thought was going to be the long, overarching threat for the entirety of season 5. After all, the idea of an apocalypse seems fitting to be a metaphorical “big-bad”. I mentioned this in my review for The Magicians’ second episode of the fifth season, but to my surprise, the apocalypse is a mid-season kind of threat.
The fifth episode kicks off with Margo and Eliot getting word from messenger bunnies that the apocalypse is quickly approaching Earth and then they are both needed to help prevent it. Once they both return from Fillory, they’re caught up on the happenings and team up with the rest of our favorites—Julia, Alice, Penny-23, Josh, and Kady. Truly, the gang is all back together, in one place, ready to take on a mega-level threat. I loved it!
As learned in the previous episode, the only way to stop the Harmonic Convergence from destroying Earth is by moving the Moon. And in this episode, we learn that the Moon is a living creature worshiped by loyal followers, “Lunatics”, that can use “moon rocks” and “moon brain” to speak with the Moon. And if the Magicians stand any chance at avoiding the apocalypse, they’ll have to get a moon rock, get moon brain, and politely ask the Moon to move out of its alignment with the Earth.
It sounds confusing, yes. But it’s The Magicians. It’s completely crazy and that’s what made this episode and the next so much fun. I’m still geeking out about it.
Anyways, in order to get “moon brain”, you have to stay awake for 5 days. That’s the first challenge, which Josh ultimately fails. The second challenge is finding a moon rock, which unfortunately is in the hands of a greedy billionaire that wishes to use it for his own betterment. And so, the only way that they’re going to be able to score the moon rock and a chance at saving the Earth is to essentially plan a heist to carry out during that billionaire’s Moon party.
This was my favorite part of the episode, because it reminded me of one of my favorite episodes from the second season of the show—the one where they have to break into a magically guarded bank and then have to reverse time to rethink their heist tactic when they accidentally screw up. And interestingly enough, the second episode of the 2-episode special also capitalized on this old episode’s trope.
I think one of my complaints for the majority of this season thus far amounts to how fragmented the characters are. They each have their own thing going on; with Margo and Eliot trying to figure out the Dark King’s plan, Kady trying to find the missing depository, Penny with the sonar signal in his head, etc. But “Apocalypse? Now?!” brought everybody together and it made for a really enjoyable episode. Personally, think that the characters are all at their best when their personalities can bounce off of one another.
Although the episode kept its pace extremely energized and fun, there were some great darker and more emotional moments to help settle down the hype. Throughout the episode, Eliot is fighting back against his own fear. The fact that he has had to stay up for 120 hours has left him (seemingly) partially delusional, in that he thinks the Monster from the previous season is actually still inside of him, begging to be set free to kill again. And yet, Eliot fights against this, refusing to explain his inner turmoil to his friends.
There’s also another moment with Zelda and Kady as they’re searching for the missing depository. Kady explains that she feels terrible for Fogg getting left behind in the “acid-induced” magical realm for all of eternity. But thankfully, Zelda explains that it isn’t actually her fault. As it turns out, the acid realm Emperor only keeps behind people who are struggling with themselves, meaning that Fogg stayed because he needed to. It wasn’t Kady’s fault.
I thought that this moment brought more life to Zelda’s character. After all, throughout the seasons we’ve come to know Zelda as being very cold and technical. But in the moment where she talks with Kady, she explains that she too was once stuck in the acid realm because of her own self-hatred, letting Kady know that if Fogg stayed behind, it was because he had deeply rooted things to work out for himself. And that if Kady was able to freely leave, it meant she was all good.
So then we get to the moment of the heist and things, in typical Magicians fashion, get screwed up. Eliot, still hallucinating, gets distracted away from his co-op spell casting with Alice and Julia, thus making the Moon refuse to move out of alignment. And then just when things can’t get any worse, our old friend Marina shows up, sporting a new hairstyle and a new selfish plan to use the Harmonic Convergence to help herself.
Naturally, a struggle ensues. Eliot and Marina both use their magic to enter into a tug-of-war with the Moon. Eliot tries his best to push the Moon out of alignment and Marina tries to keep it centered so that the Harmonic Convergence can properly take place. But then the absolute unspeakable happens….the moon literally splits in half. The Harmonic Convergence crisis is successfully avoided, but loads of moon chunks are sent hurling towards the Earth’s surface, effectively pushing another apocalyptic threat to the forefront.
“Apocalypse? Now?!” presented a great strength in showing us that The Magicians hasn’t lost any of its pep. It can still deliver a fantastic episode with high stakes, dark humor, and completely ridiculous cartoonish elements that seem to work out so well for the show, even though it has lost one of its leading characters.
But what did you think about the episode? Leave your comments down below!
Rodney has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Aspiring to one day write television shows and novels, he’s an avid slash-shipper and enthusiast for all things gay. Rodney’s especially a lover of magic, mystery, and superheroes—holding Harry Potter, the X-Men, and Scooby-Doo close as his own personal favorites. But when he’s not fantasizing about how cool it would be to have magic, he’s busy writing fanfiction and re-watching old TV shows.
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