The Magicians’ “Fillory and Further” gives us a stellar series finale—delivering plenty of tear-worthy moments while closing the series out in a satisfactory way.
Right off the bat, I have to talk about how worried I was for this episode. The Magicians premiered its fifth season back in January, but the month of March brought forward the unfortunate announcement that Syfy was cancelling the show. As a result, the thirteenth episode of the series’ fifth season became the series’ last episode ever. And well, I was worried it wouldn’t be able to wrap everything up in a satisfactory manner.
But much to my surprise, I have to say that “Fillory and Further” was great. It wasn’t perfect, but it did enough and closed enough doors in the right way to satisfy me, as an avid watcher of The Magicians. This finale didn’t feel rushed. It didn’t feel like it was desperately trying to juggle monstrous amount of plot lines that needed to all wrap-up. And for the plot lines that did seem hopeless, everything worked out.
“Fillory and Further” opens with Christmas. Yes, you heard that right. Considering the fact that last week’s heist musical episode ended with Alice’s best friend, Santa Claus (yes, the real Santa Claus) acting as a get-away driver, this episode begins with Santa bringing a surprise Christmas morning to our favorite characters. And even though most shows wouldn’t dare include a seemingly nonsensical Christmas morning scene in their series finale, it felt on-brand with The Magicians.
For starters, this scene gave everybody one last joyful scene together before the stress of working out the “save Fillory” plan had to be put into action. Secondly, Santa reveals to Alice that the “world seed” page from Quentin’s old research was actually put there for Alice to find by Santa, himself. Why? Because he knew that Alice would immediately dive headfirst into trying to solve a mystery left behind by the man she loved. And while I would normally call this a ridiculous way to explain away one of this season’s main stories, it works because the show no longer had the ability to further explore Quentin’s intentions.
Meanwhile, while all of the other characters jump into action with their attempt to save Fillory, Penny and Julia find themselves with baby issues on Earth. Julia’s water breaks and she goes into labor. Once Julia delivers the baby, they must figure out a way to sever the dangerous psychic connection between the two. Their initial plan of doing the cord severing delicately is immediately tossed out the window when Fogg decides to break out of the Ethereal Realm and messily sever the connection himself.
Now, this whole pregnancy story-line is something I didn’t really like throughout the season. The same can be said with whatever the story between Penny and Plum Chatwin was supposed to be. Honestly, all of that seemed to get lost when compared to the rest of what was happening and this episode was no exception. In fact, it was a bit disappointing to me that both Penny and Julia seemed to be dead-air for the show’s series finale, especially since both characters have been series regulars since the premiere of season 1.
The meat of “Fillory and Further” rested with the rest of the characters, though Kady was left out until the very end. In order to save the Fillorians, they all must get transferred to one of Umber’s spare pocket dimensions. Cue, The Rapture. Eliot and the others begin a magical rapture that teleports everybody to the pocket dimension, but just as he’s about to finish up, Sebastian (The Dark King) brings Eliot down to the Taker’s realm to help with a spell.
The entire season boiled down to the mysterious and potentially evil “Dark King”, who actually ended up just being a man who was desperate to reunite himself with his long-lost dead lover. Unfortunately, it’s revealed that Rupert (Seb’s lover) had already passed on to the other side. The real identity of the fake Rupert was none other than Martin Chatwin, The Beast, who was successfully killed off in season 2.
Now, I have to admit I wasn’t expecting this kind of twist, although now that I look back onto it, it feels almost as if it had been obvious there was some trickery in the works. That’s more in-line with how The Magicians operates, so I should have seen it coming. Still, it was sad to see Sebastian get his hopes dashed. Although, it gave us a really cute moment of Seb coming to his senses as he breaks out of Martin’s grasp and saves Eliot from getting killed.
And as I’ve been saying since Seb was revealed to be the Dark King, he’s not evil. It’s not even that he’s misunderstood. He just really wanted to get back the person he loved the most. And although it didn’t work out for him, I have to applaud The Magicians for being able to write complex gay characters whose stories revolve around more than just getting shoved into lockers and (or) being closeted.
Anyhow, Martin tricking his way out of the underworld creates new problems for everybody else. As Alice, Zelda, and Fen end up cornered in the burned down Library by Martin and his army of the undead, Zelda sacrifices herself to help Alice and Fen back to the safety of Earth where they can wait and ready themselves to use the world seed. And this is where I cried.
Zelda was introduced early on in the show and she was somewhat unlikable considering how obsessive she was over the Library and how strict she was toward all the other characters. But this show did really well on developing her character, providing her with some depth. In season 3, we got her backstory as well as her strained relationship with her daughter. And in this season, we got the great scene of Zelda finally giving up her binding to the Library, burning it all down.
So, it was really sad to watch her die, especially at the hands of Martin. Although, Zelda’s line about “death for librarians being as simple as being relocated to a different branch” gave me some comfort. Because we know that Librarians are bound to the Library for centuries. After all, Penny-40 is dead and still working for them in the Underworld. So it’s nice to know that Zelda will be okay.
Once the rapture is finished, it’s time to destroy Fillory via blowing it up from the inside out. And unfortunately, somebody has to sacrifice themselves in order to do it. This ends up being Margo. This part also made me cry. The whole scene is a montage of Fillory literally crumbling apart and catching fire as lava spews through newly formed canyons, and just as it seems as though Margo is going to die, Penny-23 teleports in and saves her.
The last ten minutes or so of the episode ends with everybody collectively coming together to use the world seed to create a new Fillory, followed by the aftermath. As it turns out, the world seed blinks a new Fillory into existence, taking Margo, Josh, Fen, and Alice along with it. This leaves Eliot, Kady, Julia, Penny, and Fogg back on Earth, completely disconnected from their lost friends. And considering this is the series finale, it’ll stay that way.
But, I have to say that I actually liked this ending. It felt final, yet not so final that it was unsatisfying. We get to see Alice, Margo, Josh, and Fen together on the new Fillory as they prepare to unload the Fillorian refugees out of Umber’s spare pocket dimension. At the same time, we get scenes that show how everybody else is getting on with their new lives.
Eliot is now a professor at Brakebills. And in what I think was an attempt to say sorry for screwing Eliot out of a happy relationship with Quentin, the writers for The Magicians throw in a heated kiss between Eliot and Charlton (who has now taken ownership of Hyman’s body). We see that Fogg has taken back his role as Dean. Sebastian was saved and is now living with Jane, his sister. Kady is working with Pete to help the Hedges. And Julia and Penny are working to find their missing friends.
The only thing I didn’t really like about this episode was that we didn’t get to see Quentin one last time. Although, I do understand why we didn’t. The actor who played him left last season and this season wasn’t supposed to be the series’ last. So, there was probably a chance to see Quentin return in some kind of capacity had the cancellation been less of a surprise. It just felt weird not having Quentin on-screen during the last few minutes of the whole show.
But what did you guys think about “Fillory and Further” as The Magicians’ series finale?
Let us know in the comments 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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